Why does your heel hurt, and what's going on with the arch of your foot? It's sore, too, particularly when you get out of bed in the morning. At Foot and Ankle Clinic, Inc. in Spokane Valley, WA, podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Babol analyzes the reasons for heel pain and can help you feel and function at your very best.
Could it be plantar fasciitis?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says plantar fasciitis causes the majority of heel pain cases in adults. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the wide band of connective tissue stretching across the arch of the foot between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the base of the toes.
Every time you put your foot on the ground, the plantar fascia stretches. When you lift it off the ground, it rebounds. If you run, walk, or simply stand on your feet too much, the plantar fascia stretches too much and too often, becoming strained and painful.
Adding to the problem are factors such as:
- High-heeled shoes
- Shoes with poor arch and heel support
- The presence of a bony heel spur on the calcaneus
- Flat arches
- Sports such as running or tennis
- Gait problems such as overpronation which place excessive twisting forces on the plantar fascia
Getting help for heel pain
At her Spokane Valley, WA, office, Dr. Babol attentively listens to the complaints of people with heel pain. She examines their foot structure and may take X-rays and other kinds of imaging. An apparatus called a contact digitizer shows the podiatrist how you place your feet when you walk. This information helps the foot doctor compose the treatment plant perfect for your issue, your foot structure and your activity level.
Treating heel pain
Surgery typically is not necessary to correct plantar fasciitis and any associated heel spurs. Dr. Babol may recommend some of the following depending on her diagnostic findings and your preferences:
- Stretching exercises for the foot and calf (these work best in the morning upon rising)
- Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen
- Cortisone injections
- Custom-made shoe orthotics, inserts which provide support and cushioning, elevate fallen arches and correct gait problems
- Physical therapy
- Losing weight
Most people respond well within a matter of weeks. The doctor considers surgery only when she sees little improvement toward treatment goals.
Fix that heel pain
Dr. Babol at Foot and Ankle Clinic, Inc. helps numerous patients from all walks of life conquer their heel pain. Would you like to be one of them? Why not call for a consultation? For the Spokane Valley, WA, office, phone (866) 303-3668, and for the locations in Hayden or Kellogg, ID, call (208) 762-0909.
While there are many people with flat feet, often times they won’t even know it; however, there are others with flat feet that regularly experience pain, soreness, and other problems. While flat feet is rarely considered a serious issue, if you are dealing with problems as a result of your flat feet it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist who can offer up ways to prevent problems.
How to tell if you have flat feet
If the arches of your feet touch the floor when you stand then you have flat feet. The arches of our feet don’t actually develop until around the age of six; however, sometimes flat feet develop due to injury or repeated stress on the feet.
Symptoms of flat feet
The most common symptom of flat feet is foot pain that originates in the heels and arches. You may find that the pain gets worse when standing or moving for long periods of time. Those who are physically active may experience pain more regularly. Sometime swelling on the inside of the foot or ankle may also occur.
Potential complications of flat feet
Since flat feet can be responsible for misalignments, this can lead to ankle and knee problems. If you are noticing foot, ankle, knee, hip, or lower back pain then you will want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to find out what’s going on.
Treating flat feet
If you aren’t experiencing pain or other issues then you won’t require any treatment for your flat feet. While we can’t fix flat feet our podiatrist can provide you with simple solutions to reduce pain and discomfort associated with faulty biomechanics within the feet. Common ways to prevent flat foot-related pain include:
- Using arch supports in your shoes, which can take pressure off the arches and provide cushioning and support when standing or moving.
- Performing certain stretching exercises prescribed by a podiatrist. There are specific exercises designed to stretch the Achilles tendon to alleviate and prevent foot pain.
- Wearing the appropriate footwear that provides further arch support. Shoes that are old and worn, as well as certain styles such as sandals or flip-flops won’t provide your feet with the proper support they need.
- Undergoing physical therapy if you are dealing with foot pain due to overuse injuries, which is common among athletes. Physical therapy can help strengthen certain ligaments, tendons and muscles of the feet and ankles to prevent excessive wear and tear, as well as pain and soreness in the arches and heels.
