Tag Archives: back pain

Landscaping: How To Protect Your Feet From Injuries

15 May

Which would you rather say to your podiatrist?

“I got this monumental ankle sprain when I was pushing my lawnmower and rolled my foot in a gopher hole.”
“I got this monumental ankle sprain when I rolled my foot AFTER THE MOST SPECTACULAR JUMP SHOT EVER!

If you picked “gopher hole”, you’re in the minority.

Landscaping – and even gardening – cause their share of foot and ankle injuries, especially in spring when we’re out of shape. We tend to jump right in where we left off in October, and our bodies just aren’t up to it. Bending, twisting, and lifting or pushing heavy and sharp equipment can cause an injury quite quickly if you don’t take a few precautions.


We hope he’s wearing a good pair of work boots

Wear proper footwear.

It may have been fine when you were a teenager to wear worn-out sneakers when you cut the lawn. As an adult, you should wear athletic shoes which support your feet well and will protect them if you step on a rock you didn’t expect to be there. Or in the groundhog hole which magically appeared overnight.

If your ankles or feet have been subject to injuries in the past, or if you’re landscaping with sharp equipment, wear a quality pair of work boots (not garden boots, which offer little protection beyond moisture). If you’re a landscaper, work boots with good support and metal-tipped toes should always be on your feet. Work boots will also protect your feet in the event you accidentally drop any equipment with sharp blades or heavy bottoms (like a tamper).

Don’t work on a wet lawn.

When grass is even a little wet, it can be very slippery. If you have a slope or hill on your lawn, cutting it when wet can be especially dangerous. Wait to mow your lawn until the turf is completely dry.

Use equipment with safety shutoffs.

Decades ago, equipment with sharp blades only stopped turning when you intentionally shut it off, which allowed chainsaws to run out of control, and feet to slide under lawnmowers while the blades were still turning. Fortunately, most modern lawnmowers, edgers, tillers, cultivators, post hole diggers, chain saws, and other equipment with high speed, rotating blades or teeth, stop as soon as you let go of the handle or trigger. If you’re still using decades-old equipment which doesn’t have a shutoff feature, it’s time to upgrade.

Shovels and other step-on equipment can cause surprising damage to your feet.

If you’re doing a project that requires a lot of digging, or using equipment like manual aerators for your lawn, wear quality work boots at all times. The repeated stepping-on-with-force required with these tools can cause injuries like sesamoiditis, plantar fasciitis, sprains and fractures.

If you have ankle, foot, leg, or back issues, stretch before you start.

In gardening and landscaping, lots of bending, squatting, twisting and turning is required, sometimes while holding or moving heavy equipment. Injuries happen remarkably quickly when your body isn’t prepared for them. We recommend that those who have previous injuries of the back, hip, legs, feet, or ankles, or are over 50, stretch before they begin their activities.

Taking these precautions and wearing work boots when you garden or landscape may not make you look like the coolest guy or girl on the block, but they’ll keep you out of the podiatrist’s office. Or the ER.


Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Flat Feet (Fallen Arches)

6 Dec
flat feet fallen arches

Typical fallen arch or flat foot

When you take your first baby steps, it’s usually done on flat feet. But as you walk more and develop your foot and ankle muscles, bones and tendons, an arch forms to support your foot. Or at least it’s supposed to.

Read: My child has flat feet – what should I do?

From Web MDSeveral tendons in your foot and lower leg work together to form the arches in your foot. When the tendons all pull the proper amount, then your foot forms a moderate, normal arch. When tendons do not pull together properly, there is little or no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.

For some, the arch never develops and they have flat feet for their entire life, yet suffer no symptoms and need no treatment. This is actually a variation on normal foot type. But for others, the arch forms normally and then falls later in life, usually after the age of 40. In these cases, the arch collapses in one or both feet and the entire sole of the foot comes into contact (completely or nearly so) with the ground. These individuals may suffer pain in the heel, arch, ankle, knees, or back, because the fallen arch alters the alignment of their legs.

The reasons for fallen arches may be due to:

  • Obesityflat feet
  • Faulty biomechanics or aging
  • Damage to the tendons from overuse (stretched or torn)
  • Improper development of muscles and tendons
  • Damage or inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon which connects at your calf muscle, runs along your ankle, and attaches to the middle of your arch
  • Broken or dislocated bones in the foot
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Problems with the nerves
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetic collapse (charcot foot)

Interestingly, going barefoot is one of the best ways to avoid getting flat feet, as long as you aren’t suffering from any serious foot conditions. In India, a medical study was conducted of children who had grown up wearing shoes compared to those who grew up barefoot. In the barefoot group, the longitudinal arches were generally stronger and higher, with flat feet less common in this group than those who grew up wearing closed-toe shoes.

