Be Injury Free this Spring!

Take care of yourself by putting safety first and preventing injuries.

By using some simple steps and common sense procedures, you can more easily avoid common injuries and problems like fractures, sprains, sunburn and blisters.

Working on your home this spring? Few activities are more satisfying. However, an injury can turn a satisfying activity into a miserable one with sometimes long lasting consequences. Here’s how to work on your home and garden safely and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Begin by stretching your body before any activity. An injury is more likely to occur to someone who is inflexible and not “warmed up.” A simple walk around your property can get your blood flowing which helps loosen the muscles. Organize your work area so you have what you need when you need it. Arrange your equipment in a way to reduce risk of tripping and falling. Use the right tool for the job – e.g. don’t use a pair of scissors as a knife.

Make sure your equipment is functioning properly:

  • don’t use frayed cords,
  • be sure ladders are properly secured,
  • cutting tools should be sharp.

These measures will help reduce your risk of injuries such as electrical shock, broken bones, cuts and bruises.

Wear protective gear such as gloves, knee pads, safety goggles, respirators, hearing protectionUse equipment that is ergonomically designed and sturdy. Wear protective gear such as gloves, knee pads, safety goggles, respirators, hearing protection, etc. To prevent sunburn, work in the shade, wear sunblock and a hat with a brim. If stinging insects are present, wear protective gear and insect repellant.

Be sure your footgear is adequate for the job at hand. Don’t climb that ladder in flip flops! Keep ergonomics in mind. When lifting, use your legs and lift close to your body. Bend at the knees so your legs can do the work. If you need to turn, especially when carrying something, turn your whole body by turning your feet first (not at the waist). Reduce repetitive motion injuries by taking breaks every half hour or so.

Make sure you keep well hydrated by drinking water every 15 – 30 minutes. Coffee, tea, milk, beer, etc. are not water and they will not adequately hydrate your body. Quit when you are tired! More injuries happen at the end of the day when you are fatigued. Quitting early saves time when compared with an injury or a trip to the emergency room.

Take care of yourself by putting safety first and preventing injuries.

If you are injured, stop what you are doing. Use first aid when appropriate. Did you get a blister or minor cut? Clean, cover and elevate it. If it is bleeding profusely, seek immediate medical attention. If you are stung by an insect, rinse the site, and apply a baking soda paste or plantain (a common weed) as a poultice. Sunburn is best treated by getting out of the sun. Minor sunburn can be treated by applying cool, not cold, water or aloe vera gel. If you get a painful sunburn that blisters or bleeds, seek medical attention. If you have a bruise or pulled muscle “RICE” it, that is rest, ice, compress and elevate. The same applies to strains and sprains.

Chiropractic care may be beneficial because it treats the musculoskeletal system. A properly aligned body is more resistant to injury.

Working on your home and garden should be fun and rewarding.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

Rolling the foot on a golf ball helps relieve plantar fasciitis

In part one, plantar fasciitis was identified as a painful condition on the bottom of the heel. This article explores treatment options.

Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate

In any injury always use the RICE mnemonic: Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate.

Plantar fasciitis is a painful, persistent problem that can be prevented/treated by proper personal care and the assistance of a trained professional. Immediate attention will help to prevent the development of bone spurs.

Home exercise can be beneficial.

  • Rolling the foot on a golf ball and picking up towels with the toes is helpful.
  • Soaking the feet in Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate, a natural muscle relaxant) is soothing.
  • Massage can be helpful. Be sure to massage toward the heel.
  • Also avoiding inflammatory foods—trans fats (always), saturated fats and salt. Increasing (always) the good oils—omega 3 in fish oil especially is beneficial.
  • Using supplements that control swelling—products high in turmeric, ginger, boswellia, vitamin C and quercetin.

Avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also known as NSAIDs. Research shows they can interfere with healing as well as create a predisposition to re-injury. Also avoid any cortisone injections as they can cause a spontaneous rupture.

A professional can help you learn how to use tape to support your feet. As a chiropractor, I would begin by adjusting your feet and your spine to resolve the mechanical causes. Ultrasound can also provide an effective therapy to decrease swelling and pain. Massage to the muscles of the back of the leg can be helpful because these muscles can become tense as a direct result of this condition. Relaxing these muscles can help the foot muscles to relax. Custom fit orthotics can also provide proper support to the arches in all shoes. Footbeds should also be inserted in ski boots. Night splints can also be beneficial.

