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Posts for category: Heel Pain

By Crofton Podiatry
January 10, 2018
Category: Heel Pain

When it comes to foot problems, the balls of the feet and the heels tend to incur many of the most common issues. The heels in particular are prone to pain from heel spurs and discomfort from the surrounding soft tissues (Achilles tendon, plantar fascia). It’s important to pay attention to these problems so that they don’t lead to chronic issues or get worse.

And speaking of problems that can get worse, don’t forget about the skin that covers the heels. The skin is subject to a lot of wear and tear and can incur damage and irritation as well. The following are heel skin problems and what might cause them:

  • Blisters: Those who wear high heels may be all too familiar with blisters that form on the back of their heels. Actually, many shoes with closed heel cups that do not have padding can cause painful blisters. And don’t forget about shoes with thin straps in the back – they can cause blisters, but also dig into the skin if they are too tight.
  • Heel callus: When the heel endures friction or irritation, the skin around the area can thicken and harden. Ill-fitting shoes, repetitive motions, or standing for a long period of time can put extra pressure on the bottom of the heels, leading to thickened skin. However, the thicker it gets, the drier and more uncomfortable it can become. Those with diabetes with peripheral neuropathy are prone to developing calluses, as they lose sensation in their feet and do not make adjustments to reduce friction on their heels.
  • Heel fissures (dry, cracked heels): Friction and continuous rubbing of the skin around the heels can also cause heel fissures. This is common when wearing open-backed shoes, such as sandals, which can leave the skin on the feet to become dry. When the heels are dry and friction is present, the skin can crack and bleed. This uncomfortable and painful condition should be treated promptly to prevent worse symptoms, like ulcers. Those with skin disorders like psoriasis or eczema should be more attentive to the skin on their feet as they are more likely to have problems with dry, cracked heels that take a long time to heal.

The cold, dry winter air can make heel skin problems worse. Moisturize your feet nightly with foot creams to relieve discomfort and nourish the skin. Additionally, use padding and orthotic inserts to relieve pressure on the parts of the heels that may be affected. Orthotics can help keep the feet in place, reducing the friction that is caused when your feet slide around in the back of the shoe. 

Having recurring skin problems on your heels this winter? Consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry to get the right treatment. Make an appointment at our Crofton, MD by calling (410) 721-4505. Our team is ready to assist you at our office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

By Crofton Podiatry
July 27, 2017
Category: Heel Pain

It’s not uncommon for people to experience heel pain. Because of the many stresses that the feet endure (including carrying us everywhere), they are prone to acute and overuse injuries.  Also, because your heels are part of a joint, they can experience problems like arthritis and bone diseases (like bone tumors and fractures). 

Possible reasons for painful heels include:

  • Bruising – from stepping on something hard.
  • Plantar Fasciitis – an overuse problem, the tissues along the bottom of the feet can become tight and pull on the heel, causing pain on the bottom of the heel where the tissues connect to the bone.
  • Achilles Tendonitis – an overuse injury that develops when the Achilles tendon has repetitive stress on it, which can begin to cause tightness and inflammation. The irritation at the back of the heel where the tendon and heel bone connect can cause pain.
  • Heel Spur – a bony growth can develop on the heel as a deformity or from long-term irritation (like from plantar fasciitis). This growth can cause discomfort and pain when pressure is applied onto it.
  • Arthritis – The heel joint can be affected from this painful inflammatory problem in joints throughout the body.
  • Stress Fracture – When there has been repetitive use or an injury that receives constant impact, a stress fracture can occur or become bigger. The crack or break in the bone can cause immense pain and requires a lot of rest to properly heal.
  • Bursitis – an inflammation of the fluid sacs between your joints can cause pain in the heel joint.
  • Bone Diseases – which include issues like bone tumors and osteomyelitis are conditions of the bone that can cause pain as well.

When you’ve got heel pain, it’s not always easy to determine why the problem is occurring. It’s best to get properly assessed so that you can find the proper treatment for your pain. Otherwise, the problem can continue, or an underlying issue can be overlooked.

If you or someone in your family has heel pain, consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505. Our team is ready to assist you and your family at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

President Obama has found himself a new nagging pain, and this time it isn’t coming from politicians or pundits. At his latest physical health examination, Mr. Obama was reportedly diagnosed with ‘recurrent plantar fasciitis’ something, he has apparently been dealing with for quite some time. 

President Obama now joins the barrage of high-visibility celebrities who have experienced foot injuries this month. Earlier this month Cher had to be rushed to a hospital for foot pain experienced during rehearsals for her ongoing tour. Harrison Ford was also forced to undergo foot surgery following an accident near his character’s long-beloved Millennium Falcon on the set of the new Star Wars movie. 

However, while Cher and Harrison Fords’ injuries may have been more serious than the President’s, that doesn’t make them any less painful. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain I see in my clinic outside of Annapolis, Maryland. It is a result of inflammation and micro-tearing of the protective ligaments that stretch across the bottom of our feet.

Normally, this problem is particularly common in basketball players, runners, and patients that don’t participate in regular exercise. Additionally, many shoes that are currently in vogue (like flats or flip flops) offer very little arch support, exacerbating existing conditions during long periods of walking or standing.

If pain on the bottom of your feet is bringing you down and making work absolutely miserable, there are steps you can take. Visit your local foot care specialist for the most up-to-date answers to your questions and if you’re in Crofton, Bowie or Greenbelt come check us out at Crofton Podiatry. In the meantime, try my best tips below:

Putting your foot down on plantar pain:

  • See your local foot care specialist for tailored Achilles tendon and plantar fascia stretching exercises.
  • Wear shoes that are supportive and well-cushioned.
  • While seated, cross your affected foot on the opposite thigh, grasp your toes to stretch the arch area and give the arch a good massage to ease the severity of the pain.
  • Try to drop some pounds if you’re overweight, to relieve pressure on your feet.
  • Take pain relievers such as ibuprofen (which the president takes) or naproxen as suggested by a podiatric physician consult.

By Brad Toll.




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