Symptoms of Flat Feet or Fallen Arches
  • Feet are painful or ache, especially in the arch or heel area
  • Feet are quick to tire
  • Inside bottom of feet may become swollen
  • Ankles may be swollen
  • Standing on toes is difficult
  • Back, knee, ankle, or leg pain
Treatment for Flat Feet
  • Depending on the cause of your fallen arches, your podiatrist may recommend one or a number of the following:
  • Rest, ice and over the counter anti inflammatory medicine (Advil, Aleve) to reduce pain and swelling
  • Stretching exercises / physical therapy
  • Custom made orthotics
  • Custom made shoes, shoe modifications, or braces
  • Steroidal injections to relieve pain and swelling
  • Surgery if necessary to repair tendon, or to make changes to the joints or bones

Is the pain from high heels worth the fashion statement?

25 Jul

I was recently asked by a journalist to comment on how high heels wreak havoc with women’s feet. I know how you like a beautiful pair of pumps, but I have to be honest with you – feet damaged by those instruments of torture will keep me in business until I decide to retire.

How exactly do high heels damage your feet?
high heeled foot and leg xray

Note the unnatural angle of the foot, ankle and leg

When you wear high heels, your foot points downward, with the majority of stress placed on the forefoot (see the pic). The more you subject your feet to this position and stress, the more likely you’ll be to develop bunions, corns, calluses, pinched nerves (neuroma), hammertoes, and pain in the foot called metatarsalgia. Not only that, but the position of your feet in heels also affect your calf muscles, effectively shortening them. When these muscles are shortened, you have less power pushing off the ground when you walk. That’s why your legs get so tired in heels.

If that weren’t enough, the Achilles tendon also is shortened in this position, which can lead to a condition called Insertional Achilles Tendonitis, an irritation of the tendon where it inserts into the heel bone, causing heel pain.

But wait, there’s more…

With all of that pressure and squeezing at the front of the foot, you can also develop toenail issues, like ingrown toenails, nail infections and toenail fungal infections. Not to mention the occasional sprained ankle when that heel gets stuck in the pavement.

What can I do to relieve pain from high heels?

The first step in recognizing a problem is admitting there’s a problem. So first say out loud, “Pain from footwear is not normal”. Repeat 3 times to make it stick.

Here are a few ideas on how to relieve your high heel pain

lady gaga in heels

Lady Gaga will need an entire team of podiatrists when she hits middle age

  • Don’t be a slave to fashion – swap high heels for flats as often as possible
  • Avoid high heels with pointy toes – there’s no room for your feet in there
  • If you have wide feet, buy wide shoes
  • If you have pain in your feet when you wear high heels, try using a gel insole or metatarsal pad for extra comfort
  • Visit my office for an exam, where I’ll tell you to stop wearing high heels

High heels can also cause pain in your ankles and back, including pinched nerves. So if you have pain anywhere that you believe might be related to your high heel habit, switch to flats right away and whenever possible, wear athletic shoes to give your feet additional support and comfort.

Then visit Allentown’s top podiatrists for a thorough examination to make sure you don’t have long lasting problems with your feet.

My child has flat feet – what should I do?

12 Jun

If your child has flat feet, there may be no need for worry – it could be normal for their age.

my child has flat feet

Many parents become concerned when they notice that their child has flat feet. Depending on the age of your child, it may be nothing to worry about or it may indicate fallen arches, which Podiatrists call pes planus.

When a child is born, their feet are definitely flat – well, more like chubby. That’s because the foot needs to be very flexible while the baby is in the womb. Until a child is about three years old, her foot is made mostly of cartilage and you’ll notice very little change in it’s appearance until her feet are bearing weight – standing, walking, running.

Between the ages of two and three, your child’s foot will start to show it’s true shape as her baby fat and cartilage diminish and the bones become more prominent. Ligaments and tendons start to strengthen at this time as well. Yet, the foot may still look flat. In fact, 90% of two year olds exhibit flat feet, but by the time they’re ten, only 10-15% have flat feet.

When does the arch of the foot form?

The arch of the foot begins to develop between the ages of two and four, as your child walks more and more. Your child is growing, changing posture, and building their muscles, and as they do, the tarsal bones develop in the foot and the connective tissues that bridge the midfoot.  Thus, the arch forms… or doesn’t.

If your child is halfway through their second year and their arch is still not developing, then it’s time to visit East Penn Foot and Ankle Associates for a complete diagnosis of your child’s foot.

A study published in 2009 found that overweight children have a higher incidence of flat feet than children of normal weight. The cause and effect is unclear and it remains to be seen if overweight kids will grow into adulthood with pes planus.

When do I need to worry about my child’s flat feet?

