All posts by Foot & Ankle Center

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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Foot Orthotics

Orthotics are shoe inserts that are meant to correct an irregular walking gait or provide cushioning to the feet.  Orthotics come in a variety of different models and sizes, including over-the-counter and customizable variants. Customizable orthotics can be shaped and contoured to fit inside a specific shoe and are typically prescribed through a podiatrist who specializes in customized footwear and orthotics design and management.

Orthotics are beneficial because they can help prevent injuries from occurring and provide cushioning to keep pain levels down to a minimum. They also allow for the correct positioning of the feet. Orthotics can act as shock absorbers to help remove pressure from the foot and ankle. Therefore, orthotics can make bodily movements, such as walking and running, become more comfortable as well as help prevent the development of certain foot conditions.

Orthotics alleviate pain and make the foot more comfortable by slightly altering the angle at which the foot strikes the ground surface, therefore controlling the movement of the foot and ankle. Orthotics come in different variants and can be made of various materials. To determine what type of orthotic is most suited to your feet and your needs, it is best to consult your podiatrist. He or she will be able to recommend a type of orthotic that can help improve your foot function or prescribe a custom orthotic to best fit your feet.  

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Why Are Foot Stretches Important?

The importance of properly stretching the feet aids in the body’s ability to maintain balance. Additional benefits include developing flexibility and limber muscles, which can possibly help one avoid Achilles tendon injuries and heel pain. As the feet become stronger, the likelihood of pain in the arches and tears in the tendons will diminish. Pointing and flexing the feet is a simple yet effective stretch for the entire foot, which allows the ankles to strengthen. When pointing your toes, it’s suggested to strive for a feeling of the top of the arch becoming longer, which results in toe movement from the muscles that are stretched under the arch. If you would like additional information about the importance of proper foot stretches and techniques, please schedule a consultation with a podiatrist.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with one of our podiatrists  from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Being the backbone of the body, the feet carry your entire weight and can easily become overexerted, causing cramps and pain. As with any body part, stretching your feet can serve many benefits. From increasing flexibility to even providing some pain relief, be sure to give your feet a stretch from time to time. This is especially important for athletes or anyone performing aerobic exercises, but anyone experiencing foot pain or is on their feet constantly should also engage in this practice.

Great ways to stretch your feet:

  • Crossing one leg over the others and carefully pull your toes back. Do 10-20 repetitions and repeat the process for each foot
  • Face a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot and keep it flat on the floor while moving the other leg forward. Lean towards the wall until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and perform 10 repetitions for each foot
  • Be sure not to overextend or push your limbs too hard or you could risk pulling or straining your muscle

Individuals who tend to their feet by regular stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

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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Stretching Your Feet

Debilitating foot pain is a problem for many people. But just as stretching the torso can help alleviate back pain, stretching the feet can also help mend existing foot problems and prevent future ones.

The feet, as the body’s foundation, carry the body’s entire weight and can get easily strained from overexertion. Persistent sharp pain and cramping in the feet are often common concerns. Foot pain and foot problems can be due to any number of causes, and in many cases pain may be eased without medication or doctor visits. It is always a good idea, however, to first rule out any serious medical issues with a physician.

Stretching can help relax the feet and alleviate pain, but is especially important before heavy aerobic exercise. Stretching before such activities can help you avoid experiencing painful cramps or strained foot muscles. Stretches should be performed slowly and deliberately without forceful pulling. The stretch should be held for several seconds before relaxing.

A great way to stretch out and loosen up the foot muscles while sitting is to cross one leg over the other and pull the toes carefully back without overextending. Start by resting the left ankle on the right knee. With the left hand, gently flex the left foot by pulling back on the toes. Do not pull too hard; just hard enough to feel the stretch in the arch of the foot. Then point the toes of the left foot as far as you can. Rotate the motion of pointing with pulling back on the toes. This should relax and stretch the muscles on the bottom and the top of the foot. Doing this stretch ten to twenty times should bring relief. Repeat the whole process for the other foot by resting the right ankle on the left knee.

A stretch that focuses on the often injured Achilles tendon involves standing and facing a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot, keeping it flat against the floor. Move the other leg forward and lean toward the wall. You should feel a stretch through the back of your leg and your Achilles tendon, but do not push yourself too much. Stop when you feel a stretching sensation, and hold for 30 seconds. Ten repetitions may be done for each foot.

Stretching the feet is important for athletes or those performing aerobic exercise, but it can also help anyone with foot pain caused by poor footwear, plantar fasciitis, or long hours standing and walking. Individuals who tend to their feet by regularly stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

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