Items filtered by date: August 2016

You may be surprised to learn that a lot of the problems you have with your feet might also be the cause of your knee pain. Here’s a quick look at some of the conditions and diseases that can cause a combination of foot and knee pain.

Flat Feet

Many people with flat feet find that their ankles roll inward with each step. This excessive inward rotation of the ankle, tendons, and ligaments connecting the muscles and bones of the heel and shin bone will cause the inside of the lower leg to stretch further than the outside. As the lower leg is pulled out of line, the knee fails to track straight, causing knee pain.

There are a few ways in which you can tell if you have flat feet:

  • Get your feet wet and make an impression on a dry patch of flooring. The inside of the impression should be dry, as a healthy arch wouldn’t have made contact with the floor.
  • Place the soles of your feet together. Check to see if each instep is virtually in contact along the length of your feet, or whether there is a good parting of the feet around the midsection.
  • See if you can comfortably insert your thumb under your instep while standing.


Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage one the ends of your bones wears down over time. With osteoarthritis, the slick surface of the cartilage becomes rough and may eventually wear down completely, causing bone to rub on bone. It can damage any joint in your body, including your feet and your knees.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis often develop slowly and worsen over time. Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation
  • Bone spurs (extra bits of bone that feel like hard lumps)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition can also damage a wide variety of the body’s systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.

The condition occurs when your immune system attacks the synovium (the lining of the membranes that surround your joints). The resulting inflammation thickens the synovium, which can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch, gradually causing the joint to lose its shape and alignment.


Tendinitis, or tendonitis, is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon (a thick cord that attaches the bone to muscle. It is most often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden more serious injury. Incorrect posture at work or home, or poor stretching or conditioning before exercise may increase your risk of tendinitis. Tendinitis can occur almost anywhere in the body where a tendon connects muscle to bone, and can affect anyone of any age.

Symptoms of tendinitis include:

  • Pain at the site of the tendon and surrounding area
  • Loss of motion


Bursitis in a painful condition that affects the small, fluid filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed, and most often occurs in joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.

Symptoms of bursitis can cause the affected joint to:

  • Feel achy or stiff
  • Hurt more when you move or press on it
  • Look swollen and red


Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. It is a complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone, but is more common among men. Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing inflammation and intense pain. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines (substances found naturally in your body), as well as steak, organ meats, and seafood.

Symptoms of gout include:

  • Intense joint pain
  • Lingering discomfort
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Limited range of motion

Treating Foot and Knee Pain

If you suspect that you have any of the above conditions or diseases, then you should schedule a consultation with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie. With years of collective experience in their fields, they have the experience to help you figure out what the root of your problem is.

Thursday, 25 August 2016 11:15

Foot Exercises for Strong Feet

5 Foot Exercises to Strengthen the Feet

Even the finest athletes forget the importance of exercising the feet. However, the fact is that when your feet are weak, the rest of your body will need to compensate. In fact, those with weaker feet are near guaranteed to experience back pain as they age.

To support your body and save yourself from injury, here are 5 foot exercises to keep your feet in their finest form:

1. Exercise Barefoot

The first step to stronger feet is to train them to support you without the help of fancy footwear. The greatest advantage to going barefoot is, of course, freeing your feet to utilize their full range of motion.

You can begin by simply walking barefoot around the house. Then, try walking around on your tip toes, balancing yourself only on the balls of your feet. Repeat sets of heel lifts, raising yourself up and down on the balls of your feet, while doing your best to maintain balance. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, slowly increase the repetitions and duration, stopping before your feet become too sore.

The balance challenge is key to building strength and stability in your feet.

2. Run on the Beach

More specifically, run on the sand, or any similarly soft surface. The advantage of sand is that it shifts and responds to the force of your weight, improving your feet’s joint articulation while increasing strength and range of motion. Running on softer surfaces prevents repetitive trauma to the feet, reducing the likelihood of injury.

