Consider the health of your feet the when you purchase your next pair of ski boots.
It’s time to grab those skis and hit the trails! Perhaps you’ve finally decided to take that weekend trip and go skiing with the family, but before you leave, you need to purchase a new pair of ski boots. Before you grab the first pair of boots that you see, it’s important to consider your feet and ankles. Your podiatrist offers up foot care tips for skiers and snow bunnies alike.
Why Do I Need Proper Ski Boots?
While this might seem like a silly question, you would be surprised how many athletes and skiers don’t really consider their foot and ankle health when it comes time to purchase shoes. However, your feet and ankles absorb shock and act as brakes, able to turn and steer in a different direction at a moment’s notice. This is a lot of wear and tear on your feet, and if you’ve ever had a preexisting foot injury, you are even more prone to damage.
You can reduce your chances of injury just by buying proper skiing gear. Ski boots are, by far, the most important piece of equipment you’ll own as a skier. Here are some things you should know before purchasing your next pair of ski boots:
- Your ski boots should fit snugly. If the boots are too loose, they will slide around, placing pressure and strain on different areas of the foot.
- If you have found it difficult to turn while skiing, this may be due to an imbalance in the structure of your foot. If this is the case, talk to your podiatrist about custommade orthotics that can be inserted into your ski boots to provide additional support and stability.
- It’s generally a good idea to buy or rent your skis from someone who knows about ski boots, like a winter sports retail specialist. If you already have orthotics that you wear when you ski, you’ll want to bring those in—along with the socks you’ll wear on the slopes—when you are trying on a new pair of ski boots.
- Try on a variety of different ski boots and walk around the store in them to see how they fit. Remember that you’ll probably be wearing these boots for several hours a day, so they must fit you perfectly.
- If you’re an avid skier, then talk to your podiatrist about special orthotics that can be used to protect your feet from constant wear and tear that will happen when you’re on the slopes for hours a day, multiple days a week.
The more time you spend calculating how your foot health plays into the equation the safer your feet will be when it comes time to hit the slopes. Enjoy a fantastic ski weekend without worrying about foot injuries!
Find out how marathons impact feet and what you can do to maintain good foot health.
Marathons are a great way to stay active and fit while also enjoying the rush of the competition. For some, marathons are a lifestyle that they just can’t live without. The adrenaline and endorphins from completing another marathon can leave you hungry for more; however, while you’re enjoying the afterglow of yet another completed marathon, it’s important to consider your feet!
While we often don’t think of our feet until there is a problem, it’s important to protect them during marathon training and competitions to ensure that they stay healthy and happy. Let’s learn about the effect marathons can have on your feet, and what you can do to protect them.
Common Foot Problems of Marathon Runners
While marathoners tend to be healthier than the rest of the population, there are some precautions that should be taken to ensure that the athlete staves off the common injuries that can occur over those strenuous miles.
Do you know just how much a marathon knocks your feet around? On average, a runner will land about 13,00020,000 times on each foot with their whole weight. That’s certainly a lot of force and pressure that your feet have to deal with. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you experience any of these common issues:
- Toenail injuries
While these conditions are more common and rarely warrant a trip to your podiatrist’s office, there are some other more serious foot conditions that marathoners need to be aware of:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Stress fractures
- Ankle strains and sprains
Foot Problem Prevention
The key to preventing marathonrelated foot injuries is to always choose the proper shoes. This means finding highimpact shoes that can give you the ample support your foot needs to do its job properly. Go to a sporting goods shoe store, where the employees will have some expertise in which shoes would work best for your athletic needs. Here are some good rules when it comes to your marathon shoes:
- Never purchase shoes that are too loose or too tight. While you want room for your toes to move around, you don’t want the shoes rubbing against parts of your feet.
- Opt for orthotics to provide additional support and comfort while pounding the pavement.
- Always throw out old shoes, as they won’t provide you with the proper support and cushioning you need. While it’s up for debate when you should replace your shoes, most runners tend to toss their old pair after about 300 to 400 miles.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. While some foot pain can easily go away on its own with rest, some conditions are more serious and require your podiatrist’s attention. If your symptoms become severe or don’t go away after a couple days, it’s might be time to schedule an appointment with us.
Your heel really hurts. You feel a stabbing pain, and it’s so bad you can’t do what you need to do. Instead, you are forced to sit with your feet up and try to relax. It’s frustrating, because you have a busy life, but you can hardly put pressure on your feet. It’s time to see your podiatrist at Family Foot and Ankle Centers serving McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Reston, and get back on your feet.
