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Are you suffering from heel pain?
Heel pain is never normal! Over 2 million Americans seek treatment for heel pain each year. The AnkleNFoot Centers are known worldwide for having the latest & most proven treatments & technologies including custom orthotics, Protein Rich Plasma Treatments, Shockwave therapy, Biomechanical Evaluation & Physical Therapy.
Although Plantar Fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain there are many more causes – Get the right diagnosis & treatment options today!
If you or a friend suffer from Heel Pain-Take advantage of our $40 off New Patient Visit for any form of foot or ankle pain-for August is Heel Pain Awareness Month
To schedule your No-Wait appointment to End Your Heel Pain call 312-612-5000 or book an online appointment HERE.
The prevailing attitude of many exercisers is that injuries are a normal part of running, and most injuries just magically appear. “Not so,” says Dr. George Tsatsos, Medical Director of the AnkleNFootCenters.com Clinics in Chicago. “Research clearly shows that the majority of injuries can be tracked to a certain cause—such as over-training—and with little planning runners can avoid most common sports injuries. In fact, research indicates that running not only does not increase a person’s risk of developing arthritis, even those with arthritis are not injuring themselves further by running.”
The most commonly injured areas include the arch and heel region, lower leg, knee, Achilles tendon, and forefoot. Running injuries are usually caused by overuse, faulty biomechanics, and lack of flexibility.
OVERUSE INJURIES. The majority of aches and pains are overuse injuries. Each running step requires your body to absorb three to four times its weight, and the repetitive stress of this shock can lead to breakdown and injury. Luckily, overuse injuries can be prevented with proper training. Following these guidelines can help reduce your risk of overuse injury:
- Build mileage slowly. Increase by no more than 10% a week or 20% every two weeks.
- Follow hard days with easy recovery days.
- Do not routinely increase your weekly mileage Plan easy and hard weeks.
- Replacing a day of running with swimming, bicycling, in-line skating,
or stair climbing will give you an aerobic workout while resting your running muscles.
- Your risk of overuse injuries rises dramatically as your weekly mileage goes above 40 to 50 miles. Maintain this level only if you can do so relatively–pain-free.
- Racing places enormous stress on your body. Plan a racing schedule that allows enough recovery between events. Run easy at least one day for each mile of a race.
BIOMECHANICS. 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 may be noticed as partial or complete collapsing of the arch and rolling in of the ankle as your foot lands.
To determine if you have improper biomechanics, look for abnormal shoe wear patterns. Wearing shoes on the inside signifies excessive pronation. Have a friend watch you run and note from behind if the insides of your ankles roll inward. If so, you probably over-pronate. If you feel you have faulty biomechanics and are often injured, see a sports-medicine podiatrist for an analysis of your running style and shoe wear.
FLEXIBILITY. Running has many benefits, but increased flexibility is not one of them. In fact, as running strengthens your leg muscles, it also shortens and tightens them. Tight muscles and tendons restrict your range of motion. Stretch before and after running.
Let’s now take a closer look at some of the more common aches and pains of running.
Aches and Pains 1-1-1.1
PLANTAR FASCIITIS. Pain in the heel or arch area is often plantar fasciitis, or heel spur syndrome. This is an inflammation of a fibrous band of tissue which stretches from the heel to the toes. Pain may be present in the morning, after rest, and after running; it’s usually worse upon waking and at the start of a run. Chronic plantar fasciitis may lead to the formation of heel bone spurs. Flat feet and high-arch feet are prone to this injury. Treatment may include a combination of rest, stretching, taping, different shoes, arch supports or custom orthotics, and anti-inflammatories.
KNEE PAIN. One common knee injury is patella-femoral compression syndrome (also known as chrondromalacia of the patella). This occurs when the knee cap slams into the femur, the bone behind the kneecap. Patella-femoral compression syndrome is often caused by excessive pronation or muscle weakness around the knee. Rest and icing should reduce temporary pain. If it is caused by pronation, shoe inserts may help to reduce further flare-ups. Strengthening your quadriceps will help if it is caused by weakness around the knee.
