What Can Cause Plantar Fasciitis?

25 Jan 2021 Blog

The pain from plantar fasciitis is often noticed first thing in the morning. It occurs as a result of an inflamed plantar fascia, which is the band of tissue on the sole of the foot. The purpose of the plantar fascia is to connect the toes to the heel, and straining the plantar fascia can cause it to become inflamed. This can happen from standing on hard surfaces for extended periods of time throughout the day, or from wearing shoes that do not fit correctly. Additionally, people who enjoy running and those who are overweight may be prone to developing plantar fasciitis. If you have heel pain, it is recommended that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can treat plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that is often caused by a strain injury. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact one of our podiatrists from Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. When this ligament becomes inflamed, plantar fasciitis is the result. If you have plantar fasciitis you will have a stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As the day progresses and you walk around more, this pain will start to disappear, but it will return after long periods of standing or sitting.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Having high arches in your feet
  • Other foot issues such as flat feet
  • Pregnancy (due to the sudden weight gain)
  • Being on your feet very often

There are some risk factors that may make you more likely to develop plantar fasciitis compared to others. The condition most commonly affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It also tends to affect people who are obese because the extra pounds result in extra stress being placed on the plantar fascia.

Prevention

  • Take good care of your feet – Wear shoes that have good arch support and heel cushioning.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If you are a runner, alternate running with other sports that won’t cause heel pain

There are a variety of treatment options available for plantar fasciitis along with the pain that accompanies it. Additionally, physical therapy is a very important component in the treatment process. It is important that you meet with your podiatrist to determine which treatment option is best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Diabetic Foot Care Tips

18 Jan 2021 Blog

Diabetic patients are at a higher risk for foot related issues. Those with diabetes are more prone to developing poor blood circulation. One common condition, known as neuropathy, which leads to the loss of sensation in the feet, changes in the shape of the feet, and cuts or sores that do not heal properly, is also common among diabetic patients. Because of these potential issues, daily foot care is very important. One key step to foot care is doing daily checks for problems such as cuts, sores and infections. Making sure to regularly wash your feet with warm water and to dry them thoroughly is also suggested. It is also beneficial to always wear shoes and socks in order to protect the feet from extreme temperatures. Keeping up circulation by periodically wiggling the toes and exercising is suggested as well. Lastly, it is important to go to your podiatrist for regular checkups, and to let them know if you are experiencing any foot problems.

Diabetic foot care is important in preventing foot ailments such as ulcers. If you are suffering from diabetes or have any other concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. The condition can damage blood vessels in many parts of the body, especially the feet. Because of this, taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes, and having a podiatrist help monitor your foot health is highly recommended.

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

  • Routinely inspect your feet for bruises or sores.
  • Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels, as blood sugar levels play such a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised.

It is always best to inform your healthcare professional of any concerns you may have regarding your feet, especially for diabetic patients. Early treatment and routine foot examinations are keys to maintaining proper health, especially because severe complications can arise if proper treatment is not applied.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Morton’s Neuroma 101

11 Jan 2021 Blog

Morton’s neuroma occurs when the nerves in the foot become inflamed. Usually, the nerves that are affected are in the ball of the foot between the 3rd and 4th toes. Signs of Morton’s neuroma include a sharp burning sensation, a lack of feeling, or a tingling in the forefoot area. These symptoms usually show up when pressure is placed on the foot during activities such as walking, standing, running or jumping. Most commonly, Morton’s neuroma is caused by a foot deformity that causes the foot bones to squeeze the nerves. Because of this, footwear that squeezes and constricts the toes can often lead to a neuroma, and a shoe with a wide toe box is suggested for decreasing foot pain. Morton’s neuroma can be treated by a podiatrist. Treatment options that your podiatrist may recommend include orthotics, cortisone injections and, in severe cases, surgery.

Morton’s neuroma is a very uncomfortable condition to live with. If you think you have Morton’s neuroma, contact one of our podiatrists of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will attend to all of your foot care needs and answer any of your related questions.  

