Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a condition that causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel. It is caused by overuse and degeneration of the Achilles tendon.The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. It is used when you walk, run, and jump.

Achilles tendonitis can result from a repetitive use of the tendon.This includes a sudden increase in the intensity of an activity or exercise, having tight calf muscles that that can put extra stress on the tendon, or a bone spur. Bone spurs are extra bony growths where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. Constant rubbing in this area against the tendon can cause pain.

Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Thickening of the tendon
  • Bone spur
  • Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon
  • Pain and inflammation along the back of the heel
  • Swelling around the back of the heel and ankle

Treatment of Achilles tendonitis includes:

  • Rest-decrease or stop activities that make the symptoms worse. This applies to all high-impact activities that include running, jumping, etc. If you want to remain active switch to low-impact activities such as swimming, biking, etc.
  • Icing the area will help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. The icing is recommended for a total for 20mins at a time until the pain subsides.
  • Calf stretches-stretching the calf muscle will help stretch out and elongate the Achilles tendon.
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ECSWT) – With this treatment, high energy shockwave impulses stimulate the healing process in damaged tissue.
  • Orthotics- Custom made orthotics can help re-position the foot to help reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Surgical procedures may be necessary if there is tearing or complete rupture of the Achilles tendon.

For more information on Achilles tendonitis, or to book an assessment, please call Ontario Foot & Orthotics at (905)878-6479 or visit us at www.ontariofoot.ca.

Shin Splints

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is a pain that occurs in the lower leg below the knee on the front outside part of the leg or the inside of the leg. They usually occur in runners, dancers, tennis players, etc due to overuse.

Causes

  • Overuse of muscles of the lower leg causing irritation and swelling.
  • Flat feet, or overpronation that causes the arch of the foot to collapse increasing stress on the muscles of the lower leg.
  • Stress fractures that are tiny breaks in the lower leg bones.
  • When the muscles of the hips and core are unstable and weak.
  • Poor lumbar spine function.

Treatment

  • Giving your body time to rest.
  • Stretching and icing the area daily until the pain subsides.
  • Using custom made orthotics to decrease overpronation and reduce stress on the anterior leg muscles.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Using a sleeve, brace, or taping to help reduce inflammation.
  • In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Shin splints can usually heal on their own. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the injury.  It is important not to rush back to any sport until the area is fully healed. If you rush back before the injury is healed it can lead to a permanent issue.

For more information on shin splints, or to book an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at (905)878-6479 or visit us online at http://www.ontariofoot.ca

Keeping your feet safe for the winter

As the weather starts to get colder, it is important to make sure you are keeping your feet warm and dry. Along with winter come winter activities such as skiing, skating, snowboarding, etc. All of these activities require the right footwear in order to keep the feet warm and prevent injury. Here are some tips for making sure you keep your feet healthy for the winter months:

  • When participating in winter activities, it is important to wear the right footwear intended for that sport. You should not wear anything other then the right boots for skiing or snowboarding. The boots should fit you properly, stabilize the heel and forefoot, and have enough room in the toe box for you to wiggle your toes.
  • You can wear custom made orthotics in your boots to ensure better stability and to offload painful areas of the feet.
  • For runners who continue to run in the winter months, make sure you wear warm clothing that helps to wick moisture away. This will help you stay warm in colder temperatures. Make sure to wear proper running shoes and run in areas that are not too icy to help prevent falls and injuries.
  • Stretching is important to keep the muscles warm. Make sure you stretch before you start your activity to warm the muscles up and increase flexibility.
  • Make sure you are wearing the right winter boots. Find boots that are water proof/resistant and that have a warm lining inside. Sometimes warm boots can cause the feet to sweat more making the feet moist. This can actually cause the feet to chill easily and make them more prone to bacterial skin infections. You can put foot powder in your socks to help absorb excess moisture.
  • When buying boots for kids, make sure you buy the right size. Buying boots that are too big can cause blistering, shearing of the skin and also cause injuries. Also make sure socks are not too small as they can cause the toes to bunch together creating extra friction.  Winter boots should fit to size every season.
  • Lastly, do not wear summer shoes in the winter. Wearing sandals or open toe shoes in the cold weather can increase your chances of getting frostbite, and other foot and ankle injuries.

For more information, or to book an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 905-878-6479 (Milton). Or visit us online at www.ontariofoot.ca.