Lorena Bautz

The Globe's Premier Foot Blog

Everything You Should Know About Heel Discomfort

Overview

Feet Pain

Heel pain is one of the most common conditions treated by podiatrists. It is often a message from the body that something is in need of medical attention. Pain that occurs right after an injury or early in an illness may play a protective role, often warning us about the damage we have suffered. The greatest incidence of heel pain is seen in middle-aged men and women. It is also seen in those who take part in regular sporting activities and those significantly overweight and on their feet a lot. Heel pain can also occur in children, usually between 8 and 13, as they become increasingly active in sporting activities.

Causes

Some of the many causes of heel pain can include abnormal walking style (gait), such as rolling the feet inwards. Obesity. Ill-fitting shoes. Standing, running or jumping on hard surfaces. Injury to the heel, such as stress fractures. Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa, bursae are small sacs that contain fluid to lubricate moving parts, such as joints and muscles). Neuroma (nerve enlargement). Certain disorders, including diabetes and arthritis.

Symptoms

Symptoms include a dull ache which is felt most of the time with episodes of a sharp pain in the centre of the heel or on the inside margin of the heel. Often the pain is worse on first rising in the morning and after rest and is aggravated by prolonged weight bearing & thin soled shoes.

Diagnosis

To arrive at a diagnosis, the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain your medical history and examine your foot. Throughout this process the surgeon rules out all the possible causes for your heel pain other than plantar fasciitis. In addition, diagnostic imaging studies such as x-rays or other imaging modalities may be used to distinguish the different types of heel pain. Sometimes heel spurs are found in patients with plantar fasciitis, but these are rarely a source of pain. When they are present, the condition may be diagnosed as plantar fasciitis/heel spur syndrome.

Non Surgical Treatment

Treatment of plantar fasciitis is usually performed in stages according to the duration and degree of pain. Treatment may take many months if the condition has been longstanding. Treatment usually begins with anti-inflammatory medication, shoe modification, temporary limitation of activities, weight loss and heel cord stretching. Also, night splints are often helpful to stretch the plantar fascia. An arch support (orthotic) may also be helpful, especially if you have a flat foot. If the problem continues, the tender area occasionally may be injected with cortisone and a local anesthetic. For a difficult, chronic problem, a period of casting may be used to improve this condition. Surgical treatment is rarely needed. If performed, it aims to partially release the plantar fascia and stimulate healing of the chronic inflammation. Removal of a heel spur, if it is large, may also be done at the time of surgery.

Surgical Treatment

It is rare to need an operation for heel pain. It would only be offered if all simpler treatments have failed and, in particular, you are a reasonable weight for your height and the stresses on your heel cannot be improved by modifying your activities or footwear. The aim of an operation is to release part of the plantar fascia from the heel bone and reduce the tension in it. Many surgeons would also explore and free the small nerves on the inner side of your heel as these are sometimes trapped by bands of tight tissue. This sort of surgery can be done through a cut about 3cm long on the inner side of your heel. Recently there has been a lot of interest in doing the operation by keyhole surgery, but this has not yet been proven to be effective and safe. Most people who have an operation are better afterwards, but it can take months to get the benefit of the operation and the wound can take a while to heal fully. Tingling or numbness on the side of the heel may occur after operation.

heel pain pads

Prevention

Heel Discomfort

You can try to avoid the things that cause heel pain to start avoid becoming overweight, where your job allows, minimise the shock to your feet from constant pounding on hard surfaces, reduce the shocks on your heel by choosing footwear with some padding or shock-absorbing material in the heel, if you have high-arched feet or flat feet a moulded insole in your shoe may reduce the stresses on your feet, if you have an injury to your ankle or foot, make sure you exercise afterwards to get back as much movement as possible to reduce the stresses on your foot and your heel in particular, If you start to get heel pain, doing the above things may enable the natural healing process to get underway and the pain to improve.

Are Fallen Arches Flat Feet?

Overview

Flat Foot

Most people (approx. 60-70% of the population) suffer from excessive pronation due to flat feet when walking, running and standing. Though the foot may appear normal when sitting down, with a clear arch present under the foot, over-pronation becomes noticeable when we stand or walk as a result of weight bearing. The arches collapse with every step we take, and the ankles roll inwards. This is called overpronation, a biomechanical imbalance that can lead to many painful foot conditions such as heel pain, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, tendonitis, and can even affect other parts of your body such as the knees and lower back.

Causes

Infants and young children naturally have flat feet. The arch should develop over time. Sometimes, the arch does not develop. It is not always clear why this happens. Flat feet may develop because of ruptured or damaged tendon that supports the arch, medical conditions that affect muscles or nerves in the foot, degenerative changes in certain foot joints, Ligament damage in the foot.

