Safe Care for your Foot or Ankle Pain

via Safe Care for your Foot or Ankle Pain

Safe Care for your Foot or Ankle Pain

AnkleNFootCenters have been able to transition to Telehealth services, No Waiting Room, Private Room Appointments, Social Distancing and have always had Universal Infection Prevention Protocol. 

So don’t ignore those aches and pains. We also offer Immediate Care for any Foot or Anke Injuries.



Heel Pain & What Can be Done

Have you ever woken up one morning, eager to start the day and hopped out of bed only to be met with a crippling pain in your heel? The kind where you nearly fall over and have to immediately sit down? Well you’re not the only one. According to the AnkleNFootCenters a study by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, quoted approximately 11-15% of Americans see their podiatrist for heel pain each year.  We think it’s closer to 20%-especially for active adults.

But what exactly is heel pain? Heel pain is a sharp pain originating underneath the heel or sometimes behind the heel known as Achilles tendonitis. Read on to learn causes, symptoms, and treatment options of each.

Tight Calves
The effects of disproportionately training opposing muscles in our body can be agonizing. An imbalance of agonist and antagonist muscles groups can have painful and damaging effects to our body and joints. But what are these muscles exactly? Agonist muscles are the prime movers and contract as the antagonist muscles relaxes and provides support of the opposing movement. However when one of these muscles is trained more than the other an imbalance occurs causing strain and possible injury. For example, having strong quadriceps but weak hamstrings can cause knee pain and cartilage degeneration. A strong iliopsoas muscle and weak gluteus muscle (caused by prolonged sitting) can cause lumbar strain and back pain.
Now that you have a little background as to how these muscles work, let’s explain how tight calves are responsible for heel pain. Prevalent in runners or athletes, the calf muscle  becomes stronger than its antagonist muscles in the front of the ankle and more pull is placed on the Achilles tendon which then inserts into the back of the heel bone. All this pull can cause an Achilles tendonitis or a form of heel pain. While this occurs mostly in athletes, it can also affect anyone who is exercising their calves regularly (climbing stairs etc.). Treatment often involves strengthening the front of ankle and stretching out  the Achilles and calf muscles.
Heel Spurs
Heel spurs develop from chronic pull of tight musculature attaching to the bone. A tight plantar fascia or a tight Achilles tendon causes increased calcium deposits and proliferates bone growth where they insert into the heel bone. Pain from heel spurs can be caused by old or ill-fitting footwear, repeated injury or trauma to the heel, or poor biomechanics. While heel spurs may not show symptoms, if you are getting pain it is highly recommended you see your podiatrist for an x-ray or consultation.

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is when the thick band of fascia that runs from your heel to your toes becomes inflamed due to repeated stretching and tearing. Pain will occur with first steps in the morning or when standing after prolonged periods of rest.  People at risk of this condition include those that stand long periods of time, being overweight, or  over exercising agonist muscles. According to a study done in 2009 (C), 6 in 10 Americans have experienced heel pain to the degree that it interfered with their daily lives. While not detrimental to your health, it does hurt quite a bit and can affect your productivity. Below we’ll discuss some of the common treatment options.

If you have any type of heel pain,or pain in your feet, it is encouraged to seek out a licensed professional who can help you get back on your feet (no pun intended) as quickly and safely as possible. Attempting to figure it out on your own may prolong healing or require more invasive therapies.

* Start with an X-Ray, you want to make sure it’s not a stress fracture or arthritis.
*Custom foot orthotics are provide comfort and stability for healing and preventing recurrence.
*Stretching calf muscles and plantar fascia. This is possibly the simplest option if you understand the antagonistic pairing of muscles. Although effects are not immediate, stick with it, it works!
*Corticosteroid injections
*Physical therapy
*Night splints
And two other options that aren’t readily available everywhere:
ePats– Special Painless Shock wave Therapy
PRP Injections- Using your own bodies regenerative cells!

So there you have it, a complete guide to heel pain. Again please do not try to self-medicate, go to your local Ankle N Foot Center and see one of their highly trained friendly physicians


Post Marathon RECOVERY!


22% of Marathon Runners report some type of injury after their race.

While we all know the importance of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, but what happens days after your injury and the pain is still there?

