Don’t let heel pain become the new norm for you. Find out what’s going on.
Are you dealing with heel pain? If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, heel pain is one of the most common issues that our Reston, Manassas and Leesburg, Virginia podiatrists diagnose and treat. If heel pain is bugging you, or if it’s the first time you’re dealing with heel pain, then it’s time to visit a foot specialist to learn the best way to handle your symptoms.
More about heel pain
No matter whether you are just experiencing heel pain for the first time or it's a recurring issue, one thing is certain: you need to figure out the cause in order to prevent it from happening again in the future. Let us shed some light on this symptom.
The two most common causes of heel pain are plantar fasciitis (which causes pain under the heel) and Achilles tendinitis (which causes pain behind the heel). So, how do you know whether you have plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis? Well, you may not be able to tell from symptoms alone, meaning you should turn to a foot doctor in Reston, Manassas or Leesburg VA, who can properly diagnose the problem, figure out what’s going on, and determine how to best treat it.
When should I see a doctor?
Often times, healthy individuals can get away with caring for their symptoms and letting the problem heal itself without having to come in for an evaluation; however, if you are dealing with diabetes or nerve damage in your feet, it’s important that you seek medical attention right away if you are dealing with foot pain or other symptoms.
You should also schedule an appointment with a foot specialist if the heel pain makes it difficult or painful to stand on the foot or to walk. If your heel pain doesn’t respond to at-home care, gets worse or lasts more than a couple of weeks, then it’s time to see one of our podiatrists for a consultation.
How can I care for my heel pain?
Heel pain can often go away all by itself; however, it’s important that you are giving your feet the proper TLC they need to heal properly. This includes,
- Resting and avoiding high-impact activities (e.g. running)
- Icing the heel 15-20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Wearing supportive and properly fitted shoes
- Wearing arch supports or other supportive devices within the shoes
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and swelling
- Stretching and performing foot exercises to improve mobility and range of motion
Concerned? Call our office today!
Are you dealing with heel pain that is getting worse or not responding to at-home care? If so, then it’s time to call the experts at Reston, Manassas and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers. Schedule a consultation with us today and nip your pain in the bud.
Repetitive impact on feet can increase risk of damage
Reston, Manassas, Leesburg, Virginia, 10/10/18 -- — Stress fractures of the foot are becoming more common in runners, especially first-time marathoners, according to Northern Virginia foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon DPM,AACFAS.
The growing popularity of marathons among beginning runners has contributed to the increase in repetitive stress injuries, including stress fractures of the foot, seen by Dr. Gordon, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Often, first-time marathoners enter a race with little or improper long-distance training. The lack of experience coupled with the repetitive impact placed on the feet during the run can produce enough stress to cause hairline breaks in the bones of the foot.
“Runners who increase their mileage too quickly or change to a more intense phase of training may be more susceptible to a stress fracture due to the increased force placed on the bones,” says Dr. Gordon. “A general rule of thumb for runners is to increase the mileage by no more than 10 percent each week. Runners who are training also need to have adequate rest time in between runs to help decrease the risk of a fracture.”
Runners at all levels of experience are also at higher risk for stress fractures if they wear improper shoes while running or training, suffer from flatfoot or other foot deformities, or have osteoporosis. Signs of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling, redness and possibly bruising of the area.
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“Stress fractures can occur anywhere in the foot and can eventually lead to a complete break of the bone if left untreated,” Dr. Gordon explained. “Early diagnosis and treatment are important to ensure proper healing.”
If a break is suspected, Dr. Gordon advises runners to immediately follow the RICE protocol—Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If pain and swelling last longer than a few days, an appointment for an x-ray and diagnosis is in order.
In most cases, treatment includes rest and immobilization with casting of the foot. Surgery may be required in certain instances to repair and stabilize a stress fracture that has progressed into a full fracture.
Runners can take action to prevent repetitive stress injuries in their feet by wearing supportive athletic shoes and slowly building up their activity levels according to their abilities. “If a runner suffers from abnormal mechanics in the foot, such as over pronation or hypermobility, custom orthotics can also be helpful to prevent these injuries,” Dr. Gordon, adds.
