Approximately 20% of all adults in the United States will experience heel fissures, or “cracked heels,” at least once during their lifetime. Cracked heels typically occur when the skin surrounding one’s heel becomes noticeably tough, dry, and thick. The dried skin around the heel can eventually crack, creating fissures. The risk of developing cracked heels is markedly higher during the winter season when the colder weather typically makes the skin drier. If you are experiencing cracked heels, you may be able to make use of several at-home remedies. For example, you may soak your feet in water for approximately 20 minutes and use a pumice stone to gently remove the hardened skin cells. Afterwards, you may apply a heavy-duty moisturizer to the back of your heel. Typically, moisturizers containing ingredients such as petroleum jelly or glycerin can effectively nourish the skin. To address cracked heels, you might also use alpha-hydroxy acids or urea to target hardened skin cells and effectively remove them from your heels. If at-home remedies like these fail to mitigate cracked heels, this could be a sign to consult a podiatrist. Ultimately, cracked heels can be an unsightly annoyance, but you and your podiatrist can take steps to address the affliction.
If the skin on your feet starts to crack, you may want to see a podiatrist to find treatment. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatristsThe Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLC can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
It is important to moisturize your cracked heels in order to prevent pain, bleeding, and infection. The reason cracked heels form is because the skin on the foot is too dry to support the immense pressure placed on them. When the foot expands, the dry skin on the foot begins to split.
Ways to Help Heal Them
- Invest in a good foot cream
- Try Using Petroleum Jelly
- Ease up on Soaps
- Drink Plenty of Water
Ways to Prevent Cracked Heels
- Moisturize After Showering
- Skip a Shower
- Keep Shower Water Lukewarm
- Don’t Scrub Your Feet
If you are unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels, seek guidance from a podiatrist. Your doctor will help you with any questions or information you may need.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective plantar fascia tissue on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed, or even torn, from overuse. Women, runners, people who are obese or who stand while working, are more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Also, having certain structural issues—such as flat feet, high arches, or tight calf muscles—can cause the plantar fascia to pull away from the heel while it is bearing weight, and may lead to this condition. Plantar fasciitis can be very painful, especially when you take your first steps in the morning, thereby engaging the plantar fascia after a long period of inactivity. Icing, stretching, anti-inflammatory medications and injections, casting, splinting, and other conservative treatments administered by a podiatrist can usually repair the plantar fascia without the need for surgery. It is suggested to make an appointment with a podiatrist to have your condition diagnosed and treated properly.
Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact one of our podiatristsThe Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLCcan provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- Excessive running
- Non-supportive shoes
- Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia
How Can It Be Treated?
- Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
- Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
- Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel
While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be a debilitating disease where a joint's lining (synovium) is attacked by the body’s immune system. This causes the synovium to become inflamed, which damages the surrounding tissues and ligaments. In time, this may dislocate toe joints and cause deformities such as bunions and hammertoes. Along with toe joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also occur in the ankle joint, the tarsometatarsal joints in the midfoot, and the hindfoot (heel area). While rheumatoid arthritis has no cure, a podiatrist can help treat its symptoms which, if left untreated, may inhibit a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Your podiatrist may prescribe special shoes, braces, and/or create custom orthotics to help restore functionality to the feet and ankles and relieve pain. Icing, gentle exercises, and physical therapy may also help relieve symptoms, as can corticosteroid injections. Make an appointment with a podiatrist today to begin treatment for your painful rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact one of our podiatristsThe Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLCwill assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.
Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet
Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.
- Swelling and pain in the feet
- Stiffness in the feet
- Pain on the ball or sole of feet
- Joint shift and deformation
Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.
Research has shown that plantar warts affect approximately ten percent of the population. They are warts that develop on the sole of the foot, and grow inward as a result of the weight the feet endure on a daily basis. They are generally caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), and can enter the body through small cuts in the skin on the feet. They are prone to developing on the ball and heel of the foot, and are considered to be hyperkeratotic eruptions. Plantar warts can cause severe pain and discomfort, and aggressive treatment may be necessary to relieve the pain while walking. Some patients have to alter their style of walking if they have a plantar wart, and their posture may be affected. If you have a wart on the bottom of your foot, please seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can effectively treat this condition.
Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact one of our podiatristsThe Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLCwill assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.
About Plantar Warts
Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.
While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.
- Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
- Hard or thick callused spots
- Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
- Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing
- Electric tool removal
- Laser Treatment
- Topical Creams (prescription only)
- Over-the-counter medications
To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.
It’s not about the looks or the status, it’s about the fit. When in doubt, experts recommend that when shopping for running shoes to put fit over fashion, brand, or price. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters, while shoes that are too wide can hurt your toes. Shoes that fit poorly can cause tendonitis, pinched nerves, heel pain, ankle sprains, and stress fractures. Signs that your shoes don’t fit properly include heel slippage, numbness on the top of the feet, and bruising on the toes. The best way to prevent these from occurring is to measure your feet while also wearing the socks you will use as you run. Check your foot measurements periodically, as foot size can change if you gain or lose weight. A rule of thumb is to have at least a half-inch of room between your toes and the end of the shoe. Running shoes usually run about half a size larger than street shoes, to allow for the feet to expand as you run. Try on several types of shoes before making a decision. If you need guidance on the best running shoe for you, please consult a podiatrist.
You should always make sure your running shoes fit properly in order to avoid injury. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from The Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLC. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type
Improper shoe sizing can cause a myriad of problems for your feet. Shoes that don’t fit you properly can lead to muscular imbalances in your body, which can result in foot, knee, and hip injuries.
Tips for Finding the Right Running Shoe
- Make sure you have a thumb’s width of wiggle room between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
- There should be little to no slipping at the heel
- Don’t assume your size in one shoe brand will be your size in another
- Do not lace up your shoes too tightly
- Walk around in the store with your new shoes before you buy them
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Ahoskie, Durham, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.
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