Posts for category: Foot Health
Heel pain affects many American adults, limiting mobility and ease of function in their daily routines. Our podiatrists at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading MA uncover the reasons for heel pain and help people with at-home care which works.
Why does my heel hurt?
It's a question we hear a lot at our Reading office. Sadly, millions of American adults suffer from heel pain, and 60 percent of these people say the discomfort interferes with their activities of daily living, reports the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Mostly, heel pain is inflammatory, and your foot doctors typically diagnose a common condition called plantar fasciitis as the source. The best thing to do is talk to your Reading Heel Pain specialist ASAP.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that runs between the heel bone and your toes. Stress occurs through running or being on your feet for hours, irritating it enough to swell and become tender.
Most patients with Reading heel pain report it's worse in the morning after getting out of bed or when they sit for a long time. As they move through the day, the pain subsides, but over many weeks to months, the pain worsens.
Diagnosing and treating heel pain
At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, our doctors diagnose plantar fasciitis, and the heel spurs which go along with it, by symptoms and X-ray imaging. Surgery is warranted sometimes to release the tension on the arch of the foot.
However, most Reading heel pain patients benefit from home care. Applied consistently, these strategies help many individuals manage their symptoms and regain their mobility.
Treating your heel pain at home can involve:
- Resting from your feet
- Icing your heel
- Elevating your leg
- Wearing shoes consistently and avoiding going barefoot
- Stretching exercises for the calf muscles along with other kinds of physical therapy
- Medications such as ibuprofen (for more stubborn pain, cortisone injections reduce inflammation)
- Wearing comfortable shoes with low heels and adequate arch supports
- Using shoe inserts (orthotics) to correct muscular instability and improper gait
- Wearing a walking cast and/or splints (particularly useful with young people)
Improve your comfort level
When you address the reasons behind your heel pain, you'll feel better and move with greater efficiency. Your podiatric team at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists asks you to consult with them to create a workable and effective care plan. Call our Reading MA office to arrange a consultation: (781) 944-4044.
Women tend to experience the pain and disfigurement associated with bunions more often than men. Here we explain why:
It's been said that women often suffer for the sake of fashion. That seems to be especially true when it comes to their feet years of wearing narrow, highheeled, pointed shoes can wreak havoc on the structure of women's feet, particularly in the form of bunions. These deformities have become one of the most common afflictions podiatrists treat in their offices. But why does this problem tend to affect women over men, and what can be done to prevent it?
First, it's important to know what bunions are and how they develop. Bunions gradually develop on the outside of the big toes from pressure on their joints. As the big toe is constantly pushed inward toward the other toes, the bunion becomes more pronounced. They are not actually new growths; the deformity of the foot bones makes it appear that there is a lump under the skin. The results of this irregularity can be pain, swelling and limited range of motion, and its appearance can make people selfconscious about going barefoot or wearing opentoed shoes.
The cause of bunions is not completely known: they may be an inherited abnormality, or they may be caused by many years of wearing illfitting footwear. Either way, it is generally accepted that cheaply-made or tight-fitting shoes can worsen bunions over time. Given that women's shoes often require the foot to contort into an unnatural position, it is no wonder that more women suffer from bunions than men. Women also tend to be more arthritic, a condition that can exacerbate bunions as well.
Low-maintenance, non-surgical options are usually the first line of treatment for bunions. Shoes should be highquality and fitted by an expert to ensure proper sizing. Speciallydesigned foot pads or arch supports can be worn to alleviate some of the pressure and mild pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen can ease the pain. Surgeries involve removing some of the affected bone or surrounding tissue to correct the foot's position.
If you think your feet might be fashion victims, kick your shoes off and call your podiatrist to ask about your options.
The beautiful changing leaves and crisp air here in New England are a real incentive to hit one or more of the many hiking trails our area has to offer. While this can be an enjoyable activity and a good way to stay fit, it can also result in pain and suffering for your feet. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we want to offer patients a few tips to help protect your feet when hiking:
Wear the right shoes. Hiking boots are designed specifically for the type of terrain and activity you’ll experience on the trail. Good quality boots will be water resistant and have a graphite or steel shank and offer strong ankle support while at the same time reducing muscle and tendon fatigue. A well molded sole with deep treads will help avoid slipping on loose rocks and make falls and ankle sprains less likely.
