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March 24 2014

painfreeheels



March 21 2014

painfreeheels

Why does the top of my foot hurt? | PA Foot and Ankle Associates




Why does the top of my foot hurt? | PA Foot and Ankle Associates

Pain on the top of your foot can be excruciating, making it difficult or impossible to walk even a few steps.
pain in top of foot

Assuming there is no visible injury, and you can't attribute the pain to falling, twisting your ankle, barefoot running, or dropping furniture on your foot, the cause could be anything from an ingrown toenail to Gout. A podiatrist would have to do a thorough examination to determine the specific cause, but here are the most common reasons you might have pain in the top of your foot.

Nerve Entrapment
Your shoes have quite an affect on the health of your foot. Shoes that are too tight, including athletic footwear, can cause Nerve Entrapment - also known as a "pinched nerve". Repeated pressure on one area irritates the nerve and can cause a surprisng amount of pain. Ice, rest, and a change to less constricting footwear should resolve the pain.

Midtarsal fault
The arches in your feet are meant to absorb the shock of running, walking, and standing. When the arches fall and you suffer with flat feet, the tarsal bones can become compressed, which leads to damaged joints, bone spurs, and irritation. The top of your foot may be slightly swollen, have red spots, and pain will increase with activity. Improper footware is one of the main causes of this condition.

Metatarsal Stress Fracture
Stress on the metatarsal bones (the five long bones in the front of the foot) can cause tiny cracks in the bones. This is a very common injury for athletes, dancers, and those who return to exercising after a long layoff.

Extensor Tendonitis
The Extensor Tendons lie just under the skin on the top of the foot. Their job is to pull the toes up away from the ground, and when they become irritated, the pain can be excruciating and often confused with a fracture. The most frequent cause of this complaint is once again, footwear that's too tight.

Other reasons for pain in the top of the foot may include
Bone spursSprainGanglion CystAging (arthritis)HammertoesGout
Pain on the top of the foot could indicate a mild irritation to your nerves or tendons from tight shoes, or a more serious condition. If rest, ice, and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications do not relieve the symptoms, call podiatrists at PA Foot and Ankle Associates for an immediate examination. We will determine the cause of your pain and create a customized treatment plan for you.
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March 19 2014

painfreeheels

Bunion protection and bunion products from Footcare supplies

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A bunion (hallux valgus) is a lump or protrusion on the side or top of the joint of the large toe. Pressure, friction or inflammation of the bunion can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Bunions are often caused by poor footwear so it is therefore essential to choose footwear that has adequate width and depth in the toe box.

Bunion treatment products like sleeves, shields and pads are designed to protect bunions and relieve the pressure on them. Prolyne Technogel Pressure Protection Pads are unique re-usable self adhesive polyurethane gel pads that conform and stick to the bunion. Adhesive dressings such as fleecy web and chiropody felt are single use dressings which are cut to size and adhered to the bunion for protection.
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March 18 2014

painfreeheels

Achilles Tendonitis | Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, strain, rupture




Achilles Tendonitis | Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, strain, rupture
Table of Contents: (open and close)Where is the Achilles Tendon and What Does it Do?What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?What do Achilles Tendon Problems Feel Like?How are Achilles tendon problems identified?What Are My Treatment Options?Physical Therapy for Achilles TendonitisWhat to Expect After TreatmentQuestions About Achilles TendonitisComments (4)Powered by SEO TOC 1.7.3
Achilles tendonitis is when the achilles tendon becomes inflamed or irritated. This inflammation is often the result of a lot of stress on your calf muscles and achilles tendon from either a sudden increase in intensity or frequency of exercise. Chronic overuse can contribute to micro-tears in the achilles tendon, leading to wear and tear over time that weakens the tendon and thickening of the tendon from scar tissue.

When treated promptly, achilles tendonitis is often short-lived. Left untreated, Achilles tendonitis can cause persistent pain or cause your tendon to rupture. The healing process causes scar tissue to form. Because scar tissue is not as elastic as the tendon, the scar tissue doesn't allow the tendon to stretch normally, which can lead to a rupture of the tendon.

Fortunately, rest and over-the-counter medications to reduce your pain and inflammation may be all the treatment you need for Achilles tendonitis. In some cases, physical therapy may be needed. If you ignore symptoms, the result can be a rupture or tear of the tendon and surgery may be needed.

Before you read any further, it might help to brush up on Foot and Ankle Anatomy.

Where is the Achilles Tendon and What Does it Do?
Achilles tendonTendons are strong, fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones. When muscles contract, the muscle pulls on the tendon that moves the bone. The achilles tendon attaches the two calf muscles (the outer gastrocnemius and the underlying soleus) that share the achilles tendon to the heel bone (calcaneus). When contracted, the calf muscles pull on the achilles tendon causing the foot to point downward helping you to rise up onto the ball of your foot. As the calf muscles relax, they allow you to lower your heel to the ground. This powerful muscle group in your calf helps you sprint, jump, or climb and provides the push-off phase in walking and running.

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?
The achilles tendon is one of the strongest in the body but is prone to injury because of the tremendous pressure that is put on it with every step we take.Achilles tendonitis is often an overuse injury"doing too much too soon. Problems with the Achilles tendon affect athletes most often; especially runners, basketball players, and sports that require jumping"like volleyball and tennis. Problems are also common in middle-aged adults. Tendonitis can also be caused by calf muscles that are too tight. Some injuries to the Achilles tendon are minor and some"ruptures"are rather severe.

Achilles tendonitis can be either acute which occurs over a period of a few days following and increase in training, or chronic which occurs over a longer time. In athletes, problems are often acute following a sudden increase in training"either distance, speed or hills. Risk factors for non-athletes include diabetes, age, obesity, steroids, certain antibiotics or a "weekend warrior" injury.

What do Achilles Tendon Problems Feel Like?
Acute:
Gradual onset of pain over a period of daysPain when exercise begins that gets better as the exercise progressesPain gets better with restTenderness to pressure in the area
Chronic Achilles tendonitis can follow acute tendonitis if untreated. Chronic tendonitis is more difficult to treat.
Gradual onset of pain over a period of weeks or monthsPain with exercise that is constant throughout exercisePain when walking up hill or up stairsPain and stiffness in the tendon after rest and especially early in the morningNodules or lumps in the tendonTenderness with pressureSwelling or thickening of the tendonMay have skin redness over the areaMay feel creaking when moving the ankle or pressing the tendon with your fingers
Ligaments and bones of the ankleYou can have pain either where the Achilles tendon attaches to the calf muscle"tendonitis"or where it attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus)"bursitis. There is a fluid filled sac between the tendon and the bone, called a bursa that limits friction when the tendon glides up and down at the back of the heel bone. Bursitis usually starts as pain and irritation at the back of the heel. You may see redness or swelling there. Shoes can aggravate the condition making it hard to wear shoes.

Foot Xray on toesTendonitis occurs just above the heel. Tendonitis is caused by a violent strain to the calf muscles or the tendon during a strong contraction of the muscle as when running or sprinting. This strain can occur where the muscles join the Achilles tendon. You will have pain when pressing on the Achilles tendon and with walking, especially when pushing off your toes or putting weight on your toes as when going down stairs or stepping off a curb. (See xray image left.)

How are Achilles tendon problems identified?
Diagnosis is done by your doctor taking a history""what were you doing when the pain started""?and a physical exam to see where your calf and/or foot hurt. You will likely have xrays to rule out fracture and show bone spurs or other problems.