- A heel spur, which is a hard calcium deposit on the bottom of your heel
- A stone bruise, which you can get on the underside of your heel from stepping on a sharp stone or rock
- Bursitis, which is inflammation where your Achilles tendon connects to your heel bone
- Using wedges and heel or arch supports
- Stretching your arches
- Icing your heel 3 times a day for 15 minutes
- Taking over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen
Hallux valgus may sound like a complicated, rare disease or a spell from the Harry Potter universe, but it's actually another name for bunions, a common foot disorder.
If your podiatrist has diagnosed you with hallux valgus, you may be a little taken aback. Don't worry, that's just a long name for a common foot disorder also known as a bunion. The hallux is better known as your big toe, and "valgus" means bent or twisted. These two words together describe exactly what a bunion is your big toe bent toward your other toes. Moving on to your next possible concerns: why does this problem exist and how can it be treated or prevented?
Hallux Valgus 101
Bunions form due to pressure on the two joints of the big toe. This toe becomes angled unnaturally inward and the bunion is the resulting deformity of the bone. Contrary to popular belief, they are not tumors or cysts. Bunions can present with pain, swelling, and increasingly limited range of motion.
Experts are divided on the cause of bunions: some believe that they are genetic, while others place the blame on years of wearing shoes that crowd the toes. In either case, shoes are thought to worsen hallux valgus deformities over time if they put pressure on the toes or contort the feet into abnormal positions. Since women's footwear is generally more narrow and confining than men's, bunions occur more often in them. While arthritis does not necessarily cause bunions, the joint inflammation can worsen them.
Your podiatrist will likely recommend nonsurgical options first. You should ensure that your shoes are comfortable and fit properly. Specialty shoe store employees can take measurements of your foot and recommend the best size. Shoe inserts or arch supports can be used to redistribute your weight and relax the muscles. For pain, overthecounter analgesics like ibuprofen or naproxen are recommended.
If you continue you to have problems, surgery to remove some of the bone or surrounding tissue to straighten the foot back into position. A change in the shape of your foot or the way your shoes fit warrants a call to your podiatrist for evaluation.
Find out how to manage chronic arthritic symptoms to keep you on your toes!
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1 percent of the population, mostly affecting women between the ages of 40 to 60. If you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis then you probably are looking for answers regarding your condition and what you can do to improve the health of your feet.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
This chronic, autoimmune disorder targets joints anywhere on the body, but mostly the hands and feet. Approximately 90 percent of patients diagnosed with this form of arthritis will develop foot or ankle symptoms at some point during the course of their disease.
What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Since this is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system actually attacks your body’s own tissue, causing inflammation and swelling of the joints. Those with rheumatoid arthritis also experience pain and stiffness in the feet and hands. While other forms of arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis) only affect one joint, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the exact same joints in both feet.
Different deformities (e.g. bunions; claw toes) and other problems may also develop, depending on what foot joint the rheumatoid arthritis inflicts.
What are the treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis?
While there is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis there are a variety of treatment options available to our patients to help reduce their symptoms and keep them living full, active lives. Certain medications can be prescribed to stop the immune system from attacking the joints.
Here are the most common types of orthopedic treatment options we recommend; however, remember that these treatments will not slow down or stop how the disease progresses, but it will help you to manage your symptoms:
Rest: This means reducing any movements or actions that make your rheumatoid arthritis pain worse. If you are naturally an active person, you may want to opt for lowimpact activities like swimming, which takes pressure and impact off the joints in the foot.
Antiinflammatories: Certain overthecounter antiinflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and inflammation. However, if your symptoms are severe then it might be time to talk to your podiatrist about prescribed pain relievers.
Icing: Apply an ice pack to the swollen, stiff joints for about 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day. Icing can be particularly effective after you have finished any kind of physical activity.
Orthotics: If you experience a lot of issues walking or find that certain parts of your feet ache, then it might not be a bad idea to talk to your podiatrist about customized shoe inserts that can help correct foot deformities and take pressure off certain areas of your feet.
If there is severe joint damage, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to repair the issue. There are different types of foot surgeries to accommodate different rheumatoid arthritis issues and your podiatrist would be happy to sit down and discuss your surgical options.
If you have any questions about rheumatoid arthritis, call your podiatrist today!
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