Another common cause of knee pain is iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), which causes pain on the outside of the knee. The onset of pain is usually slow and occurs after running a certain distance. The major causes of ITBS are excessive internal rotation of the leg and pronation of the sub-talar joint. Both cause the ITB to be stretched over a bony prominence of the femur (the bone in your thigh), which leads to irritation and subsequent pain. Treatment includes rest, icing, eliminating over-pronation, and stretching the ITB.
ACHILLES TENDINITIS. Tight calf muscles, poor stretching habits, and too much running on hard surfaces and hills may result in Achilles tendinitis. This is a progressive degeneration and weakness of the tendon, usually just above its attachment to the heel bone. It is often necessary to stop running until the injury is healed. Heel lifts, icing, and anti-inflammatories in conjunction with rest often speed healing. Achilles tendinitis can often be avoided with good stretching habits.
SHIN SPLINTS. Muscle and tendon weakness in the front or inside of the lower leg may result in sharp pain in these areas, often called shin splints. Stress fractures may occur if shin splints are left untreated. Excessive pronation, increasing mileage too fast, running on hard surfaces, and downhill running are leading causes. Beginning runners are also susceptible to shin splints because of the new stress placed on the lower legs. Initial treatment consists of rest, icing, and anti-inflammatories. To prevent shin splints, strengthen the muscles of the lower leg.
FOREFOOT PAIN. 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.
TREATING INJURIES. Injuries often respond quickly if treated early and properly. Rest and icing are your first line of defense. If you have acute pain or pain that alters your normal running motion, stop running and don’t resume training until the pain is gone. If you have minor aches which don’t affect your running motion, reduce your running and apply ice to painful areas for 10 to 15 minutes after a run. If you have swelling, apply compression and elevate the affected leg.
Self-treatment has its limits. If you have acute pain which does not respond to rest, see a sports-medicine specialist. Also see a specialist if you have a chronic injury to a given body part, because this probably means you have an underlying condition that needs to be corrected, such as a problem with pronation or lack of flexibility.
For more answers to your specific injury questions, contact AnkleNFootCenters.com at 312 612-5000
Winter Storm Jonas may have spared Chicago, but stepping into the frigid outdoors still requires bundling up.
Most of us who’ve braved a Windy City winter know to invest in a puffy, down-filled coat, thick gloves and a warm hat.
But what sort of winter boots are best for your feet?
While it’s common to see women wearing colorful Hunter rain boots or fur-lined Uggs, what’s the perfect footwear for keeping feet warm and dry with enough traction for ice and snow?
“Keeping your feet dry in the winter months is perhaps even more important than keeping your feet dry in other seasons,” Holmbeck said. “Cold, wet feet in winter months can lead to serious problems.”
For one, he said, chilly, moist feet can cause frostbite — especially in those with diabetes. In addition, the cool, damp environment inside boots is perfect for fungal growth. This can infect the skin and lead to athlete’s foot, or target the nails and cause thick discoloration. These infections are often difficult, costly and time-consuming to treat. They can also lead to bacterial infections of the feet or nails.
Meanwhile, the fit of boots is also important. Poor fit can result in foot and ankle pain, heel or tendon pain — even nerve pain. Make sure to try on the boots with the appropriate thickness of sock.
Last, but not least, does the boot have traction on ice? Are you wearing boots for fashion or function?
Here’s a look at some popular boots you’ll see on people’s feet this season – perhaps even your own – and the pros and cons of each.
Sometimes dubbed “wellies,” and produced in a rainbow of colors by brands such as Hunter, these boots are popular among women in Chicago – and their style is favored by celebs such as Kate Middleton and the Olsen twins.
Pros: They’re waterproof, and block rain or snow from soaking into socks. You can make them warmer by adding socks or specially made boot-liners.
Cons: Be prepared to pay if you want Hunter boots, often upwards of $150. There are cheaper brands, but the cheap ones may gap, let rain or snow soak in, or cause slipping in the snow.
Let’s face it, Chicago gets cold. Even with socks, rain boots are no match for the next Polar Vortex. Fur-lined Uggs or copy-cats that are knit, down-filled or fleece-lined were made to withstand the sub-zero.
