Posts for tag: bone injuries
Without the skeletal system, we would all be crawling around on the ground like an octopus out of the water. It’s good, therefore, that humans developed bones. In fact, the foot developed more bones than any other part of the body. Each foot has 26 bones, which is pretty awesome, but it’s also 52 different places injury can occur.
Your bones are strong and can take a lot of force before succumbing to injury, but problems like a bone bruise can still cause big pain. Bruises sound minor compared to breaks, but a physically traumatic event still needed to occur to bruise a bone. The bone itself does not swell or discolor, but the sudden force causes micro-tissue tearing around the bone, and fluid and blood build up in that area. You will have swelling, tenderness, discoloration, stiffness, and pain. To diagnose a bone bruise, your podiatrist will examine the foot and ask about the injury event. Bone bruises do not show on x-rays, but your podiatrist may still take x-rays to rule out a fracture.
READ MORE: Why Your Toe Hurts...
Stress fractures are a type of repetitive use injury common in athletes and runners. With this type of fracture, the bone has cracked but not split completely apart. Stress fractures most often develop when people change the intensity of their workouts or the surface they are working out on. Running on a treadmill in the winter then switching to pavement in the summer puts excess force on bones, causing these hairline fractures. If you have weakened bones, you could develop a stress fracture just doing everyday activities. Stress fractures will show up on x-rays and can be treated with RICE–rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
READ MORE: Don't Stress Over Stress Fractures
An acute fracture occurs in an instant from a traumatic event to the foot and breaks the bone apart. These fractures can range from simple breaks to gory compound fractures. Simple fractures, where the bones remain aligned, can be protected with a cast while they heal naturally.
Spiral fractures occur when the bone is twisted, causing the break to spiral around the bone. These may remain aligned and heal with prolonged immobilization, or they may require setting of the bones manually if they have been displaced.
Compound fractures occur when broken pieces of bone pierce the skin and extrude. These are the most severe and dangerous of all fractures as it leaves the patient oven to deep bone infections. Compound fractures require surgical repair, sometimes with the use of pins or rods to hold the bone together.
All acute fractures require a minimum healing time of 4-6 weeks and will be followed with physical therapy to strengthen muscles that were unused during the immobilization time.
READ MORE: Beware the Compound Fracture
Bones can also be crushed and shattered which can be very serious and requires major surgery. A comminuted fracture occurs when the bone breaks into three or more pieces. These fragments will need to be put back together and secured with pins, wires, screws, and plates. The goal is to help the bone heal back into its natural position. Some bones may be too injured to pin back together. In these cases, a substitute bone may be used. One option is to use a bone graft from your own body, usually taken from the hip or leg. Other options include donated cadaver bones and synthetic bones created in a lab or even with a 3D printer.
No matter what type of bone injury has occurred, you will need to see your podiatrist. From a bone bruise to a bone replacement, the foot and ankle surgeons at the FAAWC are the best at diagnosing and treating your bone injury. If you have pain in your foot or ankle and suspect a fracture, call us today!
You may have seen the title of this blog and thought of the pointed wheels worn by cowboys on their boots to urge a horse forward. Yes, those are also called spurs, but a Heel Spur is different. Your bones are constantly being repaired and strengthened by your body to keep up with the stresses of everyday activity, but when this process goes awry, it can leave odd-shaped calcium deposits on the exterior of the bone. If this happens to your heels, it's a heel spur. The deposit may be pointed and sharp or it could be flat and barely noticeable. It could cause intense pain or have no symptoms at all. Generalized pain in the heel needs to be evaluated by a podiatrist since there are many causes.
This is one of the most common conditions associated with heel spurs. The plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. When the plantar fascia is damaged, your body sends a message to your heel to strengthen the bone to make up for lost support. A heel spur brought on by plantar fasciitis forms on the underside of the bone and if it becomes prominent enough, you may begin to feel it like a lump in your shoe. About 50% of all heel spurs form as a result of plantar fasciitis, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This is an arthritic condition that causes excess bone growth in the spine. Symptoms generally present with pain and stiffness in the low back and hips, but everything in our bodies is connected to something else. Unfortunately, that something else in this case is your feet. Both your Achilles tendon and your plantar fascia are at risk of being damaged by AS, which can lead to heel spurs on the back or bottom of your heel.
Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostasis. When we break down these words, we find that DISH is a spread out (Diffuse) pain with no identifiable cause (idiopathic) in the bones (skeletal) that involves too much growth (hyperostosis). Calcium deposits form down the sides of the upper spine and neck, but can be found as far away as the heels. Heels spurs from DISH will form on the back side of the heel and can make it difficult to wear certain shoes that rub in the affected area.
No matter what is causing your heel spur, the MLS pain laser can stop an active spur from growing and relieve the associated pain. Another good idea—and don’t faint when I say this—is to wear a raised heel. Not a HIGH heel, mind you, but a shoe that tilts the foot slightly forward can avoid excess pressure on the affected area. There’s no getting around it, if you suspect you may have a heel spur, you need to come see us. Your podiatrist will check for multiple causes of heel spurs and offer treatment suggestions.
