Anyone from a well-conditioned athlete to the most inactive person can experience an ankle injury. Ankle injuries usually involve a sudden, unexpected loss of balance that results in a sharp twist of the ankle.
A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon overstretches. A sprain, which is more serious, occurs when the strong connective tissue that connects one bone to another (ligaments) become overstretched. In some cases, a ligament tears and may pull a fragment of bone with it. When a piece of bone is pulled away, it’s known as an avulsion fracture.
Everyone’s bone architecture is a little different and the arrangement of bone and muscle leaves us prone to injury. Uneven leg length, excessive pronation (flat feet), cavus foot (high arches), knee and hip alignment (bow legged or knock-knee) all play a part in creating weak points where injury may occur.
Sports-related injuries are part of the game and as athletes are becoming stronger, faster and better conditioned, higher energy injuries are becoming more common. Foot and ankle injuries are frequently designated as a sprain, which often minimizes the severity of the injury.
A healthy foot is necessary for running and push-off. These seemingly simple sprains can be devastating to the running athlete, often requiring an extended period of time to recover.
An ankle sprain is very common in normal daily activities – sports or otherwise. Although painful, it usually doesn’t cause any long-term problems, if treated properly.
However, if untreated, it can produce longer lasting problems, such as decreased strength, balance, flexibility and increased risk of re-injury. For the first 24 to 48 hours your ankle will probably swell and might even show some bruising. Minimize this by using the RICE formula – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Depending on the severity of the injury you may require physical treatments to restore joint range of motion, strength and joint stability.
See The Podiatrist if you have any problems.
Ice treatment is most commonly used for acute injuries. If you have a recent injury (within the last 48 hours) where swelling is a problem, you should be using ice treatment. Ice packs can help minimize swelling around the injury.
Ice packs are often used after injuries such as an ankle sprain have occurred. Applying an ice pack early and often for the first 48 hours will help minimize swelling. Decreasing swelling around an injury will help to control the pain.
Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes. In this case, ice the injured area after activity to help control inflammation. Never ice a chronic injury before activity. An athlete who has chronic hip or knee pain that increases after running may want to ice the injured area after each run to reduce or prevent inflammation.
Ice is a vaso-constrictor (it causes the blood vessels to narrow) and it limits internal bleeding at the injury site. There is controversy as to whether continued application of ice results in a sudden vasodilatation of the blood vessels and if so, at what time this response begins and how often a cycle of constriction and dilation occurs.
To ice an injury, wrap ice in a thin towel and place it on the affected area for 10 minutes at a time. Allow the skin temperature to return to normal before icing a second or third time. You can ice an acute injury several times a day for up to three days.
Ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time, as too much ice can cause frostbite. More ice does not mean more relief.
Heat treatments should be used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues, and to stimulate blood flow to the area. Use heat treatments for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries, before participating in activities.
Do not use heat treatments after activity, and do not use heat after an acute injury. Heating tissues can be accomplished using a heating pad, or even a hot, wet towel. When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate heat for a limited time to avoid burns. Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods of time, or while sleeping.
Moist heat is best, so you could try using a hot, wet towel. You can buy special athletic hot packs or heating pads if you use heat often. Never leave heating pads on for more than 20 minutes at a time or while sleeping.
More about ice
• Sometimes ice may not be ideal for certain injuries, but there are still times when it can help an athlete out.
• Drinking ice water can lower your core temperature enough during training or racing on hot days to boost endurance. And putting ice on highly vascular areas during a race can be very beneficial too.
• Cryotherapy in the form of ice baths isn’t recommended for recovery and icing an area of soreness has not been linked to reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but cold baths may be beneficial. Cold baths or showers can help speed recovery, but this does not mean to sit in a bucket of ice: the idea is not to try to numb your body. If you have an area of your body that is tight or sore, say your calves, then you may help the healing and recovery by standing in a cold bucket of water. Make it cold enough so the ice slowly melts in the water.
See The Podiatrist if you have any injuries.
Growing pains in younger athletes are common occurrences. Being able to recognize which aches and pains may be related to growing and which may be of concern, however, is not always that easy.
