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Best Shoe Information

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  February 12, 2015

What Your Feet Can Tell You…Dr. Hays talks with Fox 2 News

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  January 27, 2012

Dr. Hays talks Stretching on KTVI Fox 2

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  December 23, 2011

Dr. Damon Hays of the Hays Foot & Ankle Center shows Fox 2 Tim Ezell how to keep his feet happy and healthy during the busy holiday season.

Dr. Hays on KTVI Fox 2 News

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  August 20, 2011

Dr. Hays on KTVI Fox 2 News

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  July 11, 2011

Dr. Hays on KPLR 11 News

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  April 1, 2011

Using Orthotics to Correct Painful Foot Conditions

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  March 18, 2010

Modern Americans seem to be spending more and more time on their feet.  The American Podiatric Association has reported that the average American takes between 8,000 and 10,000 steps every day.  This rate, spread over a lifetime, would allow each person to circle the globe four times over.

It makes sense, then, that foot pain has become an increasing complaint among adult Americans.  This can prove challenging partly because the human foot is an incredibly complex structure, made up of 26 bones each.  These bones, when considered in total, make up one quarter of the bones found in our bodies.

One of the first strategies for preventing or treating foot pain is the selection of appropriate footwear.  There are many options available that do not crowd the feet and that provide appropriate arch support.  However, even when people do take every precaution in selecting footwear, painful foot conditions may nonetheless develop or worsen.  At that point, it may be necessary to consider using orthotics.

Orthotics are mechanical devices that are used to correct deformities and other painful foot conditions.  They have been proven to not only stabilize the gait, but also to align the feet and relieve  areas of pressure that cause the most common forms of foot pain.  Some of the more common conditions that orthotics are used to treat include:

Plantar fasciitis and other forms of heel pain;

Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot);

Weak or chronically injured ankles;

Hammertoes, corns, and painful calluses;

Pain originating in the knees, hips, back and neck.

There are many different kinds of orthotic devices that are available.  Some of the more common orthoses are those purchased over-the-counter at any drugstore or supermarket.  Although these more common devices, which are very commonly constructed of rubber or soft plastic and filled with a gel cushion, do sometimes provide relief to those who experience chronic foot and ankle pain, only prescription-grade orthoses provide individualized corrections based on the unique physiology associated with your foot.

Hays Foot and Ankle Center has partnered with PedAlign, an industry leader in custom orthoses, to provide patients with the best orthotic devices currently available.  Using an infrared digital technology, the feet are scanned in order to provide patients with orthotic devices that are designed to address their individual foot care needs.

Gone are the days when these devices were bulky nuisances that made it impossible to wear the shoes that best fit your lifestyle.  Orthoses are available for those with more active lifestyles, those who play sports, and those whose professional workday requires a more slim and fashionable shoe.

As an added benefit, many insurance companies cover at least a portion of the costs of orthotic devices, so there’s no reason to put off addressing your chronic foot and ankle pain, so that you’re able to make your next step a healthy one.

Understanding Heel Pain

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  November 4, 2009

In my practice, I’ve found that heel pain is one of the most common foot complaints reported by my patients. It’s no surprise, considering that the heel is required to bear a great deal of our weight when we walk. In fact, a normal healthy adult puts over 50 tons of stress on each foot for every mile that he or she walks. That amount of stress is greatly multiplied when we run or jump, even in the course of normal exercise. Further, many people have simply developed incorrect methods of walking, which can over time create various forms of heel injury, or may have chosen footwear that is either inappropriate for their particular needs or is poorly constructed.

Heel pain generally develops as a result of overstress on the heel bone – the largest of the bones found in the foot – and the soft tissues that surround it. Sometimes heel pain can be effectively treated with rest and basic podiatric care if caught early enough. However, if heel pain is ignored for too long, it can develop into more serious conditions that require more intensive treatments.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common conditions that causes heel pain in my patients. The plantar fascia is a narrow band of connective tissue that runs from right behind the toes on the ball of the foot to the heel bone. If that tissue becomes consistently overextended – often as the result of running or other athletic activity – it can become irritated, resulting in pain, and, sometimes, the development of a heel spur. Many people with plantar fasciitis report waking up in the morning and feeling as if the bottom side of their foot is “tight” or “stretched.” Throughout the day, this sensation may lessen, but it will almost definitely return after any extended period of nonuse.