Symptoms

Many people have flat feet and notice no problems and require no treatment. But others may experience the following symptoms, Feet tire easily, painful or achy feet, especially in the areas of the arches and heels, the inside bottom of your feet become swollen, foot movement, such as standing on your toes, is difficult, back and leg pain, If you notice any of these symptoms, it's time for a trip to the doctor.

Diagnosis

It is important for people with foot pain to know if they have flat feet. The following tests can help you determine your arch type. When you get out of a swimming pool, look at your footprint on the concrete. The front of the foot will be joined to the heel by a strip. If your foot is flat, then the strip is the same width as the front of the foot, creating a footprint that looks like a stretched out pancake. With a normal arch, the strip is about half the width of the front of the foot. If you have a high arch, only a thin strip connects the front of the foot with the heel. Put your shoes on a flat table and view them at eye level from behind. See if the sole is worn evenly. A flat foot will cause more wear on the inside of the sole, especially in the heel area. The shoe will easily rock side to side. A flat foot will also cause the upper part of the shoe to lean inward over the sole. Both shoes should wear about the same way. If you have pain in one foot, you should make sure you don't have a fallen arch on that side. There are two good tests you can perform at home to detect this problem. Place your fingertips on a wall that you are directly facing and stand on your tiptoes on one foot. If you can't do it, a fallen arch may be the culprit. Stand with your feet parallel. Have someone stand in back of you and look at your feet from behind. You can also do it yourself if you stand with your back to a mirror. Normally, only the pinky toe is visible from behind. If one foot is flatter than the other, the 4th and sometimes the 3rd toe on that foot can also be seen.

deelsonheels

Non Surgical Treatment

Get shoes made for walking or running. One way to support your arch is to wear good-quality running or walking shoes, says Dr. Gastwirth. "These shoes generally provide good support to the foot." Add support. The top-of-the-line arch support is an orthotic insole, which may cost $900 or more and must be custom-made. "But many people with sore arches will get relief with over-the-counter arch supports for about $10," suggests Judith Smith, M.D., assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "The thing to remember about arch supports is that your shoe must have enough depth to accommodate them. Otherwise, you'll get a lot of rubbing on the top of your foot, or your heel will come out of the shoe." Most mens shoes are deep enough to accommodate the insoles; women should take their shoes with them to the drugstore when buying the insoles to ensure a good fit. If your heels are high, keep them wide. High heels may be your Achilles' heel--especially if you wear them constantly. "Flatter shoes are no doubt better," says Dr. Sanfilippo. Flat heels help prevent fallen arches and are kinder to your feet if fallen arches have already occurred. "If you must wear high heels, choose styles with a wide heel. Stay away from stiletto heels."

Surgical Treatment

Adult Acquired Flat Foot

This is rare and usually only offered if patients have significant abnormalities in their bones or muscles. Treatments include joint fusion, reshaping the bones in the foot, and occasionally moving around tendons in the foot to help balance out the stresses (called tendon transfer).
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Leg Length Discrepancy Right After Hip Replacement Surgery

Overview

Leg length discrepancy (LLD) or Lower limb discrepancy is a condition of unequal lengths of the lower limbs. The discrepancy may be in the femur, or tibia, or both. In some conditions, the whole side is affected, including the upper limbs. However, it is the discrepancy of the lower limbs that causes problems with ambulation, and the focus of this discussion will be about lower limb discrepancy.Leg Length Discrepancy

Causes

From an anatomical stand point, the LLD could have been from hereditary, broken bones, diseases and joint replacements. Functional LLD can be from over pronating, knee deformities, tight calves and hamstrings, weak IT band, curvature in the spine and many other such muscular/skeletal issues.

Symptoms

Children whose limbs vary in length often experience difficulty using their arms or legs. They might have difficulty walking or using both arms to engage in everyday activities.

Diagnosis

A qualified musculoskeletal expert will first take a medical history and conduct a physical exam. Other tests may include X-rays, MRI, or CT scan to diagnose the root cause.

Non Surgical Treatment

In some circumstances, the physician will recommend a non-surgical form of treatment. Non-surgical treatments include orthotics and prosthetics. Orthotics are a special type of lift placed in or on a shoe that can be used in the treatment of leg length discrepancies between two and six centimeters. In pediatric patients who have large discrepancies and are not good candidates for other treatment forms, prosthetics can be helpful.

Leg Length

can you stretch to get taller?

