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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
Springfield’s Larry Austin Jr. Competes in NCAA 3-on-3 U National Championship Tournament in Minneapolis!
The Foot &Ankle Center of Illinois salutes Larry Austin Jr. as he competes in the NCAA 3X3 U National Championship Basketball Tournament taking place during the Final Four weekend April 4-7, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Larry was selected along with three other players to represent the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Each NCAA Division I basketball conference selected their top four seniors or players who exhausted their eligibility to play. 128 players will play non-stop on 3-on-3 action during a three day competition. Pool play runs on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals will air on Twitter from 9:30 AM–1:30 PM. Sunday’s Semifinal Consolation and Championship games will air from 2:10- 4 PM on ESPN2. The winning team earns a $150,000 prize.
Many basketball fans and enthusiasts in Central Illinois remember the outstanding career Larry Austin Jr. had when he played for Lanphier High School in Springfield, IL from 2010-2014. During high school he received numerous All Conference, All-Tournament, and MVP awards. He was a two time All-State Class 3A Team selection and played on the USA U16 National Team. He was a highly ranked prospect by ESPN.com, Scout.com, and Rivals.com.
Austin played two seasons at Xavier University, one season for the Vanderbilt University, and a final season at Central Michigan University.
This past year was Austin’s banner year. He was the Chippewa’s single season assists leader and holds the single season steals record. Austin was the MAC West Player of the Week and All-MAC Defensive Team. He was selected on the 1st Team NABC All-District, 2nd Team All-MAC, and Member of the 3X3 U MAC Team.
Austin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University and is completing his Master’s degree at Central Michigan.
Larry has been Dr. Sigle’s patient at the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois and Illinois Laser Center for several years. According to Dr. Sigle, “Larry is a premiere athlete with exceptional ability; and we are fortunate to be a part of his medical team. He’s in great condition and very resilient. We have had an opportunity to know Larry as a person and observe his quiet and humble manner. He is a wonderful young man who loves his family and hometown. He’s really well grounded. We wish him the very best in this upcoming tournament and future pursuits. We are pretty confident Larry will take his game to the next level.”
By John Sigle, DPM, FACFAS, Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois
Unlike most Americans who can’t wait to come home at night and kick off their shoes, some people with Metatarsalgia (met-a-tar-sal-gia) actually experience more pain when they walk in their socks or bare feet. Metatarsalgia is a condition characterized by a sharp aching or burning pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. It affects the metatarsal heads, the bones that make up the ball of the foot. The first metatarsal head behind the big toe is the most common area affected but it can also affect the other toes, the entire foot, or both feet. Other symptoms include tingling or numbness in the toes; pain around the second, third, and fourth toes or only near the big toe; increased pain when you walk, run, jump, or when you stand or flex your feet. Patients with this condition often feel like they have a stone in their shoe, or that their socks are wadded up causing them to walk on the side of their foot to avoid pressure. Also, calluses often form on the ball of the foot because of the friction caused by unequal pressure distribution points.
Metatarsalgia can affect males and females of all ages. It is primarily related to repetitive stress and impacts on the foot, and is often experienced by people who participate in intense physical
activities or training such as running, tennis, soccer, and basketball. Metatarsalgia generally occurs from a single cause, but other factors may contribute to this condition. These include wearing ill-fitted shoes (high heels), having certain foot and toe shapes (high arches, a second toe that is longer than the first metatarsal), being overweight, or old age. It can also be attributed to a stress fracture or other foot deformities like a hammer toe or bunion, or from Morton’s Neuroma (a fibrous tissue around the digital nerve between two metatarsal heads of the toe), diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, fluid in the foot, and gout.
There are a variety of home remedies that should be tried prior to contacting your podiatrist. This condition is relatively easy to treat if addressed during the early stages. Some of the things that can be done include wearing properly fitting shoes indoors and outdoors. avoiding pressure and impact loads, resting your feet and keeping them elevated, applying ice throughout the day, taking anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen), using metatarsal pads, shock absorption pads, or arch supports. If your pain persists for a month or so, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for a diagnosis and proper treatment. There are a variety of problems that can cause symptoms similar to Metatarsalgia. Most likely, it will be necessary to do a gait analysis to identify the areas in the foot that are receiving pressure, image tests (X-ray or MRI) or ultrasound to confirm if there are fractures or if the problem is related to a metatarsal drop or improper length. Imaging will also help your podiatrist determine if the pain is being caused by a
Morton’s Neuroma. Blood tests may also be necessary to rule out
gout, diabetes, or arthritis.
Your podiatrist may also be able to offer you a custom orthotic device to alter the pressure distribution of the metatarsal region and relieve inflammation and pain. An orthotic device can be added to all shoe types (except sandals) and will be particularly helpful for running and athletic shoes. Orthotics is also well suited for individuals who have a high arch because it can prevent the arch from collapsing and relieve stress on the metatarsals. Orthotics is also effective for people with a Morton’s Neuroma because it provides an extension underneath the big toe.
Laser therapy is the latest advancement that is being used for patients in the acute phase of Metatarsalgia. The lasers are designed to reduce pain, relieve inflammation, and restore mobility. These lasers use specific wavelengths of light that have a strong anti-inflammatory, anti-edema effect on tissues. Photons of laser energy penetrate deeply into tissue and accelerate cellular reproduction and growth, thereby speeding recovery. Painful conditions accompanied by swelling or inflammation benefit from this technology. Once the inflammation subsides, physical therapy may also be used to increase range of motion, reduce stress on the forefoot, and strengthen the toe flexor muscles.