All kids are going to grow, and some grow more rapidly than others. A lot of development and growth happens from age 10 through high school. Some kids are early bloomers; some are late bloomers. No matter when a kid begins and ends his or her growth spurt, many of the aches and pains associated with growth can occur in the same general area.
Two common areas are the knee — specifically the area of the tibial tuberosity — and the heel of the foot. The tibial tuberosity is the spot located just below the knee joint where the patella tendon inserts itself onto the tibia. The area of the foot at the base of the heel is where the Achilles tendon inserts itself to the calcaneus bone.
The rate of growth and activity level can sometimes determine how much pain a young athlete might have with these growth spurts.
To put it into better perspective, a person can think of the patellar and Achilles tendons as rubber bands. When bones grow, these rubber bands stretch. When there is rapid growth, the bands can’t always grow or stretch as quickly as the bones do. Therefore, you get an increased amount of tension and pain in the areas where the muscle tendon attaches to the bone.
Now factor in activity level. In a young athlete who is playing a number of sports, these growing pains can become quite severe because of the extra stress placed on these two areas. A less active individual might not have as many aches and pains.
So how do you treat the minor aches and pains, and what can happen if they go untreated and continue to get worse?
The most conservative treatment for the general pains is simple: see The Podiatrist, rest, ice and stretching.
For active individuals, finding time to rest is extremely important. Having young athletes in activities every night of the week and on the weekends is a recipe for disaster. Young athletes need time to rest, especially if they are experiencing some general knee or heel pain because of growing.
If young athletes try to push through that pain, they can end up with more severe injuries – usually starting in the form of tendonitis. If the stress and tension become too great, an avulsion fracture can develop in those areas. Basically, the overstressed tendon will start to pull away from the bone and take some of the bone with it. This type of injury will really limit the person’s level of activity.
But really, it all comes down to being smart about it. Young athletes and parents of young athletes need to understand that rest is important and make sure rest days are exactly that.
Being smart and addressing the minor aches and pains with some early conservative treatment can make a huge difference in keeping a young athlete healthy while he or she is growing at a rapid rate.
See The Podiatrist for any of your foot problems.
Sore feet are not only uncomfortable; they can put a big dent in your productivity and turn even the simplest task into a burdensome chore. Causes for sore feet can range from ill-fitting shoes to physical deformities, but luckily there are as many different solutions as there are problems; the trick is finding what works best for you. Many common foot problems like heel spurs, flat feet and torn ligaments can be solved best by using bio-mechanical intervention that can range from drug store variety inserts to custom-made orthotic devices.
Determining the Problem
To find the source of sore feet, start with the obvious culprit, ill-fitting shoes that do not provide the proper support for your body frame. So called “sensible shoes” with low profiles, sturdy arches and ankle support often provide instant relief from minor foot issues caused by inappropriate footwear. Under some conditions, like standing on hard or uneven surfaces all day, additional relief can be provided by drug store inserts that create a layer of cushioning for your feet to reduce the impact of each step. If these simple tactics do not yield favorable results, it is wise to consult with The Podiatrist to examine your feet to determine if you are suffering from treatable foot maladies that would benefit from custom-made orthotic devices.
The Podiatrist can examine your foot to determine if your problem results from an injury to or is the result of the way your foot functions in relation to the rest of your body. Injuries from sports and recreational activities can often be cured by providing proper support during the recuperation process so that the injury is not irritated and can heal properly. These types of inserts, pads and braces are temporary and will eventually become unnecessary.
If the problem lies in the basic structure of your foot, however, a more permanent orthotic will be recommended that is strategically designed to make your foot function correctly when you take a step. A cast of your foot is made and The Podiatrist uses this model to create the proper orthotic out of plastic, wood or rigid rubber. This kind of treatment can not only provide relief for sore feet, it can also have a direct impact on your legs and torso because it subtly changes your posture and corrects muscular issues that stemmed from improper balance.
See The Podiatrist for any foot problems.
Flat feet and turned feet are commonly seen in young children.
Flat feet happen when the arch of the foot is flatter than normal. It can be much flatter than normal. While flat feet are seen in people of all ages, it is most noticed at first in children. In many cases, the arch will form with age. However, for some children, the flattening causes painful feet.
