Why does my heel hurt?

It will happen to you.  If you ask, it has happened to your friends, neighbors, coworkers.  It’s pain in your heel.  First thing in the morning, you get up, and once your foot hits the floor, you want to fall down and cry.  It is very common, occurs to everyone, and won’t go away by itself.

It is heel pain, or plantar fasciitis.  That morning pain in the heel that makes you hop to the bathroom.  It makes you afraid to get out of the car when you get to work.  It makes you afraid to exercise.  And it hurts!

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10 reasons why you should choose We Treat Feet

The We Treat Feet Podiatry group takes great pride in putting our patients’ feet and needs first. We pride ourselves on our expert clinicians and top-notch customer service.

Here are 10 reasons why you should choose We Treat Feet Podiatry for all your podiatric needs.

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VIDEO: Dr. Daniels’ patient recalls limb-saving treatment provided by We Treat Feet

In Northwest Hospital’s Gala video, a patient of We Treat Feet’s Dr. Mike Daniels recalls the procedure that ended up saving him his foot. The patient had a very serious condition which combined with his diabetes would have required amputation for most patients without the aggressive treatment provided by Dr. Daniels and his colleagues at Northwest Hospital.

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Diabetes and podiatry; what’s the connection?

Foot complications in diabetes are common yet the link between the two is not very well-known. Here to tell us more about it ahead of World Diabetes Day on 14 November is specialist and author for Journal of Foot and Ankle Research Trevor Prior, with colleague Debbie Coleman.

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Report: Gout Vastly Undertreated in USA & UK

Gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis worldwide, is treatable but vastly undertreated, according to epidemiologic studies that now encompass three continents. The undertreatment problems previously reported in the United Kingdom and the United States also characterize gout in Taiwan, according to a nationwide population study.

Chang-Fu Kuo, MD, from the Division of Rheumatology, Orthopaedics and Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, and the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan, and colleagues report the study results in an article published online January 23 in Arthritis Research & Therapy. Dr Kuo was also the lead author on the UK study.

In the new article, Dr Kuo and colleagues report, although gout incidence in Taiwan decreased during the course of the study, prevalence remained high and stable and gout management remained poor, with only about one quarter of patients receiving potentially curative urate-lowering therapy.

Jasvinder A. Singh, MD, MPH, who led the US study and who was not involved in either the Taiwan or UK studies, told Medscape Medical News, “The rates of undertreatment of gout in the US are also quite high and have been widely published, and many of the observations published in this study have also been seen in many other countries. Undertreatment includes not only lower rate of use of urate-lowering drugs but also infrequent monitoring of the serum urate and a low proportion reaching the target serum urate of less than 6 mg/dL due to use of suboptimal dose of urate-lowering drugs.” Dr Singh is professor of medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Dr Kuo and colleagues used data from the National Health Insurance Research Database for Taiwan, which covers the entire population of 23 million people, to identify gout patients, estimate prevalence and incidence for each year from 2005 to 2010, and examine patterns of gout treatment.

Gout prevalence was 1,458,569 (6.24%), and gout incidence was 56,595 (2.74/1000 person-years). Gout prevalence did not change significantly during the study, although gout incidence decreased 13.4% between 2005 and 2010 and 2.1% between 2007 and 2010. In comparison, estimates of annual incidence in US studies ranged from 0.45 to 1.73 per 1000 person-years.

Gout was most prevalent and had the highest incidence rates in eastern coast counties and offshore islets of Taiwan, which the authors note also have higher populations of indigenous Taiwanese. “However, genetic factors account for just one-third of phenotypic variation of gout in men and only one-fifth in women so environmental factors could also contribute to the variable geographical distribution of gout in Taiwan,” the authors write.

“To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to report gout incidence in Asian populations. The incidence in Taiwan was much higher than other countries, suggesting significant racial and geographic variation in the aetiology of gout,” they add.

Dr Singh commented, “There are very few studies of gout risk in Asian patients in the US, so it’s not easy to say whether the problem is better, the same, or worse than Taiwan. There are no particular subgroups in the US that require particular attention, except that African-Americans have been shown to have poorer outcomes with gout compared to Caucasians, and lower rates of medication treatment.”

