Monthly Archives:December 2016

  • Callus on the Bottom of the Foot

    Calluses are thickened, tough skin layers that form as protection against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are common on the bottom of your foot because your foot frequently rubs against other surfaces. Although most calluses disappear without any treatment, you might need to consult your doctor if a callus causes you discomfort.
    A common cause of calluses on the bottom of the foot is shoes that fit poorly. Tight shoes and high heels compress different parts of the foot, and loose shoes can cause your foot to rub repeatedly against the sole. Not wearing socks also can lead to calluses. Another common cause is an abnormality in your gait that causes you to carry weight in certain areas of your foot more than you carry it in others, according to the website ePodiatry. Having bunions on your feet also can cause calluses as the bunions rub against your shoes.
    You might have a callus on the bottom of your foot if you see any thick or rough areas of skin, if you have a hardened or raised bump or if you feel any tenderness or pain beneath your skin, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Callused skin also can be dry, flaky or waxy. Calluses on the bottom of the foot tend to occur mostly on the ball of your foot ¨C the area right behind your big toe ¨C but they can also show up at your heel or around your big toe or little toe.
    Most calluses heal on their own, but you might be able to hasten the healing process. Soak the callus in warm and soapy water for at least 10 minutes, then use a pumice stone to rub off the dead skin. You can buy a specialized foot pad at your local drugstore or supermarket to keep the pressure off your callus while it heals.
    Talk to your doctor if your callus becomes inflamed or painful. Your callus might have an infection or ulcer that requires antibiotics, or your doctor might need to trim the unhealthy skin with a scalpel, according to the website MedlinePlus. He might recommend that you treat a problematic callus with a patch that contains 40 percent salicylic acid. He could recommend surgery if you have a misaligned bone that repeatedly causes painful calluses, but this treatment is rarely necessary.
    Some causes of calluses, such as gait abnormalities, can be complicated to reverse. However, you can do things to avoid many risk factors for calluses. Wear socks, and avoid wearing shoes that compress your feet or cause uncomfortable rubbing and pinching. If your toes can¡¯t wiggle in your shoes, chances are your shoes are too tight. If necessary, wear soft pads or bandages in areas of your foot that cause rubbing or pinching.

  • What Are the Benefits of Girls & Boys Playing Sports on the Same Team?

    As a parent, you may be struggling to find a sports team for your child to play on. An important concern is whether your kid should play on a single-sex team or a co-ed team. A team mixed with boys and girls has many benefits, including friendship building and stereotype smashing.
    Child psychologist Laura E. Berk claims in her book “Child Development” that somewhere between ages 9 and 11 kids begin to develop gender stereotypes. Involving them in coed sports early is an opportunity to curb those notions before they start, according to Sam Snow of Soccer America’s “Youth Soccer Insider.” Berk suggests it’s best to separate prepubescent girls and boys based on ability and cognitive development rather than gender.
    Sports for girls in general has many benefits, including better grades, better body image, less depression and higher chance of graduating from high school, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Allowing girls to compete alongside and against boys enhances their view of themselves and makes them more resilient according to Jeffrey Rhoads, author of “The Joy of Youth Sports: Creating the Best Youth Sports Experience for Your Child.”
    Allowing boys and girls to play sports together builds friendships that might not otherwise exist. Learning to view the opposite sex as a friend and not something intimidating is something kids can carry with them for life, wrote Steve Sampsell in “KidSports Magazine.” Sports at this prepubescent age is social; the kids are meant to have fun and get some exercise and the camaraderie will serve them well, according to Tim McCoy, director of member services at PA West U.S. Youth Soccer.
    There is no one-size-fits-all time when genders should be separated in sports. Some girls develop faster than boys and may be able to compete with boys their age well into puberty. An example of such a case was a 12-year-old Ohio girl named Makhaela Jenkins, who in 2013 fought her school’s district in court over her right to play on a boys-only football team. She won. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there were more than 1,500 girls playing on boys football teams that year, and the trend was growing with a 17 percent uptick since 2009.

