Any workout instructor or coach will tell you that you have to stretch your body before participating in strenuous activity, and that is good advice. However, stretching isn’t a cure-all for all that ails your feet. Here are a few busted stretching myths that you may have been taught in physical education class as a youngster. The full truth can be found by making an appointment to talk to your podiatrist.
Myth 1: Stretching Prevents All Foot Injuries
Stretching regularly reduces the chance of injury to the feet, but it doesn’t prevent injuries from happening altogether. Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney found that stretching before physical activity doesn’t really make a difference as to whether an injury will occur. Also, if you think that stretching before a workout will eliminate soreness the next day, that’s also a myth. Stretching just gives you more flexibility and may help reduce the occurrences of serious sprains.
Myth 2: Even Stretching for Just Under a Minute Helps
Many people who stretch before a workout or sports game only do so for a few moments before jumping fullspeed into the activity. But studies have shown that stretching for just 30 to 45 seconds is not enough to make a significant effect on the flexibility of muscles and joints in your feet. Stretching longer (at least five to 10 minutes) is a better idea. Some experts suggest that simply easing slowly into the activity may even be more helpful than stretching in some cases.
Myth 3: Stretching Will Heal the Muscles and Joints
Some patients neglect to visit their doctor when they have foot pain because they believe that simple stretching will heal torn or sprained ligaments. Stretching is a way of making your joints and muscles more flexible, but it does not heal them. Additional treatments and therapies are necessary to successfully heal torn, damaged or inflamed body parts.
These myths busted should not discourage you from stretching your feet and other body parts—just know that you shouldn’t think of it as a replacement for professional care and advice from a qualified podiatrist. If you’re an athlete having foot pain or complications, schedule an appointment to discuss the issue with your podiatrist today.
A minor cut or scratch on your foot is usually not cause for alarm, but certain kinds of wounds on your feet can become infected and lead to other health problems if they are not treated promptly.
Perhaps you've nicked your skin while trimming your toenails. Maybe your new shoes didn't fit properly and you have an uncomfortable blister on your ankle. Or you were outside working in your garden and discovered a rusty nail the hard way Â by stepping on it. These don't seem like cause for much concern, but foot wounds can necessitate immediate medical attention in some instances.
Certain ailments can make dealing with foot wounds profoundly more challenging. For instance, a simple blister in a healthy person would require a minimal amount of treatment in order to heal. But for someone who has poor circulation or neuropathy, found in individuals with diabetes and autoimmune or vascular disorders, the complications could be dire. These diseases, particularly diabetes, reduce feeling in the extremities and suppress healing. This means a scratch or cut on the foot can ulcerate, become infected and potentially lead to amputation if not treated promptly.
Patients who are at risk for foot wound complications should work directly with their physicians to understand how to prevent wounds and the management of existing wounds. This includes rigorous cleaning and careful inspection of the feet daily.
Feet are particularly susceptible to puncture wounds, as sharp objects on the ground may not be immediately seen as someone is walking. These injuries can be concerning because of the potential for harmful bacteria to thrive in the lowÂoxygen environment. The depth of the wound can cause pieces of debris to become trapped, and without proper care and cleaning, this can lead to a serious infection.
It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible after receiving a deep puncture wound on your foot, particularly if it penetrated your shoe. You may need a tetanus shot booster if you haven't received one in the last five to ten years. Even after visiting an emergency department, following up with a podiatrist afterwards is essential to ensure the injury site is clean and healing properly.
If you are diabetic or have another vascular disorder, it is important to maintain good hygiene and to stay in contact with your podiatrist in the event of an injury. Other foot wounds should be seen by a doctor to determine the best treatment.
Excessive sweating of the feet can be an embarrassing problem that can also lead to infection. Learn how to deal with sweaty feet through these tips.
Most people only notice sweating during hot weather or stressful situations. However, some have a condition called hyperhidrosis, which makes them genetically predisposed to sweating more often than the average person. Because the feet have a large amount of sweat glands, they are the one of the most common areas for hyperhidrosis to occur. With the skin constantly exposed to moisture, the feet are more susceptible to odor and infection.
Controlling this frustrating problem can involve one or more of the following techniques:
Talking about your sweaty feet may feel uncomfortable, but it's important to discuss your symptoms with a podiatrist to devise the best treatment for you. Many people respond well to prescriptionÂstrength antiperspirants. These contain a higher concentration of aluminum chloride than that found in storeÂbought products.
There is reported success with injections of botulinum toxin to stop the sweat glands' production. These treatments typically last between 3 and 9 months. There is also the possibility of using oral medications, called anticholinergics, but these can produce undesirable side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, and visual disturbances with longÂterm use.
