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Monday, 22 July 2019 00:00

Stretches That May Relieve Heel Pain

The plantar fascia is located on the bottom of the foot. It is a band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes, and if it should become damaged and inflamed, a condition that is known as plantar fasciitis may develop. Common symptoms that are associated with this ailment often include severe pain and discomfort, and it may cause difficulty in walking. It typically originates from overuse from running activities, or as a result of being overweight. Relief may be found when specific stretches are performed that will strengthen the plantar fascia. These consist of stretching the calf, which may be helpful in relieving muscle tightness in the Achilles tendon and heel area. Some patients find it beneficial to roll the arch of the foot on a tennis or golf ball, in addition to pointing and flexing the foot. If you have heel pain, please consult a podiatrist who can guide you toward the treatment that is correct for you.

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact Dr. James D. 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.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Non-supportive shoes
  • Overpronation
  • Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia

How Can It Be Treated?

  • Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
  • Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
  • Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel

While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.

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 Plantar Fasciitis

The medical condition that is referred to as tarsal tunnel syndrome, or TTS, can cause pain and discomfort on the inside of the ankle. It often occurs as a result of nerve damage, which may lead to inflammation. Patients who run or exercise for extended periods of time may gradually experience this type of nerve damage, or it may come from enduring a traumatic injury. Mild relief may be felt by gently stretching the surrounding muscles and tendons, in addition to resting and elevating the affected ankle. This may help to diminish a portion of the swelling. In severe cases, taping the ankle or wearing a brace may provide adequate support as the ankle heals. If you feel you have this condition, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist who can offer the correct treatment options for you.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. James D. 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.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
  • Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
  • The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
  • If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

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 Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Many people experience painful foot conditions as the aging process occurs. Standing and walking for the majority of the day can put unwanted pressure on the feet, so there are measures that can be taken which may help to prevent foot ailments. These can include wearing shoes that fit correctly, and making sure there is adequate room for the toes to move freely in. When the feet are frequently moisturized, uncomfortable skin conditions may be avoided. Additionally, people who stand for extended periods of time may benefit from performing gentle stretching techniques throughout the work day. Trimming the toenails correctly can aid in preventing ingrown toenails and practicing good foot hygiene can help the feet to feel good. If you would like additional information about proper foot care, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist.

While working on the feet, it is important to take the proper care of them. For more information about working on your feet, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Working on Your Feet

Standing on your feet for long periods of time can cause stress and pain in your feet. Your whole body may experience change in terms of posture, back pain, bunions, callouses and or plantar warts. There are ways to avoid these conditions with proper foot care, smart choices and correct posture.

Positive Changes

Negative heeled shoe – Choosing this shoe type places the heel slightly lower than the ball of the foot. These are great for overall foot health. Find shoes that fit you correctly.

Go barefoot – Our feet were not designed to be enclosed for all hours of the day. Try to periodically expose your feet to air.

Eliminate Pain

Foot Exercises – Performing simple exercises, incorporating yoga and doing stretches are beneficial. This will allow increased blood flow to the area and muscles of the foot.

Achilles tendon – Stretching the foot out flat on the floor will relax the calf muscles and tendon. These exercises can be performed almost anywhere. Make sure you add these exercises to your daily regimen. 

With a little bit of this information and knowing more about foot health, you will notice changes. Foot stretches and proper footwear will help with pain and prevent further issues.

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 Working on Your Feet
Tuesday, 02 July 2019 00:00

Gout Pain Can Be Managed

Gout is a form of arthritis that can affect anyone. Schedule a visit to learn about how gout can be managed and treated.

Monday, 01 July 2019 00:00

How to Treat Wounds on the Feet

The feet are susceptible to cuts that may penetrate the skin. Minor wounds can be treated with bandages or skin glue, and the healing process will accelerate if the cuts are kept covered and dry. If you have stepped on glass or rocks, an X-ray may be necessary to ensure there is no debris left in the foot. For serious wounds, it is beneficial to keep weight off of the foot as much as possible, as this can help in giving the foot a chance to heal. If the wound is bleeding, it is helpful to apply direct pressure. If this fails to work, it is wise to seek medical attention. Additionally, an infection may be present which is often accompanied by a fever. For wounds on the feet, it is suggested to seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can guide you towards proper treatment.

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 D. 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 non-diabetic. 

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
Monday, 24 June 2019 00:00

What Is a Blister?

Excessive friction in a specific area of the foot may be a reason for blisters to form. This damages the top layer of the skin and can cause pain and discomfort. They are described as small pockets that are filled with fluid that develop over the affected area. Blisters are considered to be a natural defense mechanism the body produces to promote healing. Additional reasons why blisters may develop can be a result of a sunburn, an allergic reaction to an insect bite, or frostbite. Some patients develop blisters if specific medical conditions exist that may include eczema, chicken pox, or an autoimmune disease. When new skin has formed over the affected area, the majority of blisters will drain naturally. If you would like additional information about how blisters can form on the feet, please speak with a podiatrist.

Blisters are prone to making everyday activities extremely uncomfortable. If your feet are hurting, contact Dr. James D. 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.

Foot Blisters

Foot blisters develop as a result of constantly wearing tight or ill-fitting footwear. This happens due to the constant rubbing from the shoe, which can often lead to pain.

What Are Foot Blisters?

A foot blister is a small fluid-filled pocket that forms on the upper-most layer of the skin. Blisters are filled with clear fluid and can lead to blood drainage or pus if the area becomes infected.

