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Monday, 11 February 2019 00:00

Wound Care for People with Diabetes

In most cases, small lacerations on the feet naturally heal without any complications. Unfortunately, this is not true for those who suffer from diabetes. Foot ulcers are a common problem for those with diabetes, because diabetic neuropathy affects their ability to feel these wounds. Diabetic neuropathy occurs as a result of nerve damage and causes numbness and pain in the hands and feet. Therefore, people with diabetes may not feel an ulcer, which will lead to it not being treated. Some signs of an ulcer are drainage, redness, swelling, and odor. An ulcer that is left untreated will worsen and black tissue called eschar might form. When tissue death occurs because of infection this is called gangrene. Both symptoms can be life-threatening and should be taken very seriously. Those with diabetes should perform daily foot checks to ensure that no ulcers have formed. If you have diabetes and would like more information about how to properly care for your feet, it is recommended you consult with a podiatrist.

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a nondiabetic. 

What is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

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

Read more about Wound Care

When proper circulation occurs in the body, the blood effectively carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells. If poor circulation develops, the blood flow is hindered, and blockages in the arteries may occur. Organs that include the brain and the heart may be compromised as a result of inadequate blood flow, and this may lead to unwanted health conditions. There are several reasons why poor circulation may occur, which may include genetic traits, a lack of exercise, and poor eating habits. Symptoms of this condition may include experiencing cold feet and toes for the majority of the day, a tingling sensation or numbness, a lack of energy, or swollen feet. Research has indicated that if specific foods are ingested, it may be easier to maintain proper circulation. These foods may include foods that are spicy, oranges, fish, and garlic. Additionally, performing a daily exercise routine may aid in promoting good circulation. If you have symptoms of this condition, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist who can determine the cause and offer proper treatment options.

Poor circulation is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention. If you have any concerns with poor circulation in your feet contact Dr. James McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Poor Circulation in the Feet

Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is can be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries.

Plaque buildup or atherosclerosis results from excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This can restrict the amount of blood which can flow through the arteries. Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs are sometimes caused by inflammation in the blood vessels, known as vasculitis.

Causes

Lack of oxygen and oxygen from poor blood circulation restricts muscle growth and development. It can also cause:

  • Muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness   
  • Numbness  or cramping in the legs 
  • Skin discoloration
  • Slower nail & hair growth
  • Erectile dysfunction

Those who have diabetes or smoke are at greatest risk for poor circulation, as are those who are over 50. If you have poor circulation in the feet and legs it may be caused by PAD, and is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve conditions.

As always, see a podiatrist as he or she will assist in finding a regimen that suits you. A podiatrist can also prescribe you any needed medication. 

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

Read more about Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Poor Blood Circulation in the Feet
Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.5 million people in the United States and is a very serious disease. It is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack joints. This attack creates inflammation that causes the tissue lining on the joints to thicken, which causes pain and swelling. It is important to catch this inflammation early, because over time it can damage cartilage, elastic tissue that covers bones in the joint, and the bones themselves. This damage can lead to the joint spacing between bones to shrink, which causes joints to become loose, unstable and painful. Joint deformity is also a possibility, and this cannot be reversed. Rheumatoid arthritis usually occurs symmetrically, so if one foot or ankle is affected then the other one most likely will be too. If you feel that you have any symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis, it is highly recommended that you speak with a podiatrist to start treatment as soon as possible.

Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist  if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact Dr. James McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of feet
  • Joint shift and deformation

Diagnosis

Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.

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

Read more about Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet
Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

What to Do About a Broken Toe

Everyone stubs their toe from time to time, but sometimes stubbing it too hard can result in a broken toe. Stubbing your toe causes immediate pain, but it usually only takes a couple minutes to subside. If the pain does not dissipate and continues for a long time after the initial blow, you may be dealing with a broken bone. Some signs of a broken toe are swelling, discoloration, and bruising. If you put weight on your foot and become unable to walk due to pain, your toe may be broken. If you suspect that your toe is broken, the best idea is to seek help from a medical professional. A doctor will most likely use an x-ray to determine whether your toe is broken and how to properly treat it. If you think you may have a broken toe or want additional information, then you should consult a podiatrist for help.