Pros: Uggs will still let you feel your feet while waiting for the CTA during a cold morning commute. These boots can also repel light, powdery snow.
Cons: They’re only warm as long as they’re dry. Step in enough slush or a puddle, and your feet will wind up wet.
Made popular by companies such as L.L. Bean, the boots are part-rain boot with a waterproof rubber coating on the foot and laces criss-crossing the front of the leg.
Pros: Opt for a shearling-lined version for a boot that’s both warm and waterproof.
Cons: Stripping off the shoes – especially if the laces are caked with snow and your hands are still gloved — can be messy and cumbersome. In addition, the shape could potentially put pressure on the toes.
It may seem obvious, but take note of how many people trudge around town in loafers, tennis shoes – even heels. It’s Chicago – winter snow is as certain as death and taxes. We recommend visiting a retailer such as North Face or Columbia for boots that are warm and snow-proof. Since the holidays are over, odds are good of finding boots on sale.
There are often no laces, and many can be pulled off – meaning you often don’t even have to deal with a zipper.
Cons: Sorry, you’re still in Chicago – not Florida. It’s going to be cold for a few more months, and you’re going to need snowboots.
Still stumped about which boots to buy? Consult the experts at Ankle N Foot Centers. We may not be able to control the weather, but we can help you weather winter with advice about the right boots.
Question: I am a male-power walker in my mid-60s with symptoms of plantar fasciitis developing in my right foot.
To give you some background, I ran for 10 years (I stopped in 1995, but I am familiar with the ailment. As a runner, I had full-blown plantar fasciitis in both feet, for which I sought the services of a physiotherapist.)
In more recent years, I have be walking between two and three miles daily, but will occasionally walk 3 to 5 miles.
After I walk longer distances, I make sure to ice the affected foot with a bag of frozen peas for 20 minutes following my workout.
In addition, I’m using a pair of custom orthotics that were made for me several years ago (I am flat footed,) along with full-length sorbothane insoles in a pair of old running shoes.
Can you suggest something I can do to prevent worsening of my condition? Would new walking shoes be worth trying?
Answer: This orthopedic podiatrist with offices in Chicago’s West Loop (60661,) Roscoe Village (60618,) Ukrainian Village (60622,) and in suburban Elmhurst and Bartlett says…
For your plantar fasciitis, get a new pair of orthotics.
As you man know, plantar fasciitis is perhaps one of the most common sources of heel pain. Those who suffer from the condition have pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue — the plantar fascia — which runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, plantar fasciitis usually creates stabbing pain, often during the first steps one takes in the morning. Yet once the feet limbers up a bit during the day, the pain normally decreases. Still, it may return after long periods of standing or when a person gets up after a period of being seated.
The condition is common among runners, those who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support.
For that reason, we suggest you get a fresh diagnosis for your plantar fasciitis and find out the biomechanical cause.
For instance, if tight calves are causing the pain, look for shoes with a little bit of a heel and do plenty of calf and plantar stretches.
The podiatrists at Ankle and Foot Centers are experts at treating heel pain, so make an appointment at one of our offices if you need help. In addition to diagnosing your pain, we can provide patients with pre-made or custom orthotics and suggest the right type if shoes for you.
While many people’s attention across the area has recently been focused on the Chicago Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup victory in six years, icy days are behind us for now and summer is getting into full swing.
Especially with the July 4 holiday just around the corner, more people are wearing shorts, tank tops and flip-flops.
But while these shoes remain stylish and come in nearly every color, style and price range, they can do a lot of damage — and offer virtually no protection — for the feet.
We recently came across a list of reasons why flip-flops can be bad for you that the American Podiatric Medical Association shared with Cosmopolitan magazine.
Take a look and learn.
1. They expose feet to bacteria, viral and fungal infections. Wearing flip-flops exposes your feet to the elements. That means they can get covered in Staphylococcus — a bacteria that can irritate skin on the foot or, in the worst cases, lead to amputation. (This depends on your health at the time the bacteria is picked up, and whether you have open wounds from exfoliation during a pedicure, or open cuts.)
