Newsletter – Winter 2011

Balancing Act: The Wrong Winter Boot Could Lead to Ankle, Foot Injuries
Athletes: Beware of Winter Tendon Injuries
Seniors: Painful Feet Contribute to Falls
Tips to Avoid Winter Ankle Injuries

Balancing Act: The Wrong Winter Boot Could Lead to Ankle, Foot Injuries

Ladies, listen up! This winter’s fashionable high-heeled boots put you at risk for slips, falls, and injuries on ice and snow.

The season’s popular women’s boots typically feature tall, spiked heels and narrow, pointed toes. These boots can make your feet unstable on snow- and ice-covered surfaces.

A stylish low-heeled winter boot is a lot more fashionable than a cast and crutches. We recommend women scuff-up the soles of new boots, or purchase adhesive rubber soles, to provide greater traction.

Falls from high-heeled winter boots can lead to a number of injuries, depending on how you lose your balance. If your ankles roll inward or outward, you can break your ankles. If your ankle twists, ligaments can be stretched or torn, causing an ankle sprain. Broken and sprained ankles can be present at the same time. Slipping or falling in these boots can also cause broken toe, metatarsal and heel bones.

If you do get hurt, call our office for prompt evaluation and treatment. In the meantime, the “R.I.C.E.” method should be followed. This involves:

Rest. It is crucial to stay off the injured foot, since walking can cause further damage.

Ice. To reduce swelling and pain, apply a bag of ice over a thin towel to the affected area for 20 minutes of each waking hour. Do not put ice directly against the skin.

Compression. Wrap the ankle in an elastic bandage or wear a compression stocking to prevent further swelling.

Elevation. Keep the foot elevated to reduce the swelling. It should be even with or slightly above the hip level.

Delaying treatment can result in longterm complications such as chronic ankle instability and pain, arthritis, or deformity. Even if you’re able to walk on the injured foot, the pain, swelling, or bruising may indicate a serious injury.

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Athletes: Beware of Winter Tendon Injuries

During the winter months, many athletes move indoors to play basketball, volleyball, and even tennis and soccer. But sports that involve repetitive ankle motion could put you at risk for peroneal tendon injuries.

What’s a peroneal tendon? Each foot has two. They run side-by-side behind the outer ankle bone. Their main function is to stabilize the foot and ankle and protect them from sprains. If you’re noticing pain, swelling, weakness or instability in your ankles after playing indoor sports, call our office.

There are three basic types of peroneal tendon injuries:

Tendonitis is an inflammation of one or both tendons

Acute tears are caused by repetitive activity or trauma.

Degenerative tears (tendonosis) are usually due to overuse and occur over long periods of time—often years.

Treatment depends on the type of injury and can include immobilization, medications, physical therapy,
bracing, and surgery.

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Seniors: Painful Feet Contribute to Falls

Painful foot conditions put senior citizens at risk for dangerous, even deadly falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that falls have become the leading cause of injury deaths for seniors. The latest statistics reveal more than 13,700 older adults a year die from falls.

You are vulnerable to falls if you have lower body weakness or problems with walking and balance. Arthritis, corns, bunions, hammertoes and other painful foot ailments can be contributing factors.

Just one fall can permanently rob an older adult of his or her independence and quality of life. If you’re an older adult who suffers from foot pain or other conditions that affect your balance and stability, call our office for an examination.

Many times, simple, effective measures such as stretching exercises or padding for painful corns and hammertoes can reduce or eliminate your foot pain. When surgery is the most appropriate treatment for a senior’s painful feet, advances in modern surgical techniques often allow treatment to be performed on an outpatient basis.

Research shows that seniors who have fallen before or who stumble frequently are two to three times more likely to fall within the next year. Don’t let your painful feet put you at risk for a fall!

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Tips to Avoid Winter Ankle Injuries

  • Keep areas around outside doorways well-lit so icy patches are visible
  • Wear shoes or boots with a traction sole that can prevent slipping
  • Check for slippery spots before getting out of a car or walking on stairs
  • Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes outdoors
  • Stretch and warm up before outdoor and indoor physical activities

This information was developed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.