3. Resistance Foot Exercises

Sit down with your legs extended straight on the floor. Secure a flat resistance band to a sturdy post, and slip your foot underneath just past the toes. With the band firmly attached, try to extend the toes away from the post and towards your shin. Repeat sets by flexing and extending your feet. As your feet grow stronger, move your body farther back to create greater resistance, increasing the number of repetitions as you go.

4. BOSU Ball Balance

Exercising atop a BOSU ball is the perfect challenge to perfect your balance. The BOSU ball has an extremely firm dome, adding resistance against your feet as you force yourself to balance at an angle. Stand on the side of the dome, so that your toes are angled higher than your heels. From this position, perform sets of squats and/or jumps. For an extra challenge, try balancing on one leg, shifting your weight from leg to leg.

5. Plantar Stretch

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot injury that can be prevented with proper stretching. Seat yourself in a chair barefoot, crossing one leg so that your ankle is resting atop the opposite thigh. From this position, stretch the plantar fascia by grasping the toes and pulling them back towards your knee. Perform a set of 10 stretches on each foot, and repeat 3 times a day. Research has shown that patients suffering from plantar fasciitis had a 77% likelihood of resuming full activity when they performed this stretch.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie

Don’t wait until an injury occurs to prioritize your foot health. Schedule a consultation with skilled podiatrists Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie today. For all of your podiatric needs, contact the professional and caring staff at the Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 11:14

Dietary Choices That Trigger Gout

What is Gout and How is it Triggered?

Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. A gout attack is characterized by sudden and severe episodes of pain, warmth, and swelling in a joint. Its underlying cause is a build-up of uric acid in the body over time. Uric acid is the resultant substance of purines processed in the body, in which purines are a type of protein found in human cells and in many foods.

Uric acid is transported by the blood to the kidneys and eliminated in the urine. Normally, the kidneys’ filtering mechanisms facilitate the ridding of this waste substance efficiently. However, if your cells overproduce uric acid or they produce a normal amount but your body cannot efficiently eliminate it, you have a rare genetic abnormality, or your diet and lifestyle elevate the amount of uric acid leading to a buildup, needle-like crystals can start to form in your tissues, resulting in swollen, painful joints.

Gout Triggers

Although triggers differ from one individual to the next, once you identify your specific triggers, gout can become easier to manage. Common triggers include:

  • Alcohol – This includes excessive intake of alcohol, especially beer, or binge drinking
  • Purine-Rich Foods – Eating large amounts of foods high in purines
  • Uric-Acid Lowering Medicines – Although they are perhaps the best long-term solution for controlling gout, beginning a new course of treatment using uric-lowering medications can actually trigger attacks. Contact the medical profession who prescribed the treatment if gout symptoms develop
  • Surgery or Sudden Illness – Those who are in bed or stationary for a long period of time are at higher risk of developing gout
  • Crash Diets
  • Radiation Therapy

Dietary Triggers

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms what physicians have been advising their patients with gout for years: avoid frequent consumption of purine-rich foods such as meat, seafood, animal protein, and purine-rich vegetables; increase consumption of dairy products, as their proteins help lower uric acid levels in the blood.

Developing a lifelong eating strategy that focuses on following a healthy diet should be the goal for people with gout to reduce the likelihood of its recurrence. In general, it is advisable to reduce the amounts of food that you eat that are high in purines. If you already suffer from gout, eating a diet that is rich in purines can result in a five-fold increase in recurrent gout attacks.

Avoid the following high purines foods:

  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Offal (liver, kidneys, heart)
  • Seafood (especially shellfish such as shrimp and lobster, and oily fish)
  • Beverages and snacks that are high in sugar
  • Excessive alcohol — Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of developing gout and can bring on a sudden attack if you are already suffering from gout. Many beers contain large quantities of purines from the fermenting process; moreover, alcohol stimulates the production of uric acid by the liver. More importantly, alcohol is converted in the body to lactic acid which interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body by the kidneys. Reduction in alcohol consumption is particularly important for people with gout, especially if you are drinking more than the recommended healthy limit of 21 units per week for men, or 14 units per week for women.