What Are My Treatment Options?
Your treatment will depend on the severity of our injury and how long it has been since your injury. You will likely be started on rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin or NSAIDs.
Rest:Resting the painful Achilles tendon allows the inflammation to subside and allow for healing. A period of rest"stopping the activity that is causing the pain"after the onset of symptoms is important in controlling Achilles tendonitis.Immobilization:In patients who have more significant symptoms, a period of immobilization can help. Either a removable walking boot, or sometimes even a cast, can allow the inflamed tissue to cool down quickly. Wearing a walking boot keeps the calf muscle from pulling on the Achilles tendon. The boot prevents you from pushing off with the ball of your foot or pointing your toes downward. The walking boot should be worn when walking. However, there is some benefit to wearing the boot even when you"re at rest as the boot keeps a slight stretch on the tendon and prevents further shortening.Night Splint:A night splint keeps the foot in a similar position as the walking boot, with a gentle stretch on the Achilles tendon. However, a night splint is not sturdy enough to allow walking. Daily use of a night splint while sedentary, from minutes to several hours, can help physical therapy and continues the rehabilitation while at home. After recovery, a night splint can help prevent recurrent strains and maintains lower extremity flexibility, especially in athletes.
Physical Therapy for Achilles Tendonitis
For some injuries, physical therapy is recommended to help remove or stretch scar tissue and to control pain and swelling. Patients with mild symptoms of bursitis or tendonitis often do well with two to four weeks of physical therapy. The physical therapist's goal is to keep your pain and swelling under control, improve your range of motion and strength, and make sure you regain a normal walking pattern. Treatments such as ultrasound, moist heat, and massage are used to control pain and inflammation. As pain eases, treatment progresses to include stretching and strengthening exercise. Physical therapy can also include shock waves, ultrasound, and ice. The key to proper ice and heat therapy is knowing when to ice and heat an injury. Your physical therapist knows when and how to apply treatment to reduce swelling and pain while still allowing the healing inflammatory process. Your therapist will teach you a home-care program to go along with the office therapy to help speed healing.

One purpose of the treatment is to break up scar tissue that has formed and to stretch out the scar tissue allowing the tendon to stretch normally without pain or tearing. The order of treatment is important. You don"t want to stretch a "cold" tendon. Injured tendons shorten and need to be stretched. Also, be careful not to overdo stretching. Only gentle stretches for the calf muscles and Achilles tendon are used at first. As the tendon heals and pain eases, more aggressive stretches are done. Ask your therapist, "On a scale of 1-10, how much should I be stretching the tendon." To prevent further scar tissue from forming, ice is applied after stretching, massage, or treatments. Don"t overdo therapy as this can slow down the healing process by adding further injury to the tendon.
UltrasoundUltrasound"high or low frequency sound waves"can help increase the blood flow to the area to reduce swelling and speed healing. The vibrating sound waves can travel deep into the tissue (muscles) creating gentle heat. The heat increases the blood flow to the area to deliver oxygen and nutrients and remove cell wastes. The deep heat also helps relieve pain, inflammation and muscle spasms. Ultrasound is painless. You may feel tingling; often, you won"t feel anything at all.Electrical StimulationLow-energy shock wave therapy has been used successfully for chronic tendonitis. This therapy does not need anesthesia and can take several treatment sessions. The vibrations produced by the energy waves are applied to the painful areas. Shock wave therapy stimulates soft-tissue healing by increasing blood supply to the treated area. Small electrode pads are placed on the painful area. Then you control the degree of "shock" to the area. The therapy can last as long as 20 minutes. During the treatment, you can increase the intensity as you adjust to each level. During treatment you should feel a tingling sensation, but not pain.
Electrical stimulation can also be used in iontophoresis. This treatment involves the application of a topical anti-inflammatory to the area. The stimulation forces the medication into the tissues reducing inflammation.
Steroid InjectionsSteroid injections are rarely used because it is believed they can weaken the tendon increasing the risk of total rupture.
What to Expect After Treatment
If you have mild symptoms, you should do well with 2-4 weeks of physical therapy; more severe injuries can take as long as 2-3 months. As your condition improves, you can begin doing exercises to strengthen your calf muscles. Strengthening starts gradually using exercises that work the calf muscles but protect the healing area. Eventually, you can do specialized strengthening exercises that work the calf muscle while it lengthens. For example, standing on your tiptoes and then carefully lowering your heels back to the ground.

When your healing is well under way, regular visits to the therapist's office will end. Your therapist will continue to be a resource, but you will be in charge of doing your exercises as part of an ongoing home program. You should be able to get back to normal activities. If you are an athlete, you will be guided through rehab specific to your sport.

It is important to properly rehab the tendon after you recover from the injury or the injury will return.

Questions About Achilles Tendonitis
" Q. How long do you have to wear walking boot?
A. How long you have to wear a walking boot will depend on how bad your injury is. Your first follow-up visit will likely be in 2 weeks after wearing the boot. If you still have problems, then you will likely wear the boot for a month and then follow-up with your doctor. If you still need the boot after two weeks, you may also be started on physical therapy which includes massage, and stretching exercises. The purpose of the boot is to rest the tendon. The downside is you can lose muscle tone in your foot and calf from lack of use. You should wear the boot except to sleep at night. Achilles tendonitis can be caused by calf muscle inflexibility. Even when you're sitting, wearing the boot will position your foot to keep your calf muscles in a slight stretch. Your doctor or PT may also prescribe a night boot for you to sleep in. The night boot is softer than the walking boot and is designed to keep a constant, slight stretch on your calf muscles. Because of the poor blood supply in this area, Achilles tendonitis can heal very slowly.

Without following proper treatment, you can injure the Achilles even more possibly requiring surgery, a cast and crutches.


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March 16 2014

painfreeheels

Common Foot Problems - Cleveland Foot & Ankle Clinic - Cleveland, OH (216) 231-5612




Common Foot Problems - Cleveland Foot & Ankle Clinic - Cleveland, OH (216) 231-5612
Arch Pain / Arch Strain
Definition
The term arch pain (often referred to as arch strain) refers to an inflammation and/or burning sensation at the arch of the foot.

Cause
There are many different factors that can cause arch pain. A structural imbalance or an injury to the foot can often be the direct cause. However, most frequently the cause is a common condition called plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, usually due to over-pronation (flat feet), causes plantar fasciitis.

The inflammation caused by the plantar fascia being stretched away from the heel often leads to pain in the heel and arch areas. The pain is often extreme in the morning when an individual first gets out of bed or after a prolonged period of rest.

If this condition is left untreated and strain on the longitudinal arch continues, a bony protrusion may develop, known as a heel spur. It is important to treat the condition promptly before it worsens.

Treatment and Prevention
This is a common foot condition that can be easily treated. If you suffer from arch pain avoid high-heeled shoes whenever possible. Try to choose footwear with a reasonable heel, soft leather uppers, shock absorbing soles and removable foot insoles. When the arch pain is pronation related (flat feet), an orthotic designed with a medial heel post and proper arch support is recommended for treating the pain. This type of orthotic will control over-pronation, support the arch and provide the necessary relief.


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Arthritis
Definition
Arthritis is a disease characterized by the inflammation of the cartilage and lining of the bodys joints. Inflammation causes redness, warmth, pain and swelling. There are about 40 million Americans who suffer from arthritis. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, estimates that by the year 2020, about 60 million Americans will have arthritis. The primary targets for arthritis are people over the age of 50. Arthritis is a major cause of foot pain because each foot has 33 joints that can become affected by the disease.

Osteoarthritis
There are many different types of arthritis. The most common type is called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes excessive strain and the wearing away of cartilage in the joints of the foot. Movement becomes very difficult and painful. The pain and swelling worsens while standing or walking, and stiffness usually occurs after periods of rest.

Gout
Gout is another form of arthritis that also leads to foot complications. Excess uric acid crystals collect in and around the joints of the big toe. The big toe joint is commonly the focal point due to the stress and pressure it experiences during walking and other weight bearing activities. This often leads to severe pain in the big toe. Men are more likely to develop gouty arthritis than women.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Another type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. It can develop at any age and there is no known cause for this condition. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most crippling form of the disease that can affect people of all ages. It can cause severe deformities of the joints with associated fatigue of the entire body. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis often develop severe forefoot problems such as bunions, hammer toes, claw toes, and others.

Cause
There are many causes of arthritis. Heredity plays a major role. However, arthritic symptoms can develop due to many other factors. Some of these include bacterial and viral infections, prescription and illegal drugs, traumatic injuries, and bowel disorders such as ileitis and colitis.