If you suspect you have a foot injury or fracture, call Dr. Gordon’s office at 703-437-6333 for an evaluation.
For additional information on stress fractures and other foot injuries, visit FootHealthFacts.org.
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Reston, Manassas, Leesburg, Virginia, 09/27/2018 -- Soccer season is in full swing and a local foot and ankle surgeon strongly urges parents and coaches to think twice before coaxing young, injury-prone soccer players to “play through” foot and ankle pain.
“Skeletally immature kids, starting and stopping and moving side to side on cleats that are little more than moccasins with spikes – that’s a recipe for foot and ankle sprains and worse,” cautions Steven Gordon, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
“Kids will play with lingering, nagging heel pain that, upon testing, turns out to be a stress fracture that neither they, their parents nor their coaches were aware of,” he said. “By playing with pain, they can’t give their team 100 percent and make their injuries worse, which prolongs their time out of soccer.”
Gordon said he has actually had to show parents x-rays of fractures before they’ll take their kids out of the game. “And stress fractures can be subtle – they don’t always show up on initial x-rays.”
Symptoms of stress fractures include pain during normal activity and when touching the area, and swelling without bruising. Treatment usually involves rest and sometimes casting. Some stress fractures heal poorly and often require surgery, such as a break in the elongated bone near the little toe, known as a Jones fracture.
“Soccer is a very popular sport in our community, but the constant running associated with it places excessive stress on a developing foot,” Gordon said. he added that pain from overuse usually stems from inflammation, such as around the growth plate of the heel bone, more so than a stress fracture. “Their growth plates are still open and bones are still growing and maturing – until they’re about 13 to 16. Rest and, in some cases, immobilization of the foot should relieve that inflammation,” Gordon said.
Other types of overuse injuries are Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis (heel pain caused by inflammation of the tissue extending from the heel to the toes).
Quick, out-of-nowhere ankle sprains are also common to soccer. “Ankle sprains should be evaluated by a physician to assess the extent of the injury,” said Gordon. “If the ankle stays swollen for days and is painful to walk or even stand on, it could be a fracture."
Collisions between soccer players take their toll on toes. “When two feet are coming at the ball simultaneously, that ball turns into cement block and goes nowhere. The weakest point in that transaction is usually a foot, with broken toes the outcome,” he/she explained. “The toes swell up so much the player can’t get a shoe on, which is a good sign for young athletes and their parents: If they are having trouble just getting a shoe on, they shouldn’t play.”
For further information about various foot conditions, contact Dr. Gordon at 703-437-6333 or visit FootHealthFacts.org, sponsored by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
6 tips to protect Northern Virginia kids in fall sports
Back-to-school sports season linked to ankle injuries
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA - 9/21/18) If your children are playing sports this fall, pay attention to six tips that could protect them from serious ankle injuries.
Every fall, Northern Virginian foot and ankle surgeon Shaun Hafner, DPM, FACFAS notices an increase in ankle injuries among young athletes. Football, soccer and basketball are the sports most likely to lead to sprains, broken bones and other problems, he says. Hafner has offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg.
Dr. Hafner's top recommendation is for parents to get ankle injuries treated right away.
"What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain; in addition to cartilage injuries, your son or daughter might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Have a qualified doctor examine the injury," says Dr. Hafner. "The sooner rehabilitation starts, the sooner we can prevent long-term problems like instability or arthritis, and the sooner your child can get back into competition."
Hafner says parents should also follow these additional tips from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons' Web site, FootHealthFacts.org:
--Have old sprains checked by a doctor before the season starts. A medical check-up can reveal whether your child's previously injured ankle might be vulnerable to sprains, and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive ankle brace during competition.
--Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players shouldn't mix baseball cleats with football shoes.
--Children should start the season with new shoes. Old shoes can wear down like a car tire and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot can't lie flat.
--Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. That's why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in non-professional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player's foot and throw them to the ground. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.
--Encourage stretching and warm-up exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging before competition helps warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing the risk for ankle injuries.
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