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If you are struck with a stabbing pain in your heel with your first steps in the morning, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot. For example, people who have problems with their arches, either overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
Wearing footwear that lacks support on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can also lead to plantar fasciitis. This is particularly evident when one’s job requires long hours on the feet. Obesity and overuse may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:
- Pain on the bottom of the heel
- Pain in the arch of the foot
- Pain that is usually worse upon arising
- Pain that increases over a period of months
- Swelling on the bottom of the heel
People with plantar fasciitis often describe the pain as worse when they get up in the morning or after they have been sitting for long periods of time. After a few minutes of walking, the pain decreases because walking stretches the fascia. For some people, the pain subsides but returns after spending long periods of time on their feet.
Our podiatrists will determine a patient’s diagnosis based on patient history, risk factors and physical exam findings. In addition, diagnostic imaging studies, such as x-rays, may be used to distinguish if a patient is suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, such as:
- Stretching. Exercises that stretch out the calf muscles and plantar fascita help ease pain and assist with recovery. We offer Trigger Point foam rollers, handheld rollers and massage balls to help you with all your stretching needs.
- Avoid going barefoot. When you walk without shoes, you put undue strain and stress on your plantar fascia. We offer a supportive flip flop that can be worn as your house shoe.
- Ice. Place a thin towel between the ice and your heel; do not apply ice directly to the skin.
- Limit activities. Cut down on extended physical activities to give your heel a rest.
- Orthotic devices. Custom devices that fit into your shoe and help correct the underlying structural abnormalities causing the plantar fasciitis. Many times, these devices are covered by your insurance.
- Stem cell injections. This type of injection if safely derived from human amniotic membrane while enhancing your body’s own healing process.
- Cortisone injections. Corticosteroid injections are used to help reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.
- Night splint. Wearing a night splint allows you to maintain an extended stretch of the plantar fascia while resting.
- EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology). EPAT is an innovative, non-invasive way to treat pain. It is based on a unique set of pressure waves that stimulate the metabolism, enhance blood circulation, and accelerate the healing process.
When Is Surgery Needed?
Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to nonsurgical treatment, a small percentage of patients may require surgery. If, after several months of nonsurgical treatment, you continue to have heel pain, surgery will be considered. Our foot and ankle surgeons will discuss the surgical options with you and determine which approach would be most beneficial for you.
No matter what kind of treatment you undergo for plantar fasciitis, the underlying causes that led to this condition may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventative measures. Wearing supportive shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.
Ankle sprains may be one of the most common injuries, but they are also frequently misdiagnosed. The two major types of ankle sprains - high ankle sprains and lateral ankle sprains - often look the same even though they affect entirely different ligaments.
Pain, swelling, limited motion and bruising in the entire ankle region can occur in both high ankle sprains and lateral ankle sprains. The difference lies in where the injury occurs, and which ligaments are involved.
When our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Diana Emini and Dr. Michelle Kim, diagnose an ankle sprain, it is important for them to understand how the injury occurred. Lateral sprains are caused by the foot turning inward, whereas high ankle sprains are the result of the foot being forced outward.
High ankle sprains can be more complicated because this region has five ligaments connecting two bones in the leg, compared with three ligaments that can be affected in lateral ankle sprains. The more ligaments involved and the worse they are torn, the more severe the injury.
Also, the prognosis for a high ankle sprain is usually worse when compared to a low ankle sprain, and it often takes longer to heal. Therefore, it is critical to see one of our podiatrists promptly to get an expected prognosis since all sprains differ in terms of recovery.
Remember! Any time you see bruising or are unable to bear wight on your foot after an injury, contact our office as soon as possible to make an appointment to be evaluation by one of our physicians.
Did you know that our doctors are Board Certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery by The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery? Many foot problems do not respond to “conservative” treatment. When this occurs, Dr. Diana Emini or Dr. Michelle Kim can determine when surgical intervention may be the best option. Often when pain or deformity persists, surgery may be appropriate to alleviate discomfort or to restore the function of your foot.
Types of Foot Surgery
Bunion Surgery: There are many different types of bunion surgery depending on the severity of the bunion and the joint involvement. Our podiatrists have excellent results with minimal pain post-operatively.
Hammer Toe Surgery: Hammer toe surgery may involve removing a portion of one of the bones in the toe to realign the toe or could involve fusing the joints in the toe. In some cases, it may involve placing a temporary wire to hold the toes straight or a permanent implant in the toe to maintain realignment.
Fusions: Fusions are usually performed to treat arthritic or painful conditions of the foot and ankle. A fusion involves removing all cartilage from a joint and then joining two or more bones together so that they do not move. Fusions can be done with screws, plates, or pins, or a combination of these.
Heel Spur Surgery: Based on the condition and the nature of the disease, heel surgery can provide relief of pain and restore mobility in many cases. Our podiatrists will determine which heel surgery method is best for you based on their examination.
