Posts for: September, 2010
Hikers and hunters: Long, vigorous hikes take toll on feet and ankles
As fall approaches, hikers and hunters nationwide will migrate to mountains, woods and fields, but many, unfortunately, are ill prepared for the beating their feet will take.
Hikers, hunters and others who love the outdoors often don't realize how strenuous it can be to withstand constant, vigorous walking on uneven terrain. Lax physical conditioning and inappropriate footwear bring scores of outdoor enthusiasts into our office each fall for treatment of foot and ankle problems such as chronic heel pain, ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, fungal infections and severe blisters.
Walking up and down steep hillsides and tramping through wet, slippery fields and wooded areas puts stress on the muscles and tendons in the feet and ankles, especially if you haven't conditioned properly before hitting the trail. Also, many don't realize that cross-training athletic shoes aren't the best choice for extended hiking and hunting.
Hikers and hunters should invest in top-quality hiking boots. Well insulated and moisture-proof boots with steel or graphite shanks offer excellent ankle and foot support that helps lessen stress and muscle fatigue to reduce injury risk. The supportive shank decreases strain on the arch by allowing the boot to distribute impact as the foot moves forward. So if a boot bends in the middle, don't buy it.
In wet and cold weather, wearing the right socks can help prevent blisters, fungal infections and frostbite. We recommend synthetic socks as the first layer to keep the feet dry and reduce blister-causing friction. For the second layer, wool socks add warmth, absorb moisture away from the skin, and help make the hiking boot more comfortable. Wool lets moisture evaporate more readily than cotton, so fewer blisters develop.
What happens if your feet or ankles hurt during a hike or hunt? If you're not accustomed to walking on sloped or uneven ground, your legs and feet will get tired and cause muscles and tendons to ache. To avoid a serious injury, such as a severe ankle sprain or an Achilles tendon rupture, rest for awhile if you start hurting.
Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong. Serious injury risk escalates significantly if you continue hiking in pain.
Evaluation by a foot specialist is recommended if there is persistent pain following a hiking or hunting outing. Hikers and hunters seeking further information about ankle sprains, Achilles tendon injuries and other foot and ankle problems may view our website at carolinafootspecialists.net
Carolina Foot Specialists will be presenting a talk on "My Foot Hurts - Medical Solutions for Hammertoes, Bunions, and Heel Pain".
The presentation will be this Wednesday September 15th at 10:00am at East Cooper Hospital. For more information please contact East Cooper Hospital or our office in Mt. Pleasant.
Carolina Foot Specialists will be participating in the Isle of Palms Community Wellness Fair at the Isle of Palms recreational department Thursday September 16, 2010.
Dr. Saffer will lecture at 8:00 AM on Basic Foot Care.
To Find our more about the Wellness Health Fair please visit the below web address.
Check Children's Feet Before School Starts -
Back to school season is underway, and we would like to offer some advice to parents regarding their children's feet.
Take five minutes to inspect your children's feet for problems that could sideline your son or daughter from sports or other activities.Parents should look for the following warning signs:
1) Do your child shoes show uneven wear patterns on the sole of the shoe?
2) Does your child walk irregularly? Is one leg longer than the other or do their feet turn in or out excessively?
3) If your child is in pre-school do they walk on their toes?
4) Does your child often trip or stumble?
5) Does your child complain of tired legs, night pains and cramping?
Following this checklist can uncover common problems like ingrown toenails to more serious problems like flat feet. If your child's shoe is worn on the big toe side of their foot, it could be a sign of poor arch support or flat feet.
Parents can spot several potential foot problems by observing how their kids walk. If you find out one of your child's legs is longer than the other, heel lifts may be required to restore proper balance. Early intervention can prevent scoliosis, a curvature of spine, later in life.
Younger children can often walk on their toes because of tightness in their Achilles tendon. This can happen when toddlers spend too much time in walkers. A foot and ankle surgeon can recommend stretching exercises that can be fun for small children and help prevent lower back pain as they get older.
For older children beginning college, heel pain and shin splints can plague freshmen not used to walking long distances across campus to attend classes. We typically see students every fall complaining about pain from walking so much everyday. For most students, daily stretching and proper walking shoes can solve the problem. If there are foot deformities like hammertoes, surgery may be advised to make walking more comfortable.
If your chldren are complaining about tired legs, heel pain or leg or foot cramps at night, consider that a warning sign and see a doctor. Leg and foot pain can indicate flat feet or other disorders that are easier to treat the earlier they're diagnosed.
Children with flat feet are at risk for arthritis later in life if the problem is left untreated.
For more information on various foot conditions in children please visit our website at carolinafootspecialists.net
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