While exercising, the way we use our muscles, joints and tendons is key to a successful workout. In order to facilitate proper body mechanics, your shoes need to be appropriate for the type of exercise and your specific feet. Many common injuries, including plantar fasciitis, shin splints or stress fractures, can be prevented and helped with the proper athletic shoes.”
Follow the steps below when selecting athletic shoes:
Know your activity:
The type of shoe will vary depending on the type of activity. Running long distances is best done in a running shoe. The type of shoe, whether neutral, stability or motion control, depends on an athlete’s individual foot type and function. Some runners can use lighter shoes for up-tempo runs and speed work, but not all will benefit from these types of shoes. Court sports, such as tennis and basketball, almost always require shoes specific to the individual sport with added side-to-side support.
Be generous with size:
While sizing down into shoes is never recommended, it is an especially bad idea for athletic shoes. Make sure there is enough space in the toe area when the shoe is tied; about a thumbnail length of extra space is recommended so the toes don’t continually hit the front of the shoe while exercising. In addition, feet shouldn’t be rubbing against the sides and the back of the shoes to prevent blisters, calluses and corns. That being said, shoes should still be tight enough to prevent the feet from sliding around easily within the shoe.
Know your style:
This isn’t referring to fashion style, but rather running style. Determine your motion mechanics or pronation, meaning whether your foot rolls in, out or neither. An over-pronator rolls the foot significantly inward during motion while feet that over supinate roll excessively outward during. The type of pronation will help determine the structure of the shoe and the amount of stability necessary for proper running.
Whenever possible, get fitted at a specialty store. The salespeople will know the different types of shoes available. Many stores have treadmills with cameras set up to record your stride. This can visibly show you your pronation type and any additional stride specifics that can help determine the best shoe type for your feet.
For any problems, see The Podiatrist.
Runners often attend the clinic looking for a solution to shin pain. This pain can be caused by a number of factors but most commonly it is due to shin splints (often referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome). To help you decide if you have this condition and need to come in to see us for treatment and advice I have outlined some of the main points to consider:
• You are more at risk of shin splints if you are new to running or have been running for less than 5 years.
• Running on hard surfaces and wearing worn-out, poorly fitting trainers are also thought to contribute to the problem.
• Weakness and tightness in the muscles around the ankle, excessive weight and rolling in (pronation) of the feet are also important risk factors.
• The pain is normally felt in both shins. It often occurs during or after activity and is located along the inside of your shin.
• It is also made worse by sports that involve a lot of stopping and starting.
The strategies we use to treat this condition provide a permanent solution because they try to deal with the root cause of the problem. The tissues that cover the shin bone becomes inflamed when excessive rolling in of the foot (pronation) occurs this places abnormal forces upon the structures of the lower leg.
Our treatment regimen concentrates on reducing pronation and improving strength and flexibility thus preventing recurrence. This is done by providing increased support for the foot via improved footwear and/or foot orthoses.
By following our management plan closely you can get back to training as soon as possible.
Contact The Podiatrist for an appointment today.
Often, when this is said, people’s reaction is like, “are you crazy?” No, it isn’t as crazy as it sounds. It is actually quite simple if you take a minute and think about it. If your body is misaligned, whether you recognise or not, your whole body is affected.
Pains in the back stem from various things: inappropriate footwear, sporting activities, accidents/injuries, stress, bad posture, poor lifting of stuff, leg length discrepancies, surgeries, and high impact activities. It is sometimes difficult to diagnose the source of the problem hence making it a challenge to solve.
So what are the predisposing factors?
The typical trigger that something is not right is pain and/or discomfort. Usually at this point the problem previously existed, but is now manifesting itself so attention should be paid to it. It is best to see your doctor to map out what is occurring to determine what it may be.
When the examining is done, and nothing can be found, take a look at the feet. Establish a few facts to get to the bottom of your problem/condition. It is sometimes hard to determine with intense pain, but start mapping occurrences and patterns to establish such by reflecting on the following:
• Do your feet hurt in general?
• Does one side of your shoe wear down more than the other?
• Are your toes crooked or overlapping?
• Do you suffer from heel pain, knee pain or shin pain, in addition to your back pain?
• Do you frequently twist or sprain your ankle?