Forefoot problems such as hammer toes, claw toes, mallet toes, and bunions often develop as a result of arthritis, particularly Rheumatoid arthritis. Problems can also develop in the heel and ankle area due to the erosion of the involved joints.

Treatment and Prevention
Conservative treatment (non-surgical treatment) of the arthritic foot includes proper footwear, orthotics, and/or forefoot supports. Arthritic footwear should provide the following benefits:

High, wide toe box (high and wide space in the toe area)Removable insoles for fitting flexibility and the option to insert orthotics if necessary.Rocker Soles designed to facilitate ambulating (walking) and to reduce stress and pain at the ball-of-the-foot.Arthritic footwear should also accommodate swelling of the foot. Orthotics designed to provide comfort, support and extra cushioning are also recommended. Orthotics made with a material called Plastazote are often recommended because they mold to your feet to provide customized comfort. The proper footwear and orthotics will reduce pressure to provide a comfortable and healthy environment for the foot.

Forefoot supports such as gel toe caps, gel toe shields, gel toe straighteners and others can often provide relief.


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Athlete's Foot
Definition
Athletes foot is a fungal infection that causes red, dry, flaking skin, sometimes accompanied by pain or itching. The condition usually occurs between the toes or on the soles or sides of the feet. In its acute stage, the infected foot exhibits blisters that itch or weep. Athletes Foot can spread to the toenails, causing chronic fungal infections. Often when a patient thinks the feet are only dry and cracking, Athletes Foot is responsible for the problem.

Cause
Fungal infections like Athletes Foot are often contracted in showers, gyms, dressing rooms, swimming pool lockers, or other warm, damp areas where fungus can thrive. The name of the condition comes from the fact that athletes spend the most time in these environments and therefore are at a higher risk of fungal infection.

Once fungal spores are present on the feet, they can enter fissures or sores and remain there to spread, unless the feet are carefully washed and thoroughly dried after exposure.

Athletes Foot can spread from the toes to the toenails. If the patient touches or scratches the infection and then touches other parts of the body, the fungus can spread to fingernails or other parts of the body, including the groin or underarms.

Like any foot condition, Athletes Foot is of special concern to people with diabetes and compromised immune systems who are more susceptible to developing infections that can lead to serious medical problems.

Treatment and Prevention
Vigilant foot hygiene can prevent Athletes Foot. Daily washing of the feet with soap and water followed by thorough drying, especially between the toes, is important. Wearing dry, airy shoes and socks, not borrowing footwear from others, avoiding tight hosiery and using foot powder all help to keep the feet dry and infection-free. When using public showers or pool areas it is a good idea to wear protective shoes.

Once an infection has occurred, it is important to see a doctor, have the problem diagnosed correctly, and treat it promptly. Fungal infections can be stubborn and difficult to treat, and can become chronic. Treatment plans include prescription antifungal medications, either topical or oral, and continued attention to keeping the feet clean and dry.

Continue to consult with your foot doctor until the problem is eradicated.


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Bunions
Definition
Bunions, referred to in the medical community as Hallux Valgus, are one of the most common forefoot problems.A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. This bump is actually a bone protruding towards the inside of the foot. With the continued movement of the big toe towards the smaller toes, it is common to find the big toe resting under or over the second toe. This causes a common forefoot condition called overlapping toes. Some of the symptoms of bunions include inflammation, swelling, and soreness on the side surface of the big toe. The discomfort commonly causes a patient to walk improperly.

Another type of bunion which some individuals experience is called a Tailor's Bunion, also known as a Bunionette. This forms on the outside of the foot towards the joint at the little toe. It is a smaller bump that forms due to the little toe moving inwards, towards the big toe.

Cause
Bunions are a common problem experienced mostly by women. The deformity can develop from an abnormality in foot function, or arthritis, and may be exacerbated by wearing improper fitting footwear. Tight, narrow dress shoes with a constrictive toe box (toe area) can cause the foot to begin to take the shape of the shoe, leading to the formation of a bunion. Women who have bunions normally wear dress shoes that are too small for their feet. Their toes are squeezed together in their shoes causing the first metatarsal bone to protrude on the side of the foot.

It is important for men and women to realize that wearing dress shoes and boots, which are tapered in the toe area, can cause the bunion to worsen to the point where surgery is necessary.

Treatment and Prevention
In the early stages of the formation of a bunion, soaking feet in warm water can provide temporary relief. The best way to alleviate the pain associated with bunions is to wear properly fitting shoes. Shoes designed with a high, wide toe box (toe area) are recommended for people suffering from forefoot disorders, such as bunions. Shoes with rocker soles will unload pressure to the bunion area. Orthotics are also recommended for this condition to provide extra comfort, support, and protection.

Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products designed to accommodate and relieve bunions such as bunion shields, bunion night splints, and bunion bandages. These conservative treatments can limit the progression of the bunion formation, relieve pain and provide a healthy environment for the foot.


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Calluses
Definition
The formation of calluses is caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot.This callus formation isthe body's defense mechanism to protect the foot against excessive pressure and friction.Calluses are normally found on the ball-of-the-foot, the heel, and/or the inside of the big toe.

Some calluses have a deep seated core known as a nucleation. This particular type of callus can be especially painful to pressure. This condition is often referred to as Intractable Plantar Keratosis.

Cause
Calluses develop becuase of excessive pressure at a specific area of the foot. Some common causes of callus formation are high-heeled dress shoes, shoes that are too small, obesity, abnormalities in the gait cycle (walking motion), flat feet, high arched feet, bony prominences, and the loss of the fat pad on the bottom of the foot.

Treatment and Prevention
Many people try to alleviate the pain caused by calluses by cutting or trimming them with a razor blade or knife. This is not the way to properly treat calluses. This is very dangerous and can worsen the condition resulting in unnecessary injuries. Diabetics especially should never try this type of treatment.

To relieve the excessive pressure that leads to callus formation, weight should be redistributed equally with the use of an orthotic. An effective orthotic transfers pressure away from the "hot spots" or high pressured areas to allow the callus to heal. The orthotic should be made with materials that absorb shock and shear (friction) forces. Women should also steer away from wearing high-heeled shoes.

As always, surgery should be the very last resort.


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Corns
Definition
Corns like calluses develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells on the foot, forming thick, hardened areas.They contain a cone-shaped core with a point that can press on a nerve below, causing pain.Corns are a very common ailment that usually form on the tops, sides and tips of the toes.Corns can become inflamed due to constant friction and pressure from footwear.Corns that form between the toes are sometimes referred to as soft corns.

Cause
Some of the common causes of corn development are tight fitting footwear, high heeled footwear, tight fitting stockings and socks, deformed toes, or the foot sliding forward in a shoe that fits too loosely. Soft corns result from bony prominences and are located between the toes. They become soft due to perspiration in the forefoot area.

Complications that can arise from corns include bursitis and the development of an ulcer.

Treatment and Prevention
There are very simple ways to prevent and treat the corns. You should wear properly fitted footwear with extra room in the toe box (toe area). Avoid shoes that are too tight or too loose. Use an orthotic or shoe insert made with materials that will absorb shock and shear forces. Also avoid tight socks and stockings to provide a healthier environment for the foot.

Try to steer away from corn removing solutions and medicated pads. These solutions can sometimes increase irritation and discomfort. Diabetics and all other individuals with poor circulation should never use any chemical agents to remove corns.


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Diabetic Foot
Definition
Diabetes is a serious disease that can develop from lack of insulin production in the body or due to the inability of the body's insulin to perform its normal everyday functions. Insulin is a substance produced by the pancreas gland that helps process the food we eat and turn it into energy.

Diabetes affects approximately 16 million Americans and is classified into 2 different types: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is usually associated with juvenile diabetes and is often linked to heredity. Type 2, commonly referred to as adult onset diabetes, is characterized by elevated blood sugars, often in people who are overweight or have not attended to their diet properly.

Many complications can be associated with diabetes. Diabetes disrupts the vascular system, affecting many areas of the body such as the eyes, kidneys, legs, and feet. People with diabetes should pay special attention to their feet.

