How Sports Injuries Can Affect You Later in Life

For many of us, one of life’s great joys was playing sports in our youth. A lot of you know I’m an avid cyclist and have been for some time now, but there is always the daunting possibility of an injury that can have ramifications decades later. You probably even know someone who played softball or football in high school or college who still has a bad back or knee from an injury that went without proper treatment. Our feet, ankles and knees are particularly susceptible to damage as they carry the weight of the body and act as pivot points when we change direction or are undergoing strenuous activity. Sprains, stress fractures and torn or stretched ligaments or tendons are all common causes of pain later in life.

Sprain Pain

Often considered a common and collateral injury of even mild activity, sprained ankles usually don’t get the attention they should. The ankle is surprisingly vulnerable.  Few of us give much thought to stepping off a curb funny or experiencing pain when playing a sport like tennis. However, according to Dr. Hubbard-Turner of the University of North Carolina, student athletes with chronic ankle instability and sprains were significantly less mobile than their uninjured counterparts. What does this mean? We should get sprains checked out and treated appropriately as soon as possible to prevent an increase of immobility and painful arthritis as we age.

Stress Fracture Detractor

Stress fractures can range from a tiny crack in the bone to heavy bone bruising. Runners, tennis players and yes, even cyclists are prone to these fractures as our feet take a heavy beating during these activities. HealthPlus reports that almost 60% of athletes who have a stress fracture are likely to get another one later in life. Because fractures  are not a full break, it can be tempting to push through the pain. Do not do this, because the fracture can worsen or turn into a full break if put under enough stress for a long enough time. Without proper treatment, stress fractures lead to chronic discomfort, limited mobility and more fractures down the line.

Achilles Tendon

Your Achilles tendon is the band of tissue running from your heel up the back of your foot to your calf.  Sports with highly repetitive actions like basketball and high jump force this tendon to work harder than it is often used to which can lead to tendonitis or ruptures. You’ll know if you had Achilles tendonitis, because the pain radiates down your calf and often causes pain in your heel or on the bottom of your foot. If left unchecked or prevented from heeling properly, you’ll notice the tendon thickening and hardening which reduces mobility and makes walking very painful.

There are many ways new and old sports injuries can be managed and, in many cases, successfully healed. Seeing a medical professional should be your first step in assessing the severity of your injury and what options are available. In some cases, simply resting and icing can suffice but with older injuries it may take a more hands-on approach. Remember pain is not normal, if you’re suffering seek medical attention so you can get on the road to recovery!

3 Ways to Identify Foot Injuries

I like to think of us all as a fine wine: we just get better and better with age! But, unlike wine, there can be a few bumps and hurdles as we move along. For those who are now caregivers for an aging friend or relative, we want to be sure we are as attentive to their needs as possible.  Although, many of us aren’t always sure how to know if something is a minor ailment or needs to be addressed immediately. This month we’ll dive into a few tips you can follow to assess your loved one’s foot and ankle health in order to catch something before it gets out of hand.

How is Their Circulation?

Chronic foot pain is a common complaint as we age. This can range from shortening of the Achilles tendon to flattening of the arch. To make sure there aren’t underlying circulation problems at play you can try a few simple tests.

  • Press gently on some of the capillaries and veins along their feet. Typically, they will return to their normal color within a few seconds.  However, if it takes longer than 3 to 5 seconds, this could be a sign they are suffering from poor circulation.
  • Take a look at the condition of the skin on their feet. How is the color and temperature? If you notice it changing since the last time you checked or the skin is very dry, this could also be a sign of poor circulation.

Neuropathy

A large percentage of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes and the chance of it affecting you increase as you age. Neuropathy can manifest as hyper-sensitivity, numbness or ulceration.

This goes hand in hand with the capillary test mentioned above. Gently press along different areas of your loved ones’ feet and see if they experience any abnormal sensitivity or lack of feeling. This can indicate the beginning stages of neuropathy. A healthcare professional has special tools to allow for a more precise measurement.  So, if you suspect neuropathy, you should schedule an appointment right away.

Changing Foot Geometry

Bunions, hammertoes and other prominent bone structures will cause a great deal of discomfort. If left unchecked or proper footwear isn’t implemented, they can cause ulcerations on the feet, changes in gait that will affect the hips and lower back and even increase the chance of balance problems.

