Posts for category: Foot Care
5 Preventative Tips to Help Avoid Heel Pain
After being on your feet all day, you’re not surprised that your feet are sore. The same thing happens every day, but you know what’ll fix the problem – a nice foot rub. Don’t get us wrong, good foot massages go a long way, but have you ever thought of ending your pain instead of appeasing it? After all, why should you have to endure any pain? Here are 5 preventative tips to help you avoid heel pain.
If the Shoe Fits
Make sure your shoes fit properly. This may sound odd, but people make unnecessary compromises when it comes to their feet. For example, a study was done to determine the commonness between wearing the wrong shoe size and how it related to pain for older adults. Results ultimately showed that 48% of participating women wore shoes larger than their feet and that “incorrectly sized shoes were associated with ankle pain in women.” There’s a reason stores have people to find the right shoe for you. Utilize them.
Dress for the Occasion
Try to always wear the right shoes for the occasion. When it comes to activities, your favorite pair of cowboy boots will not always be the best option. Wear dance shoes for dancing since those shoes are designed for flexibility and stability. Wear cleats for outdoor sports to help you gain traction on grass and dirt. Without the proper support, you will definitely feel the pain in your ankles the next day!
Exercise and Stretch
Find the time to stretch and flex. According to Healthline, “taking time each day to work on your strength and flexibility can ease your discomfort and improve your range of motion.” Check out these 8 ankle stretches, which include ankle circles, the towel stretch, and other ones we would recommend!
Avoid Walking Barefoot
Surprisingly, walking barefoot on firm surfaces causes heel pain in some people. It makes sense to want to slip out of your shoes when you get home from a long day of work. However, remember why you put the shoes on in the first place. Shoes both cushion and support your feet. The floor in your home is no different than the floor at your work.
Find Custom Orthotics
This can be a life changer. Orthotics refers to any device inserted into a shoe. Sometimes called arch supports, orthotics allows people to stand, walk, and run more efficiently and comfortably. Multiple types can be found including:
- Rigid Orthotics: designed to control function and are used primarily for walking or dress shoes.
- Soft Orthotics: used to absorb shock, increase balance, and take pressure off uncomfortable or sore spots.
- Semi-Rigid Orthotics: provide foot balance for walking or participating in sports.
If you have a toothache, you go to the dentist, not to the pharmacy. Why should it be any different when you have a foot ache? The average person will wait months before seeing a podiatrist to check out their pain. Don’t be that person! Stop by the Foot & Ankle Center today and speak with one of our friendly doctors about your heel pain.
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!
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.
A bunion (also known as hallux valgus), is a deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe that causes the bone to protrude, forming a bump on the inside of the foot. Bunions are often painful and cause the big toe to slant away from the joint bone in the direction of the other toes. Bunions result from excessive pressure on the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which causes pain and inflammation. In addition to protruding from the side of the foot, the skin over a bunion may also become red and develop a callous or corn. The podiatrists at The Foot and Ankle Center in St. Louis, MO, advise patients to schedule an appointment when pain or sensitivity persists for more than two weeks, and does not respond to self-care and conservative methods like rest or over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.
Bunion Prevention and Treatment in St. Louis, MO
Bunions typically start out small, but get progressively worse over time, making it difficult to walk or even wear shoes in many cases as the protrusion grows larger and the joint becomes more inflamed. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), bunions are more common in women, although they can affect anyone. The most common causes are wearing tight, poorly fitting shoes that squeeze the toes, heredity or inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, which leads to joint pain and deterioration.
Podiatrists typically prescribe conservative treatments like ice and ibuprofen to relieve swelling and inflammation as the initial method of treatment. Switching to comfortable and supportive footwear to relieve pressure on the joint, and shoe inserts like padding to prevent friction between the bunion and shoe or custom orthotic supports are also common. If conservative treatments fail and the pain and inflammation from a larger bunion make it difficult to walk and put pressure on the toe, a podiatrist may recommend surgery to shave the protruding portion of the bone and help to properly realign the toe.
Find a Podiatrist in St. Louis, MO
A little foot pain from time to time is normal. But persistent pain or swelling can be a sign of an injury or orthopedic condition. For more information on bunion treatment and recovery, contact The Foot and Ankle Center by calling (314) 487-9300 to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in St. Louis today.