Overcoming Heel Pain During Pregnancy

There’s certainly a lot of planning that goes into a couple’s decision of having a baby, but how often do some of us get lost in the negatives? By this, of course, we mean the pains that come along with pregnancy. Luckily for the mothers-to-be, we no longer live in an age where discomfort has to be endured – especially with heel pain. Interested to learn more? Read more from The Foot & Ankle Center on how to overcome pain in the feet and ankles during pregnancy.

Causes

While necessary, an increase in body weight will be one of the primary causes for heel pain in pregnant women. As with any weight gain, the feet and ankles are forced to adjust to additional pressure, causing pain. A progressive change in one’s daily routines and activities is another culprit. Sitting more often than not can lead to inflammation over time.  

Treatments

The act of stretching and flexing the feet, ankles, and toes is a simple way to instantly fight inflammation. Try these nine exercises before or after you experience any signs of pain. Swelling in the feet and ankles is typical for a woman during her pregnancy as well, but this can be treated with digital orthotics. Finding shoes with properly supported footwear is tough, so we offer orthotics tailored specifically for you.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Heel pain can also originate from several common conditions including plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, or tendinitis. If you have been experiencing swelling or stiffness before, during, or after pregnancy, schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable podiatrists as soon as possible to relieve any aching.

Preventative Measures

As professionals in podiatry, we constantly work with people who wait for their heel pain to go away on its own. But while you may be able to grin and bear it, an injury to the feet or ankles can lead to other issues. This can include soreness in the back, hips, joints, knees, or even shins. Treating heel pain sooner rather than later is a preventative measure in itself for the rest of the body.

Who to Call

If the pain just won’t go away, then it’s time to call for help. The Foot & Ankle Center is prepared to answer any and all questions you may having regarding heel pain! Call us today at 314-487-9300 for more information or to schedule an appointment.


What is a Gout Attack and How Can You Avoid It?

If you’re familiar with gout, you know that it’s an intensely painful arthritic disorder that affects the toes. Sometimes, this pain can occur suddenly and without warning. If you’ve felt this, then you probably have experienced what’s known as a gout attack.

What is Gout?

Before we can discuss what gout attacks are, let’s first look at the condition itself. Gout is a disorder that results from the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, tendons, or tissues. The result is painful, sore, and aching feet.

What is a Gout Attack?

Those who suffer from this arthritic disorder may be unexpectedly hit with intense pain that comes out of nowhere. Patients will also normally experience redness and swelling in the affected area. Often, gout sufferers will explain that their feet or toes are painful to the touch – even laying a bed sheet over the area hurts. These attacks happen most commonly during the night.

What Happens During a Gout Attack?

If you experience a gout attack, then you have uric acid to blame. When too much of this acid is present in the cool blood near your lower extremities, it can cause a negative reaction in your body. As soon as the uric acid enters the toe joints, it will trigger your body’s immune response to get rid of the foreign body. Unfortunately, patients will experience the painful symptoms this response elicits.

What’s the Deal with Uric Acid?

Now that we’ve identified the culprit, let’s discuss uric acid. Your body produces this compound to break down a substance called purine. Purine can be found not only in your body but also in certain foods and drinks you may eat, including red meats, beers and other alcoholic beverages, and salt. Typically, uric acid will dissolve in your blood, and your kidneys will filter it through your urine. However, if you produce too much uric acid, it can build up, which may cause urate crystals to form, triggering gout or gout attacks.

How Can You Treat a Gout Attack?

After a proper diagnosis, your podiatrist will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to tackle the pain and reduce swelling. If you experience the attack in your toes, we will more than likely recommend elevating your feet, limiting walking, and wearing only loose slippers. Your symptoms should fade within 3 to 10 days. If they persist or if you have repeated attacks, however, contact us!

How Can You Prevent Gout Attacks?

A few dietary changes may be in order here. Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help stave off gout attacks. Additionally, limit or avoid purine-rich food like red meat, organ meats, red wine, beer, and alcohol. If you have a family history of gout, it would be wise to visit your podiatrist regularly to reduce the possibility of experiencing these attacks. Gout is certainly a painful disorder, but it doesn’t have to stay that way for you. Tackle gout head-on by calling the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center at (314) 487-9300!


