Texas Foot Doctor's Blog
Posts for: January, 2013
When done properly, ice skating looks effortless, a simple glide across a still surface. Even at the Olympics level, the spins look graceful and the jumps appear feather light. Yet the truth is that ice-skating, especially at the higher skill levels of hockey and figure skating, can be very hard on a young skater’s ankles and legs.
In fact, studies have shown that the most frequently injured part of the body for skaters are their feet and ankles. According to Podiatry Today, the most common ankle injury that hockey players suffer is a type of sprain known as dorsiflexion-eversion-external rotation. This sprain usually occurs when a player either catches his blade in a rut and goes down, or he falls and lands awkwardly on his own leg.
As for figure skating, the New York Times reported in 2009 that scientists recorded the force that landing jumps inflicted on a skater's ankles by taping a device to their ankles. They discovered that the impact forces were as high as 90 to 100 G's, which is very substantial. Figure skaters are also prone to lateral ankle sprains, especially when attempting to land difficult jumps.
To prevent injuries, skaters should make sure to only wear skates that fit properly and then to lace them up tightly. Loose or improperly fitted skates can lead to ankle or foot injuries, such as lace bite, which is a tendon irritation. This condition occurs when an improperly fitting boot rubs on the foot and the front of the ankle. In addition, skaters should keep their blades professionally sharpened, which will help minimize falls.
Skaters should also avoid ice surfaces that have not been professionally maintained. Frozen ponds will typically have uneven surfaces, cracks and dangerous debris that could cause a skater to fall. Of course, skaters should always make sure that the ice on a pond or other such surface is at least four to six inches deep before venturing out on it.
Children who suffer mild ankle or foot injuries while skating can possibly be treated by the PRICE method: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. However, if the injury seems more severe or has been going on for a while, the child should be taken to a podiatrist at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists for treatment and evaluation.
Stress fractures are notoriously misdiagnosed and under treated. In many cases, symptoms may persist for an extended period of time before the diagnosis of a stress fracture is even made. That’s because stress fractures don’t typically occur from an unforeseen trauma, as with a sprain, but rather from repetitive stress.
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks in the bones. They can occur in any bone, but most often afflict the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Athletes are especially susceptible to stress fractures, as this common injury is often a problem of overuse. It frequently results from overtraining and high impact sports, such as running, basketball and tennis. People with abnormal foot structure or insufficient bone may also be more vulnerable to suffer a stress fracture.
Pain is the primary symptom of a stress fracture. In the early stages, the pain may begin toward the end of an activity and resolve with rest. Untreated, the pain will eventually become persistent with minimal activity.
The most common symptoms of stress fractures include:
- Pain with or following normal activity
- Pain at the site of the fracture
- Tenderness and swelling at a point on the bone
- Pain intensified with weight bearing
Rest, ice, compression and elevation are recommended as an initial treatment plan for stress fractures. You should also minimize all weight bearing activities until you have fully recovered. Other treatments may include immobilization of the foot, footwear modifications, orthotic devices and in some severe cases, surgery. Rest is the key to a full recovery, and returning too quickly to normal activity may result in more serious damage.
Overuse injuries and stress fractures aren’t completely unavoidable, but you can take extra care to help prevent stress fractures from occurring. Remember to increase any activity or training program slowly and gradually. Wear supportive footwear with good cushioning to help manage the forces placed on your feet and legs during high impact activities. If pain or swelling returns, stop the activity and rest for a few days.
Stress fractures come on gradually and may not present obvious symptoms at first, so it’s important to recognize the early warning signs to prevent further damage. If you suspect a stress fracture, contact our Southlake office right away for an evaluation. Proper diagnosis is essential to prevent further damage and improve recovery time as stress fractures tend to get worse and may even lead to a complete break if not treated right away. A podiatrist will examine your foot or ankle, take an x-ray to determine if there is a break or crack in the bone, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for optimal recovery.
Healthy Feet for Active Kids
The feet of children grow and change rapidly during their first year, reaching almost half their adult foot size. Many changes in children’s feet are a natural part of development while others require attention and treatment from a professional. That’s why it’s important for parents to pay close attention to their child’s feet to ensure proper growth during every stage of development. 1940 East State Hwy 114 provides expert care, diagnosis and treatment of ankle and foot disorders for children.
Here are some tips to help parents guide normal development for their child’s feet:
- For babies, avoid covering the feet too tightly as this restricts movement and can delay normal development.
- If your child participates in sports, choose sport-specific shoes that fit his or her feet properly
- Observe walking patterns. Does the child toe in or out; have bowlegs or knock-knees; limp or experience other gait abnormalities? These problems can be corrected if they are detected early.
- A child’s feet size changes rapidly, so check your child's shoe size often. Shoes should be supportive, well-cushioned and roomy.
- When applying sunscreen, remember to apply to the feet.
- Kids love the freedom of being shoeless, but walking barefoot may increase a child’s risk of infection, sprains or fractures.
Remember, your child doesn’t necessarily have to show signs of foot pain or discomfort for something to be abnormal. A child’s feet are very pliable and can be deformed without the child recognizing the warning signs. Carefully monitor your child’s feet. If you notice unusual symptoms, seek professional care immediately. Deformities will not be outgrown by themselves.
Your child will depend on his or her feet for the rest of their life to get them where they need to go. Whenever you have questions about your child's foot health, contact 1940 East State Hwy 114. Any pain that lasts more than a few days, or that is severe enough to limit the child’s walking, should be evaluated by a professional.