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During the Washington state stay at home order, as an allowed medical service, we are open Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. - 3 P.M. for virtual (telehealth) appointments, and for urgent or emergent in office appointments. All entering the clinic are required to wear a mask or bandana or scarf; and to wear gloves. All persons entering the office will be screened at the door for COVID symptoms. We appreciate your cooperation during this difficult time, and look forward to serving you all soon once the restrictions are lifted.

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Blog | Foot Doctor Gig Harbor WA 98335

Monday, 26 October 2020 00:00

Symptoms and Causes of Cracked Heels

The medical condition that is known as cracked heels can develop for a variety of reasons. These can include walking barefoot, standing for extended periods of time throughout the day, or from wearing shoes that have an open back. Additionally, there are medical causes that may significantly contribute to the onset of cracked heels. These can consist of vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorder, and psoriasis. The symptoms that are often associated with this ailment are pain, red skin, itchiness and inflammation. If you have developed cracked heels, it is suggested that you confer with a podiatrist who can recommend treatment techniques.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, 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.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How Do You Get Them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

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 Solutions for Cracked Heels
Saturday, 24 October 2020 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!

Monday, 19 October 2020 00:00

Can High Heels Create Blisters?

High heels have become notorious for creating issues with the feet. One common struggle many women face when choosing to wear high heels is that they often develop blisters on their toes or on the back of their heels. If the high heels you are wearing are slightly too big, it will cause friction with the skin of your feet, causing blisters to form. Blisters can be incredibly uncomfortable, and often painful, making it difficult to walk. Some women apply bandages to their heels or toes to limit the amount of friction between the shoes and skin. For more advice on how to prevent blisters while wearing high heels, 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, 12 October 2020 00:00

What Is a Bunionette?

You may have heard of bunions, the large bony bump that forms at the base of the joint of the big toe. But have you ever heard of bunionettes? Like their larger cousins, bunionettes are deformities that cause bony protrusions to form at the base of the toe joint, but rather than being found on the big toes, bunionettes are found on the pinky toes. Bunionettes tend to cause pain and discomfort. Much like bunions, bunionettes can be treated by wearing wider, more comfortable shoes. Other treatments include putting a comfort pad on the outside of the bunionette, wearing a toe spacer between the fourth and fifth toes, and in more severe cases, limiting the amount of time that you spend standing and walking. A small number of patients may also benefit from surgery. If you have bunionettes that are causing you pain, it is recommended that you visit a podiatrist for treatment.

If you are suffering from bunions, 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.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why Do Bunions Form?

Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary

Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How Are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • 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 care needs.

Read more about What Are Bunions?
Monday, 05 October 2020 00:00

Possible Causes of Ingrown Toenails

People who develop ingrown toenails are often aware of the pain and discomfort they can cause. Wearing shoes that do not fit correctly may cause the corner of the toenail to grow into the skin, and the affected area typically appears to be red and swollen. Additionally, poorly shaped toenails may come from genetic factors, and existing fungal infections may lead to abnormal toenails. Patients may find mild relief when the affected toe is soaked in warm water, and this may help to promote healing. If you are afflicted with an ingrown toenail, it is strongly suggested that you speak with a podiatrist as quickly as possible who can effectively treat this condition.

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. 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 are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.

Causes

  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.

Treatment

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

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 Ingrown Toenail Care
Monday, 28 September 2020 00:00

Poor Circulation and the Lower Extremities

There are a few telling signs that may indicate you are experiencing poor circulation in your lower legs and feet. Common symptoms of poor circulation may include fatigue or cramping during physical activity, cramping during inactivity, swelling and achiness, tingling, and a persistent coldness. Poor circulation can make going about your everyday activities incredibly uncomfortable and can be an indicator of more serious health concerns. A lack of feeling or numbness can also develop in your lower extremities, increasing the risk of wounds going undetected. If wounds develop on your feet and are left untreated, it’s possible they may become infected, which can lead to serious complications down the road. For professional advice on how to treat poor circulation in your lower legs and feet, please speak with a podiatrist.

