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Weekend Warriors

Tips to keep weekend warriors injury free

Many time-deprived parents know that engaging in an intense bout of exercise one day a week while remaining sedentary the other six days increases their risk of injury, but they still persist with irregular, hard workouts. I understand completely as I’m often at fault of the same behaviour. Since my son arrived this summer, I have been trying to balance my desire to spend as much time with him with my busy clinical schedule. On the days I work this means I rarely find time to exercise.

Lack of conditioning or pushing oneself too hard often results in lower limb injuries, particularly heel pain, ankle sprains and damage to the Achilles tendon. Although exercising regularly throughout the week is the best injury prevention, if you are a weekend warrior, here are a few things you can do to lower your risk of injury:

• Wear the correct footwear for your sport and make sure it fits properly. Equally important – replace it when it gets too worn. Watch for excessive tread wear and weakening of the heel support structure.

• Gradually increase the intensity of your activity over time. If you can only train once a week keep your goals realistic.

• Take time to warm up properly. Stretch all your major muscle groups and then begin with a moderate activity.

• Work with a professional such as a personal trainer or neighbourhood running group. Discuss your limited workout time and then devise a program that is appropriate for your schedule.

• If you get hurt, rest and apply ice. Don’t try to push through the injury.

• If you experience a recurring foot or lower limb injury or it doesn’t heal with rest, book a consultation with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist in your community. Your Pedorthist will determine if different or custom-made foot orthotics will help.

Exercise plays a crucial role in your overall physical and mental health so even when your time is limited it is important to stay active. Following these tips will help to lower your risk of injury until you are able to follow a more regular exercise program.

By Kevin Fraser C. Ped (C) Toronto, ON


Put shoes at the top of your back to school shopping list

It’s back to school shopping time. As school-aged children play hard and grow during the summer holidays, new shoes should be at the top of all parents shopping lists.

Here are the tips I give parents who visit my clinic:

• Never hand shoes down from an older child to a younger child even if the shoes are only slightly worn. The shoes may not fit the younger child properly and the wear patterns from the older child will be incorrect for the new wearer.

• Even if your child is in the middle of a growth spurt, don’t buy shoes that are more than one size bigger than their measured size. Shoes that are too large do nor provide adequate support, can cause painful rubs and blisters and are a tripping hazard.

• Only purchase shoes from a store that has experience fitting children, and staff who take the time to properly fit your child. Most importantly make sure your child goes with you. Don’t just buy the next size up. Your child’s feet may have grown more than one size since your last purchase or may not have grown at all.

• Most schools require children to have indoor and outdoor shoes. Avoid the temptation to buy one or even two pairs of inexpensive shoes from a mass retailer. Your child will spend all day, everyday in the indoor pair and will be active in the outdoor pair so both need to fit properly and provide good support.

• Running shoes with adjustable closures are the best choice for school-aged children. If your child hasn’t mastered laces yet, select shoes with Velcro so the shoes can be adjusted easily to ensure a snug fit.

• If your child requires custom foot orthotics, two pairs of orthotics are best as children won’t take the time to switch their orthotics from their indoor shoes to their outdoor shoes at recess and lunch.

Investing in your child’s feet will provide them with the foundation for a pain free active life. If you have any concerns about their feet or lower limbs book a consultation with your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist. Pedorthists are foot and lower limb experts and they can determine if your child’s feet should be left to develop naturally or if custom foot orthotics or a change in footwear is required.

By Amy Chapman, C. Ped (C), Kingston, Ontario


Plantar Fasciitis Tips

Don’t let plantar fasciitis slow you down

Do you have pain in your heels and through the arches of your feet first thing in the morning and after you have been sitting for a while? If you do, it could be plantar fasciitis, a swelling of the plantar fascia – the main tendon that holds up your foot arch. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot pain.

Unlike muscle, the plantar fascia has very little flexibility so it can easily become irritated, inflamed, over-used or torn. Plantar fasciitis is painful but fortunately it is quite easily treated. Here are some tips for easing plantar fasciitis:

  • Before getting out of bed, warm up your foot muscles by doing some ankle stretches and pulling your toes back towards your shin to open up the arch of your foot.
  • Once out of bed, continue loosening up your muscles with a few calf and hamstring stretches.
  • Keep a small water bottle, or pop bottle filled with water, in your freezer. Place it under the arch of your foot, apply some pressure, and gently roll your foot across the bottle. The ice will soothe your pain and the rolling will help stretch your foot muscles.
  • Wear supportive, properly-fitted footwear to control the motion of your foot. Excessive rolling places extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Book a consultation with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist to see if you require custom foot orthotics to support and correct your foot. Depending on your individual biomechanics, custom foot orthotics may make a world of difference if you have plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is painful but it is treatable. If you think you have plantar fasciitis book an appointment with your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist so you can get started with a treatment program right away.

By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C), Prince Albert, SK

 


Why do my feet hurt more when I stand?

Tired, achy feet are normal after a lengthy period of standing but if your feet hurt in one particular area after a long day on your feet, you should book a consultation with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist.

When you stand, the same muscles in your feet fire repeatedly as the pressure on them remains constant. However, when you walk about, the pressure shifts to and from different areas of your foot as the same muscles aren’t working all the time. If you have a sore area on your foot, walking will be less painful than standing as the pressure is on the area for less time.

Pain in one area of the foot that becomes worse when standing indicates a problem that requires pedorthic treatment. Although a Pedorthist needs to assess you to identify the exact cause of your pain, common conditions that cause localized pain are: arthritis, stress fractures, broken bones, ulcers or even using insoles that are badly worn.

