Posts for: December, 2020
What a year we’ve had! Most of us are happy that 2020 is behind us and we’re looking forward to making 2021 one of our best.
For many of us that means losing weight we’ve gained after being stuck at home behind a desk and a Zoom camera. Perhaps you’ve vowed to take up running or you’ve decided to take it up after some time off.
Either way, running is great sport as long as you can do it safely. Here are my top 5 tips for preventing foot and ankle injuries when you run.
Buy Running Shoes To Match Your Foot Type and Running Style
If you’re just starting out, don’t resort to wearing any old pair of tennis shoes. Go to a reputable running store like Super Jock N Jill or Brooks and buy a running shoe. Running shoes are designed to support your feet when pounding the pavement. Regular tennis shoes won’t cut it.
If you used to be a runner and have an old pair laying around, make sure they aren’t worn out. Turn the shoes over and check out the treads. If you see uneven wear patterns, buy yourself a new pair.
Also, running shoes should match your particular foot type and running style. For more information about buying running shoes read my previous blog, “How to Buy Running Shoes”.
Build Up Your Training Slowly
Even if your best friend is pushing you to run your first race in three weeks, it’s more important for you to train and be ready before taking on your first challenge. You’re much more apt to injure yourself if your body and feet aren’t prepared. Talk to your physician before beginning any new training program. Runner’s World suggests running three days per week to give your body time to recover in between runs. Read their article “How to Run When Your Just Getting Started” to get more details.
Warm Up Before You Begin
Your body needs to warm up before you stress it to avoid injury. Although many people warm-up by doing short wall stretches, you’ll get more benefit from your stretch when your muscles are warm. I highly recommend starting out with some Dynamic Warm-ups for Runners . These warm-ups help increase the temperature of your muscles and elongate them. You’ll be much more ready to put your legs and feet through their paces, enhance your performance, and prevent injury.
Moisturize Your Feet
You wouldn’t think this would be at the top of my list, but moisturizing your feet is essential. If your feet are so dry they crack, you’ll soon be in plenty of pain when you run. Dry feet can also make you more prone to blisters. There are many options out there. Try one of the following: Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Foot Cream with Shea Butter, Curel Foot Therapy, or Aveda Foot Relief. For more severe cracking, I’d recommend Gormel Cream. It contains 20% Urea, a sure-fire way to soften up and repair your feet.
Buy Socks That Wick Away Moisture
The right socks will help prevent blisters. Avoid cotton socks that retain moisture and instead choose brands that contain Merlino wool, nylon, acrylic, polypropylene, or polyethylene fibers. It may seem ironic that with one stroke of the pen I say to add moisture to your feet and the other stroke says to avoid it. But the truth is that while your feet need moisture to stay supple and avoiding cracking, too much moisture will lead to chafing and blisters.
Other Safety Ideas
Also, because we’re in the middle of a pandemic and its winter there are a few other things you should consider before leaving your house.
- Wear a mask. Yes, I know you’re outside. But if you’re going to be coming within six feet of anyone, it’s important to mask up.
- Make sure you’re visible. Our dark, rainy afternoons and evenings can be a deadly combination for runners. Wear gear that is bright and neon colored. Purchase bright yellow, turquoise, and even white clothing at Brooks or Road Runner Sports. You should also consider purchasing a reflective vest, belt, lights or snap bands. These items are available at REI and other sports stores.
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".
For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel Pain".
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.
As an athlete you know you're prone to injury. You're familiar with many of the more common foot pain problems such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. But recently you've experienced pain on the outside of your foot where your little toe is.
Now you're wondering what that could possibly be.
As your Seattle podiatrist I'm here to let you know that every part of your foot is vulnerable to injury particular when you stress it--including the outside of your foot. It's important to curtail any sports activities until your foot is properly evaluated by a podiatrist to prevent any further injuries.
Pain on the outside of the foot can be a sign and symptom of the following conditions:
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline cracks in the bone associated with overuse. If ignored, these cracks can turn into breaks so important to get them treated.
Cuboid syndrome occurs when the cuboid bone goes out of alignment with the heel bone. Pain increases when weight is placed on the arch or side of the foot.
The Peroneal tendons are located on the outside of the ankle. When these tendons become inflamed (peroneal tendonitis) they may cause pain around the backside of the ankle, over the outside of the heel where they run under the bump in your heel bone.
Jones fracture is a fracture of the 5th metatarsal bone on the outside of the foot. It can occur through forceful impact to the outside of the foot, through overuse, or following an ankle sprain.
Sinus tarsi syndrome
The sinus tarsi is a small bony canal located just in front of the protruding side ankle bone. Injury to the sinus tarsi is caused by overuse or an ankle sprain. Symptoms often include:
- Pain can be experienced on the side and the front of the ankle.
- Pain can develop over time or follow a period of increased physical activity
- Symptoms often worsen when standing, walking, or running around a curve
- This syndrome is often associated with flat feet.
Bunionette or Tailor's Bunion
A Tailor's bunion is located on the outside of the little toe. Just like a regular bunion it's caused by having faulty foot structure, such as flat feet.
