Hammertoe Surgery

Hammertoe occurs when the second, third, or fourth toe bends at the middle joint, often as a result of wearing ill-fitting shoes. Genetics, arthritis, and muscle imbalance can also cause hammertoe. The affected toe resembles a hammer, which is where the deformity it gets its name. With hammertoe, the toe bends downward, rather than pointing straight forward. Corns or calluses frequently develop at the top of the affected joint or at the toe’s tip from pressure. Hammertoe can cause pain and can lead to loss of flexibility in the toe.

Hammertoe surgery is fairly simple and takes less than half an hour. It is performed as an outpatient procedure done under local anesthesia. The doctor alleviates the curling and straightens the toe by making tiny incisions around the affected toe, then rebalancing the tendons through the incisions. Recovery time is minimal, as is pain after the surgery. The patient may need to wear a surgical shoe to protect the toe while healing.

Walking

Walking is an excellent form of exercise enjoyed by many people of all ages, both indoors on a treadmill and outdoors in just about any setting or season. Its benefits include weight loss, stress relief, cardiovascular fitness, improved circulation, and lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Walking is also a gentle enough form of exercise for beginners as well as those recovering from a health issue or injury. Walking is a great way to get or stay in shape.

Although walking is beneficial for the legs and feet, problems and injuries can arise due to inappropriate footwear, improper stretching, and an irregular gait. Common results of these can be the formation of corns, calluses, blisters, and even plantar fasciitis.

When walking, it is important to protect the feet with appropriate footwear that addresses your foot inclination and gait. Overpronation occurs when the ankles roll inward more so than usual when walking; this condition benefits from shoes that offer motion control and mid-foot support, along with less cushioning, a rigid sole, and a reinforced heel counter. Underpronation places pressure on the outside of the feet, which requires shoes that provide stability, extra shock absorption, additional cushioning at the forefoot, and reinforcement around the heel and ankle. Those classified as having a normal foot inclination can wear just about any type of shoe without issue.

The motion of walking rolls the foot from the heel to the toe; the foot then bends at the ball to complete the step. Therefore, appropriate walking sneakers must have flexibility at the ball of the foot, and the heel should rise when the forefoot presses down. The shoe’s heel should be low and slightly undercut; make sure the heel stays snugly in the shoe without slipping out. Footwear made of a lightweight, breathable material is most comfortable when walking.

To ensure a proper fit for walking shoes, be sure to measure both of your feet while standing; buy a shoe size that accommodates the larger of your two feet, since most people have feet that are slightly different in size. There should be about half an inch between your toes and the front of the sneaker to allow for wiggle room. Try the sneaker on with the socks you will wear while walking, and shop for walking shoes in the latter part of the day, when the feet are more swollen. Remember to replace your walking footwear every 300 to 600 miles to maintain proper support, shock absorption, and fit.

Aside from checking with a doctor or healthcare professional before starting any exercise or fitness regimen, be sure to have a podiatrist conduct a thorough foot exam to correct and/ or prevent foot problems that may worsen with exercise.

Tennis

Tennis requires a lot of sudden stops and starts, as well as repetitive side-to-side movements and jumps. These actions can be stressful on the feet and ankles for any tennis player, from the beginner to the pro. In light of this, common tennis injuries include ankle sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and, of course, tennis toe.

Injuries during tennis can be prevented through overall body conditioning to build strength and flexibility. The muscles should be stretched before and after playing, paying special attention to the muscles of the lower leg and calf area. It is important to always see a podiatrist for any type of chronic ache or pain in the ankle or foot during or after playing tennis.

Tennis sneakers should have cushioning and shock absorption to stabilize the feet and ankles and absorb the constant impact placed on the feet. The sneaker should be designed to provide support for the lateral movement tennis requires; it should also have a reinforced toe, a roomy toe box, a firm heel counter, a snugly-fitting heel area, and good cushioning at heel and ball of the foot.

To ensure a proper fit for tennis shoes, be sure to measure both of your feet while standing; buy a shoe size that accommodates the larger of your two feet, since most people have feet that are slightly different in size. There should be about half an inch between your toes and the front of the sneaker to allow for wiggle room. Try the sneaker on with the socks you will wear while playing tennis, and shop for the sneakers in the latter part of the day, when the feet are more swollen. Test the shoes for support, cushioning, and flexibility by walking and jumping on a hard surface, as well as completing a few quick turns. The sneakers should be comfortable from the start and should not have to be “broken in” to fit properly.