For more severe cases where conservative treatment and therapies have failed, steroid injections or surgery may be recommended. Surgery may involve a correction of a hammertoe deformity, release or removal of a nerve impingement, or reshaping of the metatarsal bones. If you are suffering from Metatarsalgia foot pain and want relief today, follow some of the home remedies listed above or contact a podiatrist for a diagnosis and treatment. If you are seeking assistance from a board certified podiatrist, contact the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois at 217-787-2700. Visit myfootandanklecenter.com to view a short video on cutting edge MLS Laser Therapy and to obtain information on custom orthotics.
By Grant Gonzalez, DPM
Toenail fungus, medically known as Onychomycosis, (on-ee-ko-me-KO-sis) is a one of the more common foot problems that plague over 40 million Americans. Every day we see toenail fungus commercials on the television, internet and social media platforms, radio, and in print. Even our
highways are plastered with ads. Unless you have been living with this condition, you are not likely to pay attention to all the ad campaigns that claim to offer the best solution to this problem.
I am sure everyone with toenail fungus wishes there was a fast remedy, but there is no quick fix with over-the-counter topical creams, prescription lacquers, or oral medications. It is a long, tedious process that works less than half the time. In fact, buyers must beware because many ads are misleading.
Efficacy rates are not always accurate, risks have a tendency to be minimized, and superiority claims are usually unsubstantiated.
The good news is that toenail fungus can be managed and cured in the majority of cases. Some podiatrists are using a more synergistic approach to ensure success. Here is an innovative treatment protocol that is achieving high efficacy rates:
Confirm the diagnosis
While fungus is a common cause of discoloration and thickening of toenails, there are several other conditions that can present similarly. These include persistent trauma, psoriasis, or eczema among others. Toe contractures (also known as hammertoes) can cause the toenail to persistently contact the ground and cause nail changes. In some cases, nail clippings or debris form under the mail has to be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. If the fungal infection is present, your podiatrist can and work with you to begin appropriate therapy.
When a fungal infection is confirmed, you and your podiatrist can decide on using a combination of both oral and topical antifungals. These can begin safely fighting and killing the fungal infection and start you on your way to clear, healthy nails.
Laser the fungus away
A very effective tool in the armamentarium (ar·ma·men·tar·i·um), or collection of resources available to combat this condition, is laser technology. Some high-powered lasers can kill the fungus instantly. This completely safe treatment heats up the nail, and one to three treatments are normally prescribed to kill any residual fungus as the toenails clear over time. Treatments are generally pain free, drug free, quick, and safe.
Don’t live with ugly nails
A KeryFlex Nail RestorationTM process is being used in conjunction with laser treatments to provide natural looking nails while the nails are growing out during a typical six to 12 month period. This process applies a special resin on top of the existing nail which is hardened with a UV light to form a natural-looking nail. The resin contains an antifungal agent and prohibits fungus from re-entering the nailbed. This process allows the patient to walk away from laser treatment with natural looking nails. KeryFlexTM treatments are repeated until the fully formed new nails are cleared. Patients are able to end the embarrassment of ugly toenails instantly.
Eliminate sources of reinfection
There are several common organisms that cause toenail fungus, and they also can subsequently cause athlete’s foot, which is a fungal infection of the skin of your feet, which commonly affects the soles and spaces in-between toes. Not treating an accompanying skin infection can allow cross contamination of the feet and nails, and can cause reinfection and return of toenail fungus. Treating athlete’s foot with a formidable antifungal cream can give you a leg up in the fight against toenail fungus and prevent a frustrating recurrence.
Your podiatrist can also provide you with other tips to lower the risk of reoccurrence and to eliminate existing fungus. Some of the tips will involve changes in clothing, grooming, sharing
products, avoiding public places that harbor fungus, changing eating habits, and new cleanliness practices.
Stay toenail fungus-free forever
Fungus is everywhere, but tends to thrive in warm, wet, dark places, such as your shoes. Since we often perspire into our shoes and rarely give them time to air out, fungus can grow rampant and cause reinfection of toenails even after successful treatment. A great way to eliminate this mycotic propensity is to use a device known as a SterishoeTM. This UV light powered device can completely eliminate all fungal and bacterial colonization from your shoes in as little as 15 minutes, and allow you to wear sterile shoes every single day. This device also contains a fan, allowing shoes to dry properly, and it eliminates shoe odor.
In the majority of cases, this synergistic approach will effectively kill the fungus and prevent an agonizing recurrence, provide instant gratification, and end the embarrassment of ugly toenails, prevent reinfection, and restore the natural beauty of your nails. Getting rid of toenail fungus becomes more important for individuals who are at risk due to poor peripheral circulation, diabetes, undergoing cancer therapy, or for those who have immunosuppressed systems. It also is of greater concern for those who want to reduce the spread of infection among household members.
Toenail fungus can be a frustrating medical problem to eliminate. Teaming up with a podiatrist who uses a synergistic approach to combat this condition will give you a fighting chance for success. If you are tired of living with embarrassment and ugly toenails, call the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois/Illinois Laser Center at 217-670-2160 for a consultation. To learn more about laser treatment and the KeryFlex Nail RestorationTM process, visit myfootandanklecenter.com. Short videos are available to view both processes and to listen to
The Digital Revolution is expanding its impact on our lives every minute. Smartphones, wireless internet networks, biometric authentication devices, virtual personal assistants, wristband gadgets and virtual reality devices are here today – and often gone tomorrow – as new technology redefines our future lifestyle opportunities and business models.
This revolution has had a profound impact on....... (Read the rest of the article HERE)