Metatarsal Surgery: Surgery on the long bones of the feet is performed for a variety of reasons but is commonly performed to redistribute the weight bearing on the ball of the foot. In some severe cases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, surgery may involve removing the metatarsal heads (the bones in the ball of the foot area).
Tendon Surgery: Surgery on the tendons can be performed for acute injuries such as ruptures and can also be performed for chronic conditions to lengthen or shorten the tendon, depending on the problem. In some cases, tendons may be re-routed to improve foot and ankle function.
Nail Surgery: Toenails can become deformed, damaged or infected. It may be determined that the best treatment option may involve surgery. These types of surgeries are typically performed in the office under local anesthetic. Patients can walk out of our office after the procedure and return to normal activities a few days following.
Neuroma Surgery: Neuroma surgery involves removing a benign enlargement of a nerve, which may be causing tingling/burning/numbness to certain toes, usually between the metatarsal heads in the ball of the foot. This soft tissue surgery tends to have a shorter recovery time than bone procedures, but it leaves some residual numbness related to the removal of the piece of nerve tissue.
Reconstructive Surgery: Reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle consists of complex surgical repairs that may be necessary to regain function or stability, reduce pain, or prevent further deformity or disease. Reconstructive surgery may require any of the following: tendon repair/transfer, fusion of bone, joint implantation, bone grafting, skin or soft tissue repair, tumor excision, amputation or osteotomy of bone (cutting of bones in a precise fashion).
Skin Surgery: Growths of the skin or skin surface can occur on the foot. These can include lipomas, fibromas, cysts, warts and moles can occur on any part of the foot skin surface. Some of these conditions can be painful and impact daily activities. In other cases, they can be questionable because they are new in appearance and a biopsy or aspiration may be recommended. On occasion it is recommended to fully excise those lesions. Depending on the size and depth of the condition, surgery may be performed in the office under local anesthesia or take place in an outpatient operating room.
Most of these surgeries heal within 3 weeks and the patient can be walking right away. Each of our patients is sent home with post-operative instructions written out for them and tailored to their specific procedure. Dr. Diana Emini and Dr. Michelle Kim aim for each of our surgical patients to have a satisfactory and speedy recovery.
Our physicians have had the most specific and specialized training for the foot and ankle. Because of this critical difference, our podiatrists are the most appropriate specialists to promptly diagnose and treat various foot and ankle conditions. We proudly serve Lemont, Lockport, Homer Glen and all surrounding areas. Don’t wait! Call (630) 863-7517 to schedule your evaluation with one of our podiatrists today.
We’d like to wish a very happy birthday to one of our DMFA team members, Megan. As her co-workers and our patients know, Megan has a contagious smile and is always keeping things positive. We are proud to have her as part of our team. To celebrate Megan and get to know her a bit better, we’ve put together a few questions for her to answer:
Q: What is the most relaxing place you’ve ever been?
Q: What are some small things that make your day better?
A: Making others smile
Q: Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
A: Lana Del Ray
Q: What TV show are you in to?
A: Grey’s Anatomy
Q: What do you like most about your family?
A: The unconditional love, encouragement and joy they bring into my life.
Team DMFA wishes you the happiest of birthdays, Megan. May all of life’s blessings be yours, on your birthday and always.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes is a disease that affects almost 26 million people all over the United States. We at DM Foot & Ankle Associates care about our patient’s overall health and want to help spread awareness on this disease that has affected so many among us.
Did You Know?
- Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin production and type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin.
- About 1/3 of all people with diabetes do not know they have the disease.
- Type 2 diabetes often does not show any symptoms.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults.
- People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease than someone without diabetes.
- Total deaths from diabetes is projected to rise by more than 50% within the next 10 years.
- Seeing a podiatrist reduces your risk of hospitalization associated with complications from diabetes.
Diabetes and Your Feet
There are many foot problems that can accompany diabetes. Some can be quick and severe, while others can be slow and make you susceptible to things like peripheral artery disease or amputations. Common foot complications associated with diabetes include:
- Neuropathy – Nerve damage resulting in loss of feeling in the legs that can also be accompanied by pain.
- Skin Changes - Dry feet resulting from losing control of nerves that affect oil and moisture.
- Foot Ulcers - Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. If neglected, infections may occur which can lead to amputations. It is important
- Poor circulation - Your foot is more susceptible to infections and it may be harder to heal with poor circulation. Smoking worsens circulation, but exercise helps!
If you or someone you know is diabetic, it is good measure and recommended by primary care physicians to be seen at least once a year by a podiatrist for a diabetic foot exam. Our doctors are proud to serve Lemont, Lockport, Homer Glen and all surrounding areas. Call our office at (630) 863-7517 to schedule your evaluation today!