Just this week a group of Marines returning from Afghanistan were not only upgraded to 1st class but were given a hero’s welcome at Chicago O’Hare airport. These men received a well-deserved water salute as they were heading on their way back home to San Diego.
Being in the armed forces is very physical and many people don’t realize the toll it takes on the feet and ankles. More than 740,000 musculoskeletal injuries were recorded for active duty Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force members, and 13% of these involved the foot and ankle. That adds up to more than 96,000 foot and ankle injuries in just one year alone!
The most common injury noted of the foot and ankle is something that doctors call overuse syndrome. Overuse syndrome shows up as inflammation and pain, and can be caused by things like stress fractures. Stress fractures occur when muscles can’t absorb shock and repeated impacts from activities, like marching and running. Over time, the muscles transfer the stress to the bone, resulting in the formation of a small crack. Symptoms to look for in a stress fracture include:
- Swelling in the fracture area
- A dull achy pain after activity
- Areas that are sensitive to pressure
- Pain that increases with activity but decreases with rest
Stress fractures are seen most commonly in active duty military members who are very active as well as athletes who train frequently. However, they are also very common in people who have been inactive or underactive that decide to do too much to soon, like running around on Black Friday from 12:00 AM to 4:00 PM to get all those wonderful sales!
You can do your part to try to prevent stress fractures and other overuse injuries by eating a diet rich in calcium, stretching and warming up before and after exercising or training, increasing your activities gradually, making sure you are using proper equipment, and getting a checkup with your podiatrist before beginning to determine the right type of shoes and the possibility of orthotics or inserts to best support your feet.
Just as our veterans have been there for all of us, we would like to be here for you to help with your foot and ankle needs whether you live in Fishkill, Hopewell, or Poughkeepsie. Give us a call at (845) 298 – 9074 to set up an appointment for you and your family with Dr. Schlam at Hollowbrook Foot Specialists in Wappingers Falls, NY today.
By David Schlam