Exercise and how it relates to your health and your feet
What benefits does exercise have on your overall health?
A study was done by the prestigious Mayo Clinic, which found that exercise has 7 main benefits to one’s health.
- Exercise controls one weight
- Exercise fights disease and other health related problems
- Exercise overall improves one’s mood
- Exercise increased energy
- Exercise allows one to sleep better
- Exercise can have a positive effect on one’s sex life
- Exercise can be fun
To gain these benefits not much exercise is required. What is recommended is a few days a week for 30 minutes of moderate exercise, including walking, biking or swimming.
What about my diet?
Diet is a huge component to the exercise, and they usually go hand in hand. Having a balanced diet or protein, carbs and fat is important to maintain a healthy weight. Obviously, if one has medical conditions their diet and exercise will have to be tailored and followed closely by their physician.
What about my feet and exercise?
Most types of exercise will put a lot of force and pressure on one’s feet. The less weight and body fat a person has the less impact their feet will take. Many times certain foot and ankle conditions can be alleviated with weight loss.
Different Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries
Turf toe is when the big toe is hyperextended. This injury is seen more when participating in sports that require wearing cleats and running on artificial turf. The big toe joint is used to push off when walking or playing sports and therefore, with this type of injury rest is the primary treatment. It is difficult to immobilize the big toe, therefore, a rigid shoe, ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy is usually required. Healing times varies, but is usually a minimum of 4-6 weeks. If a turf toe injury occurs and is not treated appropriately it can become a chronic problem with pain to the big toe joint. If this is the case, long term use of the toe will become painful for the athlete. Upon initial injury, treatment should be sought out by a physician.
Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, are an injury commonly seen in running, track and field and in general, in overuse syndrome. This is seen with pain along the lower shin, which is located between the knee and ankle joints. It is defined as a strain on the muscles around the tibia bone. This injury is seen as a running season ends, due to the excessive about running and stress to the tibia bone and muscles surrounding it. This can be difficult to diagnose, since there are many different causes of pain to the lower leg. X-rays as well as bone scans and MRIs can be used to help with a diagnosis. Treatment includes rest, ice, decrease activity, strapping, physical therapy, whirlpool, phonophoresis etc. Proper shoes gear, as well as orthotics, can help with the biomechanical aspect of the injury. An untreated shin splint may lead to a tibial stress fracture.
Stress Fractures or a hairline fracture is a small crack in the bone. It is most commonly seen in the tibia or metatarsal bones. It is caused by an excessive amount of activity in a short period of time. There are a variety of symptoms with this type of injury and can be difficult to diagnosis. Initially x-rays will be ordered, but stress fractures do not appear on x-rays for the first 10-14 days. Therefore, a bone scan, MRI or CT scan can help with a diagnosis. Treatment is via immobilization in a cast or walking boot. Healing time is a minimum of 4-6 weeks. If gone untreated it can lead to a complete fracture, which will require a longer healing time or surgery.
No matter what the injury, when treatment is sought out right after the initial injury the prognosis is more favorable for the long term. If the athlete hopes to participate in their activity for many years to come, these injuries should not be ignored and should be treated by a physician immediately.