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Posts for tag: repetitive motion injuries

Your child has been complaining about their heels hurting after [insert your child’s activity here] and you don’t know what’s really wrong. Pain relievers and rest seem to make it better, but activity flares it up again. This could be Sever’s Disease.

The name may sound ominous, but it’s a very treatable condition that occurs in children ages 8-15. With proper care and treatment, there will be no future side effectsIf your child is complaining of heel pain, particularly while running, walking, or jumping, they could be experiencing Sever’s.

READ MORE: Kids and Flat Feet

Feet do not stop growing until after you reach 14-16 years old. Until this time, the calcaneus (heel bone) is still forming. As bones develop, cartilage at the end of the heel transforms into bone cells until the heel is completely grown. For active children, this can present a problem since the end of the heel is still soft and prone to damage.

READ MORE: Do you Know What RICE is?

The best immediate answer to heel pain. Use of anti-inflammatory medications can help also, but it’s important to see a podiatrist. If the pain is severe or reoccurring, your child may need a foot cast for protection. In most cases, rest, stretching, avoiding running on hard surfaces, and other preventative measures can relieve symptoms and prevent them from returning. Most kids will resume normal activity within two weeks to two months.

If your child has been complaining of heel pain during or after activity, come see your podiatrist today. There’s no reason to live with pain.

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.

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!

The flips, the turns, the spangled leotards…. That’s right, the World Artistic Gymnastics Championship is taking place right now (October 2nd-8th) in Montreal. While these ladies and gentlemen are incredible athletes and constantly amaze us with their tricks, gymnastics is a sport heavy with foot and ankle injuries. Let’s take a look at some of the more common injuries these athletes face.

Achilles Tendon

The repeated strain of jumping and landing can mean very bad things for your Achilles tendon. This tendon stretches from the calf muscle to the heel and although it is the strongest tendon in the body, it is still prone to overuse injuries. The constant motion of running on pointed toes, jumping and landing during floor routines, and trying to stick that landing on the four inch wide beam all put this tendon under tremendous stress. Tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon and related bursae sacs, can lead to stiffness in the calf and limited range of motion. Tendons may also suffer small or large tears, which can occur gradually or suddenly. In a worst-case scenario, the Achilles tendon may rupture completely, usually with a loud “pop” sound. Unfortunately, a ruptured Achilles tendon means surgery and long-term recovery.

Stress Fractures

While tendons and muscles bend and stretch, your bones are rigid and when young athletes put continual stress on their bones, stress fractures can occur. A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone brought on by repeated direct stress to that spot. The impact that a front handspring has on your body is incredible. Now multiply that by 50 front handsprings a day for months on end and you’ve got a serious risk to your feet. It’s a good idea to mix up your workouts or practices to give parts of your body rest. If your feet need a break, try a few days of practicing just the uneven bars. Proper nutrition is also a big contributor to stress fractures. If athletes are not consuming proper amounts of vitamin D and other essential nutrients, their bones may become more brittle and subject to fracture. Don’t try and just “play through the pain” with a stress fracture; if it grows, you could be looking at a full bone break which will mean goodbye to your gold medal.

Youth Injuries

Gymnastics is a sport that many children begin at a very young age. Unfortunately, when you add stress and pressure to already changing bones and muscles, you can come up with some strange injuries. One common injury seen in very young gymnasts is called Sever’s Disease. The heel bone grows faster than most bones in the body and reaches adult size before the surrounding muscles and ligaments do. When young athletes experience pain, swelling, and tenderness of the heel bone, it’s a sign that they are overusing this area. Luckily, Sever’s Disease goes away quickly with rest, stretching, and growth.

The beauty and grace of these athletes combined with the jaw-dropping flips and tricks have made gymnastics one of the world’s favorite sports, but for the athletes who perform, a myriad of foot and ankle issues and injuries can pop up. If you’re a gymnast, pay attention to what your feet are telling you and get any pain or injury checked out immediately. Your podiatrist can keep you flying high and going for the gold.