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December 2021

Tuesday, 28 December 2021 00:00

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a connective tissue in the heel that stretches across the bottom length of your foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue becomes inflamed, causing heel pain and discomfort during physical activity. Although the condition is completely treatable, traditional methods can take up to a year to start becoming effective.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by a number of everyday activities, so understanding the condition is important for managing and treating it. One of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis is excessive running, especially with improper fitting or non-supportive shoes. Too much exercise can lead to the plantar fascia being overworked and overstretched, which can cause tears in the tissue. Along with improper fitting shoes, pronation, the rolling of the feet inward, is a common cause of plantar fasciitis. If not treated properly, the plantar fascia becomes overstretched and starts to tear, causing inflammation.

Despite the common causes of plantar fasciitis, there are many different treatment options. For less severe cases, conservative home remedies include taking anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain, applying ice packs to the bottom of your foot and heel, slowly stretching and exercising your feet to re-strengthen the tissue, and using orthotic devices are all ways to help manage your plantar fasciitis.

For more severe cases, shockwave therapy has become a common solution for plantar fasciitis. Shockwave therapy can effectively break up the tissue on the bottom of your foot which facilitates healing and regeneration. This fights the chronic pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Even if this doesn’t work, surgery is always a final option. Surgery on the tissue itself can be done to permanently correct the issue and stop the inflammation and pain in your heels.

No matter what the case may be, consulting your podiatrist is the first and best step to recovery. Even the slightest amount of heel pain could be the first stage of plantar fasciitis. Untreated symptoms can lead to the tearing and overstretching of tissue. Because the tearing of tissue can be compounded if it remains ignored, it can evolve into a severe case. The solution is early detection and early treatment. Talk to your podiatrist about the possibilities of plantar fasciitis if you’re experiencing heel pain.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021 00:00

Plantar Fasciitis Prevention

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot injuries and the most frequent cause of heel pain. This condition occurs when the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed usually due to repetitive stress and overuse. When the plantar fascia is injured, you may feel a sharp, stabbing pain in your heel and have pain in the arch of the foot. The pain is often at its worst when you take your first few steps in the morning or after a long rest. Fortunately, plantar fasciitis is both treatable and preventable. To prevent plantar fasciitis, it is suggested that you wear comfortable, well-fitted, supportive shoes, rest your feet after a workout or after standing for an extended amount of time, and stretch your feet regularly. If you are suffering from heel pain, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist near you. 

 

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact one of our podiatrists  from InStride Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Non-supportive shoes
  • Overpronation
  • Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia

How Can It Be Treated?

  • Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
  • Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
  • Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel

While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Mt Airy, Clemmons, Winston-Salem, King, Greensboro, and Siler City, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Plantar Fasciitis
Sunday, 26 December 2021 00:00

Reminder: When Was the Last Time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Tuesday, 21 December 2021 00:00

What is Morton's Neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma, (also referred to as Morton’s metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuralgia, plantar neuroma or intermetatarsal neuroma) is a condition that is caused when the tissue around one of the nerves between your toes begins to thicken. This thickening can result in pain in the ball of the foot. Fortunately, the condition itself is not cancerous.

Morton’s neuroma affects women more often than men with a ratio of 4:1. It tends to target women between the age of 50 and 60, but it can occur in people of all ages. There are some risk factors that may put you at a slightly higher risk of developing the condition. People who often wear narrow or high-heeled shoes are often found to be linked to Morton’s neuroma. Additionally, activities such as running or jogging can put an enormous amount of pressure on the ligament and cause the nerve to thicken.

There usually aren’t any outward symptoms of this condition. A person who has Morton’s neuroma may feel as if they are standing on a pebble in their shoe. They may also feel a tingling or numbness in the toes as well as a burning pain in the ball of their foot that may radiate to their toes.

In order to properly diagnose you, the doctor will press on your foot to feel for a mass or tender spot. He may also do a series of tests such as x-rays, an ultrasound, or an MRI. X-rays are usually done to rule out any other causes for your foot pain such as a stress fracture. Ultrasounds are used to reveal soft tissue abnormalities that may exist, such as neuromas. Your podiatrist may want to use an MRI in order to visualize your soft tissues.

There are three main options for treatment of Morton’s neuroma: Injections, decompression surgery, and removal of the nerve. Injections of steroids into the painful area have been proven to help those with Morton’s neuroma. Decompression surgery has been shown to relieve pressure on the affected nerve by cutting nearby structures such as the ligaments in the foot. Another treatment option would be to surgically remove the growth to provide pain relief.

