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5 quick and easy tips to healthy feet and legs | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

one pair has to last a lifetime

There are many causes of leg pain right from muscle cramps and inflammation of tendons to arthritis, varicose veins and nerve damage. Leg pain due to muscle strain following an injury or wearing tight shoes for a long time can be prevented by following few simple tips:

  1. Stretch the leg muscle: One of the most effective ways to prevent leg pain due to a sudden muscle twist or cramp is to stretch the muscle. This not only improves blood flow to the injured muscle but it also helps in reducing muscle tension thereby relieving muscle soreness.
  2. Take a warm shower: If you suffer from leg pain, then take a warm shower to relax the muscles. If taking a bath is not feasible, then placing a heating pad on the affected areas can also help. A heat pack works best if the pain is due to a previous injury as it not only relaxes blood vessels but also improves blood circulation, alleviating leg pain.
  3. Wear a proper fitting athletic shoe: Most people fail to choose the right fitting shoe, which is one of the common causes of leg and heel pain. To get the right fit, determine the shape of your foot using the ‘wet test’. For this, step out of the shower onto a surface that will show your footprint, like a brown paper bag. If you have a flat foot, you will see an impression of your whole foot on the paper. If you have a high arch, you will only see the ball and heel of your foot. When shopping, look for athletic shoes that match your particular foot pattern.
  4. Choose the right sports shoe: Not many people are aware that different types of shoes are specially designed to meet your sports requirement. Did you know running long distances in court-style sneakers can contribute to shin splints? It is important to choose the shoes according to your sport or fitness routine.
  5. Go slow if you are a beginner at the gym: One of the common mistakes that most people commit is to overexert on the first day of the gym, which not only exerts pressure on the knee but also causes muscle soreness and leg pain. The key to preventing leg pain and sticking to your workout routine is to build your fitness level slowly. You can start off with less strenuous workouts and then gradually increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of your exercise regimen.

For any foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

 

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YOUR FOOT- some interesting facts.

 

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.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Training for the Auckland Marathon? Are Your Feet Marathon Ready?

Your feet need to be in tip-top shape if you expect to run 138,336 feet to actually finish a marathon.

Being that your feet are the connection to the ground, they have to primed and steps should be taken to avoid injury that can slow you down or knock you out of the race. So whether you are training to win or simply running to run, it is important to know what foot problems can occur, and hopefully treat them before they become a marathon-breaker.

Specific Marathon Foot Issues: No matter how experienced a runner, the foot is always susceptible to running injuries, and this risk amplified during marathon training. On marathon day, however, there is specific injury risk because runners tend to me more committed to “running though” a problem (new
or old).

A method to remember marathon-related foot problems is the mnemonic “ABCD“:

Abrasions & Blisters

Bone Breaks

Cramping & Tendon Problems

Disorders of the Toenail

Provided below are explanations of marathon-related foot injuries as well as preventative measures. Should you, the reader (or runner), have any additional preventive solutions or tips for any of the running ABCD’s, please share them.

Abrasions & Blisters: Pressure points and repetitive irritation set the stage for abrasions and blisters. Common runner pressure spots are on the top of the toes, big toe joint area and the back part of the heel. Runners with bunions and hammer toes are more likely to have skin irritation. An abrasion is a simple break in the skin, whereas a blister is lifting of the skin with a fluid collection beneath it.

  • Preventive Solutions:
    Prevention is best form of treatment. Keep skin thoroughly moisturized, as dry
    skin is more prone to tearing. Callused areas should be targeted, and urea
    creams are specifically useful in breaking down excessive skin build-up.
    Callus/corn removers should be used cautiously as they contain salicylic acid
    and can excessively deteriorate tissue, leading to open sores.
  • Socks are important in the battle
    against skin irritation when running long distances. Specialty socks have
    specific protective cushioned areas dedicated to pressure spots.
  • Ill-fitting footwear is one of the
    main reason for friction, so it’s important to have sneakers that best fit your
    foot type. Also, carefully inspect the stitching at the front of the sneaker
    where the toes bend to be sure that it does not rub when fully extended. Newer
    sneakers are more likely to be problematic.

