All posts by Foot & Ankle Center

How Do Heel Spurs Develop?

A heel spur is a regeneration of a bone that forms on the sole of the foot. Additionally, the development of this ailment can appear in the area where the Achilles tendon connects to the heel and may produce severe pain. In most cases, a heel spur will gradually develop, and is often caused by strain experienced by the muscles and ligaments. Causes of this type of discomfort may originate from shoes that fit incorrectly, additional body weight the feet must endure, or an injury that caused the heel to bruise. Paying close attention to the general health of the feet may be a successful prevention technique for heel spurs. This may include noticing any type of aches and pain that may appear, especially on the sole of the foot. Moderate relief may be obtained from resting the foot in addition to performing gentle stretching exercises. It’s suggested to consult with a podiatrist for treatment options for heel spurs, which may include surgery.

Heel spurs can be incredibly painful and sometimes may make you unable to participate in physical activities. To get medical care for your heel spurs, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will do everything possible to treat your condition.

Heels Spurs

Heel spurs are formed by calcium deposits on the back of the foot where the heel is. This can also be caused by small fragments of bone breaking off one section of the foot, attaching onto the back of the foot. Heel spurs can also be bone growth on the back of the foot. Bone may grow in the direction of the arch of the foot.

Older individuals usually suffer from heel spurs. Pain sometimes intensifies with age. Heel spurs are known to cause a substantial amount of pain. One of the main associations spurs are related to is plantar fasciitis.

Pain

The pain associated with spurs is often because of weight placed on the feet. When someone is walking, their entire weight is concentrated on the feet. Bone spurs then have the tendency to affect other bones and tissues around the foot. As the pain continues, the feet will become tender and sensitive over time.

Treatments

There are many ways to treat heel spurs. If one is suffering from heel spurs in conjunction with pain, there are several methods for healing. Medication, surgery, and herbal care are some options.

If you have any questions feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to meet your needs.

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Heel Spurs

Heel spurs most commonly result when calcium deposits on the back of the foot where the heel is. They may also be the result of small fragments of bone breaking off of one section of the foot and attaching to the back of the foot. Heel spurs can also be bone growth on the back of the foot. When this is the case, the bone growth tends to grow in the direction of the arch of the foot.

Heel spurs are most commonly diagnosed in older individuals. Younger individuals also suffer from heel spurs, but the pain associated with the condition usually intensifies in aging. Heel spurs have the tendency to inflict a great deal of pain. The heel spur itself, however, is not always the cause of the pain. Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis.

The pain that is associated with heel spurs can be traced to the placing of weight on the feet. As the individual stands or walks, their weight is placed on the feet, causing the heel spur to press on and poke the other bones and tissues in the feet. This may result in severe pain. As the condition continues to persist the tissues in the feet will become tender and overly sensitive.

If you or someone you know is suffering from heel spurs and their related pain, there are a number of treatments to look to. These treatments range from medicines, surgery, and herbal treatments. One of the simplest ways to ease the pain and discomfort of heel pain is to use special foot supports. These insoles are placed directly in the individual's shoes. They relieve the pain and tension that is placed on the foot by offering a soft gel pad for the weight to be evenly distributed without causing pain.

There are also a number of exercises that some believe may relieve or actually reverse heel spur growth and stop the pain. One exercise has the ball of the foot against the wall while balance is maintained on the heel of the foot. The individual then shifts their weight towards the wall, causing a rubbing of the heel spur. Other exercises and stretches may also be performed that can help loosen and relax muscles and tendons in the feet, relieving pain. Applying ice packs and taking anti-inflammatory medication may also help. Night splints may be worn while sleeping to keep the foot stretched out, which may make the foot less painful in the morning.

