Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

July 26th, 2017 by Lindsay Lopez

One of the most common causes of heel pain on the bottom of your foot is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is pain along your heel and arch due to inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a large band on the bottom of your foot that goes from the heel bone and attaches to each of the toes. This band helps support your arch as you walk. Plantar fasciitis can affect a variety of people including athletes or those who spend a lot of time on their feet at work. The pain is typically described as severe with the first couple of steps out of bed in the morning or with the first couple of steps after sitting for a long period of time. The pain generally starts to feel better as you start to take more steps, but some people also develop worsening pain or feeling of fatigue in their foot as the day goes on.

There are several different types of treatments for plantar fasciitis. One of the most important things when dealing with plantar fasciitis is supportive shoe gear. Flip-flops and flexible shoes without much support can exacerbate the condition. Also calf stretches, anti-inflammatories, and ice at the end of the day or after activities are helpful to try and calm down the inflammation. Freezing a water bottle and rolling it along your arch is a good option when it comes to icing. If these basic measures fail than steroid injections, arch supports, or night splints can also be utilized.

–Dr. Colleen Law

What is a Pump Bump?

July 12th, 2017 by Lindsay Lopez

A pump bump also known as a Haglund’s deformity is another source of heel pain. Opposed to plantar fasciitis where the pain is on the bottom of the heel, a Haglund’s deformity is a type of spur on the back of the heel, which results in pain. This pain can also be associated with some Achilles tendonitis and bursitis as well. While the exact cause is not confirmed, some thoughts on how a Haglund’s deformity is formed is through differences in people’s anatomy and biomechanical causes. It is also thought that those with higher arches may be more prone to them. Haglund’s deformities can occur in all ages, but are more common in the younger and middle-aged population. So why is a Haglund’s deformity also known as a pump bump? This is because one of the major sources of pain is from the spur rubbing on the back of your shoe and the spurs are located right where the back of high heel shoes would rub, hence the name pump bump.

Haglund’s deformities can be seen on x-ray. In addition, most people can generally feel the bump on the back of their heel. Conservative treatment is generally rest with anti-inflammatories. If the patient is able to wear backless shoes, this can also help decrease the irritation of the heel. For those who have associated Achilles tendonitis and/or bursitis physical therapy can be a good option. If conservative options fail over a few months, then surgical options to remove the spur can be discussed.

–Dr. Colleen Law

Stress fractures differ from regular fractures in that they are cracks in the bone opposed to a complete break through the bone. Stress fractures are very common in the foot and lower extremity due to the mechanical load from our bodies. In the foot they are most commonly seen in the second and third metatarsals. Overuse and repetitive forces cause stress fractures. This overuse can be from a runner who increases their mileage too quickly or from any increase in activity or change in activity.

People who suffer from stress fractures generally have pain in a very specific spot on their foot, ankle, or leg. Diagnosis can be a little tricky in that stress fractures are not seen right away on x-rays. This takes a couple of weeks to visualize and by the time it is seen on x-ray, the stress fracture has already started to heal. The healing of the stress fracture seen on x-ray is called callus formation. To get more of a definitive diagnosis of a stress fracture right away your doctor can order an MRI or bone scan.

Treatment for stress fractures is rest. If a patient was to continue their increased activity while having a stress fracture this could result in a complete fracture and would increase the recovery time. Sometimes your doctor may put you in a surgical shoe or walking boot in order to decrease the stress. Ice and elevation are also important for the recovery process. For those who wish to keep their conditioning up while recovering from a stress fracture, aqua jogging and swimming can be good options.

–Dr. Colleen Law

The frequent rising on the toes of an aerobics routine often creates pain and tightness in the large muscles in the back of the legs, which can create pain and tightness in the calf and inflammation in the Achilles tendon. Again, stretching the calf muscles gently and gradually before and after the workout will ordinarily help alleviate the pain and stiffness.

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Common Running Injuries-Shin Splints

May 9th, 2017 by Mallory Snow

Aside from ankle sprains, shins splints are perhaps the most common injury to the lower body, as the muscles attached to the shin bone bring the foot up and down. The pain is usually an inflammation of the shin muscle and tendon due to stress fractures. Treat shin pain with cold compress immediately after a workout to reduce inflammation. Proper stretching before the workout should prevent the onset of shin splints. Strengthening of muscles also helps reduce shin splints.

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Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic Signs a New Doctor

March 21st, 2017 by Mallory Snow

The doctors of Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic are pleased to welcome a new colleague. Dr. Colleen Law will be joining the Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle’s team of podiatrists in July 2017. Dr Law is coming to the Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic from the exceptional and renowned podiatry foot and ankle surgical residency training program at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania. We are busy getting ready for Dr Law’s arrival. Dr Law is accepting new patients beginning July 17, 2017.

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Foot Issues and Weight Loss

March 9th, 2017 by Mallory Snow

70 Million Americans are obese. Unfortunately, obesity aggravates foot problems, such as, heel pain and flat feet. To make matters worse, sore feet makes it harder for someone to exercise and lose weight. If a person is unable to exercise, obesity can worsen and can increase the progression of diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health threats and conditions.

Don’t let that stop you from losing weight! Foot and/or ankle pain should not stop a patient from exercising, but it is important to take the first step. Seek evaluation and treatment by a foot and ankle surgeon for any chronic, activity limiting foot and ankle problems, so you can stay compliant with any physician-directed exercise programs.

