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2 Posts tagged with the overuse tag

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful foot condition that is a common problem among athletes and individuals who are physically active. It is a condition that occurs in middle-age athletes, but can occur among all age groups. Plantar Fasciitis is often seen in recreational athletes, especially runners. Cases are also seen in individuals who are involved in prolonged physical activities. The plantar fascia is a band of thick connective tissue that stretches from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. This structure functions to maintain the integrity of the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia transmits weight across the foot when a person walks or runs.


Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Swelling and point tenderness around the heel bone or along the arch of the foot.

  2. Pain in the affected area may be the most severe when standing on your feet, getting out of bed first thing in the morning.

  3. Pain in the affected area of the heel or arch decreases as the foot "loosens" up after being used, but pain often returns with prolonged standing or walking.


Home Treatment Tips for those experiencing Plantar Fasciitis:

Rest - Avoid the activity that caused the Plantar Fasciitis for a few days. Take a break from running, jogging, or prolonged standing or walking. Try some alternate forms of exercise like swimming or cycling to keep up your conditioning.

Use of Ice or Cold Therapy- The use of ice after activity, or after as acute episode of symptoms, will help in reducing the severity of symptoms. You can use an ice cup to perform an ice massage to the heel and arch of the foot. Take a small styrofoam or paper cup and fill it three-quarters full with water and place it in the freezer. Leave the cup to freeze overnight. When you are ready to perform the ice massage, peel back the edge of the cup to expose the ice, and rub the ice on the affected area using a circular motion. Another technique to ice an inflamed plantar fascia is to roll the affected foot on a frozen water bottle. Freeze a 1 or .5 liter bottle of water and place your foot on the bottle, rolling back and forth while applying pressure. Either technique can be used 15-20 minutes at a time. Be sure to let the area re-warm itself for at least 40 minutes before re-applying ice to the affected area.

Strengthening and Flexibility Exercises- These exercises are designed to help strengthen the muscles of the foot to assist in supporting the arch and withstand the repetitive stress placed upon them during activity. Also, flexibility exercises will help stretch and loosen the plantar fascia.


Toe Curls- Rest your foot on a towel outstretched on the floor. Place your toes at one end of the towel. Curling your toes, bunch the towel beneath your foot. You can place a small object (like a book or a large soup can) at the opposite end of the towel for added resistance.


Pick Up with Your Toes- Pick up objects, such as marbles, dice, nuts and bolts, with your toes and place them in a nearby container.


Single Leg Balance Exercises- Stand and balance with only your affected foot in the floor, and then progress to using an unstable surface. You can use a very firm pillow to create an unstable surface. For an added degree of difficulty, perform the exercise with your eyes closed.


Towel Stretch- Place a towel, or even a stretch band if one is available, around the toes. Pull on the towel towards yourself to slowly bend back the toes. Keep pulling until tension is felt in the arch of the foot.


Standing Calf Stretch- Stand on the edge of a step with the ball of your foot. Let your body weight allow your heels to drop below the level of the step until a stretch is felt in the arch and in your calf muscles as well.


Use of Anti-Inflammatory Medications- Using anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDs, will help reduce inflammation and pain. Over-the-counter medications will work in most cases. Please consult your physician if you choose to pursue available options using prescription medication.


Shoe Inserts, Arch Supports, or Custom Orthotics- These additional supports will address the problem of a lack of arch support seen in standard soles found in shoes. This lack of support may lead to an increase in tension of the plantar fascia, which can lead to inflammation and injury to the area. These supports are important if one has a flat or a high arch. They will often help relieve symptoms and allow one to continue their normal activities with a minimal amount of discomfort.


If you are experiencing symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis, try these home treatment techniques at the first onset of symptoms. Try not to train through the pain, but try and address the problem as it first arises. Heel Spurs can develop as a complication of Plantar Fasciitis that has gone untreated. If symptoms persist or increase, please consult your physician, Podiatrist, or Orthopedic Specialist with experience in Athletic-Related injuries for further evaluation.

3,859 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: running, injury, pain, ice, overuse

Millions watched in awe this summer as Michael Phelps swam into Olympic history, and eyes were glued to television sets around the world as gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson finished 1-2 in the All-Around competition.


But what price do these young athletes pay for their gold-medal performances?



As kids chase the glory of college scholarships, professional sports careers and even Olympic gold they are training like adults before their bodies are fully developed, leaving them at risk for injury.



Nowadays, it's common for children as young as 5-years-old to train intensively in one sport year-round, a phenomenon known as early specialization.



In order to be more competitive at a younger age kids are training harder, longer, and more often, but too much repetitive motion during the formative pre-teen and early teen years takes a toll on their developing bodies in the form of stress fractures, growth-plate trauma and other common overuse injuries. Incidences of these injuries have grown in the past decade as more young people participate, train and compete year-round on varsity, club and all-star teams - simultaneously.



And while Phelps' performance at the Olympics was remarkable, what no one saw were the 80,000 or more meters  (nearly 50 miles ) he swam each week in preparation for the games since he was 11-years-old. And of course, the world wasn't watching Liukin and Johnson train more than 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, through sickness and injury for over half of their lives (they are 18 and 16-years-old).



Choosing a specialization too soon can deprive young athletes from fully developing their fundamental motor skills and muscle groups that are not worked by their sport of choice. In extreme cases, early specialization leads to stunted growth, weakened bones and severe injuries - including some that may be irreversible.



Whether it is internal or external pressure, an attempt to meet expectations or be the best - competitive kids may hide their pain in order to keep playing or competing. The possibility of long-term affects should serve as a warning to parents of young athletes and their coaches to pay attention



The California Athletic Trainers Association offers the following tips to safeguard young athletes from overuse injuries:


  1. Play at the right age. Kids should be put into age-appropriate sports. The CATA recommends kids start playing organized sports no earlier than 6-years-old.

  2. Mix it up. The CATA suggests young athletes between the ages of five and 13 play multiple sports in a year to give their muscles and joints a break from playing the same sport repetitively. However, kids should not participate in more than one sport at one time. As they mature, if they want to specialize in a particular sport, they should progress safely into an intensive training regimen.

  3. Don't ignore pain. Encourage kids to listen to their bodies and speak up if they feel pain so that the problem can be addressed immediately before it worsens.

  4. Rest, rest, rest. It is important to take care of injuries as soon as they happen. Many overuse injuries, if caught early, can be healed with rest and time off from the sport.

  5. Get annual physicals. Young athletes should receive a pre-season physical every year to detect any potential or existing overuse injuries, along with any other health issues.

  6. Presence of on-site, qualified personnel. Kids should be coached by qualified personnel, and a certified athletic trainer should be on-site during school or other organized sports. As physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, athletic trainers can offer a range of services, including injury prevention, immediate evaluation and treatment, and rehabilitation to reduce the risk of serious injuries, as well as re-injury.


Sports are still a great way for kids to stay fit and learn self-discipline, however, the key to keeping young athletes injury-free is moderation and diversity.






1,677 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: injuries, pressure, overuse