  • How Has Soccer Affected the World?

    With 265 million active players, soccer is bound to have effects in societies at large. The game arouses passionate devotion in its fans and great riches for its players and team owners, with impacts that can uplift or disrupt lives and nations.
    Modern soccer was born in England in 1863 when a group of players agreed on rules for a kicking game. The simplicity of soccer, with its 17 rules and need for only a ball and a patch of ground, allowed players of humble origin to play and excel at the game. Soccer became linked to Britain¡¯s class system, as the working class gravitated to ¡°football¡± while the upper classes preferred cricket and rugby. From the 1960s onward, hooligans fueled by heavy drinking and sometimes nationalism rampaged at and near soccer stadiums. Fans organized themselves into command-and-control structures called ¡°firms¡± attached to specific clubs to engage in ritual combat.
    Soccer made its way across the English Channel to become wildly popular in Continental Europe. During the 1914 Christmas truce of World War I, German and British troops put down their weapons and played a soccer game. German and Dutch fans in the 1980s and 1990s also engaged in hooliganism, and in 1985 English clubs and fans began a five-year ban from continental play after a wall collapse during violent riots at a Brussels stadium killed 39 fans.
    Mahatma Gandhi realized soccer¡¯s appeal to the disenfranchised. Before moving to India to lead its independence drive, in 1904 he established soccer clubs, each named the Passive Resisters Soccer Club, in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg. He is credited with involving non-whites in sporting activities, laying a foundation more than a century later for the 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa. As of 2010, an estimated 1,000 African soccer players make their living in European pro leagues. Along with Brazil¡¯s 5,000 pros in Europe, they provide a talent upgrade to clubs at all levels.
    Soccer passions burn brightly in Latin America. Stadiums such as Mexico City¡¯s 105,000-capacity Azteca create a hostile environment for visiting teams trying to qualify for the World Cup. In 1969, Salvador and Honduras went to war for four days in the wake of a violent World Cup qualifying match. Colombia¡¯s national squad performed exceptionally well in the 1980s and early 1990s, with improvements funded by drug lords who created training camps and improved national soccer standards. Tragedy ensued with the slaying of Colombia phenomenon Andres Escobar after he accidentally committed an own goal in a 1994 World Cup match against the United States. The region also features success stories, such as Brazil¡¯s Ronaldinho, who earns $35 million a year and inspires millions of aspiring players in his home country.
    Though soccer swiftly arrived in the United States right after its invention in England, the game remained in the shadows of baseball and basketball. In 1996, American women vastly increased appreciation for the sport with a gripping gold-medal performance at the Olympic games in Atlanta. Ranked No. 1 in the world as of 2010, the United States dominates women¡¯s soccer at the Olympic and international levels. Stars such as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy and Abby Wambach strive to inspire young female athletes.

  • Multivitamins & Iron Tablets

    Taking a daily multivitamin can assist in keeping every system in the body healthy. The iron contained in multivitamins provides many health benefits and helps to ward off iron-deficiency anemia. Multivitamins that don¡¯t contain iron can be taken along with iron supplements.
    Prenatal vitamins are special multivitamins given to women during pregnancy. Certain vitamins and minerals must be increased to support both the mother and baby during this time. Prenatal vitamins contain a higher intake of iron compared to other multivitamins and may cause stomach upset due to this increase. Iron may cause constipation in some women, which may result in stomach pain and difficulty passing stool.
    Complete multivitamins contain a mixture of water-soluble vitamins C and B-complex; fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K along with several minerals needed for good health. Multivitamins contain 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of iron. These vitamins also contain 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, which is used to help absorb iron into the blood. Complete multivitamins are made to be used once per day and are sold in several forms. If you’re suffering from iron deficiency anemia, your doctor may recommend you take an iron supplement along with a complete multivitamin.
    Iron is needed in the body to help produce hemoglobin, which is needed to transport oxygen throughout the body. While you may get enough iron in your diet, heavy blood loss or malabsorption may require you to take iron supplements to maintain a healthy hemoglobin level. Iron supplements should be taken on an empty stomach to increase absorption or taken with a glass of vitamin C fortified juice or orange juice. According to the website, the dosage amount for iron supplements is 10 mg per day for men and 10 to 15 mg per day for women. This a dose increases to 30 mg per day during pregnancy.
    Do not take an iron supplement without consulting your physician first. If you are receiving iron injections, do not take iron supplements orally or it may result in iron poisoning. You may experience abdominal pain or cramping while taking oral iron supplements. If you experience throat pain or you pass stool that contains blood, contact your physician immediately.

