Summer is a great time for kids to play outside, but it can also be a good time for the whole family to go out and enjoy activities together. That’s why the Berkley Parks and Recreation department is hosting a Community Picnic on Saturday, July 19, as part of its Sumer Fest celebrations. This year, NorthPointe Foot & Ankle is proud to be a sponsor for this great event. Come out to the Community Park Complex for fun and games with your family. Jumping and running games may be hard to enjoy, however, if you’re struggling with Achilles tendinitis.
Achilles tendinitis is an uncomfortable overuse injury in your Achilles tendon, which makes it difficult and painful to push off the ground. It’s fairly common with athletes—particularly runners, since they put so much force on the connector—but anyone can develop the problem. Too many hard impacts or repetitive motions over time, and you can easily strain the tissue. Resolving the painful problem takes time, too, since the tendon first must heal, then be re-conditioned to handle the strain of your activities. Preventing the problem before it starts is better for you than trying to recover from it.
Take a few simple steps to prepare your lower limbs for activities and reduce your risk for injuring yourself. Stretch your Achilles every day to keep it from tightening. Do exercises to strengthen your calf muscles, too, like heel raises and toe walking, to help condition the tendon. Make sure you wear supportive footwear and invest in good shoes for your sports or other activities. If you notice your lower limbs becoming sore and painful when you’re active, scale back and let yourself rest.
You don’t need to let Achilles tendinitis keep you from enjoying Berkley’s Community Picnic. Instead, start taking steps now to protect your limbs. If you’re already struggling with discomfort, don’t wait to get help. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle for more information or an appointment. Call (248) 545-0100 or use the online request form to reach us.
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Walking is a great source of exercise, especially as you get older and are more prone to injuries. It’s easy and safe. Berkley also has a wonderful community park at Catalpa with kept trails for you to wander in and stay in shape. However, the older you get, the more you have to consider your balance. A fall could seriously injure you. Working to improve your balance, then, is increasingly important.
Your feet play a crucial role in your ability to balance well. If your lower limbs are weak, you are far more likely to fall. Improving your balance by exercising your feet helps you prevent falls and avoid the injuries that frequently result from a tumble.
Try these simple exercises to build stability in your feet and ankles:
- One foot balancing – Stand on one foot next to a chair and hold on to its back. Let go of the chair and try to balance for 30 seconds. As that gets easier, extend your time to a minute. As that becomes easier, try it while closing your eyes or standing on a pillow.
- Heel-to-toe walking – Walk in a straight line across a room. For each step, set your heel down directly in front of the other foot, so the back of your heel touches the tips of your toes.
- Leg lifts – Balancing on one leg, lift your other foot a few inches off the ground straight in front of you. Rotate your foot at the ankle 10 times, move it to one side and the other, and repeat.
Improving balance does take time, but the effort is worth it. The stronger your feet and ankles become, the better they will be able to hold you up and keep your steps stable. It’s far better to prevent a fall than have to deal with the pain and potential damage afterwards. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle here in Berkley, MI, for an appointment to evaluate and improve your balance. Call (248) 545-0100 or use our online contact form to reach us.
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A study that came out of the University of Manchester in Great Britain early in 2014 showed that smoking may increase your risk for hearing loss. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why this happens, it’s one more thing to add to the list of tobacco risks, including those for your feet. Although most people don’t connect cigarettes to foot damage, the link is there. Smoking has a very negative impact on your foot health—and the danger only increases if you have diabetes.
Smoke and the chemicals in tobacco do more than turn your lungs black. They actually narrow and stiffen your blood vessels, which restricts blood flow. This typically affects your lower limbs the most. Without sufficient blood flow, it can become painful for you to participate in many activities. Your nails, skin, and even hair may weaken, change, and become unhealthy. You also increase your chances for serious foot ulcers. When you have diabetes, you’re already at high risk for poor circulation and the changes that result from it. Smoking only makes the situation worse.
