Plantar fasciitis can make everyday living a challenge. Your heel feels sore and stiff every morning and after you've been sitting for a while. Stabbing pains may hit you when you walk up stairs or attempt to work out. Plantar fasciitis can thwart your fitness plans and make working on your feet seem impossible, but, thankfully, several ways exist that your podiatrist can treat this common condition.
Your podiatrist will likely recommend starting with conservative treatments for your plantar fasciitis. Rest your foot for several days or several weeks. Take time off from running, jumping, and other exercise that may irritate the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Apply ice packs to your heel three or four times per day for about 15 minutes to reduce inflammation and pain.
Also stretch your calves, Achilles tendon, and the bottom of your foot daily. Tight calves and Achilles tendons are a common cause of plantar fasciitis, so keeping these tissues loose can ease pain and prevent it from returning.
Since wearing poorly fitted shoes often causes plantar fasciitis or makes it worse, your doctor may recommend orthotics to help improve the fit of your shoes and take pressure off your plantar fascia. Wear these orthotics daily. Your doctor may also give you a night splint to put around your foot while you sleep at night.
Switch to shoes that have a wider toe box, a low heel, and plenty of arch support. Avoid high heels and flat sandals — these can delay healing and even make symptoms worse.
If rest, ice, stretching, and orthotics don't bring relief, the next step is often laser therapy. This non-invasive treatment involves shining low-frequency laser light over the affected area. The laser stimulates the mitochondria within cells in your plantar fascia and the surrounding tissue, which ultimately reduces inflammation and the related pain.
Laser therapy is completely pain-free and only takes a few minutes. Most patients need between six and eight treatments to experience the desired results.
Also known as ESWT, this state-of-the-art therapy involves sending shock waves through the plantar fascia to stimulate healing. The treatment is completely non-invasive and a great choice for stubborn cases.
You just lie back on the treatment table, and your doctor administers a local anesthetic to the area to be treated. Once your heel is numb, your doctor will use ultrasound to visualize the damaged plantar fascia and treat the affected tissue.
ESWT is highly effective. The average patient experiences about a 92 percent reduction in pain after just one treatment. You may have mild soreness or brushing after the treatment, and results may take a few weeks to develop as your body heals.
Gentle, noninvasive treatments like those above can often treat plantar fasciitis very well. However, sometimes patients benefit from medicine injected directly into the affected area.
Your doctor can prepare an injection of steroids to calm the inflammation, often with a numbing medication, and inject the medication into the area where you have the most pain. This will deliver the medication to the exact spot where you need it the most. An injection can relieve plantar fasciitis pain for several weeks or months at a time.
Only about five percent of plantar fasciitis sufferers require surgery. If you have tried nonsurgical methods for more than six months without relief, your doctor may suggest surgery as an option.
The most common procedure used to treat plantar fasciitis is called the plantar fasciitis release. The surgeon makes a small cut in the plantar fascia ligament to release tension, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.
In recent years, this is usually done endoscopically, so you will only have one small incision below your anklebone. Patients typically return to regular activities three to six weeks after surgery.
If you suffer from ongoing heel pain, don't suffer in silence. Plantar fasciitis can be stubborn, but it is highly treatable with guidance from your podiatrist. Make an appointment with Camden County Foot & Ankle Associates to find out which of the above treatment options is best suited to your needs.
After you suit up for an outdoor run, the only thing between you and nature is your running shoes and the clothes on your back, giving you a newfound sense of freedom while you exercise. Unfortunately, making simple mistakes with your running shoes could lead to foot injury, interfering with your ability to walk or run comfortably.
Learn about three shoe mistakes that could lead to foot problems and how to avoid them.
You know your shoe size, which is why you might not think twice before selecting a running shoe in your normal size when you shop in-store or online. However, because of the mechanics of running, your normal shoe size might be too small, causing cramping, toenail problems, and chafing.
When you run and your foot strikes the ground, the impact causes your foot to stretch and lengthen temporarily. Although your foot returns to normal size whenever it isn't in stride, this lengthening demands a longer shoe.
This is why running experts recommend purchasing running shoes that are half a size larger than your normal shoe size. For instance, if you typically wear a Men's 10, buy a Men's size 10 1/2 when selecting running shoes.
In addition to being a little longer than your normal shoes, running shoes should also fit snugly around the heel and provide enough support and stability to keep your foot from pronating as you exercise. You should also have enough room in the toe box area to let your toes wiggle around slightly.
