Tag Archives: Sarasota Orthopedic

FUN FOOD & FITNESS QUIZ – TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

fitness-aging[1]

Nowadays we’re more prone than ever to think about our health and ways to stay fit. With so much information and “mis”-information out there in cyberspace to “digest”, it’s not easy making wise choices”. It’s difficult to separate myth from fact. Take our quick quiz and see how much you know. Then check your answers below.

  1. You stuffed yourself by binging on fatty foods at a party. What’s the best way to counter your overeating: Take a walk for 30-45 minutes OR Fast for the next 12 hours.
  2. Which burns more calories: swimming OR jogging?
  3. Cycling OR Aerobic Dancing?
  4. At PF Chang’s Restaurant which is the lowest in calories: Crisp Salad, or an Egg Roll?
  5. Which burns more calories: Boxing OR Jumping Rope?
  6. Which has more calories: a Starbucks Grande Caramel Frappuccino OR an Applebee’s Grilled Oriental Chicken Salad?
  7. What is the strongest muscle in the human body?
  8. Which contains more lycopene: a cup of watermelon or a tomato?
  9. What is the longest bone in the human body?
  10. Which burns more calories: cardio OR strength training?
  11. BONUS QUESTION – True or False? Crunches are the best way to lose belly fat.

apple

ANSWERS:

  1. If you said take a walk, then pat yourself on the back. Fasting throws your metabolism out of whack while walking burns off a few calories, increases blood flow, and relieves stress.
  2. Swimming wins this one with approximately 580 calories burned vs 390 from jogging. Plus it’s more fun!
  3. The winner here is cycling but not by much. An hour of cycling burns approximately 480 calories vs. 440 from aerobic dancing, plus you get some fresh air. Which brings up another point … indoor cycling and outdoor burn equal calories so either way, you’re shedding those calories.
  4. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that the egg roll has 180 calories with 6 fat grams while the salad contains 270 calories and 22 fat gram. Sometimes the tastier choice actually IS better for you!
  5. Boxing takes the bigger punch on this one with 720 calories. Jumping rope is good aerobic exercise as well with 670 calories burned.
  6. You’ll be glad to know that while the Frappuccino is full of sugar, it has far less calories and fat than the salad which weighs in at a whopping 1,290 calories. There are far better salad choices out there, so think before ordering!
  7. This is a tricky one and there may be a couple of “correct” answers. There are different ways to measure strength: dynamic, elastic, and endurance. To complicate things even more, there are 3 types of muscles: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Most will say the strongest is the masseter, or jaw muscles, because it is based on weight and ability to force as much as 200 pounds on the molars. For more on this subject, check out this link: https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/muscles.html
  8. In a one cup comparison, watermelon edges out tomatoes by a slim margin. Lycopene is a free-radical antioxidant able to fight some cancers. You can also get a healthy dosage of lycopene in pink grapefruit, red peppers, mangos, and carrots. Think “red” although some other non-red foods like asparagus contain lycopene.
  9. The femur, or thighbone, wins this one and comprises about one quarter of the height of an adult. Runner up is the tibia, or shinbone. The smallest? It’s the stapes, or stirrup, located in the ear.
  10. Both are important. Cardio will burn more calories, but won’t do much for your muscles. With strength training for every three pounds of muscle you gain, you may burn an extra 120 calories a day without even trying. The best solution? Do both!
  11. The most popular abdominal exercise in existence is not the best way to trim your midsection. They will tone a small portion of your abs, however your shoulders and butt need to move as well to be effective. Your waistline will sculpt faster by doing planks. If you do decide to do crunches, make sure you’re doing them correctly or you could put your spine into a painful situation.

So how did you do with your answers? At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, we treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system with skilled physicians at each of our four locations. If you have chronically sore muscles, aching joints, or suffer from pain, call us at 941-951-2663 (BONE) or check our website www.SOA.md by clicking HERE. You may also obtain an appointment with us via our website BUTTON “request an appointment” which directly reaches our skilled scheduling team.

TEXT NECK … Is that really a “thing”?

texting adults

Indeed it is. Think about it. We spend much of our day with our heads lowered to read our smartphones. It’s not unusual to see people “text-walking” or worse, driving while texting. With all the advantages of having a world of information at our fingertips, there is also an associated health risk.

