Your feet are the foundation of your entire body—complex structures consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints and 126 muscles and ligaments. They support your weight, act as a shock absorber, serve as a lever to propel the leg forward and help maintain balance.
Since your entire body is interrelated, any mechanical issues with the feet can lead to chronic musculoskeletal problems in other parts of the body, including your back.
One common foot disorder affecting the back is excessive pronation. Also known as flat feet, this condition causes the foot’s arch to flatten and collapse under the body’s weight. While a normal arch promotes stability and alignment of the entire body, the ability to cushion and absorb forces is greatly reduced when the arch collapses. As a result, increased stress is placed on the joints of the body. This continued stress can cause deformities of the foot over time, such as misaligned bones, hammertoes and bunions, eventually making its way to the legs, knees and lower back.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, visit our practice for an evaluation. Your feet may be the source of your pain. If your back pain is caused by poor mechanics of the feet, orthotics may be an effective treatment option. These custom devices are designed to support and restore the arch of your foot. Restoring the alignment of your foot helps normalize posture and alignment of the lower body. This can reduce unnecessary stress to areas of your back.
Choose the Right Shoes!
The shoes you are wearing may also be contributing to your back pain. Good, proper fitting footwear will provide your feet with the support they need to stabilize your body’s weight and relieve the stress on the rest of your body.
If you suffer from back pain, visit your podiatrist for an evaluation. Your feet may be causing your pain. With proper treatment, you can achieve proper foot biomechanics and eliminate your back pain once and for all.
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.
Chronic ankle instability is a condition characterized by a recurring "giving way" of the outer side of the ankle. It most often develops following an ankle sprain. When the stretched or torn ligaments do not heal properly or completely, ankle instability is often the result.
If you have chronic ankle instability, you may find it difficult to walk on uneven surfaces. Other symptoms include a repeated turning of the ankle during physical activity, tenderness and persistent discomfort and swelling.
How Can I Treat My Ankle Instability?
Treatment for an unstable ankle will depend on the degree of instability. Bracing, medication and physical therapy are all conservative treatment options that may help strengthen your weakened ankle. Often patients with ankle instability can be treated without surgery by strengthening the muscles that control the ankle joint, avoiding or limiting high impact activities and using a supportive brace to decrease the risk of recurrent ankle sprains.
In severe cases, or when conservative treatments aren’t successful, your podiatrist may recommend surgery, which involves repair or reconstruction of the damaged ligaments.
If your ankle feels unstable or if you have had recurring ankle sprains, visit your podiatrist for an evaluation. Left untreated, chronic ankle instability leads to activity restrictions, tendon complications, arthritis and continued instability. Your podiatrist can provide a recommended treatment plan based on the severity of your instability, so that you can get back to the activities you enjoy!
No matter what sport you play, the type of shoe you wear while playing your favorite game is one of your most important pieces of equipment. Choosing the most appropriate, supportive athletic shoes for your specific sport and foot structure can make a huge difference in keeping your feet healthy and comfortable while improving your performance. Serious back, knee, hip and heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, fractures and painful blisters are some of the common conditions faced by athletes wearing the wrong footwear.
From soccer and tennis to golf and basketball, the structure of your foot and any abnormalities should be considered when selecting a proper shoe for your activity. Look for a shoe that combines flexibility, support and cushioning to absorb impact and lessen shock on the feet. Before selecting an athletic shoe, it is always recommended to consult your podiatrist for a professional evaluation of your foot type, any underlying deformities and helpful shoe buying tips.
Types of Shoes
There are unique variations in the way different athletic shoes support your feet. This means that it’s not good to play football in the same shoes you use for jogging. Your feet require different support for different activities, and not all shoes are equal to every task.
A good sports shoe should be fitted to support the foot in the position that is most natural to the movement required. For instance, a running shoe is designed to accommodate high-impact activity, while a shoe built for tennis or basketball should provide a combination of flexibility and sideways support.
Out with the Old
Like most pieces of equipment you use on the field, your athletic shoes will wear out after a period of time, and an old, worn out shoe is a common cause of sport-related injuries. If you run, track your mileage to determine when your shoes have endured too much activity. When you notice obvious wearing of the soles or you sense a lack of cushioning from the shoes, it may be time to buy a new pair.
Remember, the best pair of athletic footwear doesn’t have to be expensive to support the needs of your feet and body during a workout. There are numerous shoes available that will fit both your needs and your budget. When your feet are protected by the right footwear, you can reduce your likelihood of injury. Visit our office for an evaluation and shoe recommendations.
Even the most simple of foot pain is frustrating and uncomfortable and, if left untreated, can leave you unable to run, walk, or even stand. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain which affects millions of Americans a year. Luckily, you can work with your podiatrist to understand your heel pain and treat plantar fasciitis to get back on your feet and back to a normal life. Find out more about plantar fasciitis and its treatments with Dr. Sara Bouraee and Dr. Mahmoud Salem at Hampton Road Foot and Ankle Specialists in Hampton and Williamsburg, VA.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition affecting the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue which runs along the bottom of the foot and supports the foot’s arch. When it becomes inflamed or irritated, plantar fasciitis occurs. Many conditions can cause plantar fasciitis, including underlying conditions like flat feet or Achilles tendonitis, repeated stresses like running, aging, or lifestyle factors such as being overweight or wearing ill-fitting shoes. An injury may also cause plantar fasciitis in rare situations.
Do I have plantar fasciitis?
The foot has over 100 connective tissues, meaning that foot and heel pain can come from many different conditions or injuries. However, plantar fasciitis has a few tell-tale signs, including:
- stiffness or pain which is worst upon waking in the morning
- pain triggers by standing for long periods of time
- pain which is present at the beginning of physical exercise, gets better during exercise and returns after exercise
- pain which worsens with physical activity, especially climbing stairs
Plantar Fasciitis Treatments in Hampton and Williamsburg
Plantar fasciitis treatment aims to reduce or relieve pain and inflammation in the arch and heel, increase the range of motion and flexibility of the foot, and get you back on your feet. Treatments usually begin with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, elevation. These four elements often grant the body enough rest to trigger its natural healing abilities. If more conservative treatments fail, your podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics, physical therapy, wearing properly fitting shoes or even surgery.
For more information on plantar fasciitis or what you can do about it, please contact Dr. Bouraee and Dr. Salem at Hampton Road Foot and Ankle Specialists in Hampton and Williamsburg, VA. Call (757) 220-3311 to schedule your appointment with your podiatrist today!
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