Posts for: June, 2018
Tennis is an incredibly popular sport in the United States with almost 18 million recreational and professional players. With new technology and advances, the ball is flying faster than ever before which means we have to be going faster to keep up. This puts additional strain and pressure on our already taxed feet which can leave us open to many types of tennis injuries.
Ankle sprains are the most common tennis injury and can take a player out of the game for weeks or months at a time. Rapid changes in direction and jumping are two highest risk factors for ankle sprains and tennis has both. Ankle sprains happen when the ligaments of the ankle (most often the interior ligaments) are stretched or even torn due to unnatural movement of the ankle. Some players will wear an ankle brace on a weak ankle as a precaution. This is especially important if you have had prior ankle sprains as you have a higher reinjury risk.
You would recognize this injury as a pool of blood beneath your big toenail. The constant direction changes in tennis cause your feet to slide around inside your shoes. This can put undue pressure on the front of the toes and cause bruising beneath the nail. Your podiatrist can release the pressure and drain the blood in a single office visit. After bandaging, you can get back on the court, but if the nail needs to be removed, you might be out for a week or more.
These occur mostly in the calf and foot. Cramps are caused by loss of blood flow due to dehydration. Staying hydrated, wearing appropriate sweat-wicking clothing, and stretching before exercise can all help avoid muscle cramps. If you cramp during a match, you must rest completely until you have rehydrated and stretched. If you don’t, you could lead yourself down a path to chronic injury.
Straining of the calf muscle is a common occurrence in tennis and can take a player out for weeks. Everyone has a dominant leg and usually it is just a bit stronger than the other. You may also have imbalanced muscle groups (such as your thighs being stronger than your calves) which can lead to injury. If you land on the wrong foot or use your weaker leg to push off for a move, you could cause micro-tears in the muscle. Over time, this can cause chronic issues. Rest and physical therapy are the best ways to overcome muscle strains.
READ MORE: Strain or Sprain?
We talk about plantar fasciitis a lot because it is one of the most common causes of foot and heel pain. The plantar fascia, a band of tissue across the bottom of the foot, is used in every walking and running movement. When it is stretched or torn, it can cause intense pain. Wearing the right shoes with custom orthotics and stretching are great ways to avoid plantar fasciitis. If you experience heel pain, start with RICE and keep resting for longer than you normally would (a few weeks rather than a few days). If the issue does not resolve, you may need injections, tapings, casts, or even surgery. Resting now can avoid a longer recovery time later.
Tendonitis can be acute, caused by a sudden increase in exercise, or it can be chronic, a prolonged injury that flares up over time. Either way, it isn’t something you want to deal with. Keep your Achilles and calf muscle loose with daily stretching and strengthening exercises. Limited mobility of the ankle and tightness when you point your toes are signs that your Achilles tendon is stiff and could be susceptible to injury. Wearing a heel lift, especially when you are off the court, can help relieve strain on the Achilles.
READ MORE: Achilles Tendon Ruptures
This injury is more common amongst older tennis players because their heel pads (the fatty cushioning under your heel) have worn down over time and there is no longer enough cushioning between your heel and the ground. This injury is easy to treat with rest, ice, and extra padding in your tennis shoes. Talk to your podiatrist about gel heel cups to soften the impact. You’ll also want to see your podiatrist to rule out heel fractures which can present with bruising.
Although there are a lot of potential risks in tennis, many of them are easy to avoid when you stretch, wear the proper shoes, and exercise caution with your running and jumping. If you are experiencing a tennis-related foot or ankle injury, come see the FAAWC. We have more experience at keeping athletes on the court and can help put you back in the game, not benched on the sidelines. Don’t give up the sport you love because of a simple injury. Come see us today.
Golf has often been called a good walk ruined, but golf involves so much more than walking. The demands of golf on your feet are like no other sport. During most activities, your feet are either moving forward in a steady gait or side-to-side with quick cuts and sudden direction changes. A golf swing is a unique blend of passive and active motions that both strain and twist the feet, causing a variety of problems.
Shin splints occur when the stress of walking or running slowly tears muscle away from the bone. It is a painful condition that is all too often ignored. Shin splints can be brought on by starting with too much exercise too fast, changing from flat to hilly terrains, exercising without stretching, and playing in worn out or unsupportive shoes. Because bones, muscles, and ligaments are involved in this injury, it is important not to “play through the pain.” Give yourself a rest, use RICE at home, and if your shin splints return, come see a podiatrist immediately.
READ MORE: Don't Let Shin Splints Halt Your Exercise
Characterized by heel and arch pain, plantar fasciitis is a condition affecting the band of tissue across the bottom of your foot that connects your toes to your heel and supports your arch. In other words, it’s important. Repeated stress on the plantar fascia may result in small ligament tears. Most people will experience this pain first thing in the morning as they are getting out of bed. Your podiatrist can create a custom plan with you that involves tapings, arch supports, stretches, and strengthening exercises.
READ MORE: What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and connects your heel to your calf muscle. It needs a certain degree of flexibility for an effective and proper golf swing. Repeating the same swing over and over again with a tight Achilles tendon can lead to damage and pain. Overuse injuries are the most common foot and ankle injuries in golf. Be sure to stretch before each game and wear supportive shoes.
If it feels like there’s a pebble constantly underfoot, you most likely have a Morton’s neuroma. This is caused by a thickening of the tissue around a nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes. Golfers may experience tingling, pain, or numbness in this area which can throw off balance and concentration. Wearing tight footwear that leaves little toe room can contribute to a neuroma.