There are over 4 billion mobile devices in the world and the average American usage is 2.7 hours per day communicating on these devices. It’s no wonder we have sore necks and shoulders. In fact, it’s becoming an epidemic affecting millions and it’s growing.

Constant lowering of the neck to look downward puts the spine in an unnatural curve that can cause reduction in the cervical spine, thus creating a “pain in the neck”. Worse, that pain can radiate through the shoulders, creating tension, and even debilitating headaches. As the situation intensifies, the arms may become weak, numb, or tingle. Over time, this pattern can become lingering and as a result, a challenge to treat.

The average head weighs about 10 pounds. When tilted downward 15 degrees, the force of your head on your cervical spine increases to about 25 pounds. The more tilt, the more weight; that can be up to as much as 60 pounds of force on your neck. Prolonged tilting downward creates excessive strain causing stress injury. Over a long period of time it may even lead to spinal misalignment, early onset of arthritis, disc compression, or nerve damage.

text neck

So how do we combat this growing concern? Resistance and strengthening are keys to reinforce the neck and shoulder muscles and offset damage. Taking frequent breaks, maintaining good posture, and doing neck stretches help circumvent damage. Most important, when using a mobile device, place it at eye level to avoid tilting of the neck. Remember … Hold Your Head Up!

If you believe you have “text neck” or any form of musculoskeletal pain, Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has four convenient locations to help you alleviate your discomfort. We offer same day appointments when needed. Give us a call at 941-951-2663 (BONE) or check our website here for more information.

 

Sources:   WFLA; LA Times; Today Health & Wellness

SUMMER IS A PERFECT TIME FOR POOL THERAPY

pool therapy

One of the advantages living in Florida is our sunny weather year round so it is not unusual to have daily access to a pool, whether at a private home, community development, or a local Y. Even if you’re in a climate with cold winter temperatures, there are gyms offering year round swimming. From an orthopedic perspective, swimming is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do, and better yet, it can be so much fun that you don’t think of it as exercise.

When prescribed as Aquatic Therapy, there are many techniques and forms of bodywork. Applications include those for spine pain, musculoskeletal discomfort, post-operative rehabilitation, and disabilities or disorders. It may be most beneficial when non-weight bearing exercises are needed or when normal range of motion is limited due to pain, inflammation, or rehabilitation.

Water has properties that provide resistance which are beneficial in exercising. Because of these properties, the muscles actually work harder when submerged in water compared to doing that same exercise on dry ground. Try to imagine running through water and how much more difficult it would be and how much more time it would take to cover the same distance as running a mile on land. Submersion into the water makes it harder to move because of the buoyancy. This resistance also helps tone muscle and improve balance.

Pool exercise can also burn calories. An average 30 minute pool exercise routine can burn off approximately 300 calories. The water also helps reduce body fatigue as it supports so much of the body weight. Pool exercises, done three or four times a week, could result in weight loss and be fun in the process!

Water is also known to have an added benefit on the body and brain. There is a theory called “blue mind” that suggests being close to, in, over, or under the water makes us happier and healthier. For this reason, yoga studios and massage spas incorporate waterfalls into their décor. The gentleness of being near or in the water sends a soothing feeling of relaxation and can lower blood pressure.

PT Pool

Pool therapy has become a widely accepted form of exercise and is now offered in many gym facilities, parks, and community developments. The Arthritis Foundation has even partnered with many YMCA’s across the country in a program called PACE, or People with Arthritis Can Exercise. In fact, they have an excellent website with great tips for a water walking routine. Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/simple-routines/water-walking.php

At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have an on-site therapy pool at our Bahia Vista location as well as a team of expert physical therapists at our offices. To learn more about us, click here or call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment.

 

Sources: brainline.org; SOA.md website; Wikipedia; Arthritis Foundation

BACK TO LIFE: MANAGING YOUR HIP PAIN

    hip pain woman

Hip pain is a very common complaint we hear from patients at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. A decrease in mobility may make your daily activity problematic, depending on the severity. Did you know hip pain stems from many different causes?

