Women Runners Take Fashion Warning

  • By Ruth Ann Cooper
  • 13 Jun, 2016

Runners often cite the wide array of health benefits--physical, mental and emotional--as their motivation to keep logging the miles. But like any strenuous physical activity, running can also lead to overuse injuries. One of those injuries affecting women in particular is a foot pain so intense that it prevents them from running at all--the painful neuroma.

A neuroma is a common foot condition, especially among women. Research has found that female runners are often plagued by intense foot pain that is caused by an unassuming culprit: fashion. Women tend to wear fashionable shoes that are narrow with pointed-toes only to then pound those squished, weary feet into the pavement on training runs. This pattern sets women up  for neuroma.

We find in my practice that active women who enjoy running are prone to neuromas, especially if they regularly wear narrow shoes and have flat feet. A neuroma occurs when a nerve located between the toes becomes enlarged and inflamed and produces tingling, burning pain. The most common type is a Morton's neuroma, which develops at the base of the third and fourth toes. Symptoms begin gradual and, left untreated, progressively worsen. Patients often complain that neuroma pain feels as if something is stuck inside the ball of the foot. Relief for symptoms may come by messaging the foot, wearing wider low-heeled shoes and avoiding running or other activities that aggravate the condition.

Treatment options depend on how far the condition has progressed. At early stages, padding lessons pressure on the nerve, icing reduces swelling and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or injection therapy decreases pain and inflammation. Prescription or custom orthotic devices provide support to reduce traction and stress to the nerve. Patients are advised to take a break from running or other aggravating activities until the condition improves. In severe cases, outpatient surgery to remove the affected nerve might be the best option to provide relief.

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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