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There are many people who enjoy wearing high heels. This type of shoe can enhance the appearance of the legs by making them look longer and thinner. Potential damage to the foot may be diminished if proper stretching exercises are frequently performed, thereby strengthening the foot. Many people may experience heel pain, and this may be a result of shortened calf muscles. There are many foot conditions that can gradually develop from wearing high heels. These may include ingrown toenails, bunions, or Morton’s neuroma, which is a form of nerve damage that occurs between the toes. If you would like additional information about how high heels can affect the feet, consulting with a podiatrist is recommended.

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 Why High Heels Are Not Ideal for Healthy Feet
Monday, 08 April 2019 00:00

Different Types of Ankle Sprains

Many teenagers may experience the pain and discomfort of an ankle sprain. This may be the result of torn ligaments in the ankle or the surrounding area, and may occur as sporting activities are pursued. Research has indicated there are three types of ankle sprains. A sprain is known to be mild when the ligaments are slightly stretched. If the ligaments are marginally torn, the sprain is considered to be moderate, and putting weight on the foot may be painful. If the ligament should completely tear, the sprain is severe. This is typically accompanied by swelling, and it may be impossible for the foot to bear any amount of weight. There are methods that can be implemented for keeping the ankles strong, which may help in preventing ankle sprains. These include performing gentle stretching exercises to help keep the ankles flexible and wearing shoes that have adequate ankle support. If you have sprained your ankle, it is strongly suggested that you speak to a podiatrist who can begin the correct treatment for you.

Ankle sprains are common but need immediate attention. 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.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains take place when the ligaments in your ankle are torn or stretched beyond their limits. There are multiple ways that the ankle can become injured, including twisting or rolling over onto your ankle, putting undue stress on it, or causing trauma to the ankle itself.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Mild to moderate bruising
  • Limited mobility
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration of the skin (depending on severity)

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

Treatment of a sprain depends on the severity.  Many times, people are told to rest and remain off their feet completely, while others are given an air cast. If the sprain is very severe, surgery may be required.

If you have suffered an ankle sprain previously, you may want to consider additional support such as a brace and regular exercises to strengthen the ankle.

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 Ankle Sprains
Monday, 01 April 2019 00:00

The Location of the Sesamoid Bones

The sesamoid bones are located at the bottom of the big toe. The purpose of the sesamoid bones is to protect the tendons in that area of the foot, in addition to increasing mobility of the tendons. If these bones should become irritated and inflamed, a condition that is known as sesamoiditis may develop. Common causes of this ailment may include overuse of the tendons which may occur while participating  in sporting activities, or from a sudden injury. There are typical symptoms that may be associated with sesamoiditis, and these may include pain that is felt in the toes while walking, and discomfort may be present when the big toe is pulled up. Wearing proper footwear may help to relieve pressure on the sesamoid bones, in addition to adding custom made orthotics to your shoes. If you feel you have this condition, it is advised that you schedule a consultation with a podiatrist so the correct treatment can begin.

Sesamoiditis is an unpleasant foot condition characterized by pain in the balls of the feet. If you think you’re struggling with sesamoiditis, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your condition thoroughly and effectively.

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition of the foot that affects the ball of the foot. It is more common in younger people than it is in older people. It can also occur with people who have begun a new exercise program, since their bodies are adjusting to the new physical regimen. Pain may also be caused by the inflammation of tendons surrounding the bones. It is important to seek treatment in its early stages because if you ignore the pain, this condition can lead to more serious problems such as severe irritation and bone fractures.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

  • Sudden increase in activity
  • Increase in physically strenuous movement without a proper warm up or build up
  • Foot structure: those who have smaller, bonier feet or those with a high arch may be more susceptible

Treatment for sesamoiditis is non-invasive and simple. Doctors may recommend a strict rest period where the patient forgoes most physical activity. This will help give the patient time to heal their feet through limited activity. For serious cases, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine a treatment option that will help your specific needs.

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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Common symptoms that are associated with arthritis in the feet may include swollen joints, pain, or stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition that is triggered by the body’s immune system. The small joints in the feet are often affected and this may lead to the development of additional foot conditions. Many patients have a form of arthritis that is known as gout, and this is typically caused by having elevated uric acid levels in the bloodstream. The side of the big toe is generally affected, and preventive measures can be implemented which may include healthy dietary changes. There may be medical conditions that can precede the development of arthritis. These may include psoriasis, osteoporosis, and scleroderma. If you would like information about how these forms of arthritis affect the feet, it is suggested to speak to a podiatrist.

Arthritis can be a difficult condition to live with. If you are seeking treatment, 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.

Arthritic Foot Care  

Arthritis is a joint disorder that involves the inflammation of different joints in your body, such as those in your feet. Arthritis is often caused by a degenerative joint disease and causes mild to severe pain in all affected areas. In addition to this, swelling and stiffness in the affected joints can also be a common symptom of arthritis.

In many cases, wearing ill-fitting shoes can worsen the effects and pain of arthritis. Wearing shoes that have a lower heel and extra room can help your feet feel more comfortable. In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the arch in your foot may become problematic. Buying shoes with proper arch support that contour to your feet can help immensely.

Alleviating Arthritic Pain

  • Exercises that stretch the foot can prevent further pain and injury and increase mobility
  • Most of the pain can be alleviated with anti-inflammatory drugs, heat, and topical medications
  • Massages can help temporarily alleviate pain.

It is best to see your doctor for the treatment that is right for your needs and symptoms. Conditions vary, and a podiatrist can help you determine the right method of care for your feet.

