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If you would like to make an appointment at our Wollongong clinic, please fill out the form below and we will call you to arrange a time.

To make an appointment in our Shellharbour Clinic call (02) 4295 5588, alternatively please fill out the form below.
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Podiatry Blog

It's time to talk Netball!

Now that the netball season is up and running, it may be time to check that your feet and shoes are up and running too!

While netball is considered a non contact sport it is surprising how many injuries can occur when playing, with a large number of these occurring in the foot and ankle. The constant demands on the court with pivoting, jumping, quick stop and starts can lead to both acute and chronic lower limb injuries.

Injuries include:

ANKLE SPRAINS - which occur with overstretching of a ligament (which connects bone to bone) and can sometimes be severe enough that a fragment of bone tears away with the ligament. It is an acute injury, but some foot types are more prone to sprains then others. It is essential after these injuries proper rehabilitation occurs to regain strength in the area.

ACHILLES TENDINOPATHIES - This condition tends to be a progressive problem with pain and thickening of the tendon behind the ankle. Pain can be noticed when getting out of bed, running or climbing stairs. Tightness in the calf muscle, training errors or poor foot position are major factors in its development and if not treated early can become a chronic problem or lead to a tear.

BURSITIS - Inflammation of a bursa (fluid filled sac which helps minimise friction) can become painful, swollen and hot. Bursitis of the forefoot can be associated with foot shape and shoe cushioning along with the increased pressure from pivoting and being up on the toes when playing. It can also occur behind the heel with tight footwear or alongside achilles tendinopathies.

PLANTAR FASCIITIS - This develops with micro tears of the plantar fascia (the thick fibrous band connecting from heel to toes). Pain can be experienced at the heel or through the middle of the fascia with many reporting the pain worst with the first steps of the day or after resting. It can be associated with high impact forces and high or low arches.

SHIN SPLINTS - Pain with this condition occurs along the muscle at the front of the lower leg and can progressively become worse as the game goes on. It is mainly associated with overuse due to overtraining, but can be exacerbated by poor foot and leg biomechanics and incorrect footwear.

KNEE INJURIES - The repetitive jumping and landing in netball coupled with poor mechanics can lead to problems such as patellofemoral syndrome, patella tendinitis and anterior cruciate ligament sprain.

SKIN AND NAIL - Problems such as blisters, calluses and ingrown toenails can all occur and if not correctly managed may keep you unnecessarily off the court.

Selecting the correct shoe is key in preventing injury...

Here is a checklist of what to look for when buying shoes:

  •  Choose shoes specific for netball as they have been created to cope with the demands of the sport. Unlike running shoes, netball shoes are designed for side to side movement, are closer to the ground to prevent ankle sprains and their soles have a more durable rubber outsole to provide traction. The outsoles can also vary dependent on whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor netball courts (wider spacing for outdoor and narrower spacing for indoor courts)
  • Given the movement required in netball, make sure the shoe fits correctly allowing 1cm of space from the longest toe (and that's not always your big toe!). This helps prevent nail damage and minimise the chance of blsiters. It is best to have someone measure your feet properly.
  • Try on shoes with the same socks you would play in.
  • Ensure shoes do not become excessively worn - check for heavy wear areas on the outsole, tears or holes in the upper or compression lines on the midsole.
  • Firm heel counter: prevents excessive rearfoot movement which is especially important in those with achilles tendon issues.
  • Firm shank: as the main flexion point in a foot is our toes, this is where the shoe should also bend. Test this by pushing up the shoe at the heel and forefoot and seeing where it bends. A shoe that is too flexible compromises its stability and makes the foot prone to injury.
  • Breathable material: Leather or combination leather upper is suitable to minimise the growth of fungus or bacteria which thrive in moist, warm environments. Regularly air shoes and wear fresh socks, some socks (such as bamboo) can help to wick moisture away too.
  • Last shape and arch height are also important factors but if the incorrect type is selected this can produce injury.

For some expert advice on selecting suitable shoes, the staff at Athlete's Foot Wollongong or Shellharbour would be more then happy to help. No two feet are the same and not all shoes are made for all feet, therefore having your feet assessed and measured beforehand ensures the staff can help select the correct shoe for you.

A biomechanical assessent by one of our friendly podiatrists can help to pinpoint and address any issues in the lower limb that may predispose you to injury. If you are already experiencing pain then it is definitely time to contact us to book in for an appointment.

How are your football boots treating you this season?

Football season is in full swing and you may have started noticing some niggles in your feet which could turn into a problem later in the season. The problem might be your boots, it might be your feet, or it might be both. 

Your feet are your most important asset when playing football and if your lower limb/foot health is compromised, performance can suffer. The appropriate fit of your boots is important for comfort, performance and injury prevention.

Here are some tips to help you find the right boot and some information regarding the injuries that can occur.

'Right boot for the right surface'.

Due to the dry summer we have had, most weekend sports are being played on very hard grounds with minimal grass coverage. Make sure you consider stud height and stud distribution when purchasing your boots. 

Boots with a lower stud height and greater distribution are best for harder grounds as it increases the surface area of contact. Longer studs have a small surface area of contact, therefore pressure is applied focally to a small area. This can be at the big toe joint, heel or outside of the foot and also increase the chance of ankle sprains. Longer studs are more suited to softer surfaces as they are designed to pierce the turf and give you grip.

Width is another big issue with boots. Make sure when you are buying your boots you try them on with your playing socks. Boots that are too narrow can lead to problems such as ingrown toenails, metatarsal pain, nerve entrapments and more. 

Injuries to watch out for this football season...

