Monthly Archives: November 2012

Solution to Heel Pain After Too Much Holiday Shopping

007 ShopperIt’s finally cooling off in Jacksonville, FL, Thanksgiving has past and the Holiday Season is officially upon us, leaving many running for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.  While running is great cardio, it may not be so great for your feet due to obnoxious heel pain, also known as plantar fasciitis. From the weekend recreational runner, to professional athletes, and holiday shoppers making their way through the St. John’s Town Center or The Avenues Mall, heel pain is unbiased.

  • Where does plantar fasciitis cause pain? In the arch and heel of the foot.
  • Early stages: the pain is most severe when stepping down the first time in the morning and improves with walking.
  • As the condition progresses pain becomes present throughout the day – and can be quite disabling.
  • How do I get plantar fasciitis?  Inflammation of the large ligament running from the heel across the bottom of the foot to the ball of the foot.  The inflammation is caused by “overuse” of the ligament, which causes injury and tearing of some of the ligament fibers.

007 Heel PainThe kicker to this painful problem is it doesn’t generally hurt while exercising but exercising will make it worse, and there will be no relief until you allow a period of rest. There are several treatment options for plantar fasciitis.  Conservative treatments for heel pain include:

  1. Getting rid of inflammation by icing and stretching: As with any treatment plan, stretching techniques will be suggested and can be combined with icing to alleviate some of the discomfort by rolling/stretching your foot over a frozen water bottle.
  2. Anti-inflammatory: Always consult your physician before taking any medication, and to confirm that the condition is plantar fasciitis.
  3. Correct fitting shoes paired with custom orthotics:can help keep the pain at bay

For many people with mild or moderate plantar fasciitis these methods alone will bring relief.  Unfortunately for some cases of persistent or severe plantar fasciitis, a more direct treatment plan will be needed.

If you’re currently suffering from plantar fasciitis symptoms and other treatments have not been effective, you may be a good candidate for a non-invasive procedure called Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology, or EPAT.  EPAT was initially used to treat kidney stones before being approved for several musculoskeletal disorders, including plantar fasciitis.

How does it work?  EPAT works through pressure waves increasing the circulation and metabolism to an area, speeding up the healing process.  It offers more intense results to persistent pain without the risk and recovery time associated with surgery.   EPAT is not needed for every patient, but those who are candidates have experienced great results.

If you or someone you know is suffering from severe heel pain come see us at First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic to get your feet free of pain.

November: Diabetes Awareness Month

010 awareness-monthNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month, and for many people feet are the last thing they think of when they hear the word diabetes.

Diabetic patients are at a higher risk of developing foot problems than those without diabetes, due to nerve damage and poor circulation associated with the disease.  60-70% of diabetics experience damage to nerves that diminish the pain sensation, this is called neuropathy.  The idea of less pain sounds great, but without normal pain sensation we become less aware when we injure ourselves.  Injuries such as scratches, blisters or sores can lead to an infection and if gone unnoticed become very serious.

Diabetics also have a lower immune system as well as decreases blood flow, thus significantly slowing the healing process.  Therefore an infection in a diabetic patient is much more serious than that of a non-diabetic because of the body’s ability to fight off the infection is weakened.  Due to a lower immune system and decreased blood flow, this once simple skin wound can spread to underlying muscle, and even into bone.  Infection in bone is called osteomyelitis and is a very serious condition that can quickly lead to loss of the toe, foot, or possibly the limb.

Due to the serious consequences that can come from even the smallest scratch in a patient with diabetes, it is recommended diabetic patients be seen by a podiatrist at least once a year. This significantly decreases the chances of small cuts or nicks going unnoticed and progressing into more serious situations.  This can and will save you unnecessary pain as well as money.  Even a minor injury to a diabetic patient is an emergency, and it is highly recommended to visit your podiatrist immediately if you experience any injury to your foot.

Together_187_StackedList of recommendations for keeping diabetic feet healthy:

  • Wash and fully dry feet daily making sure to inspect them for any injuries or nail problems
  • Be sure to inspect between the toes
  • Wear supportive shoes that fully cover the toes as well as the heel, even when around the house
  • Do not self-treat your calluses
  • Elevate your feel while sitting to increase circulation

The key to keeping a diabetic foot healthy is prevention and early detection.  If you or someone you know is diabetic and does not have a podiatrist please contact First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinic.