Tag Archives: heel pain

Common Exercising Injuries

images[5]It’s a couple weeks into 2013 and many people are still very dedicated to their new year’s resolution of weight loss or a healthier lifestyle.  Some of these new exercisers are filling the gyms or enjoying the jogging paths in their new, hopefully perfectly fitted, athletic shoes, while still others are starting to develop pains and injuries.  There are many common injuries associated with running and new exercise routines, many treatable at home, while others require a visit to your podiatrist.

Many new exercisers start out in a very high intensity routine, almost guaranteeing themselves an injury from overuse.  The constant repetition of contraction and release of muscles that many exercises require can lead to muscle tears or ruptures.  Injuries can occur in all body parts including the knee, shin, ankle, and foot.

Pains that occur in the knee are commonly called runners knee and are caused by the foot rolling inward too much, called excessive pronation.  This can be treated and prevented by custom orthotics which can be prescribed by a podiatrist.  Orthotics can also be an effective treatment for another common injury that presents with a painful ache on the front and medial side of the leg caused by inflamed muscles, called shin splints.

heel pain

The left image shows a foot with a healthy arch: the plantar fascia is relaxed. The right image shows a flattened arch: the plantar fascia is stretched tight with inflammation at it’s heel attachment.

The foot can experience many different injuries from overuse.  A pain in the heel of the foot, called plantar fasciitis, is often caused by stress on the bottom of the foot.  This can be caused by excessive pronation, poor fitting shoes, and overtraining.  Heel pain can also be caused from pain and tightness in the large muscles of the leg from repetitive rising up on the toes that leads to achilles tendon inflammation and pain at the back of the heel.

Another common overtraining injury is a stress fracture.  This happens because of repetitive forces from the ground and body being applied to the bones in the foot.  This temporarily weakens the bone and without proper time to recover, commonly seen with overuse, the bone will eventually fracture. This could stop your activity altogether for 4-8 weeks wiping out the work you’ve done previously.

 Make an appointment with First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic and let us help keep your new exercise routine going strong, and your feel feeling great.

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.

Fiasco-Free Flip-Flops!

070 flip flopsThe warm sunshine of summer is near and feet everywhere are happily stepping out into a variety of sandals and flip-flops. However, in Florida these types of footwear are a wardrobe staple year-round. Though they may seem carefree and harmless, the wrong pair of flip-flops can lead to a variety of issues including, but not limited to: blisters, tendinitissprained ankles, ligament injuries, plantar fasciitis, cuts, scrapes, and stubbed toes.

Despite their fun or trendy appearance, flip-flops are typically not healthy for your feet. Generally speaking, most flip-flops should not be worn exclusively throughout the day. Like most things in life, moderation is key!

The following American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) flip-flop “do’s” and “don’ts” can help keep you from falling victim to flip-flop related foot problems this summer:

  • Do gently bend a flip-flop at the ends, ensuring it bends at the ball of the foot. Flip-flops of any kind should never fold completely in half.
  • Do look for the APMA’s Seal of Acceptance on flip-flops. Many companies, such as FitFlop, Chaco, and Orthaheel, have certain flip-flops or sandals that have been awarded the APMA’s Seal of Acceptance for demonstrating proper support.
  • Don’t re-wear flip-flops year after year. Inspect older pairs for wear. If severe signs of wear are found, discard them.
  • Don’t wear flip-flops if you have diabetes, as the footwear leaves feet susceptible to cuts and scrapes that may lead to serious injury. Instead, opt for lightweight footwear that covers and protects the toes.

If you have questions regarding making healthy shoe decisions, request an appointmentwith the First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinicin Jacksonville today.

