Treatment Specialties

Heel and Arch Pain, Plantar Fasciitis

Heel pain is a common condition that can be caused by several different factors. Patients who stand for many hours a day, wear high heels, or have naturally tight calf muscles, flat feet or very high arches are at an increased risk of developing heel pain.

Causes
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament running from your heel to the ball of your foot, which is called the plantar fascia. The bottom, or inside, of your heel may hurt when you stand. The pain usually decreases after you walk a few steps, but it may return with prolonged movement. Plantar fasciitis can occur in patients whose foot flattens too much, or whose foot doesn't flatten enough.

Heel pain may also develop as a result of tendonitis around the ankle, which is an inflammation of the tendon or tissue; heel spurs, which are bony outgrowths that develop at the base of the heel bone and cause pain while standing from nerve irritation; or from a stress fracture, which is a crack in the heel bone. Dr. Axt will determine the cause of your heel pain after a thorough evaluation of your condition.

Treatment
Treatment for plantar fasciitis and other sources of heel pain can often be treated through rest and stretching exercises, as well as anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve pain and swelling. Cortisone injections, arch support and orthotic inserts may be recommended as well. Patients who continue to experience pain after these conservative methods may require surgery in order to effectively treat their condition.

Sprains

A sprain involves a stretching or tearing of ligaments as a result of a sports injury, fall, accident or other type of trauma. The ligaments are the tough fibrous bands that hold the ankle bones in place. An ankle sprain is a common injury, and usually affects the outside of the ankle joint. Some people may be more prone to ankle sprains because of their bone structure.

Symptoms
Sprains are divided into categories based on the severity of the injury, from Grade 1 (slight damage to the ligament) to Grade 3 (complete tear). Symptoms may include pain, swelling, stiffness and bruising. There may be a popping sound when the ankle is moved or touched. The ankle may be unstable or unable to hold weight.

Treatment
Sprained ankles should be examined by a doctor in order to rule out the possibility of a bone fracture or other damage. Dr. Axt will examine your ankle and may take X-rays to check for other injuries or problems with the ankle. Professional diagnosis and care will ensure that the joint heals properly, reducing the risk of further injury.

Treatment for a sprained ankle usually involves resting or bracing the joint to help it heal and prevent future injuries. Most patients heal within two to six weeks, at which point physical activity can be resumed.

Fractures

An ankle fracture is a common injury that involves a break in one or more bones that make up the ankle joint. A fracture, break or crack all refer to the same thing. This injury is often caused by a fall, injury or car accident, although some patients may be at a higher risk for fractures, including those with low bone density (osteoporosis), bone tumors, cancer or brittle bone disease. There are several different types of fractures that can occur, depending on the severity of the injury. Spiral, hairline, stress and open are just some of the types of fractures patients may experience.

Symptoms
Patients with an ankle fracture usually experience severe pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness and physical deformity in the ankle joint. You may be unable to bear weight on the joint as well. Some patients experience a dislocation or ligament damage (sprain) in addition to their fracture.

Treatment
Dr. Axt is an expert in fracture care and will perform X-rays to determine the type and severity of your fracture. He will sometimes need to realign the bones for proper healing, which is done through a process called reduction. Reduction involves the use of metal screws, plates, wires, rods and pins to secure the bone in place and restore function. Casting, a walking boot, brace or splint are then used to hold the bone in place during healing.

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