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Symptoms and Causes of Gout

If you are experiencing severe pain in the joints surrounding the big toe, you may have a condition referred to as gout. It’s considered to be a form of arthritis, and the symptoms include redness, swelling, and extreme tenderness. Gout is the result of a buildup of excess uric acid in the body, and typically collects in the joints of the foot. These bouts of pain are typically known as gout attacks, and there may be several reasons for this to develop. The most common theory revolves around the food and drink that is consumed, which typically involves the frequent ingestion of red meat and excess alcohol. Additionally, inherited genetic traits may be a determining factor in the onset of gout. It’s important to consider scheduling a consultation with a podiatrist to learn about proper treatment options for gout.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • <!––>Intense Joint Pain – Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • <!––><!––>Lingering Discomfort – Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • <!––><!––>Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • <!––>Limited Range of Motion – May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • <!––>Genetics – If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • <!––><!––>Medications – Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • <!––>Gender/Age – Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • <!––>Diet – Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • <!––>Alcohol – Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • <!––>Obesity – Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms–including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Everything You Need to Know About Gout

Gout, typically found in diabetic patients, is an unusually painful form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. The condition typically strikes the big joint on the big toe. It has also been known to strike the knees, elbows, fingers, ankles and wrists—generally anywhere that has a functioning, moving joint.

The high level of uric acid in a person’s bloodstream creates the condition known as hyperuricema—the main cause of gout. Genetic predisposition occurs in nine out of ten sufferers. The children of parents who suffer gout will have a two in ten chance of developing the condition as well. 

This form of arthritis, being particularly painful, is the leftover uric acid crystallizing in the blood stream. The crystallized uric acid then travels to the space between joints where they rub, causing friction when the patient moves. Symptoms include: pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation. Additional side effects may include fatigue and fever, although reports of these effects are very rare. Some patients have reported that pain may intensify when the temperature drops, such as when you sleep.

Most cases of gout are easily diagnosed by a podiatrist’s assessment of the various symptoms. Defined tests can also be performed. A blood test to detect elevated levels of uric acid is often used as well as an x-ray to diagnose visible and chronic gout.

Treatment for gout simply means eliminating symptoms. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (Colchicine and other corticosteroid drugs, etc.) will quell the redness, the swelling, and the inflammation. However, managing your diet, lifestyle changes, and using preventative drugs are all helpful toward fully combating the most severe cases.

 Those that lead an inactive lifestyle are at a higher risk for gout. Any amount of exercise decreases the probability of repeat encounters with the condition. Reducing your consumption of red meat, sea food, and fructose-sweetened drinks also reduces the likelihood of chronic gout as well.

Ingesting Vitamin C, coffee, and particular dairy products can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are new drugs out on the market that inhibit the body’s production of uric acid-producing enzymes. However, reducing or eliminating your overall levels of uric acid is the best remedy to ensuring you lead a gout-free life.

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Symptoms of a Broken Toe

If you have the experience of something heavy falling on your foot, you may have what is referred to as a broken toe. Common signs from this occurring will be swelling and bruising affecting the toe and surrounding area, accompanied by severe pain. If the bone protrudes from the skin, this is typically known as an extreme fracture, and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible for treatment. If the break is not severe, the toe will benefit from being elevated, which may aid in reducing any obvious swelling. A common treatment technique involves bandaging the injured toe to the toe next to it, and this may promote stability and proper healing. It may be suggested to wear comfortable shoes with adequate room for the toes, and the use of crutches may be beneficial in keeping weight off the foot. If you feel you may have broken your toe, see a podiatrist immediately for a proper diagnosis and additional information.

A broken toe can be very painful and lead to complications if not properly fixed. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What to Know About a Broken Toe

Although most people try to avoid foot trauma such as banging, stubbing, or dropping heavy objects on their feet, the unfortunate fact is that it is a common occurrence. Given the fact that toes are positioned in front of the feet, they typically sustain the brunt of such trauma. When trauma occurs to a toe, the result can be a painful break (fracture).

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

  • Throbbing pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising on the skin and toenail
  • The inability to move the toe
  • Toe appears crooked or disfigured
  • Tingling or numbness in the toe

Generally, it is best to stay off of the injured toe with the affected foot elevated.