On the other hand, the following foods may lower the level of uric acid in the body:

  • Skim milk and other low fat dairy products
  • Whole grain foods
  • Plant oils (olive, canola, sunflower)
  • Fruits with low levels of fructose
  • Vitamin C supplements
  • Fluids other than alcohol

Lifestyle Changes

Additional lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of experiencing further attacks of gout include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight – follow a balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly – try activities that don’t put too much strain on your joints, such as swimming
  • Drinking plenty of water – keeping yourself well hydrated will reduce the likelihood of crystals forming in your joints. Aim for 8 glasses of water a day: the 8×8 rule (around 64 oz)

There is also some evidence to suggest that regular vitamin C supplements, taken in the 500 to 1000mg per day range, can help reduce gout attacks.

If you’re struggling with gout and can’t seem to curb the associated pain, get in contact with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie at the Superior Foot & Ankle Center.

Thursday, 18 August 2016 11:12

Treating Foot Nerve Pain

Addressing Nerve Pain in the Feet

Foot pain isn’t just uncomfortable – it can be debilitating. It’s one thing if you have a physical injury that you can visibly identify and treat on the spot; nerve pain, however, can be a trickier beast to tame. You’ve likely experienced nerve pain in your feet before without knowing its cause: the pins and needles, the tingling, the numbness, muscle weakness, and the sensation that your foot has fallen asleep underneath you.

Nerve pain in the feet can stem from a number of different causes, depending on the specific nerve affected. Here’s a look at the various sources of nerve pain in the feet, and your best available treatment options.


You may be surprised to learn that lower back conditions are closely linked to leg and foot pain. This is due to the connecting sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in your body. The sciatic nerve runs down the spine and along the back of each leg, serving the primary role of connecting the spinal cord to the muscles in the leg and feet. Any damage to the sciatic nerve, such as in the lower spine, can actually manifest as crippling leg and foot pain, a condition known as sciatica. Pain experienced as a result of sciatica is often described by patients as being incredibly sharp, almost like a burning sensation.

Sciatica is not a condition in and of itself, but rather a symptom: the diagnosis would identify the underlying source of the nerve damage, usually a herniated disc in the spine resulting in compression of the sciatic nerve. Consult a specialist trained in treating conditions of the back and spine, and refer to your podiatrist for physical therapy and exercises you can do to relieve the pain in your feet.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic patients sometimes suffer nerve damage as an unfortunate result of their condition. This nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, most dramatically impacts the legs and feet. This causes pain and numbness, along with unpleasant sensations spanning pins and needles, tingling or stinging, and even hyper sensitivity in the affected areas.

Nerve damage is serious, and should be brought to the attention of a medical professional immediately. Since this is a tragic side effect of diabetes, the first plan of action is to consult your primary care doctor about how to better manage your diabetic symptoms. Personally monitoring your blood sugar more vigilantly is key, but your doctor may suggest altering your medication or dosage if your condition is deteriorating. From there, consult a skilled podiatrist about potential therapies or treatments to relieve the nerve pain in your feet.

Morton’s Neuroma

A pinched nerve in the foot, known as Morton’s neuroma, is a benign but painful condition. A neuroma is essentially a thickening of the nerve tissue in the toes, forming a lump-like growth, often found specifically between the third and fourth toes. The main symptom is the sensation of having a pebble lodged beneath the toes, accompanied by cramping, numbness, or tingling. These symptoms are exacerbated by tight and otherwise poor-fitting shoes, most notoriously high heels.

The cause of a neuroma is usually chronic irritation, pressure, or trauma to the nerve. High-heels have been a proven contributor to neuroma growth, along with certain high impact sports such as jogging. Patients with existing foot deformities such as bunions or flat feet are more prone to developing a neuroma.