  • Hamstring Stretches to Do at the Desk at Work

    Many people spend long hours seated at a desk at work or at a home office. One effect of prolonged sitting is tight hamstrings, which may increase your potential for injury when you¡¯re away from your desk playing sports or even in your everyday routine. If you find that you don¡¯t have much time to get away from your desk on a regular basis, try a few different hamstring stretches at your desk to keep your legs loose.
    If you are short on time, you can stretch both hamstrings at once. Turn your chair to either side so you¡¯re clear of your desk, and move your butt to the edge of the chair. Stretch your legs out straight and place your heels on the floor. Place your hands on top of your thighs or behind your knees, depending on your comfort level, and lean your torso forward to stretch your hamstrings. Hold the stretch for several seconds, then relax and repeat. Be careful that you don¡¯t fall of the chair, especially if it¡¯s on wheels.
    If you have a little more time, or just prefer to focus on one leg at a time, stretch your hamstrings one at a time. Sit close to the edge of your chair and leave one foot flat on the floor, while stretching the other leg out in front of you. Place the heel of the outstretched leg on the floor and lean forward to stretch your hamstring. Hold the stretch, relax and then switch legs to get the other one.
    Call on the services of your desk for this more intense hamstring stretch. Sit on your chair and lift your left heel onto your desk. Flex your foot upward. Lean forward from your waist and touch the toe of your shoe with your fingers. Stay in this position for up to 10 seconds and then switch sides.
    A little yoga at work may be just the ticket for your tight hamstrings. Stand away from your chair with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward from your waist on an exhalation. Slide your hands down the fronts of your legs until you feel a pleasant pull in the backs of your legs. Let every exhalation stretch a little further. Stay in this posture for up to one minute and then rise back up to standing with a flat back.

  • Weight Training for 13-Year-Old Boys

    When done properly, weight training offers numerous health benefits to 13-year-old boys. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine states that a child can safely participate in weight training as long as they are mature enough to follow directions. Although they may not see significant improvements in muscle mass, 13-year-old boys will develop strength and endurance. To prevent injury, boys should focus closely on exercise technique and an adult should supervise their training..
    Concerns have been raised about teenage boys participating in weight training because of potential damage to still-developing growth cartilage at the ends of their bones. The risk of such injury is very low when teenagers are taught proper training techniques and principles, and when completed appropriately, weight training can decrease the risk of growth cartilage injury. Because of the increase in muscular strength, bone density and coordination that results from weight training, teenage boys will be less likely to hurt themselves while participating in other athletic activities.
    When strength training, 13-year-old boys should focus on mastering exercise techniques. They should perform bodyweight exercises — such as pushups, pullups, squats, stepups, dips and crunches — before incorporating weights. After they master these exercises, they can try more complex exercises, such as squats with weights, bench presses, shoulder presses, rows and deadlifts. Free weight exercises are more appropriate than using weight machines, as they will recruit surrounding stabilizing muscles and improve core strength. In addition, most machines are not properly sized for a teenager.
    Begin by training two days per week, with each session consisting of one set of 15 repetitions for each exercise. After you¡¯ve consistently trained for about three months, increase your training volume to two or three sets of each exercise. During this time, you can increase the intensity of your resistance. The weight you¡¯re using should cause you to become fatigued around repetition number 15, but not adversely affect your technique. Increase or decrease the resistance you¡¯re using as needed. Do not increase the amount of load by more than 10 percent.
    Teenagers who participate in weight training will see an improvement in muscular strength, muscular endurance, coordination, sports performance, bone strength, bone density and self-confidence. Most of these improvements are based on the neuromuscular system becoming more efficient. Teenage boys will likely not see significant gains in muscle size until they reach puberty, which is marked by an increase in the muscle-building hormone testosterone.