Bone Breaks: Fractures (aka bone breaks) are the most serious problem that a runner could develop. They typically start as a microscopic fracture (stress fracture) and can progress onto a through and through break. Most common are metatarsal stress fractures involving the second toe region. Heel strike runners may be more susceptible to stress fractures of the heel bone.

An acute stress fracture is often present with varying degrees of pain, swelling, and sometimes redness, though stress fractures may occur without you even knowing it. Running with a stress fracture is not medically advised, and most health care professionals would recommend calling off the race. Runners who don’t heed such advice may fully fracture through the bone which could lead to bone displacement (malalignment) — a potentially serious problem. Some people may have brittle bones making them more likely to develop a bone injury. Certain foot types seem to be more prone to stress fractures — very flat feet or very high arched feet.

  • Preventive Solutions:
    Over stressing the foot is what often leads to fractures. Pain may also be an
    indicator that you are training beyond the current capability of your foot, so
    it may be necessary to scale back. Pain should not be ignored, and any could be
    a sign of a fracture, so seeking professional medical care is recommended.
  • More cushioned sneakers do not
    necessarily offer more protection from developing an injury, and running form
    may be more important. Nonetheless, properly fitting running sneakers are
    important to help you become more in tune with your running technique.
    Depending of foot structure, orthotics may help balance the foot and take
    pressure off those spots prone to stress fractures.
  • Proper nutrition is important in
    maintaining strong bones. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen formation, a
    precursor to bone. Calcium is needed for proper bone health and Vitamin D helps
    promote Calcium absorption. Eating a balanced meal should be a part of your
    overall health plan.

Cramping & Tendonitis: Biomechanical and structural problems within the foot tend to manifest as shin splints, arch cramping, plantar fasciitis and/or tendinitis. Less experienced runners tend to develop these problems and is commonly the result of training past the capabilities of your foot. Tight  musculature may also be at the root of cramping and shin splints. These problems tend to be self-limited and resolve with targeted treatment programs, but can set you back in terms of being marathon ready.

  • Preventive Solutions: Building
    strength and stamina slowly is the best method to avoid injury. Be sure to
    incorporate a thorough stretching program to keep muscles and tendons stretched
    and warmed up. Weak muscles within the foot can be strengthened with specific
    foot training programs. Ease cramping in the foot with post-run Epsom salt
    baths. Deep tissue massage is also a helpful measure.
  • Arch supports (orthotics) can help
    manage arch pain by providing support and perhaps better alignment of the foot
    in certain people. Of course, foot type plays a big role in selecting the
    proper amount of support. Running in the wrong-type of sneaker for your foot
    may be responsible for discomfort, so changing sneakers may be beneficial. A
    break from running may be necessary to resolve the problem. Runners with
    persistent problems should seek the advice of a health care professional.

Disorders of the Toenail: A black toenail is a problem that every marathon runner has experienced, and is the result of bleeding beneath the nail plate. Pressure and friction from repetitive running seem to be the culprit. The damaged nail can be painful and often results in the toenail falling off.
Fortunately, a black toenail doesn’t typically interfere with training and common is self-limiting.

  • Preventive Solutions:
    Prevention is difficult, as the black toenail is often the result of prolonged
    toenail irritation from the intense mileage of training. Again, properly
    fitting shoes with enough room for the toenails are helpful. Keep toenails well
    trimmed to not create a fulcrum for the nail to become lifted. It is unclear if
    moisturizing the toenails offers any protective benefit but a soft nail may,
    theoretically, be less prone to damage. Should you develop an acute painful
    black toenail, then medical attention may be needed to alleviate the active
    collection of blood. An irritated loose nail may become infected and this can
    be serious.