Severe toe fractures may be treated with a splint, cast, and in some cases, minor surgery. Due to its position and the pressure it endures with daily activity, future complications can occur if the big toe is not properly treated.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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What to Know About a Broken Toe

Trauma to the foot, especially the toes, can occur in many ways. Banging them, stubbing them, or dropping something on them are a few different ways this trauma can occur. Given the fact that toes are positioned in front of the feet, they typically sustain the brunt of such trauma. When trauma occurs to a toe, the result can be a painful break or fracture. Another type of trauma that can break a toe is repeated activity that places stress on the toe for prolonged periods of time.

Broken toes can be categorized as either minor or severe fractures. Symptoms of minor toe fractures include throbbing pain, swelling, bruising on the skin and toenail, and the inability to move the toe with ease. Severe toe fractures require medical attention and are indicated when the broken toe appears crooked or disfigured, when there is tingling or numbness in the toe, or when there is an open, bleeding wound present on the toe.

Generally, a minor toe break will heal without long-term complications. However, it is important to discontinue activities that put pressure on the toe. It is best to stay off of the injured toe and immediately get a splint or cast to prevent any more additional movement of the toe bones. You can also immobilize your toe by placing a small cotton ball between the injured toe and the toe beside it. Then, tape the two toes together with medical tape. Swelling can be alleviated by placing an ice pack on the broken toe directly as well as elevating your feet above your head.

Severe toe fractures may be treated with a splint, cast, and in some cases, minor surgery, especially when the big toe has been broken. Due to its position and the pressure the big toe endures with daily activity, future complications can occur if it is not properly treated. Pain associated with minor toe fractures can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. Prescription pain killers may be necessary for severe toe fractures.

The healing time for a broken toe is approximately four to six weeks. In severe cases where the toe becomes infected or requires surgery, healing time can take up to eight weeks or more. While complications associated with a broken toe are immediately apparent, it is important to note that there are rare cases when additional complications, such as osteoarthritis, can develop over time. You should immediately speak with your podiatrist if you think you have broken your toe due to trauma. They will be able to diagnose the injury and recommend the appropriate treatment options. 

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What is the Most Common Place for Falls to Occur?

If you should experience a fall, it may not only produce physical distress, but can also incur extreme financial costs. Severe injuries may be the result of a fall, and this may aid in the rise of unwanted medical expenses. Unnatural feelings can be produced by falling, and research has shown there are several ways to prevent this from occurring. It’s important to wear shoes that fit correctly, and having slip-resistance soles may aid in the prevention of falls. Unsurprisingly, the environment in the home may account for the majority of falls occurring. This generally results from carpets that may have loosened from the floor or liquids that may have spill, causing the floor to become slippery. It’s important to use a railing while walking up or down the stairs, and utilizing a handrail in the shower may be beneficial in keeping your balance. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine will strengthen the body and may possibly help avoid falling.

Preventing falls among the elderly is very important. If you are older and have fallen or fear that you are prone to falling, consult with one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality advice and care.

Every 11 seconds, an elderly American is being treated in an emergency room for a fall related injury. Falls are the leading cause of head and hip injuries for those 65 and older. Due to decreases in strength, balance, senses, and lack of awareness, elderly persons are very susceptible to falling. Thankfully, there are a number of things older persons can do to prevent falls.

How to Prevent Falls

Some effective methods that older persons can do to prevent falls include:

  • Enrolling in strength and balance exercise program to increase balance and strength
  • Periodically having your sight and hearing checked
  • Discuss any medications you have with a doctor to see if it increases the risk of falling
  • Clearing the house of falling hazards and installing devices like grab bars and railings
  • Utilizing a walker or cane
  • Wearing shoes that provide good support and cushioning
  • Talking to family members about falling and increasing awareness

Falling can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience for elderly persons; this can make them less willing to leave the house, and less willing to talk to someone about their fears of falling. Doing such things, however, will increase the likelihood of tripping or losing one’s balance. Knowing the causes of falling and how to prevent them is the best way to mitigate the risk of serious injury.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Falls Prevention

Elderly Americans are very susceptible to falls as they get older. Everyone experiences decreases in flexibility, balance, strength, and the senses as they age. This correlates to some eye-opening statistics. 1 in 4 Americans aged 65 and older fall each year. An elderly American is being treated for a fall in an emergency room every 11 seconds, and every 19 minutes, an older person dies from falling. In light of these striking statistics, one can see the importance of taking steps to prevent falls.

