common foot probles when runningIf you’re a runner, you know that the biggest challenge is caring for your feet. From getting the right running shoes to after care when your feet are tired and sore. That’s just one of the reasons runners begrudgingly don’t like running. Of course, the benefits of running far outway the negatives.

As a runner, there are some more serious conditions than sore feet that should be paid attention to. A foot, while carrying us through life, can also be quite delicate. It’s a series of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that are all connected have to work together. If one these goes out of order, the foot is out of commission until it’s fixed.

Fortunately, most foot ailments can be handled. These below are the most common foot ailments are runner can run into.


The Foot and the Runner


The first and most common condition is Plantar Fasciitis. The plantar fascia tendon is the one that runs the length of the bottom of the foot. This condition is characterized by a sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of your foot. This is a tendonitis issue. Generally, it’s caused by overuse, not stretching, or wearing the wrong shoes.

The second common condition is a Stress Fracture. This is where the bone issue, where a small fracture can occur in any of the bones that comprise the foot. The most common area for stress fractures, however, is the metatarsals. These fractures they take time to build. Then, suddenly, the point comes where you feel a sharp pain in an area of your foot. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between general foot pain and a stress fracture, and x-rays are not always reliable as these fractures are quite small. The common way to find out if you have a stress fracture, is the tuning fork method and the vibrations will end up rattling your bones. Your podiatrist will advise on the best treatments.

The last condition that runners currently find themselves in is Extensor Tendonitis. These are the tendons that go across the top of the foot and go down from the muscles in front of the shin. These are the tendons that straighten each toe and generally help work them. Just like any tendon, it can become inflamed and overused. The pain can be similar to a stress fracture, but the main difference is that with extensor tendonitis, you’ll have trouble raising your toes.

While these conditions are painful and can momentarily stop you from running, letting them go unchecked or untreated, will only worsen the condition for the future. Make sure to visit a podiatrist who will advise the best treatment to get you back on your feet and hitting the streets.

Family Foot Center is always ready to help runners during any time of need. If you’re experiencing any of the above, feel free to schedule an appointment.

What to do about painful hammer-toes?What to do about painful hammer-toes?

Many of us have heard the term hammer-toe, but what is the medical definition of this condition? Hammer-toes are defined as an imbalance in the ligament and muscle at the base of the toe joint. This can cause the middle joint to become bent out of shape, which can be aesthetically unpleasing. This also leads to irritation in the bent toe and difficulty with walking and wearing certain footwear.

What kinds of hammer-toes are there?

There is a couple of different variations which can appear on the feet.  Fortunately, both can easily be treated if diagnosed in a timely fashion.  First, there are flexible hammer-toes which can be moved at the joint.  These usually develop in the early stages of development and are easier to treat.

Rigid hammer-toes are different, as they press the joint out of it’s natural alignment.  The toe is not mobile at this stage and surgery is likely required to correct the issue and return full mobility.

What Causes Hammer-toes?

Each of our toe muscles work together in pairs.  When the balance of the muscles shifts, a hammer-toe can develop.  There is a large amount of pressure which is put on the toe joints each and every day, especially for those of us who walk or run more than usual.  Additionally, those who wear high-heeled shoes or narrow footwear can suffer from hammer-toe development, due to the change in the arch of the foot.  Genetics play a large role as well, as this condition could be passed over in the family, and patients are likely to develop the condition in their adult life.  Those who have suffered from injuries to the foot or arthritis are most at risk.

If you suffer from pain in the feet, corn formation, swelling, dislocation or have gone through an injury, it is best to contact a podiatrist for a thorough evaluation.  Early detection is the key to a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Call Dr. Hickey today at 516-735-4545 for your evaluation today!

Can shoes help my foot painWhen we think of footwear, we often think about aesthetics of how a high heel may make us look.  We think about how these shoes will make us feel taller, more confident and how they will dress us up. However, we often neglect to think about how they will make the bones, joints, ligaments and tendons in our feet react.  Putting an unnatural arch or pressure on our toes and the soles of our feet may not sound as appealing in those stilletos!

Starting From The Bottom

Studies show that nearly all American adults suffer from joint or muscle pain.  Some of the most common pain is Sciatica (or lower back pain shooting down the leg) as well as hip and cervical spine (neck) discomfort.  Very few patients realize that this pain can actually originate from the shoes which they choose. The natural arch in the foot must be preserved, and most shoes (from sneakers to flip flops) available in stores today do not offer this necessary support.

Ask The Doc Before You Shop!

Before going to the mall or your local boutique in search of a new pair of shoes for work or a special event, consult the expert: your podiatrist!

They will evaluate the condition of your feet and will advise you of the best options. The curvature of your feet will be
precisely measured, as well as the structure of the inner structures of the toes. Shoes which tend to "pinch" the toes or elevate the foot beyond it's natural range of motion can cause detrimental pain later down the road.

