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May 2021

Stress fractures are small breaks in the bone that are caused by repetitive stress. They typically occur due to overuse, forcing the bones of the foot or ankle to continually absorb the full impact of each step taken. Stress fractures can also be caused by abnormal foot structure, osteoporosis, bone deformities, or wearing improper footwear during exercise.

Stress fractures are common for individuals whose daily activities cause high levels of impact on their feet and ankles. Those who run, play tennis or basketball, or practice gymnastics tend to experience these fractures more frequently. Anyone is susceptible to this problem, though. Individuals who are normally sedentary and suddenly begin an intense, high impact workout may sustain stress fractures. This is because their muscles are not yet strong enough to handle and cushion the intensity of their activity. Osteoporosis may also cause someone to get stress fractures, because the disease weakens an afflicted person's bones and makes it easier for them to break down.

Pain from stress fractures typically occurs in the general area of the fracture. Pain can also manifest as “pinpoint pain” or pain that is felt when the site of the injury is touched, and can be accompanied by swelling. It may occur during or after activity, and it may disappear while resting and return when standing or moving. Engaging in any kind of activity, high impact or otherwise, will aggravate the pain. If the intensity of the activity increases before the stress fracture has properly healed, it can cause a full fracture.

Treatment can vary depending on the individual and the degree of injury. The primary way to treat a stress fracture is to rest the hurt foot. Some fractures will heal quickly with only a little bit of rest, while others may require a long rest period and the use of crutches, immobilization, or physical therapy. Under certain circumstances, surgery may be required to install support pins around the fracture to assist in healing.

If you are undergoing a new exercise regimen in running or some other kind of high impact activity, set incremental goals on a weekly basis so you can build up muscle strength. Make sure to wear supportive shoes to better protect you feet.

If you begin to experience any symptoms of stress fractures, you should stop exercising and rest. If the symptoms persist, consult with your podiatrist. Remembering these tips can help you prevent stress fractures to your foot and ankle, and allow you to continue living normally.

Monday, 24 May 2021 00:00

Diagnosing Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is a tiny crack in a bone that often occur in the feet as a result of overuse while playing sports or doing  activities that involve running or jumping. Everyday activities can also lead to stress fractures in people with weakened bones. Pain, tenderness, and swelling are usually the first indications of a stress fracture. These symptoms should not be ignored, as stress fractures may worsen over time if left untreated. A podiatrist can diagnose a stress fracture by taking a thorough medical history, completing a physical examination, and ordering imaging studies such as X-rays or bone scans. If you suspect that you may have a stress fracture in your foot or ankle, please see a podiatrist.

Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact Dr. Ronald K. Olm from Grand Traverse Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.

Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Stress fractures occur in the foot and ankle when muscles in these areas weaken from too much or too little use.  The feet and ankles then lose support when walking or running from the impact of the ground. Since there is no protection, the bones receive the full impact of each step. Stress on the feet can cause cracks to form in the bones, thus creating stress fractures.

What Are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures occur frequently in individuals whose daily activities cause great impact on the feet and ankles. Stress factors are most common among:

  • Runners                                  
  • People affected with Osteoporosis
  • Tennis or basketball players
  • Gymnasts
  • High impact workouts

Symptoms

Pain from the fractures occur in the area of the fractures and can be constant or intermittent. It will often cause sharp or dull pain with swelling and tenderness. Engaging in any kind of activity which involves high impact will aggravate pain.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Traverse City and Kalkaska, MI . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle
Monday, 17 May 2021 00:00

Ankle Sprains

Although ankle sprains may not be as serious as a broken ankle, they should be given immediate attention and care. An ankle sprain can lead to a significant amount of pain, as well as limited mobility. They are often characterized by the swelling and discoloration of the skin. This occurs when the ligaments are stretched beyond their limits.

The simple act of walking can sometimes cause a sprain, which makes ankle sprains a very common injury that can happen to anyone. They occur when the ankle twists in an awkward way or rolls over itself, causing a pop or snap in the tendons around the ankle. Some people are more at risk than others. These include athletes who continually push their bodies to the limits and also people who have previously suffered accidents to the feet, ankles, or lower legs.

Most of the time, an ankle sprain is not severe enough for hospital attention. There are many at-home treatment options available, including propping the leg up above your head to reduce blood flow and inflammation, applying ice packs to the affected area as needed, taking over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication, using an ACE bandage to wrap and support the injured ankle, and most importantly, remaining off your feet until the ankle has fully healed.

