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Recent research has shown that a strong connection exists between conditions concerning the feet and obesity. The feet and ankles experience excessive stress from bearing the body’s additional weight, and concerns such as arthritis and heel pain can be commonplace. The tendons and ligaments may also be affected, and this may possibly cause the desire to exercise to gradually diminish as the weight increases. When foot pain exists, mobility may lessen, and this is often a result of the added pressure the bones of the foot must endure. Being obese may cause a multitude of foot issues, including fallen arches, gout, and tendonitis. If you are affected by this condition, wearing the correct shoes may aid in maintaining comfort. These may include choosing shoes that are wide enough and have ample support, in addition to having proper flexibility and cushioning. It’s advised to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist if you are affected by obesity and have foot or ankle pain.

Obesity has become very problematic at this point in time and can have extremely negative effects on the feet. If you’re an obese individual and are concerned about your feet, 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.

Obesity and your Feet

Since your feet are what support your entire weight when standing, any additional weight can result in pain and swelling. Being overweight is one of the main contributors to foot complications.

Problems & Complications

Extra Weight – Even putting on just a few extra pounds could create serious complications for your feet. As your weight increases, your balance and body will shift, creating new stresses on your feet. This uneven weight distribution can cause pain, even while doing the simplest tasks, such as walking.

Diabetes – People who are overweight are at serious risk of developing type-2 diabetes, which has a drastic impact on the health of your feet. As you get older, your diabetes might worsen, which could lead to loss of feeling in your feet, sores, and bruises. You could also become more prone to various infections.

Plantar fasciitis – Pressure and stress that is placed on muscles, joints, and tendons can trigger plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of tissue that forms along the bottom of the foot. 

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 How Obesity Affects Your Feet
Wednesday, 28 February 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.

Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00

What Are Flat Feet?

Flat feet is a common foot condition where young people typically have no painful symptoms, but may develop as they age. Flat feet may also be referred to as fallen arches, and commonly develop due to an inherited gene. The arch in the foot is not present or minimal, which causes the foot to lie flat against the floor while standing. The foot is comprised of 26 bones, in addition to numerous muscles and tendons. While walking, gravity from the weight of the body may cause pressure, often resulting in muscle imbalance, which may affect the arch of the foot. Age may also play a role in developing flat feet because the tendons surrounding the ankles may weaken, possibly causing the arches to fall. If you experience this condition, there are stretching exercises that can be performed to aid in preventing future foot issues from occurring. Please consider a consultation with a podiatrist if any pain is experienced for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Flatfoot is a condition many people suffer from. If you have flat feet, contact Dr. James 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.

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Monday, 19 February 2018 00:00

Exercises to Help Plantar Fasciitis

If you have flat feet, or a loss of the instep in your foot, you may experience heel pain that’s referred to as plantar fasciitis. Severe pain in the heel is often the result of inflammation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot, known as the plantar fascia. This can be caused by wearing shoes that fit poorly or from an injury that damages the tissues. The Achilles tendon, which connects the heel to the foot, may also be affected, and it’s beneficial to incorporate stretching exercises into your daily routine. This will enhance the healing process and possibly relieve any discomfort associated with this ailment. There are several effective exercises which can accomplish this when performed daily. Some of these include standing on a step with the heels slightly hanging off and raising and lowering the leg. Additionally, rolling the arch of the foot over a tennis ball or a similar object will aid in helping the plantar fascia to become stronger.

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, 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.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Non-supportive shoes
  • Overpronation
  • Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia

How Can It Be Treated?

  • Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
  • Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
  • Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel

While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.

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 Plantar Fasciitis
Monday, 12 February 2018 00:00

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

Severe pain is likely to be experienced if you have a broken toe, and it will typically heal within 6 weeks. The toe may be tender, bruised, and swollen, often resulting in difficulty in walking. The treatment for a broken or bruised toe is the same, despite the fact that many people have trouble differentiating between the two. Temporary relief may come from elevating the foot, which generally helps in reducing any pain or swelling associated with this condition. Additionally, choosing to wear shoes that give the toes ample room to move may aid in diminishing