If you suspect that you have Morton’s neuroma you should make an appointment with your podiatrist right away. You shouldn’t ignore any foot pain that lasts longer than a few days, especially if the pain does not improve.

Morton’s neuroma occurs when the tissue surrounding a nerve in the toes thickens in response to the nerve becoming entrapped, or otherwise irritated. This usually occurs between the third and fourth toes, however, it can also occur between the second and third toes. Morton’s neuroma can cause a burning pain in the ball of the foot. People with this condition sometimes explain the pain they feel as walking on a pebble or having a bunched-up sock in the front of their shoe. The toes may also feel numb or tingling, and there may be difficulty walking. Wearing shoes that are too tight or that compress your toes may sometimes contribute to the formation of Morton’s neuroma. This can include ski boots and ballet slippers too. Other foot dysfunctions that squeeze or put pressure on the toes can be contributing factors, such as flat feet, bunions, hammertoes, and high arches. Certain repetitive sporting activities may also be responsible. If you ever experience any of the symptoms mentioned here, call a podiatrist. They will examine you and run diagnostics to rule out other possible conditions and create a treatment plan to relieve pain and treat the underlying thickened tissue and nerve compression.

Morton’s neuroma is a very uncomfortable condition to live with. If you think you have Morton’s neuroma, contact one of our podiatrists of InStride Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will attend to all of your foot care needs and answer any of your related questions.  

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a painful foot condition that commonly affects the areas between the second and third or third and fourth toe, although other areas of the foot are also susceptible. Morton’s neuroma is caused by an inflamed nerve in the foot that is being squeezed and aggravated by surrounding bones.

What Increases the Chances of Having Morton’s Neuroma?

  • Ill-fitting high heels or shoes that add pressure to the toe or foot
  • Jogging, running or any sport that involves constant impact to the foot
  • Flat feet, bunions, and any other foot deformities

Morton’s neuroma is a very treatable condition. Orthotics and shoe inserts can often be used to alleviate the pain on the forefront of the feet. In more severe cases, corticosteroids can also be prescribed. In order to figure out the best treatment for your neuroma, it’s recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition and provide different treatment options.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Mt Airy, Clemmons, Winston-Salem, King, Greensboro, and Siler City, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about What is Morton's Neuroma?
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 00:00

Why High Heels Are Not Ideal for Healthy Feet

It is no secret that high heels are uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Although beauty is pain, you should not sacrifice the health of your feet for a stylish heel. Wearing high heels can potentially cause many different foot conditions that may be avoided by wearing proper footwear.

The structure of high heels forces weight of your body to get shifted forward toward the ball of the foot. The higher the heel you wear, the more weight and pressure get shifted forward. The pressure that your toes may experience from wearing heels may lead to hammer toes, bunions, and ingrown toenails. Extra weight and pressure resulting from wearing heels may cause stress fractures. Furthermore, heels may cause pinched nerves which may result in Morton’s neuroma.

High heels are even more dangerous for people who are clumsy. Falling or tripping while wearing heels can cause an ankle sprain or twist.

What many people don’t know is that heels can also cause back and knee problems. In order for your body to stay balanced on heels, your spine has to sway unnaturally, which adds stress to your spine muscles. This may cause you to experience a sore lower back.  

If you decide to wear high heels regardless of the risks associated with them, there are ways you can minimize their harmful effects. One way to reduce injury is to massage and stretch your legs at the end of the day. Stretching can prevent the Achilles tendons and calf muscles from becoming too tight. If you are simply looking for more height, wedges and platforms provide a better surface area to distribute the body weight across compared to thinner heels.

If you experience pain from wearing high heels, it is important to see a podiatrist before any of your symptoms become worse.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 00:00

Scary Consequences of Wearing High Heels

If you often wear high heels, it is suggested that you switch to flatter, wider, and more comfortable shoes. Why? Frequently wearing high heels holds your feet into an unnatural position, forcing the balls of your feet to bear too much weight, squishing your toes together, and sometimes even changing the way that you walk. Some of the foot and ankle issues caused or made worse by wearing high heels include corns, calluses, hammertoes, bunions, Haglund’s deformity, blisters, nail problems, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, metatarsalgia, stress fractures, ankle injuries, and a tight Achilles tendon. If you are afflicted with any of these conditions, it is strongly advised that you seek the care of a podiatrist. 

