There are a few ailments that Rogue Valley Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC
can help treat. If you have any question about those listed or anything that may not be listed, please contact us today 541-773-3338
Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation, or, rarely, a cyst. Because there are several potential causes, it is important to have heel pain properly diagnosed. A podiatric foot and ankle surgeon is best trained to distinguish between all the possibilities and determine the underlying source of your heel pain.
What Is 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 symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:
- Pain on the bottom of the heel
- Pain that is usually worse upon arising in the morning or after periods of rest.
- Pain that increases over a period of months.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is caused by a number of different factors resulting in longitudinal stretch on the fascia. 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 non-supportive footwear puts an abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can also lead to plantar fasciitis. Obesity also contributes to plantar fasciitis.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, which you can begin at home:
- Stretching exercises. Exercises that stretch out the calf muscles help ease pain and assist with recovery.
- Injection therapy. In some cases, cortisone injections are used to help reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.$ Avoid going barefoot. When you walk without shoes, you put undue strain and stress on your plantar fascia.
- Ice. Putting an ice pack on your heel for 20 minutes in the evening helps reduce inflammation.
- Limit activities. Cut down on extended physical activities to give your heel a rest.
- Shoe modifications. Wearing supportive shoes that have good arch support and a slightly raised heel reduces stress on the plantar fascia. Your shoes should provide a comfortable environment for the foot.
- Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be helpful as an adjunct to other approaches and may help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Lose weight. Extra pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
- Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices that fit into your shoe help correct the underlying structural abnormalities causing the plantar fasciitis.
- Endoscopic plantar fascial release. Endoscopic plantar fascial release is a minor procedure performed to release stress on the fascia. Minimally invasive, this procedure is highly successful in solving this problem and recovery time is short -patients are usually back to normal shoe wear in one weeks time.
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 preventive measures. If you are overweight, it is important to reach and maintain an ideal weight. For all patients, wearing supportive shoes and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.
When a toenail is ingrown, the nail is curved downward and grows into the skin, usually at the nail borders (the sides of the nail). This digging in of the nail irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe. If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if your toe isn't painful, red, swollen, or warm, a nail that curves downward into the skin can progress to an infection.
What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?
Ingrown toenails can develop for various reasons. In many people, he tendency to have this common disorder is inherited. In other cases, an ingrown toenail is the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe, or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming. Cutting your nails too short encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail. Another cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are tight or short. Certain nail conditions are often associated with ingrown toenails. For example, if you have had a toenail fungal infection or if you have lost a nail through trauma, you are at greater risk for developing an ingrown toenail.
Sometimes initial treatment for ingrown toenails can be safely performed at home. However, home treatment is strongly discouraged if you suspect you have an infection, or if you have a medical condition that puts your feet at high risk for example, diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation.
Home care: If you don't have an infection or any of the above conditions, you can soak your foot in warm water (add Epsom's salt if you wish), and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help reduce the inflammation. Avoid attempting bathroom surgery. Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. If your symptoms fail to improve, it's time to see a foot and ankle surgeon.
The foot and ankle surgeon will examine your toe and select the treatment best suited for you. Treatment may include:
- Oral antibiotics. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.
- Surgery. A simple procedure, often performed in the office, is commonly needed to ease the pain and remove the offending nail. Surgery may involve numbing the toe and removing a corner of the nail, a larger portion of the nail, or the entire nail.
- Permanent removal. Various techniques may be used to inactivate or remove the nail root. This treatment prevents the recurrence of an ingrown toenail. Your surgeon will determine the most appropriate procedure for you.
Following nail surgery, a light bandage will be applied. Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day. If your surgeon has prescribed an oral antibiotic, be sure to take all the medication, even if your symptoms have improved. Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by following these two important tips:
- Trim your nails properly. Cut your toenails in a fairly straight line, and don't cut them too short. You should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.
- Avoid poorly-fitting shoes. Don't wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe box. Also avoid shoes that are loose, because they too cause pressure on the toes, especially when you run or walk briskly.