Summer is just around the corner and that means it is time to get outside and go. The beautiful weather brings about a whole slew of activities. Running, biking, soccer, and other high stress sports are popular at this time. Ankles can be injured easily if they are weak and overexerted during these activities. It is important to take precaution and strengthen your ankles so that long lasting injury does not occur. Here are 4 ways to strengthen your ankles.

Stretch

Stretching your ankles is a great way to help prevent injury. Stretching allows for the muscles and tendons to loosen and react to sudden movement and increased exertion. One way to stretch your ankles is to roll the sides of your feet in and out slowly. Rolling your ankles in circles will also help to limber up the muscles before a day in the outdoors.

Exercise

Regular exercise is key to gaining strength. Using light 3 to 5 pound weights will help build muscle in the ankle over time, allowing for definition and longer periods of activity. Exercise bands are also helpful tools for ankle exercise. First, sit on the ground with your legs outstretched. Next, put the exercise band around your feet. Stretch the band back so that you are sitting straight and flex the tops of your feet. You will feel the burn in your ankles as they build up the muscle they need. Have an old jump rope lying around? Pick it up and get hopping. This simple and nostalgic exercise will also help your ankles build up endurance.

Rest

Too much stretching and exercise can actually cause injury. It is important to give yourself periods of rest to help your ankles heal after a long workout. Take the time to sit down and elevate your feet. Icing areas that are sore or swollen can help the recovery process.

Footwear

Proper footwear is key to strengthening your ankles and avoiding pain. When choosing a sneaker be sure to have your foot measured so it fits properly. Good soles and support are also important when choosing a shoe. Every foot is different and so are it’s needs.

Contact Us

Have you tried stretching, exercise, rest, and new footwear? Are you still suffering from weak ankles and pain? It’s time to call a podiatrist to give you the proper diagnosis and treatment you deserve. The staff at James C. Ricketti, DPM , in Hamilton Square, New Jersey, are highly trained, Board Certified professionals. Dr.  James C. Ricketti and Dr. Stephen J. Skokan have had well over twenty-three years of experience working with patients to recover lost ankle strength and heal from injury. If you would like to make an appointment please contact our office at 609-587-1674. We look forward to meeting you and assisting you in your journey to obtain the endurance and confidence you deserve.

About Shin Splints

The term “shin splints” describes pain, tenderness and swelling along the shin bone (tibia), which is the big bone at the front of your lower leg. Shin splint pain commonly occurs after repetitive stress is placed on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone (tendons). Repetitive physical activity, sudden changes in your exercise routine, and ill-fitting shoes are some of the factors that cause shin splints. The condition is most common among people who engage in repetitive physical activity, such as athletes, dancers and military recruits. The medical term for shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome.

Causes

Most often, shin splint injuries are exercise-related. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, you can develop shin splints at any level of repetitive physical activity. You may be at greater risk of developing shin splints if you are just beginning a running program, if you exercise on hard floors with sudden stops and starts, or run on uneven surfaces. Other causes of shin splints include:

  • Over-exertion in repetitive activities, especially running
  • Extremely tight or weak leg muscles
  • Flat feet
  • High feet arches
  • Improperly-fitting or worn-out shoes

Symptoms

  • Pain along the shin bone
  • Soreness and tenderness
  • Swelling of the lower leg around the shin
  • Recurrence of pain even after you take a break from exercise

Diagnosis and Treatment

Here are some initial, simple steps you can take to relieve the pain of shin splints:

  • Rest
  • Icing the sore area
  • Proper stretching before and after exercise and other repetitive activities
  • Exercises to strengthen muscles and connective tissue
  • Modifications to your exercise routine
  • Corrective shoes and shoe inserts
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen

After you have discussed your particular symptoms with Dr. Ricketti or Dr. Skokan and completed our comprehensive examination, we will be able to recommend a targeted program of treatment to not only address your current pain but also prevent recurrence of the condition.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of shin splints listed above, or are concerned that you might develop the condition and would like to know how to prevent related injuries, we are here to help you. We know how important it is to have your condition diagnosed accurately and treated properly, so that you can resume a pain-free active life. To schedule an appointment, please call our office located in Hamilton Square, NJ.  Dr. Ricketti and Dr. Skokan will discuss your concerns and provide you with all the treatment, information and planning you need for your health and continued well-being.


Are you suffering from tingling, aching, burning or numbness in your feet or hands?  Well, there is a chance that you could be suffering from Small Fiber Neuropathy.  Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that has been estimated to affect as many as 15-20 million American adults!  Most of these people suffer from a common variant called Small Fiber Peripheral Neuropathy.  This disorder may be associated with various diseases (diabetes, B12 deficiency, toxin exposure) or it may occur alone.

