Prepare Your Feet for Autumn Hikes

  • By Ruth Ann Cooper
  • 13 Jun, 2016

As the days become cooler, many are lacing up their hiking boots and heading to the trails to take in the brilliant fall foliage in Ohio and Northern Kentucky. However, outdoor enthusiasts aren’t always aware of the beating their feet can take with constant and vigorous hiking on uneven terrain. Walking up and down steep hills and on slippery surfaces can put stress on the muscles and tendons of the feet and ankles.

The good news is that with a little preparation, you can avoid problems, such as heel pain, ankle sprains and Achilles tendon injuries when taking your autumn hikes.

Wear the Right Shoes

·        Cross-training athletic shoes do not offer the support needed for hiking on uneven, steep and slippery terrain. Investing in strong, stiff-soled, well insulated and moisture-proof hiking boots will lessen the stress on muscles and tendons and will reduce the risk of injury. I always wear hiking boots whenever I hit the trails. Trekking poles can also provide stability and provide a bit of an upper body workout during your hikes. I also use trekking poles every time I hike the trails. Roads, Rivers and Trails on Main Street in downtown Milford offer top quality hiking boots and trekking poles along with other hiking equipment.

Easy Does It

·        Hiking is like skiing; beginners should take on less difficult trails until they become better conditioned and more confident. Lax physical conditioning is a primary cause of foot and ankle injuries. In addition to stretching exercises and strengthening of foot and leg muscles, balance exercise will help you improve your ability to traverse challenging terrain. Do not attempt more than your body is ready for; ease into your hiking routine before planning a long, serious trip. The Appalachian Trail requires weeks of training.

Listen to Your Body

·        If you start hurting, take a break. Pain is your body’s warning sign something is wrong. Serious injury escalates if you continue to hike in pain. And if foot or ankle pain continues even after you have rested, schedule a visit to my office as soon as possible. Ankle and Achilles tendon injuries, especially need to be properly evaluated and treated as early as possible. If left untreated, they can lead to serious problems that can keep you off the trails for a long time.

 

Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Oct, 2017

Is the surgery painful? The level of pain experienced after bunion surgery is different with every patient. Most patients will experience discomfort for three to five days. However, if you closely follow the postoperative care instructions, you can help minimize pain and swelling after your bunion surgery. As part of my protocol, I utilize a MLS robotic laser both prior and subsequent to the procedure to reduce pain and inflammation and promote self healing.

What type of anesthesia is used? Most bunion surgeries involve local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. This means your foot will be numb and you will receive medications to relax you during the procedure.

How soon can I walk after surgery? You may be asked to avoid driving for three to six weeks depending upon the procedure selected for you, which foot you use to drive, how quickly you heal and other factors.

Can the bunion return? Yes, some cases have a risk of bunion recurrence. You can help prevent recurrence by following any instructions to wear arch supports or orthotics in your shoes.

If screws or plates are implanted in my foot to correct my bunion, will they activate metal detectors? Not usually. It depends upon the device chosen for your procedure as well as the sensitivity of the metal detector.

To learn more about what to expect during bunion surgery, consult with a foot and ankle surgeon by calling my office to schedule a consultation with me.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 18 Sep, 2017

Follow these six tips to help protect your children from serious foot and ankle injuries this fall:

1.       Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to cartilage injuries, your child might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with my office if you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner long-term instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can safely get back into the game.

2.       Have a foot and ankle surgeon check old sprains before the season begins. A checkup at my office can reveal whether your child’s previously injured foot or ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive brace during competition.

3.       Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should never substitute baseball cleats for football shoes.

4.       Child athletes should begin the season with new shoe gear. Old shoes can wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat.

5.       Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports related foot and ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. This is why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

6.       Encourage stretching and warmup exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging prior to competition, help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing risk for foot and ankle injuries.

If you would like a foot and ankle surgeon to evaluate your child’s feet, ankles or athletic shoes, contact my office for an appointment.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 10 Aug, 2017

This thickening and enlargement of the tissue surrounding the nerve in the ball of the foot is the result of irritation and compression caused by repeated pressure. Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma usually begin gradually and may disappear temporarily by massaging your foot or by avoiding shoes or activities that irritate it. Symptoms will become progressively worse over time as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

If you suspect you have a Morton’s neuroma, make an appointment with my office as soon as symptoms develop. Early treatment with padding, orthotics or medication can help you avoid the need for more invasive therapies.

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