Call today to schedule your footwear consultation. Our doctor and experienced, professional staff will have you feeling stylish in comfort!

do i need a referral to see a podiatristWhen we are in pain, it can often be very frustrating and complicated to decipher our health insurance benefits.  This is especially relevant when it comes to issues pertaining to the feet and ankles, where your mobility can be affected as well.  It is important to have these ailments diagnosed and treated immediately, to avoid any further complications.  However, the question arises, how can I see a podiatrist quickly and do I need to provide a referral to do so?

What Is Podiatry?

Prior to speaking with your primary care doctor about a podiatry referral,  you may want to hear about what they have to offer and how they can help you.  Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the treatment of foot, ankle and lower leg symptoms and diseases.  This is a large variety of ailments which range from plantar fascitis to deformities of the feet and toes.  They use different methods, both medication and in-office procedures, to cure those who suffer from these symptoms and prevent future ailments.

Up On Your Feet!

Studies worldwide show that nearly all adults suffer from some sort of pain the feet.  This can be due to wear and tear, footwear, poor circulation, toenail fungus, underlying cardiac disease or diabetes or even blisters.  The feet should be checked regularly by a podiatrist to prevent any gait, walking or postural abnormalities as well.  Your podiatrist can advise you on the best shoes, creams, ointments and preventative methods to keep you up on your feet!

When Would I See A Podiatrist?

There are a few tell tale signs that you must ask your physician for a podiatry referral, as soon as possible.  First, if you experience pain that does not stop for an extended period of time, especially if you are not bearing weight on the feet.  Secondly, it’s important to pay special attention to your heels, as they are prone to various forms of pathology.  If you experienced a heel injury and the pain seems to persist, even after icing and taking ibuprofen at home, it is time to make an appointment.  Lastly, if your feet develop a rash, discoloration, chaffing or odor it is important to be seen right away.  These can be signs of dangerous infections or fungus which are developing, or can even be symptoms of an underlying autoimmune complication.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your local and trusted podiatry practice.  Dr. Hickey and his team of trained, professional and courteous staff will diagnose and treat you in their state of the art practice.  Call 516-735-4545 to schedule your appointment today!

There are a few things in this world I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Plantar fasciitis is one of them. This debilitating and annoyingly persistent injury can happen to anyone, and is particularly common among runners. I've had my bouts with it, and while home remedies can provide some relief, improving your running technique is your best defense. Practicing the Chi Running Form Focuses will put you on the path to injury prevention and recovery.

Where is the Plantar tendon and what does it do?

The plantar tendon runs the length of the bottom of your foot, spanning the area from the base of the toes to the front of your heel. The two ends of the tendon attach at the base of the toes and at the front of the heel bone by means of fascia, a strong fibrous membrane. The plantar tendon keeps the arch of the foot from flattening completely when the foot bears weight, thus providing cushioning and shock absorption when you're walking, running or standing. This tendon also allows you to point your toes.

What is Plantar Fasciitis and what causes it?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia caused by any motion of the legs that creates a pull on the Plantar tendon. Walking or running up or down hills, climbing stairs, walking or running on your toes (including wearing high heels), or dorsiflexing (pointing your toes up as your heel comes down with each stride) all pull the plantar tendon.

Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by heel striking, which is usually a result of over-striding. If you reach forward with your legs with each stride, you're very likely to land on your heels. Landing in this way can create a force on your heels of up to six times your body weight with each footstep.

Tight calves and an inflexible Achilles tendon can also pull the plantar tendon and weaken the attachment of the fascia to the bone. If the plantar tendon is stretched beyond what the fascia is capable of holding, the fascia forms micro-tears and begins to pull away from the bone, causing inflammation.

When the plantar tendon is consistently over-stretched, the body begins to add calcium where the attachment between the tendon and the heel bone takes place. Over time, enough calcium is added to build more bone mass in that particular spot, creating a heel spur that can be even more painful than plantar fasciitis.

Other common causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Wearing inflexible or worn out shoes

  • Very low or high arches

  • Being overweight

  • Spending long hours on your feet

  • Tight calf muscles or tight/stiff ankle muscles

  • Walking barefoot in soft sand for long distances

What does plantar fasciitis feel like?

It varies for everyone, but plantar fasciitis usually follows this progression. When it first appears, you may feel like you've got a lump in the heel of your sock. Not pain, just an uncomfortable "thick" feeling right under your heel.

In the early stages, your heel may feel tender when you first get up from sitting or when getting out of bed in the morning, but the discomfort subsides once you're up and about on your feet. As the injury advances, tenderness lingers and begins to feel like needles sticking you in the bottom of your heel with each step. In the very advanced stages, you find yourself searching the Internet for books on levitation. It aches all day, not only when you're on your feet.


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