With the ability to cause nagging discomfort throughout the day and prohibit daily movements as simple as walking, bunions can quickly turn from a barely noticeable bump on your toe, to a painful deformity that detracts from your over wellbeing. Fortunately, if caught early, you can prevent this podiatric issue from developing into a serious problem. Read on to learn if you could be suffering from this condition, and whether you should take a visit to your local podiatrist.
Signs That You May Have a Bunion
Generally forming on the side of your big toe, bunions are hard, bony lumps that are often caused by wearing poorly-fitted shoes (especially high heels), having genetic predispositions, or experiencing a foot injury. If you think that you may have a bunion, be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- A bony protrusion at the base of your toe
- A generally red discoloration
- A feeling of tightness in previously comfortable shoes
The above-listed symptoms describe the beginning stages of a bunion, a point during which your podiatrist will likely recommend a conservative approach to treatment. However, you may require more extensive medical care if you begin to notice these signs:
- Persistent pain and swelling
- Periodic numbness of the foot
- Restricted and slowed movement of the toe/foot
For less serious bunion cases, ones in which there isn’t pain yet and movement is still unrestricted, your podiatrist may recommend:
- Soaking your foot in warm water
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin
- Wearing appropriate shoe inserts
- Avoiding tight-fitting footwear
In severe bunion cases, your podiatrist will likely recommend a more rigorous treatment approach in order to alleviate pain and increase mobility. Some of these options include:
- Custom-made orthotics to maintain toe alignment
- Regular physical therapy and a specialized exercise regiment
- Bunionectomy, a surgery to remove the bunion and realign the foot (this is only necessary in the most extreme of cases)
Concerned? Contact Us
If you feel that bunions are disrupting your life, then take the pro-active approach and schedule an appointment at our office to learn how to regain your health.
Make sure you are doing everything to protect yourself both on and off the field.
Injury prevention is the name of the game when it comes to the longevity of an athlete’s performance. We all know how important it is for every athlete to keep themselves healthy and strong. Foot and ankle injuries are some of the most common sports-related injuries. Our podiatrists Dr. John Sigle and Dr. Grant Gonzalez at Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois, with offices in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville and Sullivan, IL want athletes to know how to safeguard against these problems.
Always Warm Up First
While some cars may be able to go from zero to 60 in a few seconds, our bodies weren’t meant for that kind of sudden intensity. You need to give your body time to warm up and prepare for activity. Jumping right into your training could lead to injury.
Before training or a game, make sure that you give yourself ample times to warm-up (about 15 minutes). Get the blood flowing to all areas of your body with simple activities such as light jogging, riding a stationary bike and dynamic stretches.
Wear the Appropriate Shoes
You also need to be wearing the right shoes for your activity. Not all athletic footwear works the same and the type of shoes you need will depend on your sport or even the intensity of your training (low-impact versus high-impact workouts). The ideal shoe will cushion and support the foot, particularly the heels and arches.
You also need to replace shoes once they are worn out to reduce your risk for fractures, sprains and strained muscles. Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts can also provide additional support and stabilization for active feet. Ask our foot doctors if orthotics are right for you.
Gradually Build Up Your Workout
Again, just as you wouldn’t immediately jump right into an activity without first warming up you also shouldn’t suddenly increase the intensity or severity of your activity. You need to give your body time to adjust and strengthen the appropriate muscles, ligaments and tendons for the job first. Putting a lot of unnecessary stress on these unconditioned soft tissues can leave you prone to some serious injuries including fractures.
If you are faced with an injury it’s important that you turn to a doctor who understands the unique needs of athletes and their bodies. You’ll find the care you need at Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois with offices in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville and Sullivan, IL. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
The feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, which means they have the ability to sweat profusely. With your feet encased in your shoes all day and the sweat unable to evaporate, bacteria will begin to grow rapidly. Bacteria then begins to break down the sweat, generating an unpleasant odor. Other factors can contribute to increased perspiration, including anxiety, hormonal changes, medications and various skin conditions.
Foot odor is a common problem, especially among those who perspire excessively, but it can be both embarrassing and physically uncomfortable. If you suffer from foot odor, rest assured that simple lifestyle changes and improved personal hygiene can help reduce and eliminate the smell.
Easy Ways to Eliminate Foot Odor
Since most foot odor is caused from excess sweat and the growth of odor-causing bacteria, it's relatively easy to control and reduce foot odor on your own. Start by taking the following preventative steps:
- Keep your feet clean by washing them with an antibacterial soap on a regular basis to minimize bacteria.
- Keep feet dry as moisture enables the growth of bacteria.
- Alternate shoes and avoid wearing the same pair for multiple days in a row.