Although your Pedorthist will recommend specific treatment to ease your individual condition, often people who have localized foot pain require softer insoles as they ease pressure on their foot. If you have a stress fracture in the metatarsals (forefoot bones) you may need extra support and cushioning to balance the pressure in your injured foot. If you have arthritis in the foot, custom foot orthotics, along with orthopaedic footwear, will ease pressure from the painful arthritic areas.

In addition to custom foot orthotics and different footwear your Pedorthist may also recommend you modify your activities to decrease the amount of time you spend standing in one spot. If your job requires you to stand for lengthy periods, your Pedorthist will discuss ways you can move around a bit to reduce the pressure on your painful area.

As with all foot pain, don’t try to self diagnose or self treat. Consulting a foot and lower limb expert is the quickest way to ease your pain and return to your normal activities.

 By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C), Prince Albert, SK

 

 

 


What is the biggest cause of foot problems?

As a Canadian Certified Pedorthist who sees many different foot conditions each day, I don’t believe any condition is greater than another. Foot pain is foot pain and nobody should have to live with it. I am trained to figure out the cause and solution to foot pain and seeing my patients feel and move better following treatment is one of my favourite parts of my job.

Each day, the average person stands for up to five hours and walks about 10,000 steps with their feet serving as a shock absorber.  As each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 ligaments and more than 100 muscles there are many different parts absorbing the shock from the daily pounding. If any of these parts are damaged through overuse, medical conditions, injuries or poor fitting footwear, pain and mobility issues will result.

The most common problems I see in my clinic are:

  • Plantar Fasciitis – heel pain
  • Heel Spurs – bony growths on the back or bottom of the heel
  • Achilles Tendonitis – dull pain near the heel or along the back of the leg
  • Metatarsalgia – forefoot pain
  • Neuromas – a painful bundle of nerve tissue that grows between the toes
  • Stress Fractures – a tiny crack in the bone
  • Sesamoiditis – inflammation under the big toe joint
  • Bunions – a hard red bump at the base of the big toe
  • Hammertoes– toes that have an irregular, permanent bend in the joint
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – pain along the inner leg behind the ankle bone
  • Haglands Deformity – a bony enlargement on the back of the heel
  • Corns and callusing – painful patches of thickened skin

In addition to these conditions, I also regularly see patients living with diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout as these diseases affect the feet and lower limbs.

As you can see, there are many causes of foot pain so it’s important to seek professional advice to determine the cause of, and an appropriate treatment program for, your foot pain. Treatment options to reduce foot pain and increase mobility, include foot orthotics, footwear recommendations and modifications, stretching, icing and more.

If you think you have any of the above conditions, don’t self-treat. Book an appointment with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist in your community. Your Pedorthist will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your feet and lower limbs to determine the cause of your pain and will design a treatment program for you. Click here to find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist near you http://www.pedorthic.ca/find-a-pedorthist/

 By Mike Neugebauer C. Ped (C) Vancouver, BC

 

 


My Feet Are Two Different Sizes

My feet are two different sizes, how do I buy shoes that fit?

For your foot health and comfort, it is important to buy properly fitted shoes but if your feet measure two different sizes (and most people’s do) how do you decide which size to purchase? I recommend three different solutions, depending on your situation:

Solution 1

If your feet measure within a half size of each other and you don’t have any other problems with your feet, purchase shoes to fit your largest foot. Although, you should buy footwear that fits your larger foot, it’s also important to make sure it fits your smaller foot. For example, my right foot is a 9.5 EEE and my left foot is a size 9 EEEEE.  I can usually wear a 9.5 EEE shoe as long as it is a generous EEE width and the shoe is square at the toes. To make sure the shoes fit both of your feet, try them on and walk around in the store before purchasing them.

Solution 2

My Feet are two different sizesSome people have about one size difference between their feet. For these individuals it will be more difficult to get both shoes to fit comfortably without modifications.  If you fall into this category, you should visit a Canadian Certified Pedorthist to find a shoe that fits your larger foot and then have the second shoe modified to fit your smaller foot. Your Pedorthist may need to put a pad in the front of the shoe to draw your smaller foot towards the heel. A tongue pad (shown at the left) is a pad that is glued on the tongue of the shoe to help ensure a proper fit. A tongue pad makes the shoe fit tighter to keep the shoe from sliding around.

Mass shoe stores may suggest you put a heel cushion into your shoe to accommodate your shorter foot. However, the objective is to pull the back of your foot into the heel of the shoe and putting a heel pad in will achieve the opposite as it forces your foot to the front. Forcing your foot forward will make the shoe harder to wear because your heel will slide up and down. It also increases the risk of toe injury as your toes will bang the front of the shoe.

Solution 3

A smaller group of people have more than a two size difference between their feet. These people usually had trauma or surgery on their feet when they were growing up. They may also have a leg length discrepancy. It is unlikely footwear can be modified to fit such varying size feet. However, there are a couple of solutions for this situation, depending of the type of shoes the person requires.

  • If you require the shoes immediately, I recommend you purchase two pairs (one to fit the larger foot and a second to fit the smaller foot).
  • If you have time to do some research, some specialty shoe manufacturers make mismatched pairs. They may charge a surcharge, but it is generally less expensive than buying two pairs of shoes.
  • A few places such as the National Odd Shoe Exchange (http://www.oddshoe.org/index.php) provide people with different size feet a place to trade shoes that do not fit. You simply look on the exchange to find if there is someone with the opposite shoe needs. You then purchase two pairs of shoes, and send the pair that does not fit to the exchange. The exchange then sends you back a second new pair to meet your needs.
  • Custom made shoes – shoes that are made specifically for you – are also an option. Although this is the most expensive option, custom made shoes are the most likely to fit perfectly.

If you are having difficulty finding shoes to fit your needs, contact your Canadian Certified Pedorthist. Your Pedorthist is a footwear expert and will recommend the best solution for you.

By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C), Prince Albert, SK

 


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