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Despite the fact that many women enjoy wearing high heels, they may want to be aware of the potential damage wearing these types of shoes may cause. The toes may endure increased pressure, and this may specifically occur under the big toe. If you are susceptible to bunions, this may result in the formation of one, in addition to the development of corns and calluses, which may typically form on the balls of the feet or on top of the toes. Pain affecting the heel of the foot may be related to a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This may occur when the band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel to the toes becomes inflamed, and severe pain and discomfort may often accompany this condition. Research has shown that regardless of the ailments that may develop as a result of wearing high heels, a large percentage of women choose to wear this type of shoe.

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.

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If you notice a large bony protrusion on the side of your big toe, you may have what is referred to as a bunion. It is considered to be a deformity, and there may be several reasons why this condition may occur. Research has shown that genetics may play a significant role in the formation of bunions. If you happen to have a pre-existing case of bunions, wearing shoes that do not fit correctly could possibly make it even worse. This type of footwear may include shoes that have a narrow toe area, which does not have adequate room for the toes to move about in. This may result in the toes being forced to squeeze into an area that is too small. There is a significant reduction in the development of bunions in non-western countries and this may be a result of wearing shoes that fit correctly. If you feel you have a bunion, it’s suggested to speak with a podiatrist who can begin treatment options that are right for you.

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.

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Monday, 01 October 2018 00:00

Causes and Symptoms of a Broken Foot

People who have broken their foot are most likely familiar with the severe pain and discomfort that may be associated with this condition. Typical symptoms of this type of fracture may include swelling, bruising and the inability to walk on the foot. The most common reasons for this to occur may be from a fall or from overuse, which may be a result of consistent running and jumping. If you feel you have broken your foot, a proper diagnosis must be performed, which will determine the severity of the fracture. This is accomplished by having an X-ray, CT scan or bone scan taken. When this occurs, proper treatment may begin, which may include wearing a cast or a supportive boot. In severe breaks where the bone protrudes from the skin, surgery may be a necessary option to repair any damage the foot has incurred. It is suggested to speak with a podiatrist if you have broken your foot and would like to learn about treatment options that are correct for you.

A broken foot requires immediate medical attention and treatment. 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.

Broken Foot Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A broken foot is caused by one of the bones in the foot typically breaking when bended, crushed, or stretched beyond its natural capabilities. Usually the location of the fracture indicates how the break occurred, whether it was through an object, fall, or any other type of injury. 

Common Symptoms of Broken Feet:

  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blue in color
  • Numbness
  • Cold
  • Misshapen
  • Cuts
  • Deformities

Those that suspect they have a broken foot shoot seek urgent medical attention where a medical professional could diagnose the severity.

Treatment for broken bones varies depending on the cause, severity and location. Some will require the use of splints, casts or crutches while others could even involve surgery to repair the broken bones. Personal care includes the use of ice and keeping the foot stabilized and elevated.

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 Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for a Broken Foot
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 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.

There are several ways seniors can practice proper foot care. These may include wearing shoes that fit correctly and are comfortable to wear during daily activities. It’s important the toes have adequate room to move around inside, and this may possibly avoid a pre-existing case of bunions from becoming worse. It may also prevent corns from developing. Additionally, performing a gentle exercise program frequently, may aid in keeping the blood flowing. These may include walking and stretching, which may help to maintain proper circulation. Washing the feet and drying thoroughly between the toes may be beneficial in preventing athlete’s foot from developing. When a moisturizing lotion is used, a painful condition referred to as cracked heels may be avoided. When the toenails are trimmed properly, occurrences of ingrown toenails may decrease. If you are a senior, it’s suggested to consult with a podiatrist on a frequent basis to discuss any foot conditions that may be present.

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and 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.

The Elderly and Their Feet

As we age we start to notice many changes in our body, but the elder population may not notice them right away. Medical conditions may prevent the elderly to take notice of their foot health right away. Poor vision is a lead contributor to not taking action for the elderly.

Common Conditions 

  • Neuropathy – can reduce feeling in the feet and can hide many life-threatening medical conditions.
  • Reduced flexibility – prevents the ability of proper toenail trimming, and foot cleaning. If left untreated, it may lead to further medical issues.
  • Foot sores – amongst the older population can be serious before they are discovered. Some of the problematic conditions they may face are:
  • Gouging toenails affecting nearby toe
  • Shoes that don’t fit properly
  • Pressure sores
  • Loss of circulation in legs & feet
  • Edema & swelling of feet and ankles

Susceptible Infections

Diabetes and poor circulation can cause general loss of sensitivity over the years, turning a simple cut into a serious issue.

