Keep Your Heels Healthy While Exercising
Exercising is good for us, but we have to be careful to exercise in a smart way that is healthy for every part of our body, even our feet.
Our feet, including our heels, are under a lot of pressure when we exercise and often they are overlooked. Injuries often sustained while exercising include stress fractures, muscle strains, Achilles tendon injuries, and more.
Here are a few tips on exercising safely:
- Consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. A full physical and foot exam is recommended.
- Pace yourself. Don’t push yourself beyond what your body can handle. Gradually increase your workouts.
- Always warm up properly and stretch before and after exercising.
- If you notice any pain in your feet or ankles while exercising, stop and rest. Do not push yourself through the pain.
For more information on keeping your heels healthy, visit www.heelpain101.com or www.neufoot.com. You can also watch How Do I Know If I Have A Stress Fracture? and more educational videos on the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle YouTube Channel.
Dealing with Blisters
Blisters are a common problem. Most of the time they are caused by friction from ill-fitting shoes and they do not require medical attention. However, blisters can be very painful and it is important to treat them correctly so that they don’t get infected.
Blisters should not be punctured unless they are large, painful, or likely to be further irritated. If you do have to puncture a blister, use a sterilized needle or razor blade and be sure to wash the area thoroughly first. Make only a small hole in the blister and squeeze out the fluid. It should be clear. If the fluid is white or yellow, it is infected.
If you have a blister that is infected, you should see a doctor for further treatment.
If it is not infected, squeeze the clear fluid out and apply a little bit of hydrogen peroxide. Then, cover the area with a bandage and a mild compression.
If you have a blister that has broken on its own, do not remove the skin. The skin protects the new skin that is forming underneath.
You can help to prevent blisters from occurring in the first place by breaking in new shoes slowly and when you do start to wear them, put bandages or petroleum jelly on the places that will rub.
Treating Stress Fractures
Stress fractures in the feet are commonly seen in the calcaneus, which is the heel bone. Treatments for stress fractures depend on the break and its severity, but one major factor in healing a stress fracture is taking time off from repetitive activities and giving the foot the opportunity to rest and heal.
Other treatments for stress fractures include:
- Immobilization, which may include immobilizing the foot in a cast, cam walker or surgical shoe.
- Physical therapy or stretching exercises.
- In some serious cases, surgery.
If you believe you have a stress fracture, you should see a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
An Ankle/Foot Brace May Help Ease Your Heel Pain
Suffering from plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis? Can’t stand the pain in your heels any longer?
You may want to try an ankle or foot brace. Ankle and foot braces can help to take some of the stress off of our feet and cushion them. They are made to help relieve pain caused by plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, as well as other foot problems.
The Aircast Airheel is a good product that is made with two bladders, one on the bottom of the heel and one at the back of the heel. The bladders fill with air and give great arch support, helping to cushion the heel. If the Aircast Airheel relieves your pain, you may want to look into getting a good orthotic device.
Another brace, the Bledsoe Plantar Fascial Strap, provides great support for the healing of plantar fasciitis.
Both braces are made to be comfortable and can be worn in shoes. It is recommended that you wear socks under the braces, however, to prevent them from against your skin.
Symptoms of Arthritis in the Foot
Arthritis can be very painful and, in some cases, even debilitating. Arthritis in the foot can limit your mobility and independence.
It is important to treat arthritis as soon as you start experiencing symptoms. If arthritis is caught early and treated properly, the damage caused by arthritis can be limited or at least slowed.
Here are some symptoms of arthritis in the foot:
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Redness or heat in a joint
- Early morning stiffness
- Skin changes, such as rashes or growths
- Limitation of motion in a joint
- Recurring pain or tenderness in a joint
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor and have your foot and/or ankle evaluated.
What To Expect With A Cortisone Injection
Getting a cortisone injection and don’t know what to expect?
Here are a few things you should know:
- Cortisone injections are a type of steroid injection and help to get rid of inflammation.
- Cortisone injections are painful. However, a numbing medication is mixed in with the injection so that the foot will go numb soon after the shot, relieving pain caused by the injection.
- When the injection wears off, your foot will be sore. You can apply ice for 10-15 minutes and elevate the foot if you have pain at the injection site.
- If you experience pain after the injection that is not relieved with over-the-counter pain medication, you should contact your podiatrist.
- Your pain should be gradually relieved in the two to four weeks following the injection. In most cases, only one injection is needed, but sometimes an additional injection is necessary.
