DMFA Blog

Posts for: June, 2014


When the U.S. men's soccer team played Germany in the World Cup last week, thousands of fans crowded into Chicago's Grant Park to watch on giant screens.

Team USA lost the match, but World Cup fever has hit hard, and many soccer fans are following the action.

As podiatrists at DM Foot & Ankle Associates, Dr. Michelle Kim and I love to see people excited about sports, but we know soccer can lead to painful injuries. One problem the sport can create is Achilles tendonitis.

The Achilles tendon is the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to the heel bone. Those who suffer from it experience irritation and inflammation in the large tendon in the back of the ankle. The injury tends to be common in athletes -- especially those who play soccer -- as a result of getting stepped on or kicked, rolling the ankle the wrong way or too much force when starting or ending a sprint.

Most often, the inflammation that comes with the injury can lead to pain and swelling.

There are several factors that may increase a person's risk of Achilles tendonitis:

  • Age and sex: Achilles tendinitis is common among middle-aged men.

  • A naturally flat foot arch can put more strain on the Achilles tendon. Obesity and tight calf muscles also can increase the strain.

  • Running or exercising in old, worn-out shoes can increase the risk. Running on hilly terrain also can put someone at higher risk of Achilles injury.

  • Those with diabetes or high blood pressure may be at at higher risk

  • Certain types of antibiotics have been linked with a higher risk of Achilles tendinitis.

The good news is that Achilles tendonitis often responds well to measures such as rest and ice. When it's persistent, treatment can include:

  • Medications: These can include over-the-counter drugs for pain, or stronger medications to reduce inflammation

  • Physical therapy such as stretching and strengthening exercises

  • Shoe inserts that elevate the heel to ease strain on the tendon

  • Surgery: If conservative treatments aren't effective or if the tendon tears, this might be done to repair the Achilles tendon

If you're suffering from Achilles pain from soccer or other sports, call our office so we can evaluate you and get you on the path back to health. We hope you enjoy watching the World Cup this summer, and go Team USA!

By Diana Emini


Earlier this week, many soccer fans were glued to TVs as the U.S. men's team took on – and defeated – Ghana during America's World Cup debut.

Back here in Lemont, Dr. Diana Emini and I know that soccer is a sport that's popular among people of all ages – especially kids.

But as podiatrists at DM Foot & Ankle Associates, we know that some kids who play soccer and other sports can suffer from heel pain as a result of Sever's disease. It's a painful bone disorder that results from inflammation of the growth plate in the heel (an area at the tip of a developing bone where cartilage cells transform into bone cells.)

Sever's disease can be a big cause of heel pain in growing kids who are physically active. It usually occurs during the growth spurt that comes with adolescence – typically between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys.

According to kidshealth.org, Sever's disease can result from sports that involve running and jumping on hard surfaces – think track, basketball, soccer and gymnastics. In addition, ill-fitting shoes can lead to the condition if they don't offer enough support or padding.

 

By Michelle Kim


From last month's Quarryman Challenge race in Lemont to the recent Bacon Chase 5K at Montrose Beach to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October, there are plenty of races happening in the area during the warm months to keep runners active.

At DM Foot & Ankle Ankle, my colleague, Dr. Michelle Kim, and I see lots of runners in our Lemont office. They come to us with everything from heel pain to ankle sprains. And when it comes to running shoes, it seems the trend of running in minimalist shoes – think of the FiveFingers shoes made my Vibram – are giving way to footwear that's quite the opposite.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, some runners are giving up “barely there” shoes in favor of those offering “maximal cushioning” to help provide exercise without destroying the legs.

These types of shoes look like updated, more colorful models of orthopedic footwear – and the Post claims some have called them “clown shoes” – but nearly a half-dozen shoe makers, including Nike, Brooks and New Balance, recently started selling shoes with soles that are roughly 30 percent thicker than typical running shoes.

The Post reports the first company to offer the super-cushioned shoes was Hoka One One. The company’s president even touts the design, according to the Post, as “the most dramatic advance in running footwear in 30 years” because the shoes' soft ride may help runners whose legs have taken a beating over the years.

But this is not the first time a shoe company has made such claims. Makers of barefoot and minimalist shoes also said their footwear could prevent injury. Those at shoe company Vibram, makers of the FiveFingers shoe, agreed to refund $3.75 million to customer last month after a lawsuit accused the company of making claims that it couldn’t support – mainly that its shoes reduce injuries and strengthen foot muscles.

At DM Foot & Ankle, we know there are lots of choices when it comes to running shoes, and we are happy to offer advice based on your foot and ankle needs. Call our office if you need help picking out the right running footwear – we also offer pre-made and custom inserts that many runners find helpful.

Good luck as you put miles on your shoes this summer!

By Diana Emini


After the long winter the Chicagoland area went through this year, we know many of you want to spend the summer being active. Whether that means taking your bike on the Metra into city to speed along the paths beside Lake Michigan to taking advantage of soccer, baseball or basketball facilities offered by the Lemont Park District, this is the best time of year to be active and on your feet.

From 5-and-10K races to a Warrior Dash to boot camps, there are plenty of ways to stay fit during the warm weather.

But for 2 million folks, the first steps in the morning can mean shooting pain in the heel or arch.

This results from problems with the plantar fascia – the band on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. My colleague, Dr. Diana Emini, and I see lots of patients of all ages in our Lemont office with heel pain. It's a common problem and when this band gets irritated, pain under the heel can result. It has several causes, including:

  • Too much physical activity can stress the heel bone and surrounding tissue, especially with prolonged activity on hard surfaces.

  • Footwear with thick soles that doesn't properly absorb shock. Force goes into the foot as a result.

  • Sports with quick turns: Cutting movements in tennis and basketball can place increased stress on the heel and surrounding tissue.

  • Pregnancy: Hormones released during pregnancy relax the ligaments, which reduces support in the heel.

  • Age: The plantar fascia loses elasticity as people age and can't always bounce back.

  • Being overweight. Extra pounds cause breakdown of the heel padding and flattening of the arch.

Just as there are many causes of heel pain, there are also many treatments. At DM Foot & Ankle, we offer several remedies:

  • Medication to reduce inflammation

  • Custom arch supports and supportive shoes

  • Night splints that hold the band in a fixed position

  • Cortisone injections

  • Physical therapy

We've had a lot of success in helping patients get back on their feet WITHOUT surgery. Early treatment can help you get back to warm-weather activities sooner. Summer is too short to be sidelined — call our Lemont office and seek help if you are suffering from heel pain.


 

By Michelle Kim