High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from InStride Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because of their many styles and societal appeal.  Despite this, high heels can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

Which Parts of My Body Will Be Affected by High Heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – May shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – Heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – They decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain.  The vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What Kinds of Foot Problems Can Develop from Wearing High Heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

How Can I Still Wear High Heels and Maintain Foot Health?

If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems.  Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet.  Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising.  If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work.  Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Mt Airy, Clemmons, Winston-Salem, King, Greensboro, and Siler City, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Why High Heels Are Not Ideal for Healthy Feet

When someone engages in regular physical activity, such as running, jumping, or other repetitive movements, this can stress the bones in the feet and lower legs. Over time, these repetitive movements and stress can lead to the development of tiny hairline cracks in the bones. These stress fractures can also develop when the type, duration, intensity, or frequency of physical activity occurs. Unlike more severe breaks due to acute trauma, which can cause immediate and intense pain, the pain from stress fractures can be duller and develop more gradually. Ballet dancers and athletes engaging in high impact sports such as basketball, tennis, track and field, soccer, and hockey are at greater risk of developing these microscopic fissures in their foot or lower leg bones. Along with a dull pain which intensifies during physical activity, there may be swelling, tenderness and bruising in the affected area. A podiatrist should be consulted if there is any pain in the feet or lower legs. They will perform an exam, test sensitivity to pressure in the affected area, and may use X-rays or bone scans to properly diagnose the issue. This professional assessment and care will not only help heal the stress fracture, but also prevent it from becoming a more severe break.

Stress fractures occur when there is a tiny crack within a bone. To learn more, contact one of our podiatrists from InStride Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain free and on your feet.

How Are They Caused?

Stress fractures are the result of repetitive force being placed on the bone. Since the lower leg and feet often carry most of the body’s weight, stress fractures are likely to occur in these areas. If you rush into a new exercise, you are more likely to develop a stress fracture since you are starting too much, too soon.  Pain resulting from stress fractures may go unnoticed at first, however it may start to worsen over time.

Risk Factors

  • Gender – They are more commonly found in women compared to men.
  • Foot Problems – People with unusual arches in their feet are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Certain Sports – Dancers, gymnasts, tennis players, runners, and basketball players are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Lack of Nutrients – A lack of vitamin D and calcium may weaken the bones and make you more prone to stress fractures
  • Weak Bones – Osteoporosis can weaken the bones therefore resulting in stress fractures

Stress fractures do not always heal properly, so it is important that you seek help from a podiatrist if you suspect you may have one. Ignoring your stress fracture may cause it to worsen, and you may develop chronic pain as well as additional fractures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Mt Airy, Clemmons, Winston-Salem, King, Greensboro, and Siler City, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle
Tuesday, 07 December 2021 00:00

Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Our bones are important aspects of our body and they are constantly changing. The heavier the workload for a bone, the more likely it is that calcium will be placed in it. When a bone isn’t used often, there won’t be much calcium within it. When stress from repetitive loads prevent the bone from being able to repair itself, cracks will start to form. Stress fractures are defined as cracks in a bone that result from repetitive force, such as overuse.

The most common cause of stress fractures is a sudden increase in intensity and duration of physical activity. For example, if you begin to run long distances without working your way into doing so, you will be more likely to develop a stress fracture.

Common symptoms of stress fractures are pain and swelling near the weight bearing area on the injured bone. When initial x-rays are performed, it is possible that the fracture will not show up. However, once the stress on the area continues, the damage will increase, and the fracture will be severe enough to show up on an x-ray. Certain parts of the foot are more likely to develop stress fractures than others. Areas that typically have these fractures are: the metatarsals, the navicular bone, the calcaneus, tibia, and fibula.

Since women are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, they are twice as likely as men to sustain a stress fracture. Additionally, old age causes a decrease in bone mineral density which is why elderly people are also likely to develop these fractures.

It is important for you to be professionally diagnosed by a podiatrist if you suspect you have a stress fracture, because there are other injuries that can easily be mistaken for a fracture.  Sprains, strains, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Morton’s neuroma can all easily be mistaken for stress fractures in the foot. Your podiatrist will likely ask you a series of questions to determine what type of pain you are experiencing. These questions will help your doctor identify whether you have a stress fracture.

The best method of treatment for a stress fracture is rest. Additionally, a walking boot, cast, or crutches, will help rest the area that is injured. The typical healing time for stress fractures is 4-12 weeks, however this depends on which bone is involved.

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