Despite this, an ankle sprain can turn into a severe injury that might require hospitalization. If the ankle ligaments or muscles are damaged from a tear or rip, that is one sign that the sprain is severe enough for hospital attention and possibly for surgery. Even after the surgery, the recovery process can be long. You may need to have rehabilitation sessions administered by your podiatrist to get your ankle back to full health.

The severity of your sprain might become apparent if you are unable to stand or walk, consistent pain is occurring over a prolonged period of time, swelling is much more severe than initially present, or if you start to experience tingling or numbness. These signs may indicate that your ankle sprain might actually be a broken ankle, an injury that requires immediate medical attention.

Although they are not completely avoidable, ankle sprains can be curbed with some preventative treatment measures. These include wearing appropriate fitting shoes that not only provide a comfortable fit, but also ankle support. It is also recommended to stretch before doing any kind of physical activity, as this will help lower your body’s chance for an injury.

Monday, 17 May 2021 00:00

Ankle Sprains in Athletes

Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that connect the bones become overstretched or torn. Sprains are one of the most common injuries in sports, and they usually occur when the ankle twists or rolls. Athletes who play sports with a variety of quick changes and directions, such as soccer, football, and basketball, are at a higher risk for developing sprained ankles. Athletes who have previously sprained their ankle are also at a higher risk of re-spraining their ankle as well. Ankle sprains are usually indicated by a “snap” or “crack” at the moment of injury, and bruising and swelling can be present as well. If the sprain is severe, walking and putting weight on the ankle will be difficult.  Because an ankle sprain and a fracture can appear similar, patients who believe they have sprained their ankle should consult with a podiatrist to check the extent of their injury. A podiatrist will be able to prescribe medications to reduce the pain as well as provide treatment options in order to allow the ankle to heal. 

Ankle sprains are common but need immediate attention. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. Ronald K. Olm from Grand Traverse Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains take place when the ligaments in your ankle are torn or stretched beyond their limits. There are multiple ways that the ankle can become injured, including twisting or rolling over onto your ankle, putting undue stress on it, or causing trauma to the ankle itself.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Mild to moderate bruising
  • Limited mobility
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration of the skin (depending on severity)

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

Treatment of a sprain depends on the severity.  Many times, people are told to rest and remain off their feet completely, while others are given an air cast. If the sprain is very severe, surgery may be required.

If you have suffered an ankle sprain previously, you may want to consider additional support such as a brace and regular exercises to strengthen the ankle.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Traverse City and Kalkaska, MI . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ankle Sprains

Have you noticed a bony protrusion on the side of your big toe? If so, you may have developed the foot condition known as a bunion. Don't let bunions interfere with your daily activities.

Monday, 10 May 2021 00:00

Exercise for Your Feet

Whether your feet are over-worked or under-worked, chances are they could benefit from some special attention. Even those who exercise regularly probably do not spend any time strengthening their feet. This can be just as rewarding as strengthening the rest of the body, since the health of your feet affects the health of the rest of the body as well, especially the ankles, legs, and spine.

For those who might not have any idea on how a foot-specific exercise might be conducted, there are several workouts that are fairly easy to perform in the comfort of ones’ home. One of the easiest is the toe rise, also known as the tip-toe. This exercise involves standing on the tip-toes for a count of 15 then resting the feet on the ground. This process should be repeated a minimum of three times a day in order to strengthen the feet.

Toe pick-ups strengthen the feet by working them in a very different way. In this exercise, small items are picked up using the toes in order to strengthen the muscles on the upper part of the feet. Once again three sets should be performed, with the item in question being held for 15 seconds then dropped. Items that may be picked up using the feet include marbles and even stationery, which works wonders for the toes and the surrounding muscles.

Yet another simple workout is the ankle pump. This can be done either upwards or downwards, but for the workout to be most effective both can be incorporated into the routine. As the term suggests, this involves lifting the foot off the floor and flexing the toes either towards the shin or towards the ground. This movement puts the feet and ankles through a large range of motion which works the muscles.

Last but not least, feet should be stretched so that the muscles can relax and recuperate. This can be done by placing both feet off of the floor and bracing oneself against the wall at a 45 degree angle. This ensures that the feet and ankles are adequately stretched once the workout is complete.

In short, giving the feet a good workout every now and then is important in order to avoid problems such as plantar fasciitis. It’s also important to warm-up or cool-down after running or vigorous walking. Foot exercises may be followed by a good foot massage. This encourages circulation in the feet as well as muscle relaxation.

Runners can sometimes experience different types of foot pain after a run. Pain experienced in the heel or arch—especially in the morning—may be plantar fasciitis. Certain stretches and orthotics may provide some relief, however, if pain persists for more than a couple of weeks, a podiatrist may be able to heal the injury using a variety of therapies. Short-term relief from a bunion may be achieved by using bunion pads. A more lasting solution would be to have the bunion removed by a podiatrist who may also create custom orthotics to avoid bunions from returning. On the top of the foot, pain while running, swelling, or a bump on the tendon may be an indication of extensor tendonitis. Shoes that are too tight, or that create pressure on the top of the foot or are laced too tightly may make this situation worse. Proper stretching, icing, and anti-inflammatories may provide relief, along with professional treatments and custom orthotics. Pain relief from tendonitis along the side of the foot may be lessened by icing and resting, however since stress fractures also cause pain in this area, early detection and professional treatment by a podiatrist is suggested for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Exercising your feet regularly with the proper foot wear is a great way to prevent injuries and build strength. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. Ronald K. Olm from Grand Traverse Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Exercise for Your Feet

Exercise for your feet can help you gain strength, mobility and flexibility in your feet. They say that strengthening your feet can be just as rewarding as strengthening another part of the body. Your feet are very important, and we often forget about them in our daily tasks. But it is because of our feet that are we able to get going and do what we need to. For those of us fortunate enough to not have any foot problems, it is an important gesture to take care of them to ensure good health in the long run.

Some foot health exercises can include ankle pumps, tip-toeing, toe rises, lifting off the floor doing reps and sets, and flexing the toes. It is best to speak with Our doctor to determine an appropriate regimen for your needs. Everyone’s needs and bodies are different, and the activities required to maintain strength in the feet vary from individual to individual. 

Once you get into a routine of doing regular exercise, you may notice a difference in your feet and how strong they may become.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Traverse City and Kalkaska, MI . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Exercise for Your Feet
Monday, 03 May 2021 00:00

Ingrown Toenail Care

An ingrown toenail is a toenail that grows sideways into the nail bed, causing pain and swelling. Ingrown toenails can worsen and cause drainage, turning into a serious infection.

Several factors affect whether a person is at risk from an ingrown toenail. The many causes include being overweight, diabetes, participating in sports, having a fungal infection of the toe, and cutting your nails too short. Ingrown toenails also have a genetic predisposition, causing some people to be more prone to receive the condition than others. Other causes include improperly fitting shoes and shoes that keep the feet damp.

Ingrown toenails can be preventable with certain measures. For starters, allowing your toe nails to grow slightly longer in length will help prevent them from becoming ingrown. If you have already developed an ingrown toenail, soak the affected toe in warm water. This will alleviate the pain and help prevent an infection from forming. Antibiotic soap or Epsom salts may be added to further help the relieving process and avoid infection. Placing cotton beneath the affected area is also suggested, as this may help the toenail grow upwards and not into the nail bed. Swelling and redness can be reduced by resting with your feet elevated.

A podiatrist should be seen if the pain becomes so serious that it prevents you from doing your everyday activities. If a red streak running up your leg appears or if you suspect your infection has spread, contact a podiatrist immediately. Fast treatments can be undertaken to lessen your pain and have you walking comfortably.

An ingrown toenail can be easily treated with a Band-Aid. Simply wrap the affected toe with a Band-Aid to prevent infection and keep the nail from growing out at a painful angle.

In more serious cases, your podiatrist may decide to make a small incision to remove a portion of your toenail. To prevent the nail from growing back, medication will be placed directly into the nail bed. This procedure would be performed under local anesthesia and is a faster method to alleviate discomfort from an ingrown toenail. Post-procedure directions will have you stay off the affected foot for a day. Afterwards, normal activities can be resumed.  

Monday, 03 May 2021 00:00

Why Is My Toenail Ingrown?

Ingrown toenails occur when a nail grows into the surrounding skin, rather than over it. This can cause symptoms such as pain, tenderness, redness, and swelling of the skin surrounding the ingrown toenail. While most ingrown toenails are not serious and often heal with home treatment, sometimes the area can become infected and require medical treatment. But what causes toenails to become ingrown anyway? Trauma to the toenail from stubbing the toe can lead to ingrown nails, as can wearing shoes that are too tight and push the nail into the skin, and trimming the toenails improperly. If you are prone to ingrown toenails, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist, who can assess your feet and advise you on how to prevent and treat ingrown toenails. 

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Ronald K. Olm of Grand Traverse Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Traverse City and Kalkaska, MI . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
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