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.

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Monday, 10 September 2018 00:00

Common Running Injuries

Research has shown the majority of people who enjoy running and jogging will experience a minimum of one injury per year. This is due to improper training techniques or failing to warm the muscles up adequately before running. The thought of injuries incurred while running, will typically affect most joggers negatively, depending on the severity of the injury. Serious mishaps may represent mandatory time off from this sport, so proper healing can commence. Some of the injuries that are feared is Achilles tendinitis, which generally affects the back of the heel and calf. This may be able to prevent by stretching the Achilles tendon, and this is often accomplished by standing on a step and raising the heel up, followed by lowering it down. Additionally, shin splints is a common injury that many runners endure, and this may be prevented by wearing the correct shoes while running, in addition to strengthening the calves. Please speak with a podiatrist if you would like additional information about how to prevent running injuries.

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.

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Tuesday, 04 September 2018 00:00

Causes of an Achilles Tendon Rupture

The purpose of the Achilles tendon is to connect the heel bone to the calf muscles and it is considered to be the largest tendon in the body. The ability to point and flex the foot occurs naturally when the Achilles tendon contracts and this also enables people to walk, run, and stand on tiptoe with ease. If the patient should experience a tear in this tendon, this condition is referred to as an Achilles tendon rupture. General reasons for this to occur may include the tendon weakening with age, which may promote injury. It typically occurs when activities that are pursued require running and jumping, also when proper stretching is not practiced beforehand. Typical symptoms may include experiencing an immediate and severe pain in the back of the heel, as well as swelling and bruising. If you feel you have ruptured your Achilles tendon, please consult with a podiatrist to learn about correct treatment techniques.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. 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.

What Is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.

What Are the symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?

There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms

  • Inflammation
  • Dull to severe pain
  • Increased blood flow to the tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

  • Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
  • Total immobility

Treatment and Prevention

Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:

  • Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
  • Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses

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.

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Monday, 27 August 2018 00:00

The Causes of Hammertoe

Research has shown the main cause for developing the foot condition known as hammertoe originates from wearing poorly fitting shoes. Shoes that have little or no arch may cause the middle joint in the toe to bend downward abnormally, and this may cause the bent toe to resemble a hammer. This condition typically causes severe pain and discomfort, and may affect the surrounding muscles that are used to keep the toe straight. There may be several reasons why this muscle imbalance occurs, including wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move about, having specific diseases such as diabetes or arthritis, or genetic factors. Some of the symptoms that may accompany this ailment may include redness and swelling, open sores on the affected toe, and noticeable pain and discomfort. Certain measures are typically taken to treat hammertoe, and these may include performing gentle foot exercises that incorporate the muscles of the toes, in addition to choosing proper footwear. It’s important to speak with a podiatrist who can determine a treatment plan that is best for you as quickly as possible.

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 August 2018 00:00

How to Tell If You Have Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a long ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. This ligament is responsible for connecting the heel to the front of the foot, and it supports the foot’s arch. Plantar fasciitis is the number one cause of heel pain. It has been estimated that approximately 2 million people each year are treated for this condition. You will be more likely to develop plantar fasciitis if you are obese, have a high foot arch, are involved in sports, or have tighter calf muscles. Many people who have plantar fasciitis also have heel spurs, but heel spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain near the heel, pain after getting up in the morning, and pain after exercising. If you suspect that you may have plantar fasciitis, you should speak with your podiatrist to explore treatment options that could potentially work for you.

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, 14 August 2018 00:00

How to Practice Proper Foot Care

You should always take care of your feet to make sure they stay at their best. If you are looking for ways to practice proper foot care, you should start with washing your feet every day in warm water. When you are finished washing your feet, you should carefully dry them and make sure the spaces between your toes are dry as well. Additionally, you should check your feet every day to see if there are any sores, blisters, or cuts on your feet. Trimming your toenails is another important step in foot care. When you cut your nails, be sure to cut them straight across instead of in a rounded shape. If you find it difficult to trim your nails or need guidance on how to properly care for your feet, an appointment with your podiatrist can help.

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 Everyday Foot Care
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