  • What Is Intersquad Baseball?

    When a baseball team divides itself into separate squads, which then play against each other, the contest is commonly known as an intersquad game, or a scrimmage game. The contest can also be called an ¡°intrasquad¡± game because the players compete against fellow teammates. In common baseball language, however, the terms ¡°intersquad¡± and ¡°intrasquad¡± are used interchangeably.
    Major League Baseball teams typically play intersquad scrimmages at the start of spring training to evaluate the organization¡¯s younger players. They also allow more experienced players to go through real-game situations before the exhibition season. The games also allow additional pitchers to get some work if they haven¡¯t thrown often enough during exhibition games.
    College baseball¡¯s regular season begins in late winter and runs through the spring, but teams typically practice and hold tryouts in the fall. Intersquad games are part of many teams¡¯ regular fall practice activities. The University of Minnesota, for example, divides its team into two squads and has them meet in a seven-game series that spans about three weeks, known as the Steak N¡¯ Beans Series. Unlike a standard playoff series, the teams play all seven games, no matter how many each squad wins.
    High school teams use intersquad scrimmages for some of the same reasons as professional teams — to help tune up for the season and give their players practice in game-like conditions. Additionally, high school coaches use the games to evaluate their players. Schools may also play intersquad games to help raise money. Hollidaysburg Area High School in Pennsylvania, for example, plays an annual 100-inning intersquad game with special rules. Players and coaches recruit game sponsors to raise money for uniforms and other team expenses.
    A manager may divide the team into squads by himself or he may appoint two coaches to lead the squads and have them draft players into two teams. The manager can also name captains and have them pick the teams. The manager may permit the game to play out as a normal contes, or predetermine hitting lineups and pitcher usage, particularly if he¡¯s evaluating his talent.

  • The Pros & Cons of the Influence of Sports Athletes on Kids

    Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel’s off-season behavior has raised questions about the appropriateness of using athletes as role models. Athletes work hard and stay fit, but that may not be enough to influence children for good. Too often, the dark side of athletes — the steroid use, hard partying lifestyle and poor sportsmanship — overshadows an athlete’s ability to play the game. Before you urge your child to take after his favorite ball player, consider the pros and cons of the influence that athlete can have on your child and his life.
    A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation provided clear answers as to how a professional athlete’s sportsmanship was perceived by kids. Seventy four percent say it’s common for a pro athlete to yell at a referee; 62 percent say that trash talking opponents is the norm; and 46 percent say it’s not uncommon for athletes to take cheap shots at opponents. The same children agreed that it wasn’t uncommon to see those same behaviors while playing sports among their peers. A spoiled-athlete mentality may teach children that it’s OK to yell and fight to get what they want.
    Athletes do teach children about the hard work that it takes to become the best at a given sport. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that almost 20 percent of children ages 6 to 11 are considered obese. This is due in part to sedentary, video game lifestyles. By looking up to their favorite athletes, children may be more inspired to hit the court, get outside and play to stay active. This can translate to an impeccable work ethic and a higher degree of fitness on and off the field.
    It’s no secret that some professional athletes use performance-enhancing drugs in order to get the edge on their opponents, and that can inadvertently affect the children who look up to them. The suspensions of New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and a number of other baseball players for the use of banned performance-enhancing substances reflect the ongoing problem. After Mark McGuire admitted to setting the record for single season home runs in 1998 while on the steroid substitute androstenedione, sales increased 1,000 percent, according to “USA Today.” Steroid and supplement use by professional athletes sends the message to children that it’s OK to cheat as long as you’re the best.
    The lifestyle that athletes lead, depending on the athlete, can have a mixed effect on children. Some athletes work hard, provide for their families and participate in charity work for the community. Others concentrate on making money, living the high life and getting endorsement deals. The trick to finding an athlete role model for your child is to find one that you’d like your own child to be like when she becomes an adult. The athlete lifestyle can be fulfilling and happy or indulgent and ridden with scandal. Choose the one you’d like your own child to emulate.

