OC Feet News
Posts for category: foot care
Summertime is vacation time, and while rest and relaxation are the primary goals for most vacations, getting out and exploring your destination is too. This usually involves a lot of walking, and a lot of walking usually involves sore feet.
"Walking is great exercise and one of the most reliable forms of transportation," says Jonathan Bennett, DPM, FACFAS, "But if your feet aren’t in the best shape, or you don’t have the right shoes, too much walking can cause foot problems."
According to Bennett, good foot care is essential if you plan to subject your feet to long periods of walking. Some simple foot care tips include:
Wear thick moisture wicking socks. Try our energizing compression socks (pictured right)
Dry feet thoroughly after bathing, making sure to dry between toes.
Optional: Use powder before putting on shoes. Try our Soothing Foot Powder (pictured right)
Nails should be cut regularly, straight across the toe.
The right shoes (more on that below)
"The right shoe is also important to healthy walking," says Bennett "The ideal walking shoe should be stable from side to side, and well-cushioned, and it should enable you to walk smoothly. Many running shoes will fit the bill."
He adds there are also shoes made especially for walking. Walking shoes tend to be slightly less cushioned, yet not as bulky, and lighter than running shoes. Whether a walking or running shoe, the shoes need to feel stable and comfortable.
Warming up exercises to help alleviate any muscle stiffness or pulled muscles are also advised before walking. Loosening up the heel cords (Achilles and calf) and thigh muscles before a walk is especially effective.
"If you’re not accustomed to long walks, start slowly and rest if your feet start hurting," says Bennett. "And above all, have fun!
The countdown to the LA Marathon is on, and with 3 months to go, the time to start training is now. With first time runners especially, the first step is to make sure your feet are ready for the challenge before establishing a training plan. Same day appointments with Orange County Foot & Ankle Group are available to get you started right away!
If your goal is to become more fit, good alternatives to the marathon are shorter distance running events like the 5k, or the more challenging half marathon. They have all the fanfare of running a marathon, but with much less stress on the body.
Orange County Foot & Ankle Group’s Dr. Bennett, DPM F.A.C.F.A.S, discusses how repetitive impact on feet can increase risk of damage, and how stress fractures of the foot are becoming more common in runners, especially first-time marathoners.
The growing popularity of marathons among beginning runners has contributed to the increase in repetitive stress injuries, including stress fractures of the foot, seen by Dr. Bennett, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Often, first-time marathoners enter a race with little or improper long-distance training. The lack of experience coupled with the repetitive impact placed on the feet during the run can produce enough stress to cause hairline breaks in the bones of the foot.
“Runners who increase their mileage too quickly or change to a more intense phase of training may be more susceptible to a stress fracture due to the increased force placed on the bones,” says Dr. Bennett. “A general rule of thumb for runners is to increase the mileage by no more than 10 percent each week. Runners who are training also need to have adequate rest time in between runs to help decrease the risk of a fracture.”
Runners at all levels of experience are also at higher risk for stress fractures if they wear improper shoes while running or training, suffer from flatfoot or other foot deformities, or have osteoporosis. Signs of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling, redness and possibly bruising of the area.
Stress Fractures and Runners
“Stress fractures can occur anywhere in the foot and can eventually lead to a complete break of the bone if left untreated,” Dr. Bennett explained. “Early diagnosis and treatment are important to ensure proper healing.”
If a break is suspected, Dr. Bennett advises runners to immediately follow the RICE protocol
If pain and swelling last longer than a few days, an appointment for an x-ray and diagnosis is in order.
In most cases, treatment includes rest and immobilization with casting of the foot. Surgery may be required in certain instances to repair and stabilize a stress fracture that has progressed into a full fracture.
Runners can take action to prevent repetitive stress injuries in their feet by wearing supportive athletic shoes and slowly building up their activity levels according to their abilities. “If a runner suffers from abnormal mechanics in the foot, such as over pronation or hypermobility, custom orthotics can also be helpful to prevent these injuries,” Dr. Bennett, adds.
Get started today and call Dr. Bennett’s office at 714-888-6860 for an evaluation, or make an appointment online.
New Year's Resolutions can include many goals, from getting healthier to traveling more to running a marathon. It's always a good idea to make sure your feet are in tip top shape, and we're here to help you prep.
This blog post focuses on a top goal for many, weight loss and your feet. An estimated 70 million overweight Americans experience foot problems, like heel pain and flat feet. Sore feet make it hard to exercise and lose weight; and without exercise, those extra pounds worsen or exacerbate the progression of diabetes, heart disease and other serious health threats. Today, Orange County Foot & Ankle Surgeons urged overweight adults to seek immediate treatment for chronic, activity-limiting foot and ankle problems to foster compliance with physician-directed exercise programs.