While poor circulation itself isn’t a condition; it is a symptom of another underlying health condition you may have. If you have any concerns with poor circulation in your feet contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Poor Circulation in the Feet

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can potentially lead to poor circulation in the lower extremities. PAD is a condition that causes the blood vessels and arteries to narrow. In a linked condition called atherosclerosis, the arteries stiffen up due to a buildup of plaque in the arteries and blood vessels. These two conditions can cause a decrease in the amount of blood that flows to your extremities, therefore resulting in pain.

Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of poor circulation are:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Throbbing or stinging pain in limbs
  • Pain
  • Muscle Cramps

Treatment for poor circulation often depends on the underlying condition that causes it. Methods for treatment may include insulin for diabetes, special exercise programs, surgery for varicose veins, or compression socks for swollen legs.

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 care needs.

Read more about Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Poor Blood Circulation in the Feet
Thursday, 24 September 2020 00:00

Why Live with Pain and Numbness in Your Feet?

Suffering from this type of pain? You may have the foot condition known as Morton's neuroma. Morton's neuroma may develop as a result of ill-fitting footwear and existing foot deformities. We can help.

Monday, 21 September 2020 00:00

Can Orthotic Insoles Help My Flat Feet?

Flat feet is a condition that causes the middle of the feet to be flat rather than arched. While some people with flat feet may have no issues, others can feel pain and discomfort that interferes with their daily lives and activities. Orthotic insoles are special shoe inserts that can help with various foot problems, including flat feet. If you have pain or discomfort caused by flat feet, wearing orthotic insoles in your shoes can provide extra cushioning and relief. There are a variety of different orthotics, and the type of orthotics that are best for you will depend on the specific structure of your foot and your daily lifestyle needs. For more information about how orthotic insoles may help with your flat feet, speak with a podiatrist today. 

If you are having discomfort in your feet and would like to try orthotics, 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 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 Gig Harbor, WA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ankle Foot Orthotics for Athletes
Monday, 14 September 2020 00:00

Causes of Cracked Heels

Cracked heels occur when the skin on the heels becomes thickened and dried out. Because the soles of the feet lack oil glands, the feet’s skin is often drier than the skin on the rest of the body. Due to this lack of moisture, the skin may lose its elasticity and become painful and unsightly. There are a variety of issues that can cause heels to dry out. Pressure on the feet from too much standing or weight gain can increase the risks of cracks. Footwear that offers little protection of the heel, such as flip flops, can also cause the skin in the heels to dry out. Conditions such as fungal infections, lack of nutrients in the skin and genetics are also risk factors for cracked heels. If you are suffering from cracked heels, it is important to consult with a podiatrist for proper treatment and relief methods.

If the skin on your feet starts to crack, you may want to see a podiatrist to find treatment. If you have any concerns, 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.

Cracked Heels

It is important to moisturize your cracked heels in order to prevent pain, bleeding, and infection. The reason cracked heels form is because the skin on the foot is too dry to support the immense pressure placed on them. When the foot expands, the dry skin on the foot begins to split.

Ways to Help Heal Them

  • Invest in a good foot cream
  • Try Using Petroleum Jelly
  • Ease up on Soaps
  • Drink Plenty of Water

Ways to Prevent Cracked Heels

  • Moisturize After Showering
  • Skip a Shower
  • Keep Shower Water Lukewarm
  • Don’t Scrub Your Feet

If you are unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels, seek guidance from a podiatrist. Your doctor will help you with any questions or information you may need. 

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 Solutions for Cracked Heels
Tuesday, 08 September 2020 00:00

Do I Need Hammertoe Surgery?

A hammertoe, as its name suggests, is a condition that affects the joints of the toe, causing it to bend in a downward shape, resembling a hammer. To help improve the toe’s flexibility, lessen the pain caused by the hammertoe, and to straighten the affected toe, surgery may be a good option for you. Surgery for a hammertoe will typically be suggested by a professional after conservative treatments, such as splints or orthotics, have failed to improve the condition. To help prepare for surgery, your podiatrist may suggest seeing a physical therapist, keeping weight off of your toe, and practicing certain exercises to help improve your overall balance in order to prepare you for moving around post-surgery. To help decide if surgery is the best treatment option for you, please consult with a podiatrist.

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 Hammertoe
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