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Blog | Foot Doctor Gig Harbor WA 98335

Tuesday, 20 September 2022 00:00

What Can Cause Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

There is a nerve that stretches from the back of the leg to the inner ankle, and this is known as the tibial nerve. When this becomes pinched as a result of an injury, it may lead to tarsal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, this condition may occur in people who have flat feet or who have an existing tissue mass or cyst. It is helpful to rest the affected foot as often as possible as this may reduce some of the associated swelling. In severe cases, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed, and it can be beneficial to wear custom-made orthotics. Numbness and a tingling sensation are symptoms that people can experience when they have this condition, and it can be quite uncomfortable. If you are afflicted with tarsal tunnel syndrome, it is strongly urged that you consult with a podiatrist who can effectively determine the cause, as well as implement the correct treatment methods.

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
Wednesday, 14 September 2022 00:00

Heel Pain Can Be Treated!

Do you suffer from heel pain when you get up in the morning? If so, you should seek the professional help of your podiatrist and have a proper diagnosis performed. Heel pain can be caused by several different foot-related conditions.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022 00:00

Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition condition involving inflammation in the ligament that extends from the toes to the heels. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain. This affliction can cause sharp pain, especially when arising in the morning, and can interfere with walking or exercise. Plantar fasciitis is caused by activities that place stress on the heel, such as running or jumping, and standing on hard surfaces for a prolonged period of time. Additionally, obesity and aging may contribute significantly to developing plantar fasciitis. Preventive measures that can be taken may include varying exercise routines to work different muscles and including low impact exercise options to reduce stress on the heel. It may be beneficial to wear a night splint on the affected foot to keep the foot and ankle in the optimal position. If you believe that you have plantar fasciitis, it is strongly suggested that you visit a podiatrist who can properly diagnose this condition and obtain treatment that may be more effective 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
Wednesday, 07 September 2022 00:00

Selecting Shoes For Your Child

As your toddler grows and matures, their feet are also growing and developing at the same time. Since your child’s feet are an important part of their body, selecting the right kind of shoe is imperative to maintaining overall foot health. This is true especially because the bones in a young child’s feet are still soft and ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate any existing foot deformities in a toddler. There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for your child’s shoes. First, you can be mindful of selecting shoes that have velcro straps. This can help ensure that both you and your child can keep the shoes fastened onto the feet. Second, you can look for shoes that have a spacious toe box, which will not crowd the child’s toes. Lastly, in terms of material, it can be important to select shoes that are made of breathable material, such as leather or mesh. This mesh is comparable to that used in running shoes. You may notice that a child will tend to grow out of their shoes at a seemingly rapid pace. However, it is nonetheless important to find shoes that are of high quality for your child. If you are concerned about your child’s shoes, please consult with a podiatrist who can help you.


 

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 How to Care for Your Child's Feet

A pinched, or compressed, nerve can occur anywhere in your foot, such as in the heel, ball, or even on the bottom. A pinched nerve can produce pain or sensations of tingling, numbness, weakness, or the feeling that your foot has fallen asleep. The pain may radiate out to the toes or arches and become noticeable after exercising, walking, or standing for a while. What causes a nerve in your foot to become pinched? Injuries, medical conditions, tight ligaments, inflamed tendons, wearing tight shoes, obesity, or nerve entrapment conditions such as Morton’s neuroma. Switching footwear, resting, icing, immobilizing the area, or massaging it can sometimes provide temporary relief. However, if the symptoms persist or worsen, a podiatrist should examine your foot and run tests to determine the cause of your condition. Taking prompt, appropriate action will help reduce the risk of permanent nerve damage. 

Foot Pain

Foot pain can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you have a foot pain, 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.

Causes

Foot pain is a very broad condition that could be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bone Spurs
  • Corns
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Arthritis (such as Gout, Rheumatoid, and Osteoarthritis)
  • Flat Feet
  • Injury (from stress fractures, broken toe, foot, ankle, Achilles tendon ruptures, and sprains)
  • And more

Diagnosis

To figure out the cause of foot pain, podiatrists utilize several different methods. This can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatment depends upon the cause of the foot pain. Whether it is resting, staying off the foot, or having surgery; podiatrists have a number of treatment options available for foot 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 Foot Pain

We can go to professional salons to have our feet pampered but that can be costly. If you want to indulge your feet more often, you can follow a foot care routine in the comfort of your home which will be much cheaper. While we depend on our feet to get us around and hold us up for a lifetime, we tend to neglect them compared to the skin on our faces. Ignoring foot care can come with the risk of infections, corns, cracked heels, sore feet, blisters, and foot odor. Regular foot care includes examining your feet regularly to see if you have cuts, bruises, or inflammation. It also includes washing and drying feet daily, applying a moisturizer, and trimming the toenails properly by cutting them straight across and using a nail file to round the edges. Well-fitting shoes and socks must be worn too. If you notice your feet are hard and dry, you can soften the skin by soaking them in hot water and using Epsom salt as an exfoliator. If you have questions about how to properly care for your feet or if you sustain an injury, consult with a podiatrist who can answer any questions as well as provide a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Everyday foot care is very important to prevent infection and other foot ailments. If you need your feet checked, 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.

Everyday Foot Care

Often, people take care of their bodies, face and hair more so than they do for their feet. But the feet are a very important aspect of our bodies, and one that we should pay more attention to. Without our feet, we would not be able to perform most daily tasks.