Knowing the difference between normal soreness after an event and an actual injury makes all the difference. TIME is a huge factor in recovery; even if it’s not a significant injury, by going to the doctor early on, you ensure a much easier treatment plan with a greater likelihood of a rapid return to training.

Bring in your Marathon Number and get a

Post Run Evaluation for only $30 out-of-pocket!


BUY a new orthotic and get a FREE Refurb on your current pair**

*Valid Insurance must be billed

Make An Appointment

Avoid Running Injuries for the Chicago Marathon and All Your Runs!

The attitudes of many exercisers are that injuries are a normal part of running, and most injuries just appear with time. “Not so,” says Dr. Rachel Glick, a sports and advanced surgery trained podiatrist at the AnkleNFootCenters in Chicago. “Most injuries can be tracked to a certain cause, such as overuse, faulty biomechanics, or lack of flexibility. Commonly injured areas of the lower extremity include the knee, ankle, Achilles tendon, arch and heel, and the forefoot.”    Let’s review:


Most aches and pains are overuse injuries. Each running step requires your foot to absorb three to four times your bodyweight, and the repetitive stress of this shock can lead to breakdown and injury. Follow these training guidelines to preventing overuse injuries:

  • Build mileage slowly. Increase by no more than 10% a week or 20% every two weeks.
  • Follow hard days with easy recovery days. Listen to your body!
  • Do not routinely increase your weekly mileage, plan easy and hard weeks.
  • Crosstrain. Replacing a day of running with swimming, bicycling, in-line skating, or
    stair-climbing will give you an aerobic workout while resting muscles used in running.
  • Your risk of overuse injuries rises dramatically as your mileage goes above 40 to 50 miles
    per week. Maintain this level only if you can do so relativelypain-free.


 The relationship of muscles and joints to how you run is called biomechanics. Faulty biomechanics greatly increase your risk of injury. The most common example is pronation of the joint below the ankle, which can be noticed as a collapsing arch or rolling in of the ankle as your foot lands.

To determine if you have improper biomechanics, look for worn out tread patterns on shoe bottoms or notice if your ankles “roll in”. Tread wear on the inside or outside of your shoes signifies excessive joint motion and with proper assessment of your gait by a sports medicine podiatrist can be accommodated.

Custom prescription orthotics will help-but should be made by someone who really understands sports biomechanics.


“Running has many benefits, but increased flexibility is not one of them. In fact, although running will strengthen your leg muscles, it will also shorten and tighten them” states Dr. Christina Sarantopoulos, another specialty trained podiatrist at the AnkleNFootCenters. “Tight muscles and tendons restrict your range of motion therefore stretching before and after running is an extremely important prevention method. Since we don’t like to stretch for 10 minutes before and after-cross train with a sport that requires stretching-like Yoga”

Other common aches and pains and associated treatments that are provided at AnkleNFootCenters


Pain in the heel or arch of the foot is often a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.  Inflammation occurs at the heel bone insertion of a fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) that stretches across the bottom of the foot. Pain may be present upon first step in the mornings, standing after periods of rest, or right before or after a run.  Chronic plantar fasciitis may lead to the formation of a bone spur on the heel. Both flat feet and high-arch feet are prone to this injury. Treatment may include a combination of therapies including, rest, stretching, taping, arch supports or custom orthotics molded by a podiatrist, or ultrasound guided medication placement.  At AnkleNFootCenters we offer in-house, advanced physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation for the patients’ convenience and benefit. We even have Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments and High-Tech Sound Wave therapy—-Previously available only to elite athletes


 One common knee injury is patella-femoral compression syndrome (also known as chrondomalacia patella). This occurs when the knee cap bangs into the femur, the bone behind the kneecap. This can be caused by excessive pronation or muscle weakness around the knee. Rest and icing can reduce temporary pain. If it is caused by pronation, shoe inserts or custom orthotics will adjust the joints in your rearfoot and ankle and hence knee to help reduce flare-ups. If the cause is from weakness around the knee, treatment will aim at strengthening your quadriceps muscle group. Well made biomechanic sports orthotics may help

Iilio-Tibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is another common cause of pain on the outside of the knee. Discomfort has a slower onset and occurs after running a certain distance. A podiatrist will evaluate for excessive internal rotation of the leg or pronation of the foot joints as a cause. Either condition will cause the ITB to be stretched over a bony prominence of the femur (thigh bone), which leads to irritation and subsequent pain. Treatment includes rest, icing, eliminating over-pronation in the feet, and stretching the ITB.