Cause
Neuropathy
Of the sixteen million Americans with diabetes, 25% will develop foot problems related to the disease. Diabetic foot conditions develop from a combination of causes including poor circulation and neuropathy. Diabetic Neuropathy can cause insensitivity or a loss of ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Diabetics suffering from neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to the insensitivity. If these minor injuries are left untreated, complications may result and lead to ulceration and possibly even amputation. Neuropathy can also cause deformities such as Bunions, Hammer Toes, and Charcot Feet.

It is very important for diabetics to take the necessary precautions to prevent all foot related injuries. Due to the consequences of neuropathy, daily observation of the feet is critical. When a diabetic patient takes the necessary preventative footcare measures, he or she reduces the risks of serious foot conditions.

Poor Circulation
Diabetes often leads to peripheral vascular disease that inhibits a persons blood circulation. With this condition, there is a narrowing of the arteries that frequently leads to significantly decreased circulation in the lower part of the legs and the feet. Poor circulation contributes to diabetic foot problems by reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrition supplied to the skin and other tissue, causing injuries to heal poorly. Poor circulation can also lead to swelling and dryness of the foot. Preventing foot complications is more critical for the diabetic patient because poor circulation impairs the healing process and can lead to ulcers, infection, and other serious foot conditions.

Treatment and Prevention
Footwear and orthotics play an important role in diabetic footcare. Orthotics designed with Plastazote foam, the #1 material for protecting the insensitive diabetic foot, are usually recommended. Plastazote is a material designed to accommodate pressure hot spots by conforming to heat and pressure. By customizing to the foot, Plastazote provides the comfort and protection needed in diabetic footcare. Footwear constructed with Plastazote is also recommended frequently for the diabetic patient. Diabetic footwear should also provide the following protective benefits:

High, wide toe box (high and wide space in the toe area)Removable insoles for fitting flexibility and the option to insert orthotics if necessary.Rocker Soles designed to reduce pressure in the areas of the foot most susceptible to pain, most notably the ball-of-the-foot.Firm Heel Counters for support and stability.

If you are a diabetic, you should be particularly alert to any problems you may be having with your feet. It is very important for diabetics with neuropathy to take necessary precautions to prevent injury and keep their feet healthy. If you have diabetes and are experiencing a foot problem, immediately consult your foot doctor.

Footcare & Diabetes
Proper footcare is especially critical for diabetics because they are prone to foot problems such as:

Loss of feeling in their feet
Changes in the shape of their feet
Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal
Simple daily footcare can prevent serious problems. According to the National Institute of Health, the following simple everyday steps will help prevent serious complications from diabetes:

Take Care of Your Diabetes
Make healthy lifestyle choices to keep your blood sugar close to normal. Work with your health care team to create a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle characteristics.

Check Your Feet Every Day
You may have foot problems that you may not be aware of. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, or infected toenails. Checking your feet should become part of your daily routine. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help. You can also ask a family member to help you.

Important ReminderBe sure to call your doctor immediately if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not heal after one day.

Wash Your Feet Every Day
Wash your feet in warm, NOT HOT, water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry. Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You should use a thermometer or your elbow. Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes. Use talcum powder to keep the skin dry between the toes.

Keep the Skin Soft and Smooth
Rub a thin coat of skin lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of the feet. Do not put lotion between your toes, because this might cause infection.

Trim your Toenails Each Week or When Needed
Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry your feet. Trim the toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nail file. DO NOT cut into the corners of the nail or rip off hangnails. If your nails are thick or yellowed, DO NOT cut your own nails; have a foot doctor trim them.

Wear Shoes and Socks At All Times
Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot, not even indoors. It is extremely easy to step on something and hurt your feet. Always wear seamless socks, stockings, and nylons with your shoes to help avoid the possibility of blisters and sores developing. Be sure to choose seamless socks that are made of materials that wick moisture away from your feet and absorb shock and shear. Socks made of these materials help keep your feet dry. Always check the insides of your shoes before putting them on. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no foreign objects in the shoe, such as pebbles. Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.

Protect Your Feet From Hot and Cold
Always wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Put sunscreen on the tops of your feet for protection from the sun. Keep your feet away from radiators or open fires. DO NOT use hot water bottle or heating pads on your feet. If your feet are cold, wear seamless socks at night. Lined boots are good to keep your feet warm in the winter. Choose socks carefully. DO NOT wear socks with seams or bumpy areas. Choose padded socks to protect your feet and make walking more comfortable. In cold weather, check your feet often to keep your feet warm avoid frostbite.

Keep the Blood Flowing to Your Feet
Put your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.


DO NOT cross your legs for long periods of time.DO NOT wear tight socks, elastic, or rubber bands, or garters around your legs. DO NOT wear restrictive footwear or foot products. Foot products that can cut off circulation to the feet, such as products with elastic, should not be worn by diabetics.DO NOT smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet.
If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, work with your health care team to lower it.

Be More Active
Ask your doctor to plan an exercise program that is right for you. Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet. Avoid all activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping. Always include a short warm-up or cool-down period. Wear protective walking or athletic shoes that fit well and offer good support.

Communicate With Your Doctor
Ask your doctor to check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet at least once a year. Ask your doctor to tell you immediately if you have serious foot problems. Ask your doctor for proper footcare tips and for the name of your local podiatrist.


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Hammer Toes
Definition
A hammer toe is a toe that is contracted at the PIP joint (middle joint in the toe), potentially leading to severe pressure and pain.Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe's joints to curl downwards.Hammer toes may occur in any toe except the big toe.There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe due to rubbing against the shoe.

Hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types - flexible and rigid. In a flexible hammer toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be straightened manually. A rigid hammer toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses. Follow this link to learn more about hammer toe products.

Cause
Hammer toes result from a muscle imbalance which causes the ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tight. This results in the joint curling downward. Arthritis can also lead to many different forefoot deformities, including hammer toes.

Treatment and Prevention
Changing the type of footwear worn is a very important step in the treatment of hammer toes. When choosing a shoe, make sure the toe box (toe area) is high and broad, and can accommodate the hammer toes. A shoe with a high, broad toe box will provide enough room in the forefoot area so that there is less friction against the toes.

Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products designed to relieve hammer toes, such as hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the hammer toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Gel toe shields and gel toe caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.


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Heel Fissures
Definition
Heel fissures, also known as cracked heels can be a simple cosmetic problem and a nuisance, but can also lead to serious medical problems. Heel fissures occur when the skin on the bottom, outer edge of the heel becomes hard, dry and flaky, sometimes causing deep fissures that can be painful or bleed.

Cause
Heel fissures can affect anyone, but risk factors include:

Living in a dry climate ObesityConsistently walking barefoot or wearing sandals or open-backed shoes Inactive sweat glands
Like many foot conditions, heel fissures can become more dangerous if they go untreated and become deep or infected. This is especially dangerous for people with diabetes or compromised immune systems.

Treatment and Prevention
Moisturizing the feet regularly can prevent heel fissures. Once they occur, you can use a pumice stone daily to gently decrease the thick and flaky layer of skin. Avoid going barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes, sandals or shoes with thin soles. Shoes with strong shock absorption can help to improve the condition.

Moisturizing the feet at least twice a day and wearing socks over moisturizer while sleeping can also help.


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Heel Pain
Definition
Heel pain is a common condition in which weight bearing on the heel causes extreme discomfort.

Cause
There are two different categories of heel pain. The first is caused by over-use repetitive stress which refers to a soreness resulting from too much impact on a specific area of the foot. This condition, often referred to as "heel pain syndrome," can be caused by shoes with heels that are too low, a thinned out fat pad in the heel area, or from a sudden increase in activity.

Plantar fasciitis, a very common diagnosis of heel pain, is usually caused from a biomechancial problem, such as over-pronation (flat feet). The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel through the midfoot and into the forefoot. Over-pronation can cause the plantar fascia to be excessively stretched and inflamed, resulting in pain in the heel and arch areas of the foot. Often the pain will be most intense first thing in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest. The pain will gradually subside as the day progresses.