Running & Jogging

Running and jogging are popular forms of cardiovascular exercise. Conveniently, running and jogging can be done alone or in groups, indoors or outside, any time of day, and during any season. However, proper conditioning, stretching, exercise, and footwear are important to avoid foot injuries during running or jogging due to the high impact on the feet during these activities. Injuries can be avoided by making sure to stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments before and after running or jogging, as well as gradually building up distances and speed over time as part of a regular routine. It is important to protect the lower legs, ankles, and feet from overstrain, and always see a podiatrist for any type of chronic ache or pain in the lower leg, ankle, or foot during or after running or jogging.

Common foot problems associated with running and jogging are shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis. Athlete’s foot, blisters, corns, and calluses can also occur; good foot hygiene and care, as well as wearing clean, properly fitting socks and sneakers can be of help in these areas. Since running places a high impact on the feet, running shoes need to be cushioned to absorb the shock. The motion of running rolls the foot from the heel to the toe; the foot then bends at the ball to complete the step. Therefore, appropriate running sneakers must have flexibility at the ball of the foot, and the heel should rise when the forefoot presses down. The shoe’s heel should be low and slightly undercut; make sure the heel stays snugly in the shoe without slipping out. The middle of the shoe should be more rigid for support. Footwear made of a lightweight, breathable material is most comfortable when running.

When running or jogging, it is important to protect the feet with appropriate footwear that addresses your foot inclination and gait. Overpronation occurs when the ankles roll inward more so than usual when walking; this condition benefits from shoes that offer motion control and mid-foot support, along with less cushioning, a rigid sole, and a reinforced heel counter. Underpronation places pressure on the outside of the feet, which requires shoes that provide stability, extra shock absorption, additional cushioning at the forefoot, and reinforcement around the heel and ankle. Those classified as having a normal foot inclination can wear just about any type of shoe without issue.

To ensure a proper fit for running shoes, be sure to measure both of your feet while standing; buy a shoe size that accommodates the larger of your two feet, since most people have feet that are slightly different in size. There should be about half an inch between your toes and the front of the sneaker to allow for wiggle room. Try the sneaker on with the socks you will wear while running, and shop for running shoes in the latter part of the day, when the feet are more swollen. Test the shoes on a hard surface, not just carpeting. Remember to replace your running footwear about every 400 miles to maintain proper support, shock absorption, and fit. Consider having two pairs to rotate, which will make them last longer and allow time for them to air out and dry.

Aside from checking with a doctor or healthcare professional before starting any exercise or fitness regimen, be sure to have a podiatrist conduct a thorough foot exam to correct and/ or prevent foot problems that may worsen with exercise.

Golf

While playing on a typical 18-hole golf course, a golfer walks up to five miles, which adds up to about three to five hours of standing and walking. In addition to spending many hours on your feet, the biomechanics of a powerful, successful swing also rely on properly-positioned feet. Golf shoes should therefore be comfortable, lightweight, and well-cushioned, with a snugger-than-usual fit in the mid-shoe area for support during swings. They should be made of a breathable, water-resistant material. The sole should provide traction; serious golfers may choose to wear spikes for additional traction and stability. There are many different types of spikes available, and some golf courses have regulations as to what types of spikes can be worn. When trying on golf shoes, always wear the socks you will actually wear while golfing to ensure a proper shoe fit.

General Information About Foot & Ankle Fitness

Despite the wealth of knowledge feet provide about overall health and undetected health problems, they are one of the most ignored parts of the body. Even when foot or ankle pain is experienced during running, walking, or other forms of exercise, people tend to overlook it and chalk it up to a normal occurrence during exercise. It is important to always see a podiatrist for any type of chronic ache or pain in the lower leg, ankle, or foot after type of exercise.

The feet and ankles are a complex network of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tissues, and nerves that endures constant pressure and stress. Needless to say, the feet are susceptible to pain from injuries and general wear and tear. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, improper foot care during exercise contributes to many of the 300-plus foot problems that can occur.

Aside from checking with a doctor or healthcare professional before starting any exercise or fitness regimen, be sure to have a podiatrist conduct a thorough foot exam to correct and/ or prevent foot problems that may worsen with exercise.

Cycling

Cycling is a popular form of exercise, enjoyment, and even economical, environmentally-friendly commuting to school or work. It provides cardiovascular benefits and conditioning for most of the body; however, cycling takes its toll on the feet, ankles, and lower legs, as they are in constant motion while pedaling to keep the bicycle moving.

