Posts for tag: proper footwear
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!
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.
Exercising and maintaining an active lifestyle means always wearing the right shoes. Proper footwear is critical to preventing and treating common foot ailments. With such a variety of exercise shoes out there, how do we know what to choose?
Exercise shoes fall into three basic categories: walking, running, and cross-training. Walkers strike the ground with their heel and roll forward to push off their toes. Shoes designed for this movement will be flexible at the forefoot for optimal toe mobility and have moderate to minimal cushioning. The heel of the shoe is not built up so that the foot remains parallel to the ground.
Depending on their stride, runners may strike the ground with their heel or mid-foot and roll in an S pattern to push off their big toe. With each stride, a runner’s feet and ankles must withstand 2 to 4X their bodyweight. For this reason, running shoes have increased cushion in the heel and forefoot. Running shoes also tend to have large mesh panels for breathability.
READ MORE: What Happens to Feet During a Marathon
Cross training shoes are designed for lateral (side to side) movement. Quick turns and sudden direction changes can mean disaster for your ankles if not properly supported. Cross training shoes have little to no bend and should be used primarily for aerobics, weightlifting, kickboxing, and sports like basketball, racquetball, tennis and more.
Using the wrong shoe for any activity can lead to a variety of issues. Lack of cushion on hard surfaces can put you at risk for stress fractures, heel pain, and tendonitis. Lack of arch support can cause put excess strain on the plantar fascia. Wearing the wrong size shoe can squeeze toes together, forming bunions and corns, or backward, creating hammertoes.
READ MORE: Shoes for Every Activity
No matter what sort of activity you perform, the right shoes are paramount to safety and fun. When trying on exercise shoes, use these handy tips:
- Try on shoes later in the day
- Try them on with the same socks, inserts, or braces that you will wear when exercising
- Get your feet measured every time; they change through the years
- Replace shoes every 300-500 miles (1 or 2x yearly)
- Don’t skimp on price; poor quality shoes will damage feet, necessitating costly treatments
- Bring in your current shoes so the sales associate can find similar models
- Look for shoe features that match the unique needs of your foot (e.g. wide toe box, lateral ankle support)
READ MORE: Tips for the Shoe Store
Your toes are permanent roommates and if you’ve ever had a roommate, you know that people who live in close proximity need their space. Your toes are no different! When you crowd your toes by wearing pointed-toe shoes, high heels that put pressure on the front of the toes, or any shoe with a narrow toe box, it can lead to a hammertoe. What is a hammertoe? I’m glad you asked…
A hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of a toe. It most often occurs in the second, third, and fourth toes. When your toes are curled under for extended periods of time, they begin to hold that shape. It may become painful to stretch or manipulate the toe and secondary issues such as blisters, corns, and calluses can arise. Improperly fitting shoes are a huge factor in the development of hammertoes. They are also more likely to develop in toes that have experienced a trauma, such as a bad break, jam, or stub. There are some genetic risk factors too, so let your podiatrist know if you have a family history of hammertoes (even if you haven’t developed one yourself). Arthritis and muscle imbalances are also causes of hammertoes.
READ MORE: Hammertoes
Women are more susceptible than men and the chances of developing this condition increase as you age. If your second toe is longer than your big toe, you will need to pay particular attention to the way your shoes fit and give extra space. Your shoes may also become uncomfortable due to corns or calluses that form on the bump of the toe. Use a pumice stone to reduce calluses and put a silicone or moleskin pad on the toe to avoid further rubbing.
Time is of the essence with a hammertoe. If treatment begins as soon as the toe begins to bend (when it’s still moveable), the condition can often be halted with simple methods such as toe exercises, roomier shoes, toe splints, or orthotics. If you allow your hammertoe to go untreated until it is fixed into position, which is what about 50% of our patients do, a surgical solution may be your only option. Your podiatrist might release or reposition the tendons and ligaments holding the toe curled or use pins and bone fusions to correct the bend.
The best thing you can do for your feet is to wear the proper shoes and make an appointment with the FAAWC immediately when you notice a hammertoe developing. We’re here to help.
READ MORE: Quick Tips for the Shoe Store