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Fri, 23 Nov 2018

Foot Pain? Plantar Fasciitis may be to Blame

If the first few steps you take in the morning are painful, you might be experiencing plantar fasciitis. It’s one of the most common causes of foot pain, with over two-million people seeking medical treatment each year. Many people typically seek treatment after having months or years of heel pain.

The stabbing pain that is felt is caused by inflammation of a band of tissue known as the plantar fascia that connects the heel bone to the toes.  The pain is normally localized near the heel but can be felt anywhere along the plantar fascia ligament.  The pain tends to be worse first thing in the morning and after long periods of sitting or standing. When there is no weight put on the foot, the ligament shortens and tightens,

There are many reasons why one might develop plantar fasciitis. Some of these factors include being overweight, being on your feet for extended periods and wearing shoes with inadequate support and high impact sporting activities. In addition, flat feet or high arches, excessive pronation (when the foot rolls severely inward when walking) or wearing high heels on a regular basis can be aggravating factors.

To diagnose plantar fasciitis, a physician will examine the foot, including looking for areas of tenderness, the height of the arch and ankle mobility.  Imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs may also be used to rule out other potential causes of foot pain, such as fractures or arthritis.

There are three main ways to treat plantar fasciitis:

  • Stretching the plantar fascia and the muscle group in the back of the leg,
  • Wearing good quality and supportive shoes or orthotics,
  • Reducing inflammation.

If plantar fasciitis remains untreated, chronic heel pain can develop with irreversible consequences including: scarring and thickening of the plantar fascia at its origin in the heel.  The ligament could also become partially or completely ruptured if a person with plantar fasciitis continues their high-impact activities.

Stretching is the single most important thing to do to eliminate and prevent pain.  Physicians also recommend taking a break from high-impact exercises like running and switching to low-impact exercises like swimming or yoga.  Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and the use of ice and massage can be used to reduce inflammation and pain.  If pain continues it is important to see your physician for a more extensive treatment plan that could include steroid injections and sometimes surgery.  More than 90 percent of people with plantar fasciitis experience a significant reduction in pain after less than a year of treatment

The feet are relatively small body parts that experience significant pressure and stress on a daily basis.  For that reason, it’s important to make sure your feet stay healthy and be aware of the symptoms of foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

If you are experiencing pain in your feet please call Miller Orthopedic Specialists at 712-323-5333 (Council Bluffs Office) or 402-991-9958 (Omaha Office) to schedule an appointment to evaluate, diagnose and develop treatment plan that is both beneficial and appropriate for you.

Thu, 01 Nov 2018

How Physical Therapy Can Help Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

by: Jacqueline Taylor

Osteoporosis affects 200 million people worldwide, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. However, in women, it most commonly strikes following the menopause, which typically occurs between 48 and 55 years of age. Due to the decreased production of estrogen, females may suddenly experience an ankle fracture or broken hip out of the blue. Thankfully, an orthopedic surgeon can administer physical therapy to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis and prevent further fractures from presenting.

Postmenopausal risk

Once a woman has gone through the menopause, bone resorption happens at a much faster rate than new bone building. As a result, bone mass is lost and this puts the woman at risk of osteoporosis, breaks, and fractures. An even bigger risk is prevalent in females who experience early menopause as their bones experience a longer period of low estrogen levels and more stress. Should the menopause occur before the age of 45, it is referred to as ‘early menopause’. These women should be particularly cautious about the activities they participate in and seek assistance from a physical therapist as early as is practically possible.

Strengthening the bones

Despite females acquiring 85-90% of their bone mass by the age of 18, it is possible for women to build and maintain their bone mass during and after the menopause. A physical therapist will provide patients with a tailor-made exercise plan, which is based on their age, current fitness and risk. This plan should, in most cases, be followed two to three times a week in order to improve the condition of the bones. Typically, both resistance and weight-bearing exercises will need to be performed. Examples of suitable resistance exercises for postmenopausal women include using exercise bands and lifting light weights. Meanwhile, dancing and low-impact aerobic classes for the over 50’s can be enjoyed as weight-bearing exercises.

Making changes

During physical therapy treatment, a therapist will show his or her patient how to make changes in their day to day life to reduce the impact that their osteoporosis has on them. In most cases, these changes will be minimal but they can make the difference between an injury transpiring or not. Typical changes will include:

  • Learning how to lift and pick up objects without using the back
  • Discovering how to maneuver out of bed or from a chair without twisting the spine
  • Identifying when to ask for assistance
  • Using aids to carry shopping and similar objects from one destination to another

 Improved quality of life

Research has shown that patients with osteoporosis have a better quality of life when they undertake physical therapy. Bergland et al’s study of women with osteoporosis aged between 60 and 84 years of age, concluded that circuit training had a positive impact on both mobility and quality of life. This can only be a good thing seeing as Whiteley et al’s study on menopause described it as a ‘humanistic and economic burden’ for women due to the 34 possible symptoms it can cause.

Physical therapy is an effective treatment for postmenopausal women dealing with osteoporosis. A qualified therapist will use this therapy to prevent future problems and aid the recovery of existing ones. As a result, postmenopausal women can enjoy life to the full without worry.



International Osteoporosis Foundation – Facts & Statistics

National Osteoporosis Foundation – Osteoporosis Fast Facts

The Whoot – 34 Menopause Symptoms To Know

Allcareptc – Osteoporosis and Physical Therapy

National Center for Biotechnology Information – Effects Of Physical Therapy On Quality Of Life In Osteoporosis Patients – A Randomized Clinical Trial Center for Biotechnology Information – The Impact Of Menopausal Symptoms On Quality Of Life, Productivity, And Economic Outcomes


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