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Blog | Foot Doctor Gig Harbor WA 98335

Monday, 17 February 2020 00:00

Possible Causes and Symptoms of Heel Spurs

Pain in the heel and surrounding area may be indicative of a heel spur. It is considered to be a bony growth that develops on the heel of the foot. It can grow in length, and extend to the middle of the foot, which may cause severe pain and discomfort. The symptoms that many patients experience typically consist of a sharp pain in the heel after arising in the morning, heat coming from the affected area, and the heel may be extremely tender, which may inhibit walking. This condition can occur as a patient ages, which may also contribute to the soft tissue becoming thinner in the heel. It may happen as a result of an injury that previously occurred to the heel, wearing shoes that do not fit correctly, or it may develop from being overweight. If you are afflicted with a heel spur, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition.

Heel spurs can be incredibly painful and sometimes may make you unable to participate in physical activities. To get medical care for your heel spurs, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will do everything possible to treat your condition.

Heels Spurs

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

Older individuals usually suffer from heel spurs and pain sometimes intensifies with age. One of the main condition's spurs are related to is plantar fasciitis.

Pain

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

Treatments

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

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

Read more about How to Treat Heel Spurs
Monday, 10 February 2020 00:00

What Causes Heel Pain?

Heel pain is a condition that many patients experience, and it may be caused due to a variety of reasons. The medical ailment that is known as plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, and can be extremely uncomfortable. Additionally, a tear or injury to the Achilles tendon may cause sharp pain that is felt in the calf and the heel. If an injury has occurred, moderate relief may be found when the foot is elevated, and the affected area is given rest as often as possible. For severe heel pain, it is strongly advised that you consult with a podiatrist as quickly as possible to determine the cause, and allow for proper treatment to begin.

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, 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.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

If you have any questions please 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 Heel Pain
Monday, 03 February 2020 00:00

Helpful Ways to Prevent Falling

It’s quite common that as we age, we start to become a little less stable on our feet. Because of this, it may be beneficial to take certain actions in helping to prevent falling, as well as injuring the feet. The first step in this process would be making sure your home is safe and accessible. Part of this involves keeping your home clean and avoiding an excess of clutter, as this may help to lessen your chances of accidentally tripping on something. Similarly, you want to make sure you can see any obstacle that may be in your way. With that in mind, keeping your house well lit, especially around stairs, can be extremely useful. Speaking of stairs, if you don’t already, you should have hand railings installed for extra support. Another great tip for preventing falls is investing in furniture that will stay put. This can be done through the use of non-skid mats for bathroom or showers, as well as rugs paired with double-sided tape. For more helpful tips about falls prevention, we recommend you consult with a podiatrist for professional advice.

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 Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor 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 Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Falls Prevention
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 00:00

Wounds that Don't Heal Need to be Checked

Your feet are covered a good part of the day. If you are diabetic, periodic screening is important for good health. Numbness is often another sign of diabetic foot and can mask a sore or wound.

Monday, 27 January 2020 00:00

Orthotics May Help Your Hammertoe

A hammertoe is a painful foot condition in which the toe bends downward, creating a hammer-like shape. They are normally caused by wearing shoes that are too tightly fitted, and may also be accompanied by the development of a bunion. In order to help straighten, and relieve the pain that comes with having a hammertoe, it may be useful to look into wearing orthotics. Some common orthotics used to help hammertoes include toe wraps. Toe wraps are elastic bandages with a Velcro strap, used to bind the hammertoe together with the toe next to it. Toe socks are socks that have five holes for each toe that help to keep them separated. Toe crest pads are also helpful, in that they wrap around the hammertoe and aid in preventing the toes from overlapping. For more information on orthotics and ways to help treat a hammertoe, we recommend you consult with a podiatrist for an advised treatment plan and professional care.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please 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 Are Hammertoes?
Monday, 20 January 2020 00:00

Work Shoes for the Job

There are several foot conditions that can occur if your job consists of standing for the majority of the day. Your feet may feel achy, and cracked heels may develop if you stand on hard surfaces. Additionally, your feet may become swollen, and blisters may form from wearing shoes that do not fit correctly. There are several factors to look for in a work shoe. These can consist of choosing shoes that are enclosed and fastened, have adequate cushioning, and have a wide heel for ankle support. Additionally, it is important to make sure there is ample room in the top of the shoe, as this may help to avoid friction. It can be beneficial to sit down as often as possible, which may help the heels to feel better. If you would like more information about how to care for your feet while working during the day, please 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 How to Handle a Long Work Day on Your Feet