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a painful foot condition that commonly affects the areas between the second and third or third and fourth toe, although other areas of the foot are also susceptible. Morton’s neuroma is caused by an inflamed nerve in the foot that is being squeezed and aggravated by surrounding bones.

What Increases the Chances of Having Morton’s Neuroma?

  • Ill-fitting high heels or shoes that add pressure to the toe or foot
  • Jogging, running or any sport that involves constant impact to the foot
  • Flat feet, bunions, and any other foot deformities

Morton’s neuroma is a very treatable condition. Orthotics and shoe inserts can often be used to alleviate the pain on the forefront of the feet. In more severe cases, corticosteroids can also be prescribed. In order to figure out the best treatment for your neuroma, it’s recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition and provide different treatment options.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Morton’s Neuroma

COVID Amputations

8 Jan 2021 Blog

The chaos of the COVID pandemic has brought about a level of uncertainty and unease regarding patient’s decisions to visit their primary care doctors, speciality care physicians or local hospital emergency departments. Many patients, especially older ones with pre existing  conditions, have decided to refrain from going to the doctor or hospital in fear of coming down  with COVID. However this avoidance of preventative care and emergent visits has had  deleterious effects on patient health especially pertaining to diabetic patients with foot ulcerations which has led to an increase in amputations and infections.  

Recent publications in the Annals of Vascular Surgery have demonstrated that there has  been a doubling of amputations in patients following vascular surgery since the arrival of the  COVID pandemic in 2020 in comparison to data from 2018 and 2019. An additional study in Diabetes Care revealed a three fold increase in amputations from patients admitted to a tertiary care center in 2020 in comparison to patients admitted to the center from 2019. The COVID pandemic has led to an interruption in the consistent and regular care many patients were  receiving for their chronic conditions. The literature has shown that there is up to an 80%  mortality rate 5 years after a major lower extremity amputation caused by a diabetic ulceration  or infection. This lapse in care in combination with avoidance of the emergency room for critical  health problems has largely contributed to this increased in diabetic foot amputations. 

Although COVID has caused alarm across the country, it is still very important for patients to regularly follow up with their physicians. Systemic illnesses such as diabetes require consistent monitoring and patients with wounds need regular debridements in office to allow them to heal as soon as possible and prevent amputations. Weekly wound care is recommended to remove diseased tissue, create offloading modalities for patients, and apply  topical wound care products and grafts to allow for timely closure of wound sites. Protocols have been put in place at medical offices and hospitals which have resulted in more frequent cleanings, mask wearing, and social distancing in waiting rooms to reduce the risks of COVID  transmission. Services such as telemedicine allow patients to interact with their physicians  without having to leave their homes. In order to achieve the best clinical outcomes, it is  imperative that patients regularly follow up with their physicians who will help manage chronic conditions and avoid diabetic foot amputations.

Dr. John Thometz

Dr. Thometz sees patients out of our Crystal Lake, Elgin, Lake in The Hills & Cary clinics.

For more information or to book an appointment call 847.639.5800

Diagnosing and Treating Various Foot Fractures

4 Jan 2021 Blog

Because of the many bones in the foot, there are a variety of ways that the foot can become fractured. These can include toe fractures, metatarsal fractures (middle of the foot), sesamoid fractures, or fractures to bones at the back of the foot, like the heel bone. A fractured foot will be very painful, especially when putting weight on it, and walking will likely be difficult. In order to properly diagnose a foot fracture, a podiatrist may need to take X-rays. Once X-rays are taken and the fracture is diagnosed, your podiatrist will determine the treatment option that is best for you. Common options include splints, casts, rest, and physical therapy. Most likely, putting weight on the foot will be discouraged for a certain amount of time. If you believe that you have fractured a bone in your foot, make sure to consult with a podiatrist.

A broken foot requires immediate medical attention and treatment. If you need your feet checked, contact one of our podiatrists from Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Broken Foot Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A broken foot is caused by one of the bones in the foot typically breaking when bended, crushed, or stretched beyond its natural capabilities. Usually the location of the fracture indicates how the break occurred, whether it was through an object, fall, or any other type of injury. 