Psoriatic Arthritis in Feet and How a Podiatrist Can Help

We find that several patients come to us with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot. However, there is one ailment that often masks itself as plantar fasciitis until we take a closer look at it: psoriatic arthritis.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of joint inflammation that affects those suffering from psoriasis. Apart from pain, swelling, and inflammation, this chronic condition can also cause dactylis, which is the swelling of toes in their entirety. It isn’t unusual for patients to develop dermatological evidence of psoriasis before experiencing arthritic issues.

What are the Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis?

This condition can affect any of the bones and joints in your feet and ankles. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are usually persistent throughout the day and often include the following:

  • Swelling in feet
  • Stiffness in the feet and ankles
  • Pain and difficulty with walking, especially in the morning or following an extended period of rest
  • Inflammation and tenderness in toe joints
  • Heel pain similar to plantar fasciitis
  • Changes in toenails or the surrounding skin.
    • Sometimes nails will thicken and become brittle, which is often mistaken for a fungal infection.

Left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to foot or joint deformities such as claw toe and flatfoot. These changes can then lead to other podiatric issues such as corns, calluses, and more. Psoriatic arthritis can sometimes be severe enough that patients will experience disability.

How is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed?

Your podiatrist will examine your feet for pain, swelling, range of motion, and more. He or she may also order X-rays, ultrasounds, or other imaging tests of the bone and soft tissue to narrow in on a proper diagnosis. You can feel assured knowing that your podiatrist is trained to recognize the signs of psoriatic arthritis in all parts of the foot and ankle!

How is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis; however, there are ways to help slow down its progression and help you feel more comfortable. After making a complete observation and diagnosis, we will treat your symptoms with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescribed suppressive medication to help with pain management. We can also recommend lifestyle changes and proper footwear to ease symptoms. Orthotics may be necessary if a deformity has occurred. And of course, we will only consider surgery for the affected joints and bones if all other alternatives have failed.

How Can I Prevent Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis can affect a wide variety of people and is a condition that cannot be prevented. If you are at risk, however, it’s smart to act quickly if you begin noticing symptoms such as swollen or painful toes. In the meantime, maintain a healthy weight, watch your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise regularly, and wear well-fitting shoes to keep your feet and ankles happy. Remember, though – an early diagnosis is essential in effectively managing this disease! If you have been experiencing heel pain or swelling in your feet or toes, turn to the experienced doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! We can help get you back on your feet in no time. Call us at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment with us!


7 Foot Idioms and Their Interesting Origins

Do you ever think about certain phrases and wonder why we say them or what they even mean? Language is a funny thing, and it’s even more interesting when you dig into the origin of certain idioms and adages. If you’ve ever wondered about particular foot-related phrases, then you’ve come to the right place. Check out these 7 podiatric expressions and their origins:

Achilles Heel

If you know anything about Greek mythology, you probably know that Achilles was the greatest of all the warriors in the Trojan War. He was practically untouchable except for one little weakness – his heel. His mother, Thetis, had dipped him in the River Styx to make him invincible. Unfortunately for Achilles, Thetis held him by his heel, and since the water didn’t reach it, it became his weak spot. In fact, he eventually died when an arrow struck him in the heel. So, one’s Achilles heel is (figuratively) a person’s weakness!

Cold Feet

This phrase, which indicates having doubts or losing nerve regarding a certain situation, has an uncertain etymology. Some claim that it originates from the battlefield when soldiers who had frozen feet couldn’t rush into battle. Others point to a particular scene in a 19th century German novel, of all things. In the scene, a poker player bows out of a game before losing, claiming to have cold feet and being unable to concentrate!

Put a Sock in It

If your parents or teachers ever aimed this phrase at you, they were telling you to be quiet. But why a sock? Back in the late 19th century when people would listen to music on record players or gramophones, they lacked a way to control the volume. The solution to quieting the music lay in stuffing woolen socks down the horns of these devices!

