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Treating Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is the thick band of tissue that makes up the arch of the foot by connecting the heel bone to the toes. When this band becomes overused and stretched, it becomes inflamed. This inflammation is referred to as plantar fasciitis and results in pain.
Several conservative treatment options exist.
Rest: if possible, rest the area and avoid overuse.
Proper Footwear: Since the plantar fascia makes up the arch of the foot, supporting this arch will keep the plantar fascia from overstretching. A proper shoe has a secure closure such as lace or hook and loop, and maintains the arch and a normal alignment of the foot. If plantar fasciitis is a result of poor foot biomechanics, such as fallen arches or excessively high arches, over the counter or custom made insoles may also be necessary to maintain proper foot alignment. Many patients find that wearing shoes with a heel lift or a higher heel helps alleviate pain of the plantar fascia. Higher heeled shoes place the calf muscle on slack, so the plantar fascia is not being pulled
Stretching Exercises: Stretching the heel and calf muscle is very important. Tight calf muscles can lead to an overstretched plantar fascia. Exercises may include reaching for the toes with straight legs, or wall lunges with a straight back leg while the foot remains flat on the floor.
Cold Therapy: During the first few days of plantar fasciitis, this injury will respond well to cold therapy. Applying ice packs or cold therapy to the affected area for 10-15 minutes will decrease the swelling. Ice treatments should focus at the source of pain, usually at the heel where the plantar fascia inserts.
Anti-inflammatory medications: Ibuprofen or Naproxen can decrease the inflammation in the tissues.
Other treatment measures may include:
Lifting The Heel: Wearing a heel cup, shoe lifts under the heel, or a higher heeled shoe places the plantar fascia in a position to protect from over-stretching. Lifting the heel may help the condition, but it is not a permanent fix. Stretching tight calf muscles to increase the flexibility of the heel will be a more permanent fix. If stretching doesn’t work, custom orthotics may be a next step.
Night Splints: When this condition persists, night splints can help to stretch the calf muscle and heel. Night splints place the calf on stretch by lifting the toes and preventing plantar flexion (a pointed toe position).
Boot Cast/Walking Boot: Occasionally patients will revert to a removable walking boot for several weeks.
Injections: Instances occur where patients need more aggressive approaches to treating this condition. Steroid injections to the plantar fascia may be beneficial in these instances.
Surgical Release: When conservative methods fail, surgery to release the plantar fascia are often a last resort.
Conservative treatment methods are usually effective, but it can take several months to fully recover. After recovering from Plantar Fasciitis, many patients will suffer recurrence. If the patient continues the conservative treatment plan as a preventative measure, this condition is much less likely to reoccur. Maintaining flexibility in the ankle, stretching the heel and calf muscle (preferably in the morning before getting out of bed), wearing proper footwear, maintaining a healthy body weight, and avoiding overuse are great methods of preventing this condition.
Treating Puncture Wounds at Home
If you do not have an increased risk of infection, you are free from other injuries, and you do not need a tetanus shot or treatment by a doctor, home treatment can be a safe and effective method at preventing infection and promoting healing.
When treating someone other than yourself, use the American Red Cross’s universal precautions and wear gloves.
Remove Foreign Objects
First, be sure that the object that caused the wound is not left in the wound. Remove any objects from the wound that you can see. Use tweezers to remove any splinters, or use medical tape by placing tape over the splinter and carefully pulling off the tape. Do not get the splinter wet and take care not to push the object deeper into the wound.
Apply direct pressure to the wound to stop bleeding.
Sterilize the injury
As soon as possible, clean the wound to reduce risks of infection or scarring. Using mind soap and cool water, carefully wash the wound for three to five minutes. It is best to avoid harsh products such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine as these products can damage the tissue and slow down healing. Always follow directions for any cleaning products.
Assess and Treat the Injury
After cleaning the injury, assess the injury and consider your need for medical assistance. If the injury was caused by a dirty or rusty object, a tetanus shot may be required. Unlike a cut, most puncture wounds will most likely heal without stitches, staples, or skin adhesives. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, or if concerns about scarring are present, seek medical assistance. Even though most puncture wounds heal well without a bandage, consider protecting the injury from dirt and irritation. Be sure to clean the wound thoroughly and apply sterile dressings to the wound.
After The Injury
Pain management with an ice pack or cold pack may reduce swelling and aid in healing. Remember, a barrier should always be used between the cool pack and the skin and ice should never be placed directly on the injured site. Elevate the injury to decrease swelling. Watch for any signs of infection and seek medical attention should warmth and swelling return.
What Is A Sprain?
A ligament is a thick band of fibrous material that connects bone to bone at a joint. A sprain occurs when the ligament tissue becomes stretched or torn.
Sprains can occur at any joint, the most common involve the ankle, wrist, and knee. Wrist sprains are often the result of a fall on an outstretched arm, where ankle and knee sprains occur where a twisting or sliding movement of body opposes the lower leg or foot. A “pop” or tissue tear may be experienced by the injured, depending on the severity of the sprain. Common symptoms of sprains include swelling, discoloration of the skin, pain, and a loss of functional ability at the joint.
The severity of a sprain is further classified into 3 grades (or degrees).
· A Grade 1, or mild sprain is a result of overstretching or a slight tearing of the ligament where no joint instability is present. Minimal pain and swelling are apparent with no significant loss of function at the joint. The joint should allow weight bearing with minimal limitations.
· A Grade 2, or moderate sprain is a result of a partial ligament tear. Skin discoloration, pain and swelling are present at the site and there is a notable loss of function at the joint. Limited weight bearing is tolerated. An x-ray or MRI may be required to determine the severity of the injury.
· A Grade 3, or severe sprain is a complete tear or disruption of the ligament. Bruising, swelling, and pain are severe and the patient cannot tolerate weight bearing through the joint. An x-ray is likely required to determine whether or not a bone has broken. Surgery is possibly required and immobilization of the injured joint is necessary for healing.