• Do your feet roll excessively on the inside or outside when you walk?
Answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you need to now map what’s going on with your feet. The main function of your feet is to act as shock absorbers as you shift your weight with each step you take.
Structural problems, such as your feet rolling inward, called over pronation or outward called supination, can cause problems all the way up to your back.
The rolling of your foot inwards causes the arch to flatten, if not already flattened, and collapse under the body’s weight. This continued stress could cause deformities of the foot over time, such as misaligned bones, hammertoes, bunions, knee pain and back pain.
With the inward rolling of the foot, the lower leg begins to rotate internally. This rotation may cause the pelvis to tilt forward, thus increasing the curve of the low back. Excessive curvature can create tightness and stiffness in the low back resulting in pain.
This is if the person does not already have scoliosis which many people suffer from sometimes, without even knowing. What can help? Foot orthotics can control the over pronation of your feet, decreasing back pain!
What are orthotics?
Orthotics, also known as arch supports, are devices/insoles to assist in the correction of deformities or disabilities. They help to realign the foot through compensation and stabilisation techniques.
Other devices that help with minor pains/problems are things like heel cups, metatarsal cushions or heel lifts.
Orthotics provide support, coupled with padding for comfort. But, the best solution for poor foot positioning resulting in low back pain is custom-made orthotics.
No one body is perfect, so even the smallest of misalignments can cause pain. And wouldn’t it be nice for back pain to disappear with something as simple as placing an insert in your shoes? Orthotics, however, are not the answer for all types of back pain, but it certainly can’t hurt to attempt to keep your feet in the best possible alignment.
It is best to obtain advice from trained personnel before attempting to purchase orthotics on your own, since typically, the over-the-counter products are not designed for the purpose of major corrections.
Make an appointment with The Podiatrist for an assessment and to discuss treatment options.
Stop taking your back pain for granted as so many do, it’s not “just a little back pain”…
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!
You worry about your children’s teeth, eyes, and other parts of the body. You teach washing, brushing and grooming. But what do you do about your child’s developing feet which have to carry the entire weight of the body through a lifetime?
Many adult foot ailments, like other bodily ills, have their origins in childhood and are present at birth. Periodic professional attention and regular foot care can minimize these problems in later life.
Neglecting foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the legs and back.
Your baby’s feet
The human foot (one of the most complicated parts of the body) has 26 bones, and is laced with ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Because the feet of young children are soft and pliable, abnormal pressure can easily cause deformities.
A child’s feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half their adult foot size. This is why foot specialists consider the first year to be the most important in the development of the feet.
Here are some suggestions to help you assure that this development proceeds normally:
* Look carefully at your baby’s feet. If you notice something that does not look normal to you, seek professional care immediately. Deformities will not be outgrown by themselves.
* Cover your baby’s feet loosely. Tight covers restrict movement and can impede normal development.
* Provide an opportunity for exercising the feet. Lying uncovered enables your baby to kick and perform other related motions which prepare the feet for weight bearing.
*Change your baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in one spot, especially on the stomach, can put excessive strain on the feet and legs.
Starting to walk
It is unwise to force a child to walk. When physically and emotionally ready, your child will walk. Comparisons with other children are misleading, since the age for independent walking ranges from 10 to 18 months.
When your child first begins to walk, shoes are not necessary indoors. Allowing your child to go barefoot or to wear just socks helps the foot to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength. Of course, when walking outside or on rough surfaces, babies’ feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials.
As your child’s feet continue to develop, it may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for the feet to grow. Although foot problems result mainly from injury, deformity, illness, or hereditary factors, improper footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. Shoes or other footwear should never be handed down.
The feet of young children are often unstable because of muscle problems which make walking difficult or uncomfortable. A thorough examination by a chiropodist may detect an underlying defect or condition which may require immediate treatment or consultation with another specialist.
Podiatrists have long known of the high incidence of foot defects among the young, and recommends foot health examinations for school children on a regular basis.
Millions of children participate in team and individual sports many of them outside the school system, where advice on conditioning and equipment is not always available. Parents should be concerned about children’s involvement in sports that require a substantial amount of running and turning, or involve contact. Protective taping of the ankles is often necessary to prevent sprains or fractures. Parents should consider discussing these matters with a chiropodist if they have children participating in active sports. Sports-related foot and ankle injuries are on the rise as more children actively participate in sports.
