Podiatrist or Orthopedic Surgeon?

Posted by on Friday, March 30th, 2012

There you are, running on a bright clear spring day. You feel good, no you feel GREAT! You’re almost home. There’s a flight of steps leading out of the park, stairs you’ve run down a million times. This time, though, you miss a step and take an awkward spill. Oww. You hurt your ankle. I’m sorry–that’s a terrible thing to have happen on your lovely spring day of running. The missed step. It happens to the best of us.

Wait, it gets worse. You hobble home, put some ice on it, and wait for the pain to subside. Nope, sorry, it’s still there. You begin to suspect that you have more than a sprain. Actually, you’re now pretty sure you fractured it (at least according to Wikipedia!). You know you need to see someone about it, and you wonder if you might even need surgery. So now what? Should you see a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon?

(I know, as if you don’t have enough stress from a Wikipedia-diagnosed broken ankle, now you have to make this kind of huge decision!)

Can You Locate This Dislocated Ankle?

Posted by on Thursday, March 29th, 2012

The initial news was grim when it came down late last week: New York Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain, still in the middle of recovering from Tommy John surgery, had severely injured his ankle while jumping on a trampoline with his son at a play center. At first we heard the ankle was dislocated and broken. Then we heard that he had lost so much blood that his life was in danger while the paramedics were rushing him to the hospital. Talking heads in the media said he was definitely out for the season, maybe another year. Maybe this would be a career-ending injury, especially if he needed his foot amputated, as some suggested.

Okay, now that we’ve got all the hysteria out of the way, Joba came to training camp yesterday and explained what really happened to his ankle, which is of great interest to us because we love everything to do with feet and ankles here.

Goooaaaal!! Foot Injuries and Soccer Players

Posted by on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Feet are important. Feet are especially important if you’re a soccer player, whose main weapon is his or her feet.There’s a reason why the rest of the world calls the sport “football.” ‘Cause you use your feet, get it?

I’m in the US, though, and I’m accustomed to “soccer,” so we’ll stick with that here. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and while the professional version hasn’t lit the US on fire, participation on the youth level here is huge. Part of that is driven by parents who think the sport is safer than high impact sports like (American) football or hockey.

However, that doesn’t mean soccer is injury free. In fact, those feet that do all the running and ball handling can be pretty vulnerable to injuries. Let’s talk about some common foot injuries for soccer players, then.

What’s That Lovely Neuroma?

Posted by on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Got a pain in your foot? A mystery pain? Well, today may be your lucky day! We’re going to talk about a new foot condition that may just possibly be the answer to you achy little foot.

I say that because today’s condition of choice, Morton’s neuroma is something you don’t hear much about; sure, Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis or ruptured Achilles tendons, and foot stress fractures are covered everywhere (including here, of course). But what if that nagging little tingly spot in your foot doesn’t fit those descriptions? Let’s find out about neuromas, then, and see if that’s the answer.

Getting Along Swimmingly: Ankle and Foot Problems in Swimmers

Posted by on Monday, March 26th, 2012

You’re usually a land creature, but suddenly you have been transformed into a water creature. What happened? Hmm…I suspect you have a foot injury and the only thing you can do is swim. Of course! Swimming’s great! Whether the pool is indoors and large or outdoors and small, it’s a great non-impact workout that gives your poor injured foot (or feet) a break (figuratively, not literally!). But storm warning ahead–as gentle and safe as it seems, you actually can incur foot and ankle injuries from swimming.

Who is Lisfranc and What is She Doing to My Foot?

Posted by on Friday, March 23rd, 2012

It started happening a few years ago. An athlete went down with a foot injury on a seemingly benign play or in practice. When the medical report came out, the injury was called a “lisfranc” injury. And sports reporters and sports talk radio hosts everywhere said, “Who is Liz Frank and what did she do to this guy’s foot?”

Chien Ming-Wang of the Yankees, Philip Rivers of the Chargers, Dwight Freeney of the Colts, Darren McFadden of the Raiders, all down with Lisfranc injuries. Then last November, with the Houston Texans seemingly Super Bowl bound, quarterback Matt Schaub went down with the dread Lisfranc injury. His season was over, and the Texans, though they made it to the playoffs, didn’t go as far as they would have with Schaub playing.

So let’s dig into this demon of the foot and find out what’s going on!

Stick It: Gymnasts and Foot Injuries

Posted by on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

2012! An Olympic year! A Summer Olympic year! Just think, in a few months we can look forward to seeing people run, jump, and throw things all over London! And of course we’ll see people run, jump, and throw themselves around, onto, and off things. Yes, the gymnasts are back.

Gymnastic competitions of all levels go on every year, but it’s only during Olympic years that they really penetrate the mind of the public. That’s the only time when the sight of those happy little sprites bouncing around can be seen on major television networks. Look at them, swinging on bars, jumping over odd pieces of equipment, flipping and skipping around on feet made of springs.

What?! They DON’T have feet made of springs? Hey, your feet could get hurt doing all those things!

Can Running On a Treadmill Hurt Your Feet? Yes!

Posted by on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I knew I was driving people at the gym crazy. I had an injury that wasn’t healed enough for me to run for more than short periods at a time, so I was using the elliptical a lot. But the elliptical bored me to tears and I felt I was not getting that hard of a workout. So I started alternating between the elliptical and the treadmill–ten minutes on the elliptical, jump off, and do five hard minutes on the treadmill, then back to the elliptical, over and over again. In other words, I was kind of hogging two machines at once. Well, not really, I moved all my things off each one each time I got off, but that’s not the point of the story. This is: one day I jumped off the treadmill, raced to the elliptical, then jumped back on  the treadmill. Bang! I flew off, and found myself on the ground, with bruises rapidly forming on my forearms. Apparently some idiot had left the treadmill on. When I got on without noticing the machine was one, the fast moving belt threw me off. Idiot! Oh wait, that idiot was me.

