Our Podiatrist In Scarborough, ME Can Help With Your Foot & Ankle Pain
There’s an old children’s song that sings through how the body is connected—“the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone”—and so on. The song is true, and it offers some surprising insight into the way pain works in the body. Because different parts are connected, foot conditions can affect comfort in multiple places. This is often the case for heel pain and arch pain.
Different Types of Aches and Pains
The heels and the arches are two closely connected areas of the lower limbs that rely on each other to help the feet function well. Both support your body weight. Both absorb shock when you step. Both can share pain when the other is being strained or overworked. For that reason, conditions that affect the heel or the arch often overlap. Here are a few that might be behind your discomfort:
Plantar Fasciitis – This is a problem with thickening and tightening in the plantar fascia band along your sole. It’s the most common source of heel pain in adults and can also cause soreness through the arches.
Flatfoot – Arches that are flatter than normal, whether you were born that way or developed them later in life, are not efficient for absorbing impacts when you step. This means you can end up with sore feet from excessive pressure more easily. This also makes you more prone to pain in your heels.
Fractures – Whether a full break or just a stress fracture, any broken bone hurts. Any of your foot bones can potentially crack and cause pain and weakness.
Arthritis – The joints between bones can develop damage over time, either as a complication of another injury or just from wear and tear. Any space between bones can develop this painful problem.
Achilles Problems – Problems with your biggest tendon can pull on the back of the heel bone and cause discomfort. This can also have an effect on your pronation and arch comfort in some cases.
Nerve Damage – Nerves are sensitive and affect multiple areas. A pinched or compressed nerve may cause pain in the arches, heels, or both.
Sever’s Disease – The most common cause of heel pain in kids, this is a problem with inflammation in the heel growth plate. Typically, this is an overuse injury in active children.
Excessive Pronation – When the arch rolls in too far when you step or run, it strains the midfoot and puts pressure on other structures, potentially including the heel.
The Best Way to Resolve the Problem
The good news is that all of these can be treated conservatively. The key is to have the problem checked out and dealt with early on. Most heel and arch pain issues get worse and harder to treat the longer they go on. Dr. Michele Kurlanski and the Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center staff will carefully examine your lower limbs and use tests to diagnose your condition. Then they’ll help you establish a tailored treatment plan that targets the problem affecting your feet and meets your specific body and lifestyle needs.
The sooner you take care of your lower limbs, the sooner you’ll eliminate the discomfort! Let Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center help you get back to enjoying your active, pain-free life. Contact us for an appointment today.
COMMON SPORTS INJURIES
You want to do something good for your body? Be active! This can entail running, swimming, playing sports, and a whole slew of other activities. Being active is coupled with eating well as the two fundamental pillars of physical health. Working out and exercising have a ton of benefits but, unfortunately, also come with the risk of sustaining sports injuries.
Sprains, especially in the ankles, are some of the most common sports injuries you can find. Athletes aren’t the only ones who experience this condition, though. All it takes is a slip on ice or misstep over a curb and you will twist your foot further than it is intended to go. When the ligaments stretch too far and become painful and inflamed, use RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and check in with us. Make sure you are fully healed before getting back to your physical activities.
There are a wide range of ways that you could potentially sustain a broken bone due to athletic activity, including a fall at the ice rink, getting hit in the toe with a baseball, or trying to brace yourself during a fall on a basketball court. The important thing is to stop your activity and get professional help as soon as possible. Treatment for a broken bone is centered on stabilizing the bone so that it will mend correctly and managing the pain.
Stress fractures are a type of break in a bone, but they are different enough to merit their own section. Whereas a standard fracture often stems from a single traumatic event—something heavy dropped on your foot, baseball hitting your shin—stress fractures are overuse injuries that are often caused by repetitive forces that add up over time. To reduce the risk of a stress fracture: avoid overtraining, incorporate low-impact activities in your exercise program, and build your muscle strength, especially in your lower body.
Your Achilles tendon is vital for keeping your mobile. Given that it is an essential component for your mobility, it is at risk basically any time you are running or walking. Achilles tendinitis is common for runners who suddenly increase the levels of intensity or duration for their runs, but also for “weekend warriors” who are inactive during the week. The best ways to prevent this injury are to warm-up and stretch properly and to increase activity levels gradually.
Many people recognize turf toe as an injury that can happen to football players, but this ailment can happen to athletes in an array of sports. Turf toe occurs when your big toe bends back further than it is intended to do so, often because the front of your foot has become “stuck” on the ground. This can happen due to cleats stuck in a football or soccer field, but also on a basketball court if your shoes have good grip. It is also common for dancers.
When you experience heel pain, there are several possible culprits. If intense pain arrives with your first couple of steps in the morning, it is likely that you have plantar fasciitis. Your plantar fascia runs along the length of the bottom of your foot and connects the heel to your toes. When overuse leads to minor tears forming in this fibrous band, it can become inflamed and irritated. After walking around a bit, it will feel better, but that doesn’t mean the condition is better and should be ignored.
In spite of the risk of incurring one of these sports injuries, you should definitely look to establish a workout plan. Doing so will give you more energy, decrease stress, help you sleep better, improve your circulation, and maintain a healthy weight. Sure, there is that risk, but the benefits are tremendous. If you need help planning a workout, or have sustained an injury due to physical activity, contact our office and let us help. We proudly provide effective podiatric care to patients from the Portland, Westbrook, and Falmouth communities.