All posts by Foot & Ankle Center

Diabetic Foot Care

Foot Care Tips For Diabetics

If you have diabetes, follow these foot care tips:

  • Inspect feet daily. Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.
  • Wear thick, soft socks. Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.
  • Exercise. Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.
  • Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.
  • Don’t go barefoot. Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.
  • Never try to remove calluses, corns, or warts by yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.
  • See one of the doctors at The Foot And Ankle Center. Regular checkups by a podiatrist—at least annually—are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.
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Bunion Treatment New Orleans Podiatrist

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. This movement forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing an often-painful lump of bone on the foot. Because this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated.

THE HOW & WHY OF BUNIONS

  • Bunions form when the normal balance of forces exerted on the joints and tendons of the foot is disrupted. This disruption can lead to instability in the joint and cause the deformity.
  • They are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint.
  • They are usually caused by the way we walk and our inherited foot type.
  • Neuromuscular disorders or congenital deformities can cause bunions.
  • An unsupported shoe can contribute to further hypermobility. Narrow-toed shoes can aggravate symptoms

Symptoms

  • Development of a fi rm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe.
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint.
  • Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the fi rst and second toes.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe.

BUNION TREATMENTS

What can YOU do?

  • Use commercial, nonmedicated bunion pads.
  • Wear wide shoes. Avoid high-heeled shoes.
  • Apply ice packs to reduce swelling.
  • If pain and other symptoms of inflammation persist, see your podiatric physician.

Conservative Treatments:

  1. Padding and taping: minimize pain and help keep the foot in a normal position.
  2. Anti-infl ammatory drugs and cortisone injections: help ease acute pain and infl ammation.
  3. 3. Physical Therapy: provides relief from pain and associated soft tissue involvement.
  4. Orthotics: prevent worsening of the deformity.

Surgical Options:
Surgical options are used when early treatments fail or the bunion progresses past the threshold for conservative treatment. Surgery will remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and relieve pain.

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Keeping Kids Feet Healthy and Happy

Keeping Kids’ Feet Healthy And Happy

FOR HEALTHY FEET AT EACH STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT:

1. INFANCY (birth to 1 year)

Look carefully at your baby’s feet. A child’s feet grow rapidly during the first year. For this reason, podiatric physicians consider this period to be the most critical stage of the foot’s development. If you notice something that does not look normal to you, contact a podiatric physician. Most deformities will not correct themselves if left untreated.

Keep your baby’s feet unrestricted. No shoes or booties are necessary for infants. These can restrict movement and can inhibit toes and feet from normal development.

Provide an opportunity for exercising the feet. Lying uncovered enables the baby to kick and perform other related motions that prepare the feet for weight bearing.

2. TODDLER (1–3 years)

Keep bare feet indoors. Walking barefoot allows your toddler’s foot to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength, as well as the grasping action of toes. Of course, when walking outside or on rough surfaces, feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials.

Assess your child’s walking pattern or gait. It is not uncommon for little ones to walk on their toes. However, persistent toe-walking is not normal. A podiatric physician can examine a child to make a proper diagnosis and determine the best treatment option.

Pay attention to unspoken signs. If your child is limping, tripping, or always wants to remove one or both shoes, this may be an unspoken sign that the shoes don’t fit properly.

3. YOUNG CHILD (4–8 years)

Take your child shoe shopping. It’s important to have your child’s feet measured before buying shoes. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe-buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.

Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.

Establish good outdoor footwear practices. Spending summer at the pool? Wear flip-flops around the pool and in the locker room to prevent bacterial infections. Raising a ski bunny? Make sure winter boots fit properly. Kids should be able to wiggle their toes, but boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of their foot to help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries.

4. PRETEEN (9–12 years)

Play it safe with sports. Sports-related foot and ankle injuries become common as children start participating in athletic activities. Parents should consider discussing these matters with their family podiatric physician if they have children participating in sports.

Promote healthy pedicures. While many young girls would like a pretty pedicure to match Mom’s, it’s important they learn how to trim and polish nails safely. Visit www.apma.org to see a “Pedicure Pointers” tip sheet in the “Learn About Feet” section.

Buy shoes that are comfortable right away. Kids may see their friends with the latest flashy sneakers or trendy boots, but make sure those styles are comfortable for your child’s foot before purchasing them. Properly fitted shoes should never require a “break-in”” period.

