Posts for tag: Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City
Some of you may have noticed that more often than not, a treatment option in podiatry involves the physical therapy modality of stretching. The reason for this is simple: when a muscle is allowed to tighten up, it changes the function of that muscle and alters how the body deals with the motions and forces of everyday life. The reasons that muscles tighten up are many, including overuse, underuse, and abnormal use (such as when you walk a certain way to avoid pain). A tight muscle acts as a shortened muscle, and in the case of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) in the lower leg, a tight muscle can cause major deforming forces on the both the structure and function of the foot.
The calf muscles (made up of 3 parts: 2 heads of the gastrocnemius muscle and 1 soleus muscle; see picture) originate on the back of your thigh, with the gastrocnemius just above the back of your knee and the soleus just below the back of the knee. They then travel down the back of your lower leg, where all three parts join together as your Achilles tendon to insert into the back of your heel. If the calf muscles are tight (and therefore shortened), they pull on your heel bone and cause your foot to function in abnormal ways with each step you take. This is why stretching your leg muscles is important as both a prevention and treatment of many types of lower extremity injuries.
You should try to stretch your leg muscles every day, including calf muscles (both gastrocnemius and soleus), hamstrings (back of thigh), and quadriceps (front of thigh).
Today we will discuss one easy calf muscle stretch you can do at home with just a few free minutes. This set of stretches is called a “Wall Stretch.” Start by putting your hands flat on a wall and step one foot back about one large step (this will be the leg you are stretching). Keep this back leg straight, your toes pointed forward and try to keep your heels and toes flat on the floor. You can then lean forward and bend the front leg as you feel the back leg’s gastrocnemius muscle stretch.
Make sure you are not stretching to the point of pain! Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then relax. Switch legs until each leg is stretched 3 times for 30 seconds each time. The stretch for the soleus muscle is very similar, except this time you will keep the front leg bent AND the back leg bent, while then leaning forward and feeling a slightly deeper stretch. Switch legs back and forth until each leg again is stretched 3 times for 30 seconds each time.
Make sure you that you never cause pain by stretching and that you maintain your balance at all times. Daily stretching, as well as daily exercise, will go a long way in promoting a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, as well as one good pair of happy feet.
Rion A. Berg, DPM
Podiatrist and Board Certified Foot Surgeon
Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City
2611 NE 125th St., Ste. 130
Seattle, WA 98125
Our office is located in Lake City within 10 minutes of Shoreline, Kenmore, Juanita, Sandpoint, Meadowbrook, Wedgewood, Maple Leaf, Broadview, Greenwood, Northgate, and Pinehurst. Parking is free.
Up to 10% of the population suffers from heel pain, plantar fasciitis. Millions of dollars are spent per year in health care to resolve this problem. Many common treatments including cortisone injections, physical therapy, orthotics, and surgery are available, but the advantages of one over the other are not necessarily proven in randomized studies.
I’ve been in practice for thirty years, and I continue to utilize the latest techniques in resolving heel pain. My heel pain patients in Seattle are happily running, walking, skiing and enjoying the active lifestyle the Northwest offers. I continue to hope that some of these techniques will resolve your heel pain faster, with less down time, and provide more lasting relief.
Speaking of lifestyles, with the passing of the infamous, Elizabeth Taylor, passes a time when high heels are required as part of the work "uniform" for women. Save the stillettos for evening. To keep your feet happy and healthy in the long term, wear lower heels with work attire and consider a dress flat to wear with slacks.
1. So what is plantar fasciitis?
- It is the inflammation of the attachment of a long flat ligament, the plantar fascia, at it’s attachment to the heel or along its course to the base of your toes.
- It becomes inflamed when it is over pulled from the heel to the toes. If the process continues it pulls on the bone and a spur can develop.
2. What are the most important factors contributing to heel pain?
Your Weight Overweight? Yes No
Your Work Prolonged Standing? Yes No
Your Play Runner? Mileage/wk _____ Court Sports______ Other___________
Your Foot Type Flatfoot? Yes No Very High Arches Yes No
Your Shoes Slip On? Yes No Stable? Yes No
Stable = Bends at ball, not in the middle
and doesn't twist easily from side to side
Barefoot/stocking feet/house slippers at home? Yes No
3. Where do you start when it comes to treatment?
Begin by being honest with yourself and deciding how long you have been having your heel pain. 1-4 weeks, 1-3 months, 3-6 months, 1 year or longer
What is your pain level on a scale of 0-10?
Divide this up_______AM pain level
_______During the day
_______Pain only at end of day
_______Pain during athletic activities
_______Pain when you are off your feet
4. First Steps to Self Help
Don’t go barefoot/slippers at home
If you have a house rule of no shoes, buy Crocs for in house only
For acute pain >6/10, short duration
(1-4weeks) with no Hx of injury
Begin icing ten minutes/day, if tolerant and no GI issues/or other contraindications, oral anti-inflammatory per your physician’s recommendation
Check your shoes for stability
Stretch your calf, flexing your ankle 20 reps, stretching against the wall.
Stop running until symptoms are subsiding.
Heel pain can prevent you from enjoying your dailing life as well as leisure time at the parks and urban trails we have right here in Lake City, Shoreline, Ravenna and Kenmore. Take care of your feet and get outside to enjoy the beginning of Spring!
If you have signs of heel pain, call us today for an appointment at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.