We typically think of a broken hip as a condition suffered by the elderly, however hip fractures can occur in younger patients, particularly from a traumatic injury such as a serious fall, sports injury, or auto accident. These injuries may also involve labral tears, impingement, avascular necrosis (loss of blood to the bone), bursitis, and muscle tears.

The most common condition we see as a cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease. This is the wear and tear of the joints occurring when the cartilage (or cushion) between joints breaks down. Characteristic indicators of OA might be pain, stiffness, swelling, and/or loss of mobility. Currently there is no cure for arthritis, however there are many ways to help manage it.

hip pain

Whether trauma or arthritis, at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we begin with a comprehensive evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Typically we you will have a digital x-ray taken on-site in our office at your first appointment. Having on-site technology allows for a prompt diagnosis. Knowing the exact problem is essential to determining the best treatment options for you.

In the case of a less serious hip injury, Physical Therapy may be all that’s needed to extend your range of motion and manage your condition. PT and regular low impact exercise, such as bike riding or walking, may strengthen your muscles and help relieve discomfort in the joints. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) or aspirin may be helpful, although should not be used on a long term basis. Other options include cortisone injections and PRP (platelet rich plasma) however, PRP is not a covered benefit of insurance and there is currently not enough scientific data to validate its effectiveness. It is important to know that nothing currently will regrow cartilage nor correct alignment.

hip injection

If measures to alleviate hip pain fail, you may want to explore a discussion with us about hip replacement surgery. You may be surprised to learn that hip replacement surgery can mean a relative quick recovery time. Everyone is unique so your timeline could be longer or shorter depending on individual circumstances. You will likely be in the hospital for about three days. A day or two after surgery you will start moving with assistance. Physical therapy will be fundamental to an optimal recovery. After 12 weeks, you may be able to resume normal activity under consent from your surgeon. In every case, it’s vitally important to discuss your situation with a skilled surgeon and listen closely to their advice.

The team of physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are experts in diagnosing and treating your condition. We have four convenient locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton) and are able to accommodate same day appointments when needed. Cal us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment or click HERE to view our website.

Sources: SOA website; WebMD; Arthritis Foundation; American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Sugar & Drug Abuse? WINNING THE WAR

sugar heroin

Recent studies have found that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine or alcohol according to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. For some people, eating foods high in sugar may produce chemical changes in the brain’s “reward” center causing addictive cravings. Sugar is sugar … don’t be fooled by replacing white table sugar with honey, agave, or brown sugar. Those may have some nutritional value, but they are still sugar with calories and addictive qualities. In fact, sugar overuse may sometimes lead to problems other than addiction like diabetes and liver disease.

SUGAR IN TWO FORMS

  • Free sugars are those added to food and liquids whether at the table, in the kitchen, or at the manufacturer. Free sugar is the form we need to cut down on consumption. Identifying these sugars can be difficult since they appear in many different forms like agave, raw sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, molasses, glucose, dextrose, coconut sugar, and honey.
  • Natural sugars are those found in fresh, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables. They are also found in dairy products like milk, plain yogurt, and cheese.

WHAT FREE SUGAR DOES TO OUR BODIES

Consuming excessive sugar over long periods of time stimulates our brain activity and hormone levels. This increases glucose levels which lead to the pancreas releasing insulin. This causes the body to retain calories as fat, causing weight gain. Carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, chips, and fries process slower than free sugar, however, still break down into sugar. The result: the excess weight puts strain on our joints and we crave more sugar.

Since these sugary foods stimulate the same areas of the brain as drugs of abuse, they may cause loss of control over consumption and cravings. Currently the average American consumes almost 20 teaspoons of sugar every day; that’s over 65 pounds of sugar a year, per person!

sugar addition

SO HOW DO WE WIN THIS WAR?

  • The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 10% and ideally less than 5% of our calories be consumed from added or natural sugar. For the average person per day, the recommendation is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
  • Read labels; food labels list ingredients in descending order. If sugar or a form of sugar is in the first 3 ingredients, put it back on the shelf.
  • The same goes for a packaged food with more than one sugar listed — put it back!
  • Eliminate soft drinks and fruit juices; they are jam packed with sugar.
  • Limit consumption of candy, baked goods, and desserts to special occasions.
  • “Low fat” packaged foods often compensate with extra sugar; read the label.
  • Eat fresh fruit rather than canned which have added syrup containing sugar.
  • Protein such as eggs, beans, and nuts can help control sugar cravings.
  • Eliminate sugars from your diet slowly; don’t go “cold turkey”.
  • Drink water!

