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Posts for tag: RICE

    Exercise is great for you, and it comes in so many forms: biking, walking, swimming, running, weightlifting, etc. For many people who struggle with foot and leg pain, however, exercise can be a terrible trial. One of the most common overuse injuries from exercise is shin splints. This is often used as a catch-all term for lower leg pain, but shin splints specifically refer to the chronic damage done to muscles, tissue, and bone through the stress of overuse.

READ MORE: Foot Health for Marathoners

The medical term for shin splints is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. This happens when a muscle is pulled away from the bone, causing micro-tears in the muscle and surrounding tissue that present as generalized pain. Sometimes pain can occur on the outside of the shin bone, and this is called anterior shin splints. Medial pain will present on the inner side of the leg and is more common.
Repetitive motion injuries such as ligament sprains or stress fractures only occur to ligaments or bones. Shin splints cause damage to multiple parts of the leg, meaning it is imperative for us to avoid them and treat them if they do occur. Shin splints are most common in runners, dancers, and the military, but can present during any sport or heavy activity.

Specific conditions and activities that can contribute to shin splints include:
-Starting with too much exercise, too quickly
-Changing terrain or surface (such as switching from flat routes to hills)
-Always exercising on hard surfaces
-Not allowing for body recovery time between strenuous activities
-Exercising without proper stretching
-Worn out shoes
-Flat feet or high-arches

    If you feel pain or tenderness, or see redness and swelling in your legs, use the RICE method. In case you forgot, RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Stop all activity and do not resume until the pain has completely dissipated. Ice the front and sides of your shin while laying with your legs elevated above your heart. Compression socks can also help reduce swelling. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be taken in addition to RICE treatment.

READ MORE: What Does RICE Mean?

Once you have rested and the pain has subsided, it’s important to make sure shin splints don’t happen again. Change the intensity, frequency, or location of your workout to reduce strenuous surfaces or terrain. Have your running stride evaluated for potential imbalances and work to correct these. Replace your athletic shoes every 300-500 miles. If you have flat feet or high-arches, consider a support or orthotic to support important areas of the foot.
    If you have shin splints that reoccur even after these changes, it’s time to see a podiatrist. Stress fractures and compartment syndrome can both be mistaken for shin splints. Your podiatrist will perform an examination and take x-rays to rule out other causes. Often, small changes to your workout or working in lower-impact activities can help reduce injury and pain. The doctors at the FAAWC are here to help. Make an appointment today and learn how you can exercise free from the pain of shin splints.

    There are many parts of the foot and there are equally as many ways to damage all of them. One area of concern is our ligaments. Ligaments are thin bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones together at the joints. This is not to be confused with a tendon, which connects muscle to bone. Ligaments are tight yet springy so that joints can flex and return to a natural position. When we sprain a ligament, we stretch it further than it wants to go and it gets mad at us by swelling and becoming painful.

READ MORE: Sprain or Strain?

    Sprains can come from any activity that twists the foot into an unnatural position. Twisting or rolling your ankle is the number one cause of sprained ligaments. These injuries tend to occur suddenly from a very identifiable cause such as jumping and landing on your foot wrong. The ankle is supported by four separate ligaments: the deltoid ligament, anterior talofibular ligament, posterior talofibular ligament, and the calcaneofibular ligament. (Don’t worry, we won’t quiz you on them). Any of these can be damaged or torn in a sprain.

 

    A sprain comes in three grades of severity. Grade I is mild, usually with only minor swelling and pain. You should still be able to put weight on the foot as the joint is relatively stable. Grade II is, of course, a little bit worse; usually involving an incomplete tear in one or more ligaments. The ankle may not hold weight so crutches or a splint can help with mobility and support. Grade III is reserved for the most severe ligament damage. These ligaments have torn completely apart. You will not be able to move or put weight on the joint for some time.

