If you hold a DVA gold card, you may be eligible for a number of fully subsidised podiatry services – and it all starts with a foot health assessment. If you’ve yet to take advantage of this service – or you have no idea how podiatry can help you, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about your foot health and My FootDr below.

 

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It’s Australian Tradies National Health Month and to help support tradie health and encourage a healthy workplace through injury prevention management, our podiatrists are talking about your work boots!  

The shoes you wear every day become the ground you walk on and can influence your risk of injury and pain. We’ve put together this safety boot fitting guide to help you use your work boots to not only protect your feet from hazards – but also keep you moving well and feeling great on your feet. 

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Tradies – you feel exhausted at the end of your workday, and we get it. Many of you spend a large portion of your day on your feet, moving around, climbing stairs or ladders, operating machinery and generally tiring your body. 

Every step you take can result in significant forces passing through your feet and legs – like a load of up to three times your body weight on your knees. So, it’s no surprise that there are approximately 190 serious workers’ compensation claims made every day – an incidence rate of three times higher than any other occupation.

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Here at My FootDr, we have the privilege of helping men and women with a wide range of lower limb problems. This gives us a unique insight into the kinds of injuries men and women tend to sustain more frequently, and the causes behind them. We believe that knowledge is power – and that knowing your risks is a powerful tool to help avoid painful and potentially long-standing injuries. So today, we thought we’d pair our observations with the current research to help answer an all-too-common question: who is more prone to injury, men or women – and why?

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Recently, we treated a social runner in his 50’s who was experiencing pain and swelling behind his knee. He couldn’t recall any injury or reason for the pain, but it seemed to be getting worse, especially when he bent or straightened his knee. With a careful examination, history taking, medical imaging and consultation with his GP, he was diagnosed with a Baker’s cyst – and we quickly set to work on helping him feel more comfortable.

Of all the causes of pain around the knee, a Baker’s cyst is one that isn’t talked about very often. Given that it has a growing relationship with knee problems including lesions, meniscus tears and early osteoarthritis, we thought we’d fill you in on Baker’s cysts, how to tell if one may be the cause of your knee pain, and what you can do if that pain and tightness starts behind your knee.

 

Baker’s Cyst: The Background

A Baker’s cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a swollen bursa at the back of the knee. We have bursae all around our body – they are fluid-filled and cushion-like sacs that sit between bone and tissue. By allowing tissues like tendons to glide smoothly over the bursa instead of rubbing against the bone, bursae help to prevent painful damage.

With the knee taking on large forces during physical activities – especially those that repetitively bend and straighten the knee like running – it’s not surprising that bursae are vulnerable to damage and pain, much like many of the other structures in the knee. 

 

The Symptoms & Causes

When the bursa at the back of the knee is damaged, more fluid is produced, causing the bursa to swell and become inflamed and painful. The result is a noticeable swollen lump that will make it difficult and painful for you to fully straighten or bend your knee. The swollen bursa also puts pressure on the surrounding structures too, causing tenderness, stiffness and even bruising. If the bursa pushes on a nerve, you may start feeling numbness, tingling, pins and needles and other nerve-related sensations.

The cause of the problem may be related to a knee injury, a condition like arthritis, or it may be unclear. When it comes to running, going for long distances when your lower limb biomechanics are less than ideal and hence are putting excess pressure through the knee joint can also irritate the tissues and structures around the knee 

Regardless of the cause, it’s likely that you won’t notice it until it gets swollen enough to bulge and affect your movement, which may occur some time after the original cause of the problem. While Baker’s cysts aren’t necessarily dangerous and may resolve on their own over time, there’s also a risk that they may burst and cause further problems. In the meantime, they’ll restrict your movement and can make it difficult for you to do physical activities and perform everyday tasks.

 

Treating Baker’s Cysts

Treating a Baker’s cyst starts with making sure you have the right diagnosis – which is where your My FootDr podiatry team comes in. After we’re confirmed your cyst and ruled out other causes of pain behind the knee, the goal is to help you feel as comfortable as possible by reducing the swelling in the bursa. Using ice intermittently, elevating your leg, resting and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can help.