Foot the Bill

Should you be the one to “foot the bill,” then you’re the one who will be covering the expense, which is typically a hefty sum. But where did this idiom come from? In times past, footing the bill simply meant adding up the prices of a variety of items to determine the final cost. This lump sum would appear at bottom of the bill (i.e. the foot).

Get off on the Wrong Foot

This phrase, which means to begin a project or relationship badly, has two possible origins! One lends itself toward the military and soldiers marching in step. The other is steeped in superstition. The “wrong foot” to many people long ago in several cultures was the left foot, mostly because the left was seen as “evil” (in Latin, “sinistral” means left-handed or left-footed). So to get off on the “wrong foot” would be to invite misfortune into your life. Sorry to all you lefties out there!

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Picture this: you’re living in a New York apartment building in the late 19th century. The neighbor above you has just come home, and, as always, you hear him taking off his shoes. The “thunk,” followed shortly by another identical “thunk” of the remaining shoe, reverberates off the ceiling. When you’re “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” you are waiting for something inevitable to happen. Think of it in today’s terms like waiting for the bass to drop, and you can kind of feel that anxious anticipation that New Yorkers experienced centuries ago!

Foot in the Door

If you’ve got your foot in the door, it means you have a chance to do something that could lead to future opportunities such as a new job. This handy phrase originates from a description of someone literally sticking their foot past the threshold of a home or property, impeding the door from closing so the conversation can continue. Fortunately, this is now used in a figurative sense. If it were used literally, we’d have a lot more hurt feet on our hands! Speaking of foot injuries, be sure to come see the experienced doctors at The Foot And Ankle Center if you’re suffering from heel pain, bunions, or other podiatric conditions. We’re happy to treat you at one of our six locations! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment with us!


Does Your Child Have Heel Pain? It Could be Sever’s Disease

Has your child been complaining about heel pain? Have you noticed him or her limping, favoring a foot, or even walking more on their tiptoes lately? If so, your child may be experiencing Sever’s disease, one of the most common sources of heel pain for young people.

What is Sever’s Disease?

Also known as calcaneal apophysitis, which is a fancy way of saying “painful inflammation of the heel,” Sever’s disease is a source of pain that occurs in growing children and adolescents. More specifically, it is the inflammation of the heel’s growth plate.

What Causes Sever’s Disease?

Two major factors are to blame, usually: repetitive stress to the heel from sports and activities, and growth spurts during puberty. At this crucial point in a child’s life, the muscles, bones, and tendons in the feet are growing and changing rapidly. Sometimes the muscles and tendons will become tight and will pull on the heel’s growth plate, leading to Sever’s disease.

Who is Affected by Sever’s Disease?

This affliction only troubles children and adolescents. They may be at an increased risk of experiencing Sever’s disease if they participate in sports or if they tend to wear very flat shoes.

What are the Symptoms of Sever’s Disease?

Usually, the symptoms of Sever’s disease include heel pain, tenderness, and swelling at the heel. Sometimes children may experience stiffness in their feet or heels upon waking. Your child may experience these symptoms in one or both heels.

How is Sever’s Disease Treated?

Fortunately, this type of heel pain can be treated with a few simple measures. Your podiatrist will focus on reducing the pain and swelling in your child’s heels. That means over-the-counter pain relievers to decrease the swelling and limiting exercise and sports activities until the pain is gone. This period of rest may sometimes last for several months. Your child may also need to undergo strength conditioning, do certain stretching exercises for their Achilles, and wear heel pads in their sports shoes. Orthotics can also help your child heal from Sever’s disease.

Will Sever’s Disease Come Back?

While it isn’t unusual for this heel pain to recur, it will not return once your child is fully grown and the growth plates have matured into solid bone. In order to prevent Sever’s disease from recurring, your child should wear well-fitting shoes with padded soles, stretch before and after physical activity, and ice their heels after engaging in sports.

The Experts at The Foot & Ankle Center Can Heal Sever’s Disease If your child is experiencing heel pain, don’t wait. Make an appointment with your friends at The Foot & Ankle Center by calling (314) 487-9300. We can determine if your child has Sever’s disease or a completely different foot problem and get them on the road to recovery!