Treatment for Pain On the Outside of the Foot
Treatment for this type of pain depends on the diagnosis, however, there are many commonalities.
- RICE - rest, ice, compression, and elevation are always recommended for acute injuries.
- Stop physical activity - many side of foot pain conditions are brought on as a result of participation in sports. Ceasing these activities gives the foot time to heal.
- Reduce inflammation - inflammation is always a concern with an injury. Reducing that inflammation is essential to start the healing process. Anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone shots and MLS laser therapy can both help in your recovery.
- Foot immobilization - in addition to stopping your physical activity your podiatrist may also put your foot in a walking boot to give your injury a better chance of healing properly.
- Special padding - in some cases specialized padding will assist in off-loading weight from the affected area such as the pad used to treat the Cuboid Syndrome.
- Stretching tight calf muscles - tight calf muscles often play a big role in causing foot and ankle injuries. When the calf muscle is too tight the foot and ankle can't move properly. The stress gets transferred to areas of the foot that aren't designed to handle it. We recommend going beyond wall stretches for calf muscles. Instead we recommend using an Achilles splint during the day.
- Custom orthotics - many people have poor foot mechanics. This can lead to injuries particularly when someone is active in sports. Custom orthotics are designed to prevent the foot from pronating or supinating and are recommended when either of these problems are seen.
- Appropriate footwear - wearing footwear designed for the sport the person engages in can help prevent side of foot injuries. A shoe with a wider toe box is recommended to accommodate the foot with certain conditions such as a Tailor's bunion.
If you're experiencing pain on the side of your foot, give us call at 206-368-7000 to set up an appointment or request an appointment online.
President Elect Biden needs to be more careful. Over the Thanksgiving holiday he slipped and twisted his ankle while playing with Major, one of his German shepherds. Initially he thought the injury was just a sprain since an X-ray didn’t reveal a break. However, a follow-up CT scan found hairline fractures in the lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones in his midfoot. Fortunately, Biden won’t need crutches, but he will need to wear a walking boot for several weeks to ensure his foot heals properly.
What can this incident tell us?
So many of us sprain our ankles and don’t think much of it. We put some ice on it or take a few ibuprofen and hope for the best. This is particularly true of my male patients. For many of them, running to the doctor at the first sign of an injury or symptom seems unmanly. Or they just assume their injury will heal on its own.
While this may be true some of the time, often this type of thinking is a mistake. Not treating a injury can lead to foot and ankle problems down the road that may only be resolved with surgery.
Here are some common foot and ankle injuries that will likely get worse if you don’t treat them in their early stages.
Hairline fractures or stress fractures like the type Joe Biden experienced can turn into much larger breaks if not adequately treated. Runners, underweight women, people with osteoporosis, and people with flat feet are all at risk for developing this condition. While this condition is easily treated in the early stages, if it progresses to a break, surgery may be needed to repair it.
Plantar fasciitis is not typically caused by an acute injury but develops overtime. Runners and other athletes often develop this condition through overuse and ramping up their training too quickly. Waiting to treat this condition or continuing to engage in sports activities will prolong the recover from this painful condition. If you do develop sudden onset of heel pain during exercise and there are signs of bruising, this indicates a tear has occurred. You should seek immediate attention from a podiatrist.
Like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis also develops overtime. When this condition is inadequately treated it can lead to Achilles tendonosis, a progressive and degenerative condition. The tendon becomes weaker and prone to re-injury and rupture. Treatment will require immobilization of the foot and ankle and treatment with regenerative medicine.
Ankle sprains that go untreated or do not adequately heal can turn into a condition called Chronic Ankle Instability. While the first line of treatment is physical therapy, if the instability is not resolved, newer advances in surgery now require much less recovery time.
Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries
The best thing to do is to prevent foot and ankle injuries from occurring in the first place. Because so many of the conditions described above are more prevalent in athletes, the recommendations I’m giving will focus on those involved in sports.
Wear Appropriate Footgear
It’s important to wear footgear designed for the sport you engage in. Athletic shoes are designed to help prevent injuries based on the type of moves the athlete makes while engaged in their particular sport. For example, basketball players regularly jump and twist during play. Basketball shoes rise up around the ankle to help prevent ankle sprains which occur when that much twisting force is placed on the body.
Build Up Training Time Gradually
Oftentimes when we start a new sport or engage in a sport after a long period of time, we want to ramp up as quickly as possible. While keeping up with friends and colleagues seems like a good idea, participating at a new or old sport at the same level is a recipe for injury. Our bodies take time to accommodate changes, including increases in sports activity. Start off slowly and build up by 10% each week.
Stretch and Condition Sufficiently
Stretching is also key to preventing injuries. Many of the conditions named above are in part caused by having tight calf muscles. Stretching your calf muscles enough to prevent these conditions from occurring will often require more than just a static wall stretch. If you know you have tight calf muscles, consider using an Achilles splint to stretch them during the daytime. It’s also important to keep the rest of your body in condition so that less stress transfers to your feet and ankles during play.
If you've injured yourself while running or playing sports, give our office a call at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.