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 Arthritic Foot Care
Monday, 18 March 2019 00:00

Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury

The Achilles tendon is considered to be the largest tendon in the body. Its function is to connect the heel to the calf muscles, and it is important for this tendon to maintain its flexibility and strength. It is typically put under pressure for the majority of the day as walking or running and jumping activities are completed. If an injury should occur to the Achilles tendon, it may become swollen and inflamed. This type of injury is known as tendonitis. A common symptom that can be associated with this condition may be pain in the heel and surrounding areas. If a rupture should occur, you may hear a popping sound emanating from the back of the heel. This is typically indicative of a serious injury, and medical attention should be sought as quickly as possible. If you have any pain in the back of the calf or in the heel, please consult with a podiatrist who can properly diagnose and treat an Achilles tendon injury.

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.

Read more about What are Achilles Tendon Injuries
Monday, 11 March 2019 00:00

Foot Surgery May Bring Relief

Many patients have foot conditions that may benefit from having foot surgery performed. This is often recommended if traditional treatment has been unsuccessful, and may be considered to find relief. Fusion surgery may help patients who have arthritis in the foot or ankle. The purpose of having this type of surgery performed is to eliminate pain and discomfort by fusing the bones together. Patients who have chronic heel pain may benefit from having heel surgery performed. This may be an option for people who are afflicted with plantar fasciitis. If you are feeling numbness or a tingling sensation in your toes, neuroma surgery may be a choice to consider. This is performed by removing a small part of the nerve, which may bring relief. If you have foot pain and are thinking about having surgery performed, it is suggested to speak with a podiatrist who can properly guide you in determining if this is right for you.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:

  • Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

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 Foot and Ankle Surgery
Monday, 04 March 2019 00:00

Identifying What Your Heel Pain Means

Heel pain is usually felt under the heel or behind it. There are various conditions that can cause heel pain, and the location of the pain is indicative of what the specific condition could be. One common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the plantar fascia-tissue that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by either high or low arches. Sever’s disease only affects children, usually between the ages of 7 and 15 years old, and is caused by overuse of the growth plates in the heel bone. This condition typically affects children that play sports because of the repetitive impact that the foot endures. These are just two of the many possible conditions that cause heel pain. If you have regular heel pain, it is strongly recommended you speak with a podiatrist to learn about the condition and receive the proper treatment.

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, 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.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

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 Heel Pain
Monday, 25 February 2019 00:00

The Feet May Change as We Age

There are many people that experience unwanted foot conditions as the aging process occurs. This may be a result of poor circulation or a loss of cushioning. It is important to wear shoes that fit properly and are comfortable, and it may be beneficial to measure your feet regularly, which may ensure a correct fit. Circulation may be improved by performing specific foot stretches, in addition to walking frequently during the day. Some of the typical foot ailments that many seniors face may include athlete’s foot, corns and calluses, or dry skin. Diabetic patients may need to check their feet daily for any cuts or bruises that may be present. If these should go unnoticed, complications may arise as a result of the inability to heal properly. If you would like additional information about how to care for elderly feet, it is suggested to speak to a podiatrist who can properly guide you.

If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs and provide you with quality treatment.

Geriatrics and Podiatry
When people age, some common issues that may occur are bone density loss, dry skin, poor circulation, and rough brittle nails. These issues may also affect your foot health if the necessary steps are not taken to alleviate the problems.

It is important to take care of your feet because feet that are injured or diseased can affect your overall health. Having painful feet hinders your ability to do daily activities or may decrease your willingness to do the things that you need to do.

Visiting Your Geriatrician
As we age, health problems become more likely, so it is essential to visit your doctor for check-ups to ensure that you are doing the best you can to take care of your health. It is recommended to check your feet frequently for any possible cuts, bruises, swelling, corns or any other irregularities. 

Taking Care of Elderly Feet
Cracked or dry feet can be treated by applying moisturizer often. It is also important not to wear old socks because the older the sock is, the higher the possibility there will be that there is bacteria there. Wear fresh socks and make sure they fit properly.

Proper foot health means that you can have a more active lifestyle and you will not be bogged down by pain. Foot health also leads to good circulation, which is paramount for overall health.

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 Geriatrics and Podiatry
Monday, 18 February 2019 00:00

What Causes Gout?

The medical term that is referred to as gout is considered to be a form of arthritis. Patients who develop this condition may often experience severe pain and discomfort in the big toe and surrounding areas, in addition to redness and swelling. Research has shown it may be caused by elevated uric acid levels in the blood, and this may be a result of eating foods that have large amounts of purines. These foods may include red meat, shellfish, and foods or drinks that are high in fructose. There are noticeable symptoms that are associated with gout, including stiffness in the affected joint, severe pain, and swelling. It may be possible to limit the occurrences of gout, and this may be accomplished by implementing lifestyle changes that may help to lower uric acid levels. Eating healthy foods and practicing a gentle exercise regime may help in maintaining a correct weight, which may be beneficial in possibly preventing gout attacks. If you are afflicted with gout, it is suggested to speak to a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment 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 Gout
Monday, 11 February 2019 00:00

Wound Care for People with Diabetes

In most cases, small lacerations on the feet naturally heal without any complications. Unfortunately, this is not true for those who suffer from diabetes. Foot ulcers are a common problem for those with diabetes, because diabetic neuropathy affects their ability to feel these wounds. Diabetic neuropathy occurs as a result of nerve damage and causes numbness and pain in the hands and feet. Therefore, people with diabetes may not feel an ulcer, which will lead to it not being treated. Some signs of an ulcer are drainage, redness, swelling, and odor. An ulcer that is left untreated will worsen and black tissue called eschar might form. When tissue death occurs because of infection this is called gangrene. Both symptoms can be life-threatening and should be taken very seriously. Those with diabetes should perform daily foot checks to ensure that no ulcers have formed. If you have diabetes and would like more information about how to properly care for your feet, it is recommended you consult with a podiatrist.

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
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