At Patrick Fettinger, DPM, one of the most frequent reasons patients come to our Fairfield County offices is to get relief from heel pain. This painful symptom can become quite debilitating. When every step you take hurts, it’s easy to see how heel trouble can prevent you from enjoying the active lifestyle you take for granted.
Tracking Down the Cause
The first step is finding out what is making your heel hurt. Our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger, will examine your feet and also get a complete medical history. The foot doctor may also order imaging studies such as x-rays to get a clearer picture of your heel disorder. One of the primary sources of heel pain doesn’t even originate in the heel and that is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue located on the bottom of your foot between your heel and your toes. If the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, it can lead to pressure and pain in the heel. Most often structural defects in your foot such as overly high arches, or overpronation are the source of plantar fasciitis. Other possible causes of heel pain include:
- Fat pad atrophy on the heel (a natural part of the aging process)
- Being overweight
- Stress fracture
- Nerve problem
Finding the underlying cause of your heel pain will in turn dictate the course of treatment.
There are several conservative methods available:
- Shoe modifications—particularly choosing styles with better arch support
- Stretching exercises
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications and injection therapy
- Custom orthotics
For persistent cases of heel pain, we also offer Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT).
Continuing to walk on a heel that hurts will most likely result in worsening the injury. Contact our office in New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Don’t suffer needlessly with heel pain.
At Patrick Fettinger, DPM we know that many of our Middlesex County patients are joining the rest of the country and slowly, cautiously trying to re-open their own lives. The stay at home time may have helped slow the spread of the virus, but it had some negative side effects for sure. One casualty may have been your exercise program. Now it’s time to get started again but you want to do so in a way that won’t result in foot or ankle injury. Below some tips on re-entering the fitness realm.
Get Your Head in the Game
The first hurdle to overcome for many is motivation. There are a number of psychological factors at play that may have left you feeling lackluster and indecisive about starting a new exercise routine. Think about why you want to get in shape. Is it to feel healthier, stronger? Look better? Have more energy? Replace negative speak (“I’m too tired, It’s too hot/cold/rainy, etc.”) with positive messages the verbalize your goals (“I want to fit into my jeans, play with my grandkids, run a 5K, etc.”).
Check Up on Chronic Podiatric Problems
If you have suffered from an ongoing foot disorder such as plantar fasciitis, weak ankles, flat feet, contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office to schedule a consultation with our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger. The foot doctor will want to know if there have been any changes in your condition and can also recommend the best types of exercise to accommodate any ongoing podiatric concerns.
Choose Your Program
Of course, if you had a fitness regimen that was working before the pandemic and it’s available you can go back to it. But now it is also an opportunity to try something new. With summer weather consider outdoor activities or a combination of fitness activities that will help burn calories and increase muscle strength. Whatever you decide on, make sure you start out slowly and increase the intensity of your workout gradually.
Check Your Gear
The most important piece of exercise equipment in our mind is your shoes. Choose a pair that is suited for the type of activity you plan to do. Get professionally fitted if possible. If you already have athletic shoes, examine them for any signs of wear before getting started.
Put exercise on your calendar like any other appointment. Set small goals and celebrate each one as you reach them. Choose an “exercise buddy” that can help keep you accountable. It won’t take long until you’re back in the fitness groove. If at any time you begin to experience foot or ankle discomfort, contact us promptly.
At Patrick Fettinger, DPM we hope all of our Fairfield County patients are staying safe and healthy. We know that COVID 19 has created a fair amount of stress for families. Working from home and distance learning, combined with fears connected to the virus, and an abundance of together time can be a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the strain and yes, actually have some good come out of this challenging time. Below are 4 suggestions to consider trying with your family.
- Stick to your routine as much as possible. Getting up at your usual time, performing basic hygiene daily, eating meals at regular times, doing chores—anything that is familiar will provide touchpoints of normalcy that will offer comfort and a sense of security. For parents and children to get necessary school/office work accomplished, create a schedule of work hours (with breaks).
- Create space to express feelings. All family members need to be able to share their fears and worries, as well as the positive things they’re experiencing during this time. Don’t try to sugarcoat or dismiss negative feelings. Make time to talk to each of your children individually and listen to what they’re saying before offering feedback.