If you are moderately to severely overweight, a physical exam is mandatory and necessary prior to beginning an exercise program. Once you have been cleared to exercise, be sure you don’t try too much too soon. It is important that you ramp up your routine gradually so your body is able to adjust appropriately to the stress of consistent physical activity. If you are overweight, you should avoid high impact machines like treadmills to help minimize stress and pounding on joints.

If you are experiencing foot pain, it is important to remember that many causes can be relieved non-surgically. Stretching exercises, orthotics, and good athletic socks can all help alleviate foot pain. If you have a bunion, heal pain, or another condition that requires surgery, you can still be able to participate in exercise during recovery. Non-weightbearing exercises like riding a stationary bike, swimming, or weight training can all be done during this time.

If you have diabetes, shedding the excess weight can help you control your disease. You can still exercise, even if you have experienced a foot ulceration or vascular problem caused by diabetes. However, if you have diabetes, make sure you are receiving regular foot exams to check for sore spots and assess nerve sensation. Proper foot care and footwear can help you follow a safe and appropriate exercise regimen.

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Many athletes, who play winter sports as well as spring sports, are at a higher risk for incurring a sports-related injury. These athletes and parents of athletes are encouraged, by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, to play it safe and to take precautions to prevent foot and ankle injuries. These injuries can occur when going from indoor activities and sports to outdoor activities and sports.

There is a different set of concerns when athletes transition from the winter sports season to the spring season. Athletes are often moving from one playing surface to another and the varying impact can cause stress to the foot and ankle. In addition, transitioning from sport to sport can cause overuse injuries due to muscles and bones not having time to rest.

If you, or your child, plan to participate in spring sports or activities after participation through the winter, please consider these six tips. These tips will hopefully help prevent foot and/or ankle injuries:

1.Make sure to get a preseason checkup. This can help identify any concerns that might lead to injury.

2. Be sure to take it slow. Gradually increase practice time and don’t push too hard. Make sure the athlete’s feet and ankles become accustomed to the specific sport or activity. Conditioning is VERY important in order to stay injury free, and to improve performance.

3. Make sure shoes are appropriate and broken-in. Different sport require different gear. This includes shoes. Make sure they are well-fitting and broken-in. It is also important that they are designed for the specific sport or activity. This can improve performance and eliminate heel and toe discomfort.

4. Check technique. Be sure to notice changes in form and technique. This can signal that something is wrong. Pay close attention to favoring one side, or a limp.

5. Communicate openly about pain. Inform the coach if any pain or discomfort is experienced. This can help prevent overuse injuries that are often subtle and develop over time. The sooner an injury is detected, the sooner it can be resolved.

6. Don’t forget RICE. When a foot or ankle injury is noticed, it can often be resolved with REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION. If pain occurs take a break and allow time for recovery. If pain and discomfort persists, give Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic a call!

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Your Risk of a Stress Fracture Increases in the Winter

February 1st, 2017 by Mallory Snow

In the cold winter months, it is important to be aware of your injury risks. Cold weather-related injuries are possible and it is important to take precautions, and know appropriate treatments for such injuries.

Believe it or not, many hospitals report a 500 percent increase in visits to the emergency room in the winter. Many of these visits are related to slips and falls. Stress fractures are a common injury in the winter and can make everyday activities uncomfortable, and even painful. If you do not treat a stress fracture it can lead to a complete break in the bone.

Many people ignore stress fractures because they often are unable to connect recent activity/accident and foot pain. Stress fractures can occur during relatively benign activities according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Athletes often have stress fractures due to repetitive activity, but slippery winter conditions can also lead to this type of injury. In addition, seasonal sports can also lead to foot-related injuries.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stress fracture is extremely important, so you can seek appropriate medical treatment and care. Symptoms of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling, redness, and bruising. The symptoms can subside when you stop activity. Often when you rest, the injury will feel better, but the pain typically returns once activity is resumed. If you are still having persistent pain, and other symptoms after resting, icing, and using an anti-inflammatory medication, it is important to see a specialist.

Once diagnosed, it is important to rest. You may even need to wear a surgical shoe or boot. A small percentage of patients may require surgery.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a stress fracture, please call Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic to set up an appointment!

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In winter, the most popular women’s boots are tall, have spiked heals, and are narrow with pointed toes. Shoes like this can make you unstable in snow and ice.

If you wear a stylish low-heeled winter boot, you will avoid injury and potential crutches or a cast. It is also a great idea to scuff up the soles of your new boots, or to buy adhesive rubber soles, both of which will provide you with better traction.

If you fall in high-heeled boots you can suffer from a number of injuries. You can break your ankle, stretch or tear ligaments, or break a toe, metatarsal, or heel bone.

If you do fall and injure your foot or ankle, you should call Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic for evaluation and treatment.

To avoid winter ankle injuries:
• Keep doorways well lit so you are able to see icy patches.
• Make sure you wear shoes that provide traction to prevent slipping.
• Make sure you check for slippery spots before stepping outside for a car or doorway.
• Make sure you avoid wearing high heels outdoors.
• Make sure you warm up and stretch prior to any physical activities.

At Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic, we pride ourselves in offering advanced treatment options and research-based medical solutions for foot and ankle injuries, as well as,  all foot and ankle conditions. If you would like more information or feel you may benefit from our services, please contact the office to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

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