- Choose open shoes such as sandals when possible, allowing air onto the feet which evaporates sweat and slows the growth of bacteria.
- Wear cotton socks which wick away moisture and absorb perspiration.
- Apply foot sprays and powders to the feet. Ask your podiatrist for recommended products.
- Disinfect, wash and discard foul smelling shoes as necessary.
The causes of foot odor are typically not harmful to your health, but do create an environment for the growth of fungus and bacteria. It's not unusual for infections such as toenail fungus and athlete's foot to develop as a result.
When improving your foot hygiene doesn't help reduce the smell, you may need to visit your podiatrist, as persistent foot odor can indicate an infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating. In these cases, a prescription ointment may be required to treat the problem. Visit our office, and we'll work with you to determine the cause and most effective treatment for your condition!
Signs and Treatment for Sprained Ankles
Do you have a sprained ankle? Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries. Ankle sprains sprain occur when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. Ankle sprains can be very painful and incapacitating. If you have an ankle sprain, it's a good idea to see your podiatrist. Read on to to learn about the signs and treatment for sprained ankles.
Signs You Have a Sprained Ankle
1. Pain: An ankle sprain can be painful and can make it hard to carry out your day-to-day activities. You may also feel discomfort when you place weight on the affected area. The pain may worsen when the area is pressed and during standing or walking.
2. Redness: A sprained ankle can cause warmth and redness around the affected area. If your ankle is warm, red, and swollen, it is inflamed. Warmth and redness is caused by increased blood flow to the area.
3. Swelling: When an ankle is injured with a sprain, inflammation occurs. Swelling is the body’s protective response to an injury. Inflammation occurs because of increased fluid in the tissue. This is a normal reaction of the body and is the start of the healing process. However, sometimes the body produces more swelling that necessary.
4. Bruising: A sprained ankle causes bruising around the affected joint. A contusion, commonly known as a bruise, is made up of blood beneath the skin. A bruise results in a discoloration of the skin. Bruising is a result of injury to the blood vessels in the skin.
5. Stiffness: A sprained ankle causes limited range of motion and stiffness. Inflammation and pain often limit movement after the injury. Your podiatrist may advise against moving the ankle to allow your ankle to heal. Your podiatrist may also design an exercise program to reduce stiffness after the injury.
Treating a Sprained Ankle
1. Rest your ankle: All ankle sprains require a period of rest. Resting your ankle will allow the healing process to begin. Stay off your feet to allow your ankle to heal. Gently exercise your ankle on a regular basis to reduce stiffness. Avoid strenuous activites, such as running and aerobics, until you can walk without it causing any pain.
2. Elevate your ankle: Keep your ankle raised above the level of your chest for several days after injury. Use pillows to keep your foot elevated. Keep your foot elevated for a few hours per day until your ankle stops swelling. Elevation is important after an injury as it helps to reduce the amount of blood flow to the injured area. This helps to reduce the inflammation, bruising, and pain.
3. Ice your ankle: Ice treatment can help decrease pain, swelling, bruising, and muscle spasms. To make an ice pack, fill a freezer bag with ice. Put an ice pack on your injured ankle for 10 minutes every 2 hours. Wrap an elastic medical bandage around the ice pack to hold it in place. You should not use ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. If you have circulation issues or diabetes, talk to your doctor before applying ice.
4. Compress your ankle: Apply a compression bandage from the toes to above the ankle. Wrapping your ankle will help to avoid bruising and swelling. Wrap the bandage around your ankle and foot, and secure it with medical tape. Make sure the bandage doesn't restrict blood flow to your toes or make the pain worse. Do combine compression with elevationa and rest whenever possible.
5. Take a pain reliever: If you have severe pain, a narcotic pain reliever can make you feel better. An OTC pain reliever may also help reduce the pain and swelling. Most medical professionals recommend anti-inflammatory medicines such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or ketoprofen. You can also take acetaminophen for pain, although this medicine does not reduce inflammation. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
6. See a doctor: A podiatrist can diagnose and treat an ankle sprain. Your doctor may order x-rays to determine if you have a broken bone in your ankle. You may receive an ankle brace to keep your ankle from moving and allow ligaments to heal. Your doctor will also give you medications to reduce swelling and pain. Once you can bear weight without increased pain, your doctor will add strengthening exercises to your treatment plan.
Whether your goal is getting back to work, hobbies, sports, the gym, or just enjoying life, a podiatrist can help. If you have an ankle sprain, search for a podiatrist in your area and schedule an appointment. A podiatrist can help you get back on track in no time!
