Posts for: December, 2014
You don't have to be an athlete to be at risk for athlete's foot: It's a common condition, because everyone's feet get sweaty, and moisture breeds fungus. Treating it is easy enough, but preventing athlete's foot is simple, too. Good hygiene, above all else, is crucial to keeping your feet infection-free.
Cleaning your feet is important, but you can only do that so many times in a day. The most effective strategy for preventing athlete's foot is to keep your feet dry and eliminate the opportunity for fungus to grow and spread. When you're done bathing, you should not only dry your feet but make sure you towel off between your toes.
Wearing socks allows your skin to breathe, rather than clamming up as a result of direct contact with your shoes. The socks absorb the sweat your feet produce throughout the day, but you may want to put on a fresh pair after several hours of activity, to ensure you keep your feet as dry as possible.
Socks are important, but the way you treat your shoes plays a large role in athlete's foot prevention. After wearing (and sweating in) your shoes, allow them to air out for 24 hours before putting them on again, otherwise the moist material becomes a hotbed for fungi. You can use a shoe powder to accelerate the drying process, and foot powder can reduce the amount of moisture your socks and shoes collect while you're wearing them.
Athlete's foot isn't limited to your shoes: If you use public showers or locker rooms, avoid allowing your feet to make direct contact with the floor. Wet tile may harbor fungus left behind by an infected person, and it will eagerly transfer to a new host, if given the chance. Keep your feet protected with sandals or socks to protect yourself from picking up athlete's foot in public places.
If you develop athlete's foot, you can buy over-the-counter remedies or visit a podiatrist for treatment options. You can call the Lake Ridge or Stafford offices of Associated Foot & Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia to schedule a consultation. No matter your course of action, make sure you follow your podiatrist's instructions or the treatment directions to make sure you kill the fungus and minimize the chances of it returning.
Basketball season is officially underway, meaning players are eager to get out on the floor and compete after several months off the court. It's also prime time for injury, when players often go out too hard too fast or slip into bad habits.
Accidents happen, but by training properly and paying close attention to warning signs, many sports injuries are avoidable. Here are some steps athletes can take to prevent foot and ankle injuries this basketball season:
Build a Strong Fitness Base
During practice sessions, focus on developing strength, agility, good form and aerobic fitness. If you're out of shape at the start of the new season, you'll need to gradually rebuild your fitness. It's a process that shouldn't be rushed, because it leads to injury. You can consult a podiatrist for tips and exercises for strengthening your foot and ankle muscles, which are the foundation of your performance as a basketball player. The Associated Foot & Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia have offices in Stafford and Lake Ridge, with several doctors on hand to address your foot and ankle concerns.
Wear Proper Footwear
It can be difficult to look past flashy appearances and focus on shoe quality, but mke sure you select your basketball shoes based on your foot- and ankle-support needs. The fit of a shoe is much more important than how well it complements a uniform.
Ill-fitting shoes can cause minor irritation, like blisters, but they can be much more hazardous, like if they cause you to trip, land funny, roll your ankle or unnecessarily strain your muscles.
Don't Overlook Fundamentals
Warm-ups, cool-downs and stretches aren't the most exciting parts of being an athlete, but they're crucial to injury prevention. Invest the time in easing into a particularly rigorous practice session or competition, so your feet are ready for the quick movements and high performance you demand during a game. Cooling down is just as important: Allow your heart to recover from the increased demand of intense competition, and stretch to reduce soreness.
Remember to hydrate, too. Dehydration causes muscle fatigue, can compromise your form and, therefore, increase your risk for injury. Don't let impatience get the best of you, because injury recovery will be much more time consuming than practicing good athletic habits in the first place.
If you are experiencing heel pain it could be due to these causes:
- Plantar Fasciitis - Out of all the cause for heel pain, plantar fasciitis is the most common. If you are experiencing heel pain from prolonged walking and standing then it is likely that you have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is due to inflammation of the tight tissue that forms in the arch of the foot, which causes irritation.
- Heel Spur - A heel spur is a calcium deposit on the bottom of the heel bone. A heel spur can be visible with an X-ray and can be seen to extend forward by as much as a half-inch. If the spur is not visible on the X-ray, the condition is referred to as "heel spur syndrome"
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome - Tarsal tunnel syndrome is very similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and is caused by the entrapment of a large nerve in the back of the foot.
- Stress Fractures - Stress fractures of the heel bone, or calcaneus, are a more uncommon cause of heel pain. If athletes are experiencing heel pain it is important to consider stress fractures to be a cause, especially if the athlete is a long distance runner.
- Posterior Heel Pain - Posterior heel pain refers to symptoms behind the foot, rather than underneath. Achilles tendonitis and retrocalcaneal bursitis are the causes associated with posterior heel pain.
The most common causes for plantar fasciitis are:
- Advanced or new activity/training
- Prolonged standing on hard surfaces
- Flat feet
- Tight calf muscles
- improper footwear
- increased weight