Your podiatrist will carefully examine your feet for any signs of a growth, and may even perform imaging tests such as an X-ray or ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. They will likely suggest custom orthotics to remove the weight and pressure from the nerve. If your condition is more severe, surgery may be required to relieve the pressure or remove the affected nerve entirely.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie

Only a skilled podiatrist can accurately identify the source of your foot pain, and map out the solutions you need. Schedule a consultation with trusted podiatrists Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie at the Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center for happier, healthier feet today.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016 11:10

Caring for Your Feet: A Runner’s Guide

Caring for Your Feet When Training

You’ve decided to start running again. Maybe it’s to lose a few extra pounds or maybe you’re training for a marathon. Either way, it is important to maintain proper foot care to ensure that your feet can carry you the distance.

Here are some quick tips on properly caring for your feet while in training.

Understanding Your Feet

Before you are able to care for your feet, it is important to understand the foot itself. The foot and ankle are complex in structure and mechanics, serving as the foundations for your body with shock absorbing properties.

The foot and ankle contain 26 bones (25% of the body’s bones), 33 joints, more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The foot can be divided, anatomically, into three parts: forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot.

  • Forefoot—consists of five toes and their connecting bones. The toes are connected to the metatarsals by five joints at the ball of the foot. The forefoot balances pressure on the ball of the foot, bearing roughly half of the body’s weight.
  • Midfoot—forms the foot’s arch, serving as a shock absorber. The bones in the midfoot connect to the forefoot and hindfoot by muscles and the arch ligament.
  • Hindfoot—is made up of three joints which link the midfoot to the ankle. The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot, and underneath that bone is a cushioning layer of fat.

Tips on Proper Foot Care

  1. Invest in proper running shoes—it is important to have your feet properly measured or fitted for shoes that meet your needs. Some people require less support, while others need more cushioning. If you require a shoe that is out of the ordinary, you should try shopping at a specialty running store.
  2. Wear the right shoes when you aren’t running—the shoes you wear when you aren’t running matter just as much as your running shoes. High heels are the worst type of shoe that a female runner can wear because they push your center of mass forward, throwing off your hip and spine alignments. Modifying your heel-wearing time will reduce aches and may even improve your running form by reducing calf and foot tightness.
  3. Invest in high quality socks—ill-fitting and non-wicking socks are one of the top causes of blisters. A poor fitting sock will allow your shoes to rub against your heels, which can cause a lot of pain while you run. Non-wicking socks don’t let your feet breathe, creating a wet environment when you sweat, which could lead to athlete’s foot and foot fungus.
  4. Get stronger—performing barefoot exercises will ensure that every muscle and ligament in your lower body is in working order. You should try to add strength work into your training two or three times a week. The key is to include exercises that improve mobility and balance. Yoga and Pilates are a great way to strengthen and stretch the feet.
  5. Fix your form—increasing your cadence will help improve your running form. A slow cadence likely means that you’re covering too much ground with each step, increasing the impact forces on your body. Do a quick inventory of how often your foot hits the ground by counting the number of steps taken by one foot for one minute. If you have less than 88 strides, then your cadence is too slow.
  6. Soften your skin—most runners tend to have dry feet, which can lead to painful cracking. Moisturize your skin every day, rubbing the lotion in until your feet feel soft and smooth.
  7. Cool down your toes—if your feet swell or get overheated when you run, you should consider applying ice or soaking your feet in cold water right after your run. Elevating your foot above your chest will also help reduce swelling.
  8. Massage—while massaging your own feet might not be quite the same as having someone else do it for you, it can still be quite effective. You should start by rubbing your feet for several minutes before dusting them with foot powder. Then continue to rub your feet until they feel smooth.

Schedule an Appointment

If you feel any discomfort after running or even after a long day spent on your feet, then you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie. With years of collective experience between them, they will get to the bottom of what’s causing your foot pain and map out the best solution for you.

Thursday, 11 August 2016 11:09

The Best Shoes for Your Feet

Selecting the Best Shoes for Your Feet

Are you tired of having sore, achy feet? Does there seem to be nothing medically wrong with your feet? Then it’s possible you could be wearing shoes that aren’t suited for your feet.

Here are some tips on how you can find the best shoes for your feet, so that you can move around comfortably throughout the day without any foot pain.

