WFAI Blog

Posts for: April, 2013

Foot and ankle problems in children often go unnoticed. Signs and symptoms can be subtle, and sometimes children can’t explain what’s wrong. But it’s important to protect growing feet and have problems checked out early.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons offers five warning signs parents should watch for:

1. Your Kids Can’t Keep Up with Their Peers

If children lag behind in sports or backyard play, it may be because their feet or legs are tired. Fatigue is common when children have flat feet. The muscles in the feet and legs tire easily because the feet are not functioning as well as they should.

2. Children Voluntarily Withdraw from Activities they Usually Enjoy

If they are reluctant to participate, it may be due to heel pain — a problem often seen in children between the ages of 8 and 14. Repetitive stress from sports may cause muscle strain and inflammation of the growth plate, a weak area at the back of a child’s heel.

 3. They Don’t Want to Show You Their Feet

Children may feel pain or notice a change in the appearance of their feet or nails but don’t tell their parents because they fear a trip to the doctor’s office. Surgeons encourage parents to make a habit of inspecting their child’s feet starting at a young age. Look for any changes such as calluses, growths, skin discoloration, or redness and swelling around the toenails.

4. Your Child Often Trips and Falls

Repeated clumsiness may be a sign of in-toeing, balance problems or neuromuscular conditions.

5. The Child Complains of Pain

It is never normal for a child to have foot pain. Injuries may seem minor, but if pain or swelling last more than a few days, have your child’s foot examined.  A child with any of these signs or symptoms should be promptly examined by a foot and ankle surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment.

References:
-http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flatfeet/DS00449
-http://www.foothealthfacts.org/Content.aspx?id=1625
-http://www.wasatchfai.com/pediatric-patients.html

 


The Ogden Marathon, often referred to as “Utah's Spring Run-Off” will take place on May 18, 2013 @ 7:15 AM.  This beautiful course starts at an elevation of 5,400 feet above sea level .  The course is characterized by open roads, green fields, pine covered slopes, and a beautiful gushing river.

Shin splints can be a pesky problem for any runner (one of the most common running injuries).  “Shin splints” is a general term for the pain that occurs in the front of the lower leg. The pain you'll feel with shin splints is usually on the outer front portion of the lower leg (anterior shin splints).  Here's how you can try to prevent shin splints: 

  1. Don't increase your mileage too quickly.

    Shin splints are considered an overuse injury because they usually occur when a runner (especially for those who are new to running) increases their mileage or intensity too quickly and does not allow for recovery time. Stick to the 10% rule when training – don't increase your mileage or intensity by more than 10% each week.

  2.  Run on softer surfaces, when possible.

    Running on hard surfaces, such as concrete, increases the stress and impact on your muscles, joints and bones. It's important to vary your running surfaces. Try to find grass or dirt trails to run on, especially for your higher mileage runs. 

  3. Give yourself enough rest and recovery time.

    When you first get started with running, try to avoid running two days in a row, to limit the pounding on your muscles, joints, and bones, and give your body a chance to recover. Even if you're an experienced runner, taking at least one or two days off from running each week reduces your risk of shin splints and other overuse injuries. A rest day can be a complete day off or low-impact cross-training activity, such as swimming or biking. 

  4. Get the right running shoes/ replace your running shoes

    Wearing the wrong shoes may also lead to shin splints, so check your shoes to see if you might need more stability or cushioning. Get advice from a foot & ankle specialist or expert at a running specialty store to make sure you're wearing the right running shoes for your foot and gait.  Running in shoes that have lost their cushioning can lead to shin splints. You should replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles. 

  5. Do heel raises and toe raises.

    Doing simple exercises such as heel raises and toe raises can help strengthen your calf and shin muscles, to help prevent shin pain.

**A foot and ankle surgeon can treat the condition, recommend proper shoe gear, and evaluate whether orthotics are needed. If not treated, shin splints may eventually result in a stress fracture of the shin bone.  

References:
-http://www.getoutandlive.org/races/ogden-marathon-262
-http://www.foothealthfacts.org/Content.aspx?id=1196&terms=shin%20splints 
-http://running.about.com/od/commonrunninginjuries/tp/How-To-Prevent-Shin-Splints.htm 

 

 

 

 


I often hear this phrase regarding broken toes.  Below, you'll learn 5 ways to treat a toe fracture.

Of the 26 bones in the foot, 14 are toe bones (phalanges). Fractures of the toes are common and require evaluation by a specialist. A foot and ankle surgeon should be seen for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if initial treatment has been received in an emergency room.

What Is a Fracture?

A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures can be divided into two categories: traumatic fractures and stress fractures.

Traumatic fractures (also called acute fractures) are caused by a direct blow or impact, such as seriously stubbing your toe. Traumatic fractures can be displaced or non-displaced. If the fracture is displaced, the bone is broken in such a way that it has changed in position (dislocated).

Signs and symptoms of a traumatic fracture include:

•    You may hear a sound at the time of the break.

•    “Pinpoint pain” (pain at the place of impact) at the time the fracture occurs and perhaps for a few hours later, but often the pain goes away after several hours.

•    Crooked or abnormal appearance of the toe.

•    Bruising and swelling the next day.

•    It is not true that “if you can walk on it, it’s not broken.” Evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is always recommended.

Consequences of Improper Treatment

Some people say that “the doctor can’t do anything for a broken bone in the foot.” This is usually not true. In fact, if a fractured toe or metatarsal bone is not treated correctly, serious complications may develop. For example:

•    A deformity in the bony architecture which may limit the ability to move the foot or cause difficulty in fitting shoes

•    Arthritis, which may be caused by a fracture in a joint (the juncture where two bones meet), or may be a result of angular deformities that develop when a displaced fracture is severe or hasn’t been properly corrected

•    Chronic pain and deformity

•    Non-union, or failure to heal, can lead to subsequent surgery or chronic pain.

Treatment of Toe Fractures

Fractures of the toe bones are almost always traumatic fractures. Treatment for traumatic fractures depends on the break itself and may include these options:

•    Rest. Sometimes rest is all that is needed to treat a traumatic fracture of the toe.

•    Splinting. The toe may be fitted with a splint to keep it in a fixed position.

•    Rigid or stiff-soled shoe. Wearing a stiff-soled shoe protects the toe and helps keep it properly positioned.

•    “Buddy taping” the fractured toe to another toe is sometimes appropriate, but in other cases it may be harmful.

•    Surgery. If the break is badly displaced or if the joint is affected, surgery may be necessary. Surgery often involves the use of fixation devices, such as pins.

**Below are x-rays of a 5th toe fracture before and after closed reduction and conservative care**