In the Taiwan study, in 2010, only about one third of patients with gout had contact with health services in relation to gout, and only one in five were prescribed urate-lowering therapy. Of those treated, 60.08% (95% confidence interval, 59.91% – 60.25%) received uricosuric agents alone, 28.54% (95% confidence interval, 28.39% – 28.69%) received a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, and 11.38% (95% confidence interval, 11.27% – 11.49%) received both. The authors add, “Unfortunately, this suboptimal care has not changed over the study period, despite the publication of national and international guidelines on gout management during this period.”

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr Singh reported no financial conflicts related directly to this study but has received research and travel grants from Takeda and Savient and consultant fees from Savient, Takeda, Regeneron, Allergan, and Novartis.

Source: Janis C. Kelly, Medscape

Foot Injury Focus: Heel Pain

The heel bone is the largest of the 26 bones in the human foot, which also has 33 joints and a network of more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Like all bones, it is subject to outside influences that can affect its integrity and its ability to keep us on our feet. Heel pain, sometimes disabling, can occur in the front, back, or bottom of the heel.

Causes
Heel pain has many causes. Heel pain is generally the result of faulty biomechanics (walking gait abnormalities) that place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. The stress may also result from injury, or a bruise incurred while walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces; wearing poorly constructed footwear (such as flimsy flip-flops); or being overweight.

Common causes of heel pain include:
Heel Spurs: A bony growth on the underside of the heel bone. The spur, visible by X-ray, appears as a protrusion that can extend forward as much as half an inch. When there is no indication of bone enlargement, the condition is sometimes referred to as “heel spur syndrome.” Heel spurs result from strain on the muscles and ligaments of the foot, by stretching of the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot, and by repeated tearing away of the lining or membrane that covers the heel bone. These conditions may result from biomechanical imbalance, running or jogging, improperly fitted or excessively worn shoes, or obesity.
Plantar Fasciitis: Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. It is common among athletes who run and jump a lot, and it can be quite painful.

The condition occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension, causing the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length; this leads to inflammation, pain, and possibly the growth of a bone spur where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. The inflammation may be aggravated by shoes that lack appropriate support, especially in the arch area, and by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an athletic lifestyle.

Resting provides only temporary relief. When you resume walking, particularly after a night’s sleep, you may experience a sudden elongation of the fascia band, which stretches and pulls on the heel. As you walk, the heel pain may lessen or even disappear, but that may be just a false sense of relief. The pain often returns after prolonged rest or extensive walking.

Excessive Pronation: Heel pain sometimes results from excessive pronation. Pronation is the normal flexible motion and flattening of the arch of the foot that allows it to adapt to ground surfaces and absorb shock in the normal walking pattern.

As you walk, the heel contacts the ground first; the weight shifts first to the outside of the foot, then moves toward the big toe. The arch rises, the foot generally rolls upward and outward, becoming rigid and stable in order to lift the body and move it forward. Excessive pronation—excessive inward motion—can create an abnormal amount of stretching and pulling on the ligaments and tendons attaching to the bottom back of the heel bone. Excessive pronation may also contribute to injury to the hip, knee, and lower back.

Achilles Tendinitis: Pain at the back of the heel is associated with Achilles tendinitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles tendon as it runs behind the ankle and inserts on the back surface of the heel bone. It is common among people who run and walk a lot and have tight tendons. The condition occurs when the tendon is strained over time, causing the fibers to tear or stretch along its length, or at its insertion on to the heel bone. This leads to inflammation, pain, and the possible growth of a bone spur on the back of the heel bone. The inflammation is aggravated by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an active lifestyle and certain activities that strain an already tight tendon.

Other possible causes of heel pain include:
rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis, including gout, which usually manifests itself in the big toe joint; an inflamed bursa (bursitis), a small, irritated sac of fluid; a neuroma (a nerve growth); or other soft-tissue growth. Such heel pain may be associated with a heel spur or may mimic the pain of a heel spur;
Haglund’s deformity (“pump bump”), a bone enlargement at the back of the heel bone in the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone. This sometimes painful deformity generally is the result of bursitis caused by pressure against the shoe and can be aggravated by the height or stitching of a heel counter of a particular shoe; a bone bruise or contusion, which is an inflammation of the tissues that cover the heel bone. A bone bruise is a sharply painful injury caused by the direct impact of a hard object or surface on the foot.

When to Visit a Podiatrist
If pain and other symptoms of inflammation—redness, swelling, heat—persist, limit normal daily activities and contact a doctor of podiatric medicine.

Diagnosis and Treatment
The podiatric physician will examine the area and may perform diagnostic X-rays to rule out problems of the bone.