Tips on How to Find the Right Shoes

When shopping for the right pair of shoes, you need to keep function and comfort in mind, as well as fashion. These tips can help you choose the right shoes that will help keep your feet in good shape:

  1. Trace your foot—place any shoe that you might buy on top of your foot tracing. If the shoe is shorter or narrower than the tracing, don’t bother trying it on.
  2. Measure your foot—feet change with age, often growing larger and wider, so you should have your feet measured every time you buy new shoes. If one foot is larger than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot.
  3. Shop in the afternoon—because your feet can swell as much as eight percent throughout the day, the best time to buy shoes is at the end of the day to account for the largest possible size your feet will reach.
  4. Socks—wear the same type of socks to the store that you intend to wear with the shoes.
  5. Stand in the shoes—you should have half an inch of space between your toe and the end of the shoe when you’re standing, in order to provide enough room for your foot to press forward when you walk. Wiggle your toes to make sure there’s enough room.
  6. Walk in the shoes—walk around to determine how the shoes feel. Find shoes that fit from the start, not shoes that need to be “broken in.”
  7. Trust your comfort level—shoes sizes vary between manufacturers, so don’t exclusively depend on the shoe’s noted size or description.
  8. Pay attention to width and length—if the ball of your foot feels compressed in a particular shoe, ask if it comes in a wider size. Buying shoes that are half a size bigger won’t necessarily solve the problem.
  9. Feel inside the shoe—check the shoe for any tags, seams, or other material that may irritate your foot.
  10. Examine the soles—take note of how they feel when you walk around the store. Try to walk on hard surfaces as well as carpet to see how the shoe feels on both.
  11. Examine the upper part of the shoes—the top of the shoes should be made of a soft, flexible material to match the shape of your foot. Shoes made of leather can reduce the possibility of skin irritations.

Understanding the Parts of the Shoe

Understanding the different parts of the shoe can help you choose what type of shoe will work best for your feet. The different parts of the shoe include:

  • Toe box—the front area of the shoe where the toes rest. The deeper the toe box, the more room for your toes.
  • Vamp—covers the top part of the foot at the midsection of the shoe (where the laces are). The vamp should fit snuggly, holding the foot firmly, yet comfortably in place.
  • Counter—the back of the shoe that holds the heel in place. A stiff counter offers greater heel control and stability.
  • Last—the solid, foot-shaped form (usually made from dense plastic) that the manufacturer uses to create a shoe. There are three categories of lasts: straight, semi-curved, and curved.
  • Insole—the inside of the shoe where the main part of the foot rests. Shoes that have removable insoles provide greater flexibility as they can be removed or replaced with a cushioned insole or orthotic.
  • Shank—is located under the arch of the foot. The stiffer the shank, the more support it provides.
  • Midsole­—the material that sits between the upper or top section of the shoe and the outer sole. The softer the material, the more shock absorption in the shoe.
  • Outsole—the hard bottom of the shoe (typically made from leather, blown rubber, or man-made materials). It is important to make sure that the shape of the outsole conforms to your foot.

Schedule a Consultation

If you find that changing up the style of your shoes doesn’t help with your foot pain, then you should seek out help from an experienced podiatrist. Book a consultation with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie today, so that they can help you get to the bottom of your foot pain.

Tuesday, 09 August 2016 11:08

Ingrown Toenails: A Common Nuisance

Ingrown Toenails: A Common and Unpleasant Pain

Ingrown toenails are a common nail impairment and account for about one in five patients who visit their family physicians with a foot-related problem. Not only is it an unpleasant hindrance, unattended ingrown toenail can escalate into a painful infection.

