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Heel pain is a very common ailment that can be caused by a variety of factors. Heel pain can range from a bruise or a stress fracture, to plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. The heel bone sits at the back of the foot beneath the ankle. Along with surrounding tissue, the heel bone works to provide balance and side-to-side movement of the back of the foot. If you are unsure of the cause of the symptoms of heel pain, it is important to seek medical attention. The signs that you should look for include an inability to walk comfortably on the affected side, signs of an infection, swelling or discoloration on the back of the foot and heel pain that persists beyond a few days. The heel condition can be diagnosed through your medical history or through physical examinations such as blood work and X-rays. If you are experiencing heel pain, it is advised that you visit with a podiatrist to discuss the best course of action. 

 

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Published in Blog
Monday, 22 July 2019 00:00

Stretches That May Relieve Heel Pain

The plantar fascia is located on the bottom of the foot. It is a band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes, and if it should become damaged and inflamed, a condition that is known as plantar fasciitis may develop. Common symptoms that are associated with this ailment often include severe pain and discomfort, and it may cause difficulty in walking. It typically originates from overuse from running activities, or as a result of being overweight. Relief may be found when specific stretches are performed that will strengthen the plantar fascia. These consist of stretching the calf, which may be helpful in relieving muscle tightness in the Achilles tendon and heel area. Some patients find it beneficial to roll the arch of the foot on a tennis or golf ball, in addition to pointing and flexing the foot. If you have heel pain, please consult a podiatrist who can guide you toward the treatment that is correct for you.

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander  from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Non-supportive shoes
  • Overpronation
  • Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia

How Can It Be Treated?

  • Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
  • Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
  • Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel

While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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The medical condition that is referred to as tarsal tunnel syndrome, or TTS, can cause pain and discomfort on the inside of the ankle. It often occurs as a result of nerve damage, which may lead to inflammation. Patients who run or exercise for extended periods of time may gradually experience this type of nerve damage, or it may come from enduring a traumatic injury. Mild relief may be felt by gently stretching the surrounding muscles and tendons, in addition to resting and elevating the affected ankle. This may help to diminish a portion of the swelling. In severe cases, taping the ankle or wearing a brace may provide adequate support as the ankle heals. If you feel you have this condition, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist who can offer the correct treatment options for you.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
  • Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
  • The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
  • If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Many people experience painful foot conditions as the aging process occurs. Standing and walking for the majority of the day can put unwanted pressure on the feet, so there are measures that can be taken which may help to prevent foot ailments. These can include wearing shoes that fit correctly, and making sure there is adequate room for the toes to move freely in. When the feet are frequently moisturized, uncomfortable skin conditions may be avoided. Additionally, people who stand for extended periods of time may benefit from performing gentle stretching techniques throughout the work day. Trimming the toenails correctly can aid in preventing ingrown toenails and practicing good foot hygiene can help the feet to feel good. If you would like additional information about proper foot care, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist.

While working on the feet, it is important to take the proper care of them. For more information about working on your feet, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Working on Your Feet

Standing on your feet for long periods of time can cause stress and pain in your feet. Your whole body may experience change in terms of posture, back pain, bunions, callouses and or plantar warts. There are ways to avoid these conditions with proper foot care, smart choices and correct posture.

Positive Changes

Negative heeled shoe – Choosing this shoe type places the heel slightly lower than the ball of the foot. These are great for overall foot health. Find shoes that fit you correctly.

Go barefoot – Our feet were not designed to be enclosed for all hours of the day. Try to periodically expose your feet to air.

Eliminate Pain

Foot Exercises – Performing simple exercises, incorporating yoga and doing stretches are beneficial. This will allow increased blood flow to the area and muscles of the foot.

Achilles tendon – Stretching the foot out flat on the floor will relax the calf muscles and tendon. These exercises can be performed almost anywhere. Make sure you add these exercises to your daily regimen. 

With a little bit of this information and knowing more about foot health, you will notice changes. Foot stretches and proper footwear will help with pain and prevent further issues.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Published in Blog
Tuesday, 02 July 2019 00:00

Gout Pain Can Be Managed

Gout is a form of arthritis that can affect anyone. Schedule a visit to learn about how gout can be managed and treated.

Published in Blog
Monday, 01 July 2019 00:00

How to Treat Wounds on the Feet

The feet are susceptible to cuts that may penetrate the skin. Minor wounds can be treated with bandages or skin glue, and the healing process will accelerate if the cuts are kept covered and dry. If you have stepped on glass or rocks, an X-ray may be necessary to ensure there is no debris left in the foot. For serious wounds, it is beneficial to keep weight off of the foot as much as possible, as this can help in giving the foot a chance to heal. If the wound is bleeding, it is helpful to apply direct pressure. If this fails to work, it is wise to seek medical attention. Additionally, an infection may be present which is often accompanied by a fever. For wounds on the feet, it is suggested to seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can guide you towards proper treatment.

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a non-diabetic. 

What is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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