Tight calf muscles, poor stretching habits, and excessive running on hard surfaces or hills may result in Achilles tendinitis. This is a progressive degeneration and weakness of the tendon, usually just above its attachment to the back of the heel bone. Heel lifts, icing, and anti-inflammatories in conjunction with rest often speed healing. Achilles tendinitis can often be avoided with good stretching habits. Dr Zats, the Chief Clinician & Surgeon at AnkleNFootCenters states “Physical therapy as well as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments and High-Tech Sound Wave therapy are also offered at Ankle N Foot Centers as adjunct treatments. We provide conservative to advanced surgical treatment at our clinics.”


Typically, an overuse injury, shin splints occur when micro-tears happen to tendon insertion sites along the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula). These small tears in the tendon, results in sharp pains of the shins. Causes include, increasing mileage too fast, aggressive runs on hard surfaces or downhill, or even excessive pronation of the foot. More worrisome are stress fractures if left untreated.  Beginner runners or “weekend warriors” are susceptible to shin splints because of the new stress placed on the legs and musculature. Initial treatments consist of rest, icing, strappings and anti-inflammatories. To prevent shin splints, ease into a proper training regiment and strengthen lower leg muscles. A proper diagnosis is essential.


Many problems develop in the forefoot because of improper and excessive weight transfer during the propulsion phase of running, including bunions, hammertoes, black toenails, and metatarsal stress fractures. If swelling is present with pain in the forefoot, suspect a stress fracture and stop running. Seek the opinion of a specialist before resuming running.


Acute injuries often respond quickly if treated early and properly. Remember PRICE therapies as your first line of defense.

P-Protect                                                                                                                                               R: R-Rest
I:  Ice
C: Compression
E: Elevation

Self-treatment has its limits. If you have acute pain which does not respond to home RICE therapies or a chronic injury from a possible underlying condition, please see a sports-medicine specialist. You should not run through it and you should not live with foot pain!

For more answers to your specific injury questions, contact at 312 612-5000 or


Causes of Athlete’s Foot

Feet release approximately one half pint of moisture per day, and that rate actually increases with warm weather. This softens the skin and allows bacteria & fungi to penetrate and infect your skin. This happens by the “digestion” of your skin to allow the organisms to feed on the dead skin & nail. This usually also produces foot odor.

Fungus infections of the foot and nail spread in warm, dark and moist areas. “Athlete’s foot” makes skin itchy and scaly, nails thick and white. 

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Fortunately treatment is painless, Including laser!  Ankle N Foot Center is happy to help!          Call 312 612-5000 today to schedule an appointment at one of our 5 locations.

The AnkleNFootCenter Doctors & Staff look forward to meeting and helping you!

Why does it hurt when I run?

Did you know common running injuries such as heel pain and metatarsalgia and can be treated with minimal outpatient procedures? More than 40% of all runners report some type of “running pain” on a yearly basis.
Did you know, most of our patients report pain relief and increased distance with using custom orthotics!
Don’t Let Your Heel Pain and Other Running Injuries Keep You From Doing What You Enjoy!
For your chronic and acute pain,

Breakthrough Non-surgical Intervention Once Only Available to Top Athletes is now Affordable & Available to the Public.

PRP and SoundWave Therapy are one of the newest and  non-surgical intervention options for chronic pain, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, neuroma and tendon ruptures.

According to The National Podiatric Association, 40% of all adults will experience heel pain or a heel injury in their lifetime!


Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is Using the patients own blood  plasma that has been enriched with platelets. As a concentrated source of autologous platelets, PRP contains several different growth factors and other cytokines that can stimulate healing of soft tissue.  Patient visits usually average 1 hour and the patient can return to normal activities within 24 hours. This treatment is completely outpatient, safe and a great non-surgical option for heel pain.


EPAT, also known as Shockwave Therapy (Extra Corporeal Shockwave  Therapy), is an FDA approved, highly effective, non-surgical treatment  of soft tissue injuries . It is typically used to treat the pain associated with heel spurs, Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and other conditions. It consist of sound waves which stimulate healing at the cellular level, including small blood vessels, tissues and nerves.

