Foot/Ankle

WHY YOU SHOULD THINK PHYSICAL THERAPY FIRST WHEN YOU GET SHIN SPLINTS

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With Spring right around the corner, many individuals will “pick up the pace” and resume running.  However, with just starting to train or even adding distance to your running program, you run the risk of developing shin splints, also called medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) where pain develops on the inside of the shin.  Being a very common athletic injury, shin splints affect both the muscle on the inside of the shin and the bone to which it attaches.  It is estimated that up to 35% of athletes who run and jump will develop shin splints, such as distance runners, sprinters, basketball players, tennis players, dancers, and gymnasts.  It is also very common among our military personnel as well.  A Physical Therapist should be your first choice in getting help to recover from shin splints as they can instruct you in the proper exercises and tactics to prevent reinjury.

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WHAT CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY DO FOR A CALF STRAIN?

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While most of us know that the calf is located in the back of the lower leg below the knee, many don’t realize that the calf is actually made up of 9 separate muscles, any of which can be injured individually or together.  Calf strains are very well-known to runners, gymnasts, dancers, soccer stk63074cor_XSand basketball players.  They can occur during hi-speed motions (e.g., running and jumping), or from any type of forceful or uncoordinated movement.  As we age, so too does our vulnerability to calf strains with less forceful movements.  The goal of Physical Therapy in treating individuals with calf strains is to reduce pain, restore flexibility and muscle strength, and increase recovery speed.

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DO YOU HAVE HEEL AND LOWER LEG DISCOMFORT? IT COULD BE ACHILLES TENDINOPATHY.

Achilles-tendon

Any problem relating to a tendon, either short term or long term, is called a tendinopathy.  Achilles tendinopathy is an irritation of the Achilles tendon, a thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel.  It is one of the most common causes of pain felt behind the heel and up the back of the ankle when running or walking.  It is estimated that males 2achilles-Figure3experience 89% of all Achilles tendon injuries, and 50% of runners will experience Achilles discomfort at some point in their running careers.  Overall, Achilles tendinopathy can result in a limited ability to walk, climb steps, or participate in recreational activities.

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I SPRAINED MY ANKLE…DO I NEED A DOCTOR OR A PHYSICAL THERAPIST?

9042431_orig1404476685969It can happen at any time…while playing sports, stepping off a curb, walking in high heels…and it can happen to anybody…athletes, non-athletes, adults, children… you twist your ankle.  Recent statistics show that on any given day, more than 25,000 individuals in the US will sprain their ankle.  What exactly is an ankle sprain, and how should we proceed with diagnosis and treatment?

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WHAT IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN?

h9991457_002A sprain is an injury to a ligament.  Ligaments go from bone-to-bone and provide stability to our joints.  So when our foot/ankle twists beyond its normal range of movement, and ligaments are torn, partially torn, or stretched beyond their normal length, an ankle sprain results.

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CAN MY FOOT PAIN BE CAUSED BY A BUNION?

images-21 A bunion is a large bump on the side of the foot that develops at the base of the big toe when the toe deviates inward.  It is very common for a bunion to be swollen and inflamed, leading to foot pain.  Most commonly affected are women and older adults, although anyone can develop a bunion.  If left untreated the joint may enlarge, becoming stiff and painful.  This can lead to problems with getting shoes to fit as well as difficulty walking.  Physical Therapists can help individuals with bunions by improving the angle of the big toe, increasing muscle strength and walking mechanics, as well as reducing discomfort.

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