Texas Foot Doctor's Blog
Posts for: February, 2013
No matter what sport you play, the type of shoe you wear while playing your favorite game is one of your most important pieces of equipment. Choosing the most appropriate, supportive athletic shoes for your specific sport and foot structure can make a huge difference in keeping your feet healthy and comfortable while improving your performance. Serious back, knee, hip and heel pain; Achilles tendonitis; fractures; and painful blisters are some of the common conditions faced by athletes wearing the wrong footwear.
From soccer and tennis to golf and basketball, the structure of your foot and any abnormalities should be considered when selecting a proper shoe for your activity. Look for a shoe that combines flexibility, support and cushioning to absorb impact and lessen shock on the feet. Before selecting an athletic shoe, it is always recommended to consult Academy Foot & Ankle Specialists for a professional evaluation of your foot type, any underlying deformities and helpful shoe buying tips.
Types of Shoes
There are unique variations in the way different athletic shoes support your feet. This means that it’s not good to play football in the same shoes you use for jogging. Your feet require different support for different activities and movement.
A good sports shoe should be fitted to support the foot in position that is most natural to the movement required. For instance, a running shoe is designed to accommodate high impact while a shoe built for tennis or basketball provides a combination of flexibility and sideways support.
Out with the Old
Like most things, your athletic shoes will wear out after a period of time. An old, worn out shoe is a common cause of sport-related injuries. If you run, track your mileage to determine when your shoes have endured too much activity, and when you notice obvious wearing of the soles or you sense a lack of cushioning from the shoes, it may be time to buy a new pair.
Remember, the best pair of athletic footwear doesn’t have to be expensive to support the needs of your feet and body during a workout. There are numerous shoes available that will fit both your needs and your budget. When you’re feet are protected by the right footwear, you can reduce the likelihood of injury. Visit our Southlake office for an evaluation and shoe recommendations.
While having flat feet may sound harmless enough, it can actually lead to some serious issues, including back pain. The term "flat feet" refers to a condition in which the arches of a person's feet have fallen or collapsed. In a normal foot, the tendons holding the joints of the foot together are tight, which creates an arch. In flat feet, the tendons have loosened for various reasons and almost the entire foot rests on the ground. In some people, it is hereditary; while for others, the condition can be brought on by excessive wearing of high heels, being overweight or by simple aging.
Having flat feet is a fairly common condition and is, in fact, normal for infants and toddlers, whose tendons have not yet had time to strengthen. For the most part, people who have flat feet typically do not suffer pain because of this condition. However, there are some people, especially with severe cases, who may develop back, hip or knee pain because of their flat feet.
How Flat Feet Cause Back Pain
How can flat feet cause back pain? When people with flat feet walk or run, their feet tend to roll inward with each stride to compensate for the lack of an arch. This additional motion can put stress on the knee and eventually cause you pain in your lower back.
If a person believes that his flat feet may be causing him to have back pain, he should make an appointment to see a podiatrist who can determine whether or not this condition is really the source of his problem. If the podiatrist determines that the flat feet are the cause of back pain, he can suggest different treatments, depending on the severity of the problem.
For instance, if a case isn't too severe, the podiatrist may just suggest that the patient buy a different type of shoe. There are many running shoes today that have been designed and manufactured specifically to compensate for fallen arches. In some cases, however, a person's fallen arches may need extra help, so a podiatrist may prescribe an orthotic which can be worn in the patient's shoes. These orthotics are designed to improve a patient's gait and, thus, relieve the stress that has been created on his back and joints. In some cases, especially if a patient is suffering severe back pain, a podiatrist may suggest surgery to correct the flat feet. It is always recommended you visit your podiatrist at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists if you suspect flat feet are causing health problems.
The feet bear a lot of stress from day to day. That’s why podiatrists recommend stretching as a great way to revitalize and strengthen the feet. Simple stretches can be performed at home as a part of your morning routine or even at work while you’re sitting at your desk. Improving your flexibility through stretching can help prevent foot injury, increase your mobility, improve performance and posture, and relieve stress.
It is especially important to stretch properly before starting any exercise routine. When muscles are warmed up prior to a workout, the strain on muscles, tendons and joints can be reduced and injuries avoided.
Simple stretches include flexing your feet repeatedly while pointing your toes to help build strength in the foot muscles, or rotating your foot from side to side while you point your toes. Massaging the muscles in your feet with your hands is another helpful way to promote circulation and relaxation.
Always allow at least 5-10 minutes to fully stretch your muscles, which should include a stretch/hold/relax pattern, without any pulling or bouncing. Before beginning any new type of stretches, visit 1940 East State Hwy 114 first to make sure it’s safe for your particular foot pain. Here are just a few helpful stretches you can do at home to help lessen foot pain and improve foot health:
- Stretch for Calf Muscles. Excessive tightness of the calf muscle can cause many foot problems. To stretch this muscle, face a wall from approximately 2-3 feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping heels on the floor and knees extended. Hold for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce. Repeat five times.
- Stretch for Hamstring. Put your foot with knee straight on a chair or table. Keep the other leg on the floor straight with knee locked. Lower your head toward the knee on the chair or table until the muscles are tight. Hold to a count of 10 then relax. Repeat five times, and then switch to the other leg.
- ·Stretch for Plantar Fascia. This stretch for heel pain can be performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is most effective when you first wake up, before standing or walking.
Stretching in combination with supportive footwear will help you keep your feet healthy and fit. So whether you’re gearing up to train for a marathon or simply looking to revitalize your feet after a long day at work, talk to your podiatrist at Academy Foot & Ankle Specialists about the best foot stretches for your individual needs.