Heel pain – A patient’s experience

Heel pain – A patient’s experience

How Fiona beat Heel pain!

woman kicking water at beach

Fiona is a 43 year old lady with two teenage daughters and a busy household. In the past six months she has returned to exercise by joining a gym, which she is …. or was really enjoying.

Lately she has been waking up in the morning, placing her heels on the ground, only to get what she describes as "excruciating pain". She feels the same pain if she sits for long periods and tries to stand: the pain, while not as bad as those first few step in the morning, can make her hobble. This is now a BIG problem as she was really enjoying her return to fitness and wants to see what she can do to rid herself of the pain.

Is it really a heel spur that causes the pain?

A visit to the GP

She visited her GP who spoke to her about a heel spur, he took x-rays and indeed there was a heel spur in the picture. He explained to her that generally very few surgeons will operate on heel spurs and there is little she can do but wait out the pain which on average would go away after about 18 months! He did give her some general stretches and said he could try an injection if she really wanted, but it was painful!

Fiona also went to the chemist to try to buy some heel pads to take pressure of the heel. She tried these for about a month. While they worked for a short while, the pain quickly returned.  She also tried some very cushioned shoes, again while this was comfortable at first within a short period of time this very expensive pair of sneakers gave little relief.

On attending an appointment at A step Ahead Foot and Ankle care Fiona was just about to give up. A friend referred her after they had suffered a similar pain and our podiatry team had made her pain free.

A diagnosis

Our Podiatrist, after a thorough assessment, diagnosed Fiona with plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a soft tissue condition of the underside of the foot starting at the heel, where much of the pain is located, however the pain can radiate out towards the toes where the fascia again ends. The pain can begin quiet subtly at first and can last on and off for many patients for many years.

Shock wave is a new and highly effective treatment.

Shock wave is a new and highly effective treatment.

Treatment

We discussed a treatment plan with Fiona to rid her of her heel pain, this included looking at some new more appropriate runners, a series of stretches, and soft tissue treatment options. Our Podiatrist provided Fiona with options which included:

  • Deep connective tissue massage – This is a firm to hard massage which is in this condition under taken on the base of the foot around the heel and into your calf muscle as this is almost always also tight. These session can range from as short as one a week for 3 weeks but up to 12 – 18 weeks long, dependent on how long your pain has been present.
  • Shockwave Therapy (Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)) – Shockwave is a relatively new treatment which we have found very successful.  The basic principles behind shockwave therapy are the high pressured acoustic shockwaves that travel through the skin to stimulate pain relief and tissue repair. We have found this treatment very successful and sees patients recover quicker. Most patients like Fiona recover within 6 to 9 weeks. This treatment is often recommended by sport physicians and orthopaedic surgeons. (Be warned - How long has your Practitioner been using this?)
  • Orthotic therapy – Orthoses are designed to hold your feet in a “corrected position”. Feet that are in poorly positioned or have poor foot posture have to over work which in turn causes muscles to over work and is most often the reason why people develop foot pain. While there are varying devices that do this there is no replacing custom made orthoses. These devices are made to match your foot exactly. - HARD RIGID orthotics can cause you MORE PAIN!! Soft pliable devices are the way to go!

A choice

In this instance Fiona opted for the quicker Shockwave therapy and orthotic therapy. Her podiatrist helped her select the correct foot wear to purchase from a footwear retailer. We then also provided her with an Isometric Strength exercises - NO NOT STRETCHES! that's right NOT stretching! Our team worked with Fiona to build up her strength readying the surrounding muscles for its work ahead at the same time as repairing the damaged tissue. On each occasion of shockwave reviewed these and provided supportive sports tapping to further support her foot.

A recovery

Fiona attended for shockwave over a period of five weeks and made good progress over that time with her pain dropping slowly over the first two weeks and then quickly once combined with her orthoses and more appropriate footwear.

At week five it was decided to push her appointments out to fortnightly and then when this was found successful out again another month. In total Fiona attended a total of seven times before her pain was relieved completely.

