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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Healing Plantar Fascial Tear Images: Dark, Intact, but Irregular

This is my grandson, and one of my best friends, Henry. Henry is shown here starting Kindergarten about 3 weeks ago. He says his favorite is "Math" because he loves looking for "Patterns". Just an Angel. 

Here is an MRI image for a plantar fascial tear healing well. The plantar fascia is this dense band of fibrous tissue that runs from the heel to the front of your foot. This image is at the 6 month point, therefore a second MRI. The fibrous bands look mainly dark, but very irregular, as this process of healing is a bit different from patient to patient. If you look first at the heel bone, and then 2 inches in front, you can see normal looking dense regular plantar fascia that we hope will happen over the next 6 months. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Tip for Orthotic Devices in Side to Side Sports: Keep Them Low to the Ground

High level soccer player presented today for his orthotic devices solely for these cleats. The custom orthotic must be low to the ground, so when you flip this over, the heel does not have its typical post or lift. I always joke with the patient when they bring in such bright shoes, that they better be good to wear these!!

Here you can see after flipping over the orthotic device that there is no additional lift that could potentially lift them out of their shoes. This is ideal for any side to side cutting sports where the risk of ankle sprains is higher than running or walking. 

An even closer look at the orthotic bottom (plantar) area. The orthotic device really supports the foot well and distributes weight very evenly around the foot, so stress points are harder to develop which can lead to injury. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

5th Metatarsal Fracture: 10 Weeks into the Healing Process

10 weeks ago this military vet rolled her ankle avoiding her dog and that abrupt twist fractured her 5th metatarsal base. She was 6 weeks in a removable boot with crutches when I saw her. To protect the bone, and allow her to get out of her boot and back to activity, I made a rush of some custom orthotic devices and taught her how to use KT tape to circumferentially wrap the area. She took 10 days to painlessly wean from the boot, and has been walking for 3 weeks in athletic shoes, tape, and orthotics. Since she walks without a limp, and is controlling her pain within the 0-2 pain level parameters, I started her on an every other day walk run program. She is to email me when she gets to level 5 and then level 10. If you are uncertain about this program, you can type it into the search bar. 
     She had no pain on examination today. I felt no need to xray since the fracture line never looks great on xray for the first 3-4 months. I find I can rehab the patient based on their symptoms. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Foot Pain: Can I Off Weight? Great for the Bottom of the Foot Problems

Today I want to discuss a product I use daily, and many times each day. It is called "Adhesive Felt" with 1/8 inch the preferred thickness for the bottom of the foot. In the photo below, I am protecting a sore 2nd metatarsal with an off weighting horseshoe shaped pad. When the bottom of your foot hurts, consider this remedy. Rich

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Ankle Sprain: How to Present the Injury to a Health Care Provider

I just got back from a 6 day trip to see my son and daughter in law and grandson William in San Diego. My wife and I had a marvelous time, but it is time to get to work tomorrow. Perhaps I care share one little photo of William for my readers. 

William is 6 months old and of course I am much older

     This post is about having an ankle sprain and trying to write down all the important things to tell the health care provider when you go in for the visit. However, it could apply to any injury, and it is both for the health provider and you. After the initial pain, and maybe you are still lying there on the ground, you have to start asking why? Why me? Why now? What lead up to this injury? The answers to these and other questions can help prevent other injuries in the future.

#1  What exactly happen? Fall down stairs, land on someone's foot, etc
#2  Has this happened before? Are you prone to sprain your ankles? 
#3  Did you feel that your ankle was weak before your sprain occurred?
#4  Were you doing too much prior to the injury?
#5  Do you have good stable shoes for your ankle?
#6  Do you wear ankle braces during the activity you sprained your ankle?
#7  In what direction did your ankle move during the sprain?
#8  In what direction did your body move during the sprain?
#9  Did the sprain cause you to fall?
#10 Was a pure accident like a slip on slippery surface?

I hope these questions will help you focus on the injury to get at the cause and mechanics of the injury. Rich 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Thickened Nails: Sometimes There Is One Growing Underneath!!

