March 14th through April 3rd marks this year’s NCAA college basketball tournament – commonly called March Madness. It starts with 68 college teams. With an average of 15 players per team, over 2000 ankles will be working, stretching, running and jumping for the championship. Players have spent countless hours practicing to get to this point so they needto make sure they are in top physical shape, including their foot health.
There are two types of injuries in sports: acute injuries and chronic injuries. Acute injuries happen suddenly and usually result in a player lying on the court holding their ankle. Chronic injuries are the result of long-term overuse and can sneak up on players with mild to moderate symptoms until it’s too late and a full-blown injury has occurred. The good news is that chronic injuries can be avoided by knowing what to look for and when to seek treatment.
One of the most reliable ways of determining the seriousness of a foot issue is timing. There are four different times athletes may experience foot and ankle pain: pain during activity(could affect performance), pain after activity (does not affect performance), pain before, during, and after (will affect performance), and pain that prevents activity altogether.
Let’s start with the obvious: pain that prevents activity. If your feet hurt so much that you have to skip practice or miss the big game, then you should definitely go see your podiatrist. This type of pain indicates that you have a serious injury and need a professional treatment plan for recovery.
If you experience pain only after heavy activity, but this pain does not affect your athletic performance overall, try starting with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). This simple treatment plan can help relieve symptoms and promote healing. Combine this with better stretching and warm-up techniques before practice to reduce post-activity pain. You should consider seeing a podiatrist if symptoms reoccur too often or athletic performance becomes reduced
If you experience pain only during activity, you need to recognize which pains are normal and which mean serious injury on the horizon. Minor discomforts in the foot or a mild “burning” sensation in the legs are considered normal pains. These symptoms should dissipate quickly after activity and should not be considered serious. Sharp or sudden pain is a key indicator that you should immediately stop what you are doing and rest. Continued use of the affected foot can exacerbate symptoms and lead to chronic injury. Most injuries of this kind are easily treated within a couple of weeks, but if you ignore this type of pain and the injury becomes chronic it could mean months of recovery time.
If you experience pain during and after activity, or even sometimes before a workout, this could indicate a serious injury and requires evaluation by a podiatrist. Pains of this type will affect athletic performance and can result in tendonitis, stress fractures, and muscle tears. Most of us casual gym-goers will recognize this type of pain immediately and seek treatment, but for athletes who are used to hard and frequent workouts, the slow road to a chronic injury may not be so obvious.
If in doubt, contact the FAAWC and book an appointment or drop by during our Immediate Access Hours. Catching injury before something serious happens is critical to reduce healing time and keep you in the game. So don’t just cheer for your favorite team, cheer for everyone’s ankles and the podiatrists who keep your favorite players running, jumping, dunking, and winning. Happy March Madness! Go Buckeyes!
You'll be seeing a lot of green tomorrow and that's because it's St. Patrick's Day; a holiday based around drinking and dying lots of random things green. There are a lot of reasons to stay extra safe and drink responsibly on St. Patty’s Day,but this year, do it for your feet. In terms of major holidays, St. Patty’s Day isn’t celebrated as much as you’d think, but those who do celebrate tend to do so with a lot of green beer so safety should still be a priority. Alcohol related foot and ankle injuries can’t be avoided by the luck of the Irish, so make sure you know what to look out for this St. Patty’s Day.
Trips and Falls
Most people worry about trips and falls in the winter when conditions aren’t at their best. However, even if conditions are perfect, if you aren’t walking at your best, you could be risking a serious fall and potential injury. Alcohol is a factor in about 1/3 of all fall related injuries treated at hospitals. While it’s in the minority, detailed studies of these patients reveal that the severity of the injury increases significantly when alcohol is involved. A bruised ankle is much quicker to heal than a fractured one and DUI accidents result in more fatalities than non-alcohol related accidents. Be aware of your footing throughout the day and know when you’ve hit your drink limit before you surpass it. If you think your bar tab is high, just wait until you get the hospital bill from your alcohol related emergency room visit.
Gout is a form of arthritis and symptoms are triggered when people eat or drink foods high in purines. Beer is chock full of purines and should be avoided completely by those who have been diagnosed with gout. Patients who drink one beer daily are 1.5 times more likely to get gout symptoms than those that refrain. Don’t think you’re home free with other types of alcohol either. Alcohol is filtered through the kidneys and causes a rise in uric acid, leading to gout symptoms that include purple or reddish discoloration, limited joint movement, and severe pain and sensitivity in the toes, particularly the big toe. If you have been diagnosed with gout, or experience any of these symptoms within a few hours or a few days of drinking, it may be best to avoid the green beer and stick to water instead.
You probably won’t have to worry about this one if you only drink on major holidays, but long-term alcohol use can lead to nerve damage in the limbs. Those with alcohol neuropathy have permanently damaged their peripheral nerves and this leads to tingling sensations and pain in their hands and feet. Alcohol is not the only contributing factor. Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to these symptoms, but symptoms will worsen with alcohol consumption. Luckily, abstaining from alcohol can help restore most nerves back to a healthy state and vitamin levels to normal. Some damage however, may be permanent. The easiest way to avoid alcoholic neuropathy is to consume alcohol only in moderation.