We introduced Fiona slowly back to attending the gym, with strict instruction on stretching and appropriate footwear for her foot type.  Fiona made a full recovery and with a month had returned to three gym sessions a week and a walk with friends for exercise on weekends.

Interested in more information? How about the common myths around heel pain?

Try our Dedicated Heel Pain Doctor site. HEEL PAIN DOCTOR.COM.AU

Or call our helpful team who are used to speaking to literally thousands of patients with heel pain! Our number is 02 9673 2987. We would love to help!

Heel Pain doctor Heelpaindoctor.com.au

Heel Pain doctor a dedicated site to the reduction of complex heel pain!

Book an Appointment Today

Growing Pains-  More than just pain from growing – A case study

Growing Pains- More than just pain from growing – A case study

Growing Pains-  More than just pain from growing - A case study - 1

Growing Pains- More than just pain from growing – A case study

Sam is 10-years-old. He’s a great kid who loves being active, but there’s a problem and it’s getting worse. Sam plays football in winter and, in summer, he’s a cricket fanatic. Apart from these regular sports he’s running about at school and is, yes your average Aussie kid!

Sam’s mum and dad brought him into A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care because, despite being a very happy and active kid, Sam is waking up a couple of nights a week with pain in his lower legs. When he wakes he wants his mum to rub his legs because they ache and are sore. Sam’s mum Beth has used heat packs and paracetamol which does take the pain away after a while but, as Beth says, “They aren’t fixing the cause”.

A key factor is that fact Sam’s parents recognised that the pain sometimes came on in the night after Sam had quite active days, like sports days or family activities with lots of walking.

Visiting the GP, Physio and Dr Google

Sam’s parents took their son to a GP who sent them to see a Physiotherapist. While the physio was nice and showed Sam some stretching and did a couple of massages, these again helped at the time but didn’t stop the problem from coming back. After chatting to the GP their opinion was that this was “Just growing pains”—something Sam would have to get used to, and that he would simply “Grow out of it”. Frustrated with a fantastic but upset little boy, Sam’s parents felt they needed another opinion.

Sam’s mum Beth jumped onto Dr Google and found herself even more confused. Some parents were recommending vitamin supplements, others recommended oils and others suggested all kinds of home remedies. She then found herself on Facebook asking other parents for help. This is where a friend of Beth’s recommended our practitioners at A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Care.

Growing Pains-  More than just pain from growing - A case study - 2

Finally some answers

When our practitioners assessed Sam it became pretty clear there was more than just some kind of phantom pain going on. We undertook a detailed walk and run assessment, along with some measurements and testing on Sam’s muscles. Nothing was invasive and everything we do is done in a fun, friendly and non-confronting environment. After a short while we established that Sam’s feet were rolling in a lot and his arches where a little flat. In essence Sam had pretty poor foot posture. What this meant is that the muscles in Sam’s lower legs were over working to try and give his poor foot posture support.

This meant that a big day on his feet, like a family outing, a busy day at school or doing sports caused his muscles to work even harder. This led to them getting sore, not necessarily at the time of the injury, mostly at night several hours after the muscles had rested.

Helping fight “growing pains”

To help Sam we gave him a custom-made pair of orthotic insoles. These are made from a soft material so are very comfortable to wear but provided support for the rolling of his ankle. We took a 3D scan of Sam’s foot and video recorded his walking patterns using our specialised assessment software. The orthotics are then designed using our computer-aided design software. Next step is to make the orthotics, which is done in our on-site Orthotic laboratory by our technicians and overseen by our podiatrist.

After fitting his new orthotics into a new pair of runners that we recommended, Sam headed on his way feeling comfortable to return in a couple of weeks. We prescribed some stretching to work with his orthoses and suggested that we may need to follow this up with a specialised massage to relax his muscles as his orthoses took over and began doing their job.

Pain free!

