- Seek immediate medical attention (head to your local ER)
- You may need a tetanus shot if it’s been more than 10 years since your last shot
- Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist within 24 hours of the injury
- Your podiatrist will provide you with a variety of care instructions to keep it clean and disinfected (make sure to follow all of these instructions)
- New or worsening pain
- Skin that’s warm to the touch
Heel injuries often get better with a little rest and home care. When your heel pain doesn't improve or worsens, your Mountain Home, and Harrison, AR, podiatrist, Dr. Eric Arp of Arp Foot and Ankle, offers treatments that can get you back on your feet again.
How to Treat Your Heel Injury
Resting is one of those things that's harder than it sounds. Even though you know you should stay off your feet, you have so much to do. Unfortunately, if you don't take it easy for a few days, your injury may worsen. Until your heel starts to feel better, avoid exercising, take advantage of grocery store delivery services, and embrace being a temporary couch potato.
While you rest, keep your heel elevated on a pillow. Raising your heel can help decrease swelling and inflammation, as can applying ice packs. Be sure to follow the 20-20 rule when applying ice. Keep the ice pack on for no more than 20 minutes, then remove it for at least 20 minutes. After two or three days, your injury may feel better if you apply heat to your heel. Remember that ice can't be applied directly to the skin.
Over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, will help reduce pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen eases pain but won't help inflammation.
Cushioning your heel may make may standing or walking more comfortable. The foot care aisle of your local pharmacy or grocery store in the Harrison, or Mountain Home, areas may offer heel cups. The soft inserts are placed in the heel area of your shoes to reduce pressure on the heel.
When to Call the Podiatrist
Get in touch with your foot doctor if:
- You are in severe pain.
- Your pain is getting worse.
- You can't put any weight on your heel.
- Walking is difficult.
- Your heel looks misshapen.
- If it's been a week or two since your injury, and your heel isn't getting better.
Depending on the cause of your pain, your podiatrist can offer a variety of helpful treatments and devices, such as boots, walking casts, crutches, pain medication, corticosteroid injections, night splints, physical therapy, shockwave, ultrasound, or electrical nerve stimulation treatments.
Are you suffering from heel pain or another foot and ankle issue? Dr. Arp, your podiatrist in Mountain Home, and Harrison, AR, can help ease your pain. Schedule an appointment with the Harrison office by calling (870) 365-3668, or call (870) 425-7363 for the Mountain Home office.
Certain shoes can leave you prone to cracked heels and dry skin due to friction from wearing loose-fitted shoes. People who wear sandals and other open-heeled shoes are more at risk for developing cracked heels. Instead, opt for closed-heeled shoes that fit properly and provide support.
If you are overweight, you may be surprised to discover that this could be contributing to your dry, cracked heels. This is because your feet take on all of your weight while standing, walking, and running. By safely dropping that excess weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise you can alleviate some of the pressure placed on your heels to reduce the risk of cracking.
While we know just how luxurious it feels to stand in a steaming hot shower, especially during the winter months, this could be contributing to dry skin on your feet and cracked heels. If this is something you deal with regularly you may look at your current bathing or showering ritual to see if that could be the culprit. Simply use warm and not hot water, which can strip the skin of the oils it needs to stay moist.
You should moisturize your feet every day to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place. Moisturizers that contain lactic acid, glycerin, or petroleum jelly can help to lock in moisture in your feet. Moisturize every time you get out of the shower and throughout the day, especially before going to bed. If you are prone to very dry, cracked feet, you may wish to moisturize and then wear socks to bed.
Be able to spot the telltale symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
If you have diabetes, it’s important that you get your blood sugar levels under control through lifestyle changes and medication. Around 34 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t even know they have it, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, if high blood sugar levels persist this can lead to a condition known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which can cause nerve damage in the feet, arms, and hands.
You should visit our Harrison, AR, podiatrists right away if you notice these symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy,
- A numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the feet
- Sudden cramping or a zapping, electric-like shooting pain
- Changes in the shape or structure of your feet (a common deformity is a hammertoe, which causes the toes to curl downward like a claw)
- Poor balance, often caused by a lack of sensation in the feet
- Sensitivity to hot or cold, or feet that are cold for no reason
Those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy will often report that their symptoms are worse at night, which can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, we know that it can be scary, but it’s important that you visit our Harrison and Mountain Home, AR, podiatrist right away. By working together with our podiatry team and your regular physician we can find a treatment plan that helps to prevent further nerve damage while managing your current symptoms.
How do I treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy?
While this condition is not reversible, there are different options available to you to help treat your symptoms. Simple lifestyle changes can improve your diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Some lifestyle changes include,
- Avoiding smoking, tobacco products, and alcohol
- Eating a healthy balanced diet and treating any vitamin deficiencies that might be present (have your doctor run a blood test to check for vitamin deficiencies)
- Making sure that you inspect your feet every day to look for redness, swelling, sores, ulcers, cuts, or other problems that could lead to an infection (make sure you visit your podiatrist right away for treatment if you notice any of these issues)
- Make sure that you are getting regular physical activity, which can improve balance and reduce pain and cramping
The key to preventing peripheral neuropathy from getting worse is to make sure that you have a doctor who is providing you with the medication you need to get your blood sugar under control. Certain medications such as antidepressants and anti-seizure medications may also be prescribed by your doctor to alleviate nerve pain.
If you are living with diabetes here in Harrison or Mountain Home, AR, it’s important that you have a podiatrist that you can always turn to for checkups and care. To schedule a consultation with us, call ARP Foot & Ankle Clinic at (870) 365-3668 or (870) 425-7363.
Here are some simple but helpful strategies to provide relief from your bunion pain.
If you’ve been told by our Mountain Home and Harrison, AR, podiatrists that you have a bunion, we know how important it is to be able to get your foot pain under control. You want to be able to do the things you love without worrying about whether your bunion is going to ruin the fun. While it’s always important to discuss lifestyle changes with your podiatrist when you have a bunion, some easy ways to manage your symptoms on your own include,
- Resting your feet as much as possible and avoiding any activities that make the pain and swelling worse
- Alternatively, you may find more relief from soaking your tired, sore feet in warm water with Epsom salts rather than icing (everyone is different, so test out both options to see which one provides better relief)
- Make sure that you are wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that don’t bunch up your toes or put pressure on the bunion
- Avoid wearing high heels (heels higher than 2 inches tall)
- Perform stretching and strengthening foot exercises every day (a resistance band can be a helpful tool for performing some of these exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons of the foot)
- Talk to our podiatrist about whether your feet could benefit from custom orthotics (most people with bunions can benefit from orthotics because they correct faulty biomechanics that often leads to problems like bunions in the first place)
- Massage your feet throughout the day to ease any discomfort and promote blood flow
So, what happens if home care just isn’t cutting it? If this is the problem you’re facing right now, then it’s time to come into our office for a consultation. We can talk about the treatment options you’ve tried and then recommend certain alternative options. Bunion surgery isn’t typically recommended or necessary unless you are,
- Dealing with severe bunion pain and swelling
- Experiencing persistent foot pain that is affecting your quality of life
- Dealing with bunion symptoms that are unresponsive to nonsurgical treatment options
- Having to miss out on activities and things you love to do because of your bunion
If you think you have a bunion, it’s important that you see a qualified podiatrist for a diagnosis and customized treatment plan. The team at ARP Foot & Ankle Clinic at the Harrison and Mountain Home clinic locations is here to help you get your bunion pain under control. Call us today at (870) 365-3668 or (870) 425-7363.
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