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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Foot Problems
Black Stripes on Toes [posted
Answer: Probably, no big deal, but needs to be checked to exclude melanoma.
Possible Tendonitis [posted
Answer: No, but there is also no bone under your big toe? Is he/she treating tendonitis?
Morton's Neuromas [posted
Answer: Shouldn't be the Morton's, I'd see the podiatrist.
Neuromas of the Foot [posted
Answer: They seem to grow in certain people and there is probably a genetic predisposition. Once they cause pain, surgery is often the only answer.
Heel Pain [posted 10/20/98]
Answer: You have a problem. If anti-inflammatories and steroid injections haven't worked, then usually casting is the next step. This needs regular checks with a sports medicine specialist or arthritis specialist.
Achilles Tendon Pain [posted
Answer: Usually Achille's Tendonitis. I would see a physician or podiatrist since if left untreated increased the risk for tendon rupture, a very disabling condition in these tendons.
Foot: Plantar Fascitis Treatment
Answer: Plantar fascitis is an inflammatory process which involves the large ligament like structure which connects your toes to your heel. This fibrous like structure is anatomically present to keep ones foot intact during the pressure of walking, running etc. However, like tendons and ligaments in other areas, can become inflammed. In general, early treatment with antiinflammatories(as has been done with you) will fix the problem. But, occasionally, surgery to remove calcium deposits(heel spurs and the like) is necessary. It should be avoided if possible, but, it sounds like you have gone the distance. Recovery is generally about a 6-8 week process, since you need to be off your feet. Crutches will usually suffice. Some think that this is as important to recovery as the surgery itself. The other risks are pretty minimal-the usual infection, etc. Ask to talk to another patient who has had the surgery for their perspective.
Heel Pain [posted 8/5/98]
Answer: Probably plantar fascititis. This is an inflammation of the large structure than connects your toes with your heel called the plantar fascia. This is commonly inflamed if one walks/runs in correct shoes. Ongoing inflammation can lead to a calcium deposit on the middle of the heel bone called a spur. This can usually be treated by getting heel cups in your shoes (available at any drug store) avoiding high heel shoes, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve or Motrin for 10 days to 2 weeks.
Answer: Its hard to tell, but most it is most likely plantar fasciatitis. The plantar fascia is a big membrane or ligament which connects your toes to your heel. Using the wrong type of shoes will inflame this ligament and cause pain at the point of the heel commonly causing "heel spurs". Try non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for 10 days on a regular basis and heel cups (purchased at any pharmacy). Avoid high heels! If it doesnt get better, you'll need to see your doctor.
Answer: Foot pain is a very common complaint that effects all age groups and patients with all levels of activity. Although, by far and away the most common cause is day-to-day muscular strain due to walking, climbing stairs, etc., as well as poorly fitting shoes, other possible less common causes can also produce foot pain. Of course, vigorous activity causing sprains, strains, or fractures are common in active individuals. Conditions such as gout, various forms of arthritis, vascular disease, and others, are also considered by your physician when he or she evaluates a patient with foot pain. Factors that include age, level of daily activities, other conditions you may have, and of course, the findings from a thorough physical examination, all help your physician decide what additional tests are necessary, if any, to determine what is causing your pain. Ice application, or cold packs are employed to reduce the body's natural increase in blood flow to the effected area, thereby reducing swelling. For some acute injuries, this is helpful in the short term, until the injury can be evaluated by a physician. A rule of thumb is that if an injury swells to the point of requiring ice, it should be evaluated by your health care provider. Other conditions that may cause foot pain, on the other hand, may not improve with ice, or, in some cases, may actually get worse. Later, after 24-48 hours, warm applications may actually help by increasing blood flow to the affected area, and presumably removing waste products from the injured tissue. Injuries aside, ice application to an area of pain should only be done after making arrangements to see your physician promptly.
Answer: You are probably suffering from plantar lascitis. This is also called a heel spur. Sufficient inflammation has occurred to cause calcium deposits to form on the heel bone. There are several traditional treatments. First is avoiding walking and use of a "heel cup". This is a plastic insert (available in any drug store) to spread the force of walking across the heel rather than to one point. Second is use of non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs(like Advil, Aleve, etc.) which should be used regularly for about one week until after the pain is gone. Occasionally steroid injection or surgery will be necessary in severe cases. Some shoes and all the better walking sneakers have heel cups built into the body of the shoe. I'd recommend you purchase and wear these rather than traditional shoes.
Answer: This is due to a combination of trauma causing extravasation of fluid and the mechanical effect of gravity.
Answer: Nerves can regrow, but very slowly. They regenerate at the rate of 1/16 inch per month or so. This is under optimum conditions. Also, even if they regenerate, the feeling will be a little different than prior to surgery. That is, you'll have feeling, but it will feel very different. Nerve grafts are possible, but rarely used due to a low success rate. I would avoid any further surgery. I suspect you may get some sensation back over the next two to three years.
Answer: Stretching exercises should do it if it can be done. There may be strictures of the tendons or tendon sheaths that will prevent any further improvement, so see a physical therapist.
Answer: A dropped foot is actually a medical term. It refers to the weakness seen in those people with
damage to the flexor muscles(or more usually the nerves to these muscles) of the foot. This
leads to dropping of the foot when walking or stepping over curbs.
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