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 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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