If your heel hurts when you get up in the morning or after sitting for a while, you may wonder if it's worth seeking professional care. You may be able to treat some of the symptoms on your own, but for peace of mind, and a comfortable step, you should contact Dr. Michael Guerra of Burlington Podiatry in South Burlington, VT.
Source of Your Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain, develops when too much pressure is put on the plantar fascia. The ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot.
Work that demands that you be on your feet for extended periods of time on flat surfaces, carrying around extra weight, and wearing shoes with inadequate arch support are often responsible for the extra strain.
What You Can Do at Home
When your heel pain is not too severe you can opt to treat some of the symptoms at home.
Over the counter medication, and applying ice for about 15 minutes at a time throughout the day can help with the pain and inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is recommended, and remember not to apply the ice directly to your skin. You can place ice inside a plastic bag and wrap that in a towel, or use cooling pads.
Stretching exercises are also helpful in this regard, most notably those that stretch the calf.
But the most important thing is to try not to put too much strain on your feet. Allow yourself some rest, avoid walking barefoot and with shoes without proper support.
Inflammation and the pain that you feel at the bottom of your feet should subside if you follow the appropriate precautions. But if the pain and discomfort continue, even after home treatments, or if it's limiting your everyday activities, then it's time to contact your podiatrist.
How Your Doctor Can Help
The first line of treatment is EPAT therapy. This is known as Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology, and it uses pressure waves to speed up the healing process.
Rest remains an important facet of healing. So while you rest, your doctor may recommend a removable walking cast.
Night splints that keep your plantar fascia stretched as you sleep can help with the morning aches.
You may also, or depending on your specific case, be prescribed custom orthotic devices.
To reduce inflammation and pain, corticosteroid injections may also be administered.
Almost all patients respond to the above treatments, but if for months none of them have proven successful, your podiatrist may recommend surgery.
Heel Pain Treatment in South Burlington, VT
Quit living with pain, make an appointment today with Dr. Guerra of Burlington Podiatry in South Burlington, VT. Dial (802) 862-8666.
If you have high arches, you may notice them but not experience any problems; however, those with high arches bear more weight on the balls and heels of the feet. Over time, you may develop corns, calluses, hammertoes, painful calf muscles, or foot pain. If you have high arches, a podiatrist can provide you with a variety of ways to support your feet to prevent these problems.
Consider wearing custom orthotics
Orthotics are special devices that are placed inside the shoes to improve stability and to cushion the foot. These devices can reduce shock absorption while standing, walking, or running. While there are over-the-counter orthotics that you can buy, they aren’t specifically designed to fit your feet or treat the issues you’re dealing with.
A podiatrist can provide you with custom-fitted orthotics that can help to support the arches of your feet and distribute weight more evenly among the foot to prevent heel pain and pain in the ball of the foot.
Wear shoes that support your feet
You must be also wearing shoes that can accommodate your high arches, especially if you are on your feet most of the day or participate in physical activities. Those with high arches are prone to stress fractures and ankle sprains, and you must consider shoes that have,
- A high top that can cushion and support the ankles
- A spacious toe box that won’t put pressure on the toes or cause irritation to preexisting deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
- A midsole that has added cushioning to reduce pressure
- A high-abrasion rubber outsole that will provide more durability (especially important for running shoes and athletic footwear)
Talk to your podiatrist about bracing
In some cases, your podiatrist may also recommend bracing the feet and ankles to help stabilize them and provide additional support. If your podiatrist has told you that you also have a drop foot, which means that you have trouble lifting the front of your foot, then bracing may also be a great way to manage this problem and provide a more natural and comfortable gait when walking.
While high arches alone aren’t a cause for concern it can be good to know about potential issues that it can cause along the way so you can take the necessary precautions now to protect your feet. If you are dealing with foot pain or other problems, a podiatrist can help.
- Pain at the ball of the foot near the big toe
- Pain when bending or straightening the big toe
- Pain that comes up gradually
How is sesamoiditis treated?
The good news is that this inflammatory condition can be treated with rest and home care designed to ease the inflamed tendon or muscle. At-home care for sesamoiditis looks like:
- Avoiding any activities that put pressure on the foot
- Taking a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
- Wearing supportive shoes with ample cushioning
- Applying ice to the foot for 10-15 minutes every few hours
- Avoiding shoes with pointed toes or high heels
If you are experiencing severe or persistent foot pain, you must seek podiatry care from a qualified foot and ankle specialist. Foot pain should not go ignored. Call your podiatrist today.
Moisture, Moisture, Moisture
Need we repeat ourselves? Moisturizer is going to be your feet’s best friend, particularly during the wintertime. It’s time to lather on an emollient-rich moisturizer immediately after stepping out of the shower or tub when your skin is best able to lock in moisture. Hydration is key to preventing dry, cracked skin. Some moisturizing creams also offer other great skin perks such as anti-inflammatory and self-repair properties. If you are particularly prone to dry feet, you may choose to moisturize 2-3 times a day.
One way to keep that dry skin at bay is to use a scrub or a pumice stone on your feet so dry skin doesn’t even have a chance to build up. Make sure to soak your feet in warm water for several minutes to soften the skin before exfoliating. You may choose to do this yourself, or if you have a condition such as diabetes you may want to turn to a podiatry professional to have your feet properly cared for to prevent complications. Using a pumice stone and exfoliating your feet regularly can prevent the development of painful and unsightly calluses.
Don’t Forget Your Toenails
Your poor toenails often get overlooked, especially during the winter months. Don’t get lazy on us! It’s important to keep toenails properly cared for to prevent issues such as ingrown toenails and fungal infections. Make sure that you are clipping your toenails properly. Regularly apply cuticle oil around the nails to help lock in moisture and to strengthen the nails. Don’t have cuticle oil? Coconut oil also works great!
Be kind to your feet this winter. If you have questions or concerns about your feet, it’s important to turn to a podiatrist who can provide you with the care you need.
What are orthotics?
These specialized shoe inserts are a little different from the ones you can find at your local drugstore. Orthotics are special, custom-made shoe inserts designed and fabricated by your podiatrist to specifically fit your foot and its unique needs. There are many reasons why a podiatrist may recommend orthotics.
Sometimes orthotics are used to alleviate symptoms and improve common foot, leg, or even back problems, while other times your podiatrist may recommend them to improve the support and health of your feet to prevent problems in the first place.
Do I need orthotics?
Orthotics is just one way to treat foot and leg problems and your doctor may recommend orthotics if you are dealing with,
- Leg, hip, or back pain
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Plantar fasciitis
- Certain injuries to the foot or ankle
Orthotics can help people of all ages and backgrounds, from athletic kids and adults to those who are overweight and seniors. Feet continue to change as we get older, and as aches and pains set in, custom orthotics could be what you need to help make getting around as easy as it once was.
Types of Orthotics
There are many different kinds of materials that can be used to create orthotics. The type of condition you are dealing with will most likely help your podiatrist determine which material to use.
Orthotics range from soft and flexible to hard and rigid. Those with plantar fasciitis or diabetic feet are more likely to benefit from the cushioning and additional support of soft orthotics while athletes and those who often wear dress shoes are more likely to benefit from rigid orthotics.
If you are interested in orthotics and how they could help you, talk with your podiatrist to learn more.
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