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Monday, 16 July 2018 00:00

Are Flip Flops Good for my Feet?

The idea of wearing flip flops can be enticing in the hot summer months. They can easily be worn for most daily activities and many are available in attractive colors. Despite their popularity, if you choose to wear flip flops you may be inviting the formation of painful foot conditions. The plantar fascia provides the necessary support the foot needs while connecting the toes to the heel bone. Wearing flip flops can cause this tissue to become inflamed, which may often result in discomfort and pain. Additionally, the Achilles tendon may be at risk for injury as a result of the lack of arch support that comes from wearing flip flops. If you are afflicted with diabetes, you may have nerve damage which can hinder the ability to feel any cuts that the material between the toes may incur. If you choose to wear this type of shoe, it’s best to do so in moderation, and this may possibly avoid potential foot problems that may be associated with wearing flip flops.

Flip-flops are not always the best choice of footwear. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

Flip-Flops and Feet

When the weather starts warming up, people enjoy wearing flip-flops.  Flip-flops are comfortable, stylish, and easy to slip on and off; they're perfect for any summer beach goer.  However, these shoes can cause harm to the feet.

How Can Flip-Flops Affect Me Long-Term?

  • Ankle problems
  • Hip problems
  • Lower back problems
  • Pain in the balls of the feet
  • Problems with foot arches
  • Changes in the way you walk

Are There Injuries Associated with Flip-Flops?

Yes.  Since flip-flops are relatively weak and do not provide the same amount of support as sneakers, people who wear flip-flops regularly are more susceptible to injuries. On top of that, the open nature of the shoe makes your feet more prone to other problems, such as cuts and even infections.  Common injuries and ailments include:

  • Sprained ankles
  • Blisters
  • Infections
  • Cuts and Scrapes

I like Wearing Flip-Flops. Are There Safe Alternatives?

When buying flip-flops, try to find ones that have sturdy soles and that are made of high-quality materials that will support for your feet.  These flip-flops will cost more but will also last longer as a result.

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, 09 July 2018 00:00

How to Prevent Corns on the Feet

A formation of a corn is typically the result of excessive pressure inflicted on the toes from poorly fitting shoes. It generally consists of a small round area of thickened skin that appears to be white. Hard corns may develop on the outside of the toes, as a result of consistent friction caused by shoes that are too tight. As they press into the layers of the skin, they often produce pain and discomfort. Another type of corn is referred to as a soft corn, and generally forms between the toes as a result of the moisture that exists there. Severe corns may be trimmed by a podiatrist, which may initiate relief. Prevention of corns may start with properly sizing the feet so the correct size shoes can be purchased. It’s imperative to consult with a podiatrist who can suggest methods for alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with corns.  

Corns can make walking very painful and should be treated immediately. If you have questions regarding your feet and ankles, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Corns: What Are They? And How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Corns are thickened areas on the skin that can become painful. They are caused by excessive pressure and friction on the skin. Corns press into the deeper layers of the skin and are usually round in shape.

Ways to Prevent Corns
There are many ways to get rid of painful corns such as:

  • Wearing properly fitting shoes that have been measured by a professional
  • Wearing shoes that are not sharply pointed or have high heels
  • Wearing only shoes that offer support

Treating Corns

Although most corns slowly disappear when the friction or pressure stops, this isn’t always the case. Consult with your podiatrist to determine the best treatment option for your case of corns.

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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Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid that typically collects in the joints of the big toe. This commonly causes severe pain as a result of the inflammation around the big toe and surrounding areas. The majority of people who are afflicted with gout have a condition that is referred to as under-excretors, which is the inability to eliminate excess uric crystals from the urine. People who may be affected with this are diabetics and patients who may be obese or have heart disease. When certain types of foods are ingested, gout attacks may be more likely to occur. These may include shellfish, red meat or excessive alcohol. In severe and frequent gout attacks, small crystals may form in the kidneys, which may gradually increase in size to become kidney stones. If you have pain in your big toe and it appears to be red and tender, you may be experiencing a gout attack. It’s suggested to consult with a podiatrist as quickly as possible to discuss the best treatment options for you.

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 Everything You Need to Know About Gout
Thursday, 28 June 2018 00:00

Reminder - When was the last time...

Custom orthotics (shoe inserts) should be replaced periodically. They need to fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles.

Monday, 25 June 2018 00:00

Can Wearing High Heels Damage My Feet?

Many women choose to wear high heels so the feet and legs can have a luxurious look. Research has shown there may be reasons why high heels should be avoided. Toenails can become damaged, and wearing certain high heels is said to be the number one cause of ingrown toenails. Many women tend to fall much more frequently when this type of shoe is worn, and this may cause possible bone fractures. If there is not an adequate amount of room to move about within the shoe, it can cause an already existing case of bunions to become even worse. It’s suggested to limit wearing high heels to a few days per week, and to also choose a lower heel. Doing these things may provide ample relief. Additionally, having your feet massaged regularly will not only feel good, but may aid in the overall health of the foot.