Heel spurs are bony protrusions that develop on the underside of the heel bone. When the plantar fascia is overextended, it can actually tear away the membrane that covers the heel bone. This can stimulate the growth of a heel spur, which can add to the discomfort of patients with plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, however, heel spurs can develop without the co-occurrence of plantar fasciitis, simply because of repeated abuse to the heel bone, as well as the muscles and ligaments that surround it.

But there are several other potential causes for your heel pain. You may simply have bruised the bone, which can happen if you step barefoot onto a stone or other hard, protruding object. Or, you may be experiencing heel pain as the result of the inflammation of your Achilles tendon, which can occur as the result of an active, athletic lifestyle. Bursitis, arthritis, and many other conditions can also make your heels painful.

The important thing to know is that heel pain doesn’t have to dictate your life or lifestyle. Podiatrists have become very effective at treating heel pain, and there are several ways that I can help you understand why your feet feel the way that they do, and what your treatment options are.

On your first visit, you can expect a full examination of your feet, which may include an x-ray and a biomechanical assessment, where I will determine whether your walking gait requires orthotic correction by means of a customized device that is designed to be slipped into the shoe. I will also talk to you about the shoes you wear, and teach you how to select the shoe that is best for you.

If your condition is not severe, your treatment may require nothing more than the administration of an injected or oral anti-inflammatory medication. Additionally, a foot strap may be fitted to you in order to relieve the over-extension of the plantar fascia.

If your condition is sufficiently severe that surgical treatment may be necessary, I will carefully and thoroughly explain your options, and work with you to develop a treatment plan that takes into consideration your lifestyle, your preferences, and your particular needs.

In the meantime, though, there are several things that you can do to prevent or alleviate the early stages of foot pain. First, you can remember to respect your feet. Make sure that your shoes fit correctly, and that they support your arches and cushion your heels. If you’re engaging in activity that is causing foot or heel pain, such as a new exercise regimen, remember to start slowly, and to stretch your feet and ankles thoroughly before launching into anything strenuous. And, most importantly, if you experience severe pain, contact a podiatrist before it worsens.

Source: American Podiatric Medical Association

Welcome to Hays Foot and Ankle Center!

by Dr. Damon Hays  |  April 6, 2009

Tammy and Dr. HaysMy name is Dr. Damon Hays, and I want to personally welcome you to the Hays Foot and Ankle Center website. I truly hope that it answers any questions you may have about who we are and what we do.

My staff and I have been working hard to establish a practice that is built on communication with the patient. We endeavor to provide a relaxing environment for your care, and are dedicated to providing the highest standard of care available in the St. Louis area. We guarantee that our staff will provide you with a level of service unmatched in any medical environment you have ever experienced.

We know that, these days, it’s easy for patients to feel lost in the shuffle. Rest assured that at the Hays Foot and Ankle Center patients are our number one priority. We have expanded patient hours that include evenings and Saturdays, and promise that we will never make you feel that your time with us is in any way limited. After all, your care is our complete focus.

I am often asked why I chose the foot as my medical specialty. The answer is simple: Podiatric physicians get the best of all worlds when it comes to medical care. Not only are we allowed to gratification of one-on-one interaction with patients, we are also entrusted with providing care for one of those most important parts of the human body. Further, we are often on the front lines in the war on diabetes, and handle all aspect of treatments within the lower extremities.

So, feel free to browse our site, and contact us with any concerns you may have. For me, there is no greater honor than being allowed to handle your podiatric medical concerns. I look forward to meeting you, and helping you learn to love your feet again.

Dr. Damon Hays

Phone: 636.379.2272   Fax: 636.379.2274
Email: info@haysfootandankle.com
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