According to Wikipedia, small fiber peripheral neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy that occurs from damage to the small unmyelinated peripheral nerve fibers.  These fibers, categorized as C fibers, are present in skin, peripheral nerves, and organs.  The symptoms of this condition are typically highly variable, and depend on the person and the degree of the damaged nerve fibers.  Common complaints are: parasthesias, dysesthesias, and insensitivity to pain. 

  • Parasthesias are abnormal sensations, such as: numbness, old, burning, prickling, pins and needles, and other symptoms. 
  • Dysethesias are unpleasant sensations, either evoked or spontaneous.  Some examples are simple things in one’s environment bothering them- like a light breeze, the feeling of clothes, or even a soft touch can sometimes cause the sufferer pain! 
  • Insensitivity to pain is another complaint. This sounds good in a way- who wants to feel pain?!!  However, it’s rather dangerous, as one may be bleeding or have a skin injury without even knowing it. People suffering from this condition typically feel the majority of the symptoms’ severity in their feet!

When any of these symptoms exist, it is time to visit your podiatrist. When someone comes into the office of Dr. James Ricketti and Dr. Stephen Skokan, they are in good hands.  The diagnosis of small fiber neuropathy is done through a simple skin biopsy for the measurement of epidermal nerve fiber density.  If you are suffering from these strange sensations and don’t know what could be wrong, don’t wait, call your podiatrist!  You could, in fact be suffering from small fiber neuropathy, and treatment and relief may be just a small skin biopsy away! 

In the earlier article, “Sweaty feet have you slip slidin’ away”, I explored the topic of hyperhidrosis, its symptoms and some home care options to help the condition.  This article will elaborate, and also talk about some of the treatments Dr. Ricketti and Dr. Skokan can offer you.  Plus, a few extra helpful tips.  First of all, if you deal with constant sweaty feet, It’s smart to have a “sock stash”… meaning, have extra socks at work, in your car, anywhere you frequent.  That way, you can change out your socks during the day when they get extra sweaty.  Be careful with your footwear choices, as well.  Don’t wear anything too constricting, and make sure your shoes are made of breathable fabric. 

Ultimately, so many people who deal with this problem, do just that- deal with it.  As you know, if you’re experiencing this, the feet can sometimes sweat so much that they slip around inside your shoes!  Your feet may appear whitish, and you may be dealing with foot odor.  The emotional stress this condition can induce is no laughing matter, as people dealing with it are usually constantly worried about their feet having offensive odor, and having to expose their feet is stressful for them. It is embarrassing and aggravating. 

However, if your feet sweat excessively, you should go see a podiatrist. Over-the-counter antiperspirants or prescription roll-on antiperspirants may be applied directly to the feet. There’s a technique available called “iontophoresis”, which uses water to conduct a mild electrical current through the skin, which has been found to be helpful for people with sweaty feet.  These machines are available for purchase and in-home applications.  Botox injections can also control excessive sweating of the feet.  Oral prescription medications are available, and there is even a surgical procedure that can be done to treat sweaty feet. There are treatment options out there, and your podiatrist can tailor them to your symptoms. 

If you need help with this condition, or any other foot or ankle issue, give Dr. James Ricketti and Dr. Stephen Skokan a call.  They are conveniently located in Central NJ and available to help!

Sweaty feet causing you strife?  This condition is something that people tend to deal with, but are embarrassed by.  Excessive sweating of the feet is called hyperhidrosis.  It’s more common in men than women, and more common in young adults than older adults.  People who deal with this also often have problems with excessive sweating of the palms, as well.  This, in and of itself, may pose even more of a problem for them, as we shake hands with people and our hands are usually more visible than our feet.  Either way, people suffering from hyperhidrosis are probably wondering if there’s anything they can do to stop it! 

If you have this problem, it is typically inherited- so you can thank Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa for it! (haha) No one knows exactly why it occurs, but people who sweat excessively seem to have a different “set point” than other people.  Meaning, most people sweat when it’s hot out, or when they become overly warm.  However, people with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively almost all the time.  So, if this sounds like you, there are some things you can do to help yourself, so read on!

First and foremost, good foot hygiene is essential.  You should be sure to wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap- be thorough, and be sure to wash between your toes.  After your shower or bath, dry your feet thoroughly, then apply foot powder, cornstarch, or anti-fungal powder to your feet.  Spray all your shoes with Lysol on a regular basis to kill any bacteria, and also air your shoes out when possible.  You should also be careful about what types of socks you wear.  Some synthetic blends are designed to wick moisture away from the skin and work best to keep the feet dry.  Wearing one hundred percent cotton socks comes to mind for me, but although they do absorb moisture, they don’t wick it away from the skin, and can cause blisters. 

If you pay a visit to your podiatrist, he can tailor treatment for this problem according to your symptoms, so it is worth taking the time.  Call Dr. James Ricketti and Dr. Stephen Skokan, they have a convenient centrally located NJ location for you to visit.  And stay tuned, the next article in this series will have more valuable tips and get into treatment options for those troublesome sweaty feet! 

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