By Dr. Kerry Zang, written exclusively for The Walking Connection.
Nerve injuries are common in the foot. One type of injury is called a neuroma or a Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma is the inflammation and swelling of the covering of the nerve. The area most often involved is the ball of the foot. This usually involves the third and fourth toes.
It is believed that neuromas are caused by a variety of different types of trauma. The injury which creates this condition can come from mechanical imbalances such as pronation or improperly fitting shoes.
A neuroma causes intermittent pain in the ball of the foot. This pain can be characterized by several different types of sensations, which including cramping or tingling. Sometimes a neuroma can feel like a hot needle between the toes or a lumpy wrinkle on the bottom of the foot. Some numbness may be present.
This condition is often aggravated by walking and wearing tight fitting shoes. It can usually be relieved by removing the shoe and rubbing the foot. Neuroma pain is usually progressive.
There are several alternatives when discussing the treatment of neuromas. One is to live with the problem and avoid tight fitting shoes. Another is the use of a series of two to three injections of cortisone with local anesthetic around the inflamed, swollen and irritated nerve tissue.
In addition to the injections, a third form of conservative care is the use of functional orthotic devices. These are used to control the biomechanical imbalances that are present. These imbalances are a continued source of irritation to the involved nerve. Orthotics are also used in conjunction with surgery, as it is necessary to try to control the mechanical imbalances even after surgical correction.
A surgical approach is indicated when conservative measures fail to satisfactorily relieve the pain and inconvenience this condition creates. There is a relatively new procedure available using an endoscope. It involves releasing the structure that creates pressure on the nerve. This procedure is minimally invasive and performed on an out-patient basis. It allows for earlier return to activities sooner than traditional neuroma surgery. This is a very exciting breakthrough for people who suffer from neuroma pain. If pain, cramping or burning is interfering with your walking program you should seek the help of a podiactric footcare specialist.
Could Your Feet Be Causing Back Pain?
by Dr. Kerry Zang
Back pain affects millions of Americans and for many it starts from the ground up. Ignoring how feet affect the lower back can sometimes mean missing the source of back pain. When walking, the body must adjust to many forces which affect both the feet and the spine. When your foot hits the ground, your whole body feels the effect. The greater the impact of your step, the more impact it has on your body. When you run, your lower extremities absorb two to five times your body weight. This increased stress on your body can result in lower back pain.
There are new Viscoelastic shoe inserts that may help reduce some of the shock placed on the feet everyday. These inserts are made from a medical grade silicone that helps prevent overloading of the natural shock absorbing mechanisms in the foot. They provide therapeutic as well as preventative measures in helping to alleviate pain.
Biomechanical imbalances in your feet can also cause back pain. As you walk, your heel swings from side to side. When it is moving properly, the foot can flatten and regain its arch during walking. If the heel is swinging too much, the foot may flatten more than it should. If this happens, some of the bones are forced to support too much weight. The muscles then pull harder on these areas, making it more difficult for the tendons and ligaments to hold the bones and joints in place. This can lead to many other problems.
Fortunately, many of these problems can be improved by controlling foot movement. Supportive shoes, over-the-counter inserts and custom made inserts (orthotics) can help. Orthotics help protect the tender areas of the foot from harsh, constant use. A podiatrist can determine which is best for a particular foot problem.
It is important to consider the feet when determining the source of back pain. The feet often play a major role in the comfort of your whole body. The old adage is often true, when your feet hurt, you hurt all over.
Foot Health with Dr. Kerry Zang Arizona Footcare Physicians
Founder of the Arizona Institute of Footcare Physicians, Dr. Zang has more than 30 years experience developing and providing the latest technologies in podiatric care. An innovator in his field, he has designed implants and surgical devices, including a joint replacement system for Walking the great toe. Dr. Zang is a rotating speaker for the Podiatry program at Midwestern University in Phoenix, and is actively involved with teaching podiatric students, and lectures throughout the country to his colleagues.
Additional information and to contact Dr. Zang, please click here and visit AZFeet.com.