EPAT for your Heel Pain

EPAT_123142529Whether you are a weekend warrior suffering from irritated tendons or the Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams suffering from plantar fasciitis, the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic may have your solution. Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Treatment (EPAT) is a new therapy able to help people with inflamed and irritated tendons. The best part… No surgery required!  Other treatments effective in taking care of such aches and pains are:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Physical therapy
  •  Stretching
  • and the dreaded…cortisone injections

EPAT is the most advanced and highly effective, non-invasive, treatment method approved by the FDA. The word extracorporeal means the entire treatment takes place from outside of the body—no knife required. It then transmits shockwaves through the tissue to the area of injury causing micro-trauma. This will stimulate blood flow to the area and insure the injured tendon receives the nutrients it needs to heal. Because EPAT works by causing small, localized areas of inflammation, avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and so on. The benefits include:

  • Cost effective
  • Patients are immediately fully weight bearing
  • Bilateral patients can be treated at the same time
  • Returning to your work/normal routine within 24-48 hours after the procedure

The procedure itself is performed in our Jacksonville, FL office and takes less then half an hour. While it is not painless, patients usually are not in extreme discomfort. Dr. Reddy will anaesthetize the area to minimize any pain.  The expected results are often experienced after only 3 treatments at weekly intervals but may take up to four weeks for pain relief to begin.  The overall goal is to achieve maximum healing in minimum time.

Heel Pain? Could be Your Heel Bone!

049 Figure-1A-Normal-lateral-foot-x-Ray-1024x547After watching the USA and Japan duke it out in over time at the FIFA 2011 Women’s World Cup, one may think to themselves, “Do their feet hurt after all that running around?” The calcaneus, or the heel bone, is the largest bone in the foot and the first part of the foot to hit the ground.  This makes the heel bone more vulnerable to injury and something seen often at the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic.

Heel pain is an issue many people on the First Cost deal with and it is commonly attributed to plantar fasciitis. Dr. Vimal Reddy believes it is best to X-ray the heel in order to check for a stress fracture, which can occur in any bone of the foot as a result of overuseAs we age and our bones become weaker, we are more at risk for stress fractures, and the calcaneus is one of the most common places for it to happen.  Utilizing a digital X-ray to quickly and efficiently examine and diagnose, Dr. Reddy can even tell you about osteoporosis, since he is able to use X-rays of the calcaneus as a measure of how strong the bones are.

Of course, people will have accidents and have been known to break the calcaneus, like any other bone in the body. This happens most when individuals fall from great heights and land on their feet.  Sadly, they usually break both, and fractured heel bones are a very serious injury due to the difficulty of healing.  The individual may never function the same way again.  As a podiatric surgeon, Dr. Reddy is qualified to surgically correct these injuries to line up the bony fragments and work towards the best possible recovery.

What’s Your Achilles?

achilles_tendon_ruptureWhether you’re playing in the Super Bowl, having fun with friends or jogging down A1A in Jacksonville Beach, Achilles tendonitis can easily flare up. The Achilles tendon is the thick cord on the back of your lower leg. It connects the powerful calf muscles to the heel. When it happens, you will notice pain an inch or two above your heel. This is the watershed zone of the tendon, the spot where all the blood vessels come in to supply nutrients. Unfortunately, this is also going to be ground zero for the body’s inflammatory response. This is a fancy way of saying your body detects the small problem, overreacts, and the small problem becomes bigger and bigger.

The Achilles tendon was named after the invincible Greek warrior Achilles. The only weak point for this Trojan War hero was his heel. And what a weak point it is! Injuries to the Achilles tendon are among the most serious in the lower extremity to be treated by Dr. Vimal Reddy at the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic. 

Long-term treatments consist of correcting the root cause of Achilles Tendonitis; either your muscles and tendons are stiff because you are doing too much too soon, or you are overpronating (flattening out your feet). In the case of stiffness, you can correct the problem by adding a regimen of stretching before and after exercise. Overpronation can be corrected with custom orthotic shoe inserts.

In the short run, you should rest your sore Achilles. Aspirin may be appropriate to use depending on your situation. For more information, consult with Dr. Reddy to determine the best treatment for your painful Achilles.