Posts for tag: stretching
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.
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.
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!
Being a dad is hard work as any father will tell you, but it can also be dangerous work! The average parent sustains 22 injuries per year. Let’s take a look at a couple of common parenting injuries and how we can avoid or treat them…
When I think about the most painful injuries I could sustain in my living room, the thought of stepping on a Lego sticks out as the worst. Small toys underfoot can cause pain, cuts and bruises, and accidental falls. Luckily avoiding these is as easy as cleaning up (easier said than done usually). Consider an easy option such as a toy mat that keeps small pieces from going everywhere and can slide out of the way or fold up when not in use. For larger toys, a laundry basket works great for a quick pick-up and easy transportation. If you just can’t avoid the mess, make sure you don’t walk through the room in the dark to avoid any surprises underfoot.
This category of injuries is a varied as the sports our dads teach us to play. Whether it’s tossing a ball in the backyard to help your little one start JR softball or running around the field with your teenager trying to keep up with her soccer drills, dads play lots of sports and that leaves them open to lots of injuries. Luckily, there are a few general rules of thumb that will help you avoid injury no matter what you happen to be doing. First, remember you aren’t that age anymore and sometimes you may not be able to keep up. No worries, your kids understand and are probably just glad you’re helping anyways. Second, be prepared. Stretching before exercising is crucial, as is wearing the right equipment for it. If your kid needs special basketball shoes to support his ankles as he jumps for a 3-pointer, maybe you should wear some too. Using common sense can be an easy way for dads to avoid a sports injury and make sure they can keep playing with their kids for years to come.
You may be thinking my kids are all grown up so I don’t have to worry about that stuff, right? Wrong. Aging can do any number of things to our health, especially after the active years of raising kids. Maybe those years left you with a constant pain in your heels or a stress fracture you used to write off as the pain of being a parent. Take care of these issues now. Taking care of existing problems now will help lessen the number of issues aging can bring on. As we say, healthy feet and ankles are the foundation of an active lifestyle. If you want to be sure you can keep up with your grown kids for years to come, it’s a good time to start taking care of your feet now.
Being a dad can certainly have its pains, but your kids appreciate every minute of it…or at least they probably will when they get older and look back on it. Give your father a big hug this Sunday and make sure you don’t step on his toes or knock his noggin while you’re doing it. Happy Father’s Day!
Plantar Fasciitis. Let’s say it together, PLAN-tur fashee-EYE-tis. If you’ve hung around the FAAWC enough, I’m sure you have run into this term. Whether you heard it in passing in the hall or saw it on a brochure, it’s important to know what it is, because you may be experiencing it! When you wake up in the morning and, after hitting the snooze button several times, swing your feet onto the floor, do you feel sharp pain in your heels or the bottoms of your feet? This is due to your plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that connects your heel to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. Previously, it was believed that this was an inflammatory condition, but recent research shows actual structural changes in the plantar fascia. Essentially, repeated stress on the plantar fascia causes small tears in the ligament, can lead to calcium deposits in the connective tissues, and may rearrange the collagen fibers of your foot.
There are several risk factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis including:
- Walking or standing for long periods of time on hard surfaces
- Having very high or very low arches
- Wearing shoes that do not fit properly
- Rolling your feet inward when you walk
- Having excessively tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons
As always, the first thing you should do is stop all activity and rest the affected foot or feet. Heat and ice along with stretching and strengthening exercises will help with plantar fasciitis, but it’s important to see your podiatrist for a full recovery plan. This plan may involve taping techniques, custom orthotics, steroid shots, or even surgery as a last result.
If you wake up in the morning with pain in your arches or heels, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Please call the FAAWC today to make an appointment and get you waking up to a pain free morning!