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Five Common Foot Problems

Fighting The Five Most Common Foot Woes

From eating better foods to getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercise, we live in a very health-conscious society. So why is it that many Americans routinely overlook one of the cornerstones of good health? While nearly 70 percent of Americans say they want to be healthier five years from now, just 51 percent recognize that foot health can be a key to achieving that goal, according to a survey from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

“Nearly eight in 10 adults have experienced some type of foot ailment in their lives. Yet despite the pain, close to three in 10 do nothing about it, simply choosing to live with their pain,” says Denise Elliott, DPM, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center and APMA member. “Meanwhile, more than half of those surveyed said they had endured foot pain at some point in their lives but have not sought treatment from a podiatrist.”

So what are the five most common types of foot problems, and what causes them? Here are some tips from today’s podiatrists:

  • Nail problems are one of the most prevalent foot woes in both men and women. These problems can range from ingrown toenails to fungal infections. “Ingrown toenails—a condition in which the corners of sides of a nail dig painfully into the soft tissue of the nail grooves—is the most common form of nail problem,” Dr. Elliott says. To avoid ingrown toenails, trim nails straight across and don’t dig into the corners. If a toenail becomes infected, see a podiatrist immediately for treatment. Those with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and other circulatory disorders should seek a podiatrist’s care on a regular basis to help prevent complications.
  • Sweaty feet and foot odor are two foot conditions that are often experienced together. While stinky feet are definitely embarrassing, feet that sweat excessively can lead to other foot problems, even creating an environment conducive to the development of athlete’s foot. Closed shoes make feet sweat, but in the winter you can’t avoid wearing them. Instead, practice good foot hygiene. Wash feet daily with soap and water, keep shoes and socks dry, and choose socks that wick away moisture. Change shoes and socks regularly and consider rubbing cornstarch or applying antiperspirant directly onto the soles of your feet.
  • Pain in the ball of the feet — Nearly one-third of adults have reported pain in the balls of their feet. Pain in this location can be caused by over-exertion, injury, or ill-fitting shoes. To avoid pain, always wear well-fitting, supportive, activity-appropriate shoes when walking, running, or engaging in other physical activity. If necessary, replace the insoles that came in your shoes with ones that provide additional cushioning.
  • Heel pain — This type of pain can have many sources, including weight gain, excessive foot flattening, muscle imbalance, injury, or even improper footwear. To kick heel pain to the curb, always be sure to warm up and stretch properly before and after exercise. If wearing high heels, opt for heels that are no more than two to three inches in height. For persistent pain, treatment can range from prescribed orthotic devices and medications to cortisone injections, physical therapy, and rarely, surgery.
  • Bunions — A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe. Treatments range from self-remedies such as using a bunion pad around the bony prominence, to ice packs to reduce the swelling, and to avoiding shoes that could irritate the bunion and even make the problem worse. For persistent pain, see a podiatrist for a full range of treatment options.

“While foot problems are common, that doesn’t mean people should be resigned to living with pain,” Dr. Elliott says. “Consulting today’s podiatrist can help people feel better sooner, and get back to living healthier lives.”

Denise Elliott, DPM, is a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center in Marerro, LA.  Call 504-349-6633 or visit http://footandanklenola.com to make an appointment. Visit www.apma.org to learn more about foot health and care.

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Benefits of Bath Salts For Feet

Benefits of Soaking Feet in Epsom Salt

Epsom salt, derived from distilled mineral-rich water, is a widely used health and beauty product. Named after the town of Epsom in England, this commonly used bath salt is actually a mineral compound containing magnesium and sulfate. Epsom salt is widely touted and used as a treatment for sore muscles, joint pain, arthritis and skin disorders. Despite sparse research on the effectiveness or even the mechanism of action, there are some reasons why Epsom salts may provide benefits to the foot.

The Claims

A home remedy for generations, Epsom foot soaks are purported to relieve aches and pains, decrease inflammation, improve circulation, and soften and deodorize the feet. Epsom salt is also claimed to have anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties — and soaking feet in Epsom salt baths is reported to help heal a variety of foot and skin infections, including athlete’s foot, toenail fungus and small wounds. Epsom salt is even claimed to detoxify the body and relieve stress. However, the benefits of Epsom salt is mostly based on personal testimonies and its longstanding reputation, as there is little research to back up these claims.