Treatment and Prevention
To properly treat heel pain, you must absorb shock, provide cushioning and elevate the heel to transfer pressure. This can be accomplished with a heel cup, visco heel cradle, or an orthotic designed with materials that will absorb shock and shear forces.

When the condition is pronation related (usually plantar fasciitis), an orthotic with medial posting and good arch support will control the pronation and prevent the inflammation of the plantar fascia.

Footwear selection is also an important criteria when treating heel pain. Shoes with a firm heel counter, good arch support, and appropriate heel height are the ideal choice.


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Heel Spurs
Definition
The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most amount of shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony protrusion, or heel spur to develop. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Heel spurs can cause extreme pain in the rearfoot, especially while standing or walking.

Cause
Heel spurs develop as an abnormal growth in the heel bone due to calcium deposits that form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel. This stretching of the plantar fascia is usually the result of over-pronation (flat feet), but people with unusually high arches (pes cavus) can also develop heel spurs. Women have a significantly higher incidence of heel spurs due to the types of footwear often worn on a regular basis.

Treatment and Prevention
The key for the proper treatment of heel spurs is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the over-pronation, and allow the condition to heal.

Other common treatments include stretching exercises, losing weight, wearing shoes that have a cushioned heel that absorbs shock, and elevating the heel with the use of a heel cradle, heel cup, or orthotic. Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort and cushion to the heel, and reduce the amount of shock and shear forces experienced from everyday activities.


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Ingrown Toenails
Definition
Known to physicians as onychocryptosis, ingrown toe nails are a common, painful condition that occur when skin on one or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe. Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection. Irritation, redness, an uncomfortable sensation of warmth, as well as swelling can result from an ingrown toenail.

Cause
Ingrown toenails develop for many reasons. In some cases the condition is congenital, such as toenails that simply are too large. People whose toes curl, either congenitally or from diseases like arthritis, are prone to ingrown toenails. Often trauma, like stubbing a toe or having a toe stepped on, can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. Repeated trauma, such as the pounding to which runners typically subject their feet, also can cause ingrown nails.

The most common cause is cutting your toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin. Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes only make matters worse. If the skin is red, painful or swollen on the sides of the nail, an infection may be present. This occurs because the ingrown nail is often in a warm, moist and bacteria-rich environment. When the nail penetrates the skin, it provides a convenient entry for germs that can cause infection. Untreated, the nail can go under the skin, causing a more severe infection. In either case, the infection needs to be cured with sterile instruments and antibiotics.

Treatment and Prevention
Ingrown toenails should be treated as soon as they are recognized. In many cases, people with uninfected ingrown toenails can obtain relief with the following simple regimen:
Soak the feet in warm salt waterDry them thoroughly with a clean towel Apply a mild antiseptic solution to the areaBandage the toeIf excessive inflammation, swelling, pain or discharge is present, the toenail probably is infected and should be treated by a physician. A podiatrist can trim or remove the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure. He or she can remove the offending portion of the nail or overgrown skin with a scalpel and treat the infection. Unless, the problem is congenital, the best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to protect the feet from trauma and wear shoes with adequate room for the toes.
Cutting toe nails properly goes a long way toward the prevention of ingrown toenails. Using a safety nail clipper, cut the nails straight across, so that the nail corner is visible. If you cut the nail too short, you are inviting the nail corner to grow into the skin. It is the natural tendency, when the edge of the nail starts to grow in, to cut down at an angle at the nail edge, to relieve the pain. This does relieve the pain temporarily, but it also can start a downward spiral, training the nail to become more and more ingrown.


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Metatarsalgia
Definition
Metatarsalgia is a general term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region of the foot (the area just before the toes, more commonly referred to as the ball-of-the-foot). This is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints at the ball-of-the-foot.Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot-pain) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).

Cause
With this common foot condition, one or more of the metatarsal heads become painful and/or inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. It is common to experience acute, recurrent, or chronic pain with metatarsalgia. Ball-of-foot pain is often caused from improper fitting footwear, most frequently by womens dress shoes and other restrictive footwear. Footwear with a narrow toe box (toe area) forces the ball-of-foot area to be forced into a minimal amount of space. This can inhibit the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.

Other factors can cause excessive pressure in the ball-of-foot area that can result in metatarsalgia. These include shoes with heels that are too high or participating in high impact activities without proper footwear and/or orthotics. Also as we get older, the fat pad in our foot tends to thin out, making us much more susceptible to pain in the ball-of-the-foot.

Treatment and Prevention
The first step in treating metatarsalgia is to determine the cause of the pain. If improper fitting footwear is the cause of the pain, the footwear must be changed. Footwear designed with a high, wide toe box (toe area) and a rocker sole is ideal for treating metatarsalgia. The high, wide toe box allows the foot to spread out while the rocker sole reduces stress on the ball-of-the-foot.

Unloading pressure to the ball-of-the-foot can be accomplished with a variety of footcare products. Orthotics designed to relieve ball-of-foot pain usually feature a metatarsal pad. The orthotic is constructed with the pad placed behind the ball-of-the-foot to relieve pressure and redistribute weight from the painful area to more tolerant areas. Other products often recommended include gel metatarsal cushions and metatarsal bandages. When these products are used with proper footwear, you should experience significant relief.


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Shin Splints
Definition
Shin splints are a common lower extremity complaint, especially among runners and other athletes. They are characterized by pain in the front or inside aspect of the lower leg due to overexertion of the muscles. The pain usually develops gradually without a history of trauma, and might begin as a dull ache along the front or inside of the shin (Tibia) after running or even walking. Small bumps and tender areas may become evident adjacent to the shin bone. The pain can become more intense if not addressed, and shin splints should not be left untreated because of an increased risk of developing stress fractures.

Shin splints usually involve small tears in the leg muscles where they are attached to the shin bone. The two types of shin splints are: anterior shin splints, in the front portion of the tibia; and posterior shin splints, occurring on the inside of the leg along the tibia.

Cause
Shin splints can be caused when the anterior leg muscles are stressed by running, especially on hard surfaces or extensively on the toes, or by sports that involve jumping. Wearing athletic shoes that are worn out or dont have enough shock absorption can also cause this condition. Over-pronated (flat feet) are another factor that can lead to increased stress on the lower leg muscles during exercise. People with high arched feet can also experience shin splint discomfort because this foot type is a poor shock absorber.

Treatment and Prevention
The best way to prevent shin splints is to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles, wear footwear with good shock absorption, and avoid running on hard surfaces or excessive running or jumping on the ball-of-the-foot. Insoles or orthotics that offer arch support for over-pronation are also important.

Treatment for shin splints should include taking a break from the exercise that is causing the problem until pain subsides. Icing the area immediately after running or other exercise can also be effective, along with gentle stretching before and after training. Another option is taking aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

It is important not to try to train through the pain of shin splints. Runners should decrease mileage for about a week and avoid hills or hard surfaces. If a muscle imbalance, poor running form or flat feet are causing the problem, a long-term solution might involve a stretching and strengthening program and orthotics that support the foot and correct over-pronation. In more severe cases, ice massage, electrostimuli, heat treatments and ultra-sound might be used.


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Toenail Fungus
Definition
Toenail fungus, known by physicians as Onychomycosis, affects about half of Americans by the age of 70.It is relatively rare in children, but the incidence increases with age.Fungus infections occur when microscopic fungi gain entry through a small trauma in the nail, then grow and spread in the warm, moist environment inside the patients socks and shoes.

Symptoms of toenail fungus, which can be caused by several types of fungi, include swelling, yellowing, thickening or crumbling of the nail, streaks or spots down the side of the nail, and even complete loss of the nail. Toenail color can vary from brown or yellow to white with this condition.

Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is more difficult to treat because toenails grow more slowly. It occurs most often on the big or small toe, but might occur on any toe.

Cause
Toenail fungus can be picked up in damp areas such as public gyms, shower stalls or swimming pools, and can be passed among family members. Athletes and people who wear tight-fitting shoes or tight hosiery that cause trauma to the toes or keep the feet from drying out are at higher risk. The condition can also spread from one toe to another, or to other parts of the body.

