What your doctors in Reston, Fairfax, Ashburn and McLean want you to know
You don’t have to play sports to sprain your ankle. You can sprain your ankle just from moving incorrectly or stepping off of the sidewalk. As you get older, your muscles, tendons and ligaments become weaker, making you less agile and more susceptible to an ankle sprain.
Your doctors at Family Foot and Ankle Center want to share their knowledge about caring for a sprained ankle. They have offices in Reston, Fairfax, Ashburn and McLean, VA, to help you.
Unexpected movements while you are exercising, walking or playing sports can cause you to twist your ankle. Some of the more common sports to cause ankle sprains include:
There are some definite signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain which you need to pay attention to. You may have experienced an ankle sprain if you feel these changes in your ankle:
- Severe pain
- Bruising, swelling and tenderness
- A popping sound when you move unexpectedly
- Uncontrolled movement of your ankle
- Feeling instability in your ankle
- You can try to treat the ankle sprain yourself by following a few simple home remedies including:
- Taking the weight off of your ankle by resting it
- Elevating your ankle during the first 48 hours
- Applying ice for 20-30 minutes several times each day
- Wrapping your ankle to support it
- Taking over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications
For many ankle sprains, it’s best to visit your podiatrist who may recommend:
- Immobilization by wearing a brace or walking cast for a few weeks
- Using crutches for the first few days
- Training and balance exercises to improve stability
- Physical therapy to increase mobility and reduce stiffness
You don’t have to suffer from an ankle sprain when help is just a phone call away. If you have a sprained ankle, it’s time to call your doctors at Family Foot and Ankle Center. They have several convenient office locations in Reston, Fairfax, Ashburn and McLean, VA, to help you care for your ankle sprain. Call (703) 556-8637 today!
With every step you take, you put pressure on certain areas of your feet. If you notice pain, sores or wounds developing on your feet, it’s time to see a podiatrist. One of the most common solutions for this problem is offloading.
What Is Offloading?
Offloading is a medical term for relieving pressure on a part of the body. In podiatry, offloading refers to reducing pressure to areas of the foot to reduce pain and “trauma” to those areas. Offloading is commonly used to discuss diabetic foot care, as some people with this medical condition also have problems with diabetic foot ulcers (DFU).
Diabetic Foot Ulcers
It’s estimated that about 15 percent of patients who are diagnosed with diabetes develop diabetic foot ulcers. These are wounds (sometimes painless) that develop over time due to a combination of applying too much pressure to certain areas of the foot when walking and complications related to high blood glucose levels. It’s also exasperated by wearing poorly made shoes. Diabetic foot ulcers can become infected and lead to hospital stays when they go untreated. They must be thoroughly cleaned, debrided and treated to eliminate the infection.
Offloading is a set of techniques designed to help patients who have problems with foot ulcers and similar sores because of pressure to certain parts of the foot. Common offloading solutions include:
- Wearing specially designed foot casts.
- Prescribing orthotic walkers to assist with walking.
- Designing custom orthotic shoes that will better distribute pressure throughout the foot.
- Physical therapy to improve the way the patient walks.
Protecting Your Feet
In addition to exploring offloading solutions with your podiatrist, you can also take actions at home to relieve or prevent the symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers:
- Wear comfortable shoes, preferably made of leather, that don’t put too much pressure on one area of the foot, such as the arch or the toes. Flip-flops are a no-no.
- Clean and bandage your feet and the wound every day.
- Keep your blood sugar levels in balance to aid in the healing process.
It’s important that you keep an open line with your podiatrist in case a foot ulcer or similar wound becomes infected. Offloading is the best solution to ensure that these sores heal and are prevented from developing in the future.
Dancing is a beautiful artistic endeavor, but, unfortunately, it can cause a number of footrelated conditions in the artist. If you’re a dancer, whether it’s for fun or your profession, learn more about dancing and how it can affect your feet. It’s wise to maintain regular appointments with a trusted podiatrist to ensure the ongoing health of your feet.
How Dancing Puts Wear and Tear on Your Feet
Some people don’t realize that dancing is a very demanding sport. Dancers put as much wear, tear and strain on their feet as sports athletes do. Ballerinas, in particular, have to manage a variety of foot and toerelated complications because of their shoes and the need to dance on tiptoes. Ballroom dancers also spend hours on their feet, performing complex movements that involve their feet, toes, ankles and legs. Even hiphop and step dancers often have problems due to putting frequent pressure on certain areas of the feet and stomping down on them.
