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June 2017

Power Mowers Pose Danger to Feet

By | Education | No Comments

Thousands of Foot Injuries Can be Prevented Each Year

Lawn care season is back and Shoreline Foot & Ankle Associates caution homeowners to protect their feet and the feet of those around them when using rotary-blade lawnmowers.

Each year, some 25,000 Americans sustain injuries from power mowers, according to reports issued by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. “The blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun. Yet, each year we continue to see patients who have been hurt while operating a lawnmower barefoot,” said Dr. Piper, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Dr. Travis Piper said children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 44 are more likely to be injured from mowers than others. He advises anyone who operates a power mower to take a few simple precautions:

  • Don’t mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers.
  • Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing – no sneakers or sandals.
  • Don’t allow small children to ride on the lap of an adult on a lawn tractor. Children can be severely injured by the blades when getting on or off the machine.
  • Mow across slopes, never go up or down.
  • Never pull a running mower backwards.
  • Keep children away from the lawn when mowing.
  • Keep the clip bag attached when operating a power mower to prevent projectile injuries.
  • Use a mower with a release mechanism on the handle that automatically shuts it off when the hands let go.

“If a mower accident occurs, immediate treatment is necessary to flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics to prevent infection,” says Dr. Piper. “Superficial wounds can be treated on an outpatient basis, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon damage, deep clean the wound and suture it. Tendons severed in lawnmower accidents generally can be surgically reattached unless toes have been amputated,” he adds.

Flip Flops and Heel Pain

By | Pain | No Comments

Flip-flops tied to surge in teenage heel pain

Many of us are welcoming the warmer weather sporting flip-flop sandals, however, their popularity among teens and young adults is responsible for a growing epidemic of heel pain in this population.

“We’re seeing more heel pain than ever in patients 15 to 25 years old, a group that usually doesn’t have this problem,” says Dr. Smolen. “A major contributor is wearing flip-flop sandals with paper-thin soles every day to school. Flip-flops have no arch support and can accentuate any abnormal biomechanics in foot motion, and this eventually brings pain and inflammation.”

Dr. Smolen recommends wearing sandals with reasonably strong soles and arch support.

“Especially for girls and young women, thicker soled sandals with supportive arches might not be considered stylish, but if you want to wear sandals most of the time, you’ll avoid heel pain if you choose sturdier, perhaps less fashionable styles,” she says.

It is estimated that 15 percent of all adult foot complaints involve plantar fasciitis, the type of heel pain caused by chronic inflammation of the connective tissue extending from the heel bone to the toes. Being overweight and wearing inappropriate footwear are common contributing factors.

The pain is most noticeable after getting out of bed in the morning, and it tends to decrease after a few minutes and returns during the day as time on the feet increases. Not all heel pain, however, is caused by plantar fasciitis. It also can occur from inflammation of the Achilles tendon, bursitis, arthritis, gout, stress fractures, or irritation of one or more of the nerves in the region. Therefore, diagnosis by a foot and ankle surgeon to rule out other causes is advised.

Initial treatment options for heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis should include anti-inflammatory medications, padding and strapping of the foot and physical therapy. Patients also should stretch their calf muscles regularly, avoid wearing flat shoes and walking barefoot, use over-the-counter arch supports and heel cushions, and limit the frequency of extended physical activities.

Most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment within six weeks. However, surgery is sometimes necessary to relieve severe, persistent pain.

For further information about heel pain, contact Shoreline Foot & Ankle Associates at 231-733-1111, or visit www.shorelinefaa.com

Stretching

By | Fitness | No Comments

The feet bear a lot of stress from day to day. That’s why podiatrists recommend stretching as a great way to revitalize and strengthen the feet. Simple stretches can be performed at home as a part of your morning routine, or even at work while you’re sitting at your desk. Improving your flexibility through stretching can help prevent foot injuries, increase your mobility, improve performance and posture, and relieve stress.

When Should I Stretch?

It is especially important to stretch properly before starting any exercise routine. When muscles are warmed up prior to a workout, the strain on muscles, tendons and joints can be reduced and injuries avoided.

Simple stretches include flexing your feet repeatedly while pointing your toes to help build strength in the foot muscles or rotating your foot from side to side while you point your toes. Massaging the muscles in your feet with your hands is another helpful way to promote circulation and relaxation.

Always allow at least 5-10 minutes to fully stretch your muscles, which should include a stretch/hold/relax pattern, without any pulling or bouncing. Before beginning any new type of stretch, visit your podiatrist first to ensure it will be safe for your particular foot pain.

What Kind of Stretches Should I Do?

Here are just a few helpful stretches you can do at home to help lessen foot pain and improve foot health:

  • Stretch for Calf Muscles: Excessive tightness of the calf muscle can cause many foot problems. To stretch this muscle, face a wall from approximately 2-3 feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping heels on the floor and knees extended. Hold for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce. Repeat five times.
  • Stretch for Hamstring: Put your footwith knee straight on a chair or table. Keep the other leg on the floor straight with knee locked. Lower your head toward the knee on the chair or table until the muscles are tight. Hold to a count of 10 then relax. Repeat five times, and then switch to the other leg.
  • Stretch for Plantar Fascia: This stretch for heel pain can be performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is most effective when you first wake up, before standing or walking.

Stretching in combination with supportive footwear will help you keep your feet healthy and fit. Whether you’re gearing up to train for a marathon, or simply looking to revitalize your feet after a long day at work, talk to your podiatrist at about the best foot stretches for your individual needs.

Michigan Podiatric Medical Association

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The Public Relations committee is providing the below email template for your use to share with your patients that highlights information on pedicures. Please copy the below information and insert into your email system to reach out to your patients. When sharing the below email with your patients, please be sure to insert your practice information in the designated areas below.

With the warmer temperatures outside, open toed shoes are making their way out of the closet and slipped on underneath beautifully manicured feet. The pedicure season is in full swing!

Unfortunately, not all pedicure facilities offer clean and proper foot care and infections and other foot ailments may arise. (Practice Name) would like to share the following advice for individuals deciding on a location to receive a pedicure:

  • Make sure that the instruments used are clean and sterilized.
  • Make sure foot tubs or basins are drained after performing a pedicure to get rid of all the bacteria present.
  • Make sure the technician’s hands are clean.
  • If you are diabetic, pedicures are not advised.
  • Visit your podiatrist before receiving a pedicure to identify any potential risks.
  • Do not allow aggressive cleaning. Nails should be cut straight with slightly rounded edges. If bleeding of calluses occurs, see your podiatrist.
  • Discolored or sickly nails should be treated by your podiatrist.

Since polish hides the nails from the sun and can foster fungus, you may wish to limit the use of polish to special occasions. However, keeping your feet clean, trimmed and skin moisturized for summer sandal wearing is recommended.

The doctors and staff at Shoreline Foot & Ankle Associates, P.C are available to answer your foot and ankle questions and concerns.

Convenient appointments may be made by calling:

(231) 733-1111