Early treatment might involve oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medication, exercise and shoe recommendations, taping or strapping, or use of shoe inserts or orthotic devices. Taping or strapping supports the foot, placing stressed muscles and tendons in a physiologically restful state. Physical therapy may be used in conjunction with such treatments.

A functional orthotic device may be prescribed for correcting biomechanical imbalance, controlling excessive pronation, and supporting the ligaments and tendons attaching to the heel bone. It will effectively treat the majority of heel and arch pain without the need for surgery.

Only a relatively few cases of heel pain require more advanced treatments or surgery. If surgery is necessary, it may involve the release of the plantar fascia, removal of a spur, removal of a bursa, or removal of a neuroma or other soft-tissue growth.

Prevention

A variety of steps can be taken to avoid heel pain and accompanying afflictions:
-Wear shoes that fit well—front, back, and sides—and have shock-absorbent soles, rigid shanks, and supportive heel counters
-Wear the proper shoes for each activity
-Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
-Prepare properly before exercising. Warm up and do stretching exercises before and after running.
-Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
-Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
-If obese, lose weight

New Year’s Resolution for Healthy Feet

If taking better care of your health is one of your New Year’s resolutions, start from the bottom up. We often don’t think of our foot health until there’s a problem with our feet. This year, promise yourself you’ll take better care of your entire body. Here are a few simple healthy foot habits to stick to in the new year.

Healthy Feet Resolution #1: Walk More

Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise; it doesn’t require any special equipment, it can be done in almost any weather, and it’s good for your overall health – including your feet. Even in small 15-20 minute doses, walking will help keep your feet and your body in shape.

Healthy Feet Resolution #2: Shed a Few Pounds

If this isn’t already on your New Year’s resolution list, here’s one reason you should consider adding it. Less weight means less stress on feet, which is especially important if you play sports or work on your feet all day. If you’re already at a healthy weight, keep up the good work! Your feet are one step closer to staying healthy in 2015.

Healthy Feet Resolution #3: Have Regular Check-ups

Your feet help you get around even more than your car does, so you should definitely be taking them in for regular check-ups. Regular visits to the podiatrist will let you know if there’s anything you should be paying closer attention to. If you already have a foot condition or other condition that affects your feet (e.g., diabetes), skipping foot check-ups is bad for your health.

Healthy Feet Resolution #4: Eat for Your Feet

What goes in your mouth affects your body – even all the way down to your feet. In general, you should avoid or cut back on foods that cause inflammation in the body. If you have gout, maintaining a healthy eating plan can reduce your symptoms. Once you know which foods to avoid, you can find healthy alternatives that won’t trigger your symptoms.

Healthy Feet Resolution #5: Shape Up Your Shoes

When it comes to improving foot health, 2 quick-fix recommendations for improving your shoe collection are:

Ditch the super high heels and flip-flops. Both of these types of shoes can be hazardous to your foot health. High heels force the foot into an unnatural position, and can damage the foot’s structure, resulting in corns, calluses, and bunions. Flip-flops offer no support for the foot, and the open design leaves your foot more susceptible to injury and infections, like athlete’s foot.
Replace old athletic shoes. Over time, even the best athletic shoe loses its ability to adequately support your feet when you’re engaging in your favorite activity. If you continue wearing them, you could end up throwing off the alignment of your foot. Worn-out shoes also put you at greater risk for sports-related injuries. In the long run, the potential cost of wearing old athletic shoes is much greater than the cost to replace them every 300-500 miles of use.

The path to achieving your New Year’s resolutions awaits you, don’t forget to make sure your feet can take you there. Now’s the perfect time to schedule your New Year’s appointment.

Original Source: http://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/best-foot-forward-new-years-resolutions-healthy-feet/

Winter Foot Care Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy

Whether you’re slogging through deep snow and sub-zero temperatures in the north, or contending with dampness, chill, and muddy conditions in the south, it’s important to take care of your feet all winter long. You’ll want them to be healthy and ready for action when spring finally arrives.
Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50. Is it little wonder, then, that APMA’s 2010 foot health survey found that foot pain affects the daily activities—walking, exercising, or standing for long periods of time—of a majority of Americans?

“Each season presents unique challenges to foot health,” said Matthew Garoufalis, DPM, a podiatrist and APMA president. “Surveys and research tell us that foot health is intrinsic to overall health, so protecting feet all year long is vital to our overall well-being.”