By the time marathon day rolls around, and if you have avoided or overcome injury during your training and your feet are pain free, then you likely have feet that are ready to start a marathon.

 

For any advice on footwear or if you have any problems, make an appointment with The Podiatrist.

Athletes are more prone to injuries, bumps and bruises than most people are.

One particular injury, known as shin splints, happens more commonly among athletes who engage in running, such as soccer players, football players and runners. Shin splints, however, are not limited to athletes of just these sports.

What are shin splints?

Shin splints is a general term but refers to many types of injuries that occur in the region of the lower leg (where the calf and shin are located). Shin splints can be caused by inflammation or injury to muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones within the lower leg. In some cases, shin splints can be caused by stress fractures in the shin bones.

What are the signs and symptoms of shin splints?

Shin splints are characterized by a great deal of pain to the lower leg, especially so in the lower portion of the shin closer to the foot. The pain usually worsens when physical activity is begun but eases as the activity continues. The pain may return once the physical activity has been discontinued but often returns later, typically the next morning, much more painful than it had been the previous day. The pain typically intensifies when the toes and foot are bent downwards. In some cases, swelling and redness can be observed in the flesh along the shin bone. Sometimes lumps can be felt beneath the skin along
the shin bone. Shin splints may make it difficult and even excruciating to walk or move.

How are shin splints treated?

There is no cure, however, there are many different treatments available that may help ease the pain associated with shin splints. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be taken to help reduce any swelling that may be contributing to the pain. When the pain is especially intense, icing the area may help ease the pain. Shin splints can be the result of the stress of flat feet so wearing special orthopedic footwear, such as shoes with arch support or foot orthoses, may help ease the pain associated with shin splints. Sometimes physical therapy and special range of motion exercises may help ease the pain of shin splints. Strapping the affected area also helps relieve some of the symptoms. Rocktape is a very effect strapping solution for all your sports injuries. When shin splints become especially painful, medical interventions and narcotic pain medications may become necessary. Sometimes a physician may order an X-ray to determine whether or not a stress fracture may be the cause of the pain. Crutches may be needed if the pain is bad enough.

If you feel you have ‘shin splints’ or any other foot related problems, visit The Podiatrist.

Are you pushing too hard?

Recreational athletes can push their bodies a little too much—people are exercising, walking, jogging and going to the gym and the result is that overuse injuries to the lower extremities are skyrocketing.

The flip side of this is that these active lifestyles are helping to control obesity and increase wellness and fitness. Despite many in our society becoming more active and health and nutrition conscious, children and adults are still falling further behind in the battle against obesity. We’ve got to keep pushing to educate
people, especially parents, about this struggle. The costs of health concerns associated with inactivity and obesity are staggering—they’ll break us! So stay
active and pay attention to better nutrition habits. Keep gym classes in schools.

With the huge amounts of walkers, runners and aerobics over the past 10 to 20 years, we’ve seen increases in foot, ankle, shin and knee problems. This is true whether we’re looking at the adult, especially baby boomer recreation athletes, or kids with club, traveling or school team demands. Shoe technology has come a long way in all sports, especially in running and walking. Also, it seems that the specific shoes for all sports have taken a big step up. Better support, shock absorption and conformance to specific weights are examples. Proper fit, as obvious as it sounds, is still important, so always make sure you and your children are measured and fit properly.

Foot mechanics and foot type often are one of the causes of persistent overuse problems. In many screenings and evolutions of athletes with ongoing or persistent lower extremity overuse, we see the flat or overpronating foot type. Flat feet are susceptible to strain to ankles, arches and heels. Over rotation of the lower legs or twisting of the knees can show up as compensating motions related to these foot imbalances. Shin splints or tendonitis can be the result.
Identifying your foot type or your youngster’s can help in prevention of many overuse problems.

