The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Staying Safe For the New Year: New York Podiatrists Discuss 5 Types of Holiday Foot Pain

Posted by on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

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The holidays are a “warm and fuzzy” time for most New Yorkers, but it’s also a busy time for podiatric surgeons. Fractured feet and ankles from falls off ladders or other decorating and celebrating stumbles are definitely the most common holiday hazard, but we also frequently treat neuromas (a type of nerve damage affecting the balls of the feet) and metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain related to worn fat pads) from all the long hours of seasonal shopping and baking. Plantar fasciitis heel pain and Achilles tendinitis also tend to “act up” this time of year, and let’s not forget about our old friend — associated with rich feasts — gout! Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we hope you have a happy and healthy holiday, but if not, we’ve got a few tips to see you through.

Shopping in winter
You’re on your feet a lot this time of year- make sure you take care of them! Image from Flickr CC user Martin Djablik.

Beware of the following holiday hazards:

1. Fractures

CNN told the story of Kathleen Taylor, a Texas mother who fell off a ladder while placing the star on the Christmas tree. She recalled glancing down to where her 3-year-old daughter was playing and said she “just panicked,” worrying that the wobbly ladder would fall on the toddler. She jumped off and landed unnaturally, giving herself a hairline fracture. New Yorkers who fear the worst can receive a diagnosis, cast, or walking boot from our offices in Manhattan and White Plains.

2. Ball of Foot Pain

Neuromas refer to a sharp pain in the balls of the feet that occurs when tissues swell and nerves become compressed. Metatarsalgia is another kind of pain in this region, which typically stems from a combination of worn fat pads, old shoes, and too much walking or standing. All the holiday baking and “pounding the pavement” shopping usually contribute to this type of injury. We usually prescribe conservative measures to start, but we do offer surgical intervention as an option for severe foot pain.

3. Plantar Fasciitis

Lots of ladder climbing this time of year doesn’t just set you up for a nasty fall, but also exacerbates chronic conditions like plantar fasciitis heel pain. The repeated ups and downs increase tension on the ligament that connects the heel to the toes, which leads to stretching and eventual tearing. Even just standing on a ladder places too much weight on the arch of the foot, thus worsening the condition. Mail carriers and package deliverers often suffer from arch and heel pain, which is particularly bad in the morning or after periods of prolonged sitting. Our treatments range from night splints, orthotics, and stretching, to shockwave therapy, ultrasonic debridement of scar tissue, and foot surgery.

4. Achilles Tendinitis

The thick tendon leading up the back of the heel often become inflamed with a lot of squatting, standing, and walking over the holidays. People who are normally rather sedentary may have a sudden increase in activity that contributes to the pain. Being a few pounds overweight can also aggravate this tendon, as it takes a very hefty load. We offer many types of treatment for Achilles pain, including a strength-training program, biopuncture, extracorporeal pulse activation therapy, platelet rich plasma injections, focused aspiration of scar tissue, cryotherapy, and surgery.

5. Gout

Consumption of red wine, shellfish, anchovies, salmon, liver, mussels, sardines, and spinach can trigger crippling gout attacks. The foot becomes inflamed, red, and stiff. Men, people with a family history of gout, organ transplant patients, and people on certain types of medication may be more likely to suffer from this condition. While it generally clears up within a couple of days, there are home remedies that can take off the edge and help you get by in the meantime. If you feel you may be at risk for a gout attack, talk to a NY podiatrist before consuming to discuss medication that can help prevent or lessen the attacks.

Get Help For The Holidays From NY Foot Pain Specialists

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says a good 13,000 or more people are injured decorating their homes each year. We hope you are not one of them! A good pair of shoes, allowing yourself time to rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, icing, and soaking are all good first steps to feeling well during this busy time of year. Elevate your feet after a long day of shopping and sit as often as possible while baking or preparing special dishes. When climbing ladders, be sure you wear stiff-soled boots or shoes to protect your arches. Wear those nice heels for the party, but switch out of them as soon as possible and try not to stand all night long. Ask us for individualized suggestions if you are particularly at risk for ankle and foot pain. We’d love to help!

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.