To reduce the chance of injury during cycling, it is important to keep the hips, knees, ankles, and feet in proper alignment, as well as to build up gradually to longer distances and faster speeds without doing too much too soon. The feet and ankles can suffer from general pain from overuse to problems such as Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and sesamoiditis. Wearing proper footwear while cycling can also help prevent injury. For most cyclists, a regular walking, running, or cross-training sneaker offers plenty of support. Look for a sole that provides the right amount of firmness and grip to avoid the foot slipping off the pedal.

For more serious cyclists, shoes specifically designed for cycling should be worn. Cycling shoes designed for road cycling and racing have a tight fit around the heel and bridge areas, as well as stiff sole, to restrict movement inside the shoe. This keeps the foot movement focused on powering the pedals. Serious road or racing cyclists usually use a toe clip or cycling shoe with cleats that attach the foot to the pedal; these allow for more power to transfer from the leg to the pedal as the cyclist pedals. Make sure laces, buckles, and straps are snugly secured so they do not become entangled in the pedals or pedal toe clips. For mountain biking, the shoes should have a more rugged sole and tread for a better pedal grip. Breathable materials will provide proper ventilation for the feet. When trying on cycling shoes, be sure to wear the actual socks you will use while cycling to ensure a proper fit.

Basketball

Basketball requires a lot of sprinting up and down the court, as well as sudden jumping, side-to-side movement, twisting, and turning. It is also played on a hardwood surface. In light of this, basketball is one of the toughest sports on the feet and ankles. Basketball players of all ages and ability levels, from local youth leagues through to the NBA, must regularly and consistently condition, strengthen, and stretch these areas to prevent injuries such as ankle sprains, stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and sesamoiditis.

Basketball sneakers must be appropriate for the movements of the sport, with extra midsole cushioning, a firm arch, shock absorption, and traction. The sneaker should fit properly, with a snug-fitting, firm heel counter and roomy toe box. The sneaker should be made of a lightweight, breathable upper material. Players with weak ankles or previous ankle injuries should look for a high-top shoe with ankle support. When trying on basketball sneakers, be sure to wear the socks you will normally wear when playing basketball. Practice the typical motions from the sport on a hard floor or surface when trying on the shoes to guarantee a comfortable fit. Comfort and fit should come first, then style and looks.

It is important to always see a podiatrist for any type of chronic ache or pain in the lower leg, ankle, or foot during or after playing basketball.

Baseball

From Major League Baseball to Little League, baseball is a favorite sport of many Americans. Regardless of age or intensity level, all baseball players need to consistently maintain a healthy body in good physical condition; it is also important to have the proper gear and equipment for safety and optimal performance.

When it comes to the legs, feet, and ankles, stretching and strengthening exercises are essential to avoid injury. Baseball requires running with quick acceleration. It also involves frequent stops and starts, as well as sliding to reach the base and even diving to make the difficult catch. The feet and ankles endure a great deal of pressure and impact due to these rapid movements, and Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, fractures, and sprains are common injuries suffered by baseball players.

Proper footwear for baseball is a cleat specifically designed for the sport. The spiked metal or knobby plastic bottom of a cleat provides traction while running on dirt and grass. Like any athletic shoe, cleats should have a roomy box toe, a snug-fitting heel, and a non-restrictive, comfortable width. Cleats should be replaced after about 75 hours of use, which many players do not adhere to. Keeping your feet protected and your feet and ankles in good condition means less injuries and more play time.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic activity is a popular form of exercise for many people due to the positive health benefits it imparts. For example, aerobic exercise can improve heart, lung, and circulatory health; alleviate stress; encourage weight loss; improve stamina; and strengthen and tone muscles.

Despite the benefits of aerobic activities, the constant and repetitive impact of jumping, side-to-side movement, and pushing forward on hard surfaces can lead to foot and ankle injuries. Due to the stress on the feet, it is important to wear appropriate footwear while participating in aerobic exercise to reduce the chance of injury. Choose a sneaker specifically designed for the activity at hand. The sneaker should offer support for the arch, soles, and sides of the foot, as well as the right type of cushioning and shock absorption Remember, a running sneaker is designed differently than a sneaker for aerobics classes. For example, a shoe for aerobics classes accommodates for side-to-side motions, jumps, twists, and turns. A proper fit is also crucial, so be sure to bring along the actual socks you will wear during the aerobic activity when trying on new sneakers. Since the feet swell as the day goes on, it is best to try on new sneakers in the latter part of the day so they are not too small or tight.

It is also essential to keep the feet and ankles well-stretched and strong by performing specific ankle and foot exercises before and after aerobic activity.