When you shop for running shoes, try on multiple varieties, and don't settle with a shoe until you try running in it. Oftentimes, running stores allow you to run around to test the shoes out so you can see how well they fit.
One of the reasons running shoes are so important is their ability to absorb some of the shock that your body endures as your foot strikes the ground. To accomplish this feat, most running shoes contain EVA foam, which is made from Ethyl Vinyl Acetate.
While EVA foam is incredibly flexible, lightweight, and great at absorbing shock, this ability fades over time. In fact, researchers have discovered that EVA foam loses its shock absorption power after runners use their shoes to travel 300 to 500 miles, which is why replacing your shoes is important.
If you continue to wear shoes that have passed their expiration date, they may not absorb shock as well, which can cause overuse injuries such as tendinitis or shin splints. To prevent problems, keep track of how many miles you run each day, and start shopping for a new pair when you are close to the 300-mile benchmark or as soon as shoes no longer feel comfortable.
Unfortunately, even a brand-new pair of well-fitting shoes can become a problem if they aren't laced properly. Lace running shoes tightly enough to snugly fit against your foot, but also lace them loosely enough not to cause friction injuries.
You may also need to lace your shoes differently if you have special foot needs, such as high arches, flat feet, swelling, or narrow feet. Using the extra heel lock eyelet at the top of your shoes may also prevent pronation, keeping your entire foot more stable.
Foot injuries from running can be serious, so report any discomfort to a podiatrist quickly. Here at Camden County Foot & Ankle Associates, we can help with a variety of conditions ranging from sprains and plantar fasciitis to flat feet and bone spurs. With a commitment to safe, conservative foot care and creating an excellent patient experience, you can rest assured knowing we will help with your feet.
From ingrown toenails to corns, foot ailments are very common in this country. While some foot problems, like bunions, have a genetic component, many are caused or at least made worse by bad foot care habits. Have you fallen into any of the following bad habits that may lead to poor foot health?
Thousands of shoe styles exist out there, and people often put fashion over fit when choosing shoes. If you order your shoes online, you may have multiple pairs that looked great on the screen, but don't feel so great on your feet. Wearing ill-fitted shoes can have much larger, longer-lasting consequences than a little foot soreness at the end of the day.
Shoes that put too much pressure on the tops of your toes may lead to ingrown toenails. A pair that has no heel support could lead to Achilles tendon pain. Shoes that are too loose could lead to abrasions and corns.
Toss out those shoes that don't fit, and make an effort to try shoes on, in person, before purchasing them. A pair of shoes that fits should meet these specifications:
If you do order shoes online, make sure the company offers a good return policy so you can return shoes that don't fit.
Even heels that technically fit well are terrible for your overall foot health. Heels force the ball of the foot to support more weight than it should, and heels can cause a shortening of the Achilles tendon over time. In the short-term, heels may cause calluses and sprained ankles, and they can also worsen bunions and hammertoes.
If you're used to wearing heels, try to wear progressively lower and lower heels to allow your body time to adapt. Eventually, your goal should be to wear stylish flats in most formal settings. If you must wear heels, platform heels are a healthier choice than stilettos or pumps because they distribute your weight over a larger portion of the foot.
When you develop calluses on your toes or heels, you may be tempted to file them away or clip them with your toenail clippers. However, doing so can put you at risk for infection — especially if you suffer from diabetes or poor circulation in your feet. A safer way to address calluses is to soak your feet in Epsom salt water, and then rub them gently with a pumice stone. See your podiatrist for treatment of larger corns and calluses.
If you get back from the gym or a run and your socks are sweaty and wet, you should change out of them as soon as possible. Sitting around in sweaty, wet socks for any longer than necessary puts you at risk for athlete's foot and other fungal infections as well as bacterial infections like staph.
Remove sweaty socks promptly, wash your feet, and let them dry before putting on new socks. Wash your sweaty socks in bleach and hot water to kill any fungi and bacteria on them.
Since you probably don't spend a lot of time looking at your toes, trimming your toenails is a task easily forgotten. However, if you let your toenails grow too long before trimming them, you increase your risk of ingrown toenails. If you can feel your toenails rubbing on your shoes, you've waited too long to trim them. Make sure you also follow these tips for a healthy trim:
If you can break the habits above, you'll reduce your risk of common foot ailments. Contact Camden County Foot & Ankle Associates if you're dealing with any foot health issues and would like professional treatment.