Causes for Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails chiefly affect the big toenail, but symptoms can also be found on other toes. Ingrown toenails can be attributed to the following factors:

Anatomical Factors:

  • Genetic predisposition, such as the natural shape of your toenails and family history
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid, cardiac, and renal disorders that may predispose to edema in the lower extremity of the body

Behavioral Factors:

  • Improper trimming (cutting toenails at an angle)
  • Repetitive trauma (e.g., running, kicking)
  • Inadvertent trauma (e.g., stubbing the toe)
  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Poor foot hygiene that provides a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

At its early stages, the skin next to the nail may become tender, swollen, and harden over time. There will be pain when pressure is applied to the affected area, leading eventually to fluid build-up. When the affected area becomes infected, symptoms will include red, swollen skin; pain; bleeding; oozing pus; and overgrowth of skin around the toe.

Treatments for Ingrown Toenails

For identifying treatment options, it is useful to classify ingrown toenails into three categories according to their severity: mild, moderate, and severe.

Mild Cases:

  • Nail-fold swelling
  • Redness or rash of the skin
  • Pain with pressure

Moderate Cases:

  • Increased swelling in the affected area
  • Drainage
  • Infection
  • Ulceration of the nail-fold

Severe Cases:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Granulation tissue (bright red growth coming out from the side of the nail)
  • Nail-fold hypertrophy

At-Home Treatments

At-home treatments of ingrown toenails are effective in patients with mild to moderate cases of ingrown toenails. They include:

  1. Soaking the affected toe and foot in warm, soapy water for 10 to 20 minutes, followed by the application of a topical antibiotic ointment such as polymyxin/neomycin (Neosporin) or steroid ointment to the affected area several times a day until the discomfort resolves
  2. Placing cotton balls soaked with olive oil under the edge of the affected nail. This method was found to provide immediate relief from pain with minimal or no risk of bacterial infection to the site.
  3. Gutter splinting: a gutter splint can be made with an acrylic artificial nail that is placed under and taped to the affected nail. The gutter splint treatment takes two weeks to three months to complete – the time required for the normal nail to grow.

Surgical Treatment

The most common surgical procedure for treating an ingrown toenails that is not resolved with at-home treatment is through chemical matricectomy, during which the lateral edge of the affected nail is removed. Apart from a narrower appearance after surgery, the nail will grow back to its original width since the nail matrix is not removed during matricectomy,

Post-Surgical Care

Keep the foot of the bandaged toe raised for one to two days and avoid movement and blunt trauma to the operated site. After the bandage is removed on the second day, wear open-toe shoes as much as possible and soak your toe or foot in saltwater daily.

Infection of the affected area generally resolves without the need for antibiotic therapy after surgery; however, if infection of the lateral nail fold is suspected due to an incomplete matricectomy, physicians will prescribe an oral antibiotic that covers common skin-related bacteria growth. Meanwhile, you can manage pain with over-the-counter pain relief medication.


  • Cut toenails straight across, not at an angle or down the edges
  • Wash your feet every day, drying them thoroughly and applying a foot moisturizer onto your feet and toes
  • Use a foot file to remove hard or dead skin
  • Wear proper-fitting shoes
  • Change your socks (or tights) every day to maintain good feet hygiene
Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:06

Managing Basic Foot Aches

How to Manage Basic Foot Aches

Foot health is easily taken for granted, especially considering how much work and weight our feet bear day in and day out. However, this is precisely why foot health should be made a top priority: to prevent chronic pain and even disability. Foot pain is common and near inevitable as we grow older, and work our bodies longer and harder. But unlike most things in our adult lives, basic foot aches can be understood, managed, and eventually resolved.

Brushing up on a bit of general foot anatomy is helpful to better understand the source of your pain. It is important to identify the origin of the pain – such as the heel, the arch, the toes, or the balls of your feet – in order to accurately treat a localized injury.