APMA offers some advice for keeping feet healthy in common winter scenarios:

Winter is skiing and snowboarding season, activities enjoyed by nearly 10 million Americans, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Never ski or snowboard in footwear other than ski boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure your boots fit properly; you should be able to wiggle your toes, but the boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (support devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.

Committed runners don’t need to let the cold stop them. A variety of warm, light-weight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. However, some runners may compensate for icy conditions by altering how their foot strikes the ground. Instead of changing your footstrike pattern, shorten your stride to help maintain stability. And remember, it’s more important than ever to stretch before you begin your run. Cold weather can make you less flexible in winter than you are in summer, so it’s important to warm muscles up before running.

Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with winter precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots themselves and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp, sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more prone to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot care regimen this winter.

Be size smart. It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for kids in a slightly larger size, thinking they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. But unlike coats that kids can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together, and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.

Finally—and although this one seems like it should go without saying, it bears spelling out—don’t try to tip-toe through winter snow, ice, and temperatures in summer-appropriate footwear. “More than one news show across the country aired images of people in sneakers, sandals, and even flip-flops during the severe cold snap that hit the country in early January,” Dr. Garoufalis said. “Exposing feet to extreme temperatures means risking frostbite and injury. Choose winter footwear that will keep your feet warm, dry, and well-supported.”

Source: APMA

Why Wound Care for Diabetes Patients is So Important

For the 26 million Americas affected by diabetes, and the 1.9 million diagnosed annually, approximately 15 percent of those will develop foot ulcers during their lifetime, a complication that may result in amputation without timely and proper care (66,000 diabetes-related amputations are performed annually).

But when it comes to wound care, especially foot ulcers, many in Contra Costa County, California managing the disease may not realize that there is dedicated center offering help.

“Denial and fear are the major factors as to why those affected hesitate to get the attention they need. Wound Care Services needs to be sought out earlier in their care when we can be of most help,”said Mandy Mori, Director of Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Services with John Muir Health. “Many cannot distinguish how far their wounds have progressed until it is too late.”

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas makes the hormone insulin to help glucose be absorbed into cells.

When a person has diabetes, their body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in the blood.

Tips for wound care: when should treatment for a wound be sought?

Over time, diabetes can cause a lack of sensitivity in the feet. That loss of sensation can lead to cuts and sores going undetected. Diabetes can also diminish blood flow, preventing any foot wounds from properly healing. Taking care of your feet every day will lower the risk of amputation.

Seek out treatment at a wound care center when:

· You have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days (commonly experienced by people with diabetes).

· You have a sore with increasing pain, redness or swelling, foul odor, or a change in color.

· You have a surgical wound that has become infected

One way wounds can be cared for is with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a type of medical treatment that works by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, stimulating blood flow. It is often used in conjunction with additional therapies to facilitate healing. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a patient breathes 100% oxygen inside a special chamber.

At the same time, the pressure surrounding the body is slowly increased to two to three times normal atmospheric pressure.

At John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, hyperbaric oxygen treatments are provided in one-person chambers, allowing for comfortable, private treatment.

Each chamber is constructed using clear plastic material, so a patient can visit with family or friends or even watch TV during treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has many therapeutic benefits, including:

· Greatly increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues

· Shortens the healing time of stubborn wounds

· Stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in areas of reduced circulation

· Enhances white blood cells’ efficiency in killing bacteria and controlling infections

· Preserves skin grafts, flaps, and other tissues where circulation is suddenly reduced

· Reduces swelling (edema)

If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the aforementioned issues relating to diabetes, please contact our staff at We Treat Feet Podiatry (410-363-4343 or info@wetreatfeet.com) as starting treatment early is the key to a full recovery.

New Children’s Foot Health Campaign Kicks Off

April’s foot health awareness month provides APMA the opportunity to educate the general public about the importance of maintaining children’s foot health at all stages of development, and the role today’s podiatrist plays in promoting positive foot health.

This year’s campaign, titled “First Steps: Keeping Kids’ Feet Happy and Healthy”, will provide members with a host of new educational materials, including an online resource page, poster, customizable newsletter, kid-friendly worksheet, and shareable multimedia.

A dedicated media relations strategy targeting “mommy bloggers” will also take place throughout the month, positioning APMA members as experts in the realm of children’s foot health.

The “First Steps” campaign kicks off April 1, and resources will remain on APMA.org for a full year after the campaign’s completion for members’ use. For any questions, or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact the APMA Communications department.

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