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Women’s Feet Are Paying a High Price for Fashion

Women’s Feet Are Paying a High Price for Fashion

high-heels
high-heels

Fashion before comfort… and health! That seems to be a prevailing attitude in the United States, particularly among women out shopping for new shoes. And while there are a number of shoe styles that can cause foot problems, the high heel (especially the ultra-high heel) is by far the biggest culprit. According the American Podiatric Medical Association:

  • 72% of women wear high-heeled shoes (39% wear heels daily, while 33% wear them less often).
  • 59% report toe pain as a result of wearing uncomfortable shoes; 54% report pain in the ball of the foot.
  • 58% of women purchased new high-heeled shoes in the last year.
  • Younger women are more likely to experience blisters and pain in the arches of their feet than older women. Older women are more likely to experience corns, calluses, and bunions.

Ultra high-heels have many podiatrists concerned: According to Hillary Brenner, DPM, a spokeswoman for the American Podiatric Medical Association, “Heels are getting higher and higher,” she says. “We podiatrists like to call it shoe-icide.” Ultra-high heels often result in an array of injuries, short- and long-term, from ankle sprains to chronic pain and many issues in-between.

“Ultra-high heels force the feet into a position that puts stress on the ball of the foot,” continues Brenner. “At this critical joint, the long metatarsal bones meet the pea-shaped sesamoid bones, and the toe bones (phalanges). Too much pressure can inflame these bones or the nerves that surround them. Chronic stress to the foot bones can even lead to hairline fractures.”

However, heels in general, whether they’re stilettos or mid-heels, are hobbling women all around the country. High heels are known for producing a tender knot on the back of the heel, called the “pump bump” by some. This is a result of the pressure from the stiff, unyielding high-heel on the back of the foot. Blisters, swelling, bursitis, and even discomfort in the Achilles tendon can follow.

Additionally, all high heels increase the danger of an ankle sprain. The issue most seen by podiatrists is a lateral sprain, which occurs when a walker rolls onto the outside of their foot, stretching the ankle ligaments beyond their usual length. A serious sprain may even tear the ligaments and increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

In podiatrists’ and other medical professionals’ offices across the country, women are presenting with mild to severe foot problems due to wearing the wrong shoes. Other shoes that can cause foot pain and other issues include:

  • Ballet flats, which provide no support whatsoever.
  • Flip-flops, which provide almost no protection from splinters and other injuries.
  • Platform shoes, which often have rigid foot beds, putting unnecessary pressure on the foot.
  • Pointy-toed shoes, which can result in nerve pain, bunions, blisters, and hammertoes.

So what can a woman do to stay fashionable and keep her feet healthy and pain-free? For those who love high heels, consider performance pumps, which most often come with reinforced heels, athletic shoe construction, and more wiggle room for the toes.

Another solution for the pump enthusiast is a chunky-heeled shoe. Chunky heels allow better balance with a wider surface area, which gives the foot much more stability thereby diminishing the risk of ankle sprains.

For other shoes such as ballet flats, orthotic inserts can offer the support that the shoes lack. If you’re unsure about what kind of insert is best for your feet, talk to your podiatrist to get an informed opinion on how to best take care of your feet—and look good doing it.

 

Knee Care 101

Knee Care 101

?????????By some measures, your knees are your body’s largest joints, but they are also the ones most likely to be injured. More than 11 million men and women over the age of forty visit doctors every year due to knee pain. Taking care of your knees helps to make sure these vital joints continue to work smoothly and comfortably so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle.

5 Steps to Healthier Knees

Step 1: Stay Active, but Don’t Overdo It. If you don’t put in the time and effort it takes to keep your knees moving, they can start to stiffen, leading to discomfort and increasing your risk of injury. At the same time, dramatically increasing your levels of activity (particularly if you haven’t been physically active for a while) can cause injuries from repetitive strain. If you have never followed an exercise routine, ease into this type of activity slowly. If you work out hard on a regular basis, make sure to include rest days to give your knees a break.

Step 2: Manage Your Weight. Every extra pound you carry puts additional pressure on your knees. A study conducted by Stephen P. Messier of Wake Forest University found that losing even a small amount of weight can significantly decrease your risk of arthritis in the knees. If knee pain makes it difficult for you to lose weight through exercise, try using a stationary bike or elliptical machine to reduce the impact on your joints.

Step 3: Build Muscle Around Your Knees. The muscles that surround and support your knees also help to absorb shock. Strengthening your hamstrings and your quadriceps will help give your knees the backup they need. Talk to your chiropractor or a personal trainer for ideas on the best ways to strengthen these muscles.

Step 4: Don’t Forget to Stretch. While the muscles around the knees do need to be strong, they also need to be flexible. Regular stretching helps to keep these muscles from pulling the knee out of alignment.