ACHILLES PAIN - The pain is most commonly around the mid 1/3 of the tendon and can be painful when palpated and when under strain. Symptoms may occur in the morning, before playing or after. The problem may be due to poor biomechanics, weak/tight muscles, inappropriate training loads or poor footwear. Early diagnosis is important to minimise further injury and potential rupture. 

HEEL PAIN - Plantar fasciopathy, heel bursitis and heel fat pad syndrome can contribute to pain around and under the heel or can extend in to the arch. This is most often an overuse injury, but in rare cases can be traumatic. 

SHIN SPLINTS - Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) and stress fractures can cause pain around the lower leg. These are overuse injuries due to faulty biomechanics or inappropriate training loads for the strength or fitness level of the athlete. 

ANKLE SPRAINS - Ankle injuries can be hard to avoid due to the physical nature of the sport. If you do experience a traumatic ankle injury, make sure it is treated appropriately and serious injuries (such as a fracture or soft tissue rupture) are ruled out. Studies have shown that once an ankle injury like this has occurred, the integrity of the joints are weakened permanently so appropriate rehabilitation is important. 

STRESS FRACTURE - Early diagnosis and intervention is paramount with this type of fracture. As it is an overuse injury, proper healing is essential for recovery (which can be a lengthy process). The most common areas for stress fractures are the tibia, second metatarsal, sesamoids and styloid process.

TURF TOE - An injury to the plantar plate can occur due to overuse or a traumatic injury from an awkward landing or tackle. It can be a lingering injury which isn't painful enough to stop you from playing, but it can be a serious injury if left untreated and surgery may be required. 

NEUROMA - This is an enlargement of a nerve which is irritated by the nerves that surround it. One of the most common causes of this is footwear which is too narrow, particularly football boots so make sure the boot is not too tight across the forefoot and midfoot. Signs that you may have a neuroma include feeling like you are walking on a stone or numbness into the toes. 

SKIN AND NAIL PROBLEMS - Blisters, bruised nails and ingrown nails are all very common and can be caused by friction or pressure force. These problems can be easily managed but are best treated by a podiatrist to avoid further issues. 

We look forward to keeping you on the field and help manage the above conditions and more...

Good luck this football season!

 

 

 

Stepping into Autumn/winter

With it being the beginning of Autumn (and Winter just around the corner) the weather will be soon cooling down.

Many people will soon be ditching their thongs and opened toe shoes/sandals for the warming comfort of an enclosed shoe. To help minimise any issues and keep your feet looking and feeling the best they can, here are a few helpful tips:

 

Good foot hygiene

As the weather cools, wearing socks or tights with your shoes will be more common. Keeping feet and toes tucked away in darkness will keep them warm and minimise chilblains but this is also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi leading to problems such as tinea (Athlete's Foot). Therefore, it is important to properly clean and dry your feet daily, particularly between your toes to help prevent these infections. It is also important to wear a new pair of socks or tights daily and even consider changing them more frequently if your feet sweat a lot. Letting your shoes aerate over night will also help combat any problems.

 

Choosing the correct type of sock

When choosing the type of sock, choose a natural fibre such as cotton or wool to maintain a natural environment and therefore minimise an increase in bacteria and fungi. Some materials that are advertised as having moisture wicking properties may be more beneficial for you if you sweat a lot or work in a damp environment.

 

Good quality shoes

As with socks, shoe material is another important factor to consider. Well-made, supportive and well-fitted shoes go a long way in ensuring your feet are happy during the cooler months. They can also reduce complications like corns, ingrown toenails and fungal/bacterial infections. Shoes made from natural materials such as leather, are more breathable, durable and adaptable to the shape of your foot. Other materials, such as neoprene (wetsuit material) may not be as breathable, but very beneficial as it adapts well to the shape of your foot and good for those with bunions and hammer toes.

 

Look after your feet and they will take you anywhere!

 

 

Back to School time!

Well its that time of year again - Christmas and New Year has passed and it's time to start thinking about the year ahead!!

For many that means it is time to start organising the kids for Back to School and one of the top items on the list is new school shoes.

Your child can spend up to 40 hours per week in their school shoes which equates to approximately 1500 hours per year so it is important their school shoes are correct and aid their growth and development.

 

Here are some tips to make sure your child starts the year on the right foot (pun intended!):

It's important that your child is measured correctly for their shoes - making sure both feet are measured as they can be different sizes. The shoe should have a width and depth that matches their foot and their toes end a thumbs width from the end of the shoe.

Make sure the shoes have a firm heel counter so they are not able to be pushed down. They should only flex at the toes and ensure they don't twist easily. A leather upper and non slip sole are also important features to look for as a good quality shoe will always last longer.

The shoes should have a secure fastening mechanism such as laces or velcro - this will ensure the shoes stay on themselves and the foot does not have to overwork to keep the shoe on.

Consider what activities your child will be doing in the shoes. There are plenty of shoes on the market that are appropriate for an active child that loves to run around at lunchtime but still meet school uniform requirements.

 

A professional shoe fitter will ensure all the above points are considered and the appropriate style is selected. To assist with this it is always a good idea to take your child in the afternoon to have their shoes fitted (feet change size over the course of a day) and take their school socks and orthotics if they wear any.

If you still have any concerns or queries about your children's footwear or notice the following:

*episodes of pain

*regular tripping/falling

*uneven shoe wear

*skin or toenail irritation

come in and visit one of our podiatrists for an assessment and have your questions answered.

 

Enjoy the rest of the school holidays!

Welcome to our new blog

Stay tuned for our first post

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Wollongong: (02) 4229 3622 

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To make an appointment in our Wollongong Clinic - Call (02) 4229 3622

To make an appointment in our Shellharbour Clinic - Call (02) 4295 5588