Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the long, dense band of connective tissue (the plantar fascia) that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot.
Repeated strain on the plantar fascia can cause tiny tears in the ligament. As tension and tearing increases, so does inflammation and irritation of the affected area. Risk factors of plantar fasciitis include foot arch problems (flat foot and high arches); excess weight; running; and a tight Achilles tendon.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is gradually developing pain on the bottom of the heel. The pain is usually worst in the morning and after sitting or standing for a long period of time. For some, the pain subsides after walking or stretching.
To reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis:
- Rest. Limit and/or avoid activities that make your heel hurt.
- Ice. Reduce pain and swelling by icing the affected area each day.
- Stretch. Stretch your heel throughout the day, especially when you first wake up in the morning.
- Footwear modifications. Wear shoes that provide good arch support and a cushioned sole. Ask your podiatrist about pads and shoe inserts to relieve your heel pain.
When conservative treatments aren't effective, or your pain persists for more than a few weeks, schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. A podiatrist can recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs. This may include stretching exercises, shoe padding, orthotic devices, night splints or therapy. Most patients respond to non-surgical treatments, but for pain that won't go away, surgery may be required.
With proper rest and treatment, recovering from plantar fasciitis can take just a few months. Visit us when you first experience pain for a diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.
Find out when you should turn to a professional to treat your heel pain.
While heel pain is often something that most people will ignore, there comes a time when you can no longer ignore it and will need to turn to your podiatrists in St. Louis, MO, who can address your concerns and get you on the right treatment plan. Find out when heel pain warrants a trip to see us.
What is causing my heel pain?
Most of the time the cause of heel pain is mechanical in nature rather than from an injury; however, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to experience heel pain related to an injury. Common causes include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- A bone bruise
- Achilles tendonitis
- Heel pad inflammation
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Severs disease
- Morton’s neuroma
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- A stress fracture
As you can see, this is a pretty long list of problems that could be leading to your heel pain. While plantar fasciitis is most commonly the culprit when it comes to heel pain, you won’t necessarily know until you visit one of our foot doctors in St. Louis.
When should I visit a doctor?
While not every foot problem warrants a trip to the doctors, it’s important to be able to tell when it’s time to seek a medical professional’s keen eye for a proper diagnosis. Not all problems can be treated on your own. Here is when it’s time to pick up the phone and give us a call:
- If you are experiencing severe heel pain
- If there is severe swelling around the heel
- If you aren’t able to stand up on your tip-toes or point your foot
- If your heel has become numb or tingly
- If you have just experienced an injury and severe pain immediately followed
- If you’ve had heel pain that hasn’t gone away despite rest and at-home care
The Foot And Ankle Center is proud to serve St. Louis, St. Charles, MO, Granite City, IL, Fairview Heights, IL, Maryville, IL, and Jerseyville, IL. Don’t let heel pain dictate your daily life. We can help set things right again!
Characterized by thick, unsightly, discolored nails, fungus-infected toenails can be irritating, embarrassing and painful. For years, the only treatments available for toenail, fungus were topical and oral medications or removal of the nail. Typically, the medications were largely ineffective and removal of the nail plate was painful and debilitating.
Fast, Effective and Pain-Free Nail Fungus Treatment
A new breakthrough in technology is making it possible to get rid of your nail fungus fast- a new procedure known as PinPointe FootLaser. The new, patented laser technology treats nail fungus safely and quickly, with no drugs, no anesthesia, and no pain. It's specially designed to penetrate your toenail, vaporizing the fungus embedded deep in your nail bed. Better yet, the powerful laser beam targets the infection only and has no effect on surrounding healthy tissue. In just one appointment at our office, we can treat your nail fungus, and within months following the treatment, the toenail will replace itself with a healthy, clear, fungus free nail.
Avoiding Irritating Toenail Fungus
Prevention is key to avoiding a fungal infection. The following tips can help you avoid toenail fungus.
- Practice good hygiene and inspect feet and toes regularly
- Try not to injure your nail by cutting it too short, as trauma to the nail may lead to infection
- Wear moisture wicking socks
- Wear dry, proper-fitting shoes that allow air to circulate around your feet
- Wear shower sandals when you are at a public pool or shower
Left untreated, a fungal infection can spread to other toenails, the skin on the feet and even the fingernails. Severe cases can impair one's ability to walk or lead to painful ingrown toenails. It's important to seek care when you notice signs of infection.
If you're ready to eliminate your toenail fungus, contact our office and learn more about the new PinPointe FootLaser. We can evaluate your fungal infection and make recommendations for best treating and eradicating your toenail fungus once and for all.
A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that can develop in various parts of your body. In the foot, the most common occurring neuroma develops at the base of the third and fourth toes. This condition is referred to as Morton's neuroma.
There are typically no physical signs of Morton's neuroma, such as a lump or a knot. Instead, symptoms may include:
- A sharp, achy or burning pain in the ball of your foot
- Numbness, tingling, or cramping in the toes or forefoot
- Feeling as if you're standing on a pebble in your shoe
While the exact cause of Morton's neuroma is unknown, the growth of the neuroma seems to occur in response to injury, pressure or irritation to one of the nerves that lead to the toes. People with foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes and flat feet are at higher risk for developing a neuroma. Women are also more likely to develop this condition, as wearing high-heels or narrow-toed shoes can increase pressure on the toes. Other potential causes are activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running.
Morton's neuroma can make walking and performing normal activities difficult and painful. Treatment options vary with severity, and identifying the neuroma in its earliest stage of development is important to avoid more invasive treatments or surgical correction. Left untreated, neuromas tend to worsen, so it's always best to visit our office at the first sign of pain.
Early treatments aim to relieve or reduce pressure on the area around the affected toes. Depending on the severity of your neuroma, a podiatrist may recommend:
- Modifications to footwear. Wide-toed shoes relieve pressure on the neuroma.
- Shoe inserts or padding to provide support for the arch of the foot, which removes pressure from the nerve.
- Anti-inflammatory medications can help ease any pain and inflammation. Ask your doctor first.
- Icing to reduce inflammation.
- Rest to lessen repetitive pressure on the neuroma.
In the most severe cases, surgery may be recommended for patients who do not respond to conservative treatments. We can help you determine the best approach for your specific condition.
Metatarsalgia denotes a common foot condition characterized by pain and inflammation of the joints and bones of the ball of the foot - the area just before the toes, also called the metatarsal region.
Symptoms of metatarsalgia can develop suddenly, especially after an increase in exercise or high-impact activities, but normally the problems develop over time. Common symptoms of metatarsalgia include:
- Sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot - the part of the sole just behind the toes
- Pain that intensifies when you stand, walk or run
- Pain that radiates from the balls of the feet into the toes
- Numbness or tingling in the toes
- A feeling in your feet as if you are walking with a pebble in your shoe
- Pain that increases when walking barefoot
Sometimes a single factor can trigger metatarsalgia. More often, multiple factors contribute to the pain, including:
- Over-training or Over-activity. Extensive training and high-impact sports, especially running, places an abnormal amount of stress on the balls of the feet, causing irritation, inflammation and pain.
- Other foot disorders. High arches, hammertoes, bunions, stress fractures and Morton's neuroma can all trigger metatarsalgia symptoms.
- Poor-fitting footwear. High heels, narrow-toed shoes and shoes without adequate padding can all contribute to metatarsal problems.
- Excess weight. Extra weight places excess pressure on your metatarsals.
- Aging. The fat pads on the metatarsals thin out as a person ages, diminishing the ability of the metatarsal bones to protect themselves.
Although generally not serious, metatarsalgia can disrupt your day to day activities, and when left untreated can lead to additional pain in your unaffected foot, back or hips. Treatment to eliminate metatarsalgia symptoms can be as simple as resting, icing the affected area and wearing proper-fitting shoes to significantly reduce swelling and ease pain.
When conservative treatments aren't effective and pain persists, visit our practice for a full exam and a proper diagnosis. In most cases, metatarsalgia can be treated non-surgically. An experienced podiatrist may prescribe specially-designed orthotics or shock-absorbing insoles and arch supports to prevent and minimize future problems with metatarsalgia.
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