People who experience running injuries may find that they lose the motivation to continue running or jogging. Additionally, this type of injury can affect everyday activities, and may cause severe pain and discomfort. The average runner typically runs 1400 steps per mile. With that in mind, it is important to properly stretch the muscles, tendons and ligaments to prepare for your activity. This can be accomplished by warming up and cooling down before and after running. Flexibility can be maintained by performing lunges, and mimicking movements such as marching. The bones can become stronger as strength training is practiced, in addition to increased running efficiency. If you would like more information about how running injuries can affect the feet, please consult with a podiatrist.

Exercising your feet regularly with the proper foot wear is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

How to Prevent Running Injuries

Many common running injuries are caused by overuse and overtraining. When the back of the kneecap starts wearing out and starts causing pain in your knee, this is commonly referred to as runner’s knee. Runner’s knee is a decrease in strength in your quadriceps and can occur if you’re not wearing properly fitted or supporting shoes. To prevent runner’s knee, focusing on hip strengthening is a good idea, as well as strengthening your quads to keep the kneecaps aligned.

What Are Some Causes of Running Injuries?
- One cause of a common running injury is called iliotibial band syndrome.
- Plantar fasciitis is also another common injury.
- Stress fractures can occur from overtraining, lack of calcium, or even your running style.

Best Ways to Prevent Running Injuries
- Wear footwear that fits properly and suits your running needs.
- Running shoes are the only protective gear that runners have to safeguard them from injury.
- Make a training schedule. Adding strengthening exercises as well as regular stretching can help keep you strong and limber and can lessen the possibility of injuries.
- Stretching keeps muscles limber; this will help you gain better flexibility.

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 Preventing Running Injuries
Monday, 06 January 2020 00:00

Treating Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be both uncomfortable and painful if left untreated. One of the most common causes of their development is hereditary or genetic factors. The curvature of your toenails are passed down to you, so if you have family members that are prone to getting ingrown toenails, it is likely you may run the same risk. Cutting your toenails too short is another cause of getting an ingrown toenail. If they are cut too short, the skin around the toe will adapt, forming an ingrown toenail. It is also advised you do not cut your toenails on an angle, rather trim them straight across. If you are experiencing pain, a podiatrist may suggest a splint to help stop the nail from growing any further into your skin. In more severe cases, a podiatrist may suggest surgery and full removal of the toenail. To help ease the pain, it’s recommended that you soak your feet in epsom salt, as this will also help to get rid of any bacteria under the toenails. For professional care we recommend you consult with a podiatrist who can advise you on the best course of treatment for your case.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, 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.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

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 Ingrown Toenails

Research has shown walking shoes have less flexibility than running shoes. People who enjoy running or jogging are aware of the necessity of buying the correct shoes for their chosen sport. There are different styles of running. Long distance runners typically benefit from wearing shoes that have additional cushioning. Additionally, many running shoes have different stabilizing features, which may help to correct overpronation. People who like to walk may opt to wear shoes that are designed for comfort. These types of shoes can include those that are made of a lighter material, and have adequate support to ensure the feet will feel comfortable after a long walk. If you would like additional information about what type of shoe to purchase for running or walking, please speak to a podiatrist.

For more information about walking shoes versus running shoes, consult with Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can measure your feet to determine what your needs are and help you find an appropriate pair of footwear.

Foot Health: The Differences between Walking & Running Shoes

There are great ways to stay in shape: running and walking are two great exercises to a healthy lifestyle. It is important to know that running shoes and walking shoes are not interchangeable. There is a key difference on how the feet hit the ground when someone is running or walking. This is why one should be aware that a shoe is designed differently for each activity.

You may be asking yourself what the real differences are between walking and running shoes and the answers may shock you.

Differences

Walking doesn’t involve as much stress or impact on the feet as running does. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be any less prepared. When you’re walking, you land on your heels and have your foot roll forward. This rolling motion requires additional support to the feet.

Flexibility – Walking shoes are designed to have soft, flexible soles. This allows the walker to push off easily with each step.

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 Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes
Sunday, 29 December 2019 00:00

It's Time for Beautiful Feet.

Want to wear open toe shoes again? ...Special occasion? Vacation? ...You don't need an excuse to have beautiful nails.

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