Here are a few tips on identifying the source of your foot aches, and how to manage foot pain in your daily life:

Common Sources of Foot Aches

Your feet require adequate care and support which, in turn, will support overall body. Common sources of foot pain include:

  • Poorly-fitting shoes: A proper shoe fit encompasses several factors. This includes the foot length, the shoe depth, the width of the toe box, and more. Have your feet professionally measured at the end of the day, when your feet are largest due to swelling. Also make sure to have the shoes fit your largest foot, as feet are rarely symmetrical.
  • Improper support: Proper arch support is necessary, especially if your arches have fallen or your feet tend to pronate. If your shoes are not supportive enough, purchase custom or over-the-counter insoles for the support you need.
  • Inappropriate footwear: Most sports have specific footwear specially designed to properly meet the activity’s demands. Cross-training shoes, running shoes, hiking shoes, and tennis shoes are just a few examples. Inappropriate footwear can easily result in physical injury on the court or on the field.
  • Spending too long on the feet: Long hours spent on the feet, especially on hard surfaces like concrete, will soon result in pain and even injury.
  • Overuse: Like every other part of the body, your feet need rest, too. Avoid overworking the feet by spacing out demanding physical activities like running or sports.
  • Trauma: Foot trauma can include everything from sprains, strains, and fractures.
  • Fungal infection: Fungal infections like athlete’s foot and toenail fungus are extremely common, and highly contagious.
  • Plantar warts: Plantar warts are caused by HPV, which enters through small cuts and breaks in the skin.
  • Bunions: Bunions are bony growths formed at the base of the big toe, which can become extremely painful.
  • Corns and calluses: Corns and calluses are formed by the thickening and hardening of the skin on the feet, caused by the skin protecting itself from excessive friction.
  • Blistering: Foot blisters are common, and are the result of excessive rubbing against the skin from poor shoes or friction.

Foot pain can also be further reduced to localized injuries, which can point to specific conditions:

Heel Pain

Heel pain is the most common cause of foot aches. Pain beneath the heel indicates inflammation of the tissues underneath the foot, which can signify one of several conditions:

  • Plantar fasciitis: The fascia is the band of tissue which connects the heel bone to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the fascia, an injury which often occurs due to overuse. Risk factors include obesity, having a job which requires long hours on hard surfaces, running for exercise, and having flat feet or high arches. The best course of treatment for plantar fasciitis is a good stretching regimen.
  • Heel spur: A heel spur is a calcium deposit protruding from the underside of the heel, and is often the result of chronic plantar fasciitis. The risk factors for heel spurs are the same as those for plantar fasciitis, with treatment including surgery and non-surgical solutions like custom orthotics.
  • Stone bruise: A stone bruise occurs when the fat pad underneath the heel is injured, usually from stepping on a hard object such as a stone. With enough rest, a stone bruise will eventually heal on its own.

Pain behind the heel, on the other hand, could indicate the inflammation of the area where the Achilles tendon meets the heel bone. This could be the result of excessive running or wearing shoes which dig into the back of the heel. Treatment includes wearing specialized heel inserts or open-back shoes, stretching the Achilles tendon, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the swelling.

Pain in the Balls of the Feet

Pain in the ball of the foot, where the heads of the metatarsals meet, is known as metatarsalgia. This pain and inflammation can be the result of a number of factors, from running and high-impact sports to excess weight and poorly designed shoes. It can also be an indication of:

  • Stress fractures: Stress fractures are small breaks in the bones of the toes, which can dramatically impact the way you bear weight on the feet.
  • Morton’s neuromaMorton’s neuroma is a growth in the fibrous tissue surrounding the nerves leading to the toes, and can cause the uncomfortable sensation of having a pebble stuck in your shoe. Its development is commonly linked to the wearing of high-heels, and can be treated by switching to better shoes, corticosteroid injections, or surgery.

Arch Pain

Pain in the arch of the foot is usually a symptom of plantar fasciitis, or an indication of fallen arches. Fallen arches, or flat feet, are often the result of inflammation, tearing, stretching, or damage to the tendons. Treatment for fallen arches includes rest, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medications.

