Although most of us are aware of the benefits of stretching before exercise—warms up your muscles, reduces the chance of injury, etc.—we are often tempted to skip this part of our sport or fitness activity. Well, here at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care we’d like to give you one more good reason to stretch before your workout: stretching can help protect your feet and ankles from injuries and inflammation problems.
What many patients don’t realize is that stretches for your back, knees and calves also benefit your feet. When these other parts of the body are tight, the feet and ankles often suffer as the body tries to compensate for muscle stiffness or pain in other areas. Tight calf muscles, for example, can cause strain on your ankles and be a factor in tendonitis and arch problems. Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah have experience working with athletes and can make recommendations about your feet and your fitness routine. If you have questions, contact our Monmouth Junction, Edison or Monroe office for an appointment.
Below are some good stretches to try before your next work out to help protect your feet and ankles. Remember to follow the stretch, hold, release pattern—no bouncing!
Wall Push Up – Stand facing a wall, about three feet away from it. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees locked. Place your hands in front of you and lean into the wall. Hold for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 5 times.
Hamstring Stretch – Place your foot on a chair or table that allows you to keep it relatively straight. Keep your balance on your other leg with knee locked. Slowly lower your head over the elevated knee. Stop when you feel your muscles getting tight and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 5 times and then do with the other leg.
Lower Back Stretch – Stand with your legs straight and your feet slightly spread apart. Bending at the waist, attempt to touch the palms of your hands to the floor—only go down until you feel a stretch but not pain! Hold for 10 seconds then release. Repeat 10 times.
As the thermometer begins to creep up into the 60’s and fields begin to thaw your children’s minds may be turning to spring sports. At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care we applaud children being active but at the same time want to see them make the transition from winter activities (or inactivity) to spring sports without injuring their feet.
Caution: Potential Injuries Ahead
If your child has been participating in a winter sport, chances are the spring will bring workouts on very different types of surfaces. If, on the other hand, your child has spent the cold months indoors in front of a screen they will most likely be out of shape. In either case, the solution is the same. Start conditioning slowly and gradually increase practice and playing time. There are many injuries associated with overuse or increasing activity too quickly. Conditions such as Achilles tendon rupture or tendonitis, stress fractures and shin splints can be avoided if young athletes take time to stretch properly before and after exercise and if they follow a sensible program that doesn’t go from “0 to 60” in the first couple of weeks.
Before starting a spring sport, there are a few steps to take to insure a safe season:
Have you ever thought about how big a part your heels play in your everyday life? Walking, standing, running, jumping, bending and climbing would all be impossible without the work of your heels. When our heels hurt it definitely gets our attention and that’s often when we hear from patients at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care.
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your toes to your heel. When this ligament gets irritated it becomes inflamed. Signs of this inflammation include:
What Causes Heel Inflammation
Most often plantar fasciitis is the result of a defect in the structure of the foot. Patients with overly high arches or flat feet, for example, are more prone to developing this disorder. Other causes of plantar fasciitis include wearing nonsupportive shoes, radically ramping up your exercise routine, overuse, obesity and work or activities that have you on your feet for many hours at a time.
Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah, will examine your feet and ask questions about your work, fitness and other activities. X-rays or other imaging studies may be ordered. There are other sources of heel pain such as arthritis and nerve issues that the foot doctor will need to rule out. Once a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is confirmed, there are several conservative treatment options the foot doctor may recommend including:
Cold weather can trigger certain podiatric conditions. Have you noticed a stiffness or pain in the joint of your big toe (particularly on those very chilly or damp days)? Is it swollen, red and warm to the touch? Is there a bump on the top of the joint? Do activities such as squatting or running seem more difficult? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have the beginnings of a disorder known as Hallux Rigidus. Since many patients at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care have not heard of this condition, here are a few facts to help you better understand what it is and how it can be treated.
If cold days are causing discomfort in your big toe joint (or other joints in your feet or ankles) contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office sooner rather than later for an appointment by calling: 732-662-3050.
After many hours of standing or walking a long distance, it’s not unusual for your feet to feel like they’re on fire. If, however, you find that you are experiencing a burning sensation in your feet on a regular basis, regardless of activity or time of day, the foot doctors at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care will need to see you for a podiatric examination, particularly if you are over the age of 50. Burning feet may be a sign of a serious health problem, such as:
Heavy alcohol use and gastric restriction in people who are extremely obese can also be the root of a burning sensation in the feet.
Our foot doctors, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will want to get a complete medical history in addition to examining your feet. If the podiatrist suspects a systemic disorder you may be referred to your general physician or a specialist for further testing and consultation.
If no significant health issues are diagnosed, there are several ways you can try to reduce the burning sensation. These include:
Sometimes a mechanical imbalance in your feet can be the cause of the burning sensation. The podiatrist may recommend orthotics to help correct the position of the foot. The bottom line is that if you persistently experience burning feet, you need to contact our Monroe, Edison or Monmouth Junction office to make an appointment and get it checked.
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