Ah, summer. The perfect time for family adventures, backyard cricket, new health and fitness goals, and ticking items of the bucket list - which often involves exploring new and exciting places. But what about those niggles and dull aches that quickly greet you as you become more active? Are they worthwhile paying attention to and what should you do?
Today, the podiatry team at South Burnett Podiatry are talking all about summer injuries - and why this season is often the most dangerous for our lower limb health - with three things you MUST know.
- You don’t experience discomfort or pain for no reason
- If you start to feel discomfort, a twinge or a creeping pain during any physical activity, you are not experiencing that pain for no reason. The way our musculoskeletal system and body works to protect itself is quite amazing - and you need to listen to it. Pain is our body’s way of letting us know that something isn’t quite right, and that either an injury has already occurred, or it’s going to if you don’t change things up and do something differently.
- In the majority of cases, waiting for a problem to just get better on its own doesn’t work
- We see patients daily that have waited weeks and months before coming to have their injury or pain addressed. When we ask why they waited for so long, the most common response is that they were waiting for the pain to get better on its own.
- The reality is that it is a very fine line between injuries that have the potential to resolve and those that have the potential to become a lot worse. This is particularly true for parts of the body that we use throughout the day for general movement and simple activities - like our feet and legs. This is because a big contributing factor to many lower limb injuries is excess pressure and overuse - often from regular daily activities. As we continue to do these activities without making specific changes that address the problem, there is great potential to sustain further damage and worsen our injuries.
- Sports: the perfect example
- When we look at muscle strains or overuse injuries that tend to occur when we restart our summer sports, initially you may experience a simple discomfort in the muscle, as microtears form. However, as the muscle continues to be used without proper treatment or offloading, it will continue to sustain damage, increasing the intensity of the painful symptoms, and even leading to a partial tear within the muscle - and further consequences like weakening of the muscle and tendon itself.
- The result is a longer recovery time, much more pain and discomfort throughout the recovery, and additional effort required by you in order to repair the damage and regain muscle strength and stability.
- Early treatment yields the best results
- It is well documented that having pains and niggles treated early using effective principles has superior treatment outcomes while greatly reducing the risk of the injury worsening.
- When we talk about early treatment and intervention, we’re talking about ensuring the timing is early enough to support the reversibility of the problem - where timing is absolutely critical. Evidence shows that the longer the initial intervention is delayed, the more likely it is that the problem and associated disability are irreversible.
- Certainly here at South Burnett Podiatry, we find that the sooner we see patients after they’ve started experiencing symptoms, regardless of symptom severity, the faster we are able to rehabilitate them back to a pain-free state, with less physical therapy weeks and appointments. While we also do treat and rehabilitate chronic, long-lasting and ongoing pains, the treatment plan tends to be more involved and complex.
The most common summer foot and leg problems
The most common problems and injuries we see and treat over the summer, where patients tend to ignore niggles until it’s more painful or uncomfortable to walk, include:
- Heel pain
- Achilles tendon pain
- Shin pain
- Forefoot pain
- Knee pain
- Pain during running, cycling, squats and exercise
What should you do if you start feeling pain or discomfort this summer?
If you start to feel a niggle, come in and see our experienced podiatrists here at South Burnett Podiatry in Kingaroy. Trust us - the time you spend with us to get you back on the right track and help you avoid developing long-standing and more severe consequences is far better than spending weeks or months sitting down and watching your friends play the sports you love but can’t participate in!
We’re always here to help. Give our podiatry team a call on 07 4162 7633.