Meanwhile, athlete’s foot – a fungal infection that’s easily spread and is marked by itchiness – happens when a person walks around barefoot – or nearly so – and comes into contact with fungus. This is also true for the virus that causes warts, human papillomavirus, better known as HPV.
2. Heel damage. While walking, your heels hit the ground with force, and when the only thing between you and the ground is a flip-flop, the heel-strike impact can be even greater. This can result in pain — especially when standing or walking in flip-flops for long periods of time.
3. They can lead to blisters. When the thin strap of a flip-flop rubs against your feet while walking, it can create irritation and blisters. If a blister pops, you’ve got an open wound that leaves you vulnerable to pathogens when your foot is exposed.
4. They can create toe damage. A hammertoe happens when the knuckles of the toes bend. And when you’ve got a pair of flip-flops on your feet, the toes work extra hard to keep them in place. Over time, this can lead to a hammertoe.
5. They can cause pain. Those with flat feet need arch support to align their knees, hips and back. A flat shoe doesn’t offer that support, so as a result, your joints must compensate. This can result in overuse injuries such as Achilles tendonitis (injury to the tendon that bridges the calf muscle to the heel bone,) heel pain and pinched back nerves.
6. They can prompt bunions. Toes must work harder to keep flip-flops on the feet, and all this over-gripping can aggravate bunions, a painful bump at the big toe joint.
If you think you might be suffering from pain or injury from your flip-flops, call the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers. Our podiatrists are experts at treating blisters, hammertoes, bunions and other foot injuries and can offer suggestions on the right types of shoes and inserts for your foot type.
Enjoy the Chicago weather this summer and we hope you stay safe no matter where your feet may take you!
For more information, visit our website at thinkfeet.com!
Worried About the Look of Your Feet This Summer? Step Into the Light With Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus.
Summer is just about here, and already, warm, sunny days have sent locals and tourists alike to Chicago’s famous street festivals, Cubs and Sox games and for jogs or bike rides along Lake Michigan’s busy beachfront path.
After bundling in layers all winter, the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers know that many people are anxious to show of a little skin this summer. But for many, wearing summer shoes such as sandals and flip-flops can be a source of shame when they have toenail fungus.
Common symptoms include toenails that slowly grow thick or yellow or crumble at the tip. Up to 33 million Americans suffer from toenail fungus, and in addition to obvious thickening, streaking or yellowing of the nail, it can also lead to ingrown nails or infections such as athlete’s foot.
Anyone can be at risk of a fungal nail infection, especially those who have diabetes, wear artificial nails and swim and/or go barefoot in public swimming pools or showers at the gym.
The good news is that one of the most effective ways to get rid of the problem is through laser treatment, which is offered at all href=”http://www.anklenfoot.com/Home/tabid/125/Default.aspx”>Ankle and Foot Centers locations in Chicago’s West Loop, Roscoe Village and Ukrainian Village and in suburban Elmhurst and Bartlett. The Food and Drug Administration approved lasers to fight fungus in 2010 after being used in Europe for several years.
Although there are creams and pills that help treat toenail fungus, laser treatment may be more effective because some fungus-killing drugs have side effects. The oral medication Lamisil, for instance, is inexpensive and can be effective, but some are hesitant to take it because in rare cases, it may cause liver damage.
One of the benefits of a laser is that it cooks and kills damaging fungi while leaving healthy tissue alone.
Our podiatrists use the Q-Clear laser. It’s the only FDA approved laser with an efficacy rate of up to 95 percent. There are other lasers out there, but they may not be FDA-approved, or have a lower efficacy rate.
We use the laser to treat all nails on the foot because fungus can easily spread toe to toe. The more spores you kill, the greater the success rate. It’s like going for a dental cleaning and only polishing some the teeth.
While one treatment is often effective, a few sessions with the laser may be needed. We also give patients a list of hygiene-related items to do afterward. For those who follow our directions and return for a yearly follow-up exam, odds are good of not being bothered by nail fungus again.