Depending on the response and severity of the cyst, we may need to refer you to help drain the fluid or seek further testing. Next, we’ll address any excess pressure on your knee joints and try to minimise and manage this as much as possible. Your footwear, foot posture and foot biomechanics can all add excess pressure on your knee – and are factors we can help you with by recommending the right footwear for your feet and pairing these with custom foot orthotics. Tight or weak muscles may also place unbalanced and troublesome forces on the knee – so it’s important to assess this in your exam too.

 

Experiencing knee pain but aren’t sure if you should seek help?

Here at My FootDr, we’re big believers that pain does not happen for no reason. Whether you’re a runner or not, pain is our body’s way of letting us know that something is wrong – and we need to listen to it before the problem worsens. 

Our team of experienced podiatrists have been helping Australia care for their foot and leg health for over 25x years. Book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on 1800 FOOTDR

 

 

As a My FootDr podiatrist, the phrase “I get [insert body part] pain during or after running” is something we hear daily. Just when you’re feeling motivated to start or continue running, a painful problem rears its head and can halt your progress or stop you in your tracks completely. 

This week, we asked five of our podiatrists what pains stopped their patients from running – and got them to elaborate on why it happens (and was happening in their case), and how we’re helping them overcome it. If you have any questions about these or any other problem you’re experiencing while running – let us know!

 

1. Knee Pain

In any 12-month period, up to 70% of runners will sustain an injury from running – and 42% of these will be to the knee. Our patient came in experiencing pain on the outside of their knee that would start during running and continue to remain tender after rest – although the pain wasn’t as severe then. They suspected they had a condition called runner’s knee (and we don’t blame them with that name!), but we take no guesses here, and after a comprehensive assessment, it turned out they were suffering from iliotibial band (friction) syndrome (ITBS).

ITBS involves a thick connective tissue called the iliotibial band (ITB) that runs down the outside of your thigh and connects to the top of your shin bone (tibia). Simply put, when you partake in sports that repetitively (and forcefully) bend and straighten the knee just like in running, the ITB can rub against the outside of the knee, irritating the band until damage to the connective tissue fibres occur – bringing with it pain and swelling. 

Our treatment plan for this patient – as for any patient – focuses on not only relieving the pain and helping repair the existing damage, but also addressing the cause to help prevent it from happening again in the future. For this gentleman, this meant using custom foot orthotics to help correct the alignment issues at his feet and legs, thereby reducing the strain on his ITB. We have created a stretching and strengthening program as his ITB was significantly tightened and we identified some contributing muscle weakness, we’ve temporarily modified his training schedule while his ITB heals, and we may also work on his running technique – something that was difficult to assess in the first appointment as his pain was causing him to forego his normal running style to try to minimise the pain.

 

2. Heel Pain

Before we start with this patient, we thought we’d emphasise that you don’t need to be a runner to develop heel pain. In fact, we see just as many people with heel pain that have no desire to run as we see those who are active participants.

For this active lady who is new to exercise, her heel pain wouldn’t rear its head during running – but when she’d rest after a run and then go to stand up again. The pain was sharp, shooting and stabbing – and then would ease after she continued to walk (or limp) around her home. It wasn’t long before these symptoms were developing first thing in the morning as she’d get out of bed – which is the point where she decided she couldn’t put up with it any longer.

Our assessment showed pain at the insertion of a tissue called the plantar fascia at the bottom and inside of the heel. Thankfully, her symptoms and presentation were still mild to moderate, indicating that the damage to the fascia hadn’t yet progressed to a tear – which is always a win in our books as it’d make recovery easier and faster for her.

Her treatment involves switching from flimsy joggers to good running shoes (we gave her a list of appropriate shoe recommendations and those were her choice!), supporting her flat feet and improving her biomechanical foot function using custom foot orthotics, and helping to speed up the repair the of fascia using shockwave therapy.

 

3. Calf Pain

Your calves are very important when you run – working up to 25% harder than your quads when running. When you need to stop or quickly change direction, they’re the ones that help you do so safely without injury. They help to stabilise your knee and absorb a large amount of force when you run. Hence, runners with calf pain is a common occurrence around here.

This patient is training for his first half marathon, and is doing so by running around his neighbourhood, varying lengths and times according to a schedule that he was given. When we explored this further, we found that he lives in a very hilly area – which he sees as a benefit to his training – but also means that he starts every run with a massive climb, and proceeds to spend almost 75% of his run just going up and down hills. As he was increasing his distance, speed and time running, this man was simply overloading his calf muscles to the point of damage, especially as he hadn’t done much hill work or specific calf strengthening previously.