Hello, this is my last post for a few days as I visit my grandson William in San Diego. I will be back on Wednesday 9/8. At the end of the post, I will show you a picture of William, so very cute. 
     A patient on Monday presents with a thickened and possibly ingrown toenail. There was no pain, but it did not feel right at all. After doing both some electrical thinning of the nail, and then some manual debridement with clippers, this is what we ended up with. I surmise that this is the normal nail beginning to grow under. I will see her in 3 months and we will see how it grows back. 
     Okay, here is William. So sweet. Definitely like his mom and dad (my son). 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapists

     I am always sending my patients with some sort of nerve pain to seek the advice of a physical therapist specially trained in nerve pain. It took years to find out that these physical therapists had a national organization. Even though I find the website a bit confusing, any physical therapy office in your town may have an associate member. Ask the office if any of their providers are members of ANPT, or at least have a sub speciality in nerves. 
     When dealing with acute or chronic problems, I find that some many patients have a primary or secondary nerve problem. A chronic problem can develop nerve hypersensitivity needing nerve treatments, or an acute injury may be to the nerve primarily. There are easy problems like tarsal tunnel and Morton's neuroma which need nerve attention in treatment, but there are more subtle problems like chronic achilles pain or heel pain that are produced by the local nerve. 
     I always teach that there are 3 sources of any pain issue: mechanical, inflammation, or neuropathic. It is the neuropathic pain that does not respond to as well to mechanical and anti-inflammatory treatments and may need some nerve TLC. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Use of Sleeping Splints for Plantar Fasciitis

Good morning Readers, 
     It is a beautiful Sunday morning in San Francisco, although the Fires in the West of USA are frightful!
I pray for all those that have lost their homes to these fires. 

     The question today concerns the efficacy of the posterior sleeping splints for plantar fasciitis. I have attached a link to a video I did long ago still applicable.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I use it for the patients with morning soreness when they wake up. It is important to find out how long they have symptoms when they arise. A simple case of plantar fasciitis normally hurts for 5 minutes or so. I am surprised when I ask when the patients say that it can take an hour or so. I have even had patients tell me the pain either never feels better, or they never have morning soreness. In both these cases, if your diagnosis is plantar fasciitis, you may be wrong. There are so many other causes of foot pain incorrectly diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis. 

So, plantar fasciitis is normally diagnosed by historical review, but a good examination is also important. I have left the link from my video on Heel Pain Examination. 

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Can Plantar Fasciitis occur in other areas of the foot? For sure!! But, a non-heel diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is always suspect. 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

What is this Quick Tape? More Diagnostic for Plantar Fasciitis than an MRI for most cases!

Good Morning my wonderful readers! Yesterday I put in a plug for Quick Tape from a company near Seattle, Washington called Support The Foot. For my treatment of any heel and arch problem that I believe may be plantar fasciitis, or sometimes it is the patient who believes the most in that diagnosis, I will use Quick Tape as a treatment and as diagnostic tool. If the pain goes away while you are taping, or at least feels a-lot better, you most likely have Plantar Fasciitis. The taping is worn for about 2-3 months on average, each piece lasting a week. If the tape does not help, I begin to look for another cause of pain like nerve issues, stress fractures, and torn something. Even though not 100% accurate, it is pretty close. It is very easy to get by ordering from the website. Good luck!
Here are my students at the California School of Podiatric Medicine showing off their Quick Tape after learning the technique

I love to teach, and being in private practice, my teaching is primarily with my patients. However, I have had the great luck or fortune, to have some involvement with the school since I was a student, each and every year for the last 45 years (one year longer than I have been married). I will try to keep those 2 streaks going!!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Can I Start this Blog Over Again and a Plug for Quick Tape?