With summer underway, we encourage those with toenail fungus to give our treatment a try. Flexible Spending Accounts can be used to cover treatment, or you take advantage of our Amazon Local deal.
More information about laser treatment can be found at
It was dubbed “flatgate” by the media.
While celebrities and fashion routinely make news, during last month’s Cannes Film Festival in France, the Hollywood Reporter to CNN to USA Today jumped all over reports that some women were turned away from a gala premiere. The reason? They weren’t wearing high heels.
“Multiple guests, some older with medical conditions, were denied access to the anticipated world premiere screening for wearing rhinestone flats,” according to the trade publication Screen International.
While they may be fashionable, constantly keeping a pair of high heels on your feet can lead to a variety of foot issues, from painful ingrown nails to more serious foot issues such as bunions.
The podiatrists at Ankle and Foot Center know too-tall shoes can be dangers. In fact, the American Osteopathic Association reports that one in 10 women wear high heels at least three days per week. Meanwhile, data shows that high heels are one of the biggest contributors to foot problems in women, with up to 30 percent suffering permanent problems from prolonged wear.
But while most people have heard about high heels, not everyone knows about the issues they can cause, such as bunions.
In essence, it’s a bony hump that forms where the big toe attaches to the foot. Because it’s located on a joint — where the toe bends during walking — a person’s full body weight presses on the bunion with every step, meaning they can be very painful.
Meanwhile, depending on severity, treatments for bunions vary. It can range from medication to ease swelling to custom shoe inserts to surgery in more severe cases.
The good news is that picking the right footwear can go a long way in preventing bunions. Here are a few tips.
• Pick shoes that have wide and deep area that surrounds the toes. Look for shoes with low or flat heels coupled with good arch support. Make sure there’s space between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
• Avoid constant wear of tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes. This type of footwear tends to put pressure on the big toe joint.
• Don’t buy or constantly wear shoes that cramp or irritate your toes.
• Wear shoes that conform to the shape of your foot without squeezing or pressing
• Avoid shoes with pointy toes.
While it’s often pretty clear a patient has a bunion from the pain it create — and the unusual shape of the big toe that comes with it – it’s a good idea to get diagnosed by a podiatrist. The doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers can work with you at any of our five locations to diagnose and treat the problem.
We’ll often try conservative measures first to go you back on your feet. And unlike the bad press created by “flatgate,” we think you’ll agree that’s good news.
With Memorial Day approaching, there’s plenty of summer fun planned for those in the Chicago area, everything from spending the day at Navy Pier or the Lincoln Park Zoo to special events that draw crowds into the city such as the annual Taste of Chicago.
But the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers know one of the downsides of warmer weather is that it can make the toe area of your shoes an ideal place for fungus to grow. The dark, moist area inside the shoe can lead to issues such as athlete’s foot or fungal toenail infections – or at the very least, smelly shoes.
However, the Wall Street Journal published a story a few weeks ago about ultraviolet sanitizers that claim to eliminate shoes of fungi that can lead to infections — in addition to ridding athletic and leather shoes of bacteria that make them smelly.
The Journal reported that one device — the SteriShoe — was found in a study to lessen the levels of fungus in test pairs of athletic and leather shoes, but scientists say more research is needed.
According to the Journal, a study that was published in 2012 in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association concluded that the SteriShoe device — sold by California-based Shoe Care Innovations — reduced the levels of two common fungi that cause athlete’s foot and nail infections by 80 percent.
But since only four shoes were tested, the researchers can’t be sure that some of fungus reduction didn’t occur by chance.
“There is a very good trend that this works, but more research is needed for a really solid, robust conclusion,” study co-author Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, who works as professor and director of the Center for Medical Mycology and Mycology Reference Library at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University – told the Journal.
If you’re confused about how to remove odor from your shoes – of other issues such as athlete’s foot or fungus, don’t hesitate to consult the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers. Our podiatrists commonly treat these types of issues, and we can recommend some of the best types of shoes for you. In addition, we also offer state-of-the-art laser treatment for toenail fungus.
Don’t hesitate to seek us out! We’re here to help.