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When to See a Doctor for Foot Pain

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  • Written By: Fox Valley Orthopedics
When to See a Doctor for Foot Pain

Knowing When to See a Specialist for Your Foot Pain

While many aches and pains can subside on their own over time—others require immediate attention to prevent further injury. Here’s what you should know about common injuries that affect the feet as well as when you should seek medical treatment.

Common Foot Injuries

Stress Fracture

A stress fracture is a small crack in bone that typically occurs in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities—commonly affecting the second or third metatarsals of the foot. These breaks are commonly a result of overuse or a sudden increase in or the introduction of a new physical activity.

Signs and symptoms of a stress fracture in the foot include:

  • Pain that increases with weight-bearing activities.
  • Pain typically subsides with rest.
  • Swelling at the top of the foot.
  • Tenderness to the touch.
  • Bruising.

Plantar Fasciitis

You may have experienced plantar fasciitis if you’ve ever gotten out of bed in the morning and experienced pain that feels like a bruise on the bottom of your foot.

The plantar fascia is a thin ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot. When this supportive ligament experiences too much stress, it can become damaged, causing pain and inflammation. When this supportive ligament experiences too much stress, it can become damaged, causing pain and inflammation.

Signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain at the bottom of the heel.
  • Pain when taking first steps in the morning or after sitting or lying down.
  • Pain typically subsides after warming up.
  • Pain just after stopping physical activity.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis happens when the tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg becomes irritated and becomes inflamed. The Achilles tendon is responsible for connecting your call to your heel bone and is used when performing everyday activities like walking and using the stairs. When too much stress is placed on this tendon, it is prone to overuse and degeneration. 

Signs and symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Pain and stiffness at the back of the heel in the morning.
  • Pain typically worsens with physical activity.
  • Severe pain the day following physical activity.
  • Swelling of the tendon that worsens with activity.
  • Thickening of the tendon.

If you have experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your heel or calf, you may have torn your Achilles tendon, and you should be seen by an orthopedic specialist immediately.

Managing Foot Pain at Home

When you’re experiencing foot pain, but you’re unable to see your orthopedic specialist right away, you can effectively manage your foot pain at home. Follow these tips to reduce pain and inflammation following a foot injury:

  • Rest the injured foot for the first 48 hours following an injury.
  • Ice the affected area for 20 minutes at a time 4 to 8 times each day,
  • Compress the affected area with an elastic wrap or bandage.
  • Elevate the affected foot above the heart to reduce inflammation.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your orthopedic specialist as soon as possible:

  • You are experiencing swelling and inflammation that has not improved within a few days.
  • You feel tingling, numbness, or extreme pain.
  • Pain in your foot persists for several weeks following an injury.

Orthopedic Care in Fox Valley

At Fox Valley Orthopedics, we can help you get back to a pain-free, comfortable life. If you have been dealing with aches and pains that have lasted for more than a week, don’t put off getting help another day. Call (630) 584-1400 today to schedule your appointment.