Surgical Treatment

Surgical lengthening of the shorter extremity (upper or lower) is another treatment option. The bone is lengthened by surgically applying an external fixator to the extremity in the operating room. The external fixator, a scaffold-like frame, is connected to the bone with wires, pins or both. A small crack is made in the bone and tension is created by the frame when it is "distracted" by the patient or family member who turns an affixed dial several times daily. The lengthening process begins approximately five to ten days after surgery. The bone may lengthen one millimeter per day, or approximately one inch per month. Lengthening may be slower in adults overall and in a bone that has been previously injured or undergone prior surgery. Bones in patients with potential blood vessel abnormalities (i.e., cigarette smokers) may also lengthen more slowly. The external fixator is worn until the bone is strong enough to support the patient safely, approximately three months per inch of lengthening. This may vary, however, due to factors such as age, health, smoking, participation in rehabilitation, etc. Risks of this procedure include infection at the site of wires and pins, stiffness of the adjacent joints and slight over or under correction of the bone?s length. Lengthening requires regular follow up visits to the physician?s office, meticulous hygiene of the pins and wires, diligent adjustment of the frame several times daily and rehabilitation as prescribed by your physician.

Diagnosing Mortons Neuroma

Overview

MortonMorton's metatarsalgia is a condition associated with a painful neuroma* on the digital nerve causing pain in the foot. Charcterised by perineural fibrosis and nerve degeneration due to repetitive irritation, is thought to be due to irritation of the digital nerve caused by repeated trauma, ischemia or entrapment of the nerve, occurs most frequently in women aged 40-50 who wear high-heeled, pointed-toe shoes. The neuroma occurs at the level of the metatarsal necks. The common digital nerve to the third/fourth metatarsal spaces is most often affected, although other interspaces can be involved.

Causes

The exact cause is unknown. Doctors believe the following may play a role in the development of this condition. Wearing tight shoes and high heels. Abnormal positioning of toes. Flat feet. Forefoot problems, including bunions and hammer toes. High foot arches. Morton neuroma is more common in women than in men.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of Morton's neuroma is localized pain in the interspace between the third and fourth toes. It can be sharp or dull, and is worsened by wearing shoes and by walking. Pain usually is less severe when the foot is not bearing weight.

Diagnosis

Patients with classic Morton?s neuroma symptoms will have pain with pressure at the base of the involved toes (either between the 2nd and 3rd toes, or between the 3rd and 4th toes). In addition, squeezing the front of the foot together can exacerbate symptoms. As well, they may have numbness on the sides of one toe and the adjacent toe, as this corresponds with the distribution of the involved nerve.

Non Surgical Treatment

It can be helpful to perform deep stripping massage techniques along the length of the tibial nerve and the medial and lateral plantar nerves. After properly mobilizing these tissues, moving the foot and toes through a full range of motion to make sure the nerve can move freely will also be helpful. Foot pain like that occurring in Morton's neuroma, can become a debilitating and painful condition. And while massage can be helpful for this condition, it is also clear that improperly applied massage can aggravate it and make it worse. Consequently it is crucial that we use good clinical reasoning and appropriate evaluation methods to most effectively help these clients.Morton neuroma

Surgical Treatment

The ultimate success of a Morton?s neuroma treated surgically is somewhat unclear. This is likely due to the idea that in most instances a ?Morton?s neuroma? is actually more than just an isolated nerve problem but rather consitutes a metatarsalgia where other structures (such a as the MTP joints) are also problematic, not just the nerve. Therefore, addressing the nerve as well as the other components of a metatarsalgia may offer a better chance of surgical success. However, like many conditions in foot and ankle, it is ideal if this condition can be managed without surgery.

Prevention

How can Morton?s neuroma be prevented? Do not wear tight shoes or high-heeled shoes for prolonged periods. Do wear shoes with a wide toe box so that your toes are not squeezed or cramped. Do wear athletic footwear with enough padding to cushion the balls of the feet when exercising or participating in sports.
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Shoe Lifts For Leg Length Discrepancy

There are actually not one but two different types of leg length discrepancies, congenital and acquired. Congenital indicates you are born with it. One leg is anatomically shorter in comparison to the other. As a result of developmental phases of aging, the brain senses the gait pattern and recognizes some difference. Our bodies typically adapts by dipping one shoulder to the "short" side. A difference of under a quarter inch is not grossly uncommon, does not need Shoe Lifts to compensate and generally doesn't have a profound effect over a lifetime.

Leg Length Discrepancy Shoe Lift

Leg length inequality goes mainly undiscovered on a daily basis, however this problem is simply remedied, and can reduce quite a few instances of back discomfort.

Therapy for leg length inequality commonly consists of Shoe Lifts. These are generally cost-effective, commonly being below twenty dollars, compared to a custom orthotic of $200 if not more. Differences over a quarter inch can take their toll on the spine and should probably be compensated for with a heel lift. In some cases, the shortage can be so extreme that it requires a full lift to both the heel and sole of the shoe.

