Posts for: August, 2017
Even the most simple of foot pain is frustrating and uncomfortable and, if left untreated, can leave you unable to run, walk, or even stand. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain which affects millions of Americans a year. Luckily, you can work with your podiatrist to understand your heel pain and treat plantar fasciitis to get back on your feet and back to a normal life. Find out more about plantar fasciitis and its treatments with Dr. Sara Bouraee and Dr. Mahmoud Salem at Hampton Road Foot and Ankle Specialists in Hampton and Williamsburg, VA.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition affecting the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue which runs along the bottom of the foot and supports the foot’s arch. When it becomes inflamed or irritated, plantar fasciitis occurs. Many conditions can cause plantar fasciitis, including underlying conditions like flat feet or Achilles tendonitis, repeated stresses like running, aging, or lifestyle factors such as being overweight or wearing ill-fitting shoes. An injury may also cause plantar fasciitis in rare situations.
Do I have plantar fasciitis?
The foot has over 100 connective tissues, meaning that foot and heel pain can come from many different conditions or injuries. However, plantar fasciitis has a few tell-tale signs, including:
- stiffness or pain which is worst upon waking in the morning
- pain triggers by standing for long periods of time
- pain which is present at the beginning of physical exercise, gets better during exercise and returns after exercise
- pain which worsens with physical activity, especially climbing stairs
Plantar Fasciitis Treatments in Hampton and Williamsburg
Plantar fasciitis treatment aims to reduce or relieve pain and inflammation in the arch and heel, increase the range of motion and flexibility of the foot, and get you back on your feet. Treatments usually begin with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, elevation. These four elements often grant the body enough rest to trigger its natural healing abilities. If more conservative treatments fail, your podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics, physical therapy, wearing properly fitting shoes or even surgery.
For more information on plantar fasciitis or what you can do about it, please contact Dr. Bouraee and Dr. Salem at Hampton Road Foot and Ankle Specialists in Hampton and Williamsburg, VA. Call (757) 220-3311 to schedule your appointment with your podiatrist today!
The feet bear a lot of stress from day to day. That’s why podiatrists recommend stretching as a great way to revitalize and strengthen the feet. Simple stretches can be performed at home as a part of your morning routine, or even at work while you’re sitting at your desk. Improving your flexibility through stretching can help prevent foot injuries, increase your mobility, improve performance and posture, and relieve stress.
When Should I Stretch?
It is especially important to stretch properly before starting any exercise routine. When muscles are warmed up prior to a workout, the strain on muscles, tendons and joints can be reduced and injuries avoided.
Simple stretches include flexing your feet repeatedly while pointing your toes to help build strength in the foot muscles or rotating your foot from side to side while you point your toes. Massaging the muscles in your feet with your hands is another helpful way to promote circulation and relaxation.
Always allow at least 5-10 minutes to fully stretch your muscles, which should include a stretch/hold/relax pattern, without any pulling or bouncing. Before beginning any new type of stretch, visit your podiatrist first to ensure it will be safe for your particular foot pain.
What Kind of Stretches Should I Do?
Here are just a few helpful stretches you can do at home to help lessen foot pain and improve foot health:
- Stretch for Calf Muscles: Excessive tightness of the calf muscle can cause many foot problems. To stretch this muscle, face a wall from approximately 2-3 feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping heels on the floor and knees extended. Hold for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce. Repeat five times.
- Stretch for Hamstring: Put your foot with knee straight on a chair or table. Keep the other leg on the floor straight with knee locked. Lower your head toward the knee on the chair or table until the muscles are tight. Hold to a count of 10 then relax. Repeat five times, and then switch to the other leg.
- Stretch for Plantar Fascia: This stretch for heel pain can be performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is most effective when you first wake up, before standing or walking.
Stretching in combination with supportive footwear will help you keep your feet healthy and fit. Whether you’re gearing up to train for a marathon, or simply looking to revitalize your feet after a long day at work, talk to your podiatrist at about the best foot stretches for your individual needs.
Stress fractures are notoriously misdiagnosed and undertreated. In many cases, symptoms may persist for an extended period of time before the diagnosis of a stress fracture is even made. That’s because stress fractures don’t typically occur from an unforeseen trauma, as with a sprain, but rather from repetitive stress.
What Are Stress Fractures?
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks in the bones. They can occur in any bone, but most often afflict the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Athletes are especially susceptible to stress fractures, as this common injury is often a problem of overuse. It frequently results from overtraining and high impact sports, such as running, basketball and tennis. People with an abnormal foot structure or insufficient bone may also be more vulnerable to suffer a stress fracture.
What Are the Symptoms of Stress Fractures?
Pain is the primary symptom of a stress fracture. In the early stages, the pain may begin toward the end of an activity and resolve with rest. Untreated, the pain will eventually persistent with minimal activity.
The most common symptoms of stress fractures include:
- Pain with or following normal activity
- Pain at the site of the fracture
- Tenderness and swelling at a point on the bone
- Pain intensified with weight bearing
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are recommended as an initial treatment plan for stress fractures. You should also minimize all weight-bearing activities until you have fully recovered. Other treatments may include immobilization of the foot, footwear modifications, orthotic devices and in some severe cases, surgery. Rest is the key to a full recovery, and returning too quickly to normal activity may result in more serious damage.
Overuse injuries and stress fractures aren’t completely unavoidable, but you can take extra care to help prevent stress fractures from occurring. Remember to increase any activity or training program slowly and gradually. Wear supportive footwear with good cushioning to help manage the forces placed on your feet and legs during high impact activities. If pain or swelling returns, stop the activity and rest for a few days.
Stress fractures come on gradually and may not present obvious symptoms at first, so it’s important to recognize the early warning signs to prevent further damage. If you suspect a stress fracture, contact our office right away for an evaluation. Proper diagnosis is essential to prevent further damage and improve recovery time, as stress fractures tend to get worse and may even lead to a complete break if not treated right away. A podiatrist will examine your foot or ankle, take an x-ray to determine if there is a break or crack in the bone, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for optimal recovery.