A broken toe can be very painful and lead to complications if not properly fixed. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor 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 Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Monday, 14 January 2019 00:00

What is Laser Therapy?

Among various podiatrists, MLS Laser Therapy is often used as a successful alternative to surgery or prescription medication for treating foot pain caused by various podiatric conditions.  Multiwave Locked System (MLS) Laser Therapy uses light to accelerate the body’s healing processes.  During the treatment, a laser beam is moved over the skin, allowing the light energy to enter the tissue and cause the desired effect.  Despite being a “laser” treatment, MLS Laser Therapy does not hurt or burn.  A slight warming sensation at the site of application is normal and is a sign that inflammation is being alleviated.

MLS Laser Therapy is a successful alternative for treating any pain you may be experiencing related to certain podiatric conditions.  If you are interested in MLS Laser Therapy, consult with Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

MLS Laser Therapy

Multiwave Locked System (MLS) Laser Therapy is a patented, FDA-cleared technology that helps relieve pain and inflammation from a number of podiatric conditions, including:

  • Heel Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Sports Injuries
  • Wounds
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Neuropathy
  • Neuromas

MLS Laser Therapy is an ideal alternative to surgery and prescription medication, as it has no negative side effects and encourages accelerated healing. Among its many clinical benefits, MLS Laser Therapy also:

  • Reduces swelling due to bruising or inflammation
  • Blocks pain
  • Reduces formation of scar tissue
  • Improves nerve function

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

Read more about MLS Laser Therapy
Monday, 07 January 2019 00:00

Are Broken Toes a Serious Condition?

The bones in the toe are known to be fragile, and may easily break if a foot injury occurs, or if something heavy is dropped on it. A broken toe is serious if the bone is protruding through the skin, which may make an infection likely to occur. There are common symptoms that people may experience if they have broken a toe, including stiffness in the toe and surrounding area, pain, swelling, or bruising that may gradually disappear. If something heavy was dropped on the toe, the nail bed may become bruised as a result of the injury, which will diminish as the nail grows. It may be beneficial to demonstrate care in performing specific daily activities including walking and jogging until the toe is completely healed, which may take up to six weeks. If you have broken your toe, please consult with a podiatrist to learn about correct treatment options.

Broken toes may cause a lot of pain and should be treated as soon as possible. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What is a Broken Toe?

A broken toe occurs when one or more of the toe bones of the foot are broken after an injury. Injuries such as stubbing your toe or dropping a heavy object on it may cause a toe fracture.

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

  • Swelling
  • Pain (with/without wearing shoes)
  • Stiffness
  • Nail Injury

Although the injured toe should be monitored daily, it is especially important to have a podiatrist look at your toe if you have severe symptoms. Some of these symptoms include: worsening or new pain that is not relieved with medication, sores, redness, or open wounds near the toe.

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

Read more about What to Know About a Broken Toe
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 00:00

Possible Causes of Bunions

The foot condition that is known as a bunion may develop as the aging process occurs. It is one of the more common foot ailments and may often affect women more than men. It appears as a bony protrusion on the side of the big toe and may cause considerable pain and discomfort. There may be foot issues that can develop as a result of having a bunion, and these may include nerve damage that is incurred on the big toe in which feeling may be lost, calluses may develop on the sole of the foot, in addition to the toe appearing red and swollen. There may be several reasons why bunions may form, and these may include wearing shoes with limited room for the toes to move freely in, a genetic disposition, or medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. If you notice a bunion that is forming, it is advised to seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can discuss correct treatment options, which may include surgery.

If you are suffering from bunion pain, contact Dr. James McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What is a Bunion?

Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.

Causes

  • Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
  • Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development

Symptoms

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Callus or corns on the bump
  • Restricted motion in the big toe

In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.

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

Read more about What Are Bunions?
Wednesday, 26 December 2018 00:00

Foot Conditions May Be Associated with Diabetes

Patients who are diabetic may be aware of specific foot ailments that may develop as a result of this condition. If the sugar levels in the blood become elevated, the nerves in the feet may become damaged, which may be followed by a loss of sensation. Minor conditions, which may include blisters, corns, bunions or calluses, may become serious issues to contend with, and this may be a result of the inability to feel the pain that may be associated with these ailments. Research has indicated the importance of taking care of diabetic feet properly, and this may include trimming the toenails correctly and often, as well as washing and drying the toes thoroughly, which may prevent fungal infections from developing. If you are a diabetic patient, it is strongly suggested to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist who can properly treat foot conditions related to diabetes.