 

    If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, the best place to start is R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be used. Swelling for a Grade I injury will begin to lessen within 24 to 48 hours. If your symptoms get worse after home remedy, go see your podiatrist. Any Grade II or III injury will need medical attention for proper treatment and healing. A 2 to 4 week recovery time can be expected for minor to moderate sprains. Sprains that need casts or splinting could take up to two months for healing. When your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you’ll want to gradually increase your activity. Partially healed sprains will not be strong enough to hold the joint stable and your chances of re injury are high.

 

READ MORE: Fix Sprains Forever!

 

    Spraining ligaments isn’t hard to do, but its easy to avoid with some logical steps. Wear supportive shoes for every activity, especially sports. Strengthen your ligaments with simple exercises like ankle rolls or calf raises. While you’re sitting at your desk at work, cross your legs and use the raised foot to write the alphabet. Even if you don’t exercise your feet specifically, make sure to warm up muscles and ligaments with a good stretch before activity.

 

    If you think you have sprained a ligament in your foot or ankle, make an appointment today. We provide urgent access to our doctors if you call 740-363-4373. Seeing your podiatrist can ensure a proper healing plan and save you money over other urgent cares or emergency rooms. Don’t delay!

Not everyone loves college football, but if you’re from Ohio, it’s a requirement to cheer our teams on and no team keeps us excited about football like the Ohio State Buckeyes. Only two short days from now (Saturday the 2nd) they will face off with Wisconsin in a battle for the Big 10 Championship title. Of course this means we want our players performing at their very best which starts with the health of their feet.

There are 26 bones in each of your feet. These are held together by 33 joints and over 100 ligaments, tendons, and muscles. That’s a grand total of 159+ things to worry about in the foot and ankle alone. Any one (or a number) of these things can be damaged by the repetitive motions found in football. Hundreds of punts each practice is a lot of impact on the same area of the foot. Running plays with long throws to wide receivers means a lot of running that day and a lot of heavy impact on the feet. Not to mention the direct impact a player’s feet could take from a cleat stomping down on it. All of these repetitive motions can lead to stress injuries. If treated properly and give rest, these injuries can heal, but if left untreated, they can lead to permanent disability.

Signs of a Repetitive Stress Injury

These injuries begin gradually with minor aches and pains during activity. This may lead to tingling, numbness, throbbing, tenderness, or weakness in the affected area during or after practice. If left untreated, the severity of the symptoms will increase and the pain will last for longer periods of time. This can cause a chronic condition and take you out of the game permanently.

 

Treatment for a Repetitive Stress Injury

The best treatment for these injuries is rest. Remove the action that is causing the stress and the injury can heal. If you catch this quickly enough, you may only have to rest for a day before you’re back to the playing field, but all too often, players push themselves through the pain and end up with extended recovery times of weeks or even months after ignoring the early warning signs of injury. The specific treatment you receive will depend on the diagnosis at the root of your injury. It could be a muscle, a tendon, a bone, your nerves, or any number of easily damaged spots. Regardless, pain means something is wrong and you need to be evaluated by your podiatrist. It doesn’t matter if you’re the quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes or just starting out on the local youth football team, your foot health is important to keep you in the game and pain and injury free.

The MLB season just ended with a stunning Championship win by the Houston Astros, but the hitting, throwing, running, and catching of 7 baseball games can really do a number on a player’s joints and lead to tendonitis in several different areas. While most of this tendonitis occurs in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists the symptoms and treatments are the same as if it occurred in your feet.

Tendonitis is an overuse injury brought on by a repeated motion that leaves joints, muscles, and of course tendons strained and weak. This can occur as it’s own injury or along with an acute injury, but tendonitis is definitely more common in athletes and especially older athletes. Our tendons lose elasticity as we get older (like a rubber band wears out), so the more we use it, the faster this may happen. Tendons connect muscle to bone and work between both, absorbing and releasing energy on both sides to move the parts of our bodies. Because they experience the stress you put on your bones and the strain you put on your muscles, tendons are very prone to damage.

Usual symptoms for tendonitis include general and achy pain, swelling, and tenderness. If these symptoms happen once they can be easily treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, if a player develops tendonitis they would feel theses symptoms all the time and a chronic condition will develop. The longer this goes on the bigger chance there is of a sudden rupture.

There are over 100 tendons in your legs, ankles, and feet so tendonitis has many places to manifest. The most common types of tendonitis in the feet are:

Achilles Tendonitis: Pain between the heel and the calf

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis: Pain on the inner side of the foot

Peroneal Tendonitis: Pain on the outer ankle

Extensor Tendontis: Pain on the top of the foot

Anterior Tibial Tendinitis: Pain at the front of you foot

Whether you play baseball with your kids in the backyard or you’re walking onto the field for the playoffs, repeated overuse can lead to chronic pain. See your podiatrist today if you continue to have pain in one area. We’re here to keep you in the game!

Sports injuries aren’t really news anymore considering professional athletes are one of only five occupations that report over 1,000 injuries for every 10,000 workers. But even though the public sees sports injuries as common, that doesn’t lessen the severity or life impact they can have on the athletes themselves. Right now, over 600 tennis players are gathered at Wimbledon hoping to take home the championship title, but for some of these athletes, injuries will hold them back.

Tennis players are at risk for any number of serious foot and ankle injuries so let’s look at some common ones:

Subungal hematomas: This refers to a collection of blood under the toenail causing a black coloring to appear under the nail. While these are not serious injuries, they can be quite painful. Usually a subungal hematoma will solve itself when the toenail grows out over several months, but occasionally it is necessary to drain the blood from under the nail or remove the toenail completely. This type of injury is most often caused by shoes that are too tight and don’t allow for proper movement of the toes.

Muscle cramps: Everyone reading this has had a cramped muscle at some point in the past. Proper stretching before activity as well as maintaining proper hydration and nutrition is the best way to prevent cramps. If you do get a leg or foot cramp, make sure you immediately begin stretching the area to help relieve the tight muscle. It may be necessary to remove shoes and socks to get to the painful area to provide a gentle massage with your hands and thumbs. Once the pain begins to lessen, put some weight on the injured foot or leg and make sure you walk around and continue to use and stretch the area. This will help prevent the cramp from immediately returning.

Ankle sprains: We’ve talked a lot about ankle sprains in the past so I won’t repeat myself too much, but the biggest thing about spraining your ankle is to rest it afterwards. Use the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). There are varying degrees of ankle sprains so you may want to visit your podiatrist if the pain persists for more than a day or two, during which time you should NOT overuse the affected ankle. If you try to walk off a sprain the way you walk off a cramp, you could end up injuring yourself further and be out for a whole season rather than just a couple games. For more information on ankle sprains click here.

Achilles tendonitis: Tendonitis is an umbrella term used to describe inflammation of a tendon over a muscle or bone. Our tendons are what allow our bodies to stretch in the ways they do. When we overuse or overload these tendons, they tend to revolt against us in painful ways. With an Achilles tendon, this can be a major issue because it is one of the major tendons that enable everyday walking and running. Yet again, the best thing to do is to immediately start the RICE method. Treatment for Achilles tendonitis can usually be done at home, but only after consulting with your podiatrist first. If left untreated, tendonitis can lead to a full tendon rupture, which is definitely not going to get you back in the game anytime soon. To learn more about your Achilles tendon click here.

Heel bruises: These are exactly what they sound like, a big, ugly, painful bruise on the back or bottom of your heel. Generally the bruise will appear over time and many athletes ignore them as a small problem that will go away easily. If you rest the affected foot (meaning no sports or any kind) the bruising may go away on its own. Better foot cushioning or padding for shoes can help prevent more occurrences of this. However, if a heel bruise is ignored, it can eventually alter the interior structure of the foot by flattening the fat pad under your heel causing more pain and a longer recovery time.

This is just a small sample of the many injuries that can affect tennis players and other athletes, but they are also the most common ones and luckily the most easily treated. The moral of the story is to listen to your feet, use proper pre and post care of your feet and legs, and if you do become injured, wait to go back into the game until you are completely healed. If you don’t you may never make it to Wimbledon.