What is an ankle fracture?
An ankle fracture, or broken ankle, is an injury that causes one or more bones to become broken, either completely or partially, through the bone. Some ankle fractures remain in place while others can cause the ends of the bones to become misaligned, sometimes badly. Other fractures can cause the bone to fragment or splinter. Ankle fractures may be treated with casting, or they may require surgery to help stabilize the bones.
What is the difference between a sprain and strain?
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, a sprain is an injury to the ligaments, while a strain is an injury to a tendon or muscle (or both). Both sprains and strains can occur in the ankle, and both often can be managed conservatively with rest, ice and pain medications, sometimes accompanied by physical therapy and gentle stretching.
How can I tell if I need to see a doctor following an ankle injury?
Any ankle injury needs to be evaluated by a doctor to determine the extent of the injury and to ensure the injury receives the most appropriate treatment. Even seemingly minor ankle injuries can result in mobility issues when not properly treated, and some injuries can cause permanent damage to the joint and other structures, or make it more likely osteoarthritis will occur in the future. Plus, untreated ankle injuries can change the way you walk, even if only for a brief period, and that can cause additional problems to develop in the feet, knees, hips and lower back.
Is there anything I can do to prevent ankle injuries?
The best ways to prevent ankle injuries include making sure to wear shoes that fit properly and provide plenty of support for the foot and the ankle, and to perform stretching exercises to keep the tendons, ligaments, and muscles flexible and healthy.
Do I Need A Doctor?
Although many will disregard a “simple” sprain, foot and ankle specialists know the long term effects of seemingly minor injuries. It is important to be evaluated after any trauma, in order to minimize the risks of joint instability, arthritis, and loss of function. We have on-site diagnostics to evaluate both bone and soft tissue injuries!
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that causes the surfaces of the joints to break down, resulting in painful inflammation in the joints. The condition becomes more common with older age as years of wear and tear begin to damage the cartilage that covers joint surfaces and helps joints move without pain or friction. Arthritis also more common among athletes and among people who are overweight. Osteoarthritis is one of two major forms of arthritis; the second form is rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that develops when the immune system begins attacking and destroying the joint tissues. There are other less common forms of arthritis as well, all of which cause joint tissue destruction.
What symptoms does arthritis cause?
The most common symptom of arthritis is any pain in the joints, especially when the joints are moved or when pressure is applied. Stiffness and a decreased range of motion also occur as the joint becomes less flexible. Without treatment, joints can become swollen and deformed, and they may feel warm to the touch.
How does osteoarthritis affect the feet?
Arthritis in the feet often affects the big toe joint. Sometimes, arthritis develops here as a result of normal wear and tear, and sometimes it occurs when the joint is damaged by another condition, like bunions. In addition to the big toe, the ankle joint and the joints between the bones of the midfoot region can also develop arthritis, resulting in pain and stiffness when walking and, in more advanced cases, even while resting.
How is arthritis treated?
Foot and ankle arthritis is managed conservatively when possible using medication to decrease pain and swelling. Ice and heat therapy and gentle stretching may also help. When these conservative approaches don’t work, surgery may be necessary to remove bone spurs or to fuse the joints to prevent painful friction.
What is arthroereisis?
Arthroereisis is a procedure that uses special implants to help treat flat feet and to prevent the problems flat feet can cause. During treatment, special implanted devices are inserted into the area of the heel and ankle called the subtalar region. These implants help promote normal, comfortable movement by stabilizing the subtalar joint. Arthroereisis is most commonly performed in children whose feet and ankles are still growing, but in some cases, it may also be used in adults.
What are the symptoms of flat feet?
In a normally-shaped foot, the arch portion creates a curve on the bottom of the foot to provide support for the midfoot region. In a person with flat feet, the arch is absent or far less pronounced, making the midfoot more prone to pain, irritation, inflammation and injury. Many people with flat feet also have what is called “excessive pronation” or “overpronation” of the foot, a type of gait that causes the foot to “roll” inward and the heel to “evert” or turn outward.
What are the benefits of arthroereisis?
Arthroereisis offers several benefits for patients with flat feet. First, because it relies on implants, the procedure is easily reversible, and no drilling or bone removal is required. Patients can experience improved gait mechanics and a more normal appearance when walking while also relieving discomfort and fatigue caused by excessive pronation.
How is arthroereisis performed?
