How do I prepare my feet for the upcoming summer months as spring is approaching and I am looking to be active?
The upcoming months will yield better weather and a more active lifestyle. With that being said, we have to be careful of pain related to the increase activity with our foot and ankle. As we progress out of winter and into spring, we can be more prone to stress fractures in our feet. Low vitamin D levels and lack of activity can mean that your bones may be in a weakened state when starting back to your favorite activity.
If we progress back to activity too quickly or too aggressively, we can develop a stress fracture which will start with swelling and pain without noting any trauma. The pain may progressively get worse the more that the foot in walked on. Pain will be remedied with rest and present upon activity. Should any pain occur, it is always a good idea to be seen by your physician/foot and ankle specialist to stop the problem and treat it before it progresses.
Ways we can solve this problem are by progressing back to activity slowly and with shoes or sneakers that do not have excessive wear. Stretches before activity and after can also be of benefit. Should a stress fracture develop, vitamin D levels should be checked to ensure that these are not low.
Various forms of tendonitis can also develop as we progress back into more activity. The Achilles tendon, located at the back of the foot and ankle, can be a common site. Also, the peroneal tendons, located on the outside of the foot and ankle can be another typical site for activity induced injury. These symptoms will occur with activity and be relieved with rest, but may occur with immediate weight bearing after rest. Swelling may accompany the pain. Anti-inflammatories, ice and rest will help with the pain, but this problem can be remedied in a timely manner if treated. Prolonged inflammation can be a result of a more serious injury to the tendons and more damage can ensue should it not be treated properly and quickly. Ways to prevent various form of tendonitis will be slow progression back into activity with stretching, proper shoes/sneakers, and even inserts to place the foot into the correct position. Stretching should be approached the same way as exercising, with gradual increase in the amount and aggressiveness of the stretching.
Even though we are all enjoying the winter, we are looking forward to the nice weather and outdoor activities. I hope that this information proves helpful and useful into the progression of spring.
Dr. Paul Stasko, DPM
Foot and Ankle
Paul Stasko, DPM, a foot and ankle surgeon, earned his medical degree from Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and completed his residency training at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In addition, he completed a Foot and Ankle Fellowship at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, International Center for Limb Lengthening at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Stasko sees patients at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint in Newark and Geneva and performs surgeries at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital.