Tag Archives: podiatry Brisbane

Heel Pain in Junior Footballers

Watching a young footy player hobbling off the field is never a good sight to see. One of the most common problems often responsible for this is a type of heel pain known as Severs Disease.

Severs Disease or calcaneal apophysistis affects physically active boys aged 12 to 14 years and girls aged 10 to 12 years, which corresponds with the early growth spurts of puberty.  Symptoms usually come on gradually and can include:

• Unilateral or Bilateral heel pain
• Heel pain during physical exercise, especially activities that require running or jumping
• Increased pain level after exercise
• A tender swelling or bulge on the heel that is painful on touch
• Limping
• Calf muscle stiffness first thing in the morning

So what causes the pain?

During puberty the calcaneus or heel bone consists of two areas of bone known as ossification centres. These two areas are separated by an area of cartilage known as the calcaneal apophysis or growth plate.  This growth plate does not fully fuse together until the foot has finished growing. The strongest tendon in the body the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. It is through that as the body grows and the muscles become stronger the calf muscles that attach to the achilles tendon tighten up and cause more pulling strain around the growth plate on the heel bone. This often results in pain and sometimes inflammation which is known as Severs Disease.

The good news is that in the majority of cases Severs responds very well to treatment.

Treatment typically involves a stretching and or strengthening program to help stretch out the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.  Ice is also recommended to help alleviate pain and is best placed over the painful area immediately after sport. The use of orthotics with a heel raise under both heels is also commonly prescribed and usually results in quick resolution of pain.  In very active kids playing a couple of sports and training several times per week modifying their training load may also be required.

Podiatrists encounter cases of Severs disease daily especially during the footy season and know how best to diagnose and treat the problem.  A my FootDr podiatrist will conduct a thorough assessment of the patient including a hands-on assessment of the painful area, video gait analysis of the way the patient is walking and running and an inspection of the patients shoes and footy boots. This will enable our podiatrist to accurately diagnose the problem and outline the best treatment approach for the individual.

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Sore feet and legs after the Bridge to Brisbane?

my FootDr podiatry Bridge to Brisbane Team

my FootDr podiatry Bridge to Brisbane Team

Were you one of the 40 000 plus Queenslanders who braved the early morning chill to climb the Sir Leo Hielscher bridge and walk or run your way to the RNA showgrounds? This was the 4th time my 11 year old daughter and I have participated, and we love the exercise and carnival atmosphere of one of the Australia’s largest fun runs. We walk and jog the course, enjoy the scenery and make a mad dash for the line to try and improve on last year’s time!

Being a podiatrist, it’s an occupational hazard walking alongside such a large pack of people; I can’t help but to observe the variety or different walking and running styles, choice of footwear to participate in and how people cope with the gradual fatigue that can set in. I suppose in many ways this is a perfect cross section of our community, with elite runners up the front slogging it out for a podium finish, recreational runners just behind and then the weekend hackers (me included) making up the pack.

It amazes me that so many people may not be aware of how their foot and leg biomechanics affect their body’s overall function. So common amongst the participants was some characteristics, that after pointing out to my daughter a few cases of quite profound excessive pronation (the most common form of foot dysfunction, where the ankle leans inwards and the arch of the foot flattens when standing and walking) she started to point them out to me!

my FootDr podiatry Bridge to Brisbane

my FootDr podiatry Bridge to Brisbane

Every day in clinic I assist people recover from biomechanical related foot, leg and hip/back – sometime it can take months to return to normal activities following an overuse injury such as:

  • Plantar fasciitis (pain on the heel or arch)
  • Shin splints (pain typically on the inner shin, but this term encompasses all shin pain)
  • Achilles tendonitis (either at the back of the heel bone or just above)
  • Stress fractures (bone fatigue that leads to a partial break – commonly metatarsal of the forefoot)
  • Anterior knee pain (around or to the side of the knee cap)

Almost all of these conditions can be avoided with awareness of the biomechanical dysfunction and appropriate advice and treatment if necessary. Even being recommended the right type of shoe may be beneficial in some cases.

For those that would like to see what excessive foot pronation looks like check out the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ83QrPKKMU

If you’re feeling more than just muscle fatigue today, or suffer from one of the conditions above you should have your lower limb biomechanics investigated with video gait analysis. A podiatrist competent in assessing and managing sports injuries will then be able to provide you with the advice you need to ensure you run faster next year!

Darren Stewart – Podiatrist (my FootDr podiatry centres)

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my FootDr podiatry and the Steady Steps Program

Podiatrists Darren Stewart recently presented to a group of south side locals on the importance of good foot health and footwear as part of the Steady Steps Program. Margaret Coates, Physiotherapist and Tai Chi instructor runs the Steady Steps program to improve the awareness of people of that factors that influence balance and provide advice which can reduce the incidence of falls.

Falls prevention is a critical issue for our aging population, as one incident of a fall can lead to a loss of confidence and independence, or even a serious fracture or head trauma resulting in hospitalisation. General factors include reduced muscle strength, slowed reflexes, vision impairment, altered cognitive function as well as pain associated with arthritis and other medical conditions.

my FootDr podiatry centres - Steady Steps Program

Darren Stewart with Margaret Coates, drawing the winner the my FootDr podiatry prize from attendees of the seminar (prize includes a 1 hours comprehensive consultation and free New Balance shoes)

“The feet also play a huge role in balance and therefore falls prevention. Foot pain of any type has been identified as a key factor in falls – so that includes everything from a painful corn or callus, right through to tendonitis, heel spurs and bunions. Furthermore, inadequate, inappropriate or ill fitting footwear can greatly decrease an individual’s ability to balance. If you’re not sure if your shoes are right, or you have suffered for foot and leg pain lasting more than a week, get yourself off to a podiatrist ASAP” said Stewart.

For more information on the Steady Steps Program or foot related issues please contact any of the my FootDr podiatry centres.

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Heel Pain in Children

With football and netball season well underway, podiatry clinics around the country will see an influx in children suffering from heel pain. Whilst there are a number of possible causes for these symptoms, the majority of these children are suffering from a condition known as Severs Disease, or as I prefer to call it, Severs Syndrome. Typically this affects girls between the age of 7-12 and boys from 9-15, involved in regular physical activity.

Symptoms include pain at the back of the heel bone near to the insertion of the Achilles tendon which can be present constantly, during, or immediately after playing sport. The most common sports that aggravate these symptoms include soccer, AFL, basketball, netball, athletics and other sports that involve explosive movements like sprinting and jumping.

Severs Syndrome is described as a tractional apophysitis. Traction refers to pulling, and apophysitis relates to inflammation of a growth plate. In Severs Syndrome it is the Achilles tendon that applies the traction on the juvenile heel bone, and the growth plate is irritated by a sheering stress due to one of a number of biomechanical imbalances.

A clinical assessment by a knowledgeable podiatrist is often all that is required to diagnose this condition, although in rare cases where disproportionate pain or swelling is present it may necessitate an x-ray referral directly from your podiatrist. A typical consultation will involve a thorough history of the symptoms and aggravating activity, a review of footwear, physical assessment including joint range of motion and muscle testing, and video gait analysis.

Generally children suffering from Severs Syndrome fit into one of two physical categories;

Mesomorph – Solidly built with strong and inflexible muscles. In this case there is insufficient flexibility at the ankle joint.

Ectomorph – Supple flexible joints result in excessive collapse of the arch of the foot (pronation) when standing or running, which in turn results in a delay in the natural timing of heel lift.

With a skilful assessment of the cause and correct diagnosis, effective treatment in almost all cases is possible. The earlier a correct diagnosis is made and treatment initiated, the less likely the child will require rest from activity. my FootDr Podiatry Centres successfully treat 1000’s of children suffering from heel pain every year.

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Walking Your Way To A Healthy Heart

Exercise – in particular walking – plays a key role in building and maintaining a healthy heart. As you clock up the kilometres walked it is critical that your feet are healthy and your shoes provide the right support.

Your local my FootDr podiatrist can offer a biomechanical assessment prior to you commencing exercise, along with an assessment of your footwear.

State-of-the-art my FootDr clinics use the latest high tech equipment to diagnose and treat any problems found in your feet or legs – from corn calluses, ingrown toenails to more serious issues such as peripheral vascular disease which affects 14 percent of the population and is a marker for heart attack.

Podiatrists at my FootDr work closely with general practitioners who can refer patients with chronic conditions such as heart problems for a podiatric assessment under the Medicare scheme.

The health of your feet is a key indicator of a person’s overall health with the foot described as being a mirror of systemic disease. If you have a health issue, it will often appear in the lower extremities first, so your podiatrist is your first line of detection.

Some tips to get you moving this summer:

·         Join a walking group

·         Make sure you replace your shoes when required

·         Visit a podiatrist to check your foot and lower limb mechanics are sound before engaging in exercise

Remember, if your feet, legs or your back hurts during or after exercise don’t put up with the pain. Seek help as the benefits of exercise for your heart and overall health are numerous.

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Podiatry and the NRL

It was great to see an article last week on Warriors Toyota Cup fullback Omar Slaimankhel being named as fullback in the Toyota Cup Team of the Year.  Omar, whose family fled war-torn Afghanistan to New Zealand has combined his Bachelor of Health Science (Podiatry) studies with an amazing strike-rate of 38 tries in just 35 Toyota Cup matches.

Omar, if you are ever interested in a career in podiatry with Australia’s Best podiatrists, come and see us here at my FootDr podiatry centres Brisbane !

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