Posts for: September, 2015
Whenever we talk about heel height we always seem to talk about women. But let’s take some time to concentrate on men instead. Men’s heel heights are not a normal topic of conversation. Most men don’t even think about the height of their shoes when they buy them, but just like women’s shoes, men’s shoes come in a variety of heights too.
Many men complain about arch pain, heel pain, and other common conditions. One possible cause of these conditions could be that their shoes are too flat. Many athletic shoes and popular casual shoes like converse are completely flat and offer no support for the heel. This can be a major problem and contribute to many foot ailments. I would imagine that most men don’t even think about the height of their shoes. And I’m sure that quite a few men don’t even know the proper terms for the different styles of shoes offered to them.
If you want something with a very low heel that will give some support to the heel, you should go for a loafer or moccasin type shoe. These shoes are generally worn casually, but can be worn with a business suit if they match appropriately. The moccasin will be the flatter of the two and the heel is not truly noticeable. For a loafer, there will be a distinct heel, albeit a very short one. These styles provide minimum support, but can still be more beneficial than a flat running shoe.
For styles with distinct heels of .5” to 1.5”, you want to aim for an oxford type shoe. There are many sub-styles of oxford shoes, but the average oxford will have about a 1” heel height with a good cushioned footbed and lots of support. Dress boots will also have a short to medium heel and provide good support.
And then of course we have elevator shoes. Every man on the shorter side of average has probably looked into elevator shoes at least once. These shoes can add 2” to 5” to a man’s height almost invisibly. True elevator shoes are built specifically for the purpose of lifting the heel and generally add a small platform under the sole to compensate for the additional heel height. Heel lifts are also available as an option and can be placed in almost any shoe to raise the height. In addition to making men appear taller, these lifts can be very helpful in adding much needed support to an otherwise heel-less shoe. However, you must make sure that the rest of your foot is supported properly. Heel lifts will put additional pressure on the balls and toes of the foot, which many men are not used to. A full sized insert that provides cushioning is ideal.
Hopefully by now, any man reading this has at least looked down at the shoes he is wearing to start contemplating his heel height. If not, take a short look in your closet when you get home and see if you are getting the support you need. Talk to your podiatrist about your options and the best height for your foot type. We are always here to help.
We have been talking about heel pain and while there are many causes, there are a few specific things that can help treat many of those causes. One of those things is R.I.C.E. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Let’s take these one at a time.
If you injure yourself or start to feel pain, rest is the first things to start with. It’s very simple…Don’t use the part of your body that hurts! Stop all activity immediately and get your weight off the injured foot. The less stress you put on a recently injured foot, the better. Your podiatrists will probably recommend keeping any weight or stress off that foot for several days to a week after the injury. Rushing back into using a bad foot can cause recurrent problems.
Most people wonder whether to apply heat or ice after an injury. In the case of a foot, ankle, or heel injury, the answer is ice. Flexible ice packs are a great thing to keep around in case of accidental injury. The cold will reduce your pain and any swelling that may occur. You should only ice for about 10 to 20 minutes at a time, preferably three times daily. After two or three days, if there is no longer any swelling, you can switch to heat. Any heat or cold should not be applied directly to the body. Place a towel or protective layer between your skin and the ice pack.
This is an important part of the process that a lot of people will skip because they don’t exactly know what it means or how to achieve it. Compression means wrapping an area and putting slight pressure on an injury to help reduce swelling and keep the injured area immobile. Many people are unfamiliar with the proper use of an Ace Bandage for wrapping. If you don’t know how to properly wrap your foot, ask your podiatrist for a demonstration and advice. If you don’t want to mess with wrapping, try a pair of compression socks. They are as easy as slipping them on and letting them go to work. There are many brands and some different strengths of compression. You can find a great selection here at the Foot and Ankle Wellness Center.
Elevation is the last step in the R.I.C.E. process. Prop that injured foot up on some pillows and try to get it comfortably above the level of your heart. Do this while icing to provide maximum efficiency. Elevation of this sort helps to reduce the buildup of excess fluid or swelling. It may be a good idea to elevate the injured area whenever you are sitting or lying down in the first few days after the injury.
R.I.C.E. is a simple process that works for almost any injury to any part of the body. It is particularly useful and effective for foot, ankle, and heel injuries. These simple at home practices can help reduce recovery time and stop further injury. If you aren’t sure exactly what to do or how to wrap your foot or when it might be something that needs a more serious treatment than R.I.C.E., ask your podiatrist. Don’t be shy. Remember, the FAAWC has walk-in appointment hours every Friday.
It's that lovely time of year again where sports fans can enjoy the end of baseball season and the beginning of football season. Which sport are you rooting for?
September is heel pain month. There are many causes of heel pain including stress fractures, tendonitis, bursitis, nerve entrapment, and tendon tear. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of these.
There are small sacs of fluid throughout the body called bursae. These sacs exist where muscles and tendons slide across bone. A properly functioning bursae will help your body function smoothly, but occasionally these bursae can become inflamed which makes movement painful. The constant use of muscles that rub over the inflamed bursae can cause even more inflammation and make the problem worse.
Can you guess what the main symptom of bursitis is? Pain! This could be minor pain that causes small aches after repetitive use or it could be sudden sharp pain. Pain is usually worse when you press on the affected area and you may see redness and swelling.
There are many things that can lead to bursitis. Some of the most common include repeated minor impact of the same area or a sudden trauma to the area. There are secondary factors that can contribute, such as inflammatory diseases, gout, and even simple things like not stretching before exercising.
When this pain persists for a week or more, stops and then comes back, or is interfering with your daily activities, you need to make an appointment to see your podiatrist. Your podiatrist may take x-rays to rule out other causes of heel pain or order blood work to pinpoint the spot of inflammation.
Don’t be shy about heel pain. There are plenty of causes, but pain is never normal and is not likely to go away one it’s own. Stay tuned for info on the other causes of heel pain.