At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we are starting to see more fitness-related foot and ankle injuries. This is not surprising, as it’s close to a month after enthusiastic resolutions to get in shape have been made by many of our Hartford and Middlesex county patients. Below are some common scenarios that lead to exercise failure and how to avoid them.
“I’m going to start out running three miles a day, five days a week—even though I haven’t done much exercise at all for the last four months.”
It’s essential, especially if you’ve been inactive for a while, that you begin a new exercise program slowly. Forcing your body to go from zero to sixty without appropriate time to strengthen muscles and tendons is sure to lead to injuries like ankle sprains and Achilles tendonitis, as well as extreme fatigue. Plan a routine that allows a day of rest between workouts initially and also includes warmups, stretching, and cooldowns.
“I’m not sure if I am really going to stick with this new exercise program, so I’ll just use my old sneakers for now.”
It’s no surprise that we believe the most important piece of exercise equipment you’ll use are your shoes. Today’s fitness footwear is custom-designed for the movements required of your feet for specific activities. But using old shoes has another danger. Shoes that are worn and stretched out can lead to foot pain and injury. Heel pain, for example, can be caused by worn-down arch supports or heel cups. To ensure the best chance of a new fitness plan succeeding, get your foot professionally measured at a store that specializes in fitness footwear.
“I had plantar fasciitis a while back, but it hasn’t bothered me lately. I think I’m okay to start a new fitness regimen.”
Old injuries can flare up when you increase physical activity. It’s always best to contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices so that our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. and Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. can conduct a complete podiatric checkup before beginning a new exercise program. The foot doctor can check on chronic conditions and make recommendations that will increase your comfort and safety when exercising.
The skin on your feet is susceptible to a number of different issues that can have a detrimental effect on your overall podiatric health. At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we want our Middlesex and Greater Hartford county patients to be proactive in preventing issues such as fungal infections, corns, blisters, and calluses.
Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid common skin disorders:
- Keep it clean. Wash your feet every day with soap and warm water. This will go a long way toward preventing bacterial and fungal infections.
- Don’t wear shoes that hurt. Shoes that fit properly are essential for preventing many foot problems, including skin breakdown. Corns, calluses and ingrown toenails can all be the result of shoes that are too tight or rub on a part of your foot. Get your feet professionally measured and discard shoes when they are worn out.
- Make sure feet stay dry. Moist conditions foster fungal growth. Dry feet completely after showering. Don’t let your feet sit in damp socks. Change them as soon as you notice they feel wet. If your feet tend to sweat excessively, dust them with talcum or anti-fungal foot powder each day before putting on your socks.
- Avoid sharing items that touch another person’s feet. Athlete’s foot and fungal toenails are spread by direct contact. Don’t use nail clippers, socks, shoes, towels or anything else that may have touched another person’s feet. Keep feet covered as well when walking in public places.
- Use a good quality moisturizer. During the winter months especially, it’s easy for the skin on your feet (and the rest of your body) to become dry. On your feet, this can lead to heel cracks and itchy skin. Before bed, apply an emollient moisturizer and a pair of cotton socks to sleep in and you’ll help your skin stay supple and soft.
- Don’t put off making an appointment if you have a new or ongoing foot problem. Progressive issues like bunions and overlapping toes can be the source of corns or open sores. Skin irritations that are not treated can become infected. If you have a foot concern, contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices so that our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. and Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M., can prescribe the correct treatment to keep your entire foot healthy.
At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we fully expect to start seeing more cases of Achilles tendonitis once the “get fit” New Year’s resolutions kick into high gear. Although becoming physically fit is an excellent goal, too many of our Hartford and Middlesex county patients can be overzealous in their approach, which often results in lower extremity pain and injury.
The Achilles tendon is a long band of tissue that stretches down the back of your lower leg, connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. While this is a very strong tendon, overuse can cause it to become inflamed and even to suffer damage in the form of micro-tears.
Below are five steps to take to prevent Achilles tendonitis:
Don’t overdo it when starting a new exercise routine. The most common cause of injury to the Achilles tendon is a sudden increase in physical activity after an extended period of inactivity. Once the resolution to get in shape has been made, many times people get carried away with their enthusiasm and a “more is better” approach is adopted. The better course is to start out slowly and gradually, over a period of weeks, work up to a higher intensity workout of longer duration.
