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During the Washington state stay at home order, as an allowed medical service, we are open Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. - 3 P.M. for virtual (telehealth) appointments, and for urgent or emergent in office appointments. All entering the clinic are required to wear a mask or bandana or scarf; and to wear gloves. All persons entering the office will be screened at the door for COVID symptoms. We appreciate your cooperation during this difficult time, and look forward to serving you all soon once the restrictions are lifted.

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Blog | Foot Doctor Gig Harbor WA 98335

Tuesday, 07 December 2021 00:00

The Diabetic Foot

Diabetes is a systemic condition. This means that it affects the whole body, including the feet. Foot problems that stem from diabetes include peripheral neuropathy, a form of nerve damage, and diabetic foot ulcers, a type of open wound that can occur on the feet and become infected when left unnoticed. Between 40 and 60 million diabetics worldwide suffer from lower limb complications each year. The best way to prevent these problems is to stay vigilant of any changes in your feet by performing daily foot inspections. Look at your feet carefully and take note of anything unusual, such as cuts, scrapes, sores, discoloration, or strange sensations. If you notice that something is off, seek the care of a podiatrist as soon as possible. 

Diabetic foot care is important in preventing foot ailments such as ulcers. If you are suffering from diabetes or have any other concerns about your feet, 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.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. The condition can damage blood vessels in many parts of the body, especially the feet. Because of this, taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes, and having a podiatrist help monitor your foot health is highly recommended.

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

  • Routinely inspect your feet for bruises or sores.
  • Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels, as blood sugar levels play such a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised.

It is always best to inform your healthcare professional of any concerns you may have regarding your feet, especially for diabetic patients. Early treatment and routine foot examinations are keys to maintaining proper health, especially because severe complications can arise if proper treatment is not applied.

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 Diabetic Foot Conditions
Tuesday, 30 November 2021 00:00

What Triggers Gout?

Gout is a painful type of arthritis that occurs due to high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. It frequently affects the joints of the feet, particularly in the big toe. A gout flareup can be extremely painful, swollen, red, and warm. Gout is thought to be at least partially hereditary, but co-occurring medical conditions and certain lifestyle factors can also trigger a gout attack. People who have a history of heart failure, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes are at an increased risk of gout. People who are obese, take diuretic medications, drink alcohol, consume sugary foods and beverages, or eat foods rich in purines, such as red meat and certain types of seafood, are also at risk. If you have suffered a gout attack, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist for treatment and prevention strategies. 

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. 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 type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. It often develops in the foot, especially the big toe area, although it can manifest in other parts of the body as well. Gout can make walking and standing very painful and is especially common in diabetics and the obese.

People typically get gout because of a poor diet. Genetic predisposition is also a factor. The children of parents who have had gout frequently have a chance of developing it themselves.

Gout can easily be identified by redness and inflammation of the big toe and the surrounding areas of the foot. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, joint pain, and running high fevers. Sometimes corticosteroid drugs can be prescribed to treat gout, but the best way to combat this disease is to get more exercise and eat a better diet.

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 Gout
Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

What Is an Ingrown Toenail?

When the toenail curls downwards and into the skin surrounding the nail, it is referred to as an ingrown toenail.  Common signs of an ingrown toenail include pain, redness, and swelling. Ingrown toenails can become infected if they are not treated. Ingrown toenails can form from a variety of reasons, such as shoes that are too tight, not properly trimming the toenails, excessively sweaty feet, or trauma to the toe. Patients who are struggling with an ingrown toenail may be able to find relief by soaking their feet in warm water for around 15 minutes a few times a day. However, ingrown toenails that persist should be looked at by a podiatrist in order to prevent an infection.   

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, 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.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.

Causes

  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.

Treatment

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

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 Ingrown Toenail Care
Thursday, 18 November 2021 00:00

It's Time for Beautiful Feet

You don't need an excuse to have beautiful nails. Step outside without worrying about the appearance of your feet.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

First Aid for Ankle Sprains

Though it often affects athletes, an ankle sprain can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Sometimes all it takes to sprain an ankle is to land awkwardly after a jump, or twist your ankle too much as you step off a curb. Symptoms of an ankle sprain include pain in the ankle, particularly when trying to move it or put weight on it, and swelling. If you are feeling these symptoms following an injury, stop what you are doing and rest the affected ankle. Use ice packs wrapped in a towel and elevate your injured ankle to reduce swelling. You can also compress the ankle by wrapping it with an elastic bandage. A sprained ankle needs to heal fully and properly to avoid re-injury. If you have sprained your ankle, it is strongly suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist. 

