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Living with foot pain is hard on your body.  Give us a call and let us find out what's wrong.

Monday, 21 May 2018 00:00

What is a Plantar Wart?

If you experience a growth of bottom of your foot, you may have what is referred to as a plantar wart. Generally, warts will grow upwards from the skin, but a plantar wart will grow into the sole of the foot because of pressure on the foot from walking and standing. One of the first symptoms that may be noticed can be severe pain and discomfort, and will worsen over time if not treated properly. It is typically caused by the human papillomavirus and can enter the skin through small cuts that may be present on the sole of the foot. This is considered to be a contagious condition and appropriate shoes are suggested to be worn in public showers, pools and surrounding areas. Seeking the advice of a podiatrist is advised for proper treatment or removal techniques if you are affected by this uncomfortable and often very painful condition.

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. James 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 All About Plantar Warts

Poor circulation will often be obvious in the feet. Many patients will generally notice numbness and swelling in the toes and feet in addition to discomfort and pain while walking or standing. Diabetics may notice a slower healing process for any sores that appear on the feet and the skin may begin to change color. There are several factors that may cause this ailment including high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, which is a buildup of excess plaque in the blood. Research has shown that massaging the feet will gently circulate the blood and may bring moderate relief. Additionally, incorporating a mild exercise program into your daily routine may be difficult, but it may prove to be beneficial in attaining improved circulation and the overall health of the body. A consultation with a podiatrist is suggested for information on how to manage poor circulation in the feet.

Poor circulation is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention. If you have any concerns with poor circulation in your feet contact Dr. James McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Poor Circulation in the Feet

Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is can be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries.

Plaque buildup or atherosclerosis results from excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This can restrict the amount of blood which can flow through the arteries. Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs are sometimes caused by inflammation in the blood vessels, known as vasculitis.

Causes

Lack of oxygen and oxygen from poor blood circulation restricts muscle growth and development. It can also cause:

  • Muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness   
  • Numbness  or cramping in the legs 
  • Skin discoloration
  • Slower nail & hair growth
  • Erectile dysfunction

Those who have diabetes or smoke are at greatest risk for poor circulation, as are those who are over 50. If you have poor circulation in the feet and legs it may be caused by PAD, and is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve conditions.

As always, see a podiatrist as he or she will assist in finding a regimen that suits you. A podiatrist can also prescribe you any needed medication. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Poor Blood Circulation in the Feet
Monday, 07 May 2018 00:00

How to Treat a Bunion

Bunions are typically the result of a bone deformity that affects the toes. The big toe typically leans toward the second toe, and this may cause a bump to form on the bottom of the big toe. Fluid may develop in the surrounding joint, in addition to the skin becoming thickened. This is often a painful condition, and as a result other ailments such as arthritis may develop. Research has shown that it’s beneficial to wear proper shoes that can accommodate the bunion and possibly diminish the pain and discomfort. Relief options may include using adequate padding over the bunion for protection, and wearing shoes that can adjust to the width of your foot. For bunions that have become extremely painful and unmanageable, surgery may be an option to consider. It’s suggested to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist to learn about the best treatment options for you.

If you are suffering from bunion pain, contact Dr. James 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?

Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.

Causes

  • Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
  • Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development

Symptoms

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Callus or corns on the bump
  • Restricted motion in the big toe

In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.

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 Bunions
Monday, 30 April 2018 00:00

How Do I Know if I Have Gout?

The general cause of a condition referred to as gout is an excess of uric acid that accumulates in the body. The big toe is typically affected, and obvious symptoms may include intense pain, swelling, and redness in the surrounding areas. It will often appear as an inflamed protrusion on the side of the big toe, and may affect the ability to walk. Research has shown that it may be a controllable condition and may occur because of the foods that are ingested. There may be several  items that may fall into this category, including the consumption of red meat, an excessive salty foods, and any type of shellfish. Drinking excess alcohol may also lead to the development of gout, in addition to a family history of high blood pressure. Occasionally, there may be specific medical conditions in which the body has difficulty eliminating uric acid, such as kidney or thyroid ailments. The treatment for gout can vary, so it’s advised to consult with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. James 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 Everything You Need to Know About Gout
Sunday, 29 April 2018 00:00

Do your Child's Feet Hurt?

