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What To Look For: Everyday Foot & Ankle Problems
By Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland
October 14, 2014
Category: Podiatry
You don’t have to be an athlete to experience foot problems. Everyone’s hard on their feet; and while they tend to be pretty resilient, even they reach a limit. If you’ve been noticing a new pain when you walk, you might be dealing with one of these four common podiatric injuries.
 

Common Foot & Ankle Problems:podiatrist looking at an x-ray
 

Plantar fasciitis
 
Plantar fasciitis, which is one cause of heel pain, is a very common foot problem. If there’s a severe pain at the bottom of your heel that seems worse upon getting out of bed or after sitting for a long period of time, you might be dealing with a case of plantar fasciitis. While there are other causes for heel pain including tendonitis or stress fractures, plantar fasciitis tends to be a likely culprit in most cases.
 
Plantar fasciitis treatment includes stretching exercises, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and supportive footwear. Also, rest is vitally important for proper healing.
 
Ankle sprain
 
If twisting your ankle has caused swelling and pain, it’s most likely that you’ve sprained it. When you sprain your ankle it simply means that you’ve either stretched out or possibly torn the ligaments in your ankle. While ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor. If you’ve experienced several or more severe ankle sprains, you could potentially deal with chronic joint pain, as well; however, treating your ankle sprain as soon as possible will help alleviate your symptoms and keep ankle problems from getting worse.
 
Ankle sprains are treated with a variety of options from wearing a protective brace and resting your foot to icing, NSAID pain relievers and compression wraps. We will also recommend rehabilitation exercises to help facilitate proper healing. However, if the ligament is torn or severely damaged, you might need to consider foot surgery.
 
Achilles tendonitis
 
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body, and it connects your calf muscles to the heel bone. While the Achilles tendon is pretty resilient, it’s still prone to problems like tendonitis, which tend to happen from overuse. With Achilles tendonitis you will experience inflammation, pain and swelling. Repeated stress and overuse can result in Achilles tendonitis.
 
The first line of treatment usually consists of resting and staying off your feet, icing the tendon, doing calf stretches and taking NSAIDs. Physical therapy can also help get you back on track. We may also recommend custom orthotics or supportive shoes.
 
Calf muscle tears
 
Calf muscle tears are most often seen in recreational athletes that play sports like basketball or tennis, as you have to be able to change directions quickly. The symptoms are similar to an Achilles tendon rupture. The main difference is the location of the pain, which is in the lower calf area rather than the back of the heel. Treatment is non-invasive and often consists of resting, taking anti-inflammatories, wearing a supportive boot, and doing physical therapy and stretching exercises.
 
If you think you might be dealing with one of these common foot or ankle injuries, then give us a call our Olney office at (301) 924-5044. We’ll figure out what’s ailing you and get you back on your feet!

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