People with hyperhidrosis must follow a strict hygiene regimen to combat their condition. Washing daily with antibacterial soap will help control infection and odor. Your feet should be dried thoroughly after bathing and powder such as cornstarch should be applied. Socks should be made of synthetic, breathable materials designed to draw moisture away from your feet. Cotton socks tend to hold moisture in and thus should be avoided.
The FDA recently approved iontophoresis devices, which submerge the feet in treated water and conduct a very low electrical current through the affected skin. These treatments are usually performed in a physician's office and take approximately an hour. There are also several surgical procedures available, but these are generally avoided unless all other treatments have been exhausted.
Having sweaty feet is a problem that can affect more than just your extremities Â it can have a profound impact on your selfÂesteem and social interaction. Your podiatrist is wellÂequipped to combat this issue; call today for an appointment.
Learn some helpful tips for how to properly care for your feet after foot surgery.
It’s probably a relief to know that your foot surgery is finally behind you and now you can focus your attention on healing. Of course, your recovery period will depend on you. After all, how you care for your foot after surgery may be the difference between a longer or shorter recovery time. From the office of your Fairfax, Reston, McLean, and Ashburn, VA podiatrists, find out how to protect your healing foot.
It’s extremely important that for the first two weeks after your procedure that you keep your foot elevated as much as possible. Swelling can be painful, but you can combat this by elevating the foot higher than the heart to drain the fluid.
Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may choose to relieve your discomfort through over-the-counter pain relievers. However, we will give most patients a prescription pain medication because they are often more effective for treating post-surgical pain. Note: Always let us know beforehand if there are any medications you are allergic to.
Whether you choose a frozen gel pack or a bag of frozen peas they can all work well for alleviating pain and swelling. Because bare skin should never be exposed to ice, always make sure that the ice is wrapped in a towel or that your skin has a sterile dressing over it. Ice the foot for up to 20 minutes at a time multiple times throughout the day.
A lot will depend on whether you are able to bear weight after your surgery or not. Those who can’t bear any weight will often use crutches. On average, most patients that aren’t allowed to bear weight after surgery will need to stay off the foot for about 6 weeks (the length of time might be longer for those with diabetes or bone issues).
If you are allowed to bear weight after your surgery, your Fairfax, Reston, McLean, and Ashburn, VA foot doctors will most likely recommend wearing a special shoe that will distribute the weight better to protect the area of the foot that has just been treated.
When to Call Us
If you start to notice redness around the sutures, pus, increased pain or you have a fever you need to give us a call right away. These are all signs of an infection and they need to be treated as soon as possible.
For more information about your foot health, please contact your podiatrist at Family Foot and Ankle Center. Call your local office or visit www.familyfootandankle.com to schedule your appointment today!
Fairfax, VA - (703) 273-9818
Reston, VA - (703) 723-2719
McLean, VA - (703) 556-8637
Ashburn, VA - (703) 723-9267
Give your ankles optimal stability and protection when hitting the basketball court.
When you’re playing a rousing game of basketball it can be hard to think about anything else. With your head in the game you may not even be thinking about whether your feet and ankles are getting the best protection they need to stay strong and to prevent injury; however, with the sudden stops and quick changes in movement your ankles can take quite the beating. To prevent injury to your ankles, here are some ways you can protect them while also enjoying your next game!
Opt for supportive shoes: While no shoe can completely prevent foot injuries from happening, some high top tennis shoes can absorb some of the shock and improve an athlete’s performance while in the game by offering better traction and structural support.
Consider an ankle brace: If you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, a sprain or stress fracture, then it might be time to consider wearing an ankle brace while in the game. These braces consist of soft shells, semiÂrigid material and stirrups that offer superior ankle joint stability and protection, making movement easier.
These braces are also meant to provide relief while promoting better performance. Some studies have even found that those players who wore ankle braces were less likely to deal with injuries than players who didn’t.
Perform proprioceptive exercises: While wearing better shoes and supportive braces can be helpful, it won’t prevent ankle sprains and other injuries. For those who have already suffered from sprains in the past, your lack of balance may be to blame. To improve your muscle, tendon and ligaments’ response to certain movements, exercises such as singleÂleg balances and inverted hamstring stretches can improve your proprioception.
Don’t overexert yourself: If you’ve already suffered from ankle injuries in the past, you’ll really want to pay close attention to your body. If you notice pain, then stop playing and give yourself some time to rest and recoup. Those who have been injured in the past are often more likely to develop a similar injury in the future. Don’t play the game if something doesn’t feel right.
Of course, even with the most diligent care and attention, accidents can still happen. If you experience any ankle injury while on the court, it’s important not to push yourself. The sooner you rest and get off your ankle the faster you will heal. If you think you’ve injured your ankle, then it’s time to see your podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan!
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