Well, the London Olympics have come to a close. It’s been quite a romp, and though I didn’t really follow it too closely, I have to say I am proud as an American to see that we had quite a showing – 104 medals, vs. 87 for China, the number two. That’s very nice to see, and it’s a source of pride for all of us. So thanks and kudos to the Olympic athletes from everywhere. It’s a lot of work, and hopefully the experience of a lifetime. Of course this may not affect a NYC podiatrist directly, but I have a few thoughts to share.
First of all, as a runner, and as one who has benefitted from her cheering through my running app of choice, my heart goes out to Paula Radcliffe for not being able to compete due to a foot injury. She has suffered from foot ailments in previous competitions, specifically osteoarthritis, and has even stopped mid race in previous Olympics due to pain. Despite that, she remains one of the best long distance runners of all time and is careful about herrunning and feet. Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis, can be a debilitating condition in which the cartilage in joints wears down to the point where the corresponding bones contained within the joint rub together without any cushioning, making simple daily movements painful. This can be a result of trauma, genetics, or long term constant impact, such as in competitive sports. There are treatments available and all these are an adjunct to one of the best treatments – constant and consistent range of motion as tolerated. It is critical to keep an arthritic joint moving to avoid a cycle of pain and stiffness, but it is also important to know your limits, and sometimes, even an Olympic athlete has to stop.
What a spectacle we have seen over the past few weeks from the absolute best athletes, from 200 countries all over the world, converging in London to showcase their abilities. People who have worked their whole lives for this moment and are all at the very top of their game. And the feats of athletic talent that are displayed – gymnastics, swimming, diving, and so many more, and much of the competition over in just a few seconds. Admittedly some sports seem a little sub-olympic: badminton, table tennis (it’s called ping pong and we play it in the basement), and women’s volleyball, though played by very talented people, is like an MTV spring break special without the beer and interviews. But overall, quite an event, and a nice venue for the world to unite, at least superficially, politics notwithstanding, for a few short weeks.
See you in the office.
Dr. Ernest Isaacson