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Posts for category: Foot Care

By Ankle & Foot Center of Charlotte
May 03, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Sports Podiatry  

Foot Biomechanics

When your feet aren’t working correctly, you may experience injuries and pain in other areas of the body, such as the knees, hips and back. Even the slightest changes from the norm, such as leg length discrepancies or fallen arches, can have a huge impact on your entire body’s ability to function properly without pain or injury.

If you’re an athlete, many sports-related injuries develop from poor biomechanics of the foot. Athletes with poor foot mechanics are more prone to sustaining lower extremity injuries. As your body tries to compensate for any anomalies, your muscles, joints and tendons are placed under excessive stress.

It’s important that athletes visit their podiatrist for a thorough assessment of their biomechanics at the first sign of a problem or pain, including foot discomfort, poor balance or unexplained corns and calluses. An assessment of your low limbs will help identify what happens in your legs and feet when you walk, stand and run. A professional evaluation is critical for successful prevention and treatment of any injury or condition.

Many sports injuries can be traced back to biomechanical problems, including:

  • Sprained ankles

  • Back pain

  • Hip pain

  • Shin splints

  • Calluses and corns

  • Plantar fasciitis

Once our practice has identified the problem and cause of your pain, a tailor made treatment plan can be created to restore your lower extremities and feet to their normal function, thus improving your game. Treatment may involve one or more of the following:

  • Exercises and therapy to stretch or strengthen muscles

  • Orthotic devices are worn inside the shoe to control, realign or cushion the abnormalities, thus reducing discomfort

  • Footwear modifications

Don’t let poor foot biomechanics compromise your game. Whether you are a full-time athlete or a weekend warrior, your podiatrist can help you return to your favorite sporting activity. Not only will your performance improve, but you’ll significantly reduce your chance of injuring yourself again. So do the right thing for your body and contact your podiatrist today!

By Ankle & Foot Center of Charlotte
April 03, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Ankle Pain   Stiff Ankles  

Following an ankle injury or ankle surgery, you’ll inevitably lose some strength and range of motion from being immobilized for an extended period of time. A weak ankle can hinder normal mobility, and even lead to another injury. So what can you do to strengthen your ankle and get back to your old self again?

Strengthening Your Ankle

Your ankle or leg may feel stiff, especially if your treatment required wearing a cast or a walking boot. Stiffness and instability are common symptoms following an ankle injury that will need to be addressed in order to get you back to your normal range of motion and activity level.

Your podiatrist may recommend post-injury physical therapy or home exercises that will help you strengthen weak muscles surrounding the ankle joint and restore mobility to lower your risk of reinjury. These include range of motion exercises for the injured ankle, which help loosen stiff ankles, and stretching exercises for the calf muscles, which help decrease your risk of hurting your ankle again. As with all exercises, progress slowly and discontinue if painful. Pain is most certainly not gain when it comes to physical therapy!

Choosing the Right Shoes

The shoes you wear will also play an important role in protecting your injured ankle and restoring your mobility. Supportive shoes will provide more comfort, better balance and help stabilize the weak ankle to prevent re-injury. Stay off high heels or flats and flip flops without support until your ankle is completely mended.

Proper care and rehabilitation following an ankle injury is critical to ensure your ankle fully heals. Always consult your podiatrist if ankle pain or stiffness persists or worsens and before starting any new exercise program.

By Ankle & Foot Center of Charlotte
February 16, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Stretches  

Foot Stretches

The feet bear a lot of stress from day to day. That’s why podiatrists recommend stretching as a great way to revitalize and strengthen the feet. Simple stretches can be performed at home as a part of your morning routine, or even at work while you’re sitting at your desk. Improving your flexibility through stretching can help prevent foot injuries, increase your mobility, improve performance and posture, and relieve stress.

When Should I Stretch?

It is especially important to stretch properly before starting any exercise routine. When muscles are warmed up prior to a workout, the strain on muscles, tendons and joints can be reduced and injuries avoided.  

Simple stretches include flexing your feet repeatedly while pointing your toes to help build strength in the foot muscles or rotating your foot from side to side while you point your toes. Massaging the muscles in your feet with your hands is another helpful way to promote circulation and relaxation.

Always allow at least 5-10 minutes to fully stretch your muscles, which should include a stretch/hold/relax pattern, without any pulling or bouncing. Before beginning any new type of stretch, visit your podiatrist first to ensure it will be safe for your particular foot pain.

What Kind of Stretches Should I Do?

Here are just a few helpful stretches you can do at home to help lessen foot pain and improve foot health:

  • Stretch for Calf Muscles: Excessive tightness of the calf muscle can cause many foot problems. To stretch this muscle, face a wall from approximately 2-3 feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping heels on the floor and knees extended. Hold for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce. Repeat five times.