Common Symptoms of Broken Feet:

  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blue in color
  • Numbness
  • Cold
  • Misshapen
  • Cuts
  • Deformities

Those that suspect they have a broken foot shoot seek urgent medical attention where a medical professional could diagnose the severity.

Treatment for broken bones varies depending on the cause, severity and location. Some will require the use of splints, casts or crutches while others could even involve surgery to repair the broken bones. Personal care includes the use of ice and keeping the foot stabilized and elevated.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for a Broken Foot

Foot and Ankle Issues Related to Running

28 Dec 2020 Blog

Foot and ankle health is important to runners, both those who run recreationally and those who run professionally. Runners are susceptible to a variety of overuse injuries, including pain in the heel, pain in the ball of the foot, stress fractures or Achilles tendon problems. Heel pain is most commonly associated with plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of the tendon that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot. Pain in the ball of the foot can indicate a neuroma, a pinched nerve between the toes, or inflammation in the ball of the foot. Achilles tendon pain can indicate Achilles tendonitis, and rest will be necessary. Stress fractures, which occur as tiny breaks in the bones, can lead to swelling and pain, and they will need to be rested as well. If you are a frequent runner and are experiencing pain in the feet or ankles, make sure to consult with a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Exercising your feet regularly with the proper foot wear is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

How to Prevent Running Injuries

Many common running injuries are caused by overuse and overtraining. When the back of the kneecap starts wearing out and starts causing pain in your knee, this is commonly referred to as runner’s knee. Runner’s knee is a decrease in strength in your quadriceps and can occur if you’re not wearing properly fitted or supporting shoes. To prevent runner’s knee, focusing on hip strengthening is a good idea, as well as strengthening your quads to keep the kneecaps aligned.

What Are Some Causes of Running Injuries?
– One cause of a common running injury is called iliotibial band syndrome.
– Plantar fasciitis is also another common injury.
– Stress fractures can occur from overtraining, lack of calcium, or even your running style.

Best Ways to Prevent Running Injuries
– Wear footwear that fits properly and suits your running needs.
– Running shoes are the only protective gear that runners have to safeguard them from injury.
– Make a training schedule. Adding strengthening exercises as well as regular stretching can help keep you strong and limber and can lessen the possibility of injuries.
– Stretching keeps muscles limber; this will help you gain better flexibility.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Preventing Running Injuries

Ways to Prevent Toenail Fungus

21 Dec 2020 Blog

Toenail infections are a common problem that occurs when a fungus begins to grow under the nail. Upon infection, the toenail can turn yellow, become crumbly, thicken, and separate from the nail bed. Because the fungi that cause these infections thrive in warm and moist environments, there are a few key ways to prevent a fungal nail infection. These methods include ensuring that the feet are properly dried, keeping the toenails short, wearing clean socks, wearing footwear in public pools and showers, not sharing footwear with others, and using an antifungal spray in your shoes. If you still get an infection, there are a variety of treatment options that a podiatrist can provide. A podiatrist can prescribe antifungal medicines, remove the infected nail, or use an antifungal nail polish. If you believe that you have a fungal nail infection, visiting a podiatrist is recommended. 

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact one of our podiatrists of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Symptoms

  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail

Treatment

If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.

Prevention

In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus

Why Corns May Develop on the Feet

14 Dec 2020 Blog

People worldwide can be affected by corns on the feet. They are defined as small, hardened portions of skin that have developed as a result of excess friction. Corns can form on the soles of the feet, or between the toes, and can cause severe pain and discomfort. Additional causes of corns can include wearing shoes and socks that do not fit correctly, and medical conditions consisting of bunions and hammertoes. Mild relief may be found when larger shoes are worn if the corn is between the toes. This may help to prevent further irritation that may happen from the toes rubbing together. The corn may soften after the affected foot is soaked in warm water, and it can help to use a pumice stone to eliminate dead skin on top of the corn. If you have corns on your feet, please consult with a podiatrist who can help you to remedy this condition.