Advice for parents
Problems noticed at birth will not disappear by themselves. You should not wait until your child begins walking to take care of a problem you’ve noticed earlier.
Remember that lack of complaint by a youngster is not a reliable sign. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without your child being aware of it.
Walking is the best of all foot exercises, according to chiropodists. We also recommend that walking patterns be carefully observed. Does the child walk toe in or out, have knock knees, or other gait abnormalities? These problems can be improved if they are detected early.
The Podiatrist has a special interest in Children’s feet and has had many year of experience treating all sorts of conditions.
Contact The Podiatrist for an appointment today.
A recent study from the Institute for Preventive Foot Health found that 78 percent of adults have experienced foot trouble at one time or another, according to Consumer Reports.
Often the source of the problem is improperly fitting shoes. The biggest shoe mistakes: too tight, too high-heeled or too floppy. The good news, of course, is that those are easy problems to fix.
By far, Consumer Reports notes, the most common problem is simply choosing the wrong size of shoe. One study that actually measured people’s feet revealed shoes that were either a half size too large or small; 12 percent were off by 1½ sizes or more.
How does that happen? Your shoe size can change with age. As we get older, the soles of our feet lose padding, and ligaments and tendons lose elasticity and lengthen. Weight gain or pregnancy can also cause feet to widen. Experts have estimated that people older than 40 can actually gain half a shoe size every 10 years.
A study on footwear choices among older people found that 8 out of 10 wore shoes that were narrower than their feet, and more than four out of 10 wore shoes with a smaller total area than their foot.
Shoes that fit too loosely can also be problematic. They can create friction when feet slide around as you walk and put you at an increased risk of tripping on carpets or stairs. Shoes with no backs at all, like flip-flops and mules, can force you to take shorter, more irregular strides.
Even if the shoe fits, it can still hurt you. These styles are especially likely to cause foot pain:
• Shoes with small or pointy toe boxes. They force your big toe inward and don’t leave enough room for your other toes. The most common consequence is a painful lump of bone on the inside of the foot called hallux valgus, better known as a bunion. The condition affects almost 1 in 4 adults and, if painful enough, can require corrective surgery. Jammed against a tight toe box, the other four toes can develop a condition called hammer toes, a shortening of the first joint that causes each toe to curl up instead of lying flat – even when you’re barefoot.
• High heels. They can cause the Achilles tendon in the ankle to contract and shorten, which can trigger plantar fasciitis (an inflammation of the soles) and cause neuromas, painful nerve growths on the ball of the foot.
• Thin soles. Ballet flats and other shoes with little padding can also cause plantar fasciitis because the lack of proper cushioning can inflame the balls of your feet.
To avoid shoe-induced foot problems, Consumer Reports recommends getting the right fit in the first place. Measure your feet regularly. The best time is at the end of the day when they have expanded to the max. Other tips to consider:
• Try shoes on both of your feet. Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other. Your shoes should fit the larger foot.
• Stay away from shoes with narrow toe boxes. That’s especially true if you have already started to develop bunions or hammer toes.
• Be careful when buying shoes online. If in doubt, order shoes in more than one size. Many companies offer free returns, so your only investment is the time it takes to drop your rejects into the mail.
• Go low with heels. Stick to heels that are 2ø inches or lower. If you like to wear higher heels for special occasions, bring them to the event in a bag, put them on at the door and remove them the minute you leave.
Make an appointment with The Podiatrist today for all your foot care need.
Running is a great way to get in shape, but it can also lead to injuries. Knowing about common injuries and how to prevent them can keep you on track toward achieving your fitness goals.
Experts recommend the following strategies to prevent injuries:
Identify your running goals.
You may choose to begin running to improve your physique, lose weight, increase cardiovascular fitness, or socialize with friends. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to identify this goal when creating your exercise program. If you want to improve cardiovascular fitness, for instance, you should run at a quick pace to maximize your heart rate. If you’re running to lose weight or reduce body fat, it’s better to run at a slower rate for a longer period of time. Depending on your goal, your doctor or personal trainer may decide that a modest walking or jogging program is appropriate. Setting goals helps you follow a safe pace and keeps you from overexertion, which can result in injury.