  • Consistent visual inspection of your loved one’s feet will allow you to note any changes in their foot geometry. Is their bunion growing? Is their shoe causing callousing or sores due to excessive rubbing?  
  • You can also check their shoes for the wear pattern on the insole. If they are beginning to wear the outside edge of one side of their shoe over the other, this can indicate discomfort and lead to the other issues I mentioned above.

These tests and checks are all preliminary. Only a medical professional can truly identify and diagnose potential health hazards with your loved ones, but these tips can provide a way to help identify the early stages of common foot and ankle ailments before they begin severely impacting your love one’s life or cause further problems down the road.

3 Ways to Identify Foot Injuries

I like to think of us all as a fine wine: we just get better and better with age! But, unlike wine, there can be a few bumps and hurdles as we move along. For those who are now caregivers for an aging friend or relative, we want to be sure we are as attentive to their needs as possible.  Although, many of us aren’t always sure how to know if something is a minor ailment or needs to be addressed immediately. This month we’ll dive into a few tips you can follow to assess your loved one’s foot and ankle health in order to catch something before it gets out of hand.

  1. How is Their Circulation?

Chronic foot pain is a common complaint as we age. This can range from shortening of the Achilles tendon to flattening of the arch. To make sure there aren’t underlying circulation problems at play you can try a few simple tests.

  • Press gently on some of the capillaries and veins along their feet. Typically, they will return to their normal color within a few seconds.  However, if it takes longer than 3 to 5 seconds, this could be a sign they are suffering from poor circulation.
  • Take a look at the condition of the skin on their feet. How is the color and temperature? If you notice it changing since the last time you checked or the skin is very dry, this could also be a sign of poor circulation.
  • Neuropathy

A large percentage of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes and the chance of it affecting you increase as you age. Neuropathy can manifest as hyper-sensitivity, numbness or ulceration.

  • This goes hand in hand with the capillary test mentioned above. Gently press along different areas of your loved ones’ feet and see if they experience any abnormal sensitivity or lack of feeling. This can indicate the beginning stages of neuropathy. A healthcare professional has special tools to allow for a more precise measurement.  So, if you suspect neuropathy, you should schedule an appointment right away.
  • Changing Foot Geometry

Bunions, hammertoes and other prominent bone structures will cause a great deal of discomfort. If left unchecked or proper footwear isn’t implemented, they can cause ulcerations on the feet, changes in gait that will affect the hips and lower back and even increase the chance of balance problems.

  • Consistent visual inspection of your loved one’s feet will allow you to note any changes in their foot geometry. Is their bunion growing? Is their shoe causing callousing or sores due to excessive rubbing?  
  • You can also check their shoes for the wear pattern on the insole. If they are beginning to wear the outside edge of one side of their shoe over the other, this can indicate discomfort and lead to the other issues I mentioned above.

These tests and checks are all preliminary. Only a medical professional can truly identify and diagnose potential health hazards with your loved ones, but these tips can provide a way to help identify the early stages of common foot and ankle ailments before they begin severely impacting your love one’s life or cause further problems down the road.

Facebook Post: Living a long life is a beautiful thing! Whether you’re 80 years young or just hitting your 40s, you want to make the most of your day. This month, we take a look at tips caregivers can follow to identify their discomfort with their loved one and stop it before it becomes more serious.

Sources: http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/0515p22.shtml

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378512216301438

https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-aging-affects-your-feet-1337806

Celebrating 40 Years of Podiatry with Dr. Buckrop!

As many of you know already, my colleague and good friend Dr. Buckrop will be retiring at the end of this week after a long and wonderful career in podiatry! I wanted to take the time to reflect on his 40 years of work and celebrate the terrific contributions he has made to our field.

Believe it or not, Dr. Buckrop is a second-generation podiatrist having been inspired watching his Dad go to his own practice every day. Both he and his brother practice in the Quad Cities area, with his brother taking over his father’s practice and Dr. Buckrop branching out to create his own practice in 1979. Understanding how things worked and the mechanics or history behind how the body works truly solidified his passion. A lot has changed since he rented his first office space after graduation. At that time, Dr. Buckrop pointed out to me that podiatry wasn’t as well-known of a field as many other medical practices. Illini Hospital in Silvis was one of the only medical facilities in the area with a dedicated podiatrist on staff.  However, in the years after his graduation many podiatrists began establishing themselves in our area, including many of his former classmates! Now there are several residency programs, research opportunities and we’ve seen many exciting medical advancements in podiatric care.