Diabetic foot care is important in preventing foot ailments such as ulcers. If you are suffering from diabetes or have any other concerns about your feet, contact Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. The condition can damage blood vessels in many parts of the body, especially the feet. Because of this, taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes, and having a podiatrist help monitor your foot health is highly recommended.

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

  • Routinely inspect your feet for bruises or sores.
  • Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels, as blood sugar levels play such a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised.

It is always best to inform your healthcare professional of any concerns you may have regarding your feet, especially for diabetic patients. Early treatment and routine foot examinations are keys to maintaining proper health, especially because severe complications can arise if proper treatment is not applied.

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

Read more about Diabetic Foot Care
Monday, 17 December 2018 00:00

Several Ways to Treat a Broken Ankle

If you have fallen unexpectedly or stepped abruptly off a curb, you may have had the displeasure of experiencing an ankle sprain. It is typically the result of the ankle suddenly twisting or rolling, which may move the ankle out of alignment. There are several ligaments that surround the ankle and may tear if an ankle sprain occurs. There are several symptoms that may be associated with this condition, including noticeable swelling, bruising, and difficulty in bearing weight on the ankle. It’s important to have a proper diagnosis performed, which most likely may include having an X-ray taken. An MRI may be prescribed if the ankle sprain appears to be of a serious nature, or if damage has occurred to the surface of the ankle joint. There are many ways to treat a broken ankle, and this may depend on the severity of the injury. If you feel you have sprained your ankle, it is advised to consult with a podiatrist as quickly as possible who can determine the best course of treatment for you.

Although ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor injuries. If you need your ankle injury looked at, contact Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains are the result of a tear in the ligaments within the ankle. These injuries may happen when you make a rapid shifting movement while your foot is planted. A less common way to sprain your ankle is when your ankle rolls inward while your foot turns outward.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Pain at the sight of the tear
  • Bruising/Swelling
  • Ankle area is tender to touch
  • In severe cases, may hear/feel something tear
  • Skin discoloration

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

In many cases, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) is used to treat ankle sprains. However, you should see a podiatrist to see which treatment option would work best with your injury. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

It is important to ask your doctor about rehab options after you receive treatment for your injury. Stretching, strength training, and balance exercises may help the ankle heal while also preventing further injury.

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

Read more about Ankle Sprains
Monday, 10 December 2018 00:00

Tips for Choosing the Correct Shoe Size

There are several reasons why shoes may not fit correctly. These may include having toenails that are not trimmed properly or having medical conditions such as diabetes and poor circulation. Additionally, research has shown the feet may change sizes as the aging process occurs and it is advised to properly measure your feet before purchasing shoes. When a shoe is selected that is similar to the shape of your foot, the desired comfort level may be easier to attain. There are a few simple steps that may be implemented to ensure a properly fitted shoe. These may include expecting the shoe to feel comfortable when initially tried on, making sure there is adequate room for the longest toe to fit easily in, and walking in the shoes before making the decision to buy them. If you would like additional information about choosing the correct shoe size, it is suggested to speak with a podiatrist.

Getting the right shoe size is an important part of proper foot health. Seek the assistance of Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Getting the Right Shoe Size

There are many people who wear shoes that are the incorrect size, negatively affecting their feet and posture. Selecting the right shoes is not a difficult process, so long as you keep several things in mind when it comes to choosing the right pair.

  • When visiting the shoe store, use the tools available to measure your foot.
  • Be sure there is ‘wiggle room’. There should be about an inch between your toes and the tip of your shoes.
  • Do not always assume you are the same size, as manufacturers run differently.
  • Purchase shoes later in the day, as your feet swell as the day progresses.
  • If a shoe is not comfortable, it is not suitable. Most shoes can’t be ‘broken in’, and comfort should be the ultimate goal when it comes to choosing the right pair of shoes

As our feet hold our body weight and keep us moving, it is important to treat them right. Picking the right pair of shoes can provide your feet comfort and mobility without pain.

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

Read more about Getting the Right Shoe Size
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