Posts for: May, 2010
Flip-flops tied to surge in teenage heel pain
Many of us are welcoming the warmer weather sporting flip-flop sandals; however, their popularity among teens and young adults is responsible for a growing epidemic of heel pain in this population.
We are seeing increasing cases of heel pain in the 15 to 25 years old, a group that usually doesn't have this problem. A major contributor is wearing flip-flop sandals with paper-thin soles everyday to school. Flip-flops have no arch support and can accentuate any abnormal biomechanics in foot motion, and this eventually brings pain and inflammation."
Our practice recommends wearing sandals with reasonably strong soles and arch support. Such as the "Chaco" style sandals.
Especially for girls and young women, thicker soled sandals with supportive arches might not be considered stylish, but if you want to wear sandals most of the time, you'll avoid heel pain if you choose sturdier, perhaps less fashionable styles.
It is estimated that 15 percent of all adult foot complaints involve plantar fasciitis, the type of heel pain caused by chronic inflammation of the connective tissue extending from the heel bone to the toes. Being overweight and wearing inappropriate footwear are common contributing factors.
The pain is most noticeable after getting out of bed in the morning, and it tends to decrease after a few minutes and returns during the day as time on the feet increases. Not all heel pain, however, is caused by plantar fasciitis. It also can occur from inflammation of the Achilles tendon, bursitis, arthritis, gout, stress fractures, or irritation of one or more of the nerves in the region. Therefore, diagnosis by a foot doctor to rule out other causes is advised.
Initial treatment options for heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis should include anti-inflammatory medications, padding and strapping of the foot and physical therapy. Patients also should stretch their calf muscles regularly, avoid wearing flat shoes and walking barefoot, use over-the-counter arch supports and heel cushions, and limit the frequency of extended physical activities.
Most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment within six weeks. However, surgery is sometimes necessary to relieve severe, persistent pain.
Enjoy Pregnancy without Foot Pain
"Oh my aching feet" is a phrase you hear often from pregnant women. But, are sore feet a symptom they just must deal with during pregnancy? The answer is "no." There are many remedies available to help alleviate foot pain.
Women often experience foot pain during pregnancy because of increased weight, foot instability and swelling. "In the last five years, I've seen an increase in pregnant women with foot pain because more women than ever before are active, even running marathons, during their pregnancies," We recommend the following guidelines to help reduce foot pain during pregnancy.
Painful, Swollen Feet -- Pregnant women often experience throbbing, swollen feet due to excess fluid build up (edema) in the feet from the weight and position of the baby. To reduce swelling, put feet up whenever possible, stretch legs frequently, wear wide comfortable shoes and don't cross legs when sitting.
Arch Pain -- Pain in the arch can be due to both arch fatigue or over pronation (or the flattening of the arch). Over pronation causes extreme stress to the ligament (the plantar fascia) that holds up the arch of the foot. The best way to prevent arch pain is to stretch daily in the morning and before and after any exercise, don't go barefoot and wear supportive low-heeled shoes.
Ingrown Toenails -- Excessive stress from tightly-fitting shoes causes painful ingrown toenails. Give your feet a break: wear wider shoes during the last trimester of pregnancy to avoid ingrown toenails. If you do experience an ingrown toenail, avoid attempting "bathroom surgery." Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. It is best to seek treatment with a foot and ankle surgeon.
It is also not uncommon for women to experience a change in their foot size during pregnancy. "A permanent growth in a women's foot, up to half a size, can occur from the release of the same hormone, relaxin, that allows the pelvis to open to deliver the baby. It makes the ligaments in your feet more flexible, causing feet to spread wider and longer,"
Pregnancy and pending motherhood should be a joy. If foot pain persists, make sure you see a foot and ankle specialist. Relief with conservative treatments such as physical therapy, foot orthotics, supportive shoes and minor toenail procedures can relieve your foot pain and keep you active.