Don’t settle when it comes to socks. Believe it or not, your socks play a big part in your comfort when hiking. Consider wearing two pairs for maximum protection. Start with a synthetic sock which will fit snuggly and minimize friction which causes blisters. This type of sock will also keep your foot dry. Wool socks over top of these will keep moisture away from your feet and toes (an important part of preventing fungal infections) and also add a layer of cushioning and warmth.
Start slow and work your way up. Literally! Climbing steep mountains up long trails the first day out is a good way to end up with very sore muscles, injuries and inflammatory conditions such as Achilles tendonitis. Warm up before and after your hike and start with short hikes that have relatively easy terrain. Gradually increase the distance and difficulty level of your hikes.
If it hurts, stop. Listen to your body. When you start to feel muscle soreness or more serious pain, head back. If pain is sharp or severe or continues for more than a couple of days, contact our Somers or Reading office for an appointment. Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui and Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will examine the area in pain and find the problem. Prompt diagnosis and treatment will help prevent a more debilitating injury down the line.
Your weight and the health of your feet—there’s an undeniable connection. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we see the incidence and severity of many medical disorders and conditions that affect feet and ankles has increased in patients who are overweight. A startling trend is that more children are obese now than ever before—23 million in our country between the ages of 2-19 are overweight. This greatly increases their risk of injury and chronic foot problems into adulthood.
What’s the Problem?
It’s fairly obvious that since your feet bear the weight of your entire body, the heavier the load the more strain on your feet. Studies show that patients who are overweight report a much higher rate of foot and ankle pain. They are more likely to have a foot or ankle fracture and being overweight also increases many foot conditions including plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, gout and osteoarthritis. In addition, diseases that can have a major impact on foot health such as diabetes and peripheral artery disease are more likely to occur in people who are overweight.
Put Your Child on a Healthy Path
Whether your child is overweight or you just want to make sure he or she continues to maintain a healthy weight, there are steps you can take to help:
Start with a checkup with one of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond. The foot doctor will examine your child’s foot and gait and take a medical history to look for possible inherited foot defects. The information provided by the exam can help you determine if there are any physical activities your child should avoid or if specific footwear or inserts are necessary to protect foot health.
Make physical fitness a fun, family affair: participate with your children in hikes, bike rides and walks. Encourage some type of activity on a daily basis.
Swap fruits and vegetables for some of the less healthy snacks your child may be eating.
Get your child in the habit of drinking water instead of soda, fruit drinks and even fruit juice which is high in sugar and calories.
This potentially crippling disease occurs when your bones become weak and thin either due to loss of bone mass or underproduction of new bone in your body. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Did you know that unexplained fractures in the foot can be the first sign of osteoporosis? one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. In honor of National Osteoporosis Awareness month, we at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists would like to offer some tips on protecting your bones. With approximately a quarter of your body’s bones located in your feet (26 in each foot), taking care of them is extremely important to your health.
Your Feet are what You Eat
Calcium and vitamin D are the superheroes when it comes to protecting the health of your bones. Look for foods like cereals and juices that have been fortified with calcium and vitamin D and add more of these foods to your diet:
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Green vegetables: bok choy, broccoli, kale, turnip greens
You can also add a tablespoon or two of nonfat milk powder to your recipes or consider taking a calcium supplement.
Improve Your Fitness Routine
Weight bearing exercises help strengthen bones. This can be as simple as walking or a sport such as tennis, or even leisure activities like dancing. What’s important is making exercise part of your daily routine. Other fitness activities that strengthen muscles are also helpful in that they support your bones and help protect them.
Pay Attention to Your Feet
Don’t ignore foot pain. Many times stress fractures may only hurt when you are doing an activity that puts pressure on them. If you have pain in any part of your foot or ankle, make an appointment to get it evaluated by one of our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. The foot doctor will get your medical history and examine your feet and ankles. If the podiatrists suspects osteoporosis, a bone densitometry test or x-rays can be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
Diagnosing osteoporosis in its early stages will allow you to take steps now to prevent the disease from causing major disability in the future. If you have pain in your feet, contact our Reading office for an appointment.