Posts for tag: active lifestyle
Cycling is a great way to keep in shape while minimizing the impact on your feet and ankles, but that doesn’t mean there are no risks for your feet. All the energy you push through your legs is transferred directly into the bike through the bottoms of your feet. Arch pain, heel pain, and toe pain are all common complaints of cyclists. Luckily, just a few simple steps can help you avoid pain and injury and keep you going for miles to come.
It should come as no surprise that your cycling shoes will affect your foot health. Shoes too tight or pointed in the toes can lead to issues such as bunions or hammertoes. There should be at least 1” of room between your toes and the front of the shoe. Just like all shoes, cycling shoes need to have arch support to avoid issues like plantar fasciitis. Sweat-wicking socks are strongly advised as sweaty feet can lead to fungal growth and athlete’s foot.
READ MORE: What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Your bike seat is at the proper height when your leg extends 80-90% of the way on the downward stroke of your pedal cycle. Knees should be directly under the hips in this extended position. Having your bicycle seat too low can put added pressure on the bottom of the foot and throw off the alignment of your hips and back. Improper seat height is usually felt in the knees, but pain can transfer downward to include calf pain and Achilles tightness. Seats that are too high put all the work on the toes to push the pedal down and back, straining the plantar fascia and leading to arch and heel pain.
There are many types of pedals and each works for a different style of riding and cycling shoe. Your pedals should be fitted to the size of your shoe and position of the cleats. Small pedals can mean increased strain on a single part of the foot, exacerbating conditions such as Morton’s Neuroma. Wider or longer pedals will increase the surface area that your foot contacts, distributing pressure evenly.
READ MORE: Neuromas
Cycling cleats should fit snug in the heel and wide around the forefoot. The cleat should place the ball of your foot (metatarsal arch) directly over the center of the pedal. Older-style clip-in pedals with toe cages are less adjustable and tend to place more of the forefoot over the pedal. Without proper alignment, your toes will end up doing all the pushing, putting extra strain on your plantar fascia.
While riding a bike is easy, riding it properly is another story. Using the correct part of the foot during each push will help alleviate and prevent issues. Your forefoot (just behind the toes) should provide the majority of the energy for each push. There should be an angle of 20 degrees between your heel and the pedal, except during the forward part of your stroke when the angle decreases to less than 10 degrees. For leisure cycling, there should be even force used throughout the pedaling cycle. For competition racing, over 96% of your energy is expended on the downstroke.
READ MORE: Choosing The Right Shoes
Avoiding cycling injuries is easy when you maintain proper seat positioning, have the correct pedal and shoe size, and keep your pedaling stroke strong and even. If you have pain in your hips, knees, ankles, heels, or arches after a long ride (or especially after a short one!) come visit the FAAWC. We can help correct underlying conditions and suggest ways to protect your feet for miles to come.
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.
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!
If the world is lacking in anything, it certainly isn't health advice. Everywhere you turn thare are articles, talk shows, and videos promoting exercise, healthy eating, meditation and more. You are, in fact, reading a blog right now that aims to give you health advice. It's everywhere!
With so much information, it can be difficult to remember every tip your read or hear. When it comes to your foot health, if you only remember one thing, remember to stretch. Stretching your feet, ankles, and legs before and after workouts can prevent injury and relieve pain. Daily repetition can increase flexibility, relax tendons, and strengthen muscles.
Begin with your lower leg. The medical term for abnormally or uncomfortably tight calf muscles is Equinus. A person with this condition would be unable to bend the top of their foot toward their shin. Such limited mobility will force the body to compensate when walking. Your arches may fall, or you may be tempted to toe-walk to avoid discomfort. These modifications in gait may lead to plantar fasciitis, leg cramping, tendonitis, ankle pain, and more. Heel lifts and wall stretches can loosen tight calves.
READ MORE: Your Achilles Heel
Next, your ankles need a little attention. Stretching and exercising your ankles will keep ligaments strong and flexible which helps avoid ankle sprains during activity. Overuse and chronic inflammation of the ankle joint can lead to osteoarthritis. Stretching may relieve joint pain due to arthritis and promote healthy circulation. Try drawing the alphabet in the air with your foot. Point your foot and hold for one minute then flex for one minute. Repeat this three to five times. Flexible ankles are important to maintaining an active lifestyle.
READ MORE: Chronic Ankle Instability
Finally, you’ll want to exercise your toes. Bunions, hammertoes, arthritis and more can plague your tootsies if you don’t stretch them. With no shoes or socks on, spread your toes as wide as you can, hold for 10 seconds then relax and repeat ten times on each foot. Improve flexibility and dexterity by picking up small objects with your toes. Challenge yourself to move pencils or marbles into a cup. Keeping toes strong can prevent strain and injury.
READ MORE: Hammertoes
It’s not uncommon to feel soreness when your first start stretching, but if you feel pain, call the FAAWC to make an appointment. If you’ve had a recent injury to your foot or ankle, check with your podiatrist before starting a stretching regimen.
Happy Thanksgiving! On this festive day of overindulgence we give thanks for everything we have in our lives… And then 12 hours later we go out and fight to acquire more things. If you’re already thinking of your holiday shopping list, make sure you put some gifts for your feet on there. For example…
Most people assume that when they get socks as a present the gifter didn’t really know what to get them, but socks can truly be a fabulous idea as a gift! Maybe you’re surprising your kids with rock climbing lessons - buy them some footie socks to wear in their rock climbing shoes. Maybe you’re whisking off you spouse to an elaborate vacation - get them some compression hose to wear on the plane so when you land they’ll be ready to see the sights with no leg pain. Maybe your family and friends just like sitting around playing video games - get them some fuzzy socks to keep their feet toasty on the couch this winter. Whatever you might want to give someone, there’s probably a corresponding sock to go with it. If you really want to have some fun, have them open the socks first (they will probably feign happiness for a few minutes), then give them the rest of the present and watch them realize that the socks were actually the perfect gift to go with it.
People tend to neglect their feet which is sad since they tend to do all the work of carrying us around all day. Treat your feet to something special with a little foot papering at the FAAWC. Gift certificates to our PediCare salon are readily available and can be purchased over the phone or in person at our office. If your gift recipient is out of town, send them a home care package with some Baby Feet foot peel and some colorful anti-fungal nail polish. Taking care of your foot health never felt so decadent!
You can still promote good foot health without a directly foot-related gift. Getting your family and friends out into the world to be active can be a wonderful gift that promotes overall health, but can also benefit your feet. Step counters are getting more and more sophisticated and fashionable. Help someone walk their way to better health by encouraging them to get outside or to the gym and get moving. This can help maintain a healthy body weight which in turn helps your feet. You can also go for other sporting goods that encourage activity - hiking pants, basketballs or footballs, even a swimsuit for summer fun. All of these things lead to a healthier and active lifestyle. Just make sure that they also have the correct shoes for whatever activity you are leading them into, otherwise you may have to offer a belated gift of a trip to the podiatrist.
Get creative with your gift giving and don’t settle for just handing out cash. We promise, with a gift from the FAAWC, you’ll never be disappointed with a gift of socks again.