Breakthrough Non-Surgical Intervention Once Only Available to Top Athletes is now Affordable & Available to the Public at the AnkleNFootCenters


PRP and Sound Wave Therapy are one of the newest and non-surgical intervention options for chronic pain, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, neuroma and tendon ruptures.

According to The American Podiatric Association, 40% of all adults will experience heel pain or a heel injury in their lifetime!


Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is Using the patient’s own blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets. As a concentrated source of autologous platelets, PRP contains several different growth factors and other cytokines that can stimulate healing of soft tissue.  Patient visits usually average 1 hour and the patient can return to normal activities within 24 hours. This treatment is completely outpatient, safe and a great non-surgical option for heel pain.

EPAT, also known as Shockwave Therapy (Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy), is an FDA approved, highly effective, non-surgical treatment of soft tissue injuries. It is typically used to treat the pain associated with heel spurs, Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and other conditions.

It consists of sound waves which stimulate healing at the cellular level, including small blood vessels, tissues and nerves.

                                                 Additional Information

Heel Spur

A bony projection extending from the bottom or back of the calcaneus (heel bone).

Pain occurs when the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles pull and tear the periosteum on the calcaneus (heel bone).


Overweight, overwork or excess physical activity. Tight Achilles tendon.  High or low arch foot. Limb length discrepancy. Pulling or tearing of the ligaments & muscles that insert into the heel on the bottom or back of the foot. This tearing of the soft tissues becomes repaired by bone growth which is known as a spur


Pain in heel first thing in the morning when standing that may or may not improve with activity. Constant dull heel pain. Pain in the heel at the end of the day


Proper stretching of the tight ligaments & muscles. Oral anti-inflammatories such as Advil or Tylenol for two to three weeks. PRP or Shock-Wave Treatment. Biomechanical analysis and Orthotics. Physical therapy. Surgery as a last alternative after more than 4-6 months of untreatable pain.

Plantar Fasciitis

A painful inflammation of the bottom of the foot between the ball of the foot and the heel.


There are several possible causes of plantar fasciitis, including:

  • Wearing high heels
  • Gaining weight
  • Increased walking, standing, or stair-climbing.

If you wear high-heeled shoes, including western-style boots, for long periods of time, the tough, tendon like tissue of the bottom of your foot can become shorter.  This layer of tissue is called fascia.  Pain occurs when you stretch fascia that has shortened.  This painful stretching might happen, for example, when you walk barefoot after getting out of bed in the morning.

If you gain weight, you might be more likely to have plantar fasciitis, especially if you walk a lot or stand in shoes with poor heel cushioning.  Normally there is a pad of fatty tissue under your heel bone.  Weight gain might break down this fat pad and cause heel pain.

Runners may get plantar fasciitis when they change their workout and increase their mileage or frequency of workouts.  It can also occur with a change in exercise surface or terrain, or if your shoes are worn out and don’t provide enough cushion for your heels.

If the arches of your foot are abnormally high or low, you are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis than if your arches are normal.


The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain when you walk.  The pain may also present itself in any area of the arch.  You may also feel pain when you stand and possibly even when you are resting.  This pain typically occurs first thing in the morning after you get out of bed, when your foot is placed flat on the floor.  The pain occurs because you are stretching the plantar fascia.  The pain usually lessens with more walking, but you may have it again after periods of rest.

You may feel no pain when you are sleeping because the position of your feet during rest allows the fascia to shorten and relax.


Rest, ice pack to the heel, prescribe anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin or ibuprofen and stretching.  All these treatments help to decrease pain and inflammation. Newer non-surgical treatment, such as PRP or Shockwave, Orthotics, whether custom or over-the-counter, may be part of your treatment, as well as the prevention in the future.

If your heel pain is not relieved by the treatments described above, your health care provider may recommend physical therapy.    A splint may be fitted to the calf of your leg and foot, to be worn at night to keep your foot stretched during sleep.  Surgery is rarely necessary.


The best way to prevent plantar fasciitis is to wear shoes that are well made and fit your feet.  This is especially important when you exercise or walk a lot or stand for a long time on hard surfaces.  Get new athletic shoes before your old shoes stop supporting and cushioning your feet.

You should also:

  • Avoid repeated jarring to the heel.
  • Maintain a healthy weigh
  • Stretch your Achilles tendons (calves)


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