READ MORE: Get Summer Ready Feet Today
This month, we’ve talked about ligaments and we’ve talked about tendons. Now we need to talk about your bones. Your feet have over a quarter of the bones in your entire body (26 in each foot to be exact). We rely on our feet to get us through everyday life, but everyday life might be getting back at us with damage to our bones.
Bones are rigid, unlike tendons, muscles, and ligaments, which bend and stretch. If you break a toe from a sudden event, you usually know by the immediate pain and the amount of cursing that accompanies it. Not every broken toe comes from a sudden trauma though, and the signs of a slow stress fracture aren’t always as obvious as a sudden injury.
A stress fracture is brought on by repetitive motion. This could be from sports or just from everyday activities. Over time, hairline cracks in a small bone can turn to big cracks and eventually full breaks. The early warning signs of a fractured toe are subtle, but if you pay attention to your feet (like I always tell you to!), you should be able to recognize when your feet just don’t feel right. The first sign is pain. I say it time, and again, pain is not normal. Any sudden pain that occurs during a specific motion or activity is bad. Pain that gets worse during activities and then feels immediately better when you rest can be indicative of a stress fracture.
READ MORE: Don't Stress Over Stress Fractures
As the fracture deepens, the pain will get worse and stick around longer. It may now be accompanied by swelling, bruising, or tenderness. You may find it difficult to put on a shoe or even walk on the fracture. Seeing a podiatrist before you get to this point is important. Stress fractures are more likely to occur in people who train on hard surfaces (like concrete), repeat certain motions (like jumping and running), or wear improper shoes with little cushioning.
Even though treatment is generally straightforward, these injuries take a lot of time to heal. Your podiatrist may recommend a splint or boot to immobilize the joint and protect the toe. During this time, you may have to sit out of your favorite activities until the fracture heals. If you return to the same activity too soon, you’ll continue to damage to your bones, and more drastic treatment options may need to be taken. During your healing time, try activities like swimming or cycling which take pressure off the feet.
READ MORE: Avoid Athlete's Foot at the Pool
You can avoid stress fractures by taking proper precautions such as good shoes for activity, varied training surfaces, and paying attention to early warning signs. If you think you have a fractured toe, stop all activity, use the R.I.C.E. method for symptom treatment, and make an appointment with the FAAWC. Your toes will thank you.
Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go and when we get there there’s slipping and sliding up to the front door. Nothing can ruin your holiday spirit faster than a broken bone from a bad fall. One of the most common areas affected by slips and falls is the ankle. The ankle is made of the tibia, fibula (both running down the leg), and the talus. It also contains multiple ligaments and tendons, all susceptible to injury. There are some important things you can do to help avoid injury this winter.
Get the Right Shoes
The right shoes can make all the difference this winter. Ice has very little surface grip because when your shoes step down on it, the very topmost layer melts, causing a slippery surface. Having shoes with high treads (lots of deep grooves in the bottom) can help you gain traction. Flat shoes with no tread will be unable to grip the ground, meaning you risk slipping and falling. High heals are also a no-no on ice. Take them with you and put them on once you are inside the venue.
The most logical way to avoid falling on ice is to avoid walking on ice, but this is easier said than done. Properly treating walkways is a key step. Ice can be avoided or it can be melted after it forms. To avoid ice, pre-treat with a liquid solution that coats the entire surface (make sure it’s environmentally safe though or you’ll be killing your lawn in the process). You can also use ice melting products after the snow has fallen and frozen. Rock salt is a popular option, but can cause damage to concrete and plants and is lethal to pets. Try something with less impact like Magnesium Chloride. If you can’t melt the ice, you can also avoid slipping by putting down rubber mats or sand.
Hands Free/Penguin Walk
If you can’t avoid icy surfaces, then make sure you are walking correctly as you cross them. Work on your penguin walk. This means no hands in your pockets or full of extra items. Leave them free and slightly out from your sides to stabilize yourself. You also want to shuffle your feet more than pick them up and set them down. Lean forward and go slow; this keeps your weight over your front leg, giving you a better center of gravity.
If you do fall, try to do it with some grace. Or at least with some proper form. DON’T stick your hands out in front of you to stop yourself (the wrist and clavicle are also commonly broken from falls). Tuck your head toward your chest and try to fall onto a big muscle such as your thigh or upper arm. These softer body parts have more insulation to avoid breaks from sudden jarring.
If you do slip and fall on the ice and experience any ankle pain, please go see your podiatrist immediately. Sprains, fractures, and full breaks can present with similar symptoms and if you don’t treat your injury properly it could lead to problems down the road. Be smart this winter and if you know you are prone to falling, maybe stay home until the ice melts.
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.