  • Stretch for Hamstring: Put your foot with knee straight on a chair or table. Keep the other leg on the floor straight with knee locked. Lower your head toward the knee on the chair or table until the muscles are tight. Hold to a count of 10 then relax. Repeat five times, and then switch to the other leg.

  • Stretch for Plantar Fascia: This stretch for heel pain can be performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is most effective when you first wake up, before standing or walking.

Stretching in combination with supportive footwear will help you keep your feet healthy and fit. Whether you’re gearing up to train for a marathon, or simply looking to revitalize your feet after a long day at work, talk to your podiatrist at about the best foot stretches for your individual needs.

By Ankle & Foot Center of Charlotte
February 02, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Stress Fractures  

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are notoriously misdiagnosed and undertreated. In many cases, symptoms may persist for an extended period of time before the diagnosis of a stress fracture is even made. That’s because stress fractures don’t typically occur from an unforeseen trauma, as with a sprain, but rather from repetitive stress.

What Are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks in the bones. They can occur in any bone, but most often afflict the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Athletes are especially susceptible to stress fractures, as this common injury is often a problem of overuse.  It frequently results from overtraining and high impact sports, such as running, basketball and tennis.  People with an abnormal foot structure or insufficient bone may also be more vulnerable to suffer a stress fracture.

What Are the Symptoms of Stress Fractures?

Pain is the primary symptom of a stress fracture. In the early stages, the pain may begin toward the end of an activity and resolve with rest. Untreated, the pain will eventually persistent with minimal activity.

The most common symptoms of stress fractures include:

  • Pain with or following normal activity

  • Pain at the site of the fracture

  • Tenderness and swelling at a point on the bone

  • Pain intensified with weight bearing

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are recommended as an initial treatment plan for stress fractures. You should also minimize all weight bearing activities until you have fully recovered. Other treatments may include immobilization of the foot, footwear modifications, orthotic devices and in some severe cases, surgery. Rest is the key to a full recovery, and returning too quickly to normal activity may result in more serious damage.

Overuse injuries and stress fractures aren’t completely unavoidable, but you can take extra care to help prevent stress fractures from occurring. Remember to increase any activity or training program slowly and gradually. Wear supportive footwear with good cushioning to help manage the forces placed on your feet and legs during high impact activities. If pain or swelling returns, stop the activity and rest for a few days.

Stress fractures come on gradually and may not present obvious symptoms at first, so it’s important to recognize the early warning signs to prevent further damage. If you suspect a stress fracture, contact our office right away for an evaluation. Proper diagnosis is essential to prevent further damage and improve recovery time, as stress fractures tend to get worse and may even lead to a complete break if not treated right away. A podiatrist will examine your foot or ankle, take an x-ray to determine if there is a break or crack in the bone, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for optimal recovery.

By Ankle & Foot Center of Charlotte
January 16, 2017
Category: Foot Care

Healthy Feet for Active Kids

The feet of children grow and change rapidly during their first year, reaching almost half their adult foot size. Most changes in children’s feet are a natural part of development, but others require attention and treatment from a professional. That’s why it’s important for parents to pay close attention to their child’s feet to ensure proper growth during every stage of development. A podiatrist provides expert care, diagnosis and treatment of ankle and foot disorders in children.

Here are some tips to help parents guide normal development for their child’s feet:

  • For babies, avoid covering the feet too tightly, as this restricts movement and can delay normal development.

  • If your child participates in sports, choose sport-specific shoes that fit his or her feet properly

  • Observe walking patterns. Does the child toe in or out; have bowlegs or knock-knees; limp or experience other gait abnormalities? These problems can be corrected if they are detected early.

  • A child’s feet change rapidly, so check your child's shoe size often. Shoes should be supportive, well-cushioned and roomy.

  • When applying sunscreen, remember to apply to the feet.

  • Kids love the freedom of being shoeless, but walking barefoot may increase a child’s risk of infection, sprains or fractures.

Remember, your child doesn’t necessarily have to show signs of foot pain or discomfort for something to be abnormal. A child’s feet are very pliable and can be deformed without the child recognizing the warning signs. Carefully monitor your child’s feet. If you notice unusual symptoms, seek professional care immediately. Deformities will not be outgrown by themselves.  

Your child will depend on his or her feet for the rest of their life to get them where they need to go. Whenever you have questions about your child's foot health, contact your trusted podiatrist. Any pain that lasts more than a few days, or that is severe enough to limit the child’s walking, should be evaluated by a professional.