Have your child's feet been examined lately?

Monday, 23 April 2018 00:00

Surgery for Bunions

If you experience a bony growth on the side of the big toe, you may have what is referred to as a bunion. This condition may require surgery to be performed, which will generally provide permanent relief. This surgical procedure typically involves removal of the bony protrusion or possibly a restructuring of the toes, which will depend on the severity of the bunion. Surgery will involve undergoing general or local anesthesia, which is determined based on each individual. There may be several ways to perform this type of operation, and it can typically depend on other factors involving the foot, such as any arthritis that may be present. Recovery includes utilizing a bandage or splint so the foot is protected and can rest comfortably. Crutches may be beneficial to use, which can aid in keeping weight off the toe. If you have a bunion and would like additional information about how surgery can be effective for you, please schedule a consultation with a podiatrist.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact Dr. James 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 Surgery
Monday, 16 April 2018 00:00

Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury

If you have severe pain in the back of your heel, you may have an Achilles tendon injury. It is the body’s thickest tendon, and it connects the back of the heel to the calf muscles. When the foot pushes forward while running, the Achilles tendon absorbs the force necessary for this to be accomplished. The beginning of an injury is typically represented by a dull ache in the back of the heel, and the pain will increase in severity if the running activity continues. There may be several causes for this type of injury to occur, including a poor range of motion in the ankle, calf muscles that are weakened, and having flat feet. Specific exercises that are practiced may aid in the healing of an Achilles tendon injury, and it’s recommended to see a podiatrist for a proper examination.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. James 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, 09 April 2018 00:00

Symptoms of a Broken Ankle

If you have endured a fall or have experienced an intense injury to the ankle, you may have sustained a broken ankle. Symptoms of a broken ankle typically include severe pain around the ankle and surrounding areas that is accompanied by visible bruising and swelling. Is important to obtain immediate medical attention if you have what appears to be a broken ankle, as this may avoid the possibility of nerve and artery damage. A diagnosis typically includes having an X-ray performed, followed by an MRI, indicating a more detailed view of the ankle for more severe fractures. It may be suggested to wear a cast or a boot, which promotes stability in the ankle, and this may take 6-8 weeks to properly heal. During this time, crutches are generally used to prevent the ankle from incurring any weight. After the healing is completed, exercises may be necessary in recovering  foot and ankle flexibility.

Broken ankles need immediate treatment. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. James 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 Ankles
A broken ankle is experienced when a person fractures their tibia or fibula in the lower leg and ankle area. Both of these bones are attached at the bottom of the leg and combine to form what we know to be our ankle.

When a physician is referring to a break of the ankle, he or she is usually referring to a break in the area where the tibia and fibula are joined to create our ankle joint. Ankles are more prone to fractures because the ankle is an area that suffers a lot of pressure and stress. There are some obvious signs when a person experiences a fractured ankle, and the following symptoms may be present.

Symptoms of a Fractured Ankle

  • Excessive pain when the area is touched or when any pressure is placed on the ankle
  •  Swelling around the area
  •  Bruising of the area
  • Area appears to be deformed

If you suspect an ankle fracture, it is recommended to seek treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you have your podiatrist diagnose the fracture, the quicker you’ll be on the way towards recovery.

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 All About Broken Ankles
Monday, 02 April 2018 00:00

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you are experiencing swelling, pain and stiffness in the toes, you may have what is referred to as rheumatoid arthritis. The toes are consistently bent in a downward position, making it difficult to walk. Additionally, it’s common for bunions to develop, which is a small bony protrusion on the side of the big toe. Many people endure pain in the entire foot, and will often notice the nails have become separated from the nail bed. In the desire to obtain relief the gait is often altered affecting the ball of the foot. Recent research has shown that it may be beneficial to wear shoes that provide adequate room for the toes to move about freely, in addition to avoid wearing high heels. There are several ways to treat this condition depending on the extent of the damage that has been incurred. If you are afflicted with this condition it’s suggested to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist to determine the severity of this ailment, and discuss the best treatments options available.

Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist  if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact Dr. James McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of feet
  • Joint shift and deformation

Diagnosis

Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.

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 Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet
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