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Wednesday, 26 April 2017 00:00

Foot Care for Dancers

When dancers begin to perfect their art, the first few things they realize are difficult to deal with are the choreography, grueling hours of practice, and foot issues due to their shoes and positions they have to be in. So for someone to become a dancer, they quickly realize that it takes more than just practice and talent.

The feet, ankles, and legs play a vital role in dancing. Ballet, tap, jazz – you name it – all of these types of dance require you to use your lower extremities in non-typical ways. At the end of long periods of practice or a long showcase performance, the feet and ankles can be in pain and have all sorts of issues like strains, cuts, and even fractures!

There are many foot and ankle injuries both professional and amateur dancers may be prone to encountering. Typical injuries include:

  • Achilles tendon injury or tendonitis – The tendon on the back of the heel is susceptible to injury, especially in quick movements or in repetitive movements that chronically inflame the Achilles tendon.
  • Ankle Sprains – Sharp movements that overstretch ligaments in the ankle are called ankle sprains. A misstep or fall can cause an ankle sprain.
  • Corns and Calluses – Depending on the shoes worn, pressure on certain parts of the feet can result in corns or calluses, which are thickened patches or bumps of skin. These areas can become inflamed and cause pain.
  • Fractures – Constant pressure on bones can cause small lines of bone breakage. Many repetitive movements can ultimately lead to painful fractures.
  • Hammertoes – Those that go “on point,” especially ballet dancers, can form hammertoes due to the pressure places on the toes when they go on tip toe. These can be painful, but can be fixed if caught early on.
  • Plantar Fasciitis – Because of repetitive movements in dance practice, it’s possible to cause inflammation and irritation along the bottom of the feet. This is one issue where rest is important for relief.
  • Ingrown Toenails – As with hammertoes, when there is much pressure on the top of the toes with the toenails, it can cause ingrown toenails, which can be painful as the nail grows into the skin.
  • Metatarsalgia – The ball of the feet, especially near the big toe joint can become painful and inflamed as an overuse injury because of the repetitive movements that dancers perform.

In addition, dancers must keep strengthening and conditioning their feet so that they can prevent injury. They must also keep good hygiene to prevent infections and even odor issues. Shoes must fit well so that they can be supportive of the different moves or positions they need to perform.

Have pain from dancing? Come see us at Texas Foot WorksDr. Jonathan M. Kletz can assess your feet to find the right solution for relief. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices. 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 20 April 2017 00:00

Why Do I Get Foot Cramps?

Those who experience foot cramps often will tell you that it’s no day in the park. The sudden, involuntary muscle contraction can cause extreme pain and even limit mobility of the feet or ankles. For some, cramps can happen very suddenly, without warning. For others, they can happen after a workout or a long day of standing or walking.

There are many possible causes, depending on individual situations. Below are some reasons why you may be getting foot cramps.

  • Nerve Damage or Compression – If a nerve is being pressed or is damaged from injury, it is possible that the signals to the brain are interrupted and muscle contractions happen for a longer period of time than intended.

  • Muscle fatigue or overuse – Long periods of muscle activity can lead to cramps. Warming up, stretching, and cooling down are helpful to prevent cramps due to intense activity. 

  • Dehydration – Fluids are required to properly use muscles. When you are dehydrated, the muscle may not function properly and leave you with a prolonged contraction. Some medications can cause dehydration as a side effect, so be sure to stay on top of drinking fluids when on these medications.

  • Nutritional Deficiencies – Calcium, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Potassium are all required for healthy muscle function. Eat your vegetables and get in the sun!

  • Lack of support in footwear – When shoes do not give adequate support to the feet, muscle tissues may have to strain to support them. This strain can lead to a muscle cramp, depending on how your feet position themselves to support you.

  • Pregnancy – Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. You are more susceptible to swelling feet, which may press on nerves or reduce circulation.

  • Other health issues – If you have severe foot cramps, they may indicate that you have other health issues.

When you have a foot cramp, one way to relieve pain is to flex your foot. Pull the toes toward you to relax the muscles. If you have prolonged pain, you may need a massage and a warm foot soak. Otherwise, if your feet swell, you may need a cold compress to ease the pain and alleviate the inflammation.

Have you been experiencing foot cramps? Come see us at Texas Foot WorksDr. Jonathan M. Kletz can assess your feet to find the cause and prescribe you the appropriate treatment. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!

