Dry, cracked, painful heels!

Winter weather can cause more than just static in the air and dry hands, many podiatry patients may notice that their skin of their heels has become dried and cracked.  This often causes pain and irritation.  The medical term for this cracked skin is heel fissures.

Fissured heels happen when dry skin around the heel splits from the weight of walking or standing. Some people experience dry cracked heels because of naturally dry skin or other systemic diseases often associated with this condition.  This can range from nutrient disorders, diabetes or skin diseases such as eczema.  As a person ages, their skin loses elasticity and becomes more prone to drying out.

If the fissuring is severe, treatment is indicated.  Understanding the systemic conditions causing the major skin issue is the first step.  Secondly, removal of the thick skin utilizing a pumice stone or other mildly abrasive device to exfoliate the skin area is often used.   Special creams to help moisturize the area can also be used.  Offloading the area with taping or inserts may be needed to help support the foot and heel to control the pressure on the skin.

If you have developed painful fissuring of your heels, do not hesitate to call us at Worthington Foot & Ankle.

Satellite office

We are extremely excited and proud to open our new satellite office in Hilliard, OH on May 2nd!!!

We will be seeing patients at this satellite office the 1st Wednesday of the month and the 3rd Tuesday of the month.
Our address is: 4674 Britton Parkway, Hilliard, OH 43026.

We are excited to serve the Hilliard and surrounding communities

Hammertoes and their Repair

Hammertoe deformities are contractures or painful curling of the toes. Hammertoes are often caused by the improper biomechanics of the foot which allows certain muscles and tendons to overpower others, allowing for the curling of the toes. Treatment can include inserts or orthotics, shoe gear modification, but often patients request surgery to correct this to allow the return to activities and returning to their regular shoe gear.
Often times, in surgery, pins or wires are used to fix the repair. Many individuals are hesitant to have surgery and have pins sticking out of their toes for as long as 6 weeks. There is typically more swelling noted with external hardware due to the need to remove at a later time. This often causes patients to hold off on surgery.
There are new techniques that allow for use of internal fixation for the hammertoes. When internal fixation is used, the patient will be able to return to regular shoe gear sooner, have less swelling, and be able to take a shower sooner as there is no hardware on the outside of the foot..
If you have hammertoes, and would like information regarding new techniques for repair, do not hesitate to contact us as Worthington Foot & Ankle!

Overuse Injuries in Children

The end of fall and the beginning of winter marks many changes for kids who play sports.  Many are coming off of the field (soccer or football) and begin more court activities such as basketball.  Many children who are multiple sport athletes are now experiencing increased pain to their feet.  This is typically known as overuse injuries.  Overuse injuries in sports are defined as chronic injuries related to constant repetitive stress without adequate recovery time from their events.  The cause is due to increased stress to the normal tissue without adequate time to recover.  Injuries can occur in 3 ways.

Athletes who increase their activity quickly without the proper training can experience pain and other sports injuries.  Overuse injuries can also occur in children who do not have the proper mechanics or skills for playing their particular sport.  They have not learned the correct skills, or their coordination is not up to level at this time.  And finally, overuse injuries can occur in athletes who do not provide their body with the proper amount of rest from their activity.  Many children are hesitant to take a break as they feel they will not be allotted the same amount of playing time as their peers if they do not practice as hard or as often.

Overuse injuries in children can be seen at the insertion of a tendon to a bone, which is known as apophysitis.  This is typically seen at the heel bone or the knee area.  This occurs at the articular cartilage, and causes a bone and cartilage injury.  This injury can also occur along the growing bone itself, which can appear as a stress fracture.

There are many ways to treat these overuse injuries which range from downtime from the sport to orthotic support in shoes to control abnormal forces and allow for proper biomechanis.  If your child complains of chronic foot pain before, during or after their sporting event, please do not hesitate to contact us at Worthington Foot & Ankle.  We would be happy to help get your child back to their favorite sport.

Custom AFO bracing

Patients often experience extreme, chronic pain to the foot and ankle, which limits their activities of daily living.  Many athletes wish to return to their sports after an ankle injury, but going unbraced can be too painful and patients often complain of lack of support.  At times, patients respond well to conservative measures such as orthotics or supportive shoe gear for their less serious injuries, but at times, a more supportive brace is needed.

As discussed in a previous blog, patients can experience tendonitis along their posterior tibial tendon, which is the main tendon which helps support the arch.  This can cause changes to the arch, such as flattening of the arch, especially if the tendon is not functioning properly.  Patients will often require a supportive device to offload the tendon and help control excess motion of the foot.  At the same time, this also controls excess motion of the ankle.  This device is known as a custom Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO).

A custom AFO brace is specifically designed for the patient based on a cast mold of the patient’s foot and ankle.  It is often a rigid/semi-rigid structure that controls excess motion in the foot, and a brace whic is attached to prevent excess motion of the ankle.  This device can be tailored to a patient who has other chronic ankle pain or issues.  Patients respond well to this device as it helps support the foot and ankle, and delays the need for surgical intervention.

If you have chronic heel or ankle pain, do not hesitate to make an appointment with us at Worthington Foot & Ankle

Pump Bump


Many people experience pain not only to the bottom of their heel, but they also experience pain to the back of their heel bone.  This pain is sometimes associated with a prominent bump to the back of the heel known as a Haglund’s Deformity or “pump bump”.  This bump is positioned where the Achilles tendon inserts onto the heel bone.  This area can become irritated, swollen and painful.  Often times, patients complain of irritation from their shoes.

Causes of this “pump bump” include: a high arched foot type, a tight Achilles tendon, and improper walking technique.  Symptoms include a painful bump to the back of the heel, swelling, and redness of the area due to the irritation and rubbing in shoes.  Treatment is both conservative as well as surgical.  Some conservative treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication, icing, stretching, heel lifts, custom orthotics, shoe modification, and often physical therapy.  Surgically, the treatment would be shaving down the prominent bump.

If you are experiencing pain to the back of your heel bone, do not hesitate to follow with your podiatrist.  Call us at Worthington Foot & Ankle if you have questions!

Turf Toe

“I sprained my big toe joint!”

School is starting and with that comes the start of the football and soccer seasons.  This is when we, as podiatrists, begin to see many new types of injuries.  One of these injuries is “Turf Toe”.  Turf Toe is a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint.  Over extending the great toe causes this injury to the ligaments.   It is most commonly seen in athletes playing on artificial surfaces.

Symptoms of turf toe include pain, swelling, and limited motion at the joint at the base of the big toe.  There are three grades for this injury from least problematic, to increased severity.  A Grade I injury is a sprain of the ligaments, athletes are typically able to return to play as tolerated.  Grade II injury is a partial rupture of the ligaments and the athlete typically needs upwards of 2 weeks to recover.  A Grade III injury is a complete rupture of the ligaments and requires up to 10 to 16 weeks to recover.

The initial treatment for treating turf toe is a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE therapy) as well as oral anti-inflammatories.  Taping may be beneficial to limit the motion of the joint.  At times, a rigid insert that minimizes the flexion of the joint is the most useful option.

It can take two to three weeks for the pain and inflammation along the joint improve.  The patients must be cautious as this injury can recur if not treated aggressively at first.  Long term use of inserts or other adjustments to their athletic wear is warranted.  If you sustain an injury this sports season, do not hesitate to call us at Worthington Foot & Ankle, we’d be happy to help!