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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.

Gig Harbor (253) 858-8100
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Blog | Foot Doctor Gig Harbor WA 98335

Wednesday, 23 February 2022 00:00

Foot Pain and Discomfort During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can often bring on painful swelling in the feet and ankles as well as changes in your gait. The extra weight a woman gains during pregnancy puts pressure on their heels, ankles, and plantar fascia (the long tissue running along the bottom of the feet). This may cause pain in the heel and ankles, and plantar fasciitis (an inflammation of the plantar fascia). This additional weight may also alter a woman’s stride, causing her feet to flatten and roll inward when she walks. Swelling, or edema, is another common condition among pregnant women, and is caused by an excessive production of fluid, blood, and water retention during pregnancy. Also, relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy that can loosen and relax the ligaments in feet and ankles, possibly causing discomfort and instability. A podiatrist can help a woman throughout her pregnancy to relieve pain, swelling and discomfort, while helping to correct any gait or alignment issues.

Pregnant women with swollen feet can be treated with a variety of different methods that are readily available. For more information about other cures for swollen feet during pregnancy, consult with Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What Foot Problems Can Arise During Pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward.  This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy but tends to occur in the later stages. 

How Can I Keep My Feet Healthy During Pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

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 Pregnancy and Foot Health
Wednesday, 16 February 2022 00:00

Are You Suffering From Ingrown Toenails?

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can lead to more serious concerns, such as an infection. Knowing proper nail care can help in the prevention of an ingrown toenail. Give us a call, and get treated!

Tuesday, 15 February 2022 00:00

Why Should I Visit a Podiatrist?

It is very common and beneficial for families to see a doctor for annual checkups on a regular basis, and by extension, it may be a good idea to schedule regular visits with a podiatrist to check on your foot health. Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the care of your lower limbs and feet. Among the conditions they treat are ingrown toenails, heel and arch pain, skin problems, balance issues, foot and ankle sprains, and fungal infections. It is particularly important to see a podiatrist on a regular basis if you have arthritis or diabetes, which can result in serious foot problems, such as foot ulcers, poor circulation, or neuropathy. A podiatrist can also help with structural foot conditions, such as bunions, hammertoes, and flat feet, and can make custom orthotics for you to help with heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis, and other painful conditions, like Morton’s neuroma. When you experience any new or chronic foot ailments, it is suggested that you visit a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing pain in the feet or ankles, don’t join the stubborn majority refusing treatment. Feel free to 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 a Podiatrist?

Someone would seek the care of a podiatrist if they have suffered a foot injury or have common foot ailments such as heal spurs, bunions, arch problems, deformities, ingrown toenails, corns, foot and ankle problems, etc.

Podiatric Treatment

A podiatrist will treat the problematic areas of the feet, ankle or lower leg by prescribing the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Drugs
  • Orthotic inserts or soles
  • Surgery on lower extremity fractures

A common podiatric procedure a podiatrist will use is a scanner or force plate which will allow the podiatrist to know the designs of orthotics. Patients are then told to follow a series of tasks to complete the treatment. The computer will scan the foot a see which areas show weight distribution and pressure points. The podiatrist will read the analysis and then determine which treatment plans are available.

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 is a Podiatrist?
Tuesday, 08 February 2022 00:00

Toeing the Line on Toe Pain

The toes are instrumental in everyday movements like walking and running—not to mention athletic activities. Toes are therefore more susceptible to injury, which can result in pain. Toe pain can also be caused by a variety of factors including dysfunction in tissues, bones, nerves, skin, and other parts of the toes. It may also be the result of conditions such as hammertoe, arthritis (including gout), ingrown toenails, bunions, blisters, corns, calluses, tumors, infection, and inflammation (dactylitis). Pain in the toes can be accompanied by feelings of warmth, numbness, as well as other symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in your toes, contact a podiatrist who will be able to discover the underlying cause of your toe pain and treat it accordingly.

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

In the ice, snow, and cold of winter, women frequently will wear boots rather than shoes. But some boots may be more dangerous than others. Boots with high or spiked heels and pointy toes may put the wearer more at risk on slippery surfaces. If your ankle rolls inward or outward, it could result in a fracture. Twisting your ankle can cause a sprain – a torn or stretched ligament. To avoid winter foot injuries, try low-heeled boots with traction soles, and avoid wearing high-heeled shoes outdoors. If you have fallen and hurt your foot or ankle, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a podiatrist who can examine the injured area and recommend options for treatment.  