The Research: Skin Absorption of Minerals

Since magnesium deficiency can lead to foot cramps and pain, Epsom foot soaks are believed promote magnesium absorption through the skin which helps relax muscles and nerves and lessen foot discomfort. But there isn’t research that supports topical application of magnesium is effective in increasing body magnesium stores, according to a 2012 review published in “International Journal of Cosmetic Science.” However, another review article published in the June 2014 issue of “Experimental Biology and Medicine” suggests that skin absorption could occur given the right conditions — such as with heat or high salt concentrations. In addition, minerals from the water are able to be absorbed if the skin is broken, as in a cut or scratch.

The Research: Healing Properties

Epsom salt is also touted to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. While there is a lack of research supporting these benefits, there may be some reasons why these foot soaks work. First, soaking feet in water will help clean the feet, removing substances that may risk or worsen infections. Warm or hot water improves blood flow to the skin which can promote healing. Because most bacteria do not thrive in a salty environment, soaking feet in Epsom salt could inhibit the growth of the microorganisms that cause infection. Finally, soaking feet in warm or hot water feels good. It’s relaxing, soothing and reduces stress, and this may simply make you feel better.

How to Soak Feet in Epsom Salt

To enjoy a Epsom foot soak, add one half cup of salts to a small tub that holds enough warm water to cover the feet up to the ankles. Or add 2 cups to a standard size bath tub. Soak feet for 30 to 60 minutes. Combining Epsom salt with essential oil is a relaxing aromatherapy bath treatment. Store the essential oil in a jar with a lid and add a few spoonfuls to bath water.

Precautions

Topical Epsom salt is not known to have any negative impacts on health; however, excess use of Epsom foot baths can result in dried, cracked skin on the feet. Use a foot bath only two to three times a week for duration of 30 to 60 minutes. Individuals with very dry skin should try using less Epsom salt and massage the feet with moisturizer after drying them. Even though Epsom salt may help heal of minor wounds, in certain cases medical treatment will be necessary. If you have diabetes, or if you have nerve damage or poor blood flow to the feet, consult your doctor first with any sores, wounds, redness, swelling or foot pain. Anyone with severe foot pain or redness or pain following a foot injury should also see a doctor.

Source: LiveStrong.com

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Choosing the right athletic shoes

5 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing Workout Shoes

Why you shouldn’t reach for those comfy old sneakers after all.

The single most important piece of equipment in virtually any kind of exercise program — running, aerobics, hiking, tennis, basketball — is the right pair of shoes.

A good pair of sneakers can make or break your workout. And it’s easy to go wrong. Here are the five biggest shoe mistakes people make.

1. Grabbing Whatever’s Handy

Don’t just reach into the closet and pull out an old pair of sneakers. An old pair of shoes may no longer have the support you need. And even more problematic, that pair of shoes might be inappropriate for the activity you choose.

2. Choosing the Right Shoe — for the Wrong Workout

The APMA recommends that if you’re going to participate in a particular sport two to three times a week or more, you should choose a sport-specific shoe.

3. Loving Them Too Much

Your workout shoes should be your workout shoes and not your running-around-town shoes. So buy yourself a pair of casual tennies for running around town, and stow your good workout shoes in the closet as soon as you get home from your run or your tennis game.

4. Loving Them Too Long

Shoes start to break down while they’re still looking good. Once the support is gone, you’ll start feeling strange aches and pains in your knees, hip, and back.

Most experts recommend that runners replace their shoes every 300 to 500 miles. You should replace your athletic shoes at least once a year.

5. Doing It Yourself

It’s a bad idea to just walk into a sporting goods store, try on a few pairs of shoes, and walk out with what you think is best. Instead, go to an athletic shoe specialty store to get an expert insight on the right shoe and the best fit.

Read the entire article at WebMD.com

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Tips to Treat and Prevent Shin Splints

Ouch! Shin Splints…Too Much, Too Soon

If you are an avid walker, have begun a new exercise program, or are an experienced runner, you may have experienced one of the most common lower extremity ailments, shin splints. Shin splints are characterized as pain at the front inside area of the shin bone due to overexertion of the muscles. Shin splints usually involve small tears in the leg muscles where they are attached to the shin bone.

The most common cause of shin splints is inflammation of the periostium of the tibia (sheath surrounding the bones). Some other common causes include flat feet (overpronation), a high arch (underpronation), inadequate footwear, running on hard surfaces, and increasing training too quickly.