“It’s unfortunate overweight adults get caught up in the vicious cycle of avoiding physical activity due to foot or ankle pain, thereby permitting cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening conditions to worsen as a result,” says Dr. Bennett, DPM. “For example, in many cases, chronic heel pain occurs from carrying too much weight. Left untreated, it becomes an impediment to physical activity and meaningful weight loss.”
Bennett says there’s no reason foot or ankle pain should stop patients from exercising. The first step toward breaking the cycle is an evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon.
According to the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, many causes of foot pain can be relieved without surgery through stretching exercises, orthotics and athletic shoes with good shock absorption and support. If a bunion, heel pain or other condition requires surgery, patients can participate during their recovery in non-weight-bearing activities, such as riding a stationary bike, swimming or weight training.
For those moderately to severely overweight, Bennett says a thorough physical examination is mandatory before beginning an exercise program.
“Once cleared by your physician to begin exercising, don’t try to do too much too soon. Follow a gradual routine until your body adjusts to the stress of regular physical activity,” he says. “For example, I counsel overweight patients to avoid working out on treadmills or elliptical machines to minimize pounding and stress on their joints.”
Shedding excess pounds helps diabetic patients control their disease, but Bennett notes many who experience foot ulcerations and vascular problems caused by diabetes might think they shouldn’t exercise.
“Every diabetes patient needs regular foot exams to check for possible sore spots and assess nerve sensation,” says Bennett. “And with proper diabetic foot care and the right footwear, most patients can follow an exercise regimen that is safe and appropriate for them.”
No need to sacrifice fashion for comfort. There are many festive flats and kitten heels (pumps with less than 2 inches) on the market to replace those sky-high stilettos that can cause many foot problems including bunions, hammertoes, hyperextension, ankle sprains, mid foot fractures, neuromas (benign nerve tumors), and pinched nerves.
And you’d be in good company! Many celebs are turning to flats after suffering foot problems from years of high-heel wear. So if you’re looking for that last minute party pare, go low, and your feet will thank-you for it!
Then, when you're home, pamper your feet by slipping into a pair of cozy slippers with built in support like the ones found on our online store. They even come in leopard! http://www.ourdoctorstore.com/ocfeet/store/item.asp?item_id=796
Hikers and nature lovers take advantage of the beautiful Southern California to explore the mountains, foothills, and wilderness parks year round. Feet can take a beating from long and vigorous hikes, but following these tips can ward off possible foot & ankle injury.
“Hikers and others who love the outdoors often don’t realize how strenuous it can be to withstand constant, vigorous walking on uneven terrain,” says Dr. Bennett of Orange Country Foot & Ankle Surgeons. "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 muddy fields puts stress on the muscles and tendons in the feet and ankles, especially if you haven’t conditioned properly before hitting the trail,” says Bennett. “Also, many don’t realize that cross-training athletic shoes aren’t the best choice for extended hiking. Had some of my patients worn sturdy, well-constructed hiking boots, they wouldn’t have suffered sprained ankles or strained Achilles tendons.”
Buy top quality hiking boots
Bennett advises hikers and hunters to make the investment in top-quality hiking boots. He says strong, 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.”
Wear the right socks
Even arid southern California can experience wet and cold weather during the fall and winter, especially in the mountains. Wearing the right socks can help prevent blisters, fungal infections and frostbite. For warm days, Bennett recommends synthetic socks to keep the feet dry and reduce blister-causing friction. On cold days, add a second layer of wool socks to 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,” Bennett adds.
What happens if your feet or ankles hurt during a hike?
Bennett says pain usually occurs from overuse, even from just walking. “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,” he explains. “To avoid a serious injury, such as a severe ankle sprain or an Achilles tendon rupture, rest for a while if you start hurting.”
According to the ACFAS consumer website, FootHealthFacts.org, pain is a warning sign that something is wrong. “Serious injury risk escalates significantly if you continue hiking in pain.” Bennett likens hiking to skiing, in that beginners should take on less difficult trails until they become better conditioned and more confident.
Evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is recommended if there is persistent pain following a hiking outing. “I’m most concerned about ankle instability and strained Achilles tendons. Inattention to these problems at their early stages may lead to a serious injury that will keep you off the trails for a long time,” Bennett says.
Hikers seeking further information about ankle sprains, Achilles tendon injuries and other foot and ankle problems can set up an appointment online or give us a call at 714-888-6860.