During the procedure, a small incision is made in the foot over the subtalar region. A special guide is used to ensure the implant will be placed properly, and the correct size of the implant is determined. The implant is inserted using a special guide wire, and then the incision is closed with sutures. A cast will be worn for a few weeks during the initial stages of healing, and crutches will also be needed. Over time, the body’s tissue will grow around the implant helping to stabilize it.
What is a bunion?
Bunions are lumps or bumps that appear on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe where the toe meets the rest of the foot. Less commonly, bunions can also form on the top of the toe joint, causing a bump to form without the characteristic “sideways” misalignment of the joint. Bunions can be very painful, and without care, they can cause issues with mobility.
What causes bunions to form?
The exact cause of bunions is unclear, but most medical research indicates bunions form as a result of both hereditary factors that determine the shape of the feet, as well as wearing shoes that bind the toes, causing the big toe to be pushed inward toward the other toes. Over time, this constant pressure can cause the joint to become deformed and even arthritic.
How are bunions treated?
Because bunions result in deformity of the toe joint, surgery is usually the best option to correct the bunion and restore the joint and the foot to a more natural shape. Several surgical techniques and approaches can be used to correct a bunion. During the procedure, an incision will be made near or over the joint, and the joint will be placed in its normal position and secured with pins or screws. A portion of bone may also need to be removed to enable the joint position to be properly restored. In some cases, the joint may be fused to keep it properly aligned with the rest of the foot. Today’s surgical techniques enable quick recovery, and most patients can walk on the foot the same day their surgery is performed. For those who wish to avoid surgery, at least for the time being, nonsurgical options include the use of splints during sleep to help coax the toe into a more normal position, and custom orthotics to support the toe joint.
What kinds of foot- and ankle-related issues do children face?
Children can experience many of the same medical issues as adults, as well as some issues that occur more commonly in a pediatric population. Some of the most common pediatric podiatry issues include:
- flat feet
- in-toeing (sometimes called “pigeon-toeing”)
- sprains and fractures of the foot or ankle
- athlete’s foot infections
Sports injuries are also very common, arising from physical activities like soccer, baseball, tennis, hockey, dancing, skating and snow sports. Some children have congenital defects that cause problems with gait (the way the child walks) and interfere with their ability to participate in sports and other activities, in addition to making them feel more self-conscious.
Why is it important to see a podiatrist with experience in pediatric podiatry?
Because children’s feet and ankles are rapidly growing, pediatric foot care requires special skills, training, and experience to ensure this growth process is not hindered. Plus, the rapid growth and regeneration of tissue that occur in children also affects the way foot and ankle injuries heal, and those differences also must be taken into account when determining the best course of treatment.
How are pediatric foot and ankle injuries diagnosed?
Diagnosis begins with a history of the symptoms as well as a careful visual examination of the foot and ankle. Depending on the symptoms, passive and active movements may also be used to determine the source of pain or stiffness. Diagnostic ultrasound and x-ray may be performed using on-site state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate both bone and soft tissue injuries.
How are children’s foot injuries or conditions treated?
Many injuries and conditions like flat feet can be treated conservatively using custom orthotics or, in some cases, bracing. Very rarely, surgery may be needed to correct severe defects or injuries like complex fractures.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are custom foot supports designed to your foot. These supports are made from engineered plastics which have “memory”. No matter what abuse you put them through, the orthotic will bounce back into its original form.
We are so confident in this that we offer a lifetime warranty on the plastic shell! Since they are made from a mod of your feet, compared to the standard one-size-fits-all products found at stores, we insure comfort from our devices. They are made in a variety of styles to accommodate sneakers, dress shoes, athletic cleats, skis, or any other shoes. They are designed to help treat YOUR specific medical condition. Check them out!
How will orthotics help?
Your feet are designed to support and balance your entire body, but sometimes they need help. Every time you walk, run, or jump, you are exerting a large amount of force on your feet. It is a small structure which needs support, at times, of 5X your body weight. Over time, this force takes a toll on your feet by irritating weaker foot structures.
WE ARE ALL BORN WITH SOMETHING “SLIGHTLY OFF”! Some might have one leg that’s slightly longer than the other; some might have an arch that’s a little low, or a little high. Some might have toes that aren’t completely straight. Whereas “slightly off” is normal, it is the degree to which something is “off” that will cause you pain. This can impair foot function which can result in abnormal rotation of the legs, and even affect the knees, hips, or back.
When you wear a pair of our custom-made orthotics, they don’t simply support the arch and cushion your heels. Orthotics prevent your feet from sitting in an abnormal and dangerous position while providing you with comfort. They prevent overpronation (flattening of the arch) as well as absorb shock while running and walking. This supports makes the foot more table and minimizes the potential for overuse injuries. In addition, our custom-made orthotics help to prevent further injuries such as ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis by controlling the motion of the foot.
How does an ultrasound “work”?
Diagnostic ultrasound uses ultrasound waves to painlessly penetrate the skin and other tissues to take still images and video of the structures and processes inside the body. The waves pass through the skin and “bounce off” the structures inside the body, sending data to a computer where it can be translated into images.
When are ultrasounds used in podiatry?
Ultrasounds are often used to help diagnose soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains and to manage their treatment. They are also sometimes used in combination with x-rays to provide as much information as possible about diseases, injuries and other conditions to ensure the best possible treatment is administered.
What happens during a diagnostic ultrasound exam?
Ultrasound exams are usually performed in a darkened room to make it easier for the technician or doctor to see the computer screen where the images are being projected. During the exam, the patient may be either seated or lying down, depending on the area that is being evaluated. A water-based gel is applied to the skin and a unique handheld device called a transducer is passed over the skin surface. The gel helps the transducer make better contact with the skin, so the images that are created are as clear as possible. As the transducer is passed over the skin, it may be pressed firmly into the skin in some locations to obtain detailed images. In podiatry, most diagnostic ultrasounds take about 10 to 15 minutes to perform. Once the examination is complete, patients are able to resume their normal routines.
Are ultrasounds safe?
Yes, ultrasounds do not use any ionizing radiation, and they are safe and approved for use in podiatry and other types of medicine, including obstetrics where they are safe enough to be used to monitor the growth and development of an unborn baby.
What are flat feet?
Flat feet are feet that do not have the normal curved shape of the foot arch. Flat feet are not uncommon, occurring in 20 percent to 30 percent of the population, and most commonly developing initially during the childhood years when the arch does not develop properly. One study estimates as many as 40% of children under the age of 5 years suffers from flat feet. Flat feet in children occur when the connective tissues that help bind and support the bones and joints in the midfoot region are loose and fail to provide adequate support during development. Flat feet often affects both feet, but in some cases, it may only occur in one foot.
What problems can flat feet cause?
Flat feet can cause considerable pain when walking and participating in sports, and they can also make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably. People with flat feet (especially children) may also be more likely to develop certain gait patterns (ways of walking) that can result in other painful symptoms.
How are flat feet treated?
Flat feet can often be treated with custom orthotics that are designed to support the arch and the entire midfoot region so painful symptoms can be relieved. Often, the use of custom orthotics is accompanied by special stretching and strengthening exercises to relieve symptoms while helping to “build up” support in the midfoot region. In some cases, a procedure called arthrodesis may be performed to correct flat feet surgically. In children, treating flat feet as soon as possible is the key to achieving the best results. Parents who notice gait abnormalities in their children, including walking with the feet turned in or out or walking on the sides of the feet and those whose children complain about foot pain should schedule an evaluation right away to determine if their child has flat feet.
When is foot surgery performed?
Foot surgery is usually only performed when more conservative treatments like medication, therapy, custom orthotics, bracing and other non-surgical techniques have failed to provide relief for symptoms, or when a condition is so severe, nonsurgical approaches are not an option, such as when a compound fracture occurs in the ankle. Many foot injuries and conditions can be managed with nonsurgical approaches, but in some cases, advanced surgical techniques are required to restore function, strength and flexibility to the foot or ankle.
What kinds of conditions can be treated with foot surgery?
Today, many types of surgery can be used to help treat problems in the feet and ankles, including procedures to treat:
- flat feet
- bone spurs
- plantar fasciitis
- foot deformities
- ligament and tendon injuries including tears
- nerve impingements and neuromas
- traumatic injuries
Some surgeries can be used to reposition bones, ligaments or tendons or to remove portions of bone, and other surgeries may use tiny pins or screws to hold joints or bones in place.
What happens during recovery from foot surgery?
Many types of surgery can be performed using minimally-invasive techniques, relying on smaller incisions for faster recovery and less pain and discomfort. Depending on the type of surgery that is performed, a cast or special surgical boot may be applied following the procedure to provide stability for the foot and ankle during healing, and in some cases, crutches or a cane may be needed during the initial stages of recovery to facilitate mobility. Physical therapy may also be recommended to restore movement, flexibility and strength. The time required for complete recovery will depend on several factors, including the type of surgery that was performed and the overall health of the patient. Follow-up visits will be scheduled to ensure the foot heals properly.
When are x-rays used in podiatry?
X-rays are widely used in podiatry to diagnose the cause of pain, stiffness, and other symptoms, as well as to manage the treatment of fractures, arthritis and many other types of diseases and injuries that affect the bones and joints. Even though x-rays cannot provide clear images of soft tissues, they can still provide important information about some types of soft tissue injuries, helping to ensure treatment is as successful as possible. X-rays are also used prior to surgery to plan the best approach and are also used following surgery to monitor recovery.
Are x-rays safe?
Yes, today’s x-rays use special technology designed to use less radiation while still obtaining clear images. X-rays are very safe, and they play a very important and valuable role in diagnosing and treating many conditions.
How is a foot x-ray performed?
X-rays may be performed while the patient is sitting or lying down, depending on the image that is being obtained. During the x-ray exam, the foot and ankle will be carefully positioned, and special cushions or bolsters may be used to keep them in that position while the x-ray is being taken. The lens of the x-ray machine will be placed close to the area of the ankle or foot that is being evaluated, and the x-ray will be clicked on and off. It takes just a moment to capture each image. Usually, more than one x-ray is taken to provide views from different angles. While the images are being taken, the technician will move to another area of the room but will still be able to see the room and the patient.
Does a foot x-ray hurt?
No, x-rays are completely painless. However, if the foot or ankle is very sore, positioning it during the x-ray exam may cause some brief discomfort.
What causes toenail fungal infections?
Toenail fungal infections occur when a type of fungus called a dermatophyte invades the nail bed, eventually reaching the deeper areas of tissue where the fungus grows and spreads. Because of the location of the fungus, it can be especially difficult to treat, especially with traditional approaches like topical medications, which simply cannot penetrate to the tissues where the fungus is rooted. The fungus that causes these infections is most commonly found in moist or damp environments like gym locker rooms, public showers, pools and hot tubs, and walking barefoot in these areas can increase the risk of developing an infection. Sharing shoes with a person who has toenail fungus can also result in becoming infected.
What symptoms are associated with fungal toenails?
Toenail fungus starts off as a white or yellow spot under the nail. The discoloration will continue to spread until most of the nail becomes yellowed or whitish in appearance. The nail will also usually become very brittle and ragged, and the area under the nail can be sore, especially when pressure is applied. The edges will often crumble and flake away, turning the flesh beneath the toenail a dark color.
Can toenail fungus be treated with over-the-counter preparations from the drugstore?
Because toenail fungus resides in the deeper layers of tissue protected by the nail bed, over-the-counter products and even prescription-strength creams and ointments are rarely effective in eradicating the fungus, which means the infection will continue to develop.
How is toenail fungus treated?
Because toenail fungus can be so difficult to eradicate, special techniques and vigilance are required to successfully treat toenail fungal infections, so they don’t recur. At Global Podiatry, infected toenails are carefully cleaned with laser technology to remove infected portions of tissue, with repeated evaluations and follow-ups each month to achieve optimal healing. A combination of anti-fungal medications and laser treatments ensures the fungus is treated at the deeper levels of tissue where it hides and grows to provide effective long-term relief.
The problem is, far too often, the lasers being used are either of the wrong wavelength or the wrong beam profile. The most common lasers being used for toenail fungus treatments involve a “quasi-continuous” beam, which simply cannot adequately accomplish what is too often advertised or claimed. Even the lasers on the market that have the correct wavelength and the correct beam, too often have messy, ineffective beam profiles, and as a result, simply cannot pack the kind of serious punch needed to kill toenail fungus with any regularity.
Our revolutionary approach to treating toenail fungus stands out in many ways:
- It requires no oral medications.
- It involves no surgical procedures or anesthetic.
- It involves no ointments other than, perhaps, a topical cream to prevent recurrence.
- It is over 95% effective in treating toenail fungus!
What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes are deformities that cause toes to bend and assume a claw-like shape. They usually occur in people whose toes are very long and out of proportion with the rest of the foot, resulting in shoes that don’t fit properly. In addition to ill-fitting shoes, an inherited foot shape can also contribute to hammer ties. Over time, the bent position of the toe causes the ligaments and tendons that support the toe to become stiff and shorten, pulling the toe into its downward position, so it becomes more difficult to correct.
What symptoms can hammer toes cause?
Because hammer toes are bent, they can cause considerable pain when wearing shoes. People who have hammer toes also frequently develop corns on the top of the toes where the bent portion rubs against shoes, causing painful friction that spurs the development of corns.
How are hammer toes treated?
Hammer toes can be addressed nonsurgically with the use of custom orthotics designed to support the toe in a natural position and to address the discrepancy in the ratio between the toe and arch lengths so shoes fit better and toe crowding and bending are avoided. Splints may also be worn at night to help stretch the toe and coax it into a more natural position. Stretching exercises can also help prevent the toe from becoming stiff. Often, though, hammer toes require surgery to completely correct the position of the joint and to resolve painful symptoms. In this surgery, the toe can be shortened, and the ligaments can be repositioned, so the toe maintains its natural shape, and the bend is eliminated. Tiny pins or screws are often used during surgery to help support the new position and shape of the toe. Hammer toe surgery is relatively straightforward, and patients can expect a quick recovery.
What are ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails are nails that have begun to grow into the tender skin at the side of the toe, causing considerable pain, as well as redness and swelling. Without proper professional care, the area can become infected. If the infection spreads to the rest of the toe, the toe may need to be amputated. People with nerve and circulation problems, including people with diabetes, are more likely to develop infections from ingrown toenails.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails occur most commonly as a result of shoes that are too tight in the toe area, causing increased pressure on the nail region that forces the edge of the nail into the tender, soft skin along the edge of the nail bed. People who have thick toenails and nails that tend to grow in a naturally curved shape are more likely to develop ingrown toenails, and people who routinely trim their toenails into rounded, curved shapes are also more likely to have nails that become ingrown.
How are ingrown toenails treated?
Ingrown toenails need to be treated professionally at the first sign of symptoms to prevent infection. Treatment typically involves removing the portion of the nail that has become ingrown, a simple procedure that uses a local anesthetic to prevent discomfort. Once the nail portion or the entire nail has been removed, a special chemical solution is placed along the edge of the nail bed to prevent the nail from regrowing into that area. No stitches are required, and in most cases, patients can resume wearing their normal shoes right after treatment. If an infection is present, it will be treated with antibiotics.
How can I prevent ingrown toenails?
The best ways to prevent ingrown toenails from occurring are to trim toenails straight across and not in a curved shape and to wear shoes that provide plenty of room in the toe area.
What is a neuroma?
A neuroma is an irritated and compressed nerve located on the bottom of the foot that often causes an overgrowth of nerve tissue to develop. Neuromas often feel like lumps or bumps on the bottom of the foot, and they most frequently occur in the ball of the foot. Morton’s neuroma is one of the most common types of neuromas, affecting the area of the ball of the foot between third and fourth toes. Neuromas typically occur when other tissues like ligaments or bone spurs, press on the nerve, causing it to become “pinched.” Neuromas can be caused by an inherited foot shape, an abnormal gait pattern, ill-fitting shoes (especially those that bind in the toe area) and high heels, trauma and other causes.
What symptoms do neuromas cause?
Neuromas can be quite painful, causing both local symptoms and pain that radiates into the toes or other areas of the feet. Pain is especially intense when the inflamed nerve is pressed or when pressure is exerted on the nerve when wearing shoes and placing weight on the foot. Other symptoms include burning sensations, numbness, and tingling sensations in the immediate area of the nerve and the areas served by the nerve, including the toes.
How are neuromas treated?
Most neuromas can be diagnosed during a routine office visit, but x-rays may be ordered to rule out other causes of symptoms. Once a neuroma has been definitively diagnosed, it can be corrected with a special surgical procedure designed to relieve the impingement, so the nerve is no longer compressed. The surgery can be performed through a tiny opening usually less than an inch wide. Some neuroma symptoms can be relieved with custom orthotics or injections of corticosteroids into the foot, but surgery is usually still necessary to treat the underlying cause. Thanks to the ISOGARD instrumentation set, Global Podiatry is now able to release binding ligaments and relieve pressure to the inflamed nerve tissue through an opening the width of a fingernail, with minimal surgery.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that occurs when the strong band of tissue that extends from the heel to the base of the toes becomes weakened where it attaches to the heel. This tissue is called the plantar fascia, and its primary purpose is to support the arch, so the foot remains flexible and resilient. The pain of plantar fasciitis is most intense in the morning or after other long periods of inactivity, becoming less intense as the plantar fascia “warms up” during activity. Commonly, plantar fasciitis is characterized by “pain on first steps in the morning”.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is common among people who are middle-aged and older. However, there are issues that can make the condition more common; including being obese or overweight, having high arches or flat feet, having a tight or short Achilles tendon (the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel), wearing shoes with poor or no arch support, and participating in certain sports like running.
How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?
Diagnosis can usually be confirmed with an examination of the foot to look for areas of tenderness, mild swelling or redness, arch problems like flat or high arches, and stiffness or tightness in the bottom of the foot. Passive and active movements will be used to assess the pain and determine its source. X-rays may also be taken to rule out other potential causes of pain like a midfoot fracture or arthritis.
How is plantar fasciitis treated?
Plantar fasciitis is usually treated nonsurgically with splints and exercises to help stretch the foot and Achilles tendon and to relieve inflammation, combined with custom orthotics designed to provide better support for the arch of the foot and the heel, and to relieve excess pressure on the heel. Orthotics are available for many different types of shoes, including dress shoes and athletic shoes.
Our custom orthotics help with the pain associated with plantar fasciitis by providing comfortable support for your feet. They are available for men’s dress shoes, women’s heels, sneakers, ice skates, skis, and athletic cleats. They are molded to your feet to treat your problem! An example of our custom orthotics can be found here.
What are plantar warts?
Plantar warts are fleshy growths that occur on the bottoms of the feet, causing pain and discomfort when walking or placing weight on the foot.
What causes warts?
Like all warts, plantar warts are caused by a virus that enters the foot through a small opening in the skin. The virus can be contracted by coming in contact with moist environments where it grows, like gym locker rooms, or by wearing shoes of a person who has plantar warts. Some people are more susceptible to warts than others, including those with compromised immune systems. Once the virus enters the foot, it establishes itself in the deeper tissues of the foot where it can be difficult to reach with topical preparations.
How are warts treated?
Plantar warts can be very stubborn, and many treatments touted as “cures” wind up proving ineffective, including treatments that use acid or “freezing” compounds as well as those that use “scraping” techniques. Although these treatments may appear to remove warts, they fail to reach the deep layers of tissue, allowing the virus to continue to grow so warts can recur months later. Today, one of the best ways to treat plantar warts is with laser energy. Lasers designed specifically to treat plantar warts use specific wavelengths of laser energy delivered at precise “dosages” to penetrate the skin without incisions, reaching the lower levels of tissue where warts are rooted and destroying the virus that causes warts. Once the virus has been destroyed, warts will not grow again unless the foot becomes reinfected. Laser treatment is completed right in the office using a special type of laser called a Nd: YAG. Most warts can be treated in a single session, although more severe wart infections may require two sessions for complete eradication. Our laser can deliver the right kind of energy, across the perfect wavelength, at the right penetration, with the duration needed to destroy warts — usually in only one treatment.
What is tendinitis?
Tendinitis (sometimes spelled tendonitis) is a condition that involves inflammation and irritation of the tendons, the strong bands of connective tissue that connect muscles to bones. Tendinitis can occur when the tendon itself becomes injured or when the tendon becomes inflamed and rubs against the protective sheath that surrounds it. Achilles Tendinitis is the most common type of tendinitis to affect the feet and ankles, involving the long tendon that runs from the calf muscle to the heel.
What causes Achilles tendinitis?
Two of the most common causes of Achilles tendinitis are the lack of flexibility and arch problems including overpronation which causes the foot to turn or roll outward when walking, often as a result of having flat feet. Changes in footwear or wearing shoes that don’t fit properly can also contribute to Achilles tendinitis, as can changes in physical activity. The condition is especially common among long-distance runners and other athletes who “ramp up” their exercise routines or who do not perform warm-up exercises prior to physical activity. It also occurs in older people whose tendons tend to be stiffer and less flexible, making them more prone to irritation and inflammation.
What symptoms does Achilles tendinitis cause?
The most common symptom associated with Achilles tendinitis is a pain in the heel area and radiating from the heel. The painful symptoms usually become worse when running or performing other exercises that require pushing off with the foot or jumping.
How is tendinitis treated?
Tendinitis can often be treated conservatively with ice, pain medications and stretching exercises to help strengthen the tendon and promote flexibility. Custom orthotics may also help by providing additional support for the arch of the foot and by addressing overpronation. In very few cases when these approaches do not work, surgery may be recommended to reposition the tendon.