- Stay/get physically active. Regular exercise is essential for good health (and not just during the time of the coronavirus!) If your family doesn’t already, now is a good time to start being physically active together. Walks or bike rides around the neighborhood, an indoor fitness circuit, video exercise routines or just working in the yard are all viable options at this time. Exercise elevates mood, helps maintain an appropriate weight, and improves sleep quality.
- Make time for fun. One positive outcome of the stay home orders can be a chance to reconnect and enjoy family time. Plan specific activities like cooking together, watching a new or favorite movie, playing board games, organizing family photos, and making cards to send to friends and family.
If you experience any foot or ankle discomfort while exercising, contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office to discuss your condition with our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger.
We will get through this challenging time!
At Patrick Fettinger, DPM we hope that our Fairfield county patients are taking all necessary precautions to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak. We also want to offer families who are stuck home an educational and fun opportunity by sharing some suggestions for observing National Foot Health Month.
Some Fun Facts
Your feet are amazing structures! Here are some facts about feet that children (and many adults) may not know:
- A pair of feet contain 52 bones—that’s 25% of the total number of bones in your entire body! In addition, they have 66 joints, 214 ligaments, and 38 muscles.
- No wonder feet are ticklish—there are more sensory nerve endings per square centimeter on the bottom of your feet than anywhere else in your body!
- Feet contain 250,000 sweat glands that are capable of producing up to ½ pint of sweat a day.
- The average person walks approximately 115,000 miles in their lifetime. That’s like circling the globe over four times!
Keeping Feet Healthy
There are lots of simple steps that every family member can take to protect the health of their feet. Brainstorm together as a family and develop your list of healthy feet tips. Here are some of our favorites:
- Keep feet clean and dry. This means washing at least once a day. Change socks and shoes if they get wet and do not allow feet to stay in sweaty socks.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that smoking harms your feet? It decreases circulation which is important for getting oxygen-rich blood to your legs, feet, and toes. Exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet that helps you maintain an appropriate weight are other lifestyle choices that keep your feet healthy too.
- Take care of toenails. Jagged nails should be trimmed or filed. Don’t peel nails off. This can lead to injury or infection. Don’t cut nails too short or they can become ingrown.
- Keep your shoes on, especially when you are out in public places like the gym locker room or gymnastics studio. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot are picked up by direct contact.
- Not sharing is caring—when it comes to your feet! Don’t borrow other people’s shoes or socks or use the same towel on your feet that someone else does. This will prevent the spread of infection.
- Contact our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger, in our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office too if you experience any foot or ankle pain or notice any unusual changes in your feet like rashes, bumps, swelling or skin or nail discoloration.
March is National Nutrition Month and we at Patrick Fettinger, DPM know that your diet can have a big impact on your feet. You may not make the connection between what you put in your mouth and your feet but there are several important ways that your food habits can positively or negatively influence your podiatric health.
Your feet carry the weight of your entire body. It makes sense that the more you weigh, the more strain you put on your lower extremities. There are many podiatric disorders in which carrying excess weight is a risk factor. These include flat feet, sesamoiditis and plantar fasciitis, to name just a few. But the effect is even greater than you may think. For every pound that you gain, you increase the load on your lower extremities (knees, ankles, and feet) by three pounds when you walk and up to seven pounds when you run. The good news is that every pound you lose decreases the stress by the same amount. If you are very overweight, you may want to consider consulting a nutritionist to get a meal plan that can help you reach a healthy weight.
Research has shown important connections between diet and inflammation. If you suffer from gout, for example, you are probably already aware that certain foods—shellfish, red meat, organ meats, brandy, beer, and red wine—can trigger an attack of this painful arthritic condition. Also, some foods, like olive oil, fish rich in Omega 3’s, nuts and certain fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and strawberries) have all be shown to reduce inflammation.
Diet also plays a key role in preventing certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, all of which can have detrimental effects on your feet. Choosing foods that help you control your blood sugar levels and decrease cholesterol and plaque buildup in your arteries greatly lowers your risk for these and other diseases.
If you are experiencing foot pain and want to know if your diet may be a factor contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office to get your condition evaluated by our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger.
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