- Stretch it out. Whatever sport or activity you choose, start by warming up your muscles with some light movements and then stretch your calf muscles before going fully into your routine.
- Wear the right shoes. Choose footwear that is specifically designed for the activity you are doing. Patients who overpronate are more likely to aggravate their Achilles tendon. Talk to our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. and Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M., for shoe recommendations if you overpronate.
- Choose a sound fitness program. Hill running, stair climbing and rapidly pushing off or increasing speed when running are all activities that can inflame the Achilles tendon. Be sure that these types of activities are done in moderation if they are part of your workout plan.
- Get pain evaluated promptly. If at any time during your workout your Achilles tendon starts to hurt, stop and rest. If the pain persists after your workout, contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices for an appointment to determine if there is inflammation or injury.
Some icy weather in Middlesex and Greater Hartford counties in recent weeks has resulted in a rash of ankle sprains being seen here at Connecticut Foot Care Centers. If you suffer an ankle-twisting injury, signs that your ankle might be sprained include:
- Pain or soreness
- Joint stiffness
It may also be difficult to walk or bear weight on the injured ankle. However, many patients mistakenly think that if they can walk on it, their ankle must not be sprained. This is not true and keeps patients from getting the prompt medical attention needed.
Why Immediate Care is Necessary
Rehabilitation of an ankle sprain that is started right away brings the best and most complete recovery. Contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices for an appointment. Until you can be seen, follow the RICE regimen: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation to minimize pain and swelling. Consequences of not being seen promptly are:
- Missing a more severe injury, such as a fracture, that may have occurred as a result of the same injury.
- A chance that the ankle will not heal completely. Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments get overstretched. While your ankle may feel well enough to resume regular activities, if it hasn’t been fully rehabilitated, the ligament will remain loose, increasing the likelihood of another sprain. Over time, chronic ankle instability may develop.
Once our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. and Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. examine your ankle and discuss your symptoms and the circumstances of the injury, they will begin to formulate a diagnosis. X-rays or other imaging studies may also be ordered to get a clearer picture of the condition of the ankle. The treatment will depend on the severity of the sprain, but will likely include rest, physical therapy and possibly medication.
During the cold winter months, more Middlesex and Greater Hartford County patients are asking us at Connecticut Foot Care Centers about Raynaud’s. Below are some answers to help you better understand this condition that can affect your toes and fingers.
Q: Are Raynaud’s Disease and Raynaud’s Phenomenon the same thing?
A: Raynaud’s is a condition where the blood vessels in the feet and hands overreact to the cold, resulting in spasms in the small vessels which cause skin on the extremities to turn red or whitish-blue. It can also cause a prickly or stinging feeling in your toes and fingers as well as numbness. When this disorder occurs on its own, it’s known as Raynaud’s Disease (or Primary Raynaud’s). When it is caused by another condition, it’s called Raynaud’s Phenomenon (or Secondary Raynaud’s).
Q: What causes Raynaud’s?
A: Researchers are not completely sure. In the case of Secondary Raynaud’s, it can occur due to an autoimmune, connective tissue or arterial disease. It can also happen to patients who smoke, take certain medications or have suffered an overuse injury. In some patients, Raynaud’s is triggered by stress.
Q: What should I do if I experience symptoms of Raynaud’s?
A: You should get inside or to a warmer location. Then you can try to slowly warm your toes by wiggling and massaging them or running warm (not hot water) over them. If this is your first attack of Raynaud’s, make an appointment at one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices. Our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. and Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. will examine your feet and get a complete medical history. They will determine if you have Primary or Secondary Raynaud’s and what steps should be taken to minimize the number and severity of the attacks.
Q: What kinds of treatments are available for Raynaud’s?
A: If Raynaud’s exists on its own, the podiatrist may recommend lifestyle changes such as not smoking, increasing the amount of exercise you get and other things that improve circulation. There are also medications, surgery and alternative medicine treatment options available. If Raynaud’s exists in conjunction with another disease, treatment for that condition will need to be determined.
Q: How can I prevent Raynaud’s attacks?
A: Wear multiple pairs of socks to help keep feet warm. Don’t spend prolonged periods of time outdoors when the temperatures are really low. Warm up your car before getting into it on frosty days. Learn how to reduce stress in a healthy way.
If you have additional questions about Raynaud’s or another podiatric problem, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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