Toe Pain

Due to the various joints in the toes, toe injuries can be especially painful. Common sources of toe pain include:

  • GoutGout is a form of arthritis which mainly targets the big toe. Gout produces extreme swelling and pain in the toes, through causing crystals to form and collect in the toe joints. The condition can be treated through rest, icing the affected areas, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the swelling.
  • BunionsA bunion is a bony growth that develops on the joint where the big toe connects to the foot. Bunions are more common in women, due to heels forcing the bones of the feet into unnatural formations. Bunion pain can often be alleviated through more supportive shoes or inserts, or you may remove the bunions via surgery.
  • Hammertoe: Hammertoes occur when the toes bend downwards at the middle joint, forming a hammer-like appearance instead of pointing straight forward. The condition is most often caused through repeated wear of ill-fitting shoes such as high heels, but may be the result of a muscle imbalance or even arthritis. Mild hammertoe can be treated through toe pads, cushions, or inserts, but severe cases may require surgery to reposition the bones.

Find Foot Pain Relief with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie

The feet are fragile, and require the special care and attention of an expert podiatrist. If you’re experiencing foot pain, or are seeking to prevent injury before it strikes, schedule a consultation with Dr. Vikki Dr. Connie at the Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center today.

Tuesday, 02 August 2016 11:05

Coping With Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis: Causes and Treatment

Of the different types of pains occurring in the heel, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common. Its name derives from the area of pain and inflammation: a thick band of tissue called the plantar fasciawhich runs across the bottom of your foot. Because the plantar fascia connects your heel bone to your toes, the stabbing pain or deep ache associated with the ailment generally occurs when you take your very first steps in the morning (the “morning hobble”) as the affected foot tries to heal itself in a contracted position through the night.

The pain associated with the plantar fascia normally lessens as your foot limbers up, although it may recur during the day, especially after a prolonged period of standing, or when getting up after having been in a seated position for a while.

Common Causes for Plantar Fasciitis

  • Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common in active men and women between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Certain types of exercise. Activities that place repetitive stress on your heel and attached tissue, such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and dance aerobics on hard surfaces, can contribute to an early onset of plantar fasciitis.
  • Faulty foot mechanics. Being flat-footed, having a high arch, or even having an abnormal pattern of walking can adversely affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and put additional stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Occupation. Factory workers, teachers, restaurant servers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces have a higher risk of damaging their plantar fascia.

Importance of Treatment

If plantar fasciitis is left untreated, it may become a chronic condition. You may not be able to keep up your current level and range of activities, and you may even develop symptoms of foot, knee, hip and back problems because plantar fasciitis can affect the way you walk.

How to Cope with Plantar Fasciitis

Home Treatments

  • Stay off your feet as much as possible
  • Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times per day to reduce swelling
  • Reduce or change your exercise routine
  • Use arch supports in your shoes
  • Do stretching exercises that stretch the Plantar Fascia
  • Use anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen

Medical Treatment

If home treatments fail to bring relief to the plantar fascia, your doctor may opt for an injection of a corticosteroid directly into the damaged section of the ligament, which can help. A procedure that doctors can carry out in their office, they may use an ultrasound device to first determine the best injection site. They may also apply corticosteroids to the skin of your heel or the arch of your foot, followed by a painless electrical current to let the steroid pass through your skin and into the muscle.

Physical therapy can act as ongoing prevention for plantar fascia pain. A physical therapist can also show you exercises to strengthen your lower leg muscles, helping to stabilize your walk and lessen the workload on your plantar fascia.

Prevention for Plantar Fasciitis

To prevent plantar fasciitis, reduce the amount of time spent standing on a hard surface. Exercise on soft surfaces whenever possible, and visit a specialist to make sure you’re wearing the proper shoes for your foot type and gait. It is also beneficial to stretch the plantar fascia regularly. While it’s typical to experience pain in just one foot, massage and stretch both feet first thing in the morning, and three times during the day. It is especially important to stretch adequately before your exercise routine.

Stretching Exercises for the Plantar Fascia

Sit down, and place the affected foot across your knee. Using the hand on your affected side, pull your toes back toward your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch. Run your thumb along your foot–you should feel tension. Hold for a count of 10. Do this stretch first thing in the morning and at least three times during the day and before exercising.

Book an Appointment with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie

If you suspect you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, be sure to get in contact with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie. They can help you get to the bottom of your foot pain problem and provide you with the right treatment plan.

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