If your child’s feet are still very flat by the time she is eight years old, she will likely complain of aching, fatigue in her legs or arches, and difficulty keeping up with other kids during athletic activities. She may also complain of pain or fatigue in the lower back, hips, knees, or legs due to the compromised mechanics caused by the flatfoot deformity. This is when you should call a podiatrist for a thorough examination of your child’s foot and a course of treatment.

normal foot flat foot compared

Treatment for flat feet

If your child has a mild flatfoot deformity and no symptoms, your podiatrist may simply recommended a yearly check-up to monitor the development of their feet. If your child has a moderate to severe flatfoot deformity and does have significant symptoms in the foot or lower extremity, treatment may include:

  • Supportive shoes
  • In-shoe inserts such as arch padding
  • Functional foot orthotics which limit the abnormal flat arch and stabilize the heel
  • Calf muscle stretching exercises – tight calf muscles may worsen flatfoot deformity and make symptoms worse
  • Surgery in the most extreme cases

The biggest question a physician must answer when examining your child’s feet: Will this child’s flat feet remain stiff and inflexible into adulthood?  Some flat feet remain that way but create no symptoms. Others remain stiff and inflexible, with the loss of inward and outward movement (inversion and eversion). In this case, they can be responsible for quite a bit of discomfort. A podiatrist is expert at spotting inconsistencies in the structure of the foot and is in the best position to ascertain how serious your child’s problem is… or will be.

How can my child avoid getting flat feet?

Here’s some food for thought: Researchers in India found that flat feet were far more prevalent among people who wore footwear before the age of six. Kids who went barefoot for most of their first six years – the formative years for feet – had better developed arches and exhibited flat feet far less often. No other factors had comparable impacts. It may seem counterintuitive to parents, but letting young children run barefoot as often as possible may be the best way to insure that their feet develop properly.

Hey, I could really use a little (arch) support

26 Mar
Podiatrist treating foot
Do you suffer pain in the arch of your foot? Knee pain? Lower back pain?

Have you raced off to the pharmacy to purchase the latest in arch supports from the foot department, only to come up short in the desired results department? What is real arch support and how does it help us?

Why you need arch supports

Arch supports are inserts (off the shelf) or orthotics (prescribed by your podiatrist) that fit the arch of your foot to lend it support and prevent the stretching and small tears in the plantar fascia (the ligament that runs the length of the foot). When stressed, this area becomes painful and inflamed. The most discomfort is apparent in the morning after a night’s rest. The ligament has contracted, and the first few steps in the morning can be painful as the ligament eases.

You are most apt to experience pain in the arch of your foot if you:
  • Are overweight
  • Spend long periods of time running walking or standing on hard surfaces
  • If your feet roll inward
  • Your calf muscles and tendons are too tight
How to treat arch pain
  • Ice the area for 20 minutes in the morning. If you have one of those neat rolling pins that allows you to put ice water in it, put that under the arch of your foot and roll it back and forth. If using an ice bag, do an application of cold first, then do the same type of rolling exercise using a rubber ball or tennis ball.
  • Rise up on toes as far as possible, hold for 5 seconds, and lower. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
  • Place the ball of your foot on wall at hip height. Lean forward until you feel the stretch in your foot, but not to the point that you add pain. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds, release and repeat 10 times on each foot.

You can try arch supports from your pharmacy, but they may not always be reliable. The combination of the exercises and arch support may be enough to give you relief, but if not, call Dr. Teichman for an appointment. Get the kind of support you really need.


What Causes Flat Feet?

19 Oct

When you stand up, do your feet completely touch the ground? If you answered yes, then you are missing arches on the inside of your feet, a condition called flat feet. Flat feet are a common condition that occurs when the tissues holding the joints in the foot together are loose.

A person usually develops flat feet during childhood. Children have flat feet because the foot’s arch hasn’t developed yet. As children grow the tissues in their feet tighten and form an arch, usually by the age of two or three years old. By adulthood arches have formed, but in some people the arch may never form completely or may need help in order to correct the condition. Injuries can also be a cause of flat feet as well as the aging process.

Do flat feet cause pain? Not always – having flat feet is typically painless. But it’s not completely uncommon that people with flat feet experience foot pain in the heel or arch area, difficulty standing on tiptoe, or have swelling along the inside of the ankle. Standing for long periods of time, along with achy or tired feet after playing sports may also cause pain. Some back problems can also be attributed to flat feet.

Flat feet can be diagnosed after having a physical exam of your feet, but to help determine the cause, a doctor may ask for x-rays. Treatment for flat feet depends upon the pain and trouble your feet are causing for your everyday activities. If you are not experiencing any pain that’s great, but if you are there are a couple different options. Purchase shoe inserts, although not a cure, shoe inserts can help reduce the symptoms of flat feet and in severe cases, custom orthotics will be needed. Stretching is also an option that can help reduce pain.
Sometimes flat feet can cause problems in your ankles and knees so it’s important to check with your podiatrist about your condition if you are experiencing any pain. Feel free to call our office and we can arrange a date for you to meet with the doctor. (610) 432-9593


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