This year’s 2019 National Senior Games took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico June 14-24, 2019, under sunny blue skies. The Games consisted of a 20-sport biennial competition for men and women who were 50 years of age and older. Over 13,500 athletes competed from each state in the US. Athletes from Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Sweden, Trinidad, and Tobago also joined in the event. This is the largest multi-sport in the world for seniors. The theme of the National Senior Games Association is “Long Live the Challenge”©; and I can assure you that all of the athletes were striving for success every day!
Most participants were life-long athletes who had a passion for their sport and competition. Each athlete had a personal reason for competing. For some, it was to stand on the podium and receive a medal. For some, it was a life changer and personal affirmation to live a healthier lifestyle. For others, it was a motivation to continue their sport despite having major physical limitations. Some were cancer survivors. Some had pacemakers and spine surgery; while others had total ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder replacements.
I am quite certain that the competition for the majority of the athletes will not stop after the games ended. They all seemed to embrace the “it ain’t over til it’s over” philosophy. Perhaps age is a state of mind but Father Time reduces muscle strength, reflexes, agility, speed, and energy. Consequently, proper conditioning, physical modifications, and fitness gear become critical to reduce the chance of injury.
SENIOR ATHLETES SUSCEPTIBLE TO FOOT PROBLEMS
During the summer months, athletic and recreational programs are in full swing. Despite the differences among the sports, all participants are susceptible to foot and ankle problems. Here are some of the more common questions my patients ask and helpful tips to prevent foot and ankle injuries during tennis and pickleball, golf, and running.
TENNIS AND PICKLEBALL
Tennis and Pickleball are particularly stressful on your feet because of the quick starts and stops and lateral movements from side to side. Common foot problems include ankle sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, tennis toe, Achilles tendonitis and rupture.
INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
If you have weak ankles or history of sprains, wear a simple ankle brace inside your shoe. Select a stable tennis shoe that is not too rigid and provides flexibility to perform. The shoe should provide durable toe support. Custom orthotics is recommended to provide arch and joint support. Proper warm-up and stretching are also important. These actions will help flexibility, relieve foot pain, and extend playing time.
Golf is stressful on your feet and ankles because of excessive walking up and down hills. Common problems for golfers include: heel pain, tendonitis, Metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain), capsulitis (inflammatory condition affecting the outer lining of the foot), and ligament sprains and pulls that keep the golf enthusiasts off the greens. Improper shoes can also cause blisters, neuromas, and other foot and ankle pain.
INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
Walking up and down hills is a normal motion that puts abnormal stress on your Achilles tendon. Walking on uneven surfaces puts a lot of strain on the tendons along the outer portion of the ankle. If you don’t stretch before hand, you will put a lot of wear and tear on your muscles that may lead to severe tendonitis. If you use arch supports in your shoes, you will be surprised how much better your feet feel at the end of a round of golf.
Gravity tends to come into play more during running and a considerable more stress is placed on your feet. The 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels all work together in the foot while running and take on maximum stress. Common foot problems that occur are plantar fasciitis (heel pain), Achilles tendonitis, Metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuroma (fibrous tissue around the nerve in the foot), blisters, corns, calluses, Athletes foot, Onychomycosis (toenail fungus), and shin splints.
INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
Runners should properly condition their body, build a routine, and stretch their muscles, tendons, and ligaments before and after each run. Proper running shoes are critical. Shoes should provide flexibility in the right places to help with shock absorption. More rigidity is needed in the middle of the foot. The heel should sit low in the shoe and the cushioned sole should be slightly wider than a walking shoe to absorb impact. Custom orthotics will reduce stress on lower extremities and allow you to run with less fatigue. Keep your feet powdered and dry and wear clean socks. Shoes hold moisture so alternate shoes with each run. If you develop recurring and/or increasing aches and pains, contact a podiatrist to help pinpoint the problem and prevent more serious injury or long-term damage to your feet.
Enjoy your summer fitness activities and avoid foot and ankle injuries. Seek medical assistance if your foot and ankle pain does not get resolved from rest and conservative treatments. Many injuries may become serious and cause further problems if not properly diagnosed. Standard X-rays may not provide sufficient images to diagnosis actual conditions. MRIs and CT Scans may be necessary to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
Contact the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois at (217) 787-2700 to schedule an appointment with advanced board certified foot and ankle surgeons. Clinics are located in Springfield, Decatur, Taylorville, Carlinville, Shelbyville, and Sullivan, IL. Visit myfootandanklecenter.com to learn about new laser technology used to by professional sports teams to reduce pain and inflammation and eliminate toenail fungus. Also learn about advanced imaging technology available to accurately diagnose your condition.
Foot & Ankle Injury Prevention Tips for Senior Athletes
John M. Sigle DPM, FACFAS
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