Foot Health Q&A with Podiatrist Dr. Jackie Sutera

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We wrapped up April’s Foot Health Month with answers to all your burning questions. We had an overwhelming response to our Q&A with Vionic Innovation Lab member Dr. Jackie Sutera! Here are answers to some of the top questions asked.

The number-one question asked over and over again was how to find the proper treatment for plantar fasciitis. Here is what Dr. Sutera recommends:
  • Massage the heel area and arch.
  • Wear supportive shoes for plantar fasciitis that are cushioned.
  • Make sure the shoe has arch support and if not, try adding orthotic insoles to support the arch.
  • Ice and do calf stretches which work to help plantar fasciitis.
  • Replacing old and worn-out shoes is a must. 
  • Avoid "bad shoes" (i.e., flat flip flops, high heels, thin ballerina flats).
  • If none of these treatments help, see a podiatrist for a full evaluation.
Susan S.: I have plantar fasciitis and a heel spur. Is it possible to wear down the spur by rolling it on a dowel or foot roller, or can I at least keep it from growing?
Dr. Sutera: It is not possible to wear down the spur, and in fact, I think this may aggravate it more. Instead, massage the heel area and arch. Wear supportive shoes that are cushioned. Also, ice and do calf stretches which work to help plantar fasciitis. Usually the spur is not causing the pain; the pain is caused by inflammation to the plantar fascia.
 Gina H.: Lately I have been having pain in the joints of my 2nd and 3rd toes on my left foot. I have a bunion on that foot and I feel like that may be pushing the toes, or could it be arthritis?
Dr. Sutera: Your bunion may be pushing on the toes. Bunions also cause the weight to be shifted to the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals, causing even more pressure. I would see your podiatrist and have X-rays taken. Not only could you have arthritis but you may also be developing a stress fracture of the other metatarsals causing pain and limping. Surgery can usually be avoided but it is important to be diagnosed and treated properly.
Ellen O.: I'm recovering from a broken ankle. What shoes do you recommend for six-eight weeks post-surgery?
Dr. Sutera: After surgery, it is important to be in a supportive, accommodative shoe that is comfortable and stable. I would consult your surgeon for recommendations and ask if sneakers with support are appropriate at this time. Your doctor may want you to wear a brace or some kind of ankle support for a while before you are ready to go back to your regular shoe gear.

Cathy D.: I have an ankle fusion because of a 20-year-old injury. I'm getting arthritis in my tarsal/metatarsal joint and have to be treated for Morton's neuroma. Wearing closed-in shoes makes the nerve pain worse. Vionic orthotic sandals feel best but I can't wear them all the time.
Dr. Sutera: Try Vionic Tourney sneakers. These have a soft fabric top with the Vionic insole that you love. Also try massaging the area where the neuromas live, which is in between the metatarsals, as well as stretching the metatarsals apart. Do this after a warm shower with oil or massage cream, followed by ice for 15 minutes.
Penny B.: I have been having charley horses and cramps in my feet for the past six months. I usually end up getting up between five to 15 times a night, as the pain is so severe. I have tried everything! 
Dr. Sutera: Some people get relief from cramps by eating bananas, which have potassium, and drinking tonic water. Also, try nightly self-massage after a warm foot soak or bath/shower, followed by ice. Massage helps to release acid build-up in muscles. See a podiatrist to have your feet evaluated to check for any biomechanical reasons you may be experiencing this. 
Colleen Y.: What style of Vionic would be best to help with tendonitis in the ankle?
Dr. Sutera: I would stick with their supportive flats and loafers which have the Orthaheel Technology built into the shoe. Avoid the elevated styles such as the wedges and heels until your tendonitis has improved.
Julie H.: My husband has very high arches. He's on his feet all day and they hurt. Will orthopedic shoes help him?
Dr. Sutera: He should look for orthopedic shoes for men that offer cushioning, arch support and shock absorption. Vionic offers Orthaheel Technology with an arched insole built right into the shoe. These shoes are designed by a podiatrist for people with foot sensitivities. Hope they help!
Learn more about Dr. Jackie Sutera’s foot health philosophy along with more tips to alleviate the effects of plantar fasciitis and heel pain.
About Vionic Footwear
Developed by Phillip Vasyli, renowned Australian podiatrist and founder of Orthaheel® Technology, Vionic shoes help restore natural foot function and relieve heel pain, promoting a more active lifestyle. Vionic’s footwear and orthotic inserts are also endorsed by noted integrative medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Weil
For additional information about Vionic, please visit

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