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August 17, 2018
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After wearing flip-flops all summer, students head back to school with painful feet

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Virginia–8/17/2018 The sounds of back to school season include the ringing of school bells and cash registers, the slamming of locker doors, the noisy ruckus of school hallways and cafeterias, and the moans and groans of students over tests, homework, relationships, and increasingly, their aching feet.

Flip-flops are the summer footwear of choice for many students. But while these sandals are inexpensive and stylish, they don’t cushion or support the foot, leading to problems. After wearing flip-flops all summer, some students will head back to school this fall with foot pain and even injuries. Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg reminds parents and students that foot pain isn’t normal and can be reduced or eliminated.

“People may not realize that even into your mid-teens, there’s new bone growing in your heel,” says Gordon. “Flip-flops don’t cushion the heel, so repetitive stress from walking can inflame that heel bone growth area and cause pain and tenderness.”

Heel pain and arch pain rank among the most common complaints among students who wear flip-flops. Other flip-flop feet problems students can take back to school include inflammation of the Achilles tendon, painful pinched nerves, sprained ankles, broken or sprained toes, cuts and scrapes, plantar warts, Athlete’s foot, and callus build-up on the heels and toes.

Foot and ankle surgeons can usually reduce or eliminate students’ foot pain with simple treatment methods including stretching exercises, ice massage, anti-inflammatory medications, and custom or over-the-counter shoe inserts.

Back to school season will always be painful for some students, but it doesn’t need to involve foot pain. Contact Dr. Gordon’s office at 703-437-6333 to have your student’s painful foot evaluated, and visit FootHealthFacts.org for more information on foot and ankle conditions.

Reston, Manassas, Leesburg, Virginia – 7/31/18 Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), says he’s noticing more and more overweight and obese children with foot and ankle pain in his examining room, mirroring a national epidemic of childhood obesity.

An estimated 16 percent of U.S. children ages six to 19 are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor diet, lack of exercise and genetics can play a role. A “vicious cycle’ of foot pain and obesity traps some children.

“You want overweight children to exercise and lose weight, but because of their weight, their feet hurt and they can’t exercise,” says Gordon, a foot and ankle surgeon in Reston, Manassas, Leesburg.


The foot is a complex structure consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Last November, researchers in Britain reported “alarming new evidence that childhood obesity changes foot structure and results in instability when walking.” Being overweight flattens the foot, straining the plantar fascia, a band of tissue which runs from the heel to the base of the toes, causing heel pain.

Because the heel bone is not fully developed until age 14 or older, overweight children are more prone to Severs disease. Although not an actual disease, it involves an inflammation of the heel’s growth plate due to muscle strain and repetitive stress. Walking makes the pain worse. Being overweight may also cause stress fractures, or hairline fractures (breaks) in a child’s heel bone.

According to the ACFAS Web site FootHealthFacts.org, some overweight children suffer foot pain from congenital or inherited foot conditions, such as bunions, hammertoes, pediatric flatfoot and tarsal coalition, an abnormal connection between two or more bones in the back of the foot. Children with these deformities may be less active because of pain. Sometimes a child will complain of calf or arch pain. This results from a flatfoot that is flexible. The collapsing of the arch can require more energy, making it more difficult for a child to walk and run.

Foot and ankle surgeons treat many overweight children with custom orthotic devices (shoe inserts), physical therapy and other conservative measures to reduce or eliminate pain. But treating painful feet and ankles is only part of the childhood weight loss equation.

“As foot and ankle surgeons, we can reduce the aches and pains so these children can run around and play like all the other kids, but parents need to take responsibility for watching their children’s’ lifestyles and diets,” says Gordon

For more information on foot and ankle conditions, visit FootHealthFacts.org.

Taking a vacation? Make it easy on your feet

(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 7/20/2018) Although rest and relaxation are the goals for most vacations, they usually involve a lot of walking and a lot of walking usually involves sore feet.

"Walking is great exercise and one of the most reliable forms of transportation," says Shaun Hafner, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Northern Virginia. "But if your feet aren’t in the best shape or you don’t have the right shoes, too much walking can cause foot problems."

According to Dr. Hafner, good foot care is essential if you plan to subject your feet to long periods of walking. Some simple foot care tips include:

  • Wear thick, absorbent socks (acrylic instead of cotton).
  • Dry feet thoroughly after bathing, making sure to dry between toes. Use powder before putting on shoes.
  • Nails should be cut regularly, straight across the toe.
  • Bunions, hammertoes or any other serious foot problems should be evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon.

"The right shoe is also important to healthy walking," say Dr. Hafner. "The ideal walking shoe should be stable from side to side, and well-cushioned, and it should enable you to walk smoothly. Many running shoes will fit the bill."

He adds there are also shoes made especially for walking. Walking shoes tend to be slightly less cushioned, yet not as bulky, and lighter than running shoes. Whether a walking or running shoe, the shoes need to feel stable and comfortable.

Warming up exercises to help alleviate any muscle stiffness or pulled muscles are also advised before walking. Loosening up the heel cords (Achilles and calf) and thigh muscles before a walk is especially effective.

"If you’re not accustomed to long walks, start slowly and rest if your feet start hurting," says Dr. Shaun Hafner. "And above all, have fun."

Reston, Manassas, Leesburg, Virginia 7/20/18 Although rest and relaxation are the goals for most vacations, they usually involve a lot of walking and a lot of walking usually involves sore feet.

"Walking is great exercise and one of the most reliable forms of transportation," says Steven Gordon,DPM FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, "But if your feet aren’t in the best shape or you don’t have the right shoes, too much walking can cause foot problems."

According to Gordon, good foot care is essential if you plan to subject your feet to long periods of walking. Some simple foot care tips include:

  • Wear thick, absorbent socks (acrylic instead of cotton).
  • Dry feet thoroughly after bathing, making sure to dry between toes. Use powder before putting on shoes.
  • Nails should be cut regularly, straight across the toe.
  • Bunions, hammertoes or any other serious foot problems should be evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon.

"The right shoe is also important to healthy walking," say Gordon. "The ideal walking shoe should be stable from side to side, and well-cushioned, and it should enable you to walk smoothly. Many running shoes will fit the bill."

He adds there are also shoes made especially for walking. Walking shoes tend to be slightly less cushioned, yet not as bulky, and lighter than running shoes. Whether a walking or running shoe, the shoes need to feel stable and comfortable.

Warming up exercises to help alleviate any muscle stiffness or pulled muscles are also advised before walking. Loosening up the heel cords (Achilles and calf) and thigh muscles before a walk is especially effective.

"If you’re not accustomed to long walks, start slowly and rest if your feet start hurting," says Gordon. "And above all, have fun."

Contact Gordon's office at 703-437-6333 for more information. Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). Their consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, provides reliable information on foot and ankle conditions.

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Virginia – July 5, 2018 As millions of Americans hit the beach this summer, Steven Gordon DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Virginia, shares these safety tips from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Puncture wounds and cuts: Wear shoes to protect your feet from puncture wounds and cuts caused by sea shells, broken glass and other sharp objects. Don’t go in the water if your skin gets cut – bacteria in oceans and lakes can cause infection. To avoid complications from a puncture wound, see a foot and ankle surgeon for treatment within 24 hours.

Jellyfish stings: Remember that a jellyfish washed up on the beach can still sting if you step on it. If their tentacles stick to the foot or ankle, remove them, but protect your hands from getting stung too. Vinegar, meat tenderizer or baking soda reduce pain and swelling. Most jellyfish stings heal within days, but if they don’t, medical treatment is required.

Sunburns: Feet get sunburn too. Rare but deadly skin cancers can occur on the foot. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet.

Burns: Sand, sidewalks and paved surfaces get hot in the summer sun. Wear shoes to protect your soles from getting burned, especially if you have diabetes.

Ankle injuries, arch and heel pain: Walking, jogging and playing sports on soft, uneven surfaces like sand frequently leads to arch pain, heel pain, ankle sprains and other injuries. Athletic shoes provide the heel cushioning and arch support that flip-flops and sandals lack. If injuries occur, use rest, ice, compression and elevation to ease pain and swelling. Any injury that does not resolve within a few days should be examined by a foot and ankle surgeon.

Diabetes risks: The 20 million Americans with diabetes face serious foot safety risks at the beach. The disease causes poor blood circulation and numbness in the feet. A diabetic may not feel pain from a cut, puncture wound or burn. Any type of skin break on a diabetic foot has the potential to get infected and ulcerate if it isn’t noticed right away. Diabetics should always wear shoes to the beach, and remove them regularly to check for foreign objects like sand and shells that can cause sores, ulcers and infections.

For treatment of beach-related foot injuries, contact Dr. Gordon at 703-437-6333.

For more information on this and other foot and ankle health topics, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ consumer website FootHealthFacts.org.