Treating these calves is involving a very detailed calf strengthening program so that his calves can eventually handle all of the uphills, actively working on his flexibility as we noted he had an early heel lift and a twist on his foot from a tight Achilles tendon, and modifying his marathon training program so that he can continue to train while not causing the onset of calf pain.

 

4. Shin Splints

This gentleman came to us describing a stiff and painful feeling in his shins that would start 10-15 minutes into his run and would settle after he stopped running. While shin splints was his initial thought about what the problem could be – after his detailed assessment, we noted that his symptoms were consistent with both shin splints (specifically medial tibial stress syndrome) as well as a stress fracture to his tibia.

We don’t believe in guesswork – so referred him for medical imaging to confirm his diagnosis. The winner? It was shin splints and it was affecting his leading leg due to the force on the (unrepaired) muscles and tissues during running.

Treating this particular case started with reinforcing the importance of a good warm-up, cool-down, and stretching. Especially getting the muscles ready before a big run – which as it turned out, he had been heavily neglecting previously. We taught him a series of stretches and gave clear instructions. Next – new shoes. He’d had good shoes, but they were about three years old and the inside edges were so worn down that they were tipping him inwards – very noticeable even when standing in the shoes. Finally, we recommended custom foot orthotics to help his foot posture and better control his inwards rolling (pronation) and therefore foot function.

 

5. Painful Toenails

Our last case was something a bit different – painful toenails – and this was a bit of a funny one. This lady was running approximately two times per week, and otherwise staying active with the gym and social soccer, which she loved. The skin around her left big toe was red and swollen, and the second toenail on her right foot was definitely bruised.

As it turned out, her soccer boots were way, way, way too tight. Which she knew, but thought it was okay given that she was in them for comparatively short periods during soccer games and training sessions. What was actually happening was that on her right foot, her second toe was her longest, and was constantly hitting against the boot (and ball!), leaving it bruised and tender regularly – including in other shoes when she went for a run. On her left big toe, the tight boots had led to her toenail piercing the skin – and an ingrown toenail developing. Even worse, the ingrown nail had become infected, contributing to her discomfort.

The first part of the treatment was obvious – getting new well-fitting soccer boots ASAP – which were measured to her longer right foot and to her second-longest toe, in the afternoon when her feet were at their biggest, and with the same thickness of socks that she normally wears when playing. For the ingrown toenail, we booked her in for a partial nail avulsion to permanently correct the ingrown toenail – especially as that nail had become ingrown at least three other times over the last six or so years. 

 

So, what’s stopping you from running?

If you’ve got a pain or problem during or after running, whether we’ve mentioned it above or it’s something completely different or unusual, we’d love to help. Treating foot and leg pain is what we do! And we have the best technology, skills and experience to allow us to do it excellently.

Book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on 1800 FOOTDR

 

 

Corns, calluses and cracked heels are three common problems that we have the privilege of helping our patients with on a daily basis here at My FootDr. Unfortunately, they’re often a problem that many ignore in the hopes that they’ll go away on their own – whereas they may actually worsen if left untreated. The good news is that easing discomfort from these conditions can be simple and easy – and completed in one appointment. Today, the My FootDr team is sharing why you may be developing each of these problems, how you can treat them today, and what you can do to prevent them from recurring in the future. 

 

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Ah, ingrown toenails. It never ceases to amaze our patients when we remove that ingrown piece of toenail how such a small piece of nail can cause such immense pain – not to mention swelling, redness and often, the infection that follows when it is left untreated.

As one of our top five conditions that we see and treat every day here at My FootDr, here’s the low-down on ingrown toenails, why you may be getting them multiple times, and how you can fix that problematic toenail todaypermanently.

 

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Your calf muscles play a crucial role every time you walk, run and jump. Without healthy calf muscle function, you remain more vulnerable to lower limb fatigue and overuse injuries. During COVID-19, My FootDr has remained committed to helping our patients achieve their goals whether it be optimal health outcomes or improved performance. When it comes to calf injuries, or any injuries where the calf muscles have contributed to the problem, one of the ways that we have been helping is via telehealth appointments. Today, we’re giving you an insight into the efficacy of telehealth appointments to aid in the management of lower limb injuries – and how you’re able to access these services with our team.

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