The good news is that when cutting back, no math or calorie counting is involved in eliminating sugar. Try replacing sugar with tempting flavors like ginger, lemon, vanilla bean, nutmeg, or cinnamon.  Bottom line, the easiest way to cut back is to avoid processed sugar whenever possible and eat fresh fruits instead.

Taking care of our bodies through eating well and proper exercise is paramount to healthy bones and muscles. If you experience pain or discomfort in your joints or muscles, give us a call at 941-951-2663 for an appointment. At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have four locations and offer same day appointments when needed.

 

Sources: WebMD; Authority Nutrition; American Diabetes Association; US National Institute on Drug Abuse; World Health Organization

Driving … A Pain In The Neck? AND IN MY BACK!

driving neck pain

We’ve heard many times about how important it is to maintain good posture at our workplace desks to protect our neck and spine, however most of us don’t give it a second thought when driving. Unlike sitting in a chair, the spine experiences variations of force when in a car. Vibrations from car movement may push on the discs, our internal “shock absorbers”, acting as cushions.

Proper driving posture and seat positioning may avoid a myriad of chronic problems. Here are some helpful tips to avoid discomfort:

Position your car seat to the proper height and distance across from the wheel so that your hands can comfortably reach the recommended “10 and 2” or “9 and 3″ location.

  • Your thighs should rest as much as possible on the seat in order to align your knees on the same level plane as your hips.
  • Elbows should be slightly bent.
  • Consider using a neck support, one similar to that used on a plane. This keeps your neck straight. Even a 20 degree downward curve in the neck will cause stress over time.
  • If you have lumbar support in your car, use it. If not, use a portable back support or a rolled up sweater to place at the small of your back.
  • A seat cushion used for extra padding will help protect your spine from a bumpy ride.
  • For long rides, take regular breaks; get out and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
  • If you have cruise control, use it to give your back a rest. Place both feet firmly on the car floor. Bend your ankles a few times to stimulate blood flow.

seat-position

Whatever the cause of your neck or back pain, don’t delay having it checked. Chronic pain needs assessment, particularly if it’s worse at night and wakes you up from your sleep.

The physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are experts in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating neck and back pain. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment at one of our four locations in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, or Bradenton. For more information about us, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/srqsoa or our web page at www.SOA.md

BAD TO THE BONE: Treating Knee Pain

knee-pain-faded

The knee is a very complex joint with many components making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. When damaged, it can seriously impact your quality of life. Knee pain is one of the most common reasons people visit an orthopedic physician. Difficulty standing and walking can greatly diminish your sense of independence. The GOOD news is that most collective knee pain problems are treatable.

The CAUSES OF KNEE PAIN are many, including injury and disease. Injuries of the knee commonly seen tend to be damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, and the meniscus. There are an estimated 2.5 million sports-related injuries a year just by adolescent athletes alone. A fracture is most often caused by trauma such as a car accident, a fall, or sports contact; the most common broken bone in the knee is the patella, more generally known as the kneecap.

Fast facts on knee injuries:

  • The highest knee injury rates occur in people between the ages of 15 to 24.
  • Sports participation is a high risk factor for knee injuries.
  • 60% of high school sports-related injuries occur in the knee.
  • Female basketball and soccer athletes are as much as 8 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than a male.
  • Young athletes suffering an ACL injury will have an increased risk of arthritis as they age.

Orthotics-for-knee-pain

Avoiding knee injuries:

  • Warm up properly prior to exercising or participating in sports.
  • Wear proper footwear with a good fit.
  • Don’t increase sports or exercise workouts suddenly.
  • Wear knee guards in sports activities.
  • Maintain strong, flexible leg muscles.
  • Always, always, always … Use a seatbelt when driving.

