Foot / Ankle Conditions
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Retrocalcaneal Bursitis
Your foot has thick, fibrous band of tissue (”fascia”) reaching from your heel to your toes. These tissues support the muscles and arch of the foot. When they’re overly stretched, tiny tears can occur in their surface. This can cause pain and inflammation.
The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
Pain in the base of the foot near the heel.
Pain when taking the first steps after getting out of bed in the morning, or after a long period of rest, such as after a long car trip. The pain subsides after walking for a few minutes.
Greater pain after exercise or activity (not during).
More than 90% of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve within 10 months of starting with simple treatment methods.
Repose. Reducing or even totally stopping activities that worsen pain is the first step in reducing pain. You may need to suspend athletic activities in which your feet hit hard surfaces (for example, running or step aerobics).
Ice. Running your feet on a bottle of cold water or ice for 20 minutes is effective. This can be done 3 to 4 times per day.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen reduce pain and inflammation. The use of medications for more than one month should be reviewed with your primary care physician.
Exercise. Plantar fasciitis is aggravated by tense muscles in your feet and calves. Stretching your calves and plantar fascia is the most effective way to relieve the pain that this condition causes.
Achilles tendinitis is an Achilles tendon injury, the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles in the back of the lower leg with the heel bone.
The pain associated with Achilles tendonitis usually begins with mild pain in the back of the leg or above the ankle after running or playing another sport. After running for a long period, climbing stairs or jumping, other more serious episodes may appear.
You may also feel slight pain or stiffness, especially during the morning, which generally improves with mild activity.
While it may not be possible to prevent Achilles tendinitis, you can take certain precautions to reduce the risk of Achilles tendonitis:
- Increase your level of activity gradually. If you are just starting with an exercise routine, start slowly and progressively increase the duration and intensity of the training.
- Take it easy. Avoid activities that cause excessive strain on your tendons, such as mountain races. If you participate in a demanding activity, first warm up at a slower pace. If you notice pain during a particular exercise, suspend and rest.
- Choose your shoes carefully. The shoes you wear while exercising should provide adequate cushioning for the heel and should have firm support for the arch in order to help reduce tension in the Achilles tendon. Replace worn shoes If your shoes are in good condition but do not have good foot support, try using arch supports on both sides.
Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the metatarsal, most often the place between the third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma can feel like you’re standing on a pebble in your shoe or a fold of the sock.
In general there is no external sign of this disorder, such as a lump. However, you may experience these symptoms: / p>
- Sensation of having a pebble in the shoe
- Intense burning in the ball of the foot, which can extend to the toes
- Tingling or numbness in the toes
Retrocalcaneal bursitis happens when the bursae around your heel become inflamed. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that form around your joints. The bursae near your heels are behind your Achilles tendon, right above where it attaches to your heel bone.
The main symptom of retrocalcaneal bursitis is heel pain. You might only feel pain when you put pressure on your heel.
Other symptoms may include:
- swelling around the back of your heel area
- pain when leaning back on your heels
- pain in calf muscles when running or walking
- red or warm skin on back of heel
- loss of movement
- crackling sound when flexing foot
- shoes becoming uncomfortable
Retrocalcaneal bursitis usually responds well to home treatments. These include:
- resting your heels and ankles
- elevating your feet
- icing the area around your heels several times a day
- taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- wearing a shoe with a slightly elevated heel