Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Road to Super Bowl XLVII

superbowl-1Unfortunately for Jacksonville football fans, the Jaguars did not make the postseason this year, however everyone should still be excited to watch the upcoming super bowl.  Throughout the long 17 week NFL regular season, and the 4 weeks of playoffs thereafter, the player’s bodies are exposed to non-stop, repetitive, strenuous activity that can put strain on muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones, the foot being no exception.  One of the most common chronic injuries to the feet of NFL players and older athletes are big toe joint injuries.  Some can be career altering such as the case with Deion Sanders when he was forced to retire from a “turf toe”injury in 2000.

Turf toe results from hyperextension of the big toe joint as the heel is raised off the ground.  An external force is place on the big toe and soft tissues that support the big toe on top are torn or ruptured.  In sports, especially football,a player whose foot is planted on the ground with the heel in the air is subjected to a force on the back of the foot thereby hyperextending the first MTP joint. The injury usually happens when a football player’s cleat is engaged with the turf and another player lands on the back of the heel.

There are also other conditions of the big toe joint that result out of abnormal wear and tear. Hallux limitus is a condition in which there is a significantly decreased amount of motion in the joint of the great toe, whereas in hallux rigidus there is no motion available at the great toe.  The diagnosis of Hallux Limitus can be made based on physical exam and x-rays that can be done here at the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic.

Hallux limitus can usually be treated conservatively in the office.  The first line of treatment would be functional foot orthotics that are to be worn in shoes.  These orthotics can provide a stiff surface for the inside of the foot and limit the pain associated with the decreased motion at the great toe joint.  The shoes can also be stretched so that no pressure or rubbing occurs around the joint.  In some more severe cases, surgery may be the best option to completely alleviate pain, and realign the joint.

It does not take the amount of activity or training that an NFL player has to endure to develop big toe joint problems, and is also quite common in the normal population.  If you are experience pain in that area, or want to prevent future problems, make an appointment today.

Common Exercising Injuries

images[5]It’s a couple weeks into 2013 and many people are still very dedicated to their new year’s resolution of weight loss or a healthier lifestyle.  Some of these new exercisers are filling the gyms or enjoying the jogging paths in their new, hopefully perfectly fitted, athletic shoes, while still others are starting to develop pains and injuries.  There are many common injuries associated with running and new exercise routines, many treatable at home, while others require a visit to your podiatrist.

Many new exercisers start out in a very high intensity routine, almost guaranteeing themselves an injury from overuse.  The constant repetition of contraction and release of muscles that many exercises require can lead to muscle tears or ruptures.  Injuries can occur in all body parts including the knee, shin, ankle, and foot.

Pains that occur in the knee are commonly called runners knee and are caused by the foot rolling inward too much, called excessive pronation.  This can be treated and prevented by custom orthotics which can be prescribed by a podiatrist.  Orthotics can also be an effective treatment for another common injury that presents with a painful ache on the front and medial side of the leg caused by inflamed muscles, called shin splints.

heel pain

The left image shows a foot with a healthy arch: the plantar fascia is relaxed. The right image shows a flattened arch: the plantar fascia is stretched tight with inflammation at it’s heel attachment.

The foot can experience many different injuries from overuse.  A pain in the heel of the foot, called plantar fasciitis, is often caused by stress on the bottom of the foot.  This can be caused by excessive pronation, poor fitting shoes, and overtraining.  Heel pain can also be caused from pain and tightness in the large muscles of the leg from repetitive rising up on the toes that leads to achilles tendon inflammation and pain at the back of the heel.

Another common overtraining injury is a stress fracture.  This happens because of repetitive forces from the ground and body being applied to the bones in the foot.  This temporarily weakens the bone and without proper time to recover, commonly seen with overuse, the bone will eventually fracture. This could stop your activity altogether for 4-8 weeks wiping out the work you’ve done previously.

 Make an appointment with First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic and let us help keep your new exercise routine going strong, and your feel feeling great.