If you are dealing with pain due to flat feet and can’t seem to get your discomfort under control then you will want to talk with a podiatrist who can recommend certain exercises, proper footwear, and custom orthotics to improve the health of your feet. Talk to a podiatrist today.
Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
Are you dealing with pain, burning, tingling or numbness between your toes or in the ball of the foot? If you said “yes” then you could be dealing with a neuroma, a pinched nerve or benign tumor of the nerve that is often found between the third and fourth toes.
The classic symptom of a neuroma is pain, particularly when walking—a factor that leads many people to liken the condition to feeling like a pebble is in their shoe. You may find that the pain eases up whenever you aren’t walking or when you rub the pained area with your hands. While neuromas can happen to anyone, they are most commonly found in women.
While the causes of a neuroma are still not clear, there are factors that can increase the likelihood of developing one, such as:
- Extremely high arches
- Flat feet
- Trauma that leads to nerve damage in the feet
- Improper footwear (high heels over two-inches tall; pointed toes)
- Repeated stress placed on the foot
Treating a Neuroma
A neuroma will not go away on its own, so it’s important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing any of the condition's symptoms. The type of treatment or treatments recommended to you will depend on the severity of the neuroma.
Those with minor neuromas may be able to lessen symptoms by wearing shoes that provide ample room for the toes and offer thick soles that provide more support and cushioning for the toes and balls of the feet. Sometimes a podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics to place inside the shoes, as well.
Your podiatrist may also recommend padding or taping the ball of the foot to improve faulty biomechanics and reduce discomfort. While medication will not eliminate the problem, it can temporarily alleviate symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can often briefly reduce pain and swelling, but for those dealing with more severe pain, steroid injections may be necessary to ease symptoms.
Surgery for a Neuroma
Surgery only becomes necessary when conservative treatment options have failed to provide relief, or when the neuroma has progressed enough that conservative care won’t be enough. During surgery, the inflamed nerve is removed through a simple outpatient procedure. Afterward, there is a short recovery period of a couple of weeks before patients are able to move about pain-free once again!
Give us a Call!
If you are dealing with new or worsening foot pain it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist that can help give you the answers you need. Schedule an appointment today.
Heel pain is a result of a condition called plantar fasciitis, also known as heel spur syndrome if there's a spur. There are other causes like a stress fracture, arthritis, or maybe even a cyst. Whatever the cause behind your heel pain, Dr. Jacqueline Babol, your Spokane Valley, WA, Hayden and Kellogg, ID podiatrist can help.
What is plantar fasciitis?
It's the inflammation of the band of tissue extending from the heel to the toes. The tissue is called fascia and it first becomes irritated then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.
What are the causes of inflammation?
This happens because of a deformed foot structure. People who have overly flat feet or high-arched feet may develop plantar fasciitis. Other than genetics, poor choices contribute to this condition:
Wearing inappropriate footwear like:
- Non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces
- Standing for long hours on your feet
- Obesity also contributes to plantar fasciitis.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms include pain on the bottom of the heel, pain that worsens upon arising, and pain that increases over a few months.
In other words, it's most painful when getting up in the morning or after sitting for a long time. You'll feel relief after pacing for a few minutes because walking stretches the fascia, but, for some, the pain returns.
How does your Spokane Valley, WA, Hayden and Kellogg, ID, podiatrist diagnose it?
- She will delve into your medical history
- Examine your foot to rule out other issues
- Use diagnostic methods like x-rays or other imaging modalities to confirm the reason for heel pain
What are some non-surgical treatments?
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with home remedies:
- Stretching exercises
- Avoid going barefoot
- Limit activities
- Shoe modifications
Other treatment options include:
- Padding and strapping
- Orthotic devices
- Injection therapy
- Removable walking cast
- Night splint
- Physical therapy
What should you do next?
If you have more questions about heel pain, please call Foot and Ankle Clinic in Spokane Valley, WA, at (866) 303-3668 and in Hayden and Kellogg, ID, at (208) 768-0909.
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