The MOST WIDESPREAD DISEASE affecting the knee is arthritis, which is caused by the gradual wearing-away of cartilage. Primary symptoms are pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee. Currently, there is no “cure” for arthritis, however there are options, both surgical and non-invasive. Depending on the amount of arthritic damage, treating knee pain may often be done without surgery. These options may include one or a combination of physical therapy, weight control, injections, medications, bracing, exercise, and strengthening. When considering knee replacement surgery, the physicians and physical therapists at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates have a wide array of experience and expertise.

Whatever the cause of your knee pain, from sports injury to trauma to arthritis, the 13 physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are here to help alleviate your discomfort. We have four convenient locations. Browse here to view our physicians and their specialties or call us at 941-951-2663 to make an appointment.

Sources: SOA.md website; MediLexicon International; arthritis.org; webMD

MAY IS NATIONAL ARTHRITIS MONTH: Getting the Upper Hand on Arthritis

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According to the Arthritis Foundation, 46 million Americans live with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms. Arthritis symptoms limit everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, and cooking for more than 7 million Americans. Half of those Americans with arthritis aren’t aware of options now available to help alleviate their symptoms.

The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition in which the joint cartilage deteriorates resulting in pain and loss of movement when bone begins rubbing against bone. Your hands are constantly on the go. Everyday activities such as preparing a meal, woodworking, carrying grocery bags, or using your computer may damage your joints over time. Fortunately, joint protection techniques may help reduce pain, stress, and inflammation. These techniques may also help prevent further deformities and increase your independence in daily activities. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to protect your hands.

Here are a few tips to keep your hands healthy:

 Give your Hands a Break

  • If you have pain during an activity, stop the activity. Pain is one of the best ways your body has of letting you know you are causing tissue damage, so listen to and respect your pain.
  • If writing is painful, try using a thick, rubber grip pen with a gel tip or roller ball to decrease the amount of pressure.
  • Remember to stretch and take breaks every 15 minutes during repetitive or prolonged activities such as needlework, painting, sewing, knitting and crocheting, hammering, and filing.
  • Use enlarged grips on every day equipment or tools to reduce strain on your joints; e.g. potato peelers, gardening tools, tooth brushes, hair brushes, or build up the handles with foam.
  • Keep scissors and knives sharp to minimize effort.
  • Always use two hands when lifting heavy objects. A gallon of milk weighs about 8 pounds, and lifting it with only your fingertips places excessive stress on your joints.

Don’t Use your Hand as a Tool

  • Don’t tear your mail open – use a letter opener to open mail.
  • Use utility scissors in the kitchen – do not rip open bags.
  • Always use the right tool for the job – use pliers for tight pinching and a small hammer for pounding.
  • Use a staple remover instead of your fingers and thumb.

Use Adaptive Equipment to Decrease Stress on your Joints

  • Use foam to enlarge small diameter objects such as paring knives, cutlery, toothbrushes, paint brushes, pens, and pencils.
  • Purchase lightweight kitchen, gardening, and workshop tools with built-up handles.
  • Perform a search on the Internet for “adaptive equipment” to see what products are available.

When Symptoms Become Severe

If you have already tried these techniques but are still experiencing symptoms, it might be time to consider a consult with an orthopedic specialist.  Gregory Farino, MD, a Board Certified/Fellowship Trained hand and wrist specialist at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, can help you with providing an accurate diagnosis as well as treatment options.

Farino pic

In the initial stages of arthritis, conservative management provided by a hand therapist may be all you need. Hand therapists can fabricate splints to support and protect the joints, recommend home exercises to improve strength in the small muscles of the hand, and educate you on pain management techniques.

If the arthritic process or your pain and stiffness is more severe, treatments like oral and topical medications or a cortisone shot may help relieve pain and improve mobility and strength. If conservative measures are not successful, surgery may be recommended. Joint replacement or joint fusion surgery has been consistently successful for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The hand and wrist team at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is here to help you manage hand arthritis and stay as active as possible. We have four locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton) and offer same day appointments when necessary. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment or visit our website at www.SOA.md for more information.

Note: Article written by Gregory Farino, MD, a Fellowship Trained and Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a specialty in hand and wrist and Sangeetha Bulusu, OT, CHT, CLT (Occupational Therapist, Certified Hand Therapist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist). Both are available to see patients at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates.