      Those of you who read each one of my posts I deeply thank you. This is my 12th year writing, and I do want to feel what is was like when I started in March 2010. I have definitely had an overall collapse in blog enthusiasm since Covid hit my reality last year. I could no longer work at the hectic pace of my youth. I am now a part time (50%) practicing podiatrist as of July 1st 2021. I am 67 years old. I have worked for 40 years trying to help people doing something I love. I wish I could thank all my teachers for helping me become a Podiatrist. The job is 24/7 365 days a year, and I am both exhausted by it and honored by serving my patients as well as I could. I will retire completely from private practice on 1/9/24 my 70th birthday. I love my little community hospital. We are one!
     In each blog post from here on, there will be something of me personally. I make no apologies. I am a deeply spiritual being, and practice podiatry from my heart. Podiatry is a profession of health. I wish all my students at the California College of Podiatric Medicine could fully understand their impact. 
     So today, I am starting again. I hope to go 12 more years, and perhaps start again. Most of my practice life is in the words of this blog, so how can I talk one day longer. We will see.

My wife Patty in blue and I just visited a friend in Sun Valley Idaho. We walk and walk where ever we go. My wife was wearing Quick Tape from for her chronic plantar fasciitis. I converted from the more difficult Low Dye Taping to Quick Tape for this problem now 7 years ago. 
Please help me with this change of direction. Comment below when you can. Rich 


Friday, August 13, 2021

Customizing OTC inserts: Quick Way to Begin to Change Mechanics

Podiatrists are always designing custom inserts to change a patients mechanics in some way to help their problems. Sometimes that correction is direct (like off loading a sore area seen with the horse shoe shape blue pad), and sometimes that correction is indirect (like the white metatarsal pad to help center the foot). Here I have added 3 adjustments to this Dr Scholl's inserts. The patient initially had the gray appearing heel wedge to help with pronation forces. When the patient returned, both his knee and low back had felt better with pronation control, but he was having new problems with the front 2nd metatarsal. The blue padding was then to help that. Once the inserts wear out, because I take photos of all of these inserts, I am able to re-make them if the patient sends into the office a new pair. Ah, biomechanics!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Fifth Metatarsal Fractures: Excellent Summary of Treatment by Dr Lindsey Klassen

     The above slide is from a 4 day conference I just attended in Los Angeles, California, of course virtually. Dr. Lindsey Klassen gave a wonderful presentation on fifth metatarsal fractures summarized by this last slide. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Finding Neutral during Weight Bearing Exercises: A Wonderful Video by Dr Emily Splichal

Finding Neutral is incredibly important for properly lining up your feet and legs for bipedal (both feel on the ground) activities like gym workouts. The video below by Dr. Emily Splichal focuses mainly on the barefoot pronated position. However, this is just as important for those of you who supinate too much. Being able to center your weight with fairly equal weight on your heel, first metatarsal and fifth metatarsal can be incredibly important to a well grounded position. We called it being well stacked up, where in the ideal world the foot is properly under the ankle, the ankle under the knee, and the knee under the hip.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Swollen Legs: Tip on Compression Hose

     Just sat in on a great lecture by Kevin Kupka, PT. The tip he had is that he prefers to have his patients with swollen ankles to get a light weight compression, lighter than recommended, and definitely easier to put on, and then use two of them at a time. Last about 6 months. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Peroneal Tendon and Lateral Ankle Taping: Video Presentation

This is a new video on peroneal taping, with my last one in 2017. I go over the application of peroneal tendon and lateral ankle taping with the powerful Leukotape. So many of my patients have been able to wean out of their removable boots, or get off their crutches, faster with this taping. On the blog, I have a similar video on posterior tibial or medial ankle taping. The end result should really stabilize the lateral ankle and most patients can master the technique themselves or with the help of a partner. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Negative Cast Pouring Position: 3 Typical Scenarios

This evening I am pouring plaster of Paris liquid into the negative cast to make a positive cast. Tomorrow I will begin the process of correcting that positive to a shape I desire to help with the patient’s pronation pattern. I have 5 pairs of casts to deal with this weekend, and this left foot, shown in 3 possible positions, is my most pronated foot of the 10. The RCSP, or resting heel position, in the patient is 12 degrees everted to the ground. The forefoot to rear foot measurement during my examination was over 10 degrees fore foot varus. The first method of cast correction is an ASIS correction. Therefore, you pour the cast at this 12 degree everted position. Although this is a very pronated subluxed position, it is assumed the foot pronates even further when standing. You are pouring, or correcting, this foot in a position of severely pronated, but you are not attempting to create a new arch (sometimes a great challenge), and you are stabilizing this foot with arch re-enforcement, deep heel cups, posts to add motion and stability, etc. This is a viable method especially with shoe fit issues, or previous arch intolerance. More in later posts. 

