Posts for: March, 2016
Being ‘light on your feet’ when dancing is not entirely true; dancing the night away can take a toll on feet and ankles. Both professional and amateur dancers can suffer foot injuries that can stop the show, as witnessed this season on the popular reality-television show, Dancing with the Stars.
According to Reston, Virginia foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, the most common types of dance-related foot and ankle problems are overuse injuries, which occur due to the repetitive movements in dance. “Over 50 percent of dance injuries occur in the foot and ankle. The severity of the damage is determined by a patient’s age, strength and flexibility and the type of shoes worn when dancing,” said Dr. Gordon.
Other common types of injuries related to dancing can include:
- Stress fractures (hairline breaks in the bone) from repeated jumping and landing
- Foot neuromas (thickening/irritation of the nerves in the ball of the foot) resulting from repetitive pivoting
- Shin splints (pain and swelling in the front of the lower legs) which can be aggravated by recurring activities
- Tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons in the foot) from over exertion
- Corns, calluses or blisters—all painful skin irritations resulting from repeated rubbing of the skin on the feet.
With dancing being repetitively hard on the lower extremities, how can dancers of any level protect their feet and ankles? “The best defense to injury is prevention. Dancers should wear appropriate shoes to properly support their feet and ankles as well as perform dance moves with their individual skill levels in mind,” Dr. Gordon said.
When an injury does occur, prompt medical attention by a foot and ankle surgeon can make all the difference in a proper rehabilitation. “Most dance injuries can be treated with conservative care as long as they are addressed early and not ignored,” Dr. Gordon adds. “Many people dispel foot pain if they can walk on the foot, but it is important to remember it is possible to walk on a seriously injured foot. Plus, common injuries, if left untreated, may require surgical intervention to ensure proper healing.”
If you are suffering from foot or ankle pain, call Dr. Gordon’s office at (703) 437-6333 for an assessment.
For more information on foot and ankle conditions, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ Web site, FootHealthFacts.org.
Avoiding footwear fumbles when exercising or playing sports
No one disputes that exercise provides a host of health benefits, from helping control weight to improving cardiovascular function. But exercising in the wrong footwear can cause more harm than good, especially because foot health is integral to overall well-being.
“To get the most out of your workout or from playing a favorite sport, it’s imperative to choose the right footwear for the type of exercise you’ll engage in,” says Steven Gordon, DPM, a podiatrist at Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers and member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “Improper footwear can lead to irritation and injury.”
Foot or ankle sprains and fractures are the most common types of injuries related to exercise and footwear. The type of exercise or sport you prefer can influence the type of injury you could experience. For example, foot and ankle sprains and fractures are generally more common among football players, while basketball players may suffer more ankle sprains, and runners experience stress fractures to feet or ankles.
APMA offers some guidance on how to avoid foot injury while exercising:
- Always warm up before exercise. Just as you stretch to warm up leg and arm muscles, your feet need to warm up gradually too.
- If you experience foot pain while exercising or engaging in physical activity, stop immediately. Foot pain is not normal, and you shouldn’t feel any when you exercise. If pain persists even after you stop your workout, see a podiatrist.
- Always wear supportive shoes that are appropriate for the type of physical activity you’re engaging in. “Runners need more arch support and cushioning to absorb impact,” says Dr. Gordon. “Basketball players require extra ankle support to prevent injury from side-to-side movement—which is why basketball shoes come up over the ankles.” Choosing the right footwear can help ensure you minimize the risk of injury and enjoy a more productive and comfortable workout.
- Don’t go it alone when you’re shopping for a workout or sports shoe. Go to a store that specializes in athletic footwear and ask to be fitted professionally before you buy. Shoes should fit comfortably as soon as you try them on; never assume you’ll “break in” an uncomfortable athletic shoe. Shop toward the end of the day, when feet are at their largest due to normal daily swelling.
- Whatever your exercise or sport of choice, your athletic shoes should offer plenty of support in the front and back.
Finally, when athletic shoes begin to show signs of wearing out, it’s time to replace them. “Examine the tread, especially around mid-sole,” adds Dr. Gordon. “Generally, you should replace athletic shoes every year, and running shoes every 300 to 400 miles.”
Reston foot and ankle surgeon shares advice
As millions of avid golfers get ready for another season of pars and bogeys, they should be aware of potentially serious foot problems that can result from years of playing the game.
Although golf is not considered a rigorous sport, the physical act of repeatedly swinging a golf club in practice and on the links can lead to a condition known as hallux limitus, a jamming and deterioration of the big toe joint.
According to Steven A. Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, the movement and weight transfer that occur during the swing’s follow through can cause this problem and other chronic foot ailments. Dr. Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons with offices in Manassas, Reston and Leesburg.
“When golfers follow through on their swing, they can overextend the big toe joint on the back foot,” says Dr. Gordon. “Those who have played the game avidly for several years eventually can wear out the cartilage or jam the big toe joint. The likely outcome, if left untreated, is painful arthritis in the big toe, which would make it very difficult to continue playing golf.”
Golfers who have pain and swelling around the big toe joint or have less mobility in this area than other parts of the foot should visit a foot and ankle surgeon for an examination and appropriate treatment. A history of trauma to the big toe area and bone structure also can precipitate the condition. Individuals with a long first metatarsal bone (big toe), for example, are more susceptible to joint compression and hallux limitus.