How much is too much? If you or the young athletes are consistently sore, if overuse injuries stay with you, then evaluate the schedule. Are you running every day without enough recovery time? Are the kids keeping year-round athletic schedules? Do you need pain medicine or anti-inflammatories just to keep going?

Intelligent rest is one of the favorite terms. Getting athletes to back off isn’t easy. Somehow, the culture of playing hurt, sucking it up or pushing through pain has filtered down even to children 10 to 12 years old.

Sports can really take a toll on young, growing bodies. If your child is constantly complaining of pain or discomfort, pay attention! Check with a sports-related doctor or Podiatrist. Better strengthening, more sensible schedules, proper shoes for foot type or just more intelligent rest might be all that is needed to solve the problem.

Exercise, fitness and sports should be enjoyable and positive. Being injured, constantly tired, sore or fatigued is not.

For expert advice see The Podiatrist- specializing in Children’s foot problems

‘Growing Pains,’ Is There Actually Such A Thing?

Parents frequently hear their children complain of aches and pains that affect their lower extremities. Some parents and even pediatricians attribute that to “growing pains.” But is there such a thing as growing pains? In this article we will take a look at some conditions that affect lower extremities in kids.

Sever’s Apophysitis

Sever’s apophysitis is a condition that affects children of the ages 8-14. Boys are more commonly affected than girls. Typical symptoms include pain in the back of the heel, which is worse with and after activities. The affected foot does not normally look any different than the unaffected foot. There is no noticeable swelling or bruising. X-rays also do not show any visible pathology.

Clinically, the patient will complain of pain when the heel bone is squeezed. Normally there is no history of trauma, however, trauma can also trigger this painful condition. Predisposing factors include high level of athletic involvement (doing more than one sport at a time), body weight, tightness of the calf muscles, flat feet and improper shoes (flip flops or flats).

Although Sever’s apophysitis is self-limiting, meaning that it eventually resolves by itself, it is best to have it evaluated and treated, as it may take a long time (months and, in some cases, years) until the symptoms go away.

Due to the intensity of symptoms, aggressive treatment is recommended and includes modification of activities, rest, ice, massage , anti-inflammatory medications, heel lifts in shoes, custom orthotics (inserts in shoes), calf stretches, and physical therapy. In severe cases, cast immobilization for 2-4 weeks is helpful. Overall, the prognosis for Sever’s apophysitis is excellent.

Iselin’s Disease

Iselin’s disease is inflammation of the growth plate of the fifth metatarsal base. Just like Sever’s apophysitis, Iselin’s affects physically-active children between ages of 8 and 14.

The most common sports leading to this condition include soccer, gymnastics, dance and basketball. Iselin’s apophysitis is an overuse condition of the base
of the fifth metatarsal. Tight calf muscles, high arch and flat foot type are predisposing factors.

Your child will complain of pain along the outer edge of the foot that is worse with activity and improves with rest. He/she may limp or walk on the inside of the foot.

The growth center may be enlarged, red, and painful to the touch as compared to the other side.

Treatments are similar to those of Sever’s apophysitis: modification of activities, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, custom orthotics, calf stretches, and in severe cases- cast immobilization.

Osgood-Schlatter

OSGOOD-SCHLATTER is a common cause of knee pain in children ages 10 to 15. It occurs due to a period of rapid growth, combined with a high level of sporting activity.

Osgood-Schlatter sounds far more frightening than it actually is. It is a common cause of knee pain in children ages 10 to 15. It occurs due to a period of rapid growth, combined with a high level of sporting activity.

These changes result in a pulling force from the patella tendon on the tibial tuberosity (bony protrusion at the top of the shin). This area then becomes inflamed, painful and swollen. Typical presentation includes pain over the tibial tuberosity, which is worse with and after athletic activities.

The area may become visibly inflamed and even larger in size than the unaffected side. Treatments include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, quadriceps stretching, bracing (knee support knee strap to decrease tension on the patellar tendon) and physical therapy.

If you are at all concerned about your child, make an appointment today.