Back pain is easily the most common ailment impacting men and women today. Around 80 million people have problems with back pain at some point in their life. It's a problem that costs companies huge amounts of money every year due to lost time and output. Fresh and better treatment solutions are constantly sought after in the hope of lowering economic influence this issue causes.

Leg Length Discrepancy Shoe Lift

People from all corners of the earth suffer the pain of foot ache due to leg length discrepancy. In these situations Shoe Lifts can be of very helpful. The lifts are capable of relieving any discomfort and pain in the feet. Shoe Lifts are recommended by countless experienced orthopaedic physicians.

So as to support the human body in a well-balanced manner, the feet have a very important part to play. Irrespective of that, it is often the most neglected zone of the body. Many people have flat-feet meaning there may be unequal force exerted on the feet. This will cause other body parts like knees, ankles and backs to be impacted too. Shoe Lifts make sure that appropriate posture and balance are restored.
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Why Shoe Lifts Are The Best Solution To Leg Length Difference

There are actually not one but two different kinds of leg length discrepancies, congenital and acquired. Congenital means that you are born with it. One leg is anatomically shorter than the other. Through developmental stages of aging, the human brain senses the stride pattern and identifies some variance. Your body usually adapts by dipping one shoulder to the "short" side. A difference of under a quarter inch isn't blatantly excessive, does not need Shoe Lifts to compensate and generally does not have a serious effect over a lifetime.

Shoe Lift

Leg length inequality goes typically undiagnosed on a daily basis, however this issue is easily solved, and can eradicate many cases of lower back pain.

Therapy for leg length inequality usually involves Shoe Lifts. Most are very inexpensive, regularly costing below twenty dollars, in comparison to a custom orthotic of $200 or higher. When the amount of leg length inequality begins to exceed half an inch, a whole sole lift is generally the better choice than a heel lift. This prevents the foot from being unnecessarily stressed in an abnormal position.

Chronic back pain is the most common health problem afflicting people today. Around 80 million men and women are affected by back pain at some point in their life. It is a problem that costs companies huge amounts of money every year as a result of lost time and production. New and better treatment methods are constantly sought after in the hope of lowering economic influence this issue causes.

Leg Length Discrepancy Shoe Lifts

People from all corners of the earth suffer the pain of foot ache as a result of leg length discrepancy. In these types of cases Shoe Lifts can be of worthwhile. The lifts are capable of decreasing any pain and discomfort in the feet. Shoe Lifts are recommended by numerous specialist orthopaedic practitioners".

So as to support the human body in a nicely balanced manner, the feet have got a crucial task to play. In spite of that, it can be the most neglected zone in the human body. Many people have flat-feet meaning there may be unequal force placed on the feet. This will cause other areas of the body including knees, ankles and backs to be affected too. Shoe Lifts guarantee that the right posture and balance are restored.

Shoe Lifts The Professionals Choice For Leg Length Discrepancy

There are two different kinds of leg length discrepancies, congenital and acquired. Congenital indicates that you are born with it. One leg is anatomically shorter than the other. Through developmental phases of aging, the brain senses the gait pattern and recognizes some variation. Our bodies typically adapts by tilting one shoulder to the "short" side. A difference of under a quarter inch isn't blatantly uncommon, require Shoe Lifts to compensate and normally won't have a serious effect over a lifetime.

Shoe Lift

Leg length inequality goes mainly undiscovered on a daily basis, yet this problem is easily solved, and can eradicate many incidents of chronic back pain.

Therapy for leg length inequality typically involves Shoe Lifts. These are very inexpensive, frequently being below twenty dollars, in comparison to a custom orthotic of $200 or more. When the amount of leg length inequality begins to exceed half an inch, a whole sole lift is generally the better choice than a heel lift. This prevents the foot from being unnecessarily stressed in an abnormal position.

Mid back pain is easily the most widespread condition affecting people today. Over 80 million men and women suffer from back pain at some point in their life. It's a problem that costs businesses millions every year because of lost time and production. New and superior treatment methods are constantly sought after in the hope of decreasing the economic influence this issue causes.

Shoe Lift

People from all corners of the world experience foot ache due to leg length discrepancy. In these cases Shoe Lifts might be of beneficial. The lifts are capable of relieving any pain in the feet. Shoe Lifts are recommended by numerous experienced orthopaedic practitioners".

In order to support the body in a balanced manner, feet have a crucial part to play. Inspite of that, it can be the most overlooked region in the body. Many people have flat-feet meaning there is unequal force exerted on the feet. This causes other areas of the body such as knees, ankles and backs to be impacted too. Shoe Lifts ensure that correct posture and balance are restored.