Although the results don’t appear overnight, quitting a tobacco habit can help you make huge strides in your foot health. Within a few weeks, your circulation can improve, allowing you to become more active without pain. Any foot wounds will heal more quickly, and your tissues will be able to receive more of the nutrients they need. This significantly lowers your risk for a diabetic amputation and developing clots in your lower limbs that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Of course, quitting isn’t easy. It’s not something you can do on your own, especially if you want to restore your lower limb health. You’ll need support from your family, friends, and medical professionals. The best way to start is by talking to your family and your doctors, like the team here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle, to plan a path to quitting. If you want more information or an appointment to discuss smoking and your foot health, call our Berkley, MI, office at (248) 545-0100, or submit a request form on our website.
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Cycling is a great exercise for all ages. Naturally, biking comes with some basic safety gear—helmets. This simple protective piece has been responsible for saving countless lives by protecting the head during accidents. That’s why the Lids for Kids event, taking place June 14 in Berkley, MI, is so valuable for young bikers. It provides them with a free helmet and basic safety information. Of course, your head isn’t the only part of you that needs protection when biking. Cycling and your feet are linked, too.
Cycling is a wonderful activity for your lower limbs. It doesn’t have the hard impacts that running does, but still works your feet and ankles. You have to push through your arch and the ball of the foot to move the pedals forward. However, like any other sport, it does have some risk for foot injuries. Since usually only the ball of the foot is on the pedal, the pressure you exert isn’t evenly dispersed through your lower limbs. This can allow you to develop tendonitis, metatarsalgia, shin splints, and pinched nerves.
Wearing the proper shoes can make a significant difference in your foot comfort. Most people forget about their shoes, even though they are an important part of normal biking equipment. You need a pair with stiff soles that won’t collapse through the arch when you pedal. This controls the stress on the foot when you push down. Make sure your footwear has sufficient padding through the forefoot, too, to minimize the pressure there.
Don’t underestimate the connection between cycling and your feet. You want your lower limbs to stay comfortable when you ride. If you notice foot pain when you bike, don’t ignore it. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle, where we can take care of your lower limbs. Call (248) 545-0100 or use our online contact form to reach us.
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The Oak Apple Run will be held in Royal Oak, MI on May 31, and proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club. All you runners out there: are you ready for this year’s run? Actually the question is, are your feet ready? With all the training you put in, your feet take a lot of pounding, and if they’re not strong enough to withstand all that impact, the results can be painful. Weak feet can lead to injuries like plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, and metatarsal fractures. On the flip side, strong feet can reduce pain and injuries, improve your balance, and even make you run faster! Before you can strengthen your feet, however, you need to know why they’re weak in the first place.
Runners tuck their feet into shoes designed for maximum comfort, cushioning, and stability. With all that protection, your feet never have a chance to gain strength naturally. So how can you strengthen them? Dr. Jeffrey Frederick of Berkley’s NorthPointe Foot and Ankle offers the following helpful tips.
Lose the shoes! That’s right, it’s actually recommended that you go barefoot sometimes, so they can get out and sense the ground. While you’re at it, try this simple exercise to add strength: stand on one leg on a balance disc or hop on one leg on a mini trampoline. You can incorporate such exercises into day-to-day activities, too, like while your brushing your teeth or cooking up that pre-race meal.
Another tip? Stand more and sit less. The more you stay on your feet, the stronger they’ll get. Lastly, integrating plyometrics into your training routine helps condition your feet to withstand the impact that comes with running. Plyometric exercises involve quick direction changes, hopping, jumping, and skipping. Examples include hopping side-to-side or jumping on one leg into a box.
If you want to stay injury-free, and get a personal best at Oak Apple this year, start to strengthen your feet now! Run on over to NorthPointe Foot and Ankle in Berkley, MI for more information, or call (248) 545-0100 to talk with Dr. Jeffrey Frederick today.
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