Don’t Forget to Tip your Bartender
If you decide not to tip your hardworking bartender, you may be directly jeopardizing their foot health. Bars tend to open earlier and stay open later on St. Patty’s day, meaning much longer shifts for the staff. Do you know what it’s like to be standing and running around serving drinks on your feet for 10 hours at a time? They do and let me tell you, their feet are punishing them for it by the end of the night. Just the added stress of standing longer can lead to a myriad of other foot problems, all resulting in foot pain. Tip them well; they are sacrificing their health for you.
Follow these tips and maybe you can avoid a trip to the podiatrist this St. Patty’s Day. However, if you do need help with a foot or ankle injury, don’t forget that the FAAWC has walk-in hours for instant access to our doctors. Be safe and wear green to avoid a day of playful pinching.
There’s always been a debate in the podiatry world about whether going barefoot is healthy or harming. Many doctors claim that being barefoot is natural and promotes healthy movement. Others will warn patients away for going barefoot due to the risk of cuts or falling. Both sides have very good arguments and there may not be one right answer for everybody. So we would like to introduce you to Fitkicks, the middle ground of this hotly debated topic.
If you aren’t familiar with them, Fitkicks were created to promote minimalist footwear that allows for freedom of the foot, but also allows for an active lifestyle inside and outside. The base of your Fitkick is a Flex Form sole, giving you traction to the ground and minimalist cushion on the inside. The upper portion of the Fitkick is a light and flexible material that conforms to the foot like a sock. A bungee cross-strap secures the Fitkick to your foot while a small toe guard protects against wear and tear.
Fitkicks are designed for every activity; yoga, outdoor walking, water sports, time at the beach…you can even carry them in your purse to put on when you need relief from your high heels. Color options range from basic black to large floral graphics. Browse the whole collection HERE.
Podiatrists see an influx of foot injuries during the spring. More people are going barefoot and risking injury or a slip and fall. Many people are switching to flip flops, which offer no ankle stability and little protection. Walk more confidently on smooth or slippery surfaces with the textured sole of Fitkicks. Protect your feet from dirt and infection with the sock-like protection. What I’m trying to say is, come to the FAAWC today to get your first pair. It will improve your life and you won’t regret it.
It feels like springtime and when the weather starts warming up, people become more active and need to make different footwear choices. If you Google best footwear choices for spring you will find a litany of information on style, but very little on function. So before you go shoe shopping, keep in mind these important features.
During the winter, we want heavy materials for our shoes to keep out the snow and cold, but as temperatures rise and fluctuate we should consider something better for the weather. You want to look for materials that let your foot breathe. Leather and canvas materials are best for dressy or casual occasions. On active days, find an athletic shoe that is lightweight with breathable mesh for quick sweat evaporation.
Many people switch straight from snow boots to flip-flops, but too many sandals leave your feet unsupported and susceptible to foot problems. If you insist on wearing flip-flops, buy a pair that is specifically designed to protect your foot. There are plenty of fashionable choices such as the classic Birkenstock, the Tevas strappy outdoor shoes, or the many options of the very cushiony Aerosoles.
When and How to Shop
Most people don’t make a detailed plan for their trip to the shoe store, but it can save your feet a lot of pain and the hassle of a return if you can get your choices right the first time. No matter what kind of shoes you are buying, try them on later in the day after you have been active. Your feet fatigue and widen throughout the day and your shoes should still feel comfortable when your foot is at its largest. If you are shopping for multiple styles make sure you bring the appropriate sock or hose for each. If that’s how you’re going to wear it when you own it, that’s how you should try it on. Make sure you don’t walk out of the store with a pair of shoes that you haven’t walked around in first. Take at least a full lap of the store in each pair of shoes before deciding.
If you need more guidance on the best choices for your specific foot problem, visit the APMAs guide to approved products for all your foot ailments: HERE. And of course, the staff at the FAAWC are always happy to help you with recommendations or appointments with our doctors. With the right shoe choices, you can have a new spring in your step and improved health for you feet. Happy walking everybody!
Let’s go back to high school Anatomy class. The human heart has four chambers that beat in rhythm. Blood is pumped into the heart by your veins and pumped out of your heart by your arteries. If you have poor circulation in your legs and feet, it could be caused by a problem with either your veins or your arteries. Both have very different symptoms, but they are equally bad for your health.
Here is a quick rundown on the two main culprits: Venous Insufficiency and Peripheral Artery Disease.
Your veins carry blood back to the heart. If they are not functioning properly, your circulation becomes an uphill battle, literally. Veins are equipped with valves that open and shut and keep the blood flowing in the correct direction. When these valves have trouble opening and closing it can lead to Venous Insufficiency. Signs of venous insufficiency include swelling, varicose veins, feeling of heaviness in the foot, and could eventually lead to leg ulcers. You are more likely to develop venous insufficiency if you are over the age of 60, you smoke, you are obese or lead a sedentary lifestyle, or if you have high cholesterol.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Arteries carry freshly pumped blood away from the heart to your extremities. When your arteries are constricted, narrowed, or blocked, you may experience symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease. Contributors to PAD include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Persons suffering from PAD may have mild symptoms such as persistently cold hands and feet, or more serious issues like chronic leg cramping, burning sensation, or numbness.
Wearing compression hose or elevating your feet are good home remedies to help alleviate symptoms. But that’s not enough; stop smoking, get your cholesterol to a healthy level, and increase your exercise. Treating the underlying causes of either condition is the only way to ensure long-term relief. If these conditions are left untreated for too long, they both can lead to life threatening issues that go way beyond your feet. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your podiatrist about your circulation today.
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