Posts for: May, 2016
Anytime a person engages in sports, they are running the risk of suffering an injury to the foot and ankle. Many of the injuries that cause foot ailments and pain are caused by high-impact sports, such as running. Other times foot problems can arise from wearing improper footwear or from inadequate training.
There are a number of foot conditions that an athlete can suffer from, including ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot and blisters. Let’s take a brief look at two of the more serious and most common conditions: plantar fasciitis and ankle sprains. When these conditions occur, your podiatrist is available to provide you with the best treatment available.
Heel Pain Caused By Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot ailments experienced by runners and the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a thick, dense tissue that runs from the ball of the foot along the arch, connecting to the heel. People with flat feet or individuals who overpronate are more susceptible to heel pain because of the increased stress that occurs at the heel.
Many times the pain is worse in the morning when you first get up, but subsides as you move around throughout the day. Treatment will vary depending on each case, but generally rest, ice and stretching can help ease the pain. When conservative treatments aren’t effective and the pain persists, see your podiatrist for recommended treatment, such as orthotics.
Caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones, an ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries experienced by athletes. The severity of a sprain will depend on the extent of the stretching and tearing of ligaments. How severe the tear is will determine how long it takes for your ankle to heal - sometimes up to several months. When a sprain first occurs, there will likely be chronic ankle pain. The ankle will swell, and discoloration may occur.
The RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) procedure should be administered right away for an ankle sprain. Serious ankle sprains, particularly among competitive athletes, may require surgery to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments. If you’re prone to ankle sprains, avoid running on uneven terrain and wear firm, supportive footwear for improved stability. Unfortunately ankle sprains are often recurring. Your podiatrist can help determine the severity of your sprain and the necessary course of treatment, including exercises to strengthen your weak ankle.
Heel pain and ankle sprains can be easily treated, yet many athletes delay proper treatment for fear of discontinuing their favorite sport. Delaying treatment will only make the injury worse, often times leading to a far more serious injury that requires extensive care and treatment. If you frequently participate in sports and other physical activities, it’s important to pay close attention to your feet and ankles as they are placed under tremendous pressure and are at high risk for injury.
Remember to train properly for your specific activity and wear supportive shoes that offer stability for your specific sport. If you are experiencing pain for extended periods of time, take time to rest. Chronic pain likely indicates a serious foot problem and continuing to play your sport will only make matters worse. Talk to your podiatrist about the best ways to prevent and treat common sports-related foot injuries.
Most people do not realize the tremendous amount of pressure that is put on their feet during exercise. During running, the 26 bones, 33 joints,112 ligaments, and network of nerves and tendons that make up the foot all work together. Improper foot care during exercise can cause ailments from athlete’s foot to blisters, from corns to heel pain. Your podiatrist is here to help you stay active and keep running without damaging your feet.
Check Your Shoes
One of the most important things you can do for your feet while exercising is wear proper shoes, especially if there is running involved. Good shoes need to provide cushioning for shock absorption because of the force you are putting on your legs, ankles and feet when you run. It's important to select a pair of shoes designed for the shape of your foot and its natural structure and inclination.
Shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are slightly swollen to ensure a good fit. It also helps to wear the type of socks you will wear when running when you try on new shoes. If you use an orthotic, bring that as well. Look for lightweight, breathable shoes to ensure comfort, and consider buying two pairs and rotating them to extend the life of each pair. Running shoes should be replaced about every 400 miles.
Other Guidelines for Foot Care
Aside from having the right shoes for exercise, there are also other measures you can take to preserve the health of your feet.
- Wash your feet every day and make sure they are dried thoroughly.
- Good quality, well-fitting socks is also important for foot care.
- The more weight that is put on your feet, the more strain there is.
- Being in shape and being at a healthy weight will help take some of the stress off of your feet.
- Avoid walking barefoot.
- Do not ignore any foot pain.
Contact your podiatrist as soon as you feel any pain in your feet. The earlier an ailment is diagnosed, the easier it is to heal.