READ MORE: Neuromas
Your balance can be thrown off significantly if you suffer from hallux rigidus, a stiffening of the big toe. At first, this may be minor, but as the condition worsens, you will experience pain, loss of balance, and even difficulty walking. After all, the big toe takes about 40% of the weight load when you walk and is the last part to push off from the ground. Non-surgical solutions are available if this condition is caught early. Wear properly fitting shoes and get to the podiatrist at the first sign of a stiff big toe.
Foot and ankle injuries in golf are more common than you know. Golfers who don’t stretch, don’t wear proper footwear, and don’t have a proper golf swing, could be putting themselves at risk of any number of foot ailments. Get training from a professional to ensure your golf swing isn’t damaging your feet.
Running is a great activity for your heart and overall health, but it can also be boring. Mile after mile of sidewalk, roadway, and houses can become monotonous and leave you uninspired when it comes time to work out. There is another option!
Fun events such as Savage Races, Mud Runs, the Obstacle River Run, the Green Beret Challenge, and Warrior Dash have given people a reason to start running again. These trails feature obstacles, and challenges participants will hurdle (sometimes literally) to get to the finish line.
READ MORE: Marathon Foot Health
Intense competitive races can be 6+ miles long and feature over 50 obstacles. More relaxed, family-friendly events are often 5K and have 35 or fewer obstacles. While these events have reinvigorated people to join races, they pose more risks for your feet than a traditional running race. Being prepared and getting through the obstructions safely requires some pre-knowledge of what you’ll encounter and the dangers they pose.
NETTING—Many races feature cargo net climbs, swivel ladder climbs, rope ladder climbs, net climbs over ravines and other rope-related challenges. Netting can pose a risk for your feet if you get tangled. Slipping from your foothold and becoming caught can lead to twisted ankles and rope abrasions. Wear high socks to protect your ankles and take care during your climbs.
WATER/MUD—if your race involves water or mud obstacles, you could be dealing with wet and dirty socks and shoes for the rest of the race or if you didn’t plan ahead, the rest of the day. Bring something to change into and be sure to wash and dry your shoes thoroughly after the run.
JUMPING—It wouldn’t be a challenge run if there weren’t a wall or two to get over. These classic obstacles often require a straight drop of up to 20’ which can mean major damage to your feet. Jumping upwards puts a strain on your ankle and Achilles tendon, leaving you open to the possibility of an Achille tendon rupture. Jumping down can be a large shock to your bones and cause a fracture.
RUNNING—In general, all the normal dangers that apply to running and exercise apply to these races as well. Shin splints are the number one reason runners stop running, and your risk increases with the uneven terrain of obstacle races. Be sure to wear proper supportive footwear and only exercise up to the level that you have trained. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast can lead to pain and injury.
READ MORE: What Are Shin Splints?
With everything from military crawls to running up a 10-foot sloped wall to monkey bars to cliff jumps to carrying heavy objects (logs, stones, etc.) to jumping over fire, Weekend Warrior races give everyone the chance to be their own superhero. If you’re looking for a fun activity to get yourself moving this summer, join an obstacle race. Just be sure to take care of your feet!
Sandals and summer go together like peanut butter and jelly, but too many sandals don’t offer the correct support or protection and can leave your feet aching or lead to other issues. Don’t fret, there are still plenty of options out there that will make your podiatrist happy and look fashionable.
The key features to look for in a summer sandal are:
Arch Support – Perhaps the biggest complain podiatrists have about sandals is the lack of support. When your foot is not properly supported, it can lead or contribute to plantar fasciitis, fallen arches, and even ankle, knee, hip, and back pain. Sandals might be appropriate at times, but you should never plan on walking in them for long distances or periods of time as this can exacerbate issues.
READ MORE: Plantar Fasciitis
Toe Protection – Personally, I love showing off my toes in the summer (especially after my latest PediCare Salon visit!), but leaving your tootsies exposed can result in pain or injury. Stubbed or stepped on toes are common and can result in fractures and unsightly bruising. There is also a potential for cuts and abrasions or even sunburn. Choosing sandals with enclosed toes can eliminate some of these flip flop risks.
READ MORE: PediCare vs Pedicure
Materials – Choosing the right sandal all depends on the occasion, but you should always match the material of the sandal to your activity. If you’re going to be wearing your sandals around water, don’t choose leather, suede, canvass, or other materials that absorb water or are damaged by it. Make sure any straps are comfortable and wont rub to form blisters. Pay attention to the sole thickness as well; the shoe should not fold in half if you attempt to bend it.
Sandals fit properly only if your entire foot is resting on the footbed. If your heel hangs off the back or your smallest toe is falling off the side, you need a bigger size or a completely different sandal. Look for brands that boast the APMA seal of approval. This seal is granted only to products that have shown consistent benefits for foot and ankle health. To find brands with this approval click HERE, scroll down to shoes, flip flops/sandals and click. There are over 400 individual sandals to explore!
If you’re looking for the perfect summer sandals, the FAAWC offers Revere sandals for both men and women. The footbed is removable to fit your orthotics, meaning you’ll be looking good and keeping your feet (and your podiatrist) happy and supported.
READ MORE: Insoles vs Orthotics
Call or drop by today to browse our selection of perfect summer sandals.