It is best to check your feet regularly to make sure there are no new bruises or cuts that you may not have noticed before. For dry feet, moisturizer can easily be a remedy and can be applied as often as necessary to the affected areas. Wearing shoes that fit well can also help you maintain good foot health, as well as making it easier to walk and do daily activities without the stress or pain of ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or even flip flops. Wearing clean socks with closed shoes is important to ensure that sweat and bacteria do not accumulate within the shoe. Clean socks help to prevent Athlete’s foot, fungi problems, bad odors, and can absorb sweat.

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 Every Day Foot Care
Tuesday, 16 August 2022 00:00

All About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease where the body’s own immune system actually attacks its joints. Antibodies are produced that target the lining around joints called synovium, causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the feet and ankles, eventually damaging the joint, cartilage, and bones. Side effects include anemia, loss of appetite, and fever. RA may also develop in other parts of the body, such as the skin, heart, lungs, eyes, and blood vessels. Symptoms of RA often flare up and then recede, and over time, they can cause joints to deform and shift out of place. Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, and it often starts after the age of 40. Smoking, obesity, and genetics also may be contributing factors. A number of treatment options are available for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis in the feet and ankles. If you think that you may have RA, seeing a podiatrist for an exam and diagnosis is a good idea.

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 D. 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, 15 August 2022 00:00

Reminder: When Was the Last Time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Tuesday, 09 August 2022 00:00

Morton’s Neuroma in Cycling

If you feel pain or numbness near the ball of your foot, under your toes, you may have a Morton’s neuroma. People sometimes describe this as feeling like there is a pebble or rock under their toes. Others describe it as a burning sensation, a sharp pain, or numbness in this area of their foot. A Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of the tissue around the nerves leading to the toes. Pain is usually felt between the 3rd and 4th toe or the ball of the foot between the 2nd and 3rd toes. It is a benign condition. A Morton’s neuroma can happen from wearing tight or high-heeled shoes. In cycling, shoes are usually lower volume, and these could pinch the toes together for prolonged periods depending on the length of your ride. This puts cyclists at a higher risk for this problem. Other causes of Morton’s neuroma include foot abnormalities, such as bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet. It can also be caused by repeated trauma from the feet pounding on pavement like in running, and as related to cycling when the foot tilts as it connects with the pedal of the bike. Make sure your cycling shoes are well-fitted. The toe box should be wide enough to allow toes to move freely and with a proper tilt. A wedge can be used to reduce pressure under the first two toes and help to relieve discomfort. If you are a cyclist and are experiencing the kind of pain described above, consider seeing a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment that best suits you.

Ankle and foot injuries are common among athletes and in many sports. They can be caused by several problems and may be potentially serious. If you are feeling pain or think you were injured in a sporting event or when exercising, 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.

Common Injuries

The most common injuries that occur in sporting activities include:

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Broken Foot
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Stress Fractures
  • Turf Toe

Symptoms

Symptoms vary depending upon the injury and in some cases, there may be no symptoms at all. However, in most cases, some form of symptom is experienced. Pain, aching, burning, bruising, tenderness, tightness or stiffness, sensation loss, difficulty moving, and swelling are the most common symptoms.

Treatment

Just as symptoms vary depending upon the injury, so do treatment options. A common treatment method is known as the RICE method. This method involves rest, applying ice, compression and elevating the afflicted foot or ankle. If the injury appears to be more serious, surgery might be required, such as arthroscopic or reconstructive surgery. Lastly, rehabilitation or therapy might be needed to gain full functionality in the afflicted area. Any discomfort experienced by an athlete must be evaluated by a licensed, reputable medical professional.  

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 Sports Related Foot And Ankle Injuries
Tuesday, 02 August 2022 00:00

The Burning Foot Syndrome

The rare foot condition that is known as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome is also referred to as burning feet syndrome. The symptoms of this ailment include a painful burning sensation on the bottom of the feet that may spread to the lower legs and top of the feet. There are several reasons why this condition may occur, including peripheral neuropathy, which can be common among diabetic patients. This is caused by nerve damage in the feet and may be a reason why burning feet syndrome arises. Morton’s neuroma is generally caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, causing a nerve between the toes to thicken. Additionally, some people undergo complex regional pain syndrome, which may happen after an injury has occurred or if surgery has been performed. It is a rare syndrome, and the burning pain may come from a nerve disorder. Immediate relief may be found when soaking the feet in cold water and elevating the feet to slow down the blood flow. If you have any symptoms of this disorder, it is strongly suggested that you confer with a podiatrist who can prescribe the necessary medications for you.

 

Some foot conditions may require additional professional care. If you have any concerns, 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.

Rare Foot Conditions

The majority of foot conditions are common and can be treated by a podiatrist.  Standard diagnostic procedures are generally used to identify specific conditions and treatment can be rendered. A podiatrist also treats rare foot conditions which can be difficult to diagnose and may need extra attention and care. 

There are many rare foot conditions that can affect children. Some of these can include:

  • Freiberg’s disease
  • Kohler’s disease
  • Maffucci syndrome

Freiberg’s disease - This can be seen as a deterioration and flattening of a metatarsal bone that exists in the ball of the foot. It typically affects pre-teen and teenage girls, but can affect anyone at any age. Symptoms that can accompany this can be swelling, stiffness, and the patient may limp. 

Kohler’s disease - This often targets the bone in the arch of the foot and affects younger boys. It can lead to an interruption of the blood supply which ultimately can lead to bone deterioration. The patient may limp or experience tenderness, swelling, and redness.

Maffucci syndrome - This affects the long bones in a child’s foot leading to the development of abnormal bone lesions. They are benign growths and typically develop in early childhood and the bones may be susceptible to breaking. 

A podiatrist can properly diagnose and treat all types of rare foot conditions. If your child is affected by any of these symptoms or conditions, please don’t hesitate to call our office so the correct treatment method can begin.

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 Rare Foot Conditions
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