May 2010 Newsletter

 
After a long Winter, Spring is finally here! As you begin spending more time outside and the urge to kick off your shoes and go barefoot arises, there are many foot and ankle concerns to consider.

 
This month, we have chosen a few articles on warm weather related issues to share with you and we hope they will lead to a pain free Spring for your feet!

Going Barefoot? Beware!
Is Foot Pain Ruining Your Golf Swing?
Five Signs Your Child May Have a Foot Problem
 
If you have foot and ankle concerns that you would like to address, please CONTACT US at anytime.  We thank you for making us your foot care provider of choice.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kevin Murray, DPM
Dr. Stewart Chang, DPM

P.S.  If you have family and friends who would benefit from our newsletter, please forward it to them by using the link at the bottom of the page.
Going Barefoot? Beware!
 
Tips For A Safer Barefoot Summer

barefootMillions of Americans will go barefoot this summer, and thousands will suffer injuries such as cuts and puncture wounds. Some will develop nasty infections that may require surgery.

The best way to protect feet and toes from injury is to wear shoes. But if your summer just wouldn't be the same without the sand between your toes or walking in your backyard barefoot, doctors with the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) say you can make it a safer season by following these tips:

Tip: See a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours for a puncture wound.

Why: These injuries can embed unsterile foreign objects deep inside the foot. A puncture wound must be cleaned properly and monitored throughout the healing process. This will help to avoid complications, such as tissue and bone infections or damage to tendons and muscles in the foot. Foot and ankle surgeons are trained to properly care for these injuries.

Tip: Make sure you've been vaccinated against tetanus. Experts recommend teens and adults get a booster shot every 10 years.

Why: Cuts and puncture wounds from sharp objects can lead to infections and illnesses such as tetanus.

Tip: Apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet.

Why: Feet get sunburn too. According to FootHealthFacts.org, rare but deadly skin cancers can develop on the feet.

Tip: Inspect your feet and your children's feet on a routine basis for skin problems such as warts, calluses, ingrown toenails and suspicious moles, spots or freckles.

Why: The earlier a skin condition is detected, the easier it is for your foot and ankle surgeon to treat it.

Tip: Wear flip-flops or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms and beaches.

Why: To avoid cuts and abrasions from rough anti-slip surfaces and sharp objects hidden beneath sandy beaches, and to prevent contact with bacteria and viruses that can cause athlete's foot, plantar warts, and other problems.

lawnmowerTip: Use common sense.

Why: Every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. Others suffer serious burns from accidentally stepping on stray campfire coals or fireworks. Murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater. People with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not "feel" an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin. 

 
 
Is Foot Pain Ruining Your Golf Swing?
 
As you head to your favorite golf course this spring, make sure your feet are in shape before approaching the tee box. Your big toe, heel and ball of your foot are the spots most likely to cause pain that can ruin your golf swing.

athletes2Behind these pain-prone spots can lie stiff joints, stretched-out tissues and even nerve damage. But pain relief is possible and frequently does not require surgery.

Three conditions

The three most common foot conditions that can be the barrier to a perfect golf swing are neuromas, arthritis and heel pain.

  • Neuromas are nerves that become thickened, enlarged and painful because they've been compressed or irritated. A neuroma in the ball of your foot can cause significant pain as your body transfers its weight from one foot to the other while swinging the club.
  • Arthritis can cause pain in the joint of your big toe that makes it difficult to follow-through.
  • Heel pain typically results from an inflammation of the band of tissue that extends from your heel to the ball of your foot. People with this condition compare the pain to someone jabbing a knife in their heel. Heel pain can make it uncomfortable for golfers to maintain a solid stance during crucial portions of the swing.

Other painful conditions

Several other painful conditions can also make the perfect swing difficult. Ankle arthritis or ankle instability can affect the proper weight shift during the golf swing. Some athletes and former athletes develop chronic ankle instability from previous ankle sprains that failed to heal properly. Achilles tendonitis can also contribute to balance-threatening instability during your golf swing. Ill-fitting golf shoes may cause corns and calluses that make standing uncomfortable.

Foot pain is not normal. With the treatment options available to your foot and ankle surgeon, a pain-free golf swing is clearly in view. When your feet aren't in top condition, your golf swing won't be either.

 
Five Signs Your Child May Have A Foot Problem
 
Foot and ankle problems in children often go unnoticed. Signs and symptoms can be subtle, and sometimes children can't explain what's wrong. But it's important to protect growing feet and have problems checked out early.
 

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons offers five warning signs parents should watch for.

1. Your Kids Can't Keep Up with Their Peers
If children lag behind in sports or backyard play, it may be because their feet or legs are tired. Fatigue is common when children have flat feet. The muscles in the feet and legs tire easily because the feet are not functioning as well as they should. 

2. Children Voluntarily Withdraw from Activities they Usually Enjoy
If they are reluctant to participate, it may be due to heel pain - a problem often seen in children between the ages of 8 and 14. Repetitive stress from sports may cause muscle strain and inflammation of the growth plate, a weak area at the back of a child's heel.
 
3. They Don't Want to Show You Their Feet
Children may feel pain or notice a change in the appearance of their feet or nails but don't tell their parents because they fear a trip to the doctor's office. Surgeons encourage parents to make a habit of inspecting their child's feet starting at a young age. Look for any changes such as calluses, growths, skin discoloration, or redness and swelling around the toenails.

4. Your Child Often Trips and Falls
Repeated clumsiness may be a sign of in-toeing, balance problems or neuromuscular conditions.

5. The Child Complains of Pain
It is never normal for a child to have foot pain. Injuries may seem minor, but if pain or swelling last more than a few days, have your child's foot examined.

A child with any of these signs or symptoms should be promptly examined by a foot and ankle surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Athlete's Corner
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Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic specializes in sports related foot and ankle  injuries so each month we plan to share a favorite sports related website, article or upcoming event with our athletes through this newsletter.

The Gatorade Sports Science Institute is commited to helping athletes optimize their health and performance. athletes optimize their health and performance.
Foot Facts 
 
Did You Know...
 
There are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet. Sweat glands in the feet excrete as much as a half-pint of moisture a day.

The average person walks about 115,000 miles in a lifetime more than four times the circumference of the globe.

The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles.