- Running requires shoes with shock absorption. Your feet take on a lot of pressure and friction. Cushioning your shoes in the correct areas keeps you from feeling the pain.
- Traction is important in sports that need quick changes in direction and sprinting, like basketball. Traction should never be too high or low. The right shoes keep you from slipping on the floor while letting you move and pivot.
- Ankle support is a must. It limits the side-to-side movement that knocks your ankle out of alignment. This kind of support keeps ankle sprains at bay. For sports like basketball, hockey, skiing, and skating, make sure that your shoes aren’t too high. Otherwise, they will dig into your Achilles tendon. You can also wear soft ankle braces.
- Arch support varies for everyone. Your podiatrist can test your foot to determine your gait. Depending on the results, your podiatrist can recommend orthotics or special shoe inserts.
The arches of the feet play a role in supporting your body’s weight when standing or in motion. The tarsal and metatarsal bones make up the arches of the feet, also receiving additional support and stability from tendons and ligaments; however, our feet, like the rest of our body, can be affected by infections, disorders, and structural changes that can impact not only the health of our feet but also our mobility. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of arch problems so you know when you to see a podiatrist.
Arch Pain Causes
If you are dealing with arch pain it is most likely caused by an injury or by structural abnormalities in the foot. For example, those with very high arches as well as those with flat feet may experience arch problems due to these common structural issues.
As a result, there are other factors that could also lead to further arch problems including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Plantar fasciitis
- Cavus foot
- Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
It’s important to understand a little bit more about these common foot disorders and how they could affect the arches of your feet.
This condition that causes inflammation and microtears in the plantar fascia is also the most common cause of heel pain. Of course, because the plantar fascia (a ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone) also supports the arches of the feet this can also lead to arch pain. This condition is usually the result of overuse and is seen most often in runners. If you have plantar fasciitis it’s important to avoid physical activities until the fascia has fully healed.
This condition, which affects the structure of the foot, leads to excessively high arches. People who’ve had a stroke, as well as people with certain conditions such as cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop cavus foot. This problem causes arch pain when standing or walking and can increase the risk for ankle injuries. Your podiatrist may choose to treat cavus foot through custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), bracing, or by recommending specialized and supportive footwear.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
The posterior tibial tendon runs from the calf muscles to the inner portion of the foot. This condition leads to changes in the tendon, which in turn affects its ability to support the arches of the foot. Flat feet can be caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, and this is often the cause of flat feet that develop in adulthood. Like the other conditions above, treatment for PTTD usually involves bracing, orthotics, or providing custom devices that provide additional support to the arches of the feet.
If you are experiencing foot pain, swelling or other problems that affect mobility then it’s time that you turned to a podiatrist for care. Conditions and injuries that don’t respond to rest and at-home care may require more advanced treatments and therapies.
The Importance of Proper Diabetic Foot Care
You take care of your diabetes by watching your diet and tracking your blood sugar levels, but also crucial to your health and safety is protecting your diabetic feet. Especially susceptible to cuts and infections, proper care of your feet is of the upmost importance.
Dr. Esther Barnes of Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Clinic in Kalispell, MT, can help you protect and treat your diabetic feet. Here is what you should know about diabetic foot care.
How does diabetes affect my feet?
Diabetes causes a reduction in blood flow to your feet, as well as nerve damage that impairs your ability to feel pain or discomfort. Because of the lack of sensation, you may experience a cut or irritation that goes unnoticed, leading to sores or wounds. The prolonged lack of treatment, along with diminished blood flow, increases the chance these cuts will become infected and slow to heal.
The combination of poor circulation and lingering sores could lead to gangrene, the death of tissue, requiring amputation of the foot, toe or part of the leg. Visit your podiatrist at our Kalispell, MT office immediately if you have open, pussing, or prolonged wounds on your feet.
How do I know if my diabetic feet are unhealthy?
Signs that your feet are not being properly cared for include numbness, recurring sores or blisters, infected corns, yellowing and thickening toenails or a tingling and burning sensation. Make sure to report any symptoms you are experiencing with your podiatrist auto our Kalispell, MT office.
How do I care for my diabetic feet?
Diligent, thorough foot care is essential for keeping your feet healthy. Make sure to see your podiatrist at our Kalispell, MT office for regular examinations in addition to practicing the following:
- Clean your feet in lukewarm water and dry them thoroughly
- Regularly examine your feet for cuts, inflammation, swelling, discharge or signs of irritation
- Keep your feet moisturized, but ensure the spaces between your toes are dry to prevent the growth of fungus
- Trim your toenails straight across, leaving a portion of the white tip visible
- Make sure to wear clean, dry socks and shoes at all times, both indoors and outdoors
- Only wear shoes that fit well, and check the interior for any foreign objects before putting them on.
At Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Clinic in Kalispell, MT, your foot health is our priority. Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist today by calling (406) 755-2818.
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection of the feet that is typically characterized by itchy, burning patches of skin between the toes that may also crack or bleed. Since untreated athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails, it’s particularly important that you treat this problem as soon as you notice it. Athlete’s foot won’t typically clear up by itself; however, home remedies and treatments may be all you need to eliminate the fungal infection.
Treating Athlete’s Foot
If you are an otherwise healthy individual who is just dealing with an unfortunate bout of athlete’s foot chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to treat the problem on your own. There are a variety of over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments that can be applied directly to the skin. Make sure to read and follow all instructions to ensure that the medication gets rid of the infection.
Along with properly treating your athlete’s foot it’s also important to keep feet as dry as possible. After all, fungus thrives best in warm, damp environments. By keeping feet dry you make it a less hospitable environment for this infection. This means wearing clean socks and shoes every day. Opt for socks with natural fibers, which are breathable and can wick away sweat. If your feet are particularly sweaty you can also apply an antifungal powder throughout the day.
When to See a Podiatrist
If you find that cracked, painful feet are making it difficult to stand or move around then this means it’s time to see a podiatrist for treatment; however, if the fungal infection isn’t impacting mobility then you may be able to treat the problem on your own with over-the-counter medications.
If you notice signs of an infection such as a swollen foot, pus draining from the foot, increased redness, or open sores it’s also important that you see a doctor right away. Antibiotics will be necessary in order to treat the infection.
If you are dealing with diabetes, nerve damage in your feet or other problems that impact the health of your feet it’s even more important that you see a podiatrist right away if you notice symptoms of athlete’s foot or other problems. Do not try to treat the infection on your own, as this could lead to more serious complications.
If you are dealing with persistent or recurring athlete’s foot it’s important that you also have a podiatrist that you can turn to for answers. While this condition may seem harmless it’s important that you don’t leave it untreated. A podiatrist can provide you with the treatment you’re looking for.
There are 52 bones in your feet and ankles, which means that feet contain about 25 percent of the bones in our bodies. Our feet also contain about 20-25 percent of the total joints in our body; therefore, it’s not too surprising to find out that your feet and ankles are unfortunately more likely to deal with tendon and joint pain at some point, whether through injury or certain conditions such as arthritis. When pain and other foot problems arise it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can turn to.
Common Causes of Tendon and Joint Pain in the Feet
Tendons are soft tissues that connect the muscles to the bones. Everything from overuse and foot injuries to structural imbalances can lead to pain. Common causes of tendon and joint pain include:
- Tendonitis: inflammation of the tendon caused by injury or overuse
- Sprains and strains: a common but usually minor foot and ankle injury, typically caused by physical activity
- Arthritis: a chronic, progressive condition that leads to joint pain, stiffness, and damage (osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect feet and ankles)
- Obesity: being overweight or obese can also put excessive pressure on the joints and tendons of your feet and ankles, leading to pain and other problems
Treating Tendon and Joint Pain
Visiting a podiatrist is the best choice you can make if you are dealing with severe, persistent, or new foot and ankle pain. Since some conditions can get worse without proper care and rest it’s important to find out what’s causing your pain so you know how to effectively treat it.
If you are dealing with pain caused by a sports injury or strain it’s a good idea to see a medical professional so you know the extent of the injury. More severe sprains may require protective boots or crutches to reduce the amount of weight being placed on the injured ankle or foot.
Arthritis is also a surprisingly common cause of foot pain. If you notice joint pain and stiffness that affects functionality, range of motion and mobility in your feet then you could be dealing with arthritis. Since arthritis can get worse without treatment, it is important that you work with your pediatrician and a team of medical professionals to determine the best medications and course of action to help manage your foot pain and to prevent permanent joint damage.
If you are experiencing foot pain it’s important to see a qualified medical professional that can determine the best way to treat your symptoms. Call your podiatrist today for a comprehensive evaluation.
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UPDATE 3/23/20: In attempt to maintain the safety of our patients, employees, and the community, the office is physically closed, other than for the care of patients with urgent concerns / emergenices only. Attempts will be made to return phone calls Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 1PM. Please use the "Request an Appointment" resource above to request an appointment. If an established patient, we encourage you to log into the Patient Portal and send a message to Dr. Barnes or the office with any questions or concerns. Thank you.
TeleHealth and Tele-Visits in the time of COVID-19
Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC has initiated a TeleHealth Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic for a number of reasons:
1.) Our top priority has always been, and continues to be, Patient, Employee, Community Health and Safety.
2.) With the primary goal of triaging, or prioritizing what's urgent and what's not, Dr. Barnes seeks to help patients with the foot concerns over the phone or computer. Caring for patients in this way, and arranging for visits in clinic if necessary (infections, ulcerations, injuries) and in a controlled environment, she hopes to do her part in allowing to the Urgent Cares and Emergencies Rooms help those with needs related to the virus.
3.) Although Dr. Barnes obviously cannot physicially treat you or other patients over the phone or computer, she can hopefully see if your concern would be best treated physically, and arrange for this to be done. If she can help give you direction and advice over the computer or phone, she will do so. This particularly applies to you if you have foot pain, as many treatment options can be relayed in this way (stretches, shoe recommendations, orthotic recommendations).
4.) During this time of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, Dr. Barnes wants to do her part in helping you do the things you need to do (caring for a loved one, running outside for stress relief, or walking on a treadmill at home, for example) without foot pain interfering. She does't want you to have to wait months or an indefinite period of time for you to get back on your feet! "CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A TELEVISIT."