Tag Archives: Pain

Bunions – Identification & Diagnosis

Bunions are one of the more common foot ailments – more than 20% of 18 to 65-year-olds and more than 30% of seniors are affected. Research suggests individuals have a genetic predisposition for developing bunions, meaning you are more likely to develop them if your parents or grandparents had them.

Bunions are much more than just a bump; they are a serious and often painful deformity created by the big toe being bent towards the other toes instead of facing straight forward. Wearing tight shoes, injuries, and the above-mentioned genetic disposition are prime culprits. Other potential causes include:

  • Hypermobility and laxity within the foot
  • One leg being shorter than the other
  • Loose joints
  • Low arches
  • Arthritis
  • Flat feet

Identifying Bunions seems to be easy, but they can easily be confused with the following conditions:

  • Bursitis: painful and similar appearance; mostly temporary
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: painful and similar appearance; chronic
  • Gout: painful and similar appearance; temporary or chronic

Bunions develop slowly and become more difficult to treat over the years. Early detention might prevent surgery, so please don’t wait to contact your podiatrist if you identify a bunion-like swelling that won’t disappear.

Loose the Heel Pain – and Heal Pain!

The American Podiatric Medical Association conducted a study that found nearly 77% of Americans suffer from heel pain, but only about a third of those people seek expert care to alleviate it. Any sort of pain or discomfort can make day to day activities, well… a real pain. Don’t think pain is normal and you should push through, seeking professional help can get you on the path from heel pain to healed pain!

Achilles Tendinitis

One of the causes of heel pain, especially in runners, is Achilles tendinitis, which results from the overuse and strain of the Achilles tendon. Most commonly caused by repetitive strain on your tendon, the risk for Achilles tendinitis increases with age, higher blood pressure and using worn-out shoes with little support. The most common symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain on or above the heel. Symptoms typically start gradually with an aching or burning pain that is aggravated by exercise. Some patients might even notice the back of their foot where the tendon runs is warm to touch and slightly enflamed or swollen. Don’t want to worry about Achilles tendinitis? Daily calf stretches, proper shoes and combining low-impact activities into your work out can significantly reduce strain.

Stress Fractures

Stress Fractures are another cause of heel pain.  These are most commonly from repeated excessive stress, but can also come from osteoporosis.  By increasing strain too quickly, the bone does not have time to adapt to the increased pressure and this increased pressure can cause tiny cracks and stress points to form a full break or fracture. Unlike plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis which affect soft tissue and tendons, stress fractures happen in the bones of your foot which means stretching and ‘walking it off’ can actually make your pain worse and cause more damage.

Depending on the severity of your pain and damage, there are a variety of ways podiatrists can help. More often than not, rest is a huge factor in recovering from excessive strain and stress fractures. Our feet are used so often and intensely in our day to day lives, it’s difficult for them to recover while in constant use. Lightening workouts or including low-impact elements as mentioned before can also help for those who simply cannot stay off their feet. As always, prevention is more effective than repair! Proper foot wear, listening when your body says “stop!” and staying hydrated are just a few ways to keep you up and going.

Heel Pain

Heel pain, though rarely indicative of a serious problem, can be a real irritant, because it typically affects the underside or back of your heel and can make regular activities like walking and exercise difficult.

The human foot is made up of over two dozen bones, which absorb the impact of nearly three times our body weight when running, so our feet are very susceptible to the damage that causes heel pain. Typically, this pain is not caused by a single injury, but repeated stress to the bottom of the foot or heel from ill-fitting footwear, stretching of the plantar fascia or bone spurs. Individuals with excessively flat or high-arched feet are much more likely to develop heel and foot problems without properly supportive shoes or sole inserts.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes and occurs when the soft tissue on the bottom of the foot is stretched too far and becomes inflamed, typically near the back of the heel where it is anchored. Patients with this condition also often experience calf and foot cramps. Heel bursitis is another common cause of heel pain caused by the pressure from your shoes, often high heels. This will cause deep pain that feels like it is in inside or at the back of the heel and can even cause the Achilles tendon to swell. Over time, pain increases, especially at the end of the day for individuals who are often on their feet.

Patients can seek a wide variety of treatments for heel pain, depending on the severity of the pain.  Simple remedies usually include icing the affected area, avoid walking around barefoot, and modifications to your shoes to offer better support. For more serious cases, taping your heal or wearing night splints can help restore the foot to its natural state and reduce excessive stretching or further inflammation. In very severe cases that are cause long term permanent damage, you may require treatment through surgery or prescriptions.  However, this is not common and you should seek medical advice before considering the options listed above. For more information on heel pain and how to prevent or treat it see the following articles;

Bunions

Bunions are a common foot problem that increasingly get worse over time. But what exactly are bunions and—more importantly—how can they be treated?

A bunion is a bump that forms at the base joint of the big toe. The big toe does a lot for helping us walk and stay balanced, and so developing a deformity around it is understandably uncomfortable. Bunions are produced when pressure pushes the big toe toward the smaller toe, sometimes settling under or over it. This alignment causes the base joint to slowly change shape, resulting in the infamous bony bump.

Bunions can result from many different factors, including genetics, injury, arthritis, and wearing tight shoes, so it pays to be aware of the symptoms of this disorder. Symptoms include:

  • A bump at the base of your big toe
  • Pain, swelling, or soreness
  • Numbness or restricted movement

Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do once it’s been diagnosed you have a bunion. Getting periodic x-rays and evaluations of your toe joint is always helpful. Wearing comfortable shoes, padding your foot, icing your foot, and reducing activity that causes bunion pain are also recommended.

Easing bunion pain will not cure the deformity itself, however. Due to the disorder’s permanent and progressive nature, bunions will continually worsen with time. If bunion pain persists to the point where it’s affecting your daily routine it may be time to consider surgical treatment. A variety of surgical options are available for bunions, picking the right procedure just depends on the extent of the deformity and personal factors such as age and activity level.

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Foot Pain

Many people try to ignore foot pain. But did you know that foot pain could be causing the pain in your back, knees, and hips too? Our bodies are like a chain and if a link in that chain is out of position then it affects the entire body. When it is painful to walk our normal way, we instinctively change the way we walk. Changing your walking pattern can also affect the whole chain of the lower body – from the ankle, to the knees, to the hip, and then to the lower back.

The way all of those joints move together is changed when foot pain or deformity causes a change in the way you walk. Ligaments and tendons can be stressed beyond their normal range, arthritis can set in, and cartilage in the joints can wear down. Other conditions such as flat feet, bunions, and heel pain can cause problems in your back, knees, and hips as well.

Find out more: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/content.aspx?id=1386

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