Have a physical evaluation.
Certain health problems may hamper your running performance and increase your risk for injury. Specifically, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other degenerative joint diseases can increase your injury risk. If you have any significant health issues, you should discuss these with your doctor before you start to run.
Warm up before your run and stretch after you run.
Doing so can prevent some of the most common injuries. It’s most important to stretch muscles that move joints. These include the calf muscle, which moves the knee and ankle, and the hamstring, which moves the knee and hip. Walk or gently jog for five minutes; cool down at the same pace for another five minutes at the end of your run.
Wear the correct shoes.
Buying shoes at an athletic store, where a salesclerk can help you choose a shoe that fits your foot type, can help prevent injuries.
The following injuries are common among runners:
This injury is marked by dull or sharp pain along the back of the Achilles tendon, calf tightness, and early morning stiffness. Stretching can help prevent this injury. To treat it, rest, and stretch until the pain is gone.
This injury is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick, fibrous band of tissue in the bottom of the foot. Proper stretching can help prevent such an injury. Anti-inflammatory medication, stretching, and ice compresses help relieve pain.
This injury, also called medial tibial stress syndrome, is caused by overuse or poor conditioning and worsened by running on hard surfaces. This injury causes pain on the inside of the shinbone. Shin splints are treated by complete rest and stretching until the pain is gone. You can relieve symptoms by stretching and using ice and anti-inflammatories. Once your symptoms have eased, you should make changes in the distance you run and your speed.
For expert advice- see The Podiatrist
Foot Health: Rheumatoid arthritis affects the feet in up to 90 percent of sufferers | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz
Have you been suffering lately from joint and pain swelling, fatigue or stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods?
You may have rheumatoid arthritis. You’re not alone.
What does rheumatoid arthritis do?
Rheumatoid arthritis is most commonly found in the small joints of the hands, wrists and feet but can also attack organs, with symptoms like dry eyes and mouth, chest pain and shortness of breath, low red and white blood cell counts and carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, up to 90 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis will develop problems with their feet or ankles, impacting the toes and front of the feet first and then progressing into the back of the feet and then the ankles.
How can I avoid rheumatoid arthritis?
Although doctors have not yet found the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, they have long suspected that there’s a hereditary link that may cause some patients to be predisposed to it. Unfortunately for women, it is more likely to develop in females than in males.
There are, however, certain lifestyle traits that can help prevent this painful disease. Smoking, for instance, is said to be a cause of rheumatoid arthritis because the habit is common in patients who are diagnosed. A new study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases reports that one-third of the most severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis are linked to smoking.
Another prevention tip is to try to lower your anxiety levels. According to many doctors, worry and anxiety not only increase your risk of flare-ups, but may even be a contributing factor to the disease’s development in the first place.
Treating rheumatoid arthritis
It’s important to know that there isn’t just one simple test to diagnose it. Instead, doctors look at a series of factors overall including symptoms, history, blood work and sometimes diagnose via x-rays.
The most important thing to do if you think you might have rheumatoid arthritis is to see a doctor as soon as possible. By diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis and creating a treatment plan early on, a huge difference can be made in the long-term progression of the disease.
Make an appointment with The Podiatrist today for some advice on Footcare
Choosing the right running shoe has never been easy.
Besides such usual variables as style, price, make, model, comfort and fit, runners also spend time considering more technical features such as cushioning and stability.
In recent years, however, the debate about what runners put on their feet has heated up. From the au naturel crowd who think shoes are unnecessary altogether, to the more conservative wave of runners who believe in shoes but not their technology, there’s a distinct shift away from the old rules of choosing shoes.
Cushioning, once considered the primary measure of a shoe’s worth, has dropped down the list of a shoe’s must-haves. So, too, have stability features, which are designed to correct biomechanical flaws. Today runners are told to rely on perfect mechanics instead of the perfect pair of shoes if they want to reduce their risk of injury.
Those mechanics include shifting from striking the ground heel first to landing mid- to forefoot first. In fact, say those who support a forefoot landing, switching from landing on your heel to landing on the front of your foot reduces so much of the impact stress that running shoes no longer need their customary well cushioned heel to reduce the risk of injury.