If you have any concerns regarding your feet and ankles, contact one of our podiatrists of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Corns: What Are They? and How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Corns can be described as areas of the skin that have thickened to the point of becoming painful or irritating. They are often layers and layers of the skin that have become dry and rough, and are normally smaller than calluses.

Ways to Prevent Corns
There are many ways to get rid of painful corns such as wearing:

  • Well-fitting socks
  • Comfortable shoes that are not tight around your foot
  • Shoes that offer support

Treating Corns
Treatment of corns involves removing the dead skin that has built up in the specific area of the foot. Consult with Our doctors to determine the best treatment option for your case of corns.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Understanding Corns and Calluses

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

11 Dec 2020 Blog

For Those Dealing with Chronic Foot & Ankle Pain

We hope this finds you having a great Holiday season so far. With Christmas being two weeks away we asked Dr. Rebecca Stack, DPM to put together a few gift ideas for those who are dealing with chronic foot & ankle pain.

Earth Therapeutics 4-pk Shea Butter Thera-Soft Socks
(For cold, dry or cracked feet)
https://www.earththerapeutics.com/products/therasoft-socks-2pk?variant=21575873396784

Heated Foot Massager
(For tired and sore feet)
https://www.naipocare.com/products/naipo-foot-massager-with-kneading-and-heat

Hot/Cold Foot Roller
(Used for arch pain including plantar fasciitis)
https://www.gaiam.com/products/05-60561

Urea Foot Cream
(For thick skin, corn and callus treatment)
https://zeniaherbal.com/products/zenia-urea-40-cream-healing-formula-4oz-1-callus-treatment-hydrate-and-moisturize-dry-rough-cracked-callused-skin-for-feet-elbows-hands-knees-free-pumice-stone-brush?variant=31882711793754&currency=USD&utm_medium=product_sync&utm_source=google&utm_content=sag_organic&utm_campaign=sag_organic

Supportive Shoe Gear
A gift card to your local running store or New Balance store.

Hope these last minute suggestions help!!

Techniques That May Help to Prevent Falls

7 Dec 2020 Blog

Research has indicated that frequent stretching and exercise may prevent falling episodes. This may be a result of the body becoming stronger as specific routines are performed, and falling may happen less often. Flexibility can be increased, and coordination and balance may also improve. Many injuries that can affect the feet can occur from falling, and this may cause difficulty in accomplishing daily activities. It is important to ensure the living environment is free of clutter, and it may help to install grab bars in the shower and toilet area. For added safety, many people choose to have a bath mat in the shower or tub area, as this can provide security. It is beneficial to have regular physical and eye examinations, as this may help to manage and update existing medication. If you would like additional information about how falling can impact the feet, please consult with a podiatrist.

Preventing falls among the elderly is very important. If you are older and have fallen or fear that you are prone to falling, consult with one of our podiatrists from Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality advice and care.

Every 11 seconds, an elderly American is being treated in an emergency room for a fall related injury. Falls are the leading cause of head and hip injuries for those 65 and older. Due to decreases in strength, balance, senses, and lack of awareness, elderly persons are very susceptible to falling. Thankfully, there are a number of things older persons can do to prevent falls.

How to Prevent Falls

Some effective methods that older persons can do to prevent falls include:

  • Enrolling in strength and balance exercise program to increase balance and strength
  • Periodically having your sight and hearing checked
  • Discuss any medications you have with a doctor to see if it increases the risk of falling
  • Clearing the house of falling hazards and installing devices like grab bars and railings
  • Utilizing a walker or cane
  • Wearing shoes that provide good support and cushioning
  • Talking to family members about falling and increasing awareness

Falling can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience for elderly persons; this can make them less willing to leave the house, and less willing to talk to someone about their fears of falling. Doing such things, however, will increase the likelihood of tripping or losing one’s balance. Knowing the causes of falling and how to prevent them is the best way to mitigate the risk of serious injury.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Falls Prevention

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