Plantar fasciitis can take a long time to heal: 75% of people felt good at 6 months and 98% at 12 months. It is important to GRADUALLY return to full activity and, when you do, be sure to wear supportive footwear and stretch the foot and back of the leg before you get active—every time!

 

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis

In Latin, plantar refers to the weight bearing, ground-striking part of the foot and “itis” means inflammation. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the bottom of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel.
Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Plantar fasciitis is commonly referred to as policeman’s foot or jogger’s heel. The inflammation is typically characterized by swelling, redness and pain in the bottom of the foot, typically found on the front of the heel bone—the calcaneus. Sometimes plantar fasciitis is called subcalcaneal pain syndrome. The pain can extend throughout the bottom of the foot from the heel and may extend forward to the toes.

Causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • unequal leg length due to a genuine structural difference or subluxations of the pelvis,
  • over pronation (flat-footedness in gait),
  • inability to pick the foot up at the ankle joint,
  • unsupportive footwear,
  • extended standing,
  • high shock activities such as running,
  • aging,
  • carrying excessive weight.

There are three arches in each of your feet. One runs down the inside (middle of the foot from big toe to the heel, one down the outside of the foot from the little toe to the heel and one that runs across the ball of the foot from the big toe side to the little toe side. If any of these three arches fails to function properly, it affects all of the others. As the arches fail, the foot expands. Do you know anyone who has had to increase their shoe size? This is the reason.

When plantar fasciitis occurs the muscles of the feet get over-stretched and pull on the heel bone. Bones are surrounded by an ultra sensitive tissue called the periosteum. This is why fractures hurt so much and why this syndrome is so painful. As we age, our tissues get gradually stretched from a lifetime of standing and walking. The stretched muscles pull on the periosteum creating pain.

The pain of plantar fasciitis tends to be worse in the morning because when we sleep, our fee shorten and in the morning we start to stretch them once again when we arise. Standing, walking and especially running, aggravate the symptoms. When this condition persists, bone spurs develop (10% of the time spurs are seen on x-ray).

This is why immediate care is important. If you are experiencing plantar fasciitis and ongoing pain in the bottom of your feet please call Dr. Mary Kintner at 802.899.5400 and schedule an evaluation. It can be corrected. Treatment options will be discussed in a followup to this article.

Put Your Best Foot Forward This Ski Season

Do you want optimal performance this ski season? Then, pay attention to your feet!

Feet are significant because, to paraphrase an obvious point, “When your feet aren’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” But beyond the issue of pain, how your feet are supported affects other parts of your body.

First in line are your knees. Studies show that collapsed arches can pre-load and predispose the knee, making ACL and meniscal injuries, commonly seen in winter sports, more likely. Lumbar fatigue and injury are often found when feet are not properly aligned and supported. At one time or another, most people will have low back pain. Be preemptive and manage the problem before it starts.

Even your neck and jaw can be influenced by the status of your feet. In Italy, more orthotics are fit by dentists than any other professional group because they know and address the relationship between the feet and the jaw! Beyond comfort and safety, proper alignment can impact your ability to ski. By supporting your feet, muscle activity is optimized so you will have more strength and less fatigue.

In order to address your feet, so that they are at your service and not the other way around, I recommend the following steps:

  • First make sure your feet are properly aligned. This may involve manipulation of the feet, knee, pelvis and/or other parts of the spine. It all moves as a unit.
  • Once the joints are aligned, better support may be implemented with quality, custom-made orthotic footbeds.

Orthotics are inserted into footwear to alter the way the foot hits the earth. Quality orthotics have good heel cups, are flexible enough to maintain normal foot dynamics and support the arches of the feet. Also, it is important that the fitting be performed by an experienced practitioner… and yes, I am. Orthotics are particularly important if you are over forty years old because the ligaments of your feet typically become lax and your feet spread causing the arches to collapse.

Regardless of your skiing ability, if you want the most comfort, safety and performance this season, see a professional who can properly adjust your feet and evaluate them for orthotics.