Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Morton's Foot Syndrome – What causes it and how to treat it

Every human being has certain imperfections which are inherited genetically, a few traits which are passed on from the parent to the child. Morton’s Toe is one perfect example of such inheritance. While nothing can be done to prevent passing on of this unintended gift from generation to generation, certain measures do help in easing pain to a great extent.  

What exactly is Morton’s Foot Syndrome?

Look down at any normal foot and you will find the first toe as longest and largest. Remaining toes are shorter and the size reduces proportionately so that the fifth toe becomes the smallest one. While such foot structure is widely seen, there are rare cases where the foot exhibits Morton’s Toe pattern. This is a particular type of forefoot disorder when the second toe is either of same length or a tad bit longer than the first toe. This is not because the first toe is actually shorter than the second one but it is the relative length difference between the first and second metatarsals which define this specific foot condition.
Morton’s Toe/Morton’s Foot Syndrome was first described by Dr. Dudley J. Morton, an orthopedic surgeon, researcher, physician and author. Greek Foot is another name used for the syndrome. A study says that an approximate of 10% of the world’s population have this type of particular bone configuration in their feet.

Problems associated with Morton’s foot

Lateral instability in the foot may result because of hyper mobility of the big toe and first metatarsal. Patients might feel like walking on ice skates. This doesn’t sound quite comfortable, especially if you are in a hurry to reach the destination! According to research conducted by specialists in the podiatric field, Morton’s toe is one particular phenomenon which can cause several other serious ailments. The patient may suffer from back pain, discomfort in the knee and hip portions. Arthritis is one common condition experienced by those having Greek Foot. Other health problems like bunions, hammer toes and Fibromyalgia are also considered to be direct outcomes of Morton’s Foot Syndrome.

How to get relief

Many would opine that Morton’s Toe being genetic, there is no permanent cure for this particular foot problem. While it is indeed true to certain extent, but there are certain effective measures which do work in lessening the effect. However, it is advisable not to take any drastic step like popping up painkillers on daily basis, only because the pain has become unbearable. Do consult an expert podiatrist and know his opinion.
There are some simple solutions which work just fine with Morton’s Foot Syndrome. Shift to comfortable footwear with high and wide toe boxes. Try out orthotics designed with metatarsal pads. The basic purpose of these measures is to offer relief from pain by properly distributing uneven pressure of the foot. There are many who have benefited by resorting to massage therapies too. The only word of advice is that don’t try out any procedure on your own. Be it starting any kind of therapy or designing a suitable orthotic, an expert podiatrist’s guidance is the right way to proceed towards a painless and firm step.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Plantar Fasciitis – Causes and Remedies

Foot conditions can be of different types of which plantar fasciitis is a common one. When you feel pain in the bottom of the heel portion then it might be related to plantar fasciitis. The thick connective tissue which supports arch portion on the bottom of the foot thus helping in proper movement is known as plantar fascia. Though its prime function is to act as shock absorber it can get damaged or inflamed due to excessive pressure on the foot portion. The end result: stiffness, discomfort and extreme heel pain.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Reasons are many. People having obesity or weight gain problem are prone to plantar fasciitis. Sudden weight gain can trigger such foot condition. This is why pregnant women often experience bouts of plantar fascia pain. Long distance runners or those who need to stand for long hours for job purpose can suffer from this problem too. The age group of 40-70 who lead very active life is at highest risk level as well. Again study shows that women usually suffer more from this particular foot problem. There are many who tend to get affected with conditions like very high arches or flat feet. Such situations might also result in plantar fasciitis. Tight Achilles tendons can cause plantar fascia pain too. It is seen that shoes having soft soles or poor arch supports can sometimes lead to plantar fascia problem. However it is a misconception that heel spur may result in plantar fasciitis.

How the problem is diagnosed?

It is up to the foot specialist to detect if the patient is indeed suffering from plantar fasciitis. A physical examination is done to check tenderness of foot and precise point of pain. The podiatrist carries out a thorough evaluation to assess the patient’s reflexes, muscle tones, response to touch and sight, his co-ordination and body balance. An X-Ray or MRI is advised to check out if there is any bone fracture.

How to treat plantar fasciitis?

The basic treatment aims at reducing inflammation. In general home remedies or stretching exercises are suggested to take care of plantar fascia pain. In case the condition turns too unbearable then the doctor might suggest anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections. However it is never advisable to take medicine without proper medical advice. The extreme step is surgery which is advised only when the condition has turned extremely severe.
Another treatment often suggested by podiatrists is night splint which acts like brace and helps stretch calf and the arch portion. This results in lengthening of plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and that too real fast. Night splints offer great relief from morning foot pain or stiffness. Many patients get fast respite from plantar fascia pain by shifting to specially designed orthotics or arch supports. These help distribute foot pressure, thus preventing greater damage of plantar fascia. Proper footwear which provides extra comfort by cushioning the heel portion and absorbing shock has proved to be quite effective for this particular foot problem.
Ignoring plantar fasciitis can lead to severely painful conditions and other ailments. Hence a timely treatment is always advised.