This same foot can be poured vertical, the classic Root technique, attempting a 12 degree change (12 degree everted to vertical). Of course this does not happen, but the orthotic made off this Root Balanced device, will be be changing and stabilizing the foot. I typically found a great need for orthotic adjustments with dispensed these for this foot, as the force of correction was too much in the soft tissue of the arch and forefoot. I began expert in making them comfortable with compromise, thus needing a new orthotic within the year as the forefoot varus (supinatus) begun less. Again, more in a later post. 

Here, this same left foot, which stands 12 degrees everted in resting position, is being poured at 20 degrees inverted to make the Inverted Orthotic Technique. With this technique, the arch is filled in to not block first ray plantar flexion vital for propulsion (per Dr Dananberg). 20 degree correction will typically change the heel valgus position from 12 everted to 8 everted. All the other good orthotic device stability measures: plastic thickness, deep heel cups, full shoe width, zero post motion, all help in making this a very stable device. Again, more in a later post. 

     Here I summarize 3 orthotic negative cast pouring positions that I have used to help with pronatory symptoms and stability. 3 different pouring positions from the lab are used for this severely pronated left foot where the fore foot varus equals the RCSP (not an uncommon issue). I propose that good/great stability to the foot will be accomplished by all techniques. I recommend re-casting a foot like this 6 months to a year after dispensing the orthotic devices (you should get a reduction in fore foot varus angulation). I firmly believe that if I can produce angular change (say 12 degrees everted resting position towards a vertical heel), overall the patient will be better off unless they have rearfoot valgus (like genu valgum). 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Common Advice for Plantar Fasciitis

Hey Dr. Blake, 
A couple of days after seeing you last week, my left foot started hurting.  The pain is on the inside of the foot right where the heel meets the arch (and is confined to a very small area).  From my amateur research it appears to be plantar fasciitis, but you are the expert.  It is not very painful -- more sore than sharp in terms of pain.  I have researched some stretches and have been icing it.  It seems fine when I exercise on my stationary bike.  I am wondering if I should avoid walking (and the bike) or whether non-strenuous walking would be fine.  Also, whether there is anything more I should do.  I could not get an appointment with you until September (between my schedule and yours) and the pain is really not bad (more bothersome than anything else).  Except for sharp pain in my left heel a couple of months ago that lasted only 2 days, I have not had any plantar fasciitis-like symptoms before.

Hope you are well.  Any advice you can give would be appreciated.  Thanks.
Dr. Blake’s comment: 
  Here is my office handout of general rules. I think your exercising is fine, but do not push through pain. Ice after workouts, and several times a day. Do the plantar fascial wall stretch on my blog. Let me know in a month how you are doing. Rich 

Plantar Fasciitis 

The top 10 common treatments for plantar fasciitis are:

1. Plantar fascial wall stretches for 30 seconds 5-10 times/day.

2. Rolling ice massage for five minutes 2-3 times/day.

3. No negative heel stretches.

4. Avoid barefoot walking (something like Dansko sandals at home).

5. OTC or custom orthotic devices to transfer weight into the arch (you must feel that the heel is protected and weight is in the arch).


6. Physical therapy or acupuncture (two times/week for four weeks and then re-evaluate).

7. Posterior sleeping splints when morning soreness lasts over five minutes (these can be used at any time as rest splints when you are going to sit for 30 minutes or more).

8. Low dye/arch taping daily initially and then with strenuous activity.

9. Activity modification to avoid “bad pain.”

10. Calf stretches (straight and bent knee) two times/day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

General Injury Advice: Email Correspondence

Hello Dr Blake , 

Hope  you and your loved ones are doing well and keeping fit.