A couple of weeks later a very relieved set of parents and Sam returned to our clinic. In a little over two weeks the orthoses had started to do their thing. Sam had only had pain in his legs once since starting to wear his orthoses and this was after a very big day, his school athletics carnival! After only a couple of weeks we expected this to decrease so we asked them to return in another month at which time they reported Sam to be pain free!! Sam’s parents also reported that he was much more comfortable at sport as well. They were overjoyed; they had their happy, healthy little boy back!

Growing pains ARE TREATABLE in most cases. While many well-meaning health practitioners may say you have to wait and outgrow growing pains, there are alternatives. Our practitioners have had the pleasure of helping many kids with this same problem. It’s what we love to do! Helping kids become pain free, happy, healthy and active is a privilege. If you would like to help your little one to become pain free, please give our helpful reception team a call on +61 9673 2987 or 4732 2007. You can also see find us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/podiatristsydney

Don’t get laser therapy until you’ve read this report (1 minute read time!)

Don’t get laser therapy until you’ve read this report (1 minute read time!)

Don't get laser therapy until you've read this report (1 minute read time!) - 1

Don’t get laser therapy until you’ve read this report (1 minute read time!)

Fungal nail infections are hard to beat! Facts are hard to find, and there are stacks of misinformation. Here is a quick run-down on some FACTS that may just help you beat this nasty!

Where do most fungal spores live

Almost anywhere! Infection will live in; Your shoes Your Socks Bathrooms Gym locker rooms Communal shower areas There is thoughts that Carpets may be able to carry the spores!

How do fungal spores travel?

Fungal infections are very contagious and very easy to contract because the spores travel so well and are not visible! They travel in socks and shoes. They are known to be in the bases of showers. There is conjecture that they may also be present in carpet!

Does cold water kill fungal spores?

Cold water has NO affect on Fungal Infections nothing. It will not kill the infection nor stop it from spreading.

Should I use Bacterial wash to kill my fungus?

There are now a number of bacterial washes and “disinfectant” washes for your clothes. They will have NO effect on a fungal infection present in socks, towels and their washing.

Do antibiotics kill fungus?

No! Antibiotic kill bacteria. Fungus is NOT a bacterial infection. Taking antibiotics will do nothing to your fungal nails! Sorry ZIP NOTHING NADDA

Is there an answer?

Medical Grade Hot laser is the current treatment of choice for fungal nail infections. Clearance rates for this therapy are as high as 80% plus. Compared to paints and ointments on the market which have a clearance rate of approximately 13% (yes that’s incredibly low). We have been using medical grade laser for 5 years now and our clearance rates match those seen in research.

Need more information? Want help?

We would love to be able to help. Our team have multiple patients a day contact our clinic with questions about this nasty infection. They will run through questions you may have, running through what you have tried. They can then advise on the best appointment type for you and costings. Then reserve an appointment time that’s best for you.

Our number is 96732987 we look forward to getting you on the way to clear healthy nails.

Would you like more information? Try our page on dedicated Fungal Nail site FUNGAL NAIL DOCTOR .com.au

Perhaps you’d like to know why your GP may have tested you and it returned a negative result ? Try our helpful post on False negatives! HERE !

Sometimes practitioners get it wrong: Heel pain a treatment gone wrong

Sometimes practitioners get it wrong: Heel pain a treatment gone wrong

How come my child’s heel pain isn’t getting better ….

Sometimes practitioners get it wrong: Heel pain a treatment gone wrong - 1

Soccer, rugby league and Netball all culprits for creating heel pain in kids if mixed with poor foot posture and growth spurts

“He had heel pain last year and now it’s back. They have NO idea what it is. They did an x-ray and it’s not Severs. The physio massaged his calves and it helped for a few weeks but it’s not better. It’s almost been 6 months. We had to halve how much sport he does now and he hates it. As soon as he starts running or playing a game, it comes on. He describes a tight feeling when he walks too”

Very honestly, these were the exact words that came from a frustrated and concerned mum, paired with an equally frustrated 13 year old boy, just before lunchtime today. This family traveled across the city to see us, which is not uncommon but it must be frustrating.