  • Differences Between SG & FG Soccer Cleats

    Soccer players may run between 5 and 7 miles during a typical 90-minute match. So their footwear must be comfortable and efficient. Soccer players must identify the playing surface to select the proper cleat lest they become stuck in mud or have their long studs slide across the too-firm ground. SG and HG refer to soft ground and hard ground cleats, two of several styles of cleat designed for specific surfaces.
    Soft ground cleats are the primary cleat used on soft, slippery natural surfaces such as wet grass or mud. Almost all models will have removable studs that are between 1/2 to 3/5 inches in length. The removable studs allow the players to adjust their length depending on how slippery the conditions are. Players can chose between metal or plastic. Soft ground cleats will have studs that are spaced widely apart to prevent mud from clumping. Most models have two to four studs under the heel and four studs under the ball of the foot.
    When playing on a well-maintained grass field, firm ground cleats are the appropriate choice of footwear. Firm ground cleats are the most universal cleat and make an excellent choice as a first cleat. Firm ground cleats have molded cleats with plastic studs or blades depending on player preference. These shoes have between 10 to 14 individual cleats in locations critical for pivoting and traction.
    Hard ground cleats provide players with traction on dry, hard surfaces such as on a dirt field or synthetic turf surface. These cleats are most useful in the hot summer months when fields may not be adequately watered. Hard ground cleats have molded round plastic studs that are much shorter and numerous than firm ground cleats. The studs on these cleats sit on top of the playing surface to provide traction and will not dig into the ground.
    Indoor shoes lack studs or blades. They have a simple sneaker-like tread. These shoes give players the look and feel of a soccer shoe while they play on indoor surfaces such as in a gym or on asphalt. Often these cleats will retain a brand¡¯s design including special shoelaces or kicking surfaces built into the fabric of the shoe.

  • How to Help Heal a Broken Toe

    Drop a can of soup on your foot or whack your toe into a wall¡ªbefore you know it, you’ve got a throbbing, swollen, broken toe. Do you have to suffer through a black-and-blue toe, or can you treat it? A broken toe is painful, so don’t suffer through it. See your doctor for a diagnosis. Take steps to help your toe heal, while protecting it from further pain.
    Get your toe taped. If you see your doctor, he can take an x-ray to be sure the toe is broken. It’s difficult to put a cast on a tiny toe, but the broken digit can be taped to the nearby toe to help it heal. Taping a toe should be done by a doctor, but he can show you how to do it, so you can tape it at home.
    Ice the toe. A broken toe will be swollen and sore, but an icepack can cool down the heat. Apply an icepack to the toe every couple of hours, but for no more than about half an hour at a time. Keep icing it as long as you feel pain, and as long as the ice provides some relief.
    Take a pain medication. An anti-inflammatory pain reliever can help alleviate pain and swelling from a broken toe. Talk to your doctor about what’s safe for you to take, and don’t take the medication for too long without your doctor’s consent.
    Prop up your painful toe. To alleviate swelling, treat your foot to some elevation. Prop it up on a pillow, and keep your foot elevated above your heart.
    Protect your toe. Take it easy on the exercise and activity until your toe heals, which could take from four to six weeks. Wear protective shoes with firm soles, and if your doctor recommends them, use crutches until the toe is healed.