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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

If you are suffering from tenderness, pain, or stiffness in the joints of your feet or ankles, call us to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022 00:00

How to Care for Wounds on the Feet

It is important to maintain proper wound care, and this is especially true in diabetic patients. The body’s healing process may become accelerated when existing wounds are treated correctly. First, the wound needs to be cleaned thoroughly, and this is done by using clean water and mild soap. When gentle pressure is applied, the bleeding will stop. Second, after the wound is clean, it is beneficial to apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area, followed by covering it with a protective bandage. Serious wounds may require stitches and will need immediate medical attention. People who have diabetes are often careful about checking their feet daily using a mirror, and paying attention to small cuts or bruises on the feet. A podiatrist is often consulted who can treat wounds on the feet, and it is advised that you confer with this type of doctor as quickly as possible to offer you correct treatment options for foot wound care.

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
Tuesday, 03 May 2022 00:00

Why Do My Ankles Hurt After a Run?

Runners can sometimes experience pain in their ankles after running which may be caused by any number of things including overuse. Taking a day off between long runs and increasing mileage by only 10% weekly can give your ankles time to rest and adapt. Ankle instability can also be caused by overpronating, which is when the ankle rolls inward too severely. This stride abnormality often occurs in people with flat feet. You can often compensate for this condition with custom orthotics and special shoes that correct overpronation and give the arch extra support. Another possible cause for painful ankles after a run is your stride. Additionally, excessively long strides can force a runner’s ankles to over-flex repeatedly and weaken the ankle muscles. Strengthening exercises and yoga may help increase mobility in the ankle and build up muscle strength. Contact a podiatrist today if you are experiencing any ankle pain after running. They can examine, diagnose, and treat your painful condition to keep you performing at your best while helping to avoid other injuries from occurring. 

Ankle pain can have many different causes and the pain may potentially be serious. If you have ankle 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.

Ankle pain is any condition that causes pain in the ankle. Due to the fact that the ankle consists of tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments, ankle pain can come from a number of different conditions.

Causes

The most common causes of ankle pain include:

  • Types of arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and gout)
  • Ankle sprains
  • Broken ankles
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Stress fractures
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis

Symptoms

Symptoms of ankle injury vary based upon the condition. Pain may include general pain and discomfort, swelling, aching, redness, bruising, burning or stabbing sensations, and/or loss of sensation.

Diagnosis

Due to the wide variety of potential causes of ankle pain, podiatrists will utilize a number of different methods to properly diagnose ankle pain. This can include asking for personal and family medical histories and of any recent injuries. Further diagnosis may include sensation tests, a physical examination, and potentially x-rays or other imaging tests.

Treatment

Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are rest, ice packs, keeping pressure off the foot, orthotics and braces, medication for inflammation and pain, and 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 Ankle Pain
Tuesday, 26 April 2022 00:00

Two Types of Plantar Warts

It can be easy to notice a plantar wart, which is a small, hardened area on the bottom of the foot. They may have tiny black dots in the center and grow into the foot as a result of the pressure that is exerted by standing and walking. The medical term for this ailment is verruca plantaris, and it is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is considered to be contagious, and enters the body through small cracks in the skin of the feet. Research has shown there are two types of plantar warts. A single plantar wart is classified as a solitary plantar wart, though smaller warts may form from it. Mosaic plantar warts are found in clusters and may require more extensive treatment methods. Patients who have compromised immune systems may be susceptible to developing these types of warts, in addition to children and older people. Prevention techniques can include wearing appropriate footwear while in public shower rooms, locker rooms, or swimming pools. If you think you have plantar warts, it is suggested that you confer with a podiatrist who can provide you with correct treatment options. 

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

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 Warts
Wednesday, 20 April 2022 00:00

Common Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fibrous ligament that stretches from the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot, called the plantar fascia, becomes strained or even torn. The plantar fascia is prone to injury as it bears the body’s weight while walking and jumping. People who stand at work or overly stress the plantar fascia doing excessive repetitive movements during athletics are more at risk for developing this condition, which is the most common form of heel pain. Other risk factors include having flat feet or high arches, as well as wearing improper shoes or running on hard surfaces. Type 2 diabetes and certain rheumatic disorders are also risk factors. A podiatrist can often diagnose plantar fasciitis with just a physical exam, however, X-rays may also be used to rule out other possible conditions. If you believe you have developed plantar fasciitis, make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible to be properly diagnosed and treated.

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
Sunday, 17 April 2022 00:00

Gout Pain Can Be Managed

Gout is a painful, inflammatory form of arthritis. Those affected will typically feel an intense stiffness in the joints of their feet, particularly in the big toe. Schedule a visit to learn about how gout can be managed and treated.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022 00:00

Finding the Proper Shoes for Wide Feet

Many people have trouble finding shoes wide enough to fit their feet. Stuffing your feet into shoes that are too narrow can cause numerous problems that include bunions, calluses, hammertoe, and crossover toe, when one toe sits on top of another because they are squeezed too tightly inside the shoe. Thankfully, there are a few things that can help people with wider feet. When shopping, ask if wide sizes are available. Wear the type of sock or foot covering you would be using for that particular shoe. Your toes should not feel cramped, and there should be some space between the tip of the shoe and your toes. If one foot is longer than the other, purchase the size to fit the larger foot. If you are experiencing pain in your feet, it is a good idea to see a podiatrist who can help you determine the cause and offer guidance about footwear.