Published in Blog

When was the last time you gave your feet some love? A foot rub or pedicure can go a long way to aid aching or sore muscles and to relax any tension. After all, your feet carried you all day and helped you get you where you need to be. This month, we encourage you to take special care of your precious feet to prevent issues down the road. Here are our top tips for foot care:

Daily Tips

  • Wash your feet each day, even if you’re not showering every day. Not only will warm water help to soothe any aches or soreness, it will also help provide another check for any changes in your feet. Use soap and warm water (don’t forget in between the toes!) to fight fungi and bacteria, and then dry your feet completely before putting anything on them.
  • Assess your feet after washing. Treat injuries with first aid and look for skin changes or new bumps.
  • To prevent bacterial or fungal infections and foot odor, rotate the shoes that you wear so that they have time to fully dry out after each wear.
  • If you stand or walk a lot during the day, stretch your feet and give them a quick rub to relax them.

General Foot Care Tips

  • If you get pedicures, make sure the tools that are used are sterilized. The first appointment of the day is a good way to ensure that.
  • Wearing nail polish for a long stretch of time can weaken the toenails. Take a break between pedicures.
  • Wear shoes that are the right size and shape. Shoes should fit your feet, not the other way around. Don’t buy shoes that need to be broken in, as some materials do not stretch out. Supportive padding and heel cups will prevent problems caused by strained muscles tissues. Have a foot condition that needs extra support? Orthotic inserts will do the trick – ask your podiatrist.
  • Toenails should be trimmed straight across not too short to prevent problems with ingrown toenails.
  • Wear flip-flops in communal shower and pool areas to prevent the contraction of contagious infections from bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • Don’t forget to put sunblock on your feet! There is skin there too, and at risk of burning!
  • Eat healthy and exercise. If you have other conditions like diabetes, make sure to control your blood sugar levels to maintain healthy feet.

Wondering how your feet are doing? Come see us at Texas Foot WorksDr. Jonathan M. Kletz can assess your feet to make sure your feet are healthy. If you are worried about a foot health condition, we can help too! Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 00:00

Maintaining Foot Health When Rock Climbing

 

While rock climbing uses a lot of upper body strength, long-time climbers will tell your use of feet while climbing is just as important. The feet can help you span far distances, as well as give your arms a break by carrying your weight as you rest. The importance of taking care of your feet, then, is not to be ignored.

If you are an avid rock climber, chances are you’ve dealt with foot health issues from foot odor to pain and disfiguration. Much of the issues come from the shoes that are used for rock climbing. Not only do they need to fit snugly for grip and balance, they also force the toes into a shape to mimic standing on one pointed toe (like ballet dancers). This allows for climbers to wedge their feet into small spaces, as well as allowing for them to stand on a small rock as they traverse the climbing wall.

Some people do not experience severe foot issues. However, others can develop problems such as bunions, sesamoiditis, metatarsal pain, tendinitis, and even fractures, depending on how often they climb and whether or not they experience injury.

Maintaining foot health, therefore, is a must when it comes to rock climbing. Follow these tips to prevent foot issues.

The following are helpful tips for climbers to upkeep foot health:

  • Maintain good hygiene! Wash your hands and feet before and after your climb. This will reduce the germs that you are exposing yourself and others to. Starting with stinky or sweaty feet will only perpetuate the problem. Between climbs and after you climb, wash your feet with soap and water – and make sure to use flip-flops so that you do not walk barefoot in the locker room.
  • Buy shoes that fit well. This may not happen the first time you buy them, since your feet are not used to climbing shoes. If you do not have shoes that fit snugly (without cutting off circulation), it can lead to blistering and pain as your feet overcompensate to help you grip and balance.
  • Clean your shoes. After climbing, wipe the inside and outside of the shoes. Spraying sanitizing spray can help to reduce foot odor issues. Additionally, allow your shoes to dry out completely before using them again. Wash them occasionally and make sure they dry well – otherwise they will develop their own odor.
  • Rest your feet between climbs. Your feet will thank you and so will the shoes. Letting them breathe will reduce the chance of repetitive use injury and foot odor development.  

Not sure if your feet are ready for rock climbing? Come see us at Texas Foot WorksDr. Jonathan M. Kletz can assess your feet to make sure your feet are in good shape to start this great whole body exercise activity. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!

Published in Blog
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