Finding an exercise program for the elderly is an excellent way to reduce the likelihood of falls. Look for an exercise program that improves strength and balance. Elderly people who live a more sedentary lifestyle, with little physical activity, are at an increased risk of falling. Wearing well-fitted footwear that provides good foot support and cushion will help prevent falls from poorly fitted shoes. Talking to a podiatrist about your susceptibility to falls and about inspecting your prescriptions will help to avoid any medication that could make falls more likely. Due to a decline in the senses among the elderly, having your eyes and hearing checked is recommended.

Around half of all falls occur in the household. Removing tripping hazards in the home and making it more accommodating to older persons can significantly reduce falls. Some notable household changes include increasing lighting around the house, installing grab bars in the shower and bathroom, and making sure the floor is clear of clutter. Other smart options include installing a shower chair, using rubber-bottomed rugs, and placing railings on both sides of stairwells.  

Finally, discuss with a doctor and your family about your fear of falling. This will help to increase awareness among the population on the need for fall prevention. A lack of awareness on the matter, and a downplaying of importance are what increase the risks of falling. Following these tips can help to reduce the risk for yourself and your loved ones.

 

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What are Orthotics?

Corrective inserts that are designed to be used in shoes are often referred to as orthotics. There are several benefits to using orthotics, including providing comfort, stability, and additional support that the foot may need. They are typically used to correct certain foot abnormalities, including high arches, flat feet, or foot structures that may originate from a predisposed inherited gene. They are generally constructed of materials designed for the specific foot issue, which may be a high arch or specific heel injuries. If you have foot pain, there is a chance that orthotics may work for you. A podiatrist will be able to ascertain if orthotics are needed for your foot condition.

If you are having discomfort in your feet and would like to try orthotics, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What are Orthotics?

Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain, but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.

Over-the-Counter Inserts

Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct overarched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.

Prescription Orthotics

If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you or if you have a more severe foot concern, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and severe forms of heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.

If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist about the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain-free.

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Ankle Foot Orthotics for Athletes

Ankle and foot orthotics, known as AFOs, are custom-made inserts. They are shaped and contoured to fit inside a shoe and used to correct an irregular walking gait or provide cushioning. Orthotics come in a variety of different models and sizes, including over the counter and customizable variants. Customizable ones should be prescribed through a podiatrist who specializes in customized footwear and orthotics design and management.

AFOs are often used by athletes including track and field runners, cyclists, professional dancers, ice skaters, and even golfers. They benefit a lot from custom made AFOs by preventing injuries from occurring and providing cushioning to keep pain levels down to a minimum. Ankle foot orthotics allows for the correct positioning of the feet. Orthotics also act as shock absorbers to help keep pressure and stress off the foot and ankle. They can also relieve back pain and hip pain while restoring balance and improving an athlete’s performance.

Orthotics help alleviate pain by controlling the movement of both your feet and ankles. They are custom designed by a podiatrist to help treat foot problems. These problems include flat feet, spurs, arthritis of the ankle or foot, ankle sprains, weakness, and drop foot, a condition in which the patient cannot raise their foot at the ankle joint.

With custom orthotics, a patient will go through a complete examination of the foot and ankle. This is followed by the ankle and foot being cast and fitted for the proper orthotic. Depending upon the final result of the tests, a stretching treatment is created with the specific shoe fitting in mind. After a patient has been fitted to the shoes, adjustments can be made in order to get the perfect fit. Evaluations are then usually set up to monitor the patient in the coming weeks to see how they are adjusting.

AFOs are also available over the counter and are more common than custom fit ones. Athletes that have generally low aches and pains in the foot, ankle, or lower back area can use an over the counter version of these orthotics. Weight is distributed evenly throughout the bottom of the foot thanks to the arch support they give. However, when an injury or ailment occurs, it is usually not enough to try and remedy it with an over the counter version. In either case, a podiatrist will be able to offer the best advice and treatment when it comes to foot and ankle orthotics.

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