“If golfers experience pain in the big toe area when playing, they should consider it a warning sign that intervention is necessary before the joint becomes arthritic,” says Dr. Gordon. “In most situations, orthotics can be prescribed to provide relief, but others with advanced cases may require surgery.”
Another foot problem that is common in golfers is a neuroma or pinched nerve at the bottom of the foot. The weight transfer to the front foot that occurs in the follow through applies pressure that, over time, can cause a pinched nerve.
Dr. Gordon also advises golfers not to wear shoes that have a spike located directly beneath the ball of the foot.
“The pressure from that single spike, magnified by the several thousand steps taken during an average round, can cause intense pain and swelling in the ball of the foot,” he says.
Dr. Gordon says any pair of golf shoes can be made more foot friendly without sacrificing traction by removing the poorly located spikes.
What you need to know about foot and ankle surgery
You may need surgery on your foot or ankle for a variety of reasons. Many injuries are suffered playing sports, but you don’t have to be an athlete to need surgery. No matter what the reason, you should seek out the best, like your podiatrists at Reston Foot and Ankle Center in Reston, Virginia. They are your foot and ankle surgery specialists in the neighborhood and will provide you with a comfortable experience before, during and after your foot or ankle surgery.
You might need surgery on your foot because you have:
- A foot fracture from trauma, an accident or increasing your level of activity
- Persistent pain from bunions that don’t respond to other treatment
- An ingrown toenail caused from the edges of your toenail growing into your soft tissue
- A hammertoe caused by a bone deformity in which one or more of your toe joints are bent
- Issues resulting from diabetic neuropathy including circulation and nerve problems in your feet
Your foot and ankle surgery specialists at Reston Foot and Ankle Center want you to know you might need an ankle surgery due to fracturing your ankle from injury or trauma. You may also have a deformity resulting from a systemic disease like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. These issues can be serious enough to keep you from moving around and enjoying your life.
You need the help of a specialist like your foot and ankle surgeons at Reston Foot and Ankle Center to determine whether your condition could benefit from surgery. After a full examination of your foot or ankle and a series of x-rays, your doctors can prepare a treatment plan designed to give you the help you need.
Many foot and ankle surgeries at Reston Foot and Ankle Center can be performed in the office on an outpatient basis, but make sure you have a driver to take you home. You should also have someone to help you for the first 24 hours after surgery while you recover. You might have to wear a protective bandage, splint or cast afterwards and limit your movement or stay off of your feet while you heal.
If you need foot or ankle surgery or you just want to find out if surgery can benefit you, don’t suffer! Call your podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons at Reston Foot and Ankle Center, with three locations to serve you in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Virginia. Call today and get back on your feet soon!
Ten timely tips to get feet ready for spring
From slogging through snow, ice, and slush to being confined in heavy boots to fight the cold—if your feet could talk, what a tale of winter woe they might tell. You may be tempted to pull your sandals out of the closet and stuff your heaviest hosiery to the back of the sock drawer, but before you set your soles free to savor spring, some preparation is in order. Being cooped up in cramped footwear during winter months can cause feet to suffer from a variety of ailments, from dry, flaky skin and discolored toenails to pesky corns and unsightly calluses. Pampering your feet in preparation for warm weather can help feet look and feel their best when warmer weather calls for donning flip-flops and peep-toe shoes.
“Caring for your feet not only promotes good hygiene, but it can also alert you to any problem areas that may need attention before slipping into sandals this spring,” says Dr. Shaun Hafner, DPM, a podiatrist at Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Center and member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “Plus, it’s a good way to relax and de-stress after a tiring winter. When your feet feel good, you’re more likely to feel good all over.”
APMA offers these 10 tips for getting your feet spring-ready:
- Start with a soak. Immerse your feet in warm water with Epsom salts, herbal soaks, or oils for at least 10 minutes.
- Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove thickened, dead skin build-up (calluses) around the pre-soaked heels and the balls and sides of the feet. Never use a razor, as it removes too much skin and can easily cause infection or permanent damage if used incorrectly.
- Eliminate dry, flaky winter skin on the soles, sides, and tops of the feet by using an exfoliating scrub.
- Massage a generous amount of emollient-enriched skin lotion all over your feet. The lotion hydrates the skin, and the massaging helps to promote circulation. “Be sure to remove any excess moisturizer from under your toenails or between toes,” Dr. Hafner adds. “Build-up in those areas can provide a breeding ground for bacteria.”
- Use a straight-edged toenail clipper to trim nails to just the end of each toe to ensure nails don’t become curved or rounded in the corners.
- Help lock in moisture by wearing a pair of poly-cotton blend socks at bedtime.
- Forgo nail polish if your nails are not healthy. If you have healthy nails, remove polish regularly to keep them in top condition.
- Wash your feet daily with soap and water. Dry carefully, paying extra attention to the areas between your toes.
- Inspect last spring and summer’s footwear. Throw away any shoes or sandals that appear worn.
- If any skin or nail problems exist, see a podiatrist for a medical diagnosis. Today’s podiatrists are physicians, surgeons, and specialists trained to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.