Step 5: Don’t Ignore Pain. If your knee is painful, swollen, or making unusual noises, check in with a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms can be a sign of damaged cartilage, an issue that can be corrected with early intervention. Trying to “push through” pain without knowing what is causing it puts you at risk of additional injury, so never hesitate to consult with a professional if you think there might be a problem.

Chiropractic Care and Your Knees

Chiropractic care is a vital resource when it comes to keeping your knees healthy. Your chiropractor will take the time to examine and evaluate your joints, muscles, posture and biomechanics to determine the root cause of any discomfort. He or she will then recommend and perform manual techniques that will help to bring your body back into alignment. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your lifestyle and receive recommendations on changes that you can make to continue to improve your knees’ health.

Taking good care of your knees takes commitment, but the rewards are well worth it over the long haul. Talk to your chiropractor today to learn more!

For High School Athletes, Sports-Related Back Pain Starts Early

For High School Athletes, Sports-Related Back Pain Starts Early

gridironPeople often assume that lower back pain (LBP) is just a problem just for the elderly, or for middle-aged adults who have a history of physical wear and tear. But this is simply untrue. The fact is that over 31 million Americans live with lower back pain on a regular basis, and a great number of them are adolescents.

Recent studies have indicated that many high school students who participate in sports programs are at high risk for developing lower back pain—and worse, few of them seek or receive proper chiropractic treatment. This is increasingly recognized as a legitimate public health concern: A 25-year-long study of adolescent risk factors for LBP, published in 2000, revealed that students who had lower back pain at age 14 were likelier to have back pain 25 years later than students who didn’t have LBP when they were teenagers. This study suggested that prevention of back pain in youth may contribute to the absence of back pain in adulthood.

14 years later, not much has changed. A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined Finnish teenage athletes participating in a variety of sports. Researchers looked at the experience of 464 male and female athletes representing 22 basketball, floorball (a type of floor hockey popular in Nordic countries), ice hockey, and volleyball teams. They found that 255 athletes (55%) had experienced lower back pain in the past year. 51 players (11%) had suffered for longer than four weeks, and 80 (17.2%) had pain so severe that they had to miss training. However, only about 73 of them (29% of those with back pain) had received any medical attention for LBP.

Another study of 12,306 adolescent soccer players found that a significant percentage of them were likely to suffer injuries that cause lower back pain, resulting in the loss of 10,265 training days and—more importantly—putting them at higher risk for LBP as they age. The study also concluded that the likelihood of injury resulting in LBP increased dramatically if a young athlete received no medical attention, then returned to play before the injury had healed.

Parents of teenage athletes should weigh all of this information carefully if their son or daughter begins to complain of lower back pain. Don’t let them ignore it and go back to playing without having the condition treated. Remember—“walking it off” today could have longer-term health consequences that go beyond the discomfort or pain they’re feeling in the moment. Parents should also know that other studies have found chiropractic care to be the safest, most effective form of LBP treatment. Your chiropractor can help relieve your child’s pain today and help prevent a lifetime of lower back pain in the future, without drugs and without surgery. Call or visit our office today to learn more.

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Knees Younger Longer

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Knees Younger Longer

footballSome aches and pains are normal as we age, but there’s no reason why we should not try to keep them to a minimum. Knee health is important in keeping you mobile as you get older, and experts agree that the best way to keep them in good shape is (ideally) to avoid receiving a knee injury. Even old injuries to the knee that may have happened when you were in your 20s can come back to haunt you in your retirement years. You may not be able to go back in time and avoid the injury, but there are some things you can do to help keep your knees from being prone to injury. Following are the top 5 ways experts recommend to keep your knees younger longer.

Wear the proper shoes for your needs – If your feet are overpronated (roll to the inside) or supinated (roll to the outside), or if you have fallen arches, it can affect your knees. You can buy orthotic inserts for your shoes to help correct the problem and take the pressure off your knees. You should also avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time, as studies have shown that wearing them leads to an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis.

Don’t overdo it on the exercise – This can be a particular problem with “weekend warriors” who feel they must fit in as much exercise as possible over the weekend because they don’t have time during the week. This can contribute to an overloading of the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the knee that are not accustomed to regular exercise, leading to an injury or even micro-tears that may not show up immediately, but which increase over time.

Lose weight – Any high-impact activities are extra hard on the knees if you are overweight. If you are overweight, running and other sports that have great impact on the knees should be avoided until you have achieved a normal weight. Practice other forms of exercise in the meantime that take the pressure off the knee, such as swimming or cycling.