The tragedy in these words is that they’re NOT uncommon. At least a few times a week I hear grumblings from frustrated parents – and they most definitely have a right to be frustrated! – because they’ve seen various practitioners without a real diagnosis and just when something has been suspected, imaging has gone and ruled it out and we’re back at square one. Or are we?

The matter of the fact is: People make mistakes. Practitioners make mistakes. Radiographers make mistakes. We’re human! It’s going to happen.

I feel like I could host a conference discussing the amount of times I’ve been handed an xray telling me that there is nothing wrong with my patient that currently sits in front of me in AGONIZING pain!

If it doesn’t sound right, you better believe that it’s not. Let me emphasis: pain does NOT happen for no reason, and no amount of negative radio-graphs is going to magically fix your very real pain.

Sometimes practitioners get it wrong: Heel pain a treatment gone wrong - 2

Kids stay happy and healthy and active – Kids should play sport PAIN FREE!

So then, WHY does this happen?

There can be a variety of reasons, and I’m going to give you the very real uncensored version that other practitioners may get annoyed at me for.

• Referrers can order the wrong TYPE of imagine study. If you’ve damaged a muscle, ligament, tendon or any soft tissue, your x-ray will show you are perfectly fine! Yep, go over there and sit your torn Achilles tendon down because you’re fine to go run that marathon. (Please DONT we are kidding)

• Radiographers are very HUMAN and can miss things. Some are likely to have seen more of a certain condition, or be more familiar with an area of the body, and so some may pick up or recognise things that others miss. And you can’t blame them – the body is composed of an extraordinary amount of bone and soft tissue and any expectation for every single person to be a scholarly expert on every single part is drastically unrealistic.

• Things CHANGE over time. Your imaging from a few months ago is a picture of what is happening in your foot a few months ago. Since that time, some tissues may have gotten better, some tissues may have gotten worse, and some ones may now be damaged that weren’t before!

Be assured:

  • There is NOTHING wrong with wanting a second opinion and getting a referral for another ultrasound or X-ray
  • There is NOTHING wrong with re-imaging if you feel that your injury has changed. And if you’re having pain but you’re being told there’s nothing wrong, you have EVERY right to be frustrated!
  • You SHOULD get a second opinion! or a third even if you are not getting the answers you need.
  • There is increasing evidence that we need to look past radiology reports and look at clinical symptoms 

So what do you do next?

Your child should not have to play sport in pain, we can happily tell you that we work with kids to get them back to happy healthy and active every day. Our team will work with your child to develop a detailed care plan, this of course after a thorough assessment of their run + walk patterns; including video analysis. we will examine foot wear and make recommendation and look at the damaged soft tissue and assess what is the best way to rehabilitate this back to health! They may require a soft pliable orthotic for inside their shoes to wear while playing (just like our patients that are international level athletes!)

One of the delightful things about treating kids is seeing them return smiling and back to playing the sport they love!

And for all those wondering.. Yes our little champion from this morning did have Severs 😉

A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle care
Penrith, St Marys and soon to come to a suburb near you!

A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle care have founded “My Kids Foot Doctor” a clinic specifically geared towards treating Kids feet. We see dozens of kids a day, unlike other practitioners who see your Grandma’s toe nails and the occasional kid we see these balls of fun all day every day.

About our clinics

Sometimes practitioners get it wrong: Heel pain a treatment gone wrong - 3

Our team see dozens of kids from across Sydney every day

Our clinics are set up with kids in mind we have big toy boxes, TV’s coloring in and lucky dip boxes. Our practitioners are the kind that sit on the ground and chat to your child, who laugh, may wear silly glasses and love handing out chocolate WE LOVE SEEING KIDS!
What does this mean? It means we have built up an enormous amount of experience with kids because we get to see them ALL the time! If we can help you with your little one, if you have a nagging doubt or worry please call our helpful team on 96732987 we’d love to help!