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Posts for tag: heel pain

Heel pain has many causes, but the results are always the same – pain. If you’re living with heel pain not brought on by an injury, you need to see a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis. Pump bump (Haglund’s deformity), bursitis, heel spurs, and tendonitis are all common causes of heel pain and can lead to Insertional Achilles Tendonitis.

A tendon is a strong band of tissue connecting a muscle to a bone. There are over 1,320 tendons in the human body. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus) and helps lift the heel off the ground when walking. Achilles tendons are prone to both overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, and sudden injuries, such as a tendon rupture.

READ MORE: Kids and Heel Pain

Insertional Achilles Tendonitis is a condition in which the end of the Achilles attached to the calcaneus begins to deteriorate. Onset is slow, with pain occurring at first during activity and then progressing in severity until you are forced to discontinue activity. Swelling and redness will be present, and it may be difficult to stretch the back of your ankle.

Your podiatrist will begin with a physical examination of your heel and ask you about your activity level and the type of pain you are experiencing. Although deterioration will not show on an X-ray, your doctor may take them to check for fractures and bone spurs. MRIs are the ideal choice for imaging the tendon to see the exact severity and location of the deterioration.

Conservative treatments for Insertional Achilles Tendonitis include RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), stretching, use of orthotics, and physical therapy to strengthen the foot and ankle. Laser treatments can assist in pain management and promote faster healing times. Lasers have documented success in reducing bone spurs and preventing further degeneration of tendons.

READ MORE: Heel Pain? Arch Pain? Could be...

For severe pain and deterioration, a surgical solution may be necessary. During the surgical procedure, the tendon is detached from the heel, bone spurs are removed, the tendon is prepped, and the Achilles is reattached using the Arthrex SpeedBridge repair system. We use this innovative 4-anchor bridge because it allows for additional compression and stability which will increase your range of motion and speed healing.

If you are experiencing heel pain without an obvious injury, you need to see a podiatrist. Don’t wait until heel pain takes you out of the game and keeps you from the activities you love. Call the FAAWC today.

Golf has often been called a good walk ruined, but golf involves so much more than walking. The demands of golf on your feet are like no other sport. During most activities, your feet are either moving forward in a steady gait or side-to-side with quick cuts and sudden direction changes. A golf swing is a unique blend of passive and active motions that both strain and twist the feet, causing a variety of problems.

Shin Splints

Shin splints occur when the stress of walking or running slowly tears muscle away from the bone. It is a painful condition that is all too often ignored. Shin splints can be brought on by starting with too much exercise too fast, changing from flat to hilly terrains, exercising without stretching, and playing in worn out or unsupportive shoes. Because bones, muscles, and ligaments are involved in this injury, it is important not to “play through the pain.” Give yourself a rest, use RICE at home, and if your shin splints return, come see a podiatrist immediately.

READ MORE: Don't Let Shin Splints Halt Your Exercise

Plantar Fasciitis

Characterized by heel and arch pain, plantar fasciitis is a condition affecting the band of tissue across the bottom of your foot that connects your toes to your heel and supports your arch. In other words, it’s important. Repeated stress on the plantar fascia may result in small ligament tears. Most people will experience this pain first thing in the morning as they are getting out of bed. Your podiatrist can create a custom plan with you that involves tapings, arch supports, stretches, and strengthening exercises.

READ MORE: What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and connects your heel to your calf muscle. It needs a certain degree of flexibility for an effective and proper golf swing. Repeating the same swing over and over again with a tight Achilles tendon can lead to damage and pain. Overuse injuries are the most common foot and ankle injuries in golf. Be sure to stretch before each game and wear supportive shoes.

Neuromas

If it feels like there’s a pebble constantly underfoot, you most likely have a Morton’s neuroma. This is caused by a thickening of the tissue around a nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes. Golfers may experience tingling, pain, or numbness in this area which can throw off balance and concentration. Wearing tight footwear that leaves little toe room can contribute to a neuroma.

READ MORE: Neuromas

Hallux Rigidus

Your balance can be thrown off significantly if you suffer from hallux rigidus, a stiffening of the big toe. At first, this may be minor, but as the condition worsens, you will experience pain, loss of balance, and even difficulty walking. After all, the big toe takes about 40% of the weight load when you walk and is the last part to push off from the ground. Non-surgical solutions are available if this condition is caught early. Wear properly fitting shoes and get to the podiatrist at the first sign of a stiff big toe.

Foot and ankle injuries in golf are more common than you know. Golfers who don’t stretch, don’t wear proper footwear, and don’t have a proper golf swing, could be putting themselves at risk of any number of foot ailments. Get training from a professional to ensure your golf swing isn’t damaging your feet.

Your child has been complaining about their heels hurting after [insert your child’s activity here] and you don’t know what’s really wrong. Pain relievers and rest seem to make it better, but activity flares it up again. This could be Sever’s Disease.

The name may sound ominous, but it’s a very treatable condition that occurs in children ages 8-15. With proper care and treatment, there will be no future side effectsIf your child is complaining of heel pain, particularly while running, walking, or jumping, they could be experiencing Sever’s.