How Do Blisters Form?

Blisters on the feet are often the result of constant friction of skin and material, usually by shoe rubbing. Walking in sandals, boots, or shoes that don’t fit properly for long periods of time can result in a blister. Having consistent foot moisture and humidity can easily lead to blister formation.

Prevention & Treatment

It is important to properly care for the affected area in order to prevent infection and ease the pain. Do not lance the blister and use a Band-Aid to provide pain relief. Also, be sure to keep your feet dry and wear proper fitting shoes. If you see blood or pus in a blister, seek assistance from a podiatrist.

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 Blisters
Monday, 17 June 2019 00:00

Common Foot Problems for Children

Some foot conditions occur around the same amount of times or more often for children than they do for adults. There are a few complications to look out for in children. The first is ingrown toenails. Since children commonly experience growth spurts, they occasionally end up wearing shoes that are too tight. Ill-fitting shoes contribute to the emergence of ingrown toenails. Another affliction is plantar warts. These are lesions that form on the bottom of the foot. It is possible that many children do not yet have the immunity to warts that adults do. Guardians should also take note if their children have flat feet. Although many children outgrow their flat feet, it can cause them future pain. Finally, be sure to ask children about any heel pain. There are various conditions around the heel that may be sparked by a growth spurt. If your child is complaining of any type of foot or ankle pain, it is recommended that you contact a podiatrist.

Making sure that your children maintain good foot health is very important as they grow. If you have any questions, contact Dr. James D. 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.

Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

Having healthy feet during childhood can help prevent medical problems later in life, namely in the back and legs. As children grow, their feet require different types of care. Here are some things to consider...

Although babies do not walk yet, it is still very important to take care of their feet.

Avoid putting tight shoes or socks on his or her feet.

Allow the baby to stretch and kick his or her feet to feel comfortable.

As a toddler, kids are now on the move and begin to develop differently. At this age, toddlers are getting a feel for walking, so don’t be alarmed if your toddler is unsteady or ‘walks funny’. 

As your child gets older, it is important to teach them how to take care of their feet.

Show them proper hygiene to prevent infections such as fungus.

Be watchful for any pain or injury.

Have all injuries checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Comfortable, protective shoes should always be worn, especially at play.

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 What to Do to Keep Your Child’s Feet Healthy

Many elderly people have difficulty in caring for their feet. This is often due to medical conditions that include arthritis, diabetes, or back pain. There are a few tips to keep in mind to assure the feet stay healthy. Research has indicated the importance of wearing shoes that fit properly. This can help to provide adequate support that is needed, and bunions and corns may be prevented. Seniors also tend to have drier skin, which is a result of diminished body fluid as the aging process occurs. An appropriate remedy for dry skin is to apply a moisturizer, preceded by washing and drying the feet thoroughly. Additionally, athlete’s foot may be common among elderly patients, and mild relief may be found in using a medicated foot spray. Another painful condition known as ingrown toenails typically occurs when the nails are trimmed incorrectly. If you have questions about how to care for elderly feet, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist.

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact Dr. James D. 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.

The Elderly and Their Feet

As we age we start to notice many changes in our body, but the elder population may not notice them right away. Medical conditions may prevent the elderly to take notice of their foot health right away. Poor vision is a lead contributor to not taking action for the elderly.

Common Conditions 

  • Neuropathy – can reduce feeling in the feet and can hide many life-threatening medical conditions.
  • Reduced flexibility – prevents the ability of proper toenail trimming, and foot cleaning. If left untreated, it may lead to further medical issues.
  • Foot sores – amongst the older population can be serious before they are discovered. Some of the problematic conditions they may face are:
  • Gouging toenails affecting nearby toe
  • Shoes that don’t fit properly
  • Pressure sores
  • Loss of circulation in legs & feet
  • Edema & swelling of feet and ankles

Susceptible Infections

Diabetes and poor circulation can cause general loss of sensitivity over the years, turning a simple cut into a serious issue.

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 Taking Care of Elderly Feet

One type of foot therapy is known as a paraffin wax treatment. It consists of an oil-based wax, mineral oil, and paraffin wax. The feet are dipped several times into the mixture, and then removed. The wax is peeled away from the skin, and many people are happy with the results of their smooth skin. The benefits of this type of therapy typically include improved circulation, soothing properties, and relief from stiff joints. Additionally, it may aid in softening rough skin. This type of treatment can help the feet to feel better after standing for the majority of the day. If you would like to know more about how a paraffin wax treatment can help the feet to feel better, please consult with a podiatrist.

Foot therapy is often necessary for those recovering from either foot deformities or foot injuries. If you have concerns regarding therapy, Dr. James D. 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.

Most Common Injuries

People who are active or athletes are prone to a variety of injuries. Therefore, it is often important to take part in physical therapy in order to quickly get back on the right track. 

What to Do When Injured

Physical Therapy – This specialized treatment will focus on the affected area, speeding up recovery and the overall healing process. It is a proven method that has helped millions of people return from any injury.

During physical therapy you will undergo regimented training to get back into full form. Training is often very difficult, especially at first when the foot feels weak. Physical therapy often involves:

Basic stretching and twisting exercises – getting the feet’s mobility and flexibility up.

Massaging – the therapist will massage the injured area in order to activate the muscles and relax them.

Strengthening Exercises – this allows the muscles in the affected area to regain their full strength, a vital step towards full recovery.

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

Read more about Foot Therapy for Sports Injuries

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