That shift in philosophy has caused considerable confusion among those who have spent most of their running lives pounding the pavement in cushioned shoes laden with technology. Add to the fact that there’s no proof changing your shoes or how your foot makes contact with the ground will keep runners injury free, and the confusion among average runners is justified.
The barefoot fad has died down, leaving most runners to choose a shoe that lands somewhere between the technology-laden model of old and the minimalist style that features little more than a thin sole and upper. This stripped down version of running shoe has a lower profile heel with decidedly less cushioning and minimal stability features.
Does that mean runners need to abandon shoes that have served them well for decades and buy into this new fad of running shoes?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Overuse injuries are distinct from such commonplace trauma injuries as sprains, strains, broken bones and concussions. They are specific to the parts of the body most used during the athletic endeavour. These body areas can include the knees of athletes in sports that require running and jumping, such as basketball and soccer.
The overuse injury is caused by repetitive micro-trauma caused by chronic use of a specific body part, coupled with an inadequate time for rest and healing. But overuse injuries can be prevented if athletes and parents take precautions and familiarize themselves with the symptoms.
Don’t push through the pain. Young athletes should never be encouraged to “tough it out” and ignore pain. While pain may just be the sign of a sore, tired muscle, it can also be the first clue to an overuse injury. Players should stop and rest and gradually return to the activity, if the pain subsides. If it persists, see The Podiatrist.
Remember to rest. It’s under-rated, but rest is key to injury prevention and on-field success. The multi-tasking athlete who runs from school to practice to individualized training sessions, while still trying to keep up in school, needs to find time for eight hours of sleep and the occasional day off from the activity to stay injury-free.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is best for hydration during athletic activities under an hour. Consider electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks for longer bouts of activity – more than an hour – and for repeated activity in the same day.
Encourage your children to engage in multiple sports and athletic activities. Not only do the kids learn different skills, but they also develop and work complementary muscle groups while resting others. It is suggested to forgo specialization in sports until adolescence or puberty.
While prevention techniques like stopping play and getting rest are keys to avoiding overuse injuries, ice is helpful when applied to the affected area 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Injuries occur in many patients early in the new season, when kids may try and do too much too soon. Be sure to increase practice and playing time gradually.
If you are suffering from an overuse injury, please give us a call at The Podiatrist
We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Foot Health: Parents, watch for warning signs of common injuries to active children’s feet | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz
Sports are a large part of growing up and there is a high risk of active kids injuring their feet. Because of this, it’s important for parents to know the warning signs and what to watch out for when it comes to their children’s foot health.
Common injuries and symptoms
The most common injuries they see include ankle sprains from lack of support, chronic heel pain from overuse and inflammation in the heel bone, tendonitis and stress fractures.
To prevent injuries such as these for your children, it’s important to follow the following recommendations:
1) Watch for warning signs – Pain and swelling are often the easiest clues to spot. If your child is cautious to bear weight on a certain area or showing you parts of their ankles or feet that are swollen, the best home remedies include rest, ice and elevation.
If they complain of numbness, tingling or can’t move their limb properly, there may be a serious injury and you should make an appointment with a podiatrist.
2) Purchase sport-specific shoes – One of the easiest ways to prevent foot injuries while playing sports is to make sure that your child has shoes that are made specifically for the sport that he or she is playing. Due to the different movements each sport requires, the support and structure of their respective shoes can make a huge difference in comfort, stability and performance.
Running, for example, should be done in shoes that have good shock absorption, control, flexibility and room for orthotics (if they are needed). Custom or semi-custom inserts are wonderful for runners and the heel pain that often comes with the sport.
3) Make sure each pair of shoes fit properly – The ultimate key to the best foot health in children is to make sure their shoes fit correctly. While many parents who have multiple children often make use of hand-me-downs, it’s important to make sure that the shoes you’re giving your younger child aren’t too small.
Allowing enough room for the width of one finger between the big toe and the shoe is the rule of thumb (no pun intended).
We know that when it comes to our kids, health and safety are top priorities. Contact The Podiatrist if you are concerned about your child’s feet.