Time Out with Johnny Gibbs, MD

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Our weekly blogs have given us fascinating insight to the more personal side of our SOA physicians. This week we sat down with Johnny Gibbs, MD, a Fellowship Trained, Board Certified Sports Medicine Physician, and learned a bit more about what makes him tick.

What inspired you to become a physician?

I originally started my career as a physical therapist, and learning more about disease processes, I developed a strong interest in medicine.  During my first year as a physical therapist, a young patient of mine, Claire, passed away from what seemed to be medical complications of her disease.  She was a young woman, in her thirties, a single mother, and wonderful person.  I will never forget how helpless I felt over her passing and as a result, was compelled to pursue medicine to help improve patient outcomes.

Why orthopedics?

My original interest in sports medicine and rehabilitation was sparked when I was a patient myself during high school.  That, along with a background in physical therapy, made it an obvious decision for me.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that I’m able to give people their active life back and alleviate their pain.   And, of course, I love the detail and intricacy of operating!

Gibbs with girl in cast   Gibbs surgery

What is your biggest challenge?

Trying to meet patient expectations while dealing with the constantly evolving challenges of the healthcare environment is an enormous task. At times our hands may appear to be temporarily tied as a result of changes in healthcare and insurance. I want patients to know I am their advocate.

If I weren’t an orthopedic physician I’d be a __________________.

That’s easy … If I weren’t an orthopedic physician I’d be a football coach.

Your proudest moment?

Even easier answer … Becoming a father to my children.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve travelled? Why?

Bamberg, Germany, a small picturesque town famous for its smoked beer. Why? It’s delicious!

Any hobbies? Activities?

I love sports, watching ESPN, exercising, golfing, and spending time outdoors with my children.

What’s your next adventure?

My wife and I are going on a European river cruise to celebrate her graduation from dermatolopathology training.

Your guilty pleasure food?

Chocolate chip cookies and preferably Otis Spunkmeyer.

NOTE:  Dr Gibbs is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates with a specialty in sports medicine.  You may read his professional bio by visiting our website or clicking here. SOA has 13 physicians in four locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton) and offers same day appointments when needed.

Powerful TLC for Your Feet and Ankles

Eric James, MD is a Fellowship Trained orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. He specializes in foot and ankle advanced techniques and reconstruction of complex foot deformities. Dr James shares with us the importance of not neglecting our feet … they need a workout as much as the rest of our body!

happy foot

Stretch, Stretch, Stretch

Many common conditions affecting the foot and ankle can be attributed to, or worsened by, having a tight calf muscle. A large percentage of people have overly tight calf muscles and could benefit from a daily stretching routine. I prefer the runner’s stretch where the leg being stretched is straight behind you with the heel on the ground. This is done for varying periods of time, but I generally encourage a long, deep stretch.

calf stretch

Use the Little Muscles

The small muscles in our feet are often neglected and as they weaken, so does our foot’s ability to maintain correct alignment. Keep your feet strong by using them frequently. I recommend using the toes to pick up and grab objects off the floor. Spare sock on the ground? Grab it with your toes and avoid having to bend over while providing a work out for your feet.

Wear the Right Shoes

Finding the right pair of shoes can be challenging but makes a big difference in your foot health. Make sure you plan to try on shoes later in the day when your foot has done any swelling so you don’t end up buying shoes that are too small. Wear activity appropriate shoes. Try to limit high heel wear and shoes that are too small or pointy in the toe box. These shoes can lead to numerous problems like foot pain, bunions, hammertoes and neuromas.

Check Your Feet

It is a good idea to do a check on your feet daily when you shower or bathe. Check for any skin irritation, blistering, or other abnormalities. This is particular important if you have diabetes or neuropathy (loss or abnormal sensation) in the feet.

Our feet and ankles are very important and we need to keep them healthy! Let us know if we can help in maintaining your foot and ankle health!

NOTE: Eric James, MD is one of 13 physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates treating conditions of the joints, spine, and muscles. We offer same day appointments when needed. Call 941-951-2663 for an appointment at any of our four locations: Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, or Bradenton.