READ MORE: Kids and Flat Feet

Feet do not stop growing until after you reach 14-16 years old. Until this time, the calcaneus (heel bone) is still forming. As bones develop, cartilage at the end of the heel transforms into bone cells until the heel is completely grown. For active children, this can present a problem since the end of the heel is still soft and prone to damage.

READ MORE: Do you Know What RICE is?

The best immediate answer to heel pain. Use of anti-inflammatory medications can help also, but it’s important to see a podiatrist. If the pain is severe or reoccurring, your child may need a foot cast for protection. In most cases, rest, stretching, avoiding running on hard surfaces, and other preventative measures can relieve symptoms and prevent them from returning. Most kids will resume normal activity within two weeks to two months.

If your child has been complaining of heel pain during or after activity, come see your podiatrist today. There’s no reason to live with pain.

Exercising and maintaining an active lifestyle means always wearing the right shoes. Proper footwear is critical to preventing and treating common foot ailments. With such a variety of exercise shoes out there, how do we know what to choose?

Exercise shoes fall into three basic categories: walking, running, and cross-training. Walkers strike the ground with their heel and roll forward to push off their toes. Shoes designed for this movement will be flexible at the forefoot for optimal toe mobility and have moderate to minimal cushioning. The heel of the shoe is not built up so that the foot remains parallel to the ground.

Depending on their stride, runners may strike the ground with their heel or mid-foot and roll in an S pattern to push off their big toe. With each stride, a runner’s feet and ankles must withstand 2 to 4X their bodyweight. For this reason, running shoes have increased cushion in the heel and forefoot. Running shoes also tend to have large mesh panels for breathability.

READ MORE: What Happens to Feet During a Marathon

Cross training shoes are designed for lateral (side to side) movement. Quick turns and sudden direction changes can mean disaster for your ankles if not properly supported. Cross training shoes have little to no bend and should be used primarily for aerobics, weightlifting, kickboxing, and sports like basketball, racquetball, tennis and more.

Using the wrong shoe for any activity can lead to a variety of issues. Lack of cushion on hard surfaces can put you at risk for stress fractures, heel pain, and tendonitis. Lack of arch support can cause put excess strain on the plantar fascia. Wearing the wrong size shoe can squeeze toes together, forming bunions and corns, or backward, creating hammertoes.

READ MORE: Shoes for Every Activity

No matter what sort of activity you perform, the right shoes are paramount to safety and fun. When trying on exercise shoes, use these handy tips:

  • Try on shoes later in the day
  • Try them on with the same socks, inserts, or braces that you will wear when exercising
  • Get your feet measured every time; they change through the years
  • Replace shoes every 300-500 miles (1 or 2x yearly)
  • Don’t skimp on price; poor quality shoes will damage feet, necessitating costly treatments
  • Bring in your current shoes so the sales associate can find similar models
  • Look for shoe features that match the unique needs of your foot (e.g. wide toe box, lateral ankle support)

READ MORE: Tips for the Shoe Store

You may have seen the title of this blog and thought of the pointed wheels worn by cowboys on their boots to urge a horse forward. Yes, those are also called spurs, but a Heel Spur is different. Your bones are constantly being repaired and strengthened by your body to keep up with the stresses of everyday activity, but when this process goes awry, it can leave odd-shaped calcium deposits on the exterior of the bone. If this happens to your heels, it's a heel spur. The deposit may be pointed and sharp or it could be flat and barely noticeable. It could cause intense pain or have no symptoms at all. Generalized pain in the heel needs to be evaluated by a podiatrist since there are many causes.

 

Plantar Fasciitis

This is one of the most common conditions associated with heel spurs. The plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. When the plantar fascia is damaged, your body sends a message to your heel to strengthen the bone to make up for lost support. A heel spur brought on by plantar fasciitis forms on the underside of the bone and if it becomes prominent enough, you may begin to feel it like a lump in your shoe. About 50% of all heel spurs form as a result of plantar fasciitis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

 

READ MORE: Heel Pain? Arch Pain? Could be...

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis

This is an arthritic condition that causes excess bone growth in the spine. Symptoms generally present with pain and stiffness in the low back and hips, but everything in our bodies is connected to something else. Unfortunately, that something else in this case is your feet. Both your Achilles tendon and your plantar fascia are at risk of being damaged by AS, which can lead to heel spurs on the back or bottom of your heel.

 

DISH

Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostasis. When we break down these words, we find that DISH is a spread out (Diffuse) pain with no identifiable cause (idiopathic) in the bones (skeletal) that involves too much growth (hyperostosis). Calcium deposits form down the sides of the upper spine and neck, but can be found as far away as the heels. Heels spurs from DISH will form on the back side of the heel and can make it difficult to wear certain shoes that rub in the affected area.

 

No matter what is causing your heel spur, the MLS pain laser can stop an active spur from growing and relieve the associated pain. Another good idea—and don’t faint when I say this—is to wear a raised heel. Not a HIGH heel, mind you, but a shoe that tilts the foot slightly forward can avoid excess pressure on the affected area. There’s no getting around it, if you suspect you may have a heel spur, you need to come see us. Your podiatrist will check for multiple causes of heel spurs and offer treatment suggestions.

 

READ MORE: Get Summer Ready Feet Today