For more information on cortisone injections, you can watch our videos Cortisone Injections Help With Inflammation and Treating Heel Pain, Tendinitis With Cortisone Injections.
How Heel Pain In Your Child Is Different From Adult Heel Pain
Heel pain is common childhood complaint. However, heel pain experienced by children is usually different from heel pain experience by adults because the pain is typically experienced for different reasons.
Among adults, the most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis pain is usually relieved by walking around and stretching out the plantar fascia.
Walking around and other activity typically makes heel pain in children worse. Heel pain in children is often caused by too much stress on the growth plate, a weak area located at the back of heel.
Children who are active in sports and children who suffer from obesity are more likely to develop pediatric heel pain.
To help prevent pediatric heel pain, limit or avoid the use of cleated athletic shoes. Also, choose well-constructed, supportive shoes that fit properly and are appropriate for your child’s activity.
If your child is suffering from heel pain, they need to stop or at least reduce activities that are causing pain. Shoe inserts may be needed to cushion the heel. If pain is persistent, a podiatrist should be seen for a proper diagnosis and further treatment.
For more information on pediatric heel pain, you can visit www.heelpain101.com or www.neufoot.com. You can also watch Is Foot Pain In Children Normal? and other educational videos on foot and ankle problems on the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle YouTube Channel.
Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Rupture
An Achilles tendon rupture is a serious injury that needs to be evaluated and treated as soon as possible. It can be a difficult injury to recover from and it takes time, sometimes 6 to 12 months or more, to return to full activity after an Achilles tendon rupture.
It is important to recognize the symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture and seek medical attention right away to prevent further damage.
Symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture include:
- Difficulty walking and rising up on the toes
- A popping or snapping sensation.
- Sudden pain, which feels similar to a kick or a stab, in the back of the ankle or calf. The pain often subsides into a dull ache.
- Swelling on the back of the leg between the heel and calf.
Until you can get to a doctor, use the “R.I.C.E.” method to help with pain and to reduce swelling. The “R.I.C.E.” method includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
For more information on Achilles tendon ruptures and other heel pain, visit our website www.heelpain101.com or www.neufoot.com. You can also watch educational videos on foot and ankle problems on the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle YouTube Channel.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy: A Treatment For Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
ESWT has two advantages over most plantar fasciitis treatments:
- Largely due to the procedure’s non-invasive nature and the fact that there is no incision, EWST doesn’t have as many potential complications as most treatments.
- ESWT allows for a quicker recovery time and patient’s can return to regular activity more quickly.
ESWT may be tried when conservative treatment options have failed to treat your plantar fascia pain. Other treatment options that may be tried before EWST may include: stretching exercises, orthotic devices, physical therapy, steroid injections, ice packs, and/or anti-inflammatory medications.
EWST works by sending sound waves through the area in which you are experiencing pain, which stimulates a healing response. Another great thing about EWST is that it is not only used to treat heel pain, but other types of foot pain as well.
EWST cannot be used on patients who are on medications that may prolong bleeding or interfere with clotting or patients who suffer from a blood disorder.
If conservative treatment options have failed to treat your plantar fasciitis pain, discuss Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy with your doctor.
Dry Needling: A Treatment For Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
When conservative treatment options have not succeeded in getting rid of your plantar fasciitis pain, your podiatrist may recommend dry needling, a procedure that is used to treat chronic plantar fasciitis.
The procedure sounds painful, but actually there is not much pain involved at all. You will have a local anesthetic injection before the procedure begins.
After the foot is numbed, an ultrasound machine is used to visualize the plantar fascia and the plantar fascia is then punctured with a needle. The ultrasound machine provides guidance for the needle so the needle is placed very precisely. The minor trauma caused by the needle causes the body to recognize the plantar fascia as an acute problem area, which causes the body to increase blood flow to the area.
Then, with the help of the ultrasound machine, a steroid injection is put into the plantar fascia, which reduces inflammation and helps to reduce the risk of rupturing the plantar fascia.
It is a one-time procedure that can be performed in the office and, while there are risks with every medical procedure including dry needling, there is less risk involved with dry needling than with surgery. It is also less expensive than surgery and shockwave therapy.
For more information on dry needling, you can visit our website, www.neufoot.com or www.heelpain101.com. You can also watch our video A Great Solution for Chronic Heel Pain Known as Dry Needling.