Today's Podiatrist Keeps America Walking

  • By Ruth Ann Cooper
  • 13 Jun, 2016

Everyone likes to stay active. Whether it’s taking a quick 20-minute walk around the neighborhood or running a 5K, more people are getting outside and keeping healthy. Unfortunately, many suffer from overuse and other injuries when trying to stay active.

“These days, Americans have a variety of exercise options to stay healthy, whether it’s walking, jogging, or Pilates,” said APMA President R. Daniel Davis, DPM. “These activities can be strenuous on our feet and cause overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are common and can prevent you from staying active. That is why it is so important to see a podiatrist as soon as you get injured.” But how do you know the difference between foot and ankle pain from an injury, and soreness from a great workout? It’s simple – just look for these four clues:

THE FOUR SIGNS OF INJURY

1 Keep an eye on the injured foot or ankle. Serious injuries will be visible, so look for signs of swelling, inflammation, or bruising.

2 Use the pain scale. Think of a scale between one and ten. If your pain jumps to a nine or ten with activity, such as putting weight on the affected foot, that’s a good indicator you’re injured.

3 Categorize your pain. Pain from an injury is unmistakable. If you experience sharp or stabbing pain, burning, tingling, or numbness, you need to make an appointment with a podiatrist.

4 Persistent pain. If you experience the same amount of pain on day three as day one, you likely have an injury and need to see a podiatrist right away. The same goes for nagging pain. If the pain is mostly resolved but two weeks later you’re still not 100 percent, it’s time to make an appointment.

BACK TO BASICS

Many common injuries that people who exercise regularly face can be traced back to one source: wearing the wrong pair of shoes.

To find out what to look for in an all-around athletic shoe, try putting your potential new pair to the 1-2-3 test!

1 Look for a stiff heel. Press on both sides of the heel counter. It shouldn’t collapse.

2 Check toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your toes. It shouldn’t be too stiff or bend too much in the toe box area.

3 Select a shoe with a rigid middle. Does your shoe twist? It shouldn’t – your shoe should never twist in the middle.

KEEP IN MIND If you participate in a specific athletic activity more than three days a week, it’s important to choose the right footwear for your activity. Sneakers made for tennis players will provide different support and traction than cleats made for football players.

Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 22 May, 2017

What lies hidden in the grass, dirt or sand can definitely wreak havoc on bare feet. From nails, shards of glass, slivers of wood, pieces of seashell at the beach, thorns from trees and plants or sometimes discarded toothpicks, each can puncture the skin of the foot and cause serious injury. Even after the object has been completely removed from the foot, any dirt or bacteria pushed into the wound from the puncture can lead to an infection, painful scarring or even a cyst. Any puncture wounds should be promptly treated in my office within 24 hours.

Besides hidden dangers, “everyday childhood injuries” can also interrupt a summer break. Protect your children’s feet from traumatic injuries, such as bicycle injuries and lawn mower accidents, by making sure they wear sturdy shoes while riding a bike or when cutting the grass.

Do not discount sunburn on the feet. Protect your children’s feet from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of their feet. Feet, like shoulders, burn faster than the rest of the body since they are most perpendicular to the sun’s rays. Not only is sunburn of the feet painful, it can also cause skin cancers that often go unnoticed until they become very serious.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Apr, 2017

Competitive youth sports often require many athletes to transition from winter activities to spring activities without considering the increased risk of incurring a foot or ankle injury. Moving from indoor to outdoor playing surfaces with varying impact can stress a young athlete’s feet and ankles. Going from sport to sport without allowing time for muscles and bones to rest can cause overuse injuries.

If your child plans to participate in a sport this spring after playing through the winter sports season, follow these six tips:

  1.       Get a preseason health and wellness checkup. A medical evaluation before the season begins can help identify any health concerns that could possibly lead to injury.

2.       Take it slow. Ask the coach to gradually increase children’s playing time during practice to avoid pushing them full throttle. Your child’s feet and ankles need to become accustomed to the activity level required for a sport.

3.       Wear proper, broken-in shoes.   Different sports require different shoe gear. Wearing the appropriate, well-fitting, broken-in athletic shoes can eliminate heel and toe discomfort.

4.       Check your child’s technique. Watch for any changes in your child’s form or technique. Ask the coach to notify you if your child is placing more weight on wide side of his/her body or limping.

5.       Insist on open communication if your child has pain. Express to your child athlete that s/he should inform you and the coach of any pain or discomfort as soon as it occurs. Overuse injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and shin splints, can be subtle and develop over time.

6.       If an injury occurs, remember RICE. An injured foot or ankle can often be healed with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). If your child complains of foot or ankle pain, s/he should take a break from playing and allow time for recovery.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 06 Apr, 2017

This painful condition results from inflammation of the tissue band (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. Repetitive activities, such as a new exercise routine or walking on a daily basis, can put stress on the ligaments in the foot, leading to inflammation and pain.

The good news is heel pain can often be relieved using conservative methods, but it must be treated early.

 Heel pain can become chronic and debilitating if not properly treated.

I can help you find relief with therapies, such as:

  •  Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stretching exercises
  • Orthotic devices
  •  Physical therapy
  • Footwear modifications
  •  Activity limitations
  • MLS Laser Therapy
  • Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

 Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to nonsurgical treatment, some require surgery. If you continue to have heel pain with non-surgical treatment, we can discuss your surgical options.

Heel pain should not stop you from enjoying the beauty of Spring. Make an appointment with my office if you are experiencing heel pain so my staff and I can help you resume a healthy and active lifestyle.

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