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

The tarsal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the inside of the ankle that is made of a thick band of fibrous tissue (flexor retinaculum) and ankle bones. Veins, arteries, muscles, tendons, and the tibial nerve pass through the tarsal tunnel. Certain conditions such as a ganglion cyst, nerve sheath tumors, fibrosis, and even injuries can tighten the already-narrow space within the tunnel and compress the tibial nerve. This can cause burning pain or tingling (paresthesias) along the tibial nerve, the inside of the ankle, or bottom (plantar) part of the foot. If you are experiencing this type of discomfort, contact a podiatrist. They will perform a physical examination and may suggest that an MRI be performed to visualize lesions that may be present within the tunnel. Both conservative and surgical treatments will be considered depending on the cause and severity of the condition and will focus on reducing pressure on the nerve and relieving pain.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, 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.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
  • Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
  • The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
  • If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require 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 and ankle needs.

Read more about Treating Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tuesday, 02 November 2021 00:00

Top 5 Causes of Swollen Feet 

There are many possible causes of swollen feet—ranging from mild, temporary conditions to severe medical emergencies. Here is a run-down of the top 5: 1) Trauma. After an injury, the body’s inflammatory response floods the injured area with white blood cells, antibodies, proteins, and other fluids, causing swelling and inflammation. 2) Diseases. Diseases of the heart, kidney, liver, and lymphatic system can compromise the body’s ability to pump or regulate the blood, and expel wastes, causing a build-up of fluid in various parts of the body—including the feet and legs. 3) Venous Insufficiency. Swelling in the feet and legs may occur when the venous valves—which return blood back to the heart—are damaged and dysfunctional. 4) Pregnancy. Hormonal surges and a growing uterus pressurize veins and increase water and sodium—leading to edema (swelling) in the feet, hands, and legs. 5) Inactivity. Sitting or standing still for prolonged periods of time can cause fluid to temporarily accumulate in the tissues of the feet and ankles. If your feet or ankles become swollen or painful, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.

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
Tuesday, 26 October 2021 00:00

The Two Types of Flat Feet

Flat feet, or pes planus, is a condition where there is no visible arch in the foot. There are two types of flat feet: flexible and rigid. Flexible flat feet will have a visible arch when the foot is elevated, however that will disappear when weight is applied to the foot. Typically, flexible flat foot is asymptomatic, and it is believed to be a genetic condition. In rigid flat foot, the arch is never present—even when the foot is elevated. Rigid flat foot can be due to joint or bone disorders, which may be genetic. This type of flat foot can be problematic and cause gait disorders as well as pain in the arch, ankle, heel, and outside of the foot. If you have any discomfort in your feet due to flat feet, make an appointment with a podiatrist who can examine your feet and go over treatment options specific to your condition.

Flatfoot is a condition many people suffer from. If you have flat feet, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Are Flat Feet?

Flatfoot is a condition in which the arch of the foot is depressed and the sole of the foot is almost completely in contact with the ground. About 20-30% of the population generally has flat feet because their arches never formed during growth.

Conditions & Problems:

Having flat feet makes it difficult to run or walk because of the stress placed on the ankles.

Alignment – The general alignment of your legs can be disrupted, because the ankles move inward which can cause major discomfort.

Knees – If you have complications with your knees, flat feet can be a contributor to arthritis in that area.  

Symptoms

  • Pain around the heel or arch area
  • Trouble standing on the tip toe
  • Swelling around the inside of the ankle
  • Flat look to one or both feet
  • Having your shoes feel uneven when worn

Treatment

If you are experiencing pain and stress on the foot you may weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs around the inside of 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 What is Flexible Flat Foot?
Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:00

Heel Pain Can Be Treated!

Do you suffer from heel pain when you get up in the morning? If so, you should seek the professional help of your podiatrist and have a proper diagnosis performed. Heel pain can be caused by several different foot-related conditions.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:00

Ways to Avoid Falling at Home

Falling is one of the leading causes of injury among those older than 65. In fact, one out of every 4 seniors will fall each year. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple things that can be done in order to prevent falls in the home. One step that can be done is to keep the floors at home clutter-free in order to avoid tripping. Installing grab bars in the bathrooms and handrails around staircases can help provide stability and prevent falls. One of the most important things that can be done to avoid falling is to consult with a podiatrist about any falls that you may have experienced, or for more professional advice on fall prevention. A podiatrist will be able to help check your feet and give advice on proper footwear that should be worn as well as review any medications that may make you dizzy or lead to instability. 

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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