I had an injury in my medial sesamoid  of the left foot in 2016 , after a very difficult year things settled with your advice (this patient lives in India) . Used Exogen , Hoka shoes with orthotics. Past years I had pain in the forefoot ,off and on , but nothing I could not manage . Was regular with strength exercises till a year back .Now the gyms are shut .

A few weeks back , I cycled out side for some days . Was fine for a few days but then developed a lot of pain in my foot ( same foot). I have pain in the forefoot and also in the heal ( it’s a heal spur I think)  The  heal pain is worse when after resting I get up and walk. 
Dr. Blake’s comment: This is classic plantar fasciitis and I refer you to the various blog posts on that subject.
I have started with contrast bath.

Need your help as to how to bring down the pain . 
Dr. Blake’s comment: The next 3-4 weeks you want to quiet everything down with the Hokas again, limited activity, a boot for 4 hours a day if you have one, and ice the sore areas for 10-15 minutes twice daily. Stay the contrast baths for evening. 
I am almost 49 years old and a diabetic since many years - I would like to know how can I -

1) bring back the lost muscle to my calf and thigh?
Dr. Blake’s comment: Some of the muscle loss will have to wait until you can do quad and hamstring strengthening in the gym. You can work on your abs with sit-ups, and calf with single heel raises each evening. Do single leg balancing every evening also for 2 minutes and metatarsal doming 3 times a day a set of 10. This will be a good start. 

( lost due to immobility during sesamoid injury & another injury in the right leg atrophied thigh muscles)

2) how to deal with the heal pain and pain in the forefoot?
Dr. Blake's comment: Hopefully, the Hokas can cushion and decrease the bend at the ball of your foot. Hard to know by that description if you should be doing anything else, or what the problem is. 

3)is it okay for me to do heel drop and heel raises?
Dr. Blake's comment: You know I hate heel drops in general. You can do the heel raises but see how the front of the foot feels. Sometimes when you go up onto the ball of the foot in a heel raise you have to off weight a sore area. Exercises should never be painful. 

**When we do calf raises with a well made of books to off weigh the sesamoid , I feel only the sesamoid is suspended and the body weight is still on the sesamoid , is it so?
Dr. Blake's comment: The well is to off weight (so no impact stress), but there will still be tensile force on the sesamoid (therefore you still have to use pain as your guide). 

3) my legs are quite lean overall ,what all exercises are safe for me to do to keep my foot and  leg  strong for the coming years .( keeping in mind the sesamoid foot -left side and the knee with arthroscopy- right side ).
Dr. Blake's comment: You can cycle with low tension at first to see how your knee handles it. You must raise the seat somewhat from normal to be kinder on your knee. You can elliptical, just stay flatfooted to protect the sesamoid. You can walk, and walk, as long as you can do so in the hokas and good orthotic devices. I sure hope this helps you. Rich 

Stay safe and healthy . 

Thanks and regards

The Patient then replied several days later:

Thank you so much for your reply Dr Blake.

Was just now going through your reply.Since you’ve recommended 3 to 4 weeks of limited activity , do I start the leg balancing , metatarsal doming , heel raises and cycling  now or after a month .Is a stationary cycle preferable than going out biking?

         Dr. Blake’s comment: Start the exercises now as I think you can start getting stronger. It is also okay to use any form of biking, inside or out, unless you have a lot of intense hills or treacherous uneven ground to pedal through.  

There are these range of motion and foot strengthening videos on your blog , should I start now ?

         Dr. Blake’s comment: Yes, put listen to your foot while doing them. Also, start with 15 minutes no matter what of the exercises, and 30 minutes of biking to see how you do. Every fourth workout go up 5 more minutes.  


Should I be doing the classic planter fasciitis stretching with toes bent , since I had my sesmoid injury in the same foot? 

         Dr. Blake’s comment: That is correct, avoid this for the time being due to the prolonged stress on the sesamoids.  

What are the exercises and poses I should avoid because I had the sesmoid injury and now I have the planter fasciitis?

         Dr. Blake’s comment: Really any exercise that puts prolonged stress on the ball of the foot. Like the downward dog position or planks. These would have to be modified.  