Flat feet become more noticeable when the child starts to walk, and by the age of 3 the arch should be able to be seen during walking. If the feet are still flat at this age, then parents should have their child’s feet examined by The Podiatrist. If the arch is not looked at, then the child risks long term damage to the feet.
Turned feet can be noticed even before a child starts to walk.
Your child’s feet should not be turned in or out excessively. The foot should not be upward resting on or too near the leg. When holding your baby, the feet should hang naturally and similarly – one should not be turned out, in up or down more than the other. Many early foot deformities can occur only on one side.
Signs of a flat foot are a low or flat arch, an outward turned heel during walking.
The child may complain of sore or tired feet after walking or playing. Children with painful flat feet sometimes have trouble keeping up with friends because their feet get too sore or tired. If the arch is too flat, then foot muscles and joints have to work harder than normal during walking and running. Flat feet also change how the ankles, knees, legs, hips, and back work, and so there may also be pain and tiredness in these places.
Depending on the examination and history of the problem, The Podiatrist may decide to treat the flat feet. If the flat feet are mild, and if the child is still very young, The Podiatrist may simply want to see the child back in a few months. This way we can re-check the arches. If the flat feet are more severe, then treatment may be started. Usually treatment begins with exercise and foot inserts, or orthotics. The orthotics will re-align the feet to help the child walk more properly. Stretches or physical therapy may also be recommended.
If you have any concerns about your child and their feet, contact The Podiatrist.
Did you know that your foot is composed of 24 bones that form two crossing arches of the foot? The ankles of your foot are formed by the interaction of the foot and your lower leg. The bones of your foot are held together with ligaments. The foot muscles along with a tissue known as planter fascia provide secondary support. There are also fat pads in the foot to help with weight-bearing and absorbing impact. When you experience discomfort or pain, that’s an indication that something is wrong. How and when that occurs, can often help in determining the cause and severity of the condition.
WHAT CAUSES FOOT PAIN
Trauma, disease and injuries are the most likely causes of foot pain. Poor biomechanical alignment and the type of footwear can also cause pain or discomfort. Shoes that fit tight or are tied too tightly can cause pain on the top of the foot. High heels can cause pain around the ball of your foot just below your toes.
Pain and tenderness in a specific area for a prolonged period of time is telltale sign of a possible problem. A few insights into when you feel the pain will be helpful in identifying the problem and finding a possible solution. Is the pain affected by weight bearing, or do you feel it when there is movement of the foot? Does it affect the way you walk?
If you are experiencing any pain, see The Podiatrist.
Foot pain during pregnancy is a common sign and occurs due to an increased growth of the baby, which increases the size of the uterus. Sometimes, it can be really severe and cannot be tolerated. Most women have mild to moderate forms of foot pain during pregnancy. However, you need not worry as there are certain tips to prevent or treat your foot pain during pregnancy.
So, read onto know some of the tips to prevent foot pain during pregnancy.
Foot Pain During Pregnancy – Tips to Prevent!
Here are some of the simple yet effective tips for preventing foot pain during pregnancy:
- Do not stand for a long periods and avoid walking barefoot for a long time as
well. Take short breaks and sit down or if possible elevate your both the feet.
- Loose ligaments, extra weight, and decreased balance – all requires extra support.
So, all you need to do is wear properly fitted shoes and see The Podiatrist for
advice on arch supports.
- Do not even stand still for a long time. Walk for some time and take rest. Walking
will ensure that it pumps the extra fluid out of your feet and legs. Make sure
that you rest frequently.
- You can wear compression stockings that would decrease the swelling. Use knee-high
stockings that are good. You can also use thigh-high stockings as well. This
ensures that extra fluid does not collect around your knees or feet.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day. Avoid the use of salts in your daily food as
this increases the fluid retention.
- Swim for some time or take bath; the water applies an outside pressure on the feet
that has swelling. This helps in reducing the swelling.
- Another excellent way is to rest on your left side as this decreases the pressure on
blood vessels, which allows more fluid to move from your legs to the upper
These are some of the tips to prevent pregnancy foot pain. I hope that if you are pregnant and one among who is suffering from foot pain, then follow the above tips to have a painless and happy pregnancy.
This information does not replace proper medical advice. Please see The Podiatrist if you have any problems.