Posts for category: Foot Care
Find out how to treat heel pain yourself and when to see a podiatrist.
Whether you are an avid runner or just someone who likes going to the gym occasionally, it can be challenging to do these everyday activities when faced with heel pain. Did you take that run just a little too far yesterday? Did you suddenly intensify your exercise regime? Then your heels might be screaming out for sweet relief. Here’s how to tackle heel pain before seeing a podiatrist.
What causes heel pain?
Plantar fasciitis is typically the cause of most heel pain. While the name might seem a bit intimidating, don’t worry! Symptoms can often be managed through simple at-home remedies such as,
- Performing specific foot stretches and exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve function.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication to soothe pain and inflammation temporarily.
- Avoid high-impact activities, which will often only exacerbate the condition and lead to further inflammation.
- Splint the foot or wear shoe inserts (orthotics) to provide arch support.
- Consider corticosteroid injections and extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which may also be helpful for those dealing with more severe or stubborn pain.
When should I call my podiatrist?
While you may not want to immediately rush to call your podiatrist at the first bout of pain, you mustn’t ignore a potentially serious issue. You should turn to a podiatrist if,
- You have severe heel pain or swelling
- You can’t point your foot downward or stand up on your tiptoes
- You also notice numbness or a tingling sensation in the heel accompanied by pain
- You experience sudden pain that occurs right after an injury
- You have diabetes or have neuropathy in your feet
- You have been trying at-home treatment options for a week, and there are no changes to your symptoms
If rest and home care haven’t been enough to manage your heel pain, it’s time to turn to a foot and ankle specialist who can help.
When should you turn to a podiatrist for care?
There are many reasons why people turn to podiatrists. After all, our feet and ankles deserve the same lovin’ care that you provide to the rest of your body. Wondering if it’s time to see a podiatrist (chances are good you could benefit from a visit)? You may want to turn to one for,
You turn to your dentist for routine checkups to prevent cavities and gum disease from happening so why wouldn’t you do the same thing with a podiatrist? By coming in once a year for a comprehensive evaluation, a podiatrist can examine your feet, discuss your lifestyle and determine if there are additional measures you should be taking to prevent injuries and other foot problems. A podiatrist can be as much preventive as they can be a great source for treatment. Athletes and active individuals can particularly benefit from undergoing preventive care with a podiatrist.
Bunions are common foot deformities that can continue to enlarge and impact the structure and function of your feet. A podiatrist wants to prevent individuals from needing surgery in the future, which means coming in the minute you suspect that you have a bunion so that they can provide simple lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of the deformity. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way to improving bunion symptoms.
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Dealing with an injury? If so, you definitely want to turn to a foot and ankle specialist who can diagnose and treat the injury. While you may be able to treat minor injuries on your own with rest and home care, it’s often best to play it safe and turn to an expert who can figure out the extent of the injury so you can get the customized care you deserve.
Persistent Joint Pain
Dealing with painful, stiff or inflamed joints in your foot or ankle that won’t go away? This could be a sign of arthritis, a progressive chronic condition that can cause permanent joint damage if you don’t take the necessary steps to manage it. A podiatrist can craft the perfect treatment plan to improve your symptoms, which may include medications to slow the progression of the disease. A podiatrist is going to be the best medical professional to have on your treatment plan if you have arthritis.
When in doubt, call your local podiatrist to find out if the issues or concerns you’re facing require a professional opinion. A podiatrist can answer your questions, diagnose your issues and provide you with the treatment you need.
Choose the Right Shoes for the Job
There’s a reason there are shoes just for runners, shoes for weightlifters, and shoes for soccer players. Every sport requires its own shoes that provide just the right cushioning, stability, and support for the feet and ankles. Wearing the right shoes for your chosen sport is imperative to providing your feet with exactly what they need whether it’s ankle stability for those quick side-to-side movements or added cushioning for power jumps.