I was trying to donate to the blog using my credit card but I keep getting the message  - “ Donations to this recipient aren’t supported in this country .” Can this be fixed ?

         Dr. Blake’s comment: I know the link does not work internationally, but I appreciate the good thoughts.  

Monday, May 24, 2021

Achilles Injuries when more than "Itis": Partial Tears and Tendinosis (Dr. Blake's Office Handout)

The following is my office handout for patients who present with more than inflammation to the achilles called achilles tendonitis. The tendon typically is swollen compared to the other side, and the pain is more than in "itis" situations. Tendinosis is typically chronic, where partial tears can be acute or chronic. 

Achilles Tendinosis and Partial Tears 

     Achilles Tendinosis implies that the tendon is damaged more than inflamed (like in Achilles Tendinitis conditions). Partial Tears are part of this condition that drives everyone, doctor and patient, bananas. There are so many degrees of tendon disease. MRIs, if possible, should always be done to document what is going on. The top 10 treatments for achilles tendinosis and partial tears are:

1.      When the tendon is thicker than normal, or swelling that will not go away, consider an MRI to check if a partial tear is present.

2.      With tendinosis, some form of immobilization is important to create a pain free  environment (tape, below knee cam walker, AFO, high top boot).

3.      With a partial tear of the achilles tendon, 3 months of cam walker/removable boot is crucial (when a pain free situation cannot be obtained with activity modification).

4.       With tendinosis, physical therapy can occur at the same time as the immobilization, but with a partial tear, physical therapy normally starts after the 3 months of immobilization.

5.        Both of these conditions may require surgery, so a surgical consult should be done to evaluate options (so that the patient is aware of their upcoming choices).   

6.       As the tendon gets less sore with icing for 5-10 minutes 3 times per day, gradually begin to strengthen. I love 2 positional heel raises up to 100 each evening as long as there is no pain, gradually leaning to the injured side, and gradually progressing to 25 one sided calf raises.


7.      Achilles tendon stretching, both straight and bent knee, should be done painlessly 3-5 times a day.

8.        PRP injections is a rising star in medicine, in an attempt to hopefully avoid surgery, may be considered.

9.       Like in all cases of achilles pain, heel lifts and custom orthotic devices are standard.

10.    Avoid barefoot and negative heel positions for a year following the Return to Activity Phase.

When the heel drops below the plane of the ball of the foot, it is considered in a negative heel position, and can get over stretched and re-torn.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Dr Blake's Transition into Part Time Practice

     Yesterday I announced on Facebook, to my friends, that I had just finished working full time and would be transitioning into a part time practice. There will be an unfortunate delay to see me for my patients. I had hoped for an easier transition, but circumstances do not allow that. 
     When I announced my decision, I got an incredible "Good Job" from podiatrists, patients, and friends. I have worked hard these forty years, 42 years ago I graduated from the California College of Podiatric Medicine. I had incredible mentors, most have passed, and incredible colleagues with some continuing on brightly. 
     I hope I have helped my readers through this blog these last 11 years. It has been an incredible journey. Now, with working part time, I hope to have more time to spend with you through this blog. After seeing patients all day, it was hard at times to sit down to write. I will not have that as an excuse. 
     In the fall, most likely October 2021, I will be able to take questions again. I appreciate your patience with me. I learned about Podiatry in the fall of 1975 when I visited Dr Harry Hlavac's office in Mill Valley, California. I have never looked back at my decision to follow him into this wonderful profession. 
     Thank you again for being a vital part of my journey. I will try to continue to write about I feel is important. Thank you and God bless. Rich 
                                                                        Wish me luck!!

Achilles Strengthening Progression from 2 sided to Single Heel Raises Video Presentation

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The video above discussed the aspect of achilles injury rehabilitation as the patient advances to weight bearing exercises. This can be many months after an injury or just following an injury. It is so important to find the right amount of strengthening any injured patient can do safely from day one of your involvement with their rehabilitation. I hope you can appreciate the subtleties presented. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Sesamoid Fracture: Dr. Blake's Office Handout for Patients

In my office, I have developed many handouts to give to patients for many topics. Since I treat so many Sesamoid Fractures, I thought I would share this one. Rich 

Sesamoid Fractures


The top 10 initial treatments for sesamoid fractures are: 

  1. Exogen bone stimulator for 6 to 9 months

  2. Removable boot or a stiff soled shoe like Bike Shoes with Embedded Cleats for 3 months to create a consistent pain free (0-2 pain level) healing environment.

