At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we’re starting to see a predictable increase in appointments for younger patients experiencing fall sports injuries. Many pediatric problems in young athletes can be avoided. Below are some common sports injuries and how to prevent them.
Plantar Fascitis—a long band of tissue known as the plantar fascia runs along the bottom of the foot. When the plantar fascia becomes aggravated and inflamed, your child can experience pain in the arch of the foot and also heel pain. This tends to be a recurring problem. In many cases, plantar fasciitis is related to a defect in foot structure. If your child has overly high arches or flat feet, he or she may need special footwear or a custom orthotic device to play sports comfortably.
Shin Splints—pain and swelling in the front of the lower part of the legs are the characteristic symptoms of this source of discomfort. Shin splints are often the result of repetitive activities like running. Changing training regimens stretches for the calves and properly supportive sports shoes can all help alleviate and prevent this condition.
Sever’s Disease—this condition specifically affects children in the age range of 8 to about 15. Until the heel bone is fully developed, new growth is constantly occurring, leaving a vulnerable area in the growth plate at the back of the heel. Overly-strenuous practices and sports that feature repeated pounding of the heel on hard surfaces, such as basketball, track, and soccer, can increase the risk for Sever’s Disease. In addition to rest periods, other ways to reduce irritation include: maintaining an appropriate weight, stretching exercises and correct footwear or support if your child has flat feet or high arches.
Achilles tendonitis—inflammation of this long tendon in the back of the leg that connects the calf muscle to the heel is most often the result of doing too much too quickly. It’s important that children and teen's condition themselves before the sports season and that coaches follow a training regimen that gradually increases the intensity and duration of physical activity.
If your child experiences pain or discomfort in their feet and ankles during or after sports, make an appointment at one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices as soon as possible. Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M.
At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we treat many patients with the deformity known as hammertoe. Patients can usually easily identify this condition by the bend in the middle joint of the second, third or fourth toe that causes it to resemble its namesake. What they may be less aware of, however, is that there are treatment options available to decrease pain and discomfort from hammertoes. In addition, not treating a hammertoe in its early stages can result in it becoming rigidly fixed in the bent position. Over time, painful corns and calluses may develop on the top of the toe joint or the tip of the toe.
Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M.
Medication—cortisone injections may be prescribed to relieve extreme pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
Taping—to change the imbalance around the toes and provide pain relief by altering the pressure on the toe, taping may be used.
Padding—placing soft padding on the top of the hammertoe can offer immediate relief from pressure and friction from footwear.
Shoe modifications—choosing shoes with roomy toe boxes made out of soft, flexible material may also help.
Exercises—the foot doctor may prescribe toe stretching and muscle strengthening exercises.
Custom orthotics—inserts made for your unique foot can redistribute weight and correct faulty foot function to reduce the imbalance causing the hammertoe.
If conservative measures fail to bring relief or the hammertoe has progressed to a permanently rigid position, surgery may be the only option. If you suspect you have a hammertoe developing, don’t delay. Contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices as soon as possible.
In September we celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and at Connecticut Foot Care Centers we want to join in encouraging our senior patients and those who love them to take the necessary steps to stay safe. Did you know that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries to older adults? There’s much you can do to prevent falls. Here are 6 suggestions:
- Get foot pain evaluated promptly. If your feet hurt, it alters the way you walk and this, in turn, can cause a fall. Make an appointment at 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.
orRaffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. candetermine the source of your foot pain and prescribe the correct treatment to alleviate it.
- Inspect your shoes periodically. Shoes that are stretched out, have worn down heels, loose stitching or tears in the uppers can trip you up. Be sure to get your foot measured professionally when buying new shoes because shoe size can increase with age, and wearing the wrong size will create discomfort.
Cross-checkyour medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist and make sure you are not taking medications that interact with one another to cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded.
- Get your eyes examined. If your vision is failing, falls are obviously more likely. Stick to your checkup schedule and see the eye doctor in between visits if you feel that your vision has changed.
- Fall-proof your home. Add lighting
tostairs inside and out and also in the path you walk to get to the bathroom at night. Remove loose throw rugs, stacks of magazines on the floor and low plants and furniture. Keep electrical and computer cords out of walkways in your home.
- Consider taking an exercise class that focuses on building better balance. Ask at your local senior center or contact the department of aging in your town for locations and times.
It’s time for back to school shopping, and at Connecticut Foot Care Centers we believe that one of the most important items on your list should be your child’s shoes. Well-made shoes that fit properly can prevent common foot injuries like ankle sprains and help keep your child’s feet healthy. Here’s a “cheat sheet” to help you score high marks on the shoe shopping test.
Study Up—be prepared for your shopping excursion. If your child is experiencing any foot discomfort, has a chronic podiatric condition (like Sever’s disease or overpronation) or recently sustained a foot injury, it’s best to get a checkup with one of our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. The foot doctor will assess the current condition of your child’s lower extremities and may suggest particular styles or features that will be safest and most comfortable.
Come Prepared—bring the type of socks that your child will wear with their new shoes to the store. Oftentimes the socks the store provides are thin and the shoe may appear roomier than it will be with the actual socks. Allow enough time to get your child’s foot professionally measured and then to try on several pairs of shoes to find the best ones. Make sure your child spends time walking around the store wearing both shoes before finalizing the sale. New shoes should feel comfortable from the moment you leave the store—no “breaking in” period should be necessary.
Know the Material—shoes should be made of natural materials that allow the foot to breathe. Be aware of the features of quality shoes:
- Roomy toe boxes (there should be about ½ an inch or a thumb’s width between the longest toe and the end of the shoe)
- Firm heel counter
- Padded insole or foot bed for shock absorption
- Non-slip tread
Don’t Lose Points—don’t hand shoes down to younger siblings. Each shoe wears according to the unique foot structure and gait of its wearer. Passing them on can lead to discomfort and foot problems.
If you have a toe, foot or ankle surgery coming up, we at Connecticut Foot Care Centers believe in the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” There are many podiatric conditions where a surgical procedure may provide the best or the only relief to foot pain and disability. Some of the more common ones include:
- Tumors and neuromas
- Arthritis/joint disease
- Heel or toe spurs
- Ingrown toenails
If one of our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. has recommended a surgical solution for a foot problem, discussing the following areas will help you plan appropriately and be more confident about the surgery.
The Procedure—the foot doctor will explain the surgical procedure to you. If there is any part that you don’t understand, ask questions. Some things you’ll want to know include:
- Will the surgery be done in one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices? Today, many podiatric surgeries can be done on an outpatient basis.
- Is there any pre-op testing needed?
- What type of anesthesia will be used?
- How long will the procedure take, and will I need someone to drive me home when it is over?
Post-Op Care—a big question on most patients’ minds is how much pain will I be in after the surgery? The podiatrist can address this with you as well as what pain management options will be available. You’ll also want to know if the foot that’s been operated on will be immobilized and if you will need assistive devices such as crutches, a motor scooter or surgical shoes.
Recovery—it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the recovery period from your surgery. How long will it be before you can bear weight on the affected foot? Drive? Resume work and regular activities? This will help you arrange for enough time off from work and enlist any help you might need from family and friends.
Follow Up—even after you’re able to return to work and normal activities, there may be physical therapy or other additional treatment necessary to complete the rehabilitation of your foot.
We want to ease any fears or anxiety that you may be feeling if you have an upcoming surgery. If you have unanswered questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for answers.
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