Your feet are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments and a vast network of tendons, nerves and blood vessels. Each of these parts works in harmony, enabling you to walk, run and jump normally and without pain.
But before jumping into a rigorous workout or fitness program that involves running, you may want to give your feet some extra attention, starting with a trip to your podiatrist. A professional podiatrist can properly examine your feet, detect potential problems, and provide tips for injury-free training and shoe selection.
Beginning runners are not the only ones who should see a podiatrist. Frequent runners should also pay their podiatrist a visit from time to time to check for any stress on the lower extremities brought on by repetitive force.
Common injuries experienced by runners include plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis and stress fractures.
Helpful Tips for Preventing Injury
In addition to visiting our office, you can also prevent injuries that commonly occur during training and running by stretching properly, choosing appropriate footwear, and paying attention to pain or signs of an injury.
To prevent injury to your lower extremities, it’s important to stretch carefully before beginning any workout regimen. When muscles are properly warmed up and stretched, the risk for injury is greatly reduced. Appropriate stretches include stretching of the hamstring and wall push-ups.
Choose Proper Footwear
The type of shoe you should wear also plays an important role in your ability to run without pain and with optimal performance. The shoe that your foot requires will depend on your foot structure and function, your body type, and the type of running or workout regimen you are interested in. Your podiatrist may also prescribe an orthotic, or shoe insert, to alleviate any foot pain or anomalies.
Be Mindful of Injuries
Even with proper footwear and stretching, not all foot problems can be prevented. Whenever you experience pain, stop whatever workout you are doing and rest. As pain subsides, gradually increase exercise with caution. When pain persists, visit our office for a proper evaluation.
New joggers and seasoned runners alike should take the necessary steps to avoid injury to the lower limbs. Consult with your podiatrist before starting any new workout, and always seek professional care when pain or injury occurs.
Turf toe is a sprain of the joint just below the big toe, also known as the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. This foot injury is particularly common among athletes who play on artificial turf, hence the name “turf” toe. When athletes play sports on turf or other hard surfaces, the foot can stick to the ground, resulting in jamming of the big toe joint.
Typically the injury is sudden, but it can also occur after sustaining multiple injuries, such as pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping. Although it’s a condition most commonly associated with dancers, soccer players, wrestlers, gymnasts and football players, you don’t have to be an athlete to get it.
Symptoms of turf toe range from mild to severe, and may gradually worsen with continued movement. The most common symptoms of turf toe include:
- Swelling and pain at the joint of the big toe
- Pain and tenderness when bending the toe
- Stiffness and limited movement of the big toe joint
If your symptoms are indicative of turf toe, then you may be able to relieve the pain and swelling with the following self-treatment, including:
- Ice the injury
- Apply a compression bandage
- Rest and temporarily discontinue any physical activity
- Wear a brace to protect the toe and to limit bending
For more severe cases of turf toe, visit our office for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. A podiatrist can easily diagnose turf toe through an evaluation that includes a range of motion and joint stability tests.
Professional treatment may include exercises to strengthen the toe, modified footwear or splinting. With proper treatment, you can eliminate pain resulting from turf toe and return to your favorite sport or activity!
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!
Could your scrunched up toes actually be the result of this foot deformity?
Foot deformities are actually more common than you may imagine. From arthritis and sports-related injuries to wearing the wrong shoes over the years, there are many reasons hammertoes develop. If you are currently dealing with painful bent toes, our Williamsburg and Hampton, VA, podiatrists, Dr. Sara Bouraee and Dr. Mahmoud Salem, are here to tell you whether you may be suffering from hammertoes and what you should do about it.
If you aren’t experiencing pain or any other symptoms as a result of your hammertoes then you may be more likely to just ignore the issue, but it’s important that you don’t. After all, many foot deformities like this one can become worse if you don’t give your feet the proper care they deserve.
A hammertoe is the result of a muscular imbalance within the foot. When the muscles of the feet are weak or overworked this, in turn, affects the health and length of the tendons. As these tendons become stretched it pulls the toes downward at the joint, causing the toes to look claw-like. If you notice that your toes are naturally bent rather than straight then you could very well be dealing with hammertoes.
Again, not all foot problems in the early stages will present with symptoms. Maybe you hadn’t even thought twice about your bent toes until you read this; however, if you suspect that something isn’t right it’s the perfect time to address the issue with our Williamsburg and Hampton foot doctors before the problem progresses. Getting the proper care and treatment early on is crucial to healthy feet for the long term.
Plus, treating the issue is pretty easy if you catch it soon enough. Most of the time people can get away with taking simple day-to-day precautions to make sure their hammertoes don’t get worse. Some lifestyle changes include:
- Wearing shoes that don’t put pressure on your toes or cause them to bunch up. Also, tossing out shoes that don’t provide enough support or cushioning, and avoiding high heels.
- Icing the toe or taking pain relievers if you do experience any discomfort.
- Splinting the toe in order to improve its alignment and the structure of the foot.
- Applying a protective moleskin padding over the hammertoe (particularly where the joint bents) to prevent a corn from forming and to take pressure off the joint when wearing shoes.
Most of the time these simple measures can work wonders for preventing the hammertoe from getting worse. Of course, in rare cases, you may require surgery if the joint is inflexible.
Don’t let a hammertoe alter your life. We can help create the proper treatment plan that will reduce pain and other symptoms. If you have questions about caring for your hammertoe in Williamsburg or Hampton, VA, call Hampton Roads Foot and Ankle Specialists today.
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.
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