  3. Ice pack twice daily and contrast baths each evening for anti-inflammatory and deep bone flushing. Do the contrast baths twice on non-work days.

  4. During the initial 3 months of immobilization, have orthotic devices developed that off weight the sesamoids.

  5. Learn how to use 1/8th inch adhesive felt from Moore Medical to make dancer’s pads for the boot and for post-boot action.

  6. Learn how to spica tape for post boot action

  7. When you are not wearing the boot, avoid barefoot.

  8. Do cardio, core and foot and ankle strengthening the minute you hurt the bone, and on a daily basis. Keep Strong and Keep Fit!!

  9. Since we are dealing with bone metabolism, make sure your calcium and Vit D intake is good, and get counseling if you think that there might be a bone density issue.

  10. Use strict activity modification principles to keep the pain levels between 0-2 as you go from boot to regular shoes. The weaning out of the boot period can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks and no added soreness is allowed.

So, what do we know about sesamoid injuries that may help? Here are my top 20 plus pointers when teaching about sesamoid fractures.

  1. They almost always heal.

  2. Even with normal healing, they can take up to 2 years so patience is a virtue here (some fast and some slow, and all patients want the fast ones).

  3. Healing, and feeling better, is based on many factors that are unknown when the patient first presents.

  4. MRIs and CT Scans are common imaging techniques that can really elucidate the problem, and sometimes change the direction of the treatment.

  5. Follow up MRIs, when needed to check healing, are often done between 5-6 months after the first baseline MRI.

6.               The MRI can show initially that you are not dealing at all with a sesamoid fracture, but something else, and prevent treating the wrong diagnosis (self pay MRIs of this area are $750 (2021) in the San Francisco Bay Area).

7.               Since we are dealing with bone, we must look at diet, Vitamin D3 levels, calcium/zinc/magnesium, and bone density.

8.               Treatment of sesamoid injuries flows through 3 phases that are normally overlapping--Immobilization, Re-Strengthening, and Return to Activity.

9.               When the patient is in the Immobilization phase, the treatment visits should be thinking about (and acting on) the Return to Activity Phase with visits dedicated to shoes, orthotics, strengthening, cardio.

10.           Oftentimes treatment mistakes involve having the patient in the wrong phase (like return to activity when they should be in the Immobilization phase).

11.           One of the crucial aspects of treatment, that can be hard to design, is protected weight bearing inserts and shoes.

12.           As treatment starts, the patient is placed in an environment (be it cast, shoes, orthotics, boot, etc) that maintains 0-2 pain level.

13.           The initial goal is to create this pain free environment for 3 months by whatever means it takes.

14.           Non weight bearing (via crutches or scooters to off weight one leg) always increases swelling, so some protected weight bearing is crucial. Every step pushes fluid out of your foot.

15.           The best way for reduction of bone swelling is contrast bathing. Typically, icing twice daily and contrast bathing each evening is needed.

16.           If you are basing treatment on x-rays alone, you may be way off base.

17.           Do not let the joint freeze up (frozen toe syndrome) with routine pain free range of motion or mobilization techniques. Go to YouTube and type drblakeshealingsole Self Mobilization.

18.           Start strengthening the minute you get injured, or at least after you read this, even if it takes some modification for pain. Go to YouTube and type drblakeshealingsole foot and ankle strengthening playlist. Keep the joint/foot flexible and strong.

19.           Patients with sesamoid injuries are prone for setbacks so do not get discouraged.

20.           If you have a sesamoid fracture, one of the hardest fractures in the foot to heal, get a bone stimulator and begin using. Some insurance companies require 3 months wait to document delayed healing, some not. Self pay for Exogen Bone Stimulator is around $750.