Friday, 24 January 2014

Important facts about foot conditions faced by young athletes

Competitive sports demand active participation throughout the year which in turns necessitates extreme fitness level for young athletes. Young age may not safeguard the athlete from getting hurt suddenly. According to pediatric sports experts, if the child complains of incessant heel pain or any other foot discomfort then it should not be taken lightly. Sometimes these can be precise signs of even more serious foot problems to come.

Youngsters who are into regular sports activities might encounter injuries involving bones, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues in the foot. Acute injuries which can happen all of a sudden include bruises, sprains or fractures. On the other hand, foot ailments that develop overtime are stress fractures and tendonitis. Young athletes belonging to the age group of 6-14 are mostly susceptible to such foot conditions. This is the age when their feet grow and heel bone develops. New bone formation happens in the growth plate, i.e. the area behind heels. If the foot undergoes excess strain or stress then this might result in sudden pull on the heel bone growth plate as well as severe inflammation of the cartilage. Such condition can also cause a stress-type fracture.

Getting hurt during sports activities is quite a common phenomenon. May be this is the reason why parents tend to ignore the child’s foot problems at an initial stage. While minor injuries can be treated at home, it is very important to take notice if your child is limping often, walking on his toes or showing reluctance to take part in regular sports activities. It should be kept in mind that accurate and timely diagnosis of foot conditions is the key to successful treatment. Make sure to consult an expert podiatrist in such circumstances. Based on detailed analysis of the child’s foot condition he might suggest a radiograph, ultrasound or even an MRI. A thorough and precise diagnosis is very important to prevent the foot problem turning into a chronic issue.

When the foot condition is related to young athletes, the treatment must ensure that the child is able to:-
  • Walk or run in full motion;
  • Walk on tiptoes without any discomfort;
  • Jump on both feet without feeling any pain;
  • Hop on the affected foot without any discomfort;
  • Maintain adequate balance while carrying out a single-leg stance on the affected foot/portion.

Podiatrists suggest different types of treatments, based on the extent of injury. While mild or modest conditions are treated with physical therapies, anti-inflammatory medicines or customized shoes, in extreme cases he may suggest ankle or foot casts or even surgery. The good news is that now there are many painless and hassle-free podiatric treatment procedures and parents need not worry about long term immobility of the budding athlete at home. They just need to get in touch with an expert podiatrist who is confident about treating foot conditions of athletes. After completion of treatment, it is even more crucial to follow the specialist’s instructions to minimize recurrence of the same foot problem.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Helpful information and effective remedies regarding everyday foot problems

Human body undergoes different phases of transformation with age, disease, disability or even pregnancy. These affect each body organ and that includes the foot too. With growing irregularities and changes, every individual encounters foot problems, either rarely or frequently. While some foot conditions are hereditary, many are caused due to hormonal changes, inadequate exercises or insufficient calcium intake. According to a study conducted by the US Public Health Service, even racial factors can determine bone strength, e.g. Blacks experience comparatively lesser foot problems than whites since they have higher bone mass.

While the hereditary factor can’t be controlled, it is possible to monitor lifestyle and life-stage factors to a great extent, thus ensuring a healthy foot throughout life. There are certain common foot conditions which people experience now and then; few of these are discussed below:-

  • Calluses – result from accumulation of dead skin cells. An area of the foot is hardened and thickened causing discomfort or even pain while walking. Calluses usually happen from wearing high-heeled or ill-fitted shoes. So the best remedy is to shift to comfortable footwear with adequate padding or custom-made insole to protect and soothe the affected portion.
  • Bunion – is one foot problem which falls into the serious category. One alarming aspect about Bunions is that it is hereditary and often affects both feet. A kind of arthritis or bone de-generation, this foot condition starts as a bony bump on the outside of big toe. Switching to orthotics and doing regular exercises helps in alleviating bunion related pain to great extent.
  • Hammertoes or twisted toes – is a kind of deformity whereby your toes bend or curl downward thus resembling bird’s claws. The condition can cause extreme discomfiture while walking or flexing your foot. Apart from being hereditary, this disease may result from calluses, bunions, corns or due to severe neurological trauma. Ill fitting shoes might also be the culprit. To get relief from hammertoes, shift to shoes with high and broad toe box.
  • Morton’s Neuroma – is another common foot problem which can cause extreme pain, swelling or inflammation of a nerve. Numbness, cramping and tingling sensation in the forefoot are few other symptoms of this foot condition. Usually the portion between third and fourth feet gets affected by Neuroma. The best way to relieve pain and treat Neuroma is by selecting footwear which comes with high and wide toe box. Another effective treatment is to have orthotic designed with metatarsal pad.
  • Ingrown toenails – can be a painful condition which arises due to inaccurate nail trimming. Sometimes it can be hereditary too. While the ingrown toenail cures by itself as the nail grows sometimes the pain and discomfort becomes unbearable and the area may get infected in extreme cases. Apart from trying out some home remedies, it is a wise idea to approach a podiatrist to get rid of the infected nail through a nominal surgical procedure.

If foot problems keep recurring after regular intervals, then don’t ignore.  Get in touch with a foot care specialist for professional and precise guidance.