Other risk factors include abnormal PH level of the skin, not drying off the feet thoroughly after bathing or exercise, and a compromised immune system in someone who has been exposed to a fungus. Diabetics have an increased risk of contracting a toenail fungus because their immune system is compromised. They should have their nails cut and debrided by a podiatrist.

Treatment and Prevention
Because it is difficult to treat or eradicate toenail fungus, it is a good idea to try to prevent it. It helps to wear protective shoes or sandals in public showers, pool areas and gyms, and to avoid borrowing someone elses shoes or sharing socks or towels with someone who has toenail fungus. An orthotic device can be used to add cushioning and/or control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the lower leg muscles.

Wash your feet regularly, and dry them thoroughly when they get wet. Wearing nail polish on the toes is not advised because it can seal in fungus and allow it to grow. Keep toenails trimmed, and be sure to disinfect any pedicure tools before using them.

If you do develop toenail fungus, see your foot doctor. The doctor might remove as much of the nail as possible by trimming, filing or dissolving it. Medicated nail polish might be prescribed for a localized infection, but a serious infection will likely be treated with a prescription oral antifungal medication. These medications can have side effects, so be sure to work closely with your doctor on your treatment plan. Only in severe cases will surgical removal of the nail be recommended.
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March 15 2014

painfreeheels

Achilles tendinitis Symptoms - Diseases and Conditions - Mayo Clinic

Achilles tendinitis Symptoms - Diseases and Conditions - Mayo Clinic

SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic Staff
MultimediaIllustration showing Achilles tendinitisAchilles tendinitis
The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting.

You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.

When to see a doctor
If you experience persistent pain around the Achilles tendon, call your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain or disability is severe. You may have a torn (ruptured) Achilles tendon.
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References Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed Aug. 13, 2012.DeLee JC, et al. DeLee & Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3143-7..X0001-2--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-3143-7&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Aug. 13, 2012.Carcia CR, et al. Achilles pain, stiffness and muscle power deficits: Achilles tendinitis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2010;40:A1.Ham P, et al. Achilles tendinopathy and tendon rupture. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 13, 2012.DefinitionCauses
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March 11 2014

painfreeheels

Treatment For Heel Pain Using Plantar Fasciitis Stretching Exercises And Orthotic Shoe Inserts


If you experience foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis, you are most likely in search of successful plantar fasciitis pain therapy. You are not alone. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot pain. This condition is due to an inflammation of the band of tissues (plantar fascia) connecting your heel to your toes. Many people say that the pain feels like a stabbing or burning sensation that starts at the heel and tends to spread forward into the toes. This is why many folks are so desperate to find plantar fasciitis pain therapy. It can be agonizingly painful and will get worse without therapy.

If you are feeling plantar pain, a simple approach to assist in alleviating the stress on the fascia is to make use of arch support inserts and do plantar fasciitis exercises, that will strengthen the plantar fascia as well. One of the prescribed plantar fasciitis stretching exercises is stretching the foot before rising from bed. The Plantar Fascia will tighten while you sleep, which causes the intense pain that people feel when they get out of bed. By stretching the plantar fascia before you put pressure on it, you can help reduce the pain that you experience with your first morning steps.

Your next Plantar Fasciitis exercise is stretching of the plantar fascia using a bath towel. Put a rolled up towel under the ball of one foot, holding both ends of the towel with your left and right hand. Next, slowly pull the towel towards you, while keeping your knee straight (the other knee may be bent). Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat 4 times and change to the other foot, if necessary. (It's always good to do these exercises on both feet, even if you only experience heel pain in one foot, as this will help prevent the heel problem to come back in your other foot!)

The option of surgery for treatment of plantar fasciitis is prescribed only, if the pain is very severe and if natural treatments do not cure the condition. The most common type of surgical treatment is the plantar fascia release or which is medically known as, endoscopic plantar fasciotomy. This involves the release or removal of the fascia, by preparing a small incision on the inside of the heel. Further, the inflamed tissue is either released or removed. Other commonly followed treatment is the heel spur removal. Heel spur removal aims at removing the heel spur and repairing the plantar fascia region.

An easy home exercise for plantar fasciitis involves the use of a tennis ball or any small ball that is comfortable to use on the bottom of the foot. The exercise is performed by placing the bottom of the foot on top of the ball and gently rolling the ball back and forth. This is thought to massage the muscles and stretch the muscles along the sole of the foot to relieve tension. This can be performed while seated or standing while holding on the a wall or chair. The exercise can be performed for 30 seconds to a minute at a time followed by a period of rest. plantar fasciitis surgery

Foot Orthotics , is the only non-surgical therapy to have been supported by studies rated by the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine as being of high quality. Landorf et al. performed a single-blind experiment in which patients were randomly assigned to receive off-the-shelf orthotics, personally customized orthotics, or sham orthotics made of soft, thin foam. Patients receiving real orthotics showed statistically significant short-term improvements in functionality compared to those receiving the sham treatment. There was no statistically significant reduction in pain, and there was no long-term effect when the patients were re-evaluated after 12 months.

Heelpain is commonly felt on the bottom of the foot, where the plantarfascia attaches to the heel bone. Due to the fact that the fasciaconstricts when you sleep, you will typically feel the most pain in themornings. When you get up, the sudden stretch and load of your bodyweight pulls on the attachment to the heel bone. Mild to severesymptoms of foot pain in athletes may occur. The pattern of pain can bevery unpredictable over months at a time. Frequently, the paindisappears for several weeks, only to re-emerge full-blown after asingle workout or change in activity.

What is the value of this stretch? The Achilles tendon (also known as the heel cord) inserts directly into the heel bone on the back of the foot. The plantar fascia is attached to the heel bone on the underside (sole) of the foot. During the running stride each component of the body's support system (hip, thigh, lower leg and foot) is responsible for controlling and dissipating a portion of the impact force associated with landing. The Achilles tendons, like the hamstrings, undergo movement stresses in both of these planes during running.

Someone will cause wear and tear on their plantar fascia at the insertion on the heal bone, and at night this strain is relieved when they lie horizontally and allow their feet to go limp. From this orientation, their foot and leg are in a position totally different from the one found through much of the day. This relaxed position causes the plantar fascia to become similar to a relaxed rubber band. With all of the healing that occurs during sleep being destroyed every morning, the restorative nature of sleep is no longer found in the heel, and the pain continues.

How quickly you can return to running will depend on the severity of your injury and how fast you heal. Some runners find that they can work their way back into running even while some residual arch stiffness persists, but if running is making your arch pain worse, you need more time off and more time for your rehab program to do its job. As you return to running, consider increasing your stride frequency by 10% or so to reduce your impact loading rate,16 a factor connected with the development of plantar fasciitis in runners. plantar fasciitis

November 24 2013

painfreeheels

Hammer Toes, Claw Toes, Mallet Toes, Curly Toes & Webbed Toes

The most common toe deformities are hammer toes, claw toes, and bone spurs. These involve the lesser toes (2nd through 5th toes). In a hammer toe, the toe is bent at the middle knuckle of the toe, while in a claw toe the toe is bent at both the middle knuckle and tip of the toe. A bone spur can occur anywhere on the toes but most commonly affects the 4th and 5th toes. Each of the deformities can create corns on the toes and in more severe cases redness, swelling, and even an open sore can develop.



Hammertoes may have several causes, but most commonly come about due to muscle imbalances. The tendons pulling the toe inward may be stronger than the ones that pull the toe straight, thus resulting in a toe that's bumped up in the middle. Hammertoes (or a tendency to develop them) might have been something you inherited from your parents (or grandparents, or third cousins), although they may also be caused or exacerbated by wearing shoes that scrunch the toes up into a small space (i.e. shoes with tiny little toe boxes and/or high heels-the usual lineup of suspects).



