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!
Find out how to prevent and treat running injuries.
If athletes could have it their way, they would enjoy every mile of their run without experiencing any pain, discomfort or soreness. While this sounds ideal, it’s sadly not the reality we live in. With uneven and sometimes rough and rocky terrain, runners face a variety of conditions that are tough on their feet and ankles and can cause serious issues. Here are some of the most common running injuries we see and what you can do about them.
This condition often occurs because of repeated stress or overuse and affects the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel. When a runner develops Achilles tendinitis, this means the tendon is irritated and often stiff.
- Risk Factors: This condition is usually the result of a sudden increase in training, which can put unnecessary pressure on your calves. While it’s great to push yourself during your workout, you must create realistic goals to prevent injuries.
- Care: You will want to rest whenever you can and elevate your foot. Apply ice for 10 to 20 minutes a day, several times a day. Also, perform strengthening and stretching exercises like heel drops, and opt for low-Âimpact cardio instead.
- Workout Impact: If you notice pain during or after your run you need to halt all activities until your injury is better. This is certainly not a condition that you want to continue to work out with. If you stop your workouts while the condition is still minor, you will have a faster healing time than someone who continues to work out through the pain.
Repeated stress and overtraining are the two main causes of these fractures, which can be caused by increasing your workout intensity or duration too fast. They are one of the most serious conditions that runners face.
- Risk Factors: However, those who’ve been running longer are less at risk for stress fractures than those who just started. Women are also more prone to stress fractures than men, often due to a lack of sufficient calorie intake or other nutritional deficits.
- Care: Stay off your foot until you can walk without pain. Once this happens, you can slowly incorporate jogging into your routine. You can use OTC pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and swelling. Talk to your podiatrist about whether you may need crutches.
- Workout Impact: Do not workout while you have a stress fracture. You should take anywhere from eight to 16 weeks away from your workouts. This, of course, will depend on the severity of your fracture. Again, opt for swimming or other low-Âimpact sports in the meantime.
If you ever experience severe or chronic pain in your feet or ankles it’s important to contact your podiatrist right away. While at-Âhome care can certainly alleviate your symptoms, if your symptoms affect your dayÂtoÂday activities, then it’s time to seek medical attention.
Venous ulcers can be painful and difficult to treat. Knowing how they form is essential to treating them before they advance.
Venous ulcers, also called vascular, stasis or varicose ulcers, form when the veins in the lower extremities do not allow for sufficient blood flow back to the heart. They typically appear as dark purple or red blotches under the skin on the inside of the leg between the ankle and the calf. Over time, they can ulcerate, creating an open wound that is painful, inflamed and itchy. These ulcers are typically slow to heal and can harbor infection as a result.
Recognizing the signs
If you notice a dark bruiseÂlike area forming on one or both of your lower legs, contact your doctor immediately. Treating these pools of stagnant blood before they turn into ulcers is extremely important.
The first step in treating venous ulcers is to promote blood circulation. Alternate lying down with your feet propped up to the level of your heart with daily walking. Physical activity helps the blood to move through your body more efficiently. Even after an ulcer has healed, wearing compression stockings at all times (except for bathing and sleep) will also help to encourage the blood to continue to circulate properly.
Recurring ulcers may require skin grafts or surgery.
Although venous ulcers can be caused by other problems, they are often caused by lifestyle issues such as smoking, obesity and inactivity. Maintaining a healthful diet and a regimen of regular exercise can help prevent a multitude of problems, including the formation of venous ulcers.
It is important to remember that if an ulcer has formed, early treatment is usually more successful than waiting until the ulcer has become larger or infected. If you think you may be at risk for venous ulcers or other circulatory problems, talk with your doctor.
No one likes smelly shoes; here are some fast and easy ways to eliminate shoe odors.
Sometimes our day just wouldn’t be complete without our morning runs; however, sweating and active feet can often cause some rather unpleasant shoe odors. You don’t even have to be athletic to deal with this problem. Even just wearing the same shoes all day can cause this embarrassing issue. If you’ve started to notice an unpleasant smell coming from your shoes, there are ways to combat this problem without needing to toss them out.
- Use a newspaper: After wearing your shoes all day be sure to put newspaper in them immediately after taking them off. Even if you haven’t exercised in your shoes, your feet can still sweat. Absorb some of the odorÂproducing sweat by putting newspapers in your shoes. Leave the paper in until you’re ready to wear them, and you’ll be amazed at how fresh they still smell.
- Put them in the freezer or outside: While this sounds like an unusual method, putting your shoes in the freezer is a highly effective way to kill the bacteria that cause shoe odors (the bacteria is no match for the extreme cold). However, before you just toss your shoes into the freezer, it’s best to put them in a plastic bag first so you don’t contaminate your freezer and its contents. Leave the shoes inside overnight, then and take them out and let them thaw a bit before wearing. And if you happen to live in a climate where the temperature regularly drops below freezing at night, putting the shoes in a paper bag and leaving them out for the night isn’t a bad idea either!
- Create your own odorÂkilling powder: Baking soda is a miracle agent that can remove odors from just about anything, so why not your shoes? You don’t have to spend a ton of money on odorÂfighting products when you can make your very own powder with things you can easily find in your kitchen. Mix three tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of cornstarch, and then add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil before mixing everything together. Sprinkle the powder into your shoes and let it sit overnight. Just be sure to dump out the powder before wearing them.
Follow these handy tips, and your shoes will smell brand new again. Don’t just shove your shoes in the closet after a long day, deodorize them to keep your shoes smelling fresh and clean!
As the weather heats up, you may begin pulling your summer clothing and sandals out from the back of your closet. However, after keeping your feet in socks and slippers all winter, you may notice that your toenails look a little “funky”. Luckily, your podiatrist can help. Toenail fungus is a common and treatable condition which affects many people everywhere. Learn more about toenail fungus with help from your podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center with offices in Fairfax, Reston, McLean, and Ashburn, VA.
What causes toenail fungus?
Fungi love moist, warm environments and do not need light in order to grow. This makes your toes and feet, routinely tucked inside socks and shoes, the perfect breeding ground for fungi. The fungi enter the skin through tiny cuts or scrapes and through tiny separations between the nail bed and toenail. Those who are often in warm, moist environments like gym locker rooms and public pools are more at-risk for toenail fungus. Additionally, males, those with decreased blood flow, and individuals who are of older age are at-risk for toenail fungus.
Identifying Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus has some tell-tale symptoms. It begins as a white or yellow dot on the toenail and presents more symptoms over time. They include:
- a thickened nail
- a yellowed nail
- a nail with crumbling edges
- a nail with a dull or matte finish instead of shine
- distorted shape
- separation of the nail and nail bed
How can lasers treat toenail fungus?
There are many over-the-counter remedies for toenail fungus. However, these remedies work over long periods of time with continued use. If over-the-counter medications do not yield results, it may be time to see your podiatrist. FDA-Approved laser treatment for toenail fungus, available at Family Foot and Ankle Care, has proven effective and has no known side effects. The laser generates heat. The pigments in the affected toenail absorb the heat, which kills the fungal cells.
For more information on laser treatments for toenail fungus, 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
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