4 Tips on How to Avoid Achilles Tendinitis for Runners

Treatment for Achilles TendinitisFor runners who compete in long distance marathons, achilles tendinitis can affect your performance. It happens when the achilles (the large tendon that connects your two calf muscles to the back of your heel bone) gets inflamed due to too much stress, or sustained weight. Then, over time scar tissue covers the tendon making it less flexible, which can lead to subsequent damages like a tear.

So, preventing and relieving foot pain like achilles tendinitis through strength-training and conditioning, rather than adding more support, can be an effective way to produce stronger feet that are less likely to have problems.

  1. Foot Grips

    A foot grip is an exercise much like a hand grip. The feet, using an isometric exercise, are contracted as if they are attempting to hold something. It can be done in any position, and when done in conjunction with a healthy eating regimen, can strengthen the foot very quickly. Particularly effective against plantar fasciitis; an overuse injury caused by an imbalance of fascia where the muscles aren’t strong enough to support the load, e.g. your weight distribution.

  2. Flip-Flops?

    Indeed. At first you may consider flip-flops as a negative choice for runners, and in some instances you may be correct. But think for a moment what they do: they cause you to grab the shoe with your toes when you step, strengthening your foot grip. Not a bad idea when the weather calls for it.

  3. Hill Repetitions

    Bare foot. If you find a nice, grassy hill where the sun is just right and the wind is blowing, take of those shoes and, for about an hour, run some repetitions. Not only will this strengthen your calf (remember how the achilles is connected), you will also work your quadriceps. This will also aid in reducing shin and foot splints due to muscle building.

  4. Tiptoeing

    Wearing high heels is contradictory to what you want to achieve if you are a runner. Not only is it never recommended by any medical professional, it actually shortens the Achilles tendon. But walking around on your tip-toes actually strengthens the muscles in and around the metatarsal heads (the exact spot weakened by high heels). Thus, tiptoeing is a good strength exercise for your foot, and can help ward off debilitating running problems.

Want more information on how we can help with your foot & ankle pain? Feel free to contact our Boston foot doctor any time.


Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Shoes Can Damage Children’s Feet – Pediatric Foot Care 101

Professional Foot Care for ChildrenTiny children’s shoes are adorable, but the same cannot be said for the huge podiatric problems that are caused by some of them. At a time when the foot is still developing and easily affected, picking the right footwear is crucial.

So, what makes a good shoe for children’s feet? The answer lies deeper than color and current fashion trends. Here are some things to look out for the next time you go shoe shopping with your little one:

Roominess

It is important to understand that feet grow fast–very fast–in children. At this stage in life, the foot is constantly developing and taking on a bigger size. Very tight shoes can affect that development and even cause deformities, and some Boston podiatrists have even linked flat feet to closed-toe shoes. To avoid problems, find shoes that are roomy and flexible, and that resemble slippers or open-toed sandals. Simply put, shoes that imitate being barefoot are usually the most ideal for kids.

Material

Children’s feet perspire about 2 or 3 times more than adults, which make them susceptible to problems like fungus infections. Stick to breathable and durable materials like leather or canvas to keep the shoe well-ventilated and prevent it from becoming ruined by sweat.

High Tops

Whether they are romping around, playing, or exploring their surroundings, children are always on the move. In order to support their ankles and avoid injury, get shoes with high tops that cover the ankle area. Low top shoes that leave the ankle exposed leave your child in danger of falling the wrong way on their ankle or having a similar accident without any protection.

Light Weight

Avoid heavy, clunky footwear that will weigh your child’s foot down. Having a more lightweight shoe will be more comfortable and aid in learning to walk faster.

The feet of your little one are important, so it goes without saying that picking shoes that will protect them from future foot problems is as well. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for answers to any and all of your foot care questions!


Image courtesy of taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Toenail Disorders: 3 Good Reasons to Schedule a Podiatry Visit

Treatment for Toenail FungusAs any professional Boston podiatrist can attest, there are many different types of toenail disorders that can befall a person over the course of his or her lifetime. Fungal infections, which we’ve touched upon previously, are one of them. Here’s a look at three more that warrant a visit to the podiatrist:

Periungual Warts

Periungual Warts are the first toenail disorder that we wanted to address. Typically forming around the toenail or underneath it, they tend to be very contagious and arise due to the presence of the human papillomavirus. Once a periungual wart diagnosis is made, the podiatrist may recommend one of several treatment options. Those options include laser treatments, salicylic treatments, topical creams and cryotherapy. It should also be mentioned that because the warts have a tendency to spread quickly and reoccur, it is not uncommon for treatment regimes to be repeated.

Koilonychia

Koilonychia is another toenail disorder that may occur in a person’s lifetime. It is easily recognizable because as the disorder advances, the person’s toenails curl into a spoon-like shape. The toenails may also split in the middle, thin out and become dry. This disorder is common among people who suffer from Celiac Disease, chronic anemia and other nutritional related problems. Furthermore, it can be hereditary or brought about by additional health problems too (i.e. heart disease and cancer). Clearly, the reason why a person develops koilonychia must be considered when a podiatrist chooses a treatment method. Options that have been used in the past include the adoption of a special diet, nutritional supplement regimen, anti-fungal creams and moisturizing emollients.

Onycholysis

Finally, we wanted to mention onycholysis. It is a painless nail disorder with many origins, some of which can be quite unsettling. When a person has the disorder, all or part of his or her toenails may fall off. The toenail may also develop a white, gray, brown, yellow or green color. Some of the many things that may cause the disorder to occur are hypothyroidism, fungal or bacterial infections, Raynaud’s disease, severe sunburns and psoriasis.

When a person presents with a case of onycholysis, the podiatrist must address the symptoms as well as the underlying cause. Otherwise, the condition is likely to continue or reappear. In most instances, the partially unattached toenail will need to be removed. Afterward, the podiatrist may apply anti-fungal creams, drying agents or other topical treatments to clear up any infection.

To learn more about these toenail disorders and others, please reach out to our Boston podiatry clinic. We can professionally assess your situation, make a diagnosis and offer appropriate treatment solutions.

Just Like Us: Athletes With Foot Problems

Athletes with Foot ProblemsProfessional athletes are not just the spokespeople for the various foot care products we see on television commercials. Since many pros have a rigorous schedule of practicing and playing a sport, their feet are especially prone to the same foot & ankle problems that we might also experience. Here are just a few athletes with foot problems:

Richard Sherman

In the most recent SuperBowl game, this Seattle Seahawks cornerback was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter due to an ankle injury after tackling someone from the opposing team. Writhing in pain on the field from the high sprain, he was forced to support himself on crutches on the field when the Seahawks celebrated their win later on in the night.

Paula Radcliffe

Runners are especially tough on their feet as they pound the ground for prolonged periods of time, so it is no wonder that this women’s world marathon record holder is on our list. In fact, Paula Radcliffe had to pull out of the London Olympics in 2012 at the last minute due to a complex surgery that was performed to try to regrow missing cartilage in her foot.

The Nets, Giants, and Devils

According to Dr. John McNerney, the podiatrist for these three teams, an extremely high percentage of basketball, football, and hockey players deals with toenail fungus infection. This is a common injury for athletes due to a combination of brutal physical activity and sweat.

Michael Phelps

Sometimes athletes have foot problems that occur outside of the sport they make headlines with. For this Olympic swimming legend, walking miles on a golf course was what put him in a cast for a stress fracture.

Again, foot & ankle problems are universal. Just because you may not be a professional athlete does not mean you cannot receive professional foot care from your Boston podiatrist! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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