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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Monday, 18 June 2018 00:00

Causes of Athlete’s Foot

A fungal infection that develops in the skin of the feet, which may be referred to as athlete's foot or tinea pedis, often produces discomfort and pain. Probable symptoms may include itching and burning skin in addition to blisters that may form in between the toes. Athlete’s foot is typically caused by a fungus that thrives in warm and dark environments and may spread when the foot touches the contaminated area. This type of fungus often lives in public showers and pools, and may be prevented from spreading by wearing appropriate shoes in these areas. If you are affected by this condition, it may be beneficial to wash your feet often followed by thoroughly drying in between the toes. If your socks should become wet from excess moisture, it’s important to change them frequently in addition to wearing cotton socks which may aid in absorbing additional perspiration. For severe infections, a consultation with a podiatrist is advised for more aggressive treatment options

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is often an uncomfortable condition to experience. Thankfully, podiatrists specialize in treating athlete’s foot and offer the best treatment options. If you have any questions about athlete’s foot, consult with Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment.

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a non-serious and common fungal infection of the foot. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be contracted by touching someone who has it or infected surfaces. The most common places contaminated by it are public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Once contracted, it grows on feet that are left inside moist, dark, and warm shoes and socks.

Prevention

The most effective ways to prevent athlete’s foot include:

  • Thoroughly washing and drying feet
  • Avoid going barefoot in locker rooms and public showers
  • Using shower shoes in public showers
  • Wearing socks that allow the feet to breathe
  • Changing socks and shoes frequently if you sweat a lot

Symptoms

Athlete’s foot initially occurs as a rash between the toes. However, if left undiagnosed, it can spread to the sides and bottom of the feet, toenails, and if touched by hand, the hands themselves. Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Scaly and peeling skin

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is quick and easy. Skin samples will be taken and either viewed under a microscope or sent to a lab for testing. Sometimes, a podiatrist can diagnose it based on simply looking at it. Once confirmed, treatment options include oral and topical antifungal medications.

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, 11 June 2018 00:00

What is the Achilles Tendon?

The longest tendon in the body is referred to as the Achilles tendon. Its location lies in the back of the foot and its purpose is to connect the heel bone to the calf. Research has shown that it may become damaged or torn as a result of a sudden injury, and it’s advised to seek treatment as soon as possible. Typical symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture may include difficulty in standing on tiptoes in addition to bruising and swelling at the point of an injury. In order to obtain a proper diagnosis, a podiatrist may use a method referred to as the Thompson’s test. This involves squeezing the calf muscles while lying face down so movement in the ankle can be observed. For severe tears, surgery may be a necessary option as a permanent solution which may prevent the tendon from re-rupturing. For less severe tears, it may be advantageous to wear a brace or a cast so healing can commence. Please consult with a podiatrist for additional information about Achilles tendon injuries.

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, 04 June 2018 00:00

What Causes Cracked Heels?

Heel fissures is another name for a condition referred to as cracked heels. The skin will typically appear dry and callused, and may generally be uncomfortable. Pain may be experienced by patients whose skin on their heels are severely cracked and infection may occur as a result of this. There are several reasons for this condition to develop, including standing for the duration of the day, the heels enduring additional weight from being obese, or shoes that do not fit correctly. For mild cases, relief may be found in soaking the feet in warm water, followed by applying a moisturizer which may help soften the skin.  For more severe cases, it’s suggested to consult with a podiatrist who may remove the dead skin and can recommend and provide appropriate shoe inserts.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, 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.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How Do You Get Them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

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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Tuesday, 29 May 2018 00:00

What is Cuboid Syndrome?

Foot pain on the inside of the foot is called medial foot pain, and foot pain on the outside of the foot is called lateral foot pain. It is most common for foot pain to be located on the outside of the foot. Lateral foot pain can be frustrating for those who enjoy being on their feet.  The cuboid is one of the seven tarsal bones on the outside of the foot. An excess amount of traction over the cuboid can cause the tarsal bone to dislocate, which may result in cuboid syndrome. Pain for those with cuboid syndrome is usually experienced by those who participate in weight bearing activities. If you are experiencing any symptoms or have any questions regarding cuboid syndrome, please consider scheduling a consultation with a podiatrist today.

Cuboid syndrome, also known as cuboid subluxation, occurs when the joints and ligaments near the cuboid bone in the foot become torn. If you have cuboid syndrome, 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.

Cuboid syndrome is a common cause of lateral foot pain, which is pain on the outside of the foot. The condition may happen suddenly due to an ankle sprain, or it may develop slowly overtime from repetitive tension through the bone and surrounding structures.

Causes

The most common causes of cuboid syndrome include:

  • Injury – The most common cause of this ailment is an ankle sprain.
  • Repetitive Strain – Tension placed through the peroneus longus muscle from repetitive activities such as jumping and running may cause excessive traction on the bone causing it to sublux.
  • Altered Foot Biomechanics – Most people suffering from cuboid subluxation have flat feet.

Symptoms

A common symptom of cuboid syndrome is pain along the outside of the foot which can be felt in the ankle and toes. This pain may create walking difficulties and may cause those with the condition to walk with a limp.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of cuboid syndrome is often difficult, and it is often misdiagnosed. X-rays, MRIs and CT scans often fail to properly show the cuboid subluxation. Although there isn’t a specific test used to diagnose cuboid syndrome, your podiatrist will usually check if pain is felt while pressing firmly on the cuboid bone of your foot.

Treatment

Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are ice therapy, rest, exercise, taping, and orthotics.

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

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