Monthly Archives: September 2012

Is Your Middle School Superstar Benched with Heel Pain?

003 heel_pain_in_childrenAs summer comes to an end and fall season’s start, many parents face unexpected injuries to their favorite players.  I’m not talking about the Jacksonville Jaguars, though their O-line has its fair share of injuries, I’m referring to our middle school super-stars.  These young athletes seem to have grown a foot over summer, return to the school sports and are benched by heel pain.

A feeling of tightness throughout the foot and pain, specifically in the heel, can be caused from the bones of the foot growing faster than the muscles and ligaments.  The heel ossifies (turns into bone) later that the other foot bones, so children that play sports (most commonly soccer or basketball) and are very active are more likely to develop pain here.  The pain is caused from a repeated stress, such as running or jumping, on the growth plate in the heel, and is a sign of Sever’s disease.

Sever’s disease, medically called Calcaneal Apophysitis, is an inflammation caused by stress on the growth plate in the heel and is very common in children.  The pain is generally worse after physical activity, and commonly located on the side or back of the heel.  This is unlike another common condition, plantar fasciitis, which is worse after long periods of inactivity.  Sever’s will go away on its own in most children, but it may take a while.  There are several simple options we can offer to confirm the diagnosis, eliminate the pain and shorten recovery so kids don’t miss the fall sports season.  A fracture of the heel has very similar symptoms so if the pain is chronic, or does not subside with conservative treatments it should definitely be looked at by a podiatrist.

003 seversWe at First Coast Foot and Ankle Cliniccan offer several options for treating and preventing Sever’s disease.  Children’s arch supportsare recommended for those who have not yet experienced the severe pain, but are at risk because of their participation in sports or high activity level.  Children’s arch supports are commercially available or can be custom fitted by us and will fit into athletic shoes or cleats. It is also important to choose an athletic shoe that supports the child’s arch since it is still developing.

Heel cushions can be a good option for children already experiencing the heel pain.  Icing for 20-30 minutes after strenuous activity and stretching exercises for the calf muscles will help alleviate the pain and decrease the chance of it returning.  Temporarily decreasing the activity level, specifically activities that include jumping or running, may also be required in order to let the area heal.

Let us help heal your pain, make an appointment to get your kid back in the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Line Suffer from Ankle Injuries

005a Jag InjuryFirst Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic could not be more excited that football season has begun! But already three of the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line starters are wearing protective boots on their left ankles following the overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

  • Left guard Eben Britton suffered an ankle injury and was out for the remaining of the game
  • Uche Nwaneri also suffered an ankle injury
  • Right tackle Cameron Bradfield suffered a leg injury

In this one game, there have been more injuries to the lower extremities than any other and Coach Mike Mularkey is starting to wonder if it might have been a turf issue. “It’s the most foot injuries I’ve ever been around,” Mularkey said. “Foot, ankle, you think about the number of linemen we have lost with it, it’s just unheard of. I don’t know if it’s bad luck. I am putting a little research out there with some of the turf teams if they’re experiencing the same kind of issues we are with our ankles and feet. We have had an unbelievable number of injuries to that part of the body. More than I’ve ever been around.”

So what will happen this Sunday when the Jags hit Everbank Field to take on the Houston Texans?  Even with a ranking of 32nd in the NFL in total offense and all these injuries the offensive line is still showing signs of improvement.

September is National P.A.D Month: Are You At Risk?

004 PAD_picBetween the changing of seasons bringing cooler temperatures, and events such as the 2012 First Coast Heart Walk, and Northeast Florida Beer Cup approaching, September is shaping up to be an exciting month in Jacksonville.

September is also P.A.D awareness month.  P.A.D stands for Peripheral Arterial Disease and currently affects around 8 million Americans.  People with PAD are at significantly increased risk for stroke and heart attack.  If caught early P.A.D is preventable and can be easily treated.

P.A.D occurs when arteries in the legs become clogged or blocked by fat deposits and cholesterol that stick to and accumulate on the walls of the artery. The more narrow and hard the artery is, the harder it is for blood to pass through, leading to decreased blood flow to the legs and feet that can result in a number of symptoms.

These symptoms include:  

  • Painful cramping in the legs while walking
  • Heaviness
  • Numbness and/or weakness of the lower extremity

Symptoms that occur later in the disease include: 

  • Pain or burning in the feet or toes while resting
  • Coolness and color changes of the skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Wounds of the feet or toes that do not heal

Risk factors include: 

  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Age greater than 50
  • Diabetes

Here at First Coast Foot Clinic, we use the reliable, non-invasive Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) to test for P.A.D.  Blood pressures are taken on both the arm and the ankle, and are compared to each other.  The ankle blood pressure should be about the same as the arm blood pressure, in which normal values are 0.95-1.2.  If it is below this, a patient will be tested further for P.A.D.

Sometimes P.A.D can show no symptoms at all, so it is important to get tested if you are at risk.  So while you are enjoying the Northeast Florida Beer Cup, be aware of what puts you at risk and remember you can always walk off those extra beer calories at the First Coast Heart Walk and keep your lifestyle active.  September is going to be a great month here in Jacksonville, but try to stay aware of P.A.D and catch it early.