High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or 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.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because of their many styles and societal appeal.  Despite this, high heels can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

Which Parts of My Body Will Be Affected by High Heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – May shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – Heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – They decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain.  The vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What Kinds of Foot Problems Can Develop from Wearing High Heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

How Can I Still Wear High Heels and Maintain Foot Health?

If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems.  Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet.  Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising.  If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work.  Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available. 

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 Effect of High Heels on the Feet
Tuesday, 25 January 2022 00:00

Healing the Pain of Plantar Fasciitis

If you have a stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot near the heel that is worse first thing in the morning when you get up, you may have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of heel pain, occurring when the plantar fascia—a fibrous band of tissue on the sole of the foot that links the heel bone with the toes and supports the arch—becomes irritated, swollen, hot, red and sore. This irritation may occur through overuse of the plantar fascia due to sports activities, obesity, spending a good deal of your day standing, or by having high arches or flat feet. If you are experiencing the pain of plantar fasciitis, which may be worse in the morning or after periods of rest, there are various proven methods and therapies to treat it successfully. Don’t put up with the pain of plantar fasciitis. Instead, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a podiatrist today to begin your journey to recovery.

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that is often caused by a strain injury. 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 one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. When this ligament becomes inflamed, plantar fasciitis is the result. If you have plantar fasciitis you will have a stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As the day progresses and you walk around more, this pain will start to disappear, but it will return after long periods of standing or sitting.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Having high arches in your feet
  • Other foot issues such as flat feet
  • Pregnancy (due to the sudden weight gain)
  • Being on your feet very often

There are some risk factors that may make you more likely to develop plantar fasciitis compared to others. The condition most commonly affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It also tends to affect people who are obese because the extra pounds result in extra stress being placed on the plantar fascia.

Prevention

  • Take good care of your feet – Wear shoes that have good arch support and heel cushioning.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If you are a runner, alternate running with other sports that won’t cause heel pain

There are a variety of treatment options available for plantar fasciitis along with the pain that accompanies it. Additionally, physical therapy is a very important component in the treatment process. It is important that you meet with your podiatrist to determine which treatment option is best 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 care needs.

 

Read more about Plantar Fasciitis
Tuesday, 18 January 2022 00:00

How Did I Get a Foot Wart?

Plantar warts are rough growths that appear on the skin of the foot in response to a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This virus can enter the body through cuts or cracks in the skin. You can come in contact with HPV through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, or through indirect contact with an infected surface, such as the towels, socks, shoes, or personal hygiene products of somebody who is carrying the virus. Warmth and moisture contribute to the virus’ growth, which is why people who wear closed shoes and socks and those who have sweaty feet are more likely to develop plantar warts. Plantar warts typically occur on parts of the foot that experience pressure and friction, such as the balls and heels of the feet. If you have a plantar wart, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist for treatment.

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 What Are Plantar Warts?
Monday, 17 January 2022 00:00

Do Your Child's Feet Hurt?

Have your child's feet been examined lately? Healthy feet are happy feet. If your child is complaining of foot pain, it may be a sign of underlying problems.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022 00:00

Do You Need Orthotics?

Shoe inserts that are designed to help relieve pain for a variety of foot conditions (including corns and calluses, tendonitis, bunions, heel pain, and recurring stress fractures) are known as orthotics. Orthotics can be made from various materials, such as rubber, plastic, leather, and in some cases, even metal. Podiatrists often make custom orthotics to treat specific issues. Podiatrists customize orthotics by accounting for the biomechanics of the foot as well as the function and structure of the foot. Patients who are struggling with pain in their feet may wish to consult a podiatrist who can prescribe custom orthotics that are specific to your foot.

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 Foot Orthotics
Wednesday, 05 January 2022 00:00

Ways Seniors Can Avoid Falling at Home

More than one in three people age 65 and older fall each year. Many factors that can lead to a fall at home, and some of the most common are muscle weakness, loose throw rugs on the floor, numbness in the feet, and unsafe footwear, such as backless shoes and high heels. With a few preventative measures implemented, you can reduce the chances of falling and maintain an active life as a senior. Staying physically active is especially important as one ages. Regular exercise improves muscle strength and can help keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Stand up slowly after lying down or sitting for a prolonged period of time. Use a cane or walker as needed to aid in balance. Wear shoes or slippers with non-skid soles that fully support the feet. If you feel that you have an increased risk for falls, or are planning a new exercise regime, please consult a podiatrist for more information on prevention and various treatment options.

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
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