Common foot conditions related to dancing include:
- Corns and calluses
- Bruises, wounds and ulcers around the toes or underfoot
- Hammertoe syndrome
- Heel spurs/plantar fasciitis
- Missing toenails
Pull Out Your “Dancing Shoes”
The shoes that you wear while dancing can have a major effect on the health of your feet. Invest in shoes or orthotics that are specifically designed for the type of dancing that you enjoy—even if they are a bit more expensive than what you find in regular stores. For instance, female ballroom dancers need highheeled dancing shoes that can absorb shock, cushion the heel and relieve pressure on the parts of the foot that often come in hard contact with the floor. Flexible orthotic insoles are available for ballet shoes that can help give the feet more support.
Foot Therapy for Dancers
Regular visits to your podiatrist are also crucial to keeping your feet healthy when you’re a dancer. Podiatrists can help by administering physical therapy and foot exercises designed to strengthen the tendons and muscles of your feet. Ice massage and soaking the feet can also help to relieve symptoms. A podiatrist may also prescribe NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) for pain relief.
You can pursue the art of dancing without sacrificing the health and wellness of your feet. Schedule a visit with a podiatrist to talk about preventative solutions and relief of symptoms that you’re currently experiencing.
PAD, or Peripheral Arterial Disease, reduces blood circulation in the feet and legs. It can lead to a host of other serious physical problems if not treated and managed properly.
What is PAD?
PAD happens when the insides of the arteries experience a buildup of fatty deposits. Also known as plaque, these deposits reduce the blood flow to the legs and feet. Like the plaque that forms on your teeth, it is extremely detrimental to the tissues where it develops. The arteries harden and become narrow, a condition known as atherosclerosis. The disease presents as upper and lower leg pain during activity, foot or toe pain during rest, and ulcerated sores on your feet that heal very slowly. Some people do not experience pain, however.
As many as one in five Americans aged 70 and over are afflicted with this disease, and with it comes a markedly increased risk for death from a heart attack or stroke. Complications from PAD can also lead to amputations.
What causes PAD?
While diabetes and high blood pressure can exacerbate PAD, a person's habits can largely compound the problem. Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet are all contributing factors to PAD and the complications that come with it.
How is PAD treated?
Your podiatrist will perform a simple test that compares the blood pressure in your arm with that in your ankle. An abnormality warrants other tests to determine how extensive your PAD is. It can then be managed with medicines designed to prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Lifestyle changes are a must smoking cessation, an exercise regimen and a healthful diet are essential. Advanced cases may require surgery.
PAD is a serious disease, but maintaining a relationship with your podiatrist and committing to a healthier way of life can help control its effects.
Doing an online search for the real effects of ballet shoes on the feet will likely bring up some pretty scary images. However, it shouldn’t scare you away from pursuing ballet—it is a beautiful and expressive form of dance that can be very rewarding. If you’re a ballerina or you’re thinking about enrolling your child in ballet classes, learn more about how ballet shoes can affect the feet. You can then take proper steps to protect your feet going forward.
Wearing Ballet Shoes
Ballet shoes are designed for utility, not for the benefit of your feet. They are made of canvas and silk material with lace straps that wrap around the ankles. Each shoe shapes the toes and feet so that they can be trained in a certain formation for dancing. Ballet dancers often have to get on tippy toes at a moment’s notice to keep up with choreography, so their shoes have to support this action, just as sneakers support the quick actions of tennis players.
What Can Ballet Shoes Do to Your Feet?
Podiatrists often treat ballerinas and other dancers who have serious foot problems. Here are a few issues that can develop as a result of wearing ballet shoes:
- Hammertoes (the toes begin to bend forward, and in some cases become stuck in that position).
- Corns, calluses
- Blisters, ulcers, sores and wounds
- Bunions (the bone on the inside of the foot begins to move outward)
- Nail fungus and sometimes loss of toenails
Many ballerinas suffer these foot problems in silence, but the best course of action is to begin seeing a qualified podiatrist early in your career. Ongoing care and foot therapy can help minimize the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet.
Caring for Your Feet as a Ballerina
Treatments are available at the podiatrist’s office that can give your feet relief from the symptoms of dancing and wearing ballet shoes. Ulcers must be drained and disinfected. Hammertoes can be corrected with splints or prescribing orthotic shoes to wear when not dancing. Treatments are also available to eliminate toenail fungus. Another top goal of podiatry for ballerinas is pain management—exercises and medications can help relieve pain.
Getting help from a podiatrist is crucial if you want to reduce the negative effects of ballet shoes on your feet. It’s never too late to seek help from a foot professional who understands these issues, so schedule a consultation appointment today.
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