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.
From better posture to less pain, the proper use of foot orthotics can bring about many different benefits. Depending on the reason a person may be seeking out assistance through foot orthotics, the benefits will vary.
Here, we cover three of the more common top benefits of using these supportive inserts and devices. These benefits tend to all go hand in hand, but it may be helpful to look at each of them separately, too.
Alleviating or preventing pain may be the number one benefit of foot orthotics. Experiencing pain in the feet, or in another area of the body, is a major motivator when it comes to seeking assistance. For individuals who are experiencing any kind of pain related to the feet, foot orthotics may be able to offer the necessary solution. For example, people with heel pain and plantar fasciitis might use foot orthotics to ease the condition. If the pain you are experiencing is at all related to the way your foot moves and rests in shoes, then foot orthotics could provide the benefit of the pain relief you have been looking for.
Preventing injury is another top benefit that can come from the use of proper foot orthotics. In fact, the pain that drives people to seek out the support of foot orthotics often serves as the precursor to injury. In other words, experiencing regular foot pain could eventually lead to a more serious medical issue or injury if it is not addressed early enough. The way in which foot orthotics work to stave off an injury is much the same as the way in which these supportive devices help alleviate pain—by supporting the feet in ankles to move and function optimally.
A third big benefit of foot orthotics is the promotion of proper movement and posture. If you think of the feet as the foundation of your body, it is easy to see how a crack or fault in the foundation could lead to problems throughout the structure as a whole. For instance, if a person’s feet tend to pronate, this can lead to improper daily posture and create pain not only in the feet, but also the knees, hip, back, shoulders and neck. With the right foot orthotics, pronation can be counteracted, along with the unwanted side effects. Of course, there are many other postural conditions that may be corrected through the use of foot orthotics and in combination with exercises and correct footwear.
Contact The Podiatrist for any of your foot problems.
One of the most common problems doctors see with hockey players and other frequent skaters is Haglund’s deformity, which is also known as a “retrocalcaneal spur.” This spur occurs at the Achilles tendon, just behind the heel bone.
Haglund’s deformity is different than a traditional heel spur, which is more common and found underneath the heel. However, if either is ever suspected, both conditions must be ruled out with an x-ray evaluation.
For those who don’t know, a heel spur is a bone outgrowth of the heel bone that is often very hard and painful. It can occur under the heel or at the back, where the Achilles tendon attaches itself to the heel bone. When this area is examined and palpated, there is a feeling of hardness rather than the typical suppleness of a healthy Achilles tendon.
Typically, an episode of tendonitis will also have occurred with Haglund’s deformity, which makes a skater more prone to suffering a recurrence. At this point, it is important to stop all activities, rather than continuing to skate and possibly rupture the tendon.
Proper training shoes with good heel cushioning and stability can protect the area from additional trauma. As always, preventative measures are of great importance. Hockey players and casual skaters can both protect themselves by stretching and strengthening the area through exercise to gain better flexibility. This injury can be very painful in acute stages and can become chronic, creating problems for years. If you believe you may be suffering from either type of heel spur, be sure to rest the area and seek medical attention.
In rare cases, certain heel spurs can require surgery. Other treatments include customized orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone shots.
For certain generations, though less so today, baby shoes carried such emotional significance that people would bronze them to preserve the memory of a child’s first steps.
But as heart-meltingly cute as they are, tiny sneakers and Mary Janes are not the best way for a toddler to start toddling, child and foot doctors say.
So when should a baby start wearing shoes? And what kind?
It’s a really common question, and you hear completely opposite suggestions. Some say to buy the rigid soles; others say that kids should go barefoot.
While the old thinking held that rigid high-tops helped keep a child’s foot in position and offered stability, doctors today tend to agree that less is more when it comes to shoes in the first few years of life.
After they start walking, you want them either barefoot or in the most flexible shoe possible so their muscles can develop properly. Flexibility is the most important issue as they are developing their arch.
The bones in a baby’s foot are soft and don’t finish hardening until a child is around 5 years old, though kids’ feet keep growing into their teenage years. In theory, constricting soft feet with rigid shoes could prevent the bones from developing properly.
Also, stiffer soles can make walking harder for those just starting out because their feet are heavier, making them more likely to trip.
Before a baby starts walking, bare feet or socks are best, though any kind of shoes can be worn for decoration or warmth or to help keep the socks on. There’s no harm done when shoes encase dangling feet, as long as they are not too tight or uncomfortable or have straps pinching their flesh.
Once infants start taking steps, going barefoot is still ideal because they learn to walk and balance better when they can use their toes to grip. To keep feet clean, warm and protected from the minefield of things they could step on, use socks with rubber grips on the bottom, so that they don’t slip.
When kids start tottering around outside and need more protection than socks provide, choose flexible shoes. Rubber soles are better than leather because they are less likely to slip. Aim for soft materials for the upper part of the shoe so that the foot bends easily and the material doesn’t cut into the skin.
Closed-toe shoes are best, because kids tend to drag their toes and might scratch their toes in open-toed shoes.