Increase strength and flexibility – Concentrate on stretching and strengthening the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscles, as these provide the greatest support to the knees and ensure that the patella tracks properly. Women are especially prone to improper patellar tracking, which places more stress on the ligaments of the knee. This creates a popping or grinding sound when you bend the knee, often accompanied by pain. Yoga and pilates are good ways to keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the leg and knee strong and flexible.

Have regular chiropractic adjustments – If your spine or hips are misaligned, the stress your knees have to bear is much greater. Sacroiliac and lumbar misalignments can make one leg shorter than the other so your gait is not straight. A study of 18 people who had knee pain due to muscle tightness showed there was a significant improvement of the condition in all subjects after having a chiropractic adjustment to the sacroiliac joint. Regular chiropractic care can help keep excessive strain off your knees and increase range of motion.

Is It Normal for Knees to Pop and Crack?

Is It Normal for Knees to Pop and Crack?

??????????????????????????????????????????????????Many people experience a popping or cracking noise in their knees as they squat down or bend their knees, and this seems to happen with increasing regularity as we age. The medical term for this condition is called crepitus. It is a very normal phenomenon and, so long as it is painless, there is nothing to be overly concerned about. Whether young or old, cracking and popping of the knees is a common occurrence.

Crepitus can be caused by many things, and scientists are still not completely certain why it happens. One of the reasons for the popping sound may be that the patella is slightly out of alignment and is rubbing against the front of the femur or the adjacent soft tissue. Another condition called cavitation can cause a popping sound when small bubbles of carbon dioxide, which are normally suspended in the synovial fluid that lubricates the knee joint, form a larger bubble and make a popping sound as the knee is bent or twisted (think bubble wrap). Lax ligaments have been associated with an increase in cavitation. Changes in altitude or barometric pressure can often exacerbate the popping sound, such as on plane flights or when there is a change in the weather.

However, if the cracking or popping noise is accompanied by pain on a regular basis, or the knee catches or locks up, then you may have some cause for concern. Pain, sometimes accompanied by a grinding sensation, may be an indication that there is tissue damage to the articulating surfaces of the joint, such as tear to the meniscus. The cartilage behind the kneecap can fray, leading to the pain and popping sound of patellofemoral pain syndrome, which is generally caused by an overuse and misalignment of the hips, knees and ankles.

Swelling and/or stiffness may be indications of early arthritis, bursitis, gout or tendinitis. To be sure you do not damage the joint further, which may require surgery to correct, it is wise to consult with your physician or chiropractor to stop any further damage before it starts.

Your chiropractor can help to realign any joints that are misaligned, which may be contributing to the problem, in addition to suggesting specific stretching and strengthening exercises that you can do at home to support the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee. Weak quadriceps is one of the foremost causes of knee pain, so exercises to strengthen this area may be a good idea. If you need to be seen, you can call our office at 406-652-3553.

Is It Normal for Knees to Pop and Crack?

Is It Normal for Knees to Pop and Crack?

??????????????????????????????????????????????????Many people experience a popping or cracking noise in their knees as they squat down or bend their knees, and this seems to happen with increasing regularity as we age. The medical term for this condition is called crepitus. It is a very normal phenomenon and, so long as it is painless, there is nothing to be overly concerned about. Whether young or old, cracking and popping of the knees is a common occurrence.

Crepitus can be caused by many things, and scientists are still not completely certain why it happens. One of the reasons for the popping sound may be that the patella is slightly out of alignment and is rubbing against the front of the femur or the adjacent soft tissue. Another condition called cavitation can cause a popping sound when small bubbles of carbon dioxide, which are normally suspended in the synovial fluid that lubricates the knee joint, form a larger bubble and make a popping sound as the knee is bent or twisted (think bubble wrap). Lax ligaments have been associated with an increase in cavitation. Changes in altitude or barometric pressure can often exacerbate the popping sound, such as on plane flights or when there is a change in the weather.

However, if the cracking or popping noise is accompanied by pain on a regular basis, or the knee catches or locks up, then you may have some cause for concern. Pain, sometimes accompanied by a grinding sensation, may be an indication that there is tissue damage to the articulating surfaces of the joint, such as tear to the meniscus. The cartilage behind the kneecap can fray, leading to the pain and popping sound of patellofemoral pain syndrome, which is generally caused by an overuse and misalignment of the hips, knees and ankles.

Swelling and/or stiffness may be indications of early arthritis, bursitis, gout or tendinitis. To be sure you do not damage the joint further, which may require surgery to correct, it is wise to consult with your physician or chiropractor to stop any further damage before it starts.

Your chiropractor can help to realign any joints that are misaligned, which may be contributing to the problem, in addition to suggesting specific stretching and strengthening exercises that you can do at home to support the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee. Weak quadriceps is one of the foremost causes of knee pain, so exercises to strengthen this area may be a good idea. If you need to be seen, you can call our office at 406-652-3553.

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