Rotate Socks and Shoes Regularly
As you work out it’s natural for your feet to sweat; however, the last thing you want to do is leave your feet in sweaty shoes and socks. That’s why it’s always best to carry at least another pair of socks with you and to swap them out after exercise to prevent blisters or a nasty fungal infection. Always choose moisture-wicking socks to help wick away some of the sweat.
Know When to Get Rid of Your Shoes
No shoes are designed to last forever. While you may simply love your sneakers you have to recognize when to part ways and get a new pair. After all, shoes wear down over time and they are less likely to cushion or absorb shock, which can leave you prone to injuries. Shoes are only designed to last about 300-500 miles. If you see that the treads are wearing out this is a clear sign that it’s time to invest in a new pair of sneakers.
Train and Condition Regularly
It’s important that you condition your body and train even off-season so that your body is primed and ready once the season begins. Conditioning the body including the feet and ankles gets them prepared for activity, and it also means that you can increase intensity and duration gradually to reduce your risk for injury. Make sure that you are training throughout the season, even off-season.
Even if you aren’t dealing with foot or ankle problems, if you are physically active or an athlete, having a podiatrist that you turn to regularly for care and advice can go a long way to preventing injuries and other problems.
What are orthotics?
Sometimes known as arch support, custom orthotics give people the freedom to stand and move easier and more comfortably. Some people might opt for over-the-counter orthotics because of convenience; however, over-the-counter orthotics are not crafted uniquely to your feet, which often means that they won’t provide the relief you’re looking for from foot pain and other issues, and may even make problems worse. Instead, consider getting custom orthotics that are designed to correct your specific foot problems, ease symptoms, and make it easier for you to get back to your life.
Here are the types of custom orthotics that podiatrists often provide:
Rigid orthotics are often made from harder materials such as plastic or carbon fiber and are used to control function. They also help to control motion in the joints of the foot. They are most often used with walking shoes or dress shoes as they help with strains, aches and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back.
Just like the name states, soft orthotics are made out of more cushioned materials so they can act as shock absorbers, help with balance, and relieve pressure. They also cradle the soles of the foot and support everything from the heel and balls of your feet to the toes. Since soft orthotics help to absorb shock, they can be a good option for athletes and those with active lifestyles.
Semi-rigid orthotics can also be a great option for sports players as they provide a good balance. As the name implies, semi-rigid orthotics are made with layers of soft material that are backed by a rigid material. While this type is great for avid walkers and the like, semi-rigid orthotics are also prescribed to treat flatfoot and other foot disorders in children. If you’re planning on running a marathon this year and you’re experiencing foot pain, semi-rigid orthotics might help relieve some of the discomforts you’re feeling while training.
Are you interested in custom orthotics? If so, your podiatrist can chat more about orthotics and how they could benefit your feet based on your foot health, age, activities, and lifestyle.
What problems does high blood pressure pose?
People with hypertension often deal with plaque buildup in the blood vessels. This is known as atherosclerosis. Plaque buildup also causes a decrease in circulation in the legs and feet. This can also increase your risk for peripheral artery disease (PAD). Over time, this decreased circulation can also lead to ulcers and, in more severe cases, amputation. This is why it’s incredibly important that you have a podiatrist that you turn to regularly for checkups and care if you have been diagnosed with hypertension.
What are the signs of poor circulation in the feet?
Wondering if you may already be dealing with poor circulation? Here are some of the telltale signs:
- Your feet and legs cramp up, especially during physical activity
- Color changes to the feet
- Numbness or tingling
- Temperature changes in your feet
- Hair loss on the legs or feet
By getting your blood pressure under control we can also reduce your risk for developing PAD, heart disease, and other complications associated with hypertension. Some medications can be prescribed by your podiatrist to improve peripheral artery disease. Surgery may also be necessary to remove the blockage or widen the blood vessel to improve blood flow to the legs and feet.
If you are worried about your hypertension and how it may be impacting the health of your feet, there is never a better time to turn to a podiatrist for answers, support, and care.