Getting the right shoe size is an important part of proper foot health. Seek the assistance of Dr. James D. 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: To Keep Your Feet Happy

Many patients have occupations that require standing for most of the day. The heel of the foot is often affected by this, and conditions can develop including plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. When the feet are properly stretched it can positively affect the overall body. The standing lunging calf stretch can help to diminish tension in the body that is caused by standing. This stretch may help to promote circulation in the calf muscles which can affect the Achilles tendon. The heels can be stretched by rolling the foot on a tennis ball. Additionally, standing on a step and slowly lowering the heel until a gentle stretch is felt is another way of successfully stretching the heels. If you would like more information about effective foot stretches, please confer with a podiatrist.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet 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.

Stretching the Feet

Stretching the muscles in the foot is an important part in any physical activity. Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but also prevent it as well. However, it is important to see a podiatrist first if stretching is right for you. Podiatrists can also recommend other ways to stretch your feet. Once you know whether stretching is right for you, here are some excellent stretches you can do.

  • Using a foam roller or any cylindrical object (a water bottle or soda can will do), roll the object under your foot back and forth. You should also exert pressure on the object. Be sure to do this to both feet for a minute. Do this exercise three times each.
  • Similar to the previous one, take a ball, such as a tennis ball, and roll it under your foot while seated and exert pressure on it.
  • Grab a resistance band or towel and take a seat. If you are using a towel, fold it length wise. Next put either one between the ball of your foot and heel and pull with both hands on each side towards you. Hold this for 15 seconds and then switch feet. Do this three times for each foot.
  • Finally hold your big toe while crossing one leg over the other. Pull the toe towards you and hold for 15 seconds. Once again do this three times per foot.

It is best to go easy when first stretching your foot and work your way up. If your foot starts hurting, stop exercising and ice and rest the foot. It is advised to then see a podiatrist for help.

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 How to Stretch Your Feet

Fatigue fractures, which are known as stress fractures, occur when there is stress that is exerted on the bone. The foot is a common place for this to happen, and it can occur from increasing mileage and speed too quickly while running. The area may be tender to touch, and there can be severe pain and discomfort. A stress fracture can be confirmed when a proper diagnosis is performed. This can include having an X-ray or MRI taken, and then proper treatment can begin. It is beneficial to temporarily stop practicing the activity that led to the stress fracture. Patients have found mild relief when the affected foot is elevated. Many patients can perform non-impact exercises that can include swimming and cycling. This can help to maintain exercise goals while the injured foot is healing. Gradually, the normal routine of exercise and activities can be resumed, when the stress fracture has healed. If you feel you may have endured a stress fracture in your foot, it is strongly advised that you consult a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition.

Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.

Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Stress fractures occur in the foot and ankle when muscles in these areas weaken from too much or too little use.  The feet and ankles then lose support when walking or running from the impact of the ground. Since there is no protection, the bones receive the full impact of each step. Stress on the feet can cause cracks to form in the bones, thus creating stress fractures.

What Are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures occur frequently in individuals whose daily activities cause great impact on the feet and ankles. Stress factors are most common among:

  • Runners                                  
  • People affected with Osteoporosis
  • Tennis or basketball players
  • Gymnasts
  • High impact workouts

Symptoms

Pain from the fractures occur in the area of the fractures and can be constant or intermittent. It will often cause sharp or dull pain with swelling and tenderness. Engaging in any kind of activity which involves high impact will aggravate 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 and ankle needs.

Read more about Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is an FDA-approved treatment for plantar fasciitis, the most common form of heel pain. ESWT delivers targeted high-energy sound waves to the injured and inflamed plantar fascia tissue. This process breaks up scar tissue and encourages the body to create new tissue cells which, in turn, stimulates healing and reduces pain. Acoustic wave therapy has been used for decades in shockwave lithotripsy—a treatment that breaks up kidney stones. ESWT is safe, non-invasive, and treatments generally take less than half an hour on each foot, with typically 3-5 sessions needed for many patients to begin to feel relief. If you have plantar fasciitis, contact a podiatrist to discuss whether you may be a good candidate for ESWT.

Shockwave therapy is a treatment commonly used to treat various injuries and conditions, particularly plantar fasciitis in the feet. To learn more, consult with 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.

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is a new treatment option designed to treat bone conditions such as tennis elbow, shoulder pain, and others. Shockwave therapy uses high intensity sound waves that are directed to the affected tissues of the body with pinpoint accuracy. The effects are very beneficial, leading to a production of collagen fibers, eliminating inflammation.

Who Benefits from Shockwave?

Shockwave is recommended for patients suffering from heel pain and associated problems. Heel pain is a common condition which can be caused by obesity, overexertion, and spending a substantial amount of time on hard floors with your feet exposed and unsupported.

Fast and Easy

The therapy is actually a simple process that can leave patients feeling better the very next day. Shockwave therapy is not as dramatic as it sounds. It enables more blood flow to effected areas, addressing the source of the problem and allowing treatment to last for a long time.

Treatment & Recovery Time

Shockwave treatment will enable your feet to recover quickly. This is especially important since surgery is not required. It is cost effective and does not require the use of anesthesia. This treatment is a better option to surgery, since it is proven safe.

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 Treating Heel Pain with Shockwave Therapy
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