The use of padding, taping, footwear changes, and removal of callouses or steroid injections may all be used to help relieve symptoms. Padding can help to reduce abnormal pressures caused by the deformity. Taping techniques or the use of a splint can be used to reduce the a flexible deformity. Changing the patient's footwear can also help to reduce discomfort. These shoe changes can include a wider or higher toe box to better accommodate the toes. Removal of built-up callouses often associated with hammer toes can help minimize discomfort. Occasionally, steroid injections may be used to temporarily reduce the pain and swelling within the toe joints.



Next, think of your foot like a five digit basket ball team with one player, (Toeny) unable to play because of an injury. Over the course of a lifetime, playing a five toe game with a 4 toe team isn’t going to go end well. The four toes are over worked trying to do an impossible job, accomplishing what 5 guys were designed to do. The game breaks down quickly. Just one toe not functioning (for up to decades) is a major compounding factor in weakness and decline of the entire musculo-skelatel system’s capabilities and safety. “For want of a nail the kingdom was lost” ( google it ).claw toe deformity



There are 3 joints that make up the toe-the metatarsophalangeal joint, proximal interphalangeal joint, and distal interphalangeal joint. The hammertoe is contracted (flexed) at the proximal interphalangeal joint only, where as the mallet toe is only contracted (flexed) at the distal phalangeal joint only. The claw toe on the other hand is contracted (flexed) both at the proximal and distal interphalangeal joint. These contracted toes can either be rigid or flexible. This means that if you pull the toe and it goes straight it is a flexible deformity, but sometimes the toe will not stretch out in which case this is a rigid hammer digit syndrome.



The symptoms of bunions include a bulging bump on the inside of the base of your big toe which can be swollen, sore, and red. The skin can thicken in that region and you may have corns and calluses on your toes from where the big toe has been forced to overlap the second toe because your shoes are too tight. Bunions can hurt all the time or intermittently, and they limit the motion of your big toe. Bunions get progressively worse and the painful symptoms will eventually show up over time for most sufferers of bunions.



People normally select ZetaClear due to the proven fact that it has natural substances. And although they're 100% natural ingredients, they operate effectively in treating the situation since many of them are potent antifungal agents. Two of its materials are clove oil and tea-tree oil which are equally popular for having anti-septic and anti-fungal qualities. Yet another component is Lemongrass gas which can be valuable in eliminating any microorganism that influences the health of the nails. Almond Oil and e vitamin may also be included which supports moisturizing skin and the fingernails ergo rendering it powerful and heal fast.



An exercise I try but find difficult (my toes are very stiff) is to grip my fingers with my toes to keep them more pliable. You place your right foot over your knee and interlock your left hand's fingers in-between your toes and then squeeze them by squeezing your toes together. It's like putting your fingers and toes in a praying position. I can do this easier with my left foot than my right (simply change to left foot and right hand to change feet) since my toes on the left foot are more flexible. Again, if you have painful toes then you need to be gentle on yourself. claw toe images



I googled the diagnosis that the doctor gave me to see what therapies to have as well as what natural supplements to take in order to heal myself naturally. I googled the information only to find that the herbs and vitamins were already stocked in my kitchen cabinets. I only needed to add a few more. So I have chosen not to go the traditional route of seeing the orthopedic doctor that the emergency doctors recommended. Healing a damaged tendon is one of the most challenging things I have ever experienced. The fibrous strains of the tendons have been separated from the entire tendons.

November 21 2013

painfreeheels

The ideal Shoes Intended For Flat Feet

Insoles for flat feet are a good alternative to flat feet shoes. Orthopedics often recommend use of such corrective insoles to help an individual get rid of foot problems caused due to fallen arches. Here's more about these. Magnetic insoles are credited with relief from foot pain in many parts of the world. Whether or not the magnets really have pain relief effects, the soaring sales cannot be overlooked at all. Over-pronation of the feet (fallen arches + rolling inward of the feet and ankles), tight calf muscles, as well as ageing and being overweight are the main causes for the plantar fascia being overly stretched.

Your doctor will first ask you questions about where exactly you are experiencing any discomfort or pain. If your doctor suspects that you have Plantar Fasciitis he will ask you about the type of activities you have been participating in. He might also ask for an X-Ray and MRI to rule out any other problems such as a fracture. In addition to issues in the foot, the ankle and lower legs can be affected by flat feet and fallen arches. Tendinitis mainly affecting the Achilles tendon can cause ankle pain and foot pain. Swelling and inflammation of the tendon may require therapy and surgery to address the pain.

Supporting your feet is usually a first step in recovering from the condition. Your doctor may recommend that you wear orthotics, which are inserts that go inside your shoes to support your feet. For children, the doctor may prescribe special shoes or heel cups until their feet are fully formed. Lifestyle Changes Surgery may be an option in more serious cases and is usually the last resort. The orthopedic surgeon may create an arch in your feet, repair tendons, or fuse your bones or joints If your Achilles tendon is too short, the surgeon can lengthen it to decrease your pain. What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

This provides firm support to the arch making it easier to turn our foot inward. When the tibial tendon is damaged, this offsets the complications experienced in the condition of pes planus. In other cases, failure of the ligaments supporting the arch may result in the occurrence of a flat foot. What Are The Complications Of Flat Feet? Cross-training shoes - These are the best shoes for flat feet for they are designed in a manner to support smooth side-to-side movement. The runner shoes on the other hand concentrate on the forward motion which does not compliment the anatomy of a flat foot resulting in soreness and severe aching.

If you're experiencing pain from your shoes, you don't have to live that way. The first step should be to switch the footwear you're wearing. There's no reason to suffer from fallen arches , bunions, corns or hammertoes. Instead visit a comfort shoe store and see what type of footwear the employees suggest for your aching feet. Over-pronation, combined with wearing hard, flat shoes and walking on hard surfaces such as concrete, pavements, tiled floors etc often leads to ball of foot pain, but also other common complaints including aching legs, knee pain and lower back pain.

It’s important to let your foot doctor know about your medical and family history. In some cases, your doctor may order imaging tests such as x-rays or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to determine a cause of your flat foot. If tarsal coalition is suspected in children, a CT scan is often ordered. Flat Feet Treatment For most people, treatment is successful, regardless of the cause, although the cause does does play a major role in determining your prognosis. Some causes do not need treatment, while others require a surgical fix. Complications of Flat Feet

The best course of action you can take when Foot Pain begins is to assume the worse possible scenario is beginning and schedule an appointment with a licensed practicing podiatrist, who has a staff of practicing professionals. Keep in mind that ready-made insoles will not provide balanced arch support, contribute to gait correction, nor cushion your foot effectively. Orthonics as prescribed by a podiatrist or physician is the only way to improve on heel pain and/or plantar fasciitis. Tarsal Coalition - the bones of the foot fuse together in an unusual way, resulting in stiff and flat feet. Most commonly diagnosed during childhood.

I having been treating Morton's Toe for over thirty years; and what I do know for sure it can be the missed reason for the following aches, and pains not only of the feet, but also of the whole body. Doctors tell millions of people every day, that the reason for their aches and pains is that they have "arthritis". However, they never explain to the patients WHY they got arthritis to start with. I believe that in many cases Morton's Toe is the explanation for this WHY, and the reason for and other pains in their back, knee, hip or lots of other places in their in the body.

Most flexible flat feet are asymptomatic, and do not cause pain. In these cases, there is usually no cause for concern, and the condition may be considered a normal human variant. Flat feet were formerly a physical-health reason for service-rejection in many militaries. However, three military studies on asymptomatic adults (see section below), suggest that persons with asymptomatic flat feet are at least as tolerant of foot stress as the population with various grades of arch. Asymptomatic flat feet are no longer a service disqualification in the U.S. military. Self Treatment - Reduce running. Take ibuprofen or aspirin. Ice area for fifteen to twenty minutes. Use insoles or arch supports.