Use the following tips to treat and prevent shin splints:

  • For immediate pain relief ice the area to reduce pain and inflammation; take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (e.g., ibuprofen); and rest to allow the injury to heal.
  • Stretch and strengthen the leg muscles
  • Wear insoles or orthotics that offer arch support
  • Make sure you have the right running shoe for your foot type and for the activity
  • Avoid running on hard surfaces
  • Shorten your stride
  • Consult a podiatrist if your pain is really bad. You should get a full diagnosis to find out if there is a stress fracture in the area.
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Foot Injury Myths

Top Five Foot And Ankle Injury Myths To Stop Believing Now

1. IT CAN’T BE BROKEN BECAUSE I CAN MOVE IT.

False. You can walk with certain kinds of fractures. Common examples include breaks in the smaller, outer bone of the lower leg, small chip fractures of the foot or ankle bones, and the often-neglected fracture of the toe.

2. IF YOU BREAK A TOE, IMMEDIATE CARE ISN’T NECESSARY.

False. A toe fracture needs prompt attention. X-rays will reveal if it is a simple, displaced fracture or an angulated break. Your podiatrist can develop the right treatment plan once he or she has identified the type of break.

3. IF YOU HAVE A FOOT OR ANKLE INJURY, SOAK IT IN HOT WATER IMMEDIATELY.

False. Heat promotes blood flow and can cause greater swelling, which can lead to more pain. An ice bag wrapped in a towel is the ideal temporary treatment before you see your podiatrist.

4. APPLYING AN ELASTIC BANDAGE TO A SEVERELY SPRAINED ANKLE IS ADEQUATE TREATMENT.

False. Ankle sprains often mean torn or severely overstretched ligaments, and they should receive immediate care.

5. THE TERMS ‘FRACTURE,’ ‘BREAK,’ AND ‘CRACK’ ARE ALL DIFFERENT.

False. All of those words are appropriate for describing a broken bone.

REMEMBER, A DELAY IN TREATMENT CAN CAUSE TOE DEFORMITIES AND OTHER PODIATRIC PROBLEMS.
If you have suffered a foot or ankle injury, please contact the Foot And Ankle Center today at (504) 349-6633 or make an appointment online.

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Common Foot Pains

Simple steps that help people with diabetes keep their feet healthy

A diabetes diagnosis can be daunting, but a simple attitude adjustment can make a world of difference in how well you fare while living with the disease. When people with diabetes take proactive steps to monitor key health indicators, experts agree that it’s possible to prevent some of the most severe risks of diabetes, including lower limb amputation.

People ages 20 and older who are living with diabetes account for about 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.

“The CDC says the occurrence of diabetes-related foot and lower-leg amputation has decreased by 65 percent since 1996,” says Catherine Hudson, DPM, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center and member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “Working together, podiatrists and their patients with diabetes can reduce the number of amputations even more.”

People with diabetes may be less aware of cuts or wounds on their feet due to the nerve damage related to their disease, Dr. Hudson points out. “Regular and vigilant foot care can help catch problems before they develop into a health crisis.”

APMA offers advice to help people with diabetes protect their foot health:

  • Inspect your feet daily, checking the entire foot and all 10 toes for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration. Treat wounds immediately and see your podiatrist if a problem persists or infection is apparent.
  • Exercise by walking, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve circulation. Be sure to wear athletic shoes appropriate for the type of exercise you’re doing.
  • When you buy new shoes, have them properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape can change over time, and ill-fitting shoes are a leading cause of foot pain and lesions. Certain types of shoes, socks, and custom orthotics are available for people with diabetes, and they may be covered under Medicare. You can find a list of podiatrist-approved footwear and products for people with diabetes on the APMA website, www.apma.org.
  • Keep your feet covered and never go barefoot, even at home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great.
  • See a podiatrist to remove calluses, corns, or warts—don’t tackle them yourself, and don’t ask an unlicensed nonprofessional to do it. Over-the-counter products can burn your skin and injure your foot. Podiatrists are specially trained to address all aspects of foot health for people with diabetes.
  • Get checkups twice a year. An exam by your podiatrist is the best way to ensure your feet stay healthy.

“For people with diabetes, taking charge of your own foot health can help you avoid foot-related complications like amputation,” Dr. Hudson says. “Working with today’s podiatrist will help you safeguard your foot health.”

Catherine Hudson, DPM is a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center in Marrero, LA.  Call 504-349-6633 or visit http://www.footandanklenola.com/contact to make an appointment. Visit www.apma.org to learn more about foot health and care.

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