At 4 or 5 years old, kids can start wearing shoes with more support. The same guidelines apply to kids who are pigeon-toed or have other foot deformities, though if parents are concerned they should see The Podiatrist to determine if special orthoses needed.
Don’t share or hand down baby shoes, especially ones that were worn every day. Shoes need to be broken into a child’s individual foot.
Fit shoes toward the end of the day when the feet are a little swollen.
Make sure the child runs around the shoe store and likes the shoes for their comfort, not just their sparkles. If you see any grimaces or complaints, steer clear of that pair.
Choose shoes that have a little less than your thumb’s width of room at the toe so that your child can grow into it. When their toe approaches the end, it’s time to buy a new pair.
We all know the pain of high heels after a long day or the soreness of walking several miles in flats. But what are our shoes actually doing to our feet — and which shoes are the ones we really should be wearing?
Wearing heels shifts your weight to the balls of your feet, which puts pressure on your foot. This also creates a balance problem: It forces your knees and hips forward, hurting your back and legs. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures, neuromas,pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
Wedges also have heels, which puts pressure on your foot and juts your body forward. But the heels tend to have more cushioning, plus they often have platforms which protect the ball of your foot and reduce the incline. This helps with balancing. Wearing these shoes can cause: Hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures, neuromas, pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
Depending on the heel height, these can cause similar issues to stilettos. Keeping heels to two inches or below is best. There’s a rule of thumb: 25% of your body weight gets increased for every inch that you go, in terms of your body weight on the front of the foot. But in booties, the material around the ankle helps hold the foot steady, putting you at less risk for injuries. When you incorporate the ankle into the shoe, you add stability. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, bunions and hammertoes.
If the heels are high, you’re going to have the same issues as with stilettos — hyperextension of the back, pressure on the balls of your feet and lack of balance. But the casing around the leg creates more awareness of the leg in general, which can help with stability. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, midfoot fractures, neuromas, pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
There is such a thing as too flat. Shoes that are too flat don’t provide adequate arch support, cushioning or shock absorption, which those with flat feet need. However, flats are flexible and cause the muscles to work harder, making them stronger — that’s a good thing. Another problem: There’s a higher risk of the sole being pierced by a foreign object. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, stress fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail).
These sneakers have a thicker sole than flats, so they do provide a bit of shock absorption and cushioning. For those who do need extra cushioning or arch support, Converse-style sneakers allow you to add extra support internally (to a certain degree). They’re also very flexible — the soft canvas exterior can be more comfortable for those suffering from bunions and hammertoes. The material also protects your foot from the environment. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains and stress fractures.
Too much cushion is not the best thing, either. When you have a lot of cushion, you’re not getting the foot-brain feedback that allows you to sense the ground. These shoes are ideal for forward motion, i.e. running, walking, jogging (not hiking, dancing, cycling, etc). Wearing these shoes can cause: chronic stress injuries, particularly to the heel.
Most jandals are too flat, too thin and too open. This exposes the foot to the environment and doesn’t provide arch support or cushioning. The thong that sits between your toes is also dangerous as it forces your toe muscles to over-grip. Plus, when your big toe hangs off the flip-flop, you increase your risk for toe fractures. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail).
Rain can cause a moist environment, plus gumboots tend to be made of Latex or other thick, non-breathable materials. You sort of walk more like a Stormtrooper, so you just might get more fatigue from walking in them. The top of the boot can also rub uncomfortably against your calf. Wearing these shoes can cause: mould, fungus, bacteria, wart viruses and blisters.
For more information or advice on footwear and your feet, see The Podiatrist
In many cases, there is a predisposition for injuries that occur in adolescent athletes. The following list are some tell-tale signs that may help to prevent future injuries to a child.
1. The child tends to stumble or even trip while walking or running.
2. One shoulder is lower than the other.
3. The hips are asymmetrical when walking or running.
4. The knees point inward or outward rather than straight ahead.
5. The feet turn in or out while walking or running.
6. There is an early heel-off with all the weight going to the ball of the feet.
7. When the child stands, the arches are very high or extremely flat.
8. The child complains of night cramps that wake him or her in the night or muscle spasms in the feet and legs.
9. The child has noticeable hammertoes, bunions, or bony enlargements in the forefoot or rearfoot.
10. The wear pattern on the child’s shoes appears to be worn down on the outside or inside.
If some, or even a few, of these signs are present, the child should be professionally evaluated as prevention is the best form of treatment. It is the group of pre-teens and teens who play two or more sports that I am most concerned with as there is a greater chance of overuse injuries. There is also a greater chance of injury to the epiphysis, or growth center of bone. Injury to the epiphysis of the heel, knee, or hip can cause a disturbance in the bone formation.
The growing pains of children are at times due to the pain of the apophyseal (heel growth plate) injury. Many of the gait abnormalities can be helped by stretching and strengthening exercises, conditioning programs, ice therapy, cross training, and biomechanical orthotic shoe inserts which should control the problem and allow the child to continue with his or her respective sport.
If you are concerned about the way your child/ren walk or run, or if they have any problems, call The Podiatrist.