Common causes of back pain include arthritis, muscle strains and pinched nerves. The treatment of back pain depends on the cause of the pain. Back pain is often difficult to treat and for many people back pain is a chronic condition which greatly affects the quality of their life. This is a very common cause of low back pain that often goes undiagnosed and I see this a lot in my practice. Patients come in who have suffered from back pain for months or even years and they have had many forms of treatment with very little success. The condition starts gradually with mild pain at the heel bone often referred to as a stone bruise. You're more likely to feel this after (not during) exercise and walking. Most people will put up with heel pain for at least 6 weeks before seeking (self)treatment, information and/or advice. The Plantar Fascia is a thick, fibrous band of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone (calcaneus) along the sole of the foot like a fan, being attached at its other end to the base of each of the toes. It is a tough and resilient ligament structure that performs a critical function during walking and running.

Orthotics can be obtained from a foot specialist (podiatrist). These are called custom orthotics and they usually quite hard. Nowadays there are softer orthotics on the market, which are made of EVA and which mold themselves to the wearer's foot shape because of body heat and body weight. These softer orthotics are pre-made and can be very effective in the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis. They are available without a prescription from pharmacies and specialty websites. Certain over-the-counter medicines may also be suggested by the doctor. However, these don't have a direct role to play in flat feet treatment. These medicines are prescribed to relieve flat feet pain.

Supporting your feet is usually a first step in recovering from the condition. Your doctor may recommend that you wear orthotics, which are inserts that go inside your shoes to support your feet. For children, the doctor may prescribe special shoes or heel cups until their feet are fully formed. Lifestyle Changes Surgery may be an option in more serious cases and is usually the last resort. The orthopedic surgeon may create an arch in your feet, repair tendons, or fuse your bones or joints If your Achilles tendon is too short, the surgeon can lengthen it to decrease your pain. What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

Sports arch insoles are good for high impact sports as it provides cushion to heel and better shock absorption. These supports are particularly designed for runners, skaters, soccer players and other sports players who need to run throughout the game. These insoles are designed to get better motion control. Dress arch supports are designed particularly for fashion shoes, these supports are normally used by women who wear fancy high heels or men who want insoles to fit in narrow dress shoes. These supports are much thinner and narrower than typical insole that is why these insoles provide less support.

Flat feet was once considered a result of poor health, but it has been proven that athletes such as runners, who are in great condition, also suffer from flat feet. In fact, it’s very common among track runners. Flat feet were once thought of as a bad thing. But studies show that people with higher arches are four times more likely to injure or sprain their ankles than people with flat feet. Studies conducted by the military have discredited the idea that flat feet are a reason to be excused from service. What Causes Flat Feet?

With several ways to deal with the problem, an individual only has to check which is more convenient and necessary for him. Severe cases may require physicians to do surgery while others can recommend physical therapy. A lot of medicines can help alleviate pain but also does not affect or stop the drooping arch in one’s foot. Eventually, permanent damage can be caused by the untreated drooping arch of the foot. However, arch support and flat feet shoes are available over the counter or custom made to address the problem. Exercises can help with the strength of the surrounding muscles. It may relieve some of the pressure in the foot.

If you are prone to over-pronate you need to pay attention when exercising to any foot pain and be sure to warm up and cool down appropriately before and after playing any sport. This can help to reduce the chances of developing foot problems. Ready made inserts cause imbalances in your foot in and of themselves. Podiatrists and Physicians know this and you owe it to yourself to see if your foot pain problem requires orthonics, which are insoles molded from a plaster cast of both feet, and are necessary for both feet even if you are having foot problems in just one foot.

I having been treating Morton's Toe for over thirty years; and what I do know for sure it can be the missed reason for the following aches, and pains not only of the feet, but also of the whole body. Doctors tell millions of people every day, that the reason for their aches and pains is that they have "arthritis". However, they never explain to the patients WHY they got arthritis to start with. I believe that in many cases Morton's Toe is the explanation for this WHY, and the reason for and other pains in their back, knee, hip or lots of other places in their in the body.

Getting the correct running shoe for your foot type is important for all runners; however it is critical for flat-footed runners. Make sure that you go to a running store and get fitted properly. The salesperson will show you shoes that are made to help runners with fallen arches Without the proper running shoe, the rest of these tips really won't matter. Two of the most common running injuries are IT Band Syndrome and Metatarsal Neuroma. They are relatively minor injuries but can be quite painful. Here are some tips on how to prevent and treat these injuries.

If you think you have fallen arches or flat feet, a check up with a doctor or podiatrist is the best bet, although it is easy to check at home. Just get the feet wet and stand on a surface that will show your foot prints. If there is no narrowing between the forefoot and the heel, you are likely to have flat feet or fallen arches. We often think of fallen arches as a cause of foot pain, but they also stress your spine. In fact, fallen arches often contribute to unresolved or recurrent back pain.

November 08 2013

painfreeheels

Heel Heel

On the whole, the feet are very small when compared to the rest of the body. During the day, most people spend about 12 to 14 hours on their feet. Because the feet are used so much during normal daily activity, the excessive loads that are placed on the feet mean approximately 75% of people worldwide will suffer foot pain at some stage in their lives. Foot pain can also reduce your mobility and independence, as is often seen in the elderly. When your feet hurt, it not only disturbs your body but it can prove to be distracting to your work and concentration.

Causes of foot pain

Prolonged standing, over pronation and the pressures that this places on the joints, muscles and ligaments of the foot are major causes of foot pain. There are many occupations that require long periods of static standing such as the health, retail, fashion and construction industries. Standing for long periods of time causes the muscles of the lower limb to become fatigued and overworked. Blood pooling due to decreased venous return also increases discomfort in the lower limb. The overall result of this being tired aching legs. Ill fitted shoes and wearing high heels can also contribute to foot pain. High heels make women to look smart and taller, however they can become very uncomfortable if they wear these for long periods or during inappropriate activities. High heels increase the pressure on the ball of the foot and toe region above what the foot is designed to withstand. This overloads the structures of the forefoot leading to ball of foot pain and discomfort.

Aging, being overweight and many other systemic diseases such as diabetes, gout, arthritis all increase the likelihood of foot problems. Generally these systemic (whole body) diseases affect the function and structure (depending on the disease) of the foot. This changes the function of the foot and often leads to foot pain. Certain age groups also suffer foot pain at different times of their lives. Children suffer from aches and pains during their growth and development. This was traditionally called growing pains, however today we know that there is treatment for these aches and pains. The two most common children's pains are, Severs disease (pain at the heel) and Osgoodschlatters Syndrome (pain at the knee). These are both growing related problems that are aggravated by over use and poor mechanics. The elderly are another group that often suffer foot pain. This is largely due to over use from a life time of wear and tear. Although wear and tear are not reversible, there are still treatment options available for this group of patients, to make walking pain free.

What people do when they face the problem of foot pain?

In most of the cases when people suffer foot pain the first thing they do is to reduce their activity. This usually works quote well as it will rest the foot. They apply pain removing gel to the painful area or take anti-inflammatory medications. This approach masks the symptoms of their foot pain. The real underlying problem of most kinds of foot pain is a functional abnormality that will need to be corrected. Over weight and unfit people who are trying to lose weight often walk for exercise. The extra weight and activity further strains the feet, making walking less enjoyable, making exercise and weight loss even less likely. Some people have no option other than to continue activity. This patient group wither either has to work due to financial commitments or has to continue activity as they are part of a sporting team. This group usually tends to push through the pain barrier until it is impossible to go on any longer. Some people chose to ignore their foot pain and continue to wear their fashion shoes (Fore example ladies wearing high heeled fashion shoes). Over time the strain on the foot compounds and eventually results in an overuse injury. When the foot injury gets to this stage it is often impossible to ignore.

The solution for foot pain

Overall the best solution to the above mentioned problems is to support the foot and help to limit excess wear and tear on the foot. This is best done with orthotic innersoles and appropriate footwear. Orthotic innerosles help to support the foot, prevent over pronation and limit wear and tear on the joints, ligaments and muscles of the foot. Orthotic innersoles align the foot in its most efficient functional position and help to reduce the wear and tear on your feet and ankles. The use of these orthotics results in a reduction in the pain in the feet. It is important when selecting orthotic innersoles to select an orthotic that matches your activity level and also your shoe type. For example different orthotic innersoles are used for running as opposed to ladies fashion shoes.
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