After establishing his first practice near the Viking club on 41st St in Moline, Dr. Buckrop was ready to partner with a local architect to design and build his very own office space where he spent the next 30 years providing top tier care to his patients. Dr. Buckrop told me, “I really  enjoyed partnering in your office, because of many of the new design features and how you incorporate a personalized feel like I have always strived for in my previous practices.”

The continuing learning that occurs in podiatry has always been an enticing aspect of his practice as well. Dr. Buckrop and I have spoken many times about the implications of different advancements and approaches to different ailments developed over the years. Over the last 15 years, we’ve both been excited to see podiatry expand to treating a broader set of ailments, as well as providing more services in the office, so patients can more often be diagnosed and treated all in one place.

As he prepares for his retirement, I asked Dr. Buckrop what he was looking forward to most and he told me, “I’m really looking forward to getting to visit with my family more. Both of my kids live out of town.  I love to travel, so I’m really excited to be able get out, explore and share more time with them.” For those who don’t know, Dr. Buckrop is quite the maritime enthusiast having gone scuba diving, canoeing and kayaking in places like the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cancun, Cayman Islands and Barbados. Just yesterday, he told me, “I’ve had a really blessed life” and I know we’ve all been very fortunate to have him here in the office. He did offer some advice to future podiatrists as well, he reminded us all to stay patient focused and always present the best ideas to get patients to their healthcare goals. Do no harm should always be on the top of our minds.  

He also wanted to leave a message for everyone: “Thank you to all of my patients, past and present.  Thank you to all of the medical professionals who have given me the chance to serve you! Thank you for making this such an amazing career.  I’ve really had a blessed life and I wish you all the best!”

4 Common Practices Damaging Your Nails

With spring and summer like weather many folks bring out their favorite sandals, flip-flops and open toed shoes in rebellion to the confines of the shoes we typically wear in the winter. What better way to show off your favorite open toed shoes than with a new manicure and pedicure? Nail polish is a great way to accessorize, but some polish chemicals and techniques can be highly detrimental to your nail health. Toenails grow at just a fraction of the rate of your fingernails, which means any damage caused can hang around a lot longer than you think.

  • Using Polishes with the ‘Toxic Trio’

Most polish manufacturers are beginning to move away from these chemicals, because of their health risks.  However, formaldehyde, toluene and dibutylphthalate are still present in some products on the market. All three of these chemicals are known for their carcinogenic or toxic effects, so it’s always a good idea to check the label on your favorite polish to see what is being applied. Don’t be afraid to ask your pedicurist what polishes they are planning on using on your feet or hands.  Pedicurists work with a wide variety of products everyday and should be able to recommend brands with natural or non-toxic ingredients.

  • Give Your Nails a Break….So they Don’t!

Over time, heavy use of polishes, acrylics and gels can cause your nails to yellow and dry out. Much like your skin when it comes to makeup, your nails need time to breath, refresh and rehydrate in order to stay in top shape. Heavy nail treatments act like a varnish, sealing them away from air and preventing some of their natural restorative cycles. Plus, chemicals, like those mentioned earlier, can draw nutrients out of your nail leaving them thin and easy to break or tear.

  • If You Change Colors, Avoid Acetone

There are thousands of different colors of polish these days and each goes perfectly with a different scenario, so it can be really tempting to want to change your polish color frequently. Be careful! Many of the solvents commonly used to quickly remove polish, like Acetone, are extremely harsh on your nails leaving them dried out and easy to damage. 

  • Don’t remove polish with your fingers

Now, I know I said you should be careful using solvents to remove polish from your nails, but you shouldn’t chisel color off with your fingers either. When you pick and peel your nail polish or lacquer off, you’re not just removing the color, you are also removing the top layer of your nails. This might seem harmless at first, but it can significantly weaken the nail and leave it susceptible to other abrasives or damage.