OC Feet News
Is foot pain ruining your golf swing? The barrier to a perfect golf swing could lie in your big toe. Or your heel. Or on the ball of your foot. Jonathan Bennett, DPM, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), says these are the three areas of your feet most likely to cause pain that can ruin your golf swing.
Behind 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.
According to Dr. Bennett, the three most common painful foot conditions that can ruin your golf swing are heel pain, arthritis and pinched nerves.
Arthritis can cause pain in the joint of your big toe that makes it difficult to follow-through on your golf swing.
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 their golf swing.
Neuromas, according to FootHealthFacts.org, 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 in a golf swing.
Several other painful conditions can also cause instability during your swing. Some athletes and former athletes develop chronic ankle instability from previous ankle sprains that failed to heal properly. Motion-limiting arthritis and Achilles tendonitis can also affect your balance. Ill-fitting golf shoes may cause corns and calluses that make standing uncomfortable.
For the majority of golfers and other patients Dr. Bennett recommends simple treatments such as custom orthotic devices (shoe inserts), stretching exercises, changes to your shoes, medications, braces or steroid injections and physical therapy. However, if these conservative measures fail to provide adequate relief, surgery may be required.
“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,” says Bennett. “When your feet aren’t in top condition, your golf swing won’t be either.”
Don’t let foot injuries keep you from your fitness resolutions in the New Year, by keeping your feet in tip-top shape. Follow these tips for foot safety while at the gym.
Start new workouts gradually
Increase your stamina and the length of your workouts gradually to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures or tendon strains and sprains. Stretching your muscles before and after workouts also helps prevent these types of injuries. “If you do feel you’ve sprained your ankle, be sure to seek treatment right away,” Dr. Bennett, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons explains. “Untreated or repeated ankle sprains may lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition that causes persistent pain and a ‘giving way’ of the ankle.”
Wear the right shoe and sock
Wear well-fitting athletic shoes designed for the exercise or sport. According to Dr. Bennett, shoes that don’t support the arch of the foot and provide cushion for the heel can cause heel pain (plantar fasciitis). Shoes that are too small can also cause a neuroma or a thickening of the nerve tissue, in the foot and may require injections, medication or physical therapy. Wearing cotton or non-slip socks are also key to help avoid painful blisters, which can become infected and cause more serious issues.
Use good technique
Improper exercise techniques can result in injury to the tendons or ligaments in your feet and ankles. “Incorrect posture or misuse of exercise equipment can cause decreased stabilization in the foot and ankle, leading to joint sprains and muscle strains,” Dr. Bennett says.
Many gyms offer a free training session to show the basics of good exercise form, and are happy to show proper usage of any of their machines.
Protect yourself from bacteria
Sweaty shoes, public showers, exercise equipment and the pool deck at the gym are breeding grounds for fungus, viruses and bacteria, including drug-resistant strains like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which has become increasingly more common. Never go barefoot while in public areas; water shoes can provide a great barrier between your feet and the wet surfaces. “It’s also best to cover cuts and cracks in the skin or ingrown toenails since these minor tears in the skin’s surface can act as entry points for bacteria. If you have a cut or scrape that becomes red or swollen and is not healing in a timely manner, don’t hesitate to see a foot and ankle surgeon for an examination,” Dr. Bennett says.
Above all, it’s important to listen to your body. If you experience an injury or pain, call Dr. Bennett’s office at (714) 888-6860 or set an appointment online for an evaluation. To learn more about foot and ankle health topics, visit our Patient Education or the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ website, FootHealthFacts.org.
Holiday shopping, decorating, parties and traveling are all part of our holiday revelries. But while you’re making all that merriment, how happy are your feet?
You may be doing a lot of walking, dancing, standing, and sitting in one position throughout the holiday season.
“Half of all Americans report experiencing foot pain at some point in their lives, according to a survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA),” says Jonathan Bennett DPM, a podiatrist at Orange County Foot and Ankle Group and APMA member.
“No one wants soreness or injuries to slow them down during the holidays, so it’s important to care for your feet so they can carry you through all those seasonal celebrations and chores.”
APMA offers some advice for keeping feet healthy (and happy) this holiday season:
Moisturize—Dry winter air and cold temperatures can take a toll on skin. Moisturize feet daily to help avoid dry, cracked, and irritated skin.
Exercise your feet—Stretching is a good way to avoid muscle cramps. Stave off toe cramps by raising, pointing, and curling your toes for five seconds. Repeat 10 times. Rotating your ankles can also help relax feet. Cup your heel and turn each ankle slowly five times to loosen ankle joints.
Massage—Foot rubs not only feel good, but they’re also a great way to release tension, boost circulation, and refresh skin after a long day on your feet. Take a few minutes to massage your feet at the end of a day of shopping and celebrating. Use lotion and take care of moisturizing at the same time!
Pedicure properly—Picture-perfect toes are part of a great holiday wardrobe for many women. Whether you do it yourself or go to a salon, be sure your pedicure is done properly. “Never use a razor to remove dead skin—opt for a good pumice stone instead,” says Dr. Bennett.
Don’t cut cuticles; push them back gently with a rubber tool made for this purpose. Use toenail clippers with a straight edge to cut nails straight across.
Raise your legs—Feet and ankles can swell from sitting too long in one position (taking a long flight to grandma’s house for the holidays, for example) or if you’ve been on your feet all day (shopping, baking, or cooking). Elevate your legs to reduce swelling. Lie down or sit and lift your legs above your heart.
Wear smart shoes—Okay, so you’ll never give up your sparkly high heels when it’s time for that special soiree. But for other holiday activities such as shopping, traveling, or cooking, ditch the high heels. When you know you’ll be on your feet all day, wear comfortable shoes with good arch support and a padded sole. See which types of footwear have received the APMA Seal of Acceptance for promoting foot health by visiting www.apma.org/seal.
Feet shouldn’t hurt all the time. “Persistent foot pain can be an indication of injury, irritation, or illness,” Dr. Bennett adds. “See a podiatrist if you experience pain; don’t wait until the holidays end!”
It’s back-to-school sports season, and there’s no better time to brush up on these 5 safety tips to protect them from serious ankle injuries.
Every fall, Orange County foot and ankle surgeon Jonathan Bennett, DPM, notices an increase in ankle injuries among young athletes. Football, soccer and basketball are the sports most likely to lead to sprains, broken bones and other problems, he says. Bennett has offices in Fullerton and Tustin.
Bennett's top recommendation is for parents are to get ankle injuries treated right away.
"What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain; in addition to cartilage injuries, your son or daughter might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Have a qualified doctor examine the injury," says Bennett. "The sooner rehabilitation starts, the sooner we can prevent long-term problems like instability or arthritis, and the sooner your child can get back into competition."
Bennett says parents should also follow these additional tips from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons' Web site, FootHealthFacts.org:
Have old sprains checked by a doctor before the season starts. A medical check-up can reveal whether your child's previously injured ankle might be vulnerable to sprains, and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive ankle brace during competition.
Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players shouldn't mix baseball cleats with football shoes.
Children should start the season with new shoes. Old shoes can wear down like a car tire and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot can't lie flat.
Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. That's why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in non-professional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player's foot and throw them to the ground. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.
Encourage stretching and warm-up exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging before competition helps warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing the risk for ankle injuries.
Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to call the Orange County Foot & Ankle Group. We also have same day appointments.
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!
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