Posts for category: Common Foot Conditions, Sports Injuries, Pedi
Ah, that crisp fall air and leaves changing colors—that’s autumn in Connecticut and a time when many of our patients at Connecticut Foot Care Centers enjoy going hiking. And while hiking is a great way to take in the beauty of fall, it can also be injurious to the health of your feet if you fail to take the proper precautions. Below are some reminders to consider before you hit the trail.
Do Your Homework—before setting out on a hike, study the trail you are considering. Note how long it is as well as the degree of difficulty. Determine the type of surface you will be walking on and the elevations. Remember, a mile around your neighborhood is vastly different from a mile hiking up a mountain!
Get the Right Shoes—like all activities, your feet need to have the right footwear for maximum comfort and safety. Hiking boots should be made of sturdy material, well-insulated and moisture-proof and have steel or graphite shanks. If you have chronic weak ankles, choose a high-top style for added ankle support. Proper hiking boots protect your feet and reduce tendon and muscle fatigue. Your hiking shoes/boots should have a good tread to help compensate for loose rock and natural material on the trail.
Pair with Good Socks—even with the right shoes, the wrong socks can ruin your hike. When feet sweat, friction between foot and footwear is increased and this means a greater likelihood of getting blisters. A good strategy is to wear two pairs of socks: One thin, synthetic sock to help keep feet dry and then a pair of wool socks over them to add warmth and cushioning. Look for materials that wick moisture away from your feet. Damp feet are more prone to fungal infections.
Stock Your Pack—while you don’t want to be weighed down, a few small items will go a long way toward making your hike more comfortable. Pack moleskin and apply to any spot on your foot as soon as it begins to feel sore or irritated to prevent blisters. Bring an extra pair of socks and of course a water bottle, which will help you stay hydrated and reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.
If you do sustain an injury while hiking or are experiencing foot pain after you return, be sure to contact 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.
At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we find that the summer months tend to bring an increase in the number of cases of athlete’s foot we treat. Although children get this fungal infection more often than adults due to their habits and hygiene, both are particularly susceptible to the condition during this season because of the greater opportunity for people to be barefoot.
Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:
- Intense itching between the toes and on the soles of the feet
- Dry skin
- Redness and inflammation
- Blisters and oozing
Many over-the-counter treatments available for athlete’s foot often fail to make contact with the fungus which can be in the lower layers of the skin. If not treated promptly, athlete’s foot can spread to other parts of the body and other family members. It’s also possible for a secondary bacterial infection to develop where blisters pop and leave tender new tissue exposed. For this reason, it’s best to let 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. evaluate the skin condition and prescribe the best treatment.
Of course, the best treatment is prevention. Below are some suggestions for how to avoid contracting athlete’s foot.
- Keep feet clean. Wash them every day with warm water and a mild soap. It’s also important to dry them very well between the toes and all over.
- Don’t walk barefoot. Especially in public places like pools, beach or lake changing areas and restrooms, nail salons, gyms and camp showers.
- Change your shoes. Wearing the same pair over and over can increase the growth of fungi and bacteria inside the shoe.
- Don’t let feet get damp. Change your socks during the day if necessary. Apply a talcum or anti-fungal powder each day to help keep feet dry.
- Teach children not to share footwear, towels or other items that touch another person’s foot.
Sports participation was a staple of many of our upbringings. The smell of a freshly mowed field or the cheers of fans from the sidelines of a game can bring back wistful memories of passing a ball or rounding the bases. Playing sports at a young age can teach kids the value of teamwork and discipline, while helping them grow into their own abilities. However, sports always need to be approached with safety to prevent common sports injuries.
By knowing what causes these injuries and best prevention practices, you can feel secure knowing your child will have a fun and rewarding experience playing whatever sport they choose.
How you can prevent your child from getting hurt on the field:
- Always use the proper equipment – make sure your children’s safety gear is meant for the sports they’re playing and that it fits properly. Helmets should always be worn for baseball or softball, riding a bike, skateboard, or scooters, and for hockey. Many sports also require mouthguards, athletic cups, shin guards, shoulder pads, and other protective gear. Always ensure that protective equipment is approved by organizations associated with each sport. Discuss the proper equipment needed with your child’s coach.
- Adult supervision is a must – team sports need to be supervised by qualified adults. Review the safety statements from the leagues and teams you are considering for your child’s activities. Coaches should be trained in CPR and first aid and should always promote players’ well-being over an “always win” attitude.
- Ensure your kid is ready – discuss the rules of the sports and how to play before sending your child out on the field. You wouldn’t throw someone into a pool who didn’t know how to swim; it’s equally dangerous to send someone on a field without knowing how to play the game. This readiness includes warm-ups before practices and games, proper hydration, a well-balanced diet, and rest throughout the activity as needed.
- Playing surfaces should be properly maintained – check for holes or other things that could catch feet and ankles on the field. Wooden basketball courts or well-maintained tracks are best for high-impact sports like running or basketball. It’s advised against playing on less-forgiving surfaces like concrete.
If you notice any change in how your child is playing sports such as rubbing their leg or suddenly limping, pull them out of the game for rest. If the pain persists after a period of rests, or if you notice a change such as swelling or popping, contact our podiatry team at Connecticut Foot Care Centers, LLC. Our expert team of foot doctors maintain the highest level of accreditation and stay abreast of ongoing trends in podiatry.