So yes, you can certainly get hurt on a treadmill. I’m sure it’s easy for people to imagine how falling off, missing a step, tangling your feet as you become transfixed by an episode of “The Doctors,” can lead to some nasty injuries. But how about when you are staying upright on the treadmill and seemingly doing everything right? Well, yes, you can still get Injuries of the Foot Kind.

Slap Shot: Protecting Hockey Players’ Feet

Posted by on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

When you think about hockey players and injuries, you probably think about things like concussions (the Lost Season of Sid the Kid), broken teeth, broken noses. But look at the results of a survey done by the skate protection company Spats:

  • 95% of hockey players have had an injury to their foot from a shot or a slash.
  • 78% of players who reported a foot injury experienced bruising and 15% suffered a fracture.
  • 23% who have had a foot injury have missed one or more weeks due to their injury.

Granted, Spats is trying to build a case for their “skate armor” product, but even if those numbers are half true, it’s still a group of pretty serious percentages. Podiatry Today says that about 27% of all hockey injuries occur in the lower extremities, with foot issues accounting for 11% of all injuries.

Injuries aren’t just a problem for the pros, though–there are thousands and thousands of youth hockey players and adult recreational players who also have to worry about what can happen to them on the ice that might keep them off the ice. Hockey players are susceptible to sprained ankles and fractures like any other athlete, but here are a few injuries that are hockey specific:

Problem: Skate Bite or Lace Bite – No, the skates don’t attack and bite you!! Well, actually they kind of do. Skate bite is the result of a skate tongue that is too stiff and laced too tight. The tongue and laces put pressure on the front of the ankle, leading to painful tendonitis there.

Solution: The immediate treatment for the pain is ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. The real problem is the skate, though. To relieve pressure on the ankle from the stiff skate tongue, players can loosen the laces a little bit, but they must be careful not to loosen them up enough for their foot to move around. They can also put some padding under the skate tongue. Be careful of over-the-counter gel inserts, though–they can freeze. Instead, contact the podiatrists at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) and talk to them about getting an insert that you can wear under the skate tongue, or a foot sleeve that will help with the problem.

Of course the best solution is prevention. If you or your child plan to get new skates, get them ahead of the season so you have time to wear them and break them in slowly. Serious skate or hockey shops often have a machine that will heat up the padding of the skate, which you can then put on and wear for a few minutes to let it relax into the shape of your foot. And do I even need to tell you that you should make sure your skates, like any pair of shoes, are the right size?

Problem: Frostbite – I know, you’re thinking, “What? Frostbite? It’s cold in the rink but we’re talking ice hotel cold, not frozen tundra cold.” True, but here’s the problem. Hockey players are very active. They sweat. Wet fabric on your skin, combined with cold can actually lead to frostbite even in places where you think you’re protected from the worst of the elements. Equipment, such as poorly fitting, too tight skates, can also contribute to frostbite.

Solution: Wear a layer of moisture wicking clothes to keep your skin dry, especially your feet. Get good socks and bring lots of extras so you can change them at any sign of dampness (but don’t forget to bring them all home and wash them; leave them in your equipment bag and you’ll grow a wealth of fungi). Be on the lookout for (or tell your child to be on the lookout) for feelings of numbness on their toes. If that happens, they should get out of the game and have the trainer check them.

Problem: Fractures, Lacerations – Hockey players may not have some of the jumping and pounding injuries that plague basketball players or track athletes. However, those athletes don’t have worry about a heavy, hard puck coming at their feet at high speed; blows from a stick; blades from another player’s skate. These can all lead to foot disaster.

Solution: These types of contact injuries are all part of the game, and can’t be 100% prevented. The good news is that there are some products now that can be put on skates to provide some extra protection. The above-mentioned Spats got a good review here from Dave Cunning, but a skating or hockey equipment store can point out other options.

If you are feeling pain in your foot, you may have suffered a fracture or sprain without knowing it; because of the stiff, heavy nature of hockey skates, players can often continue to function on a limited level even with an injury. However, the injury still does need to be treated. Contact a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Problem: Skates that don’t fit – This isn’t an actual injury, but poorly-fitting skates are at the root of many hockey injuries. Hockey skate fit is different than regular shoe fit, so you have to be extra careful when choosing your new skates.

Solution: Get a professional in a store dedicated to skates or hockey to help you choose your skates. Unlike regular shoes, hockey skates need to fit pretty snugly; hockey skates can be as much as 1.5 sizes smaller than your regular shoe size. Don’t buy skates that are too big and try to solve the problem with double socks, as that will just lead to blisters. Pure Hockey has a good set of tips for buying the right-sized skates.

Hockey is a great sport and hockey players are some of the nicest athletes you’ll ever meet, but you do need to protect your feet. If you’re a hockey player and you’re having some kind of foot-related issue, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.

Safe! Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries in Baseball Players

Posted by on Monday, March 19th, 2012

Spring training is winding down and opening day is only a few short weeks away. They’re getting ready for real baseball in the major leagues, and kids everywhere are getting ready for Little League, travel team, or high school baseball games. With that in mind, let’s talk today about foot and ankle injuries in baseball players, especially young ones.

Baseball players don’t put their feet through the constant jumping and pounding that basketball players do. However, baseball players can still suffer some of the same problems as their hardcourt siblings–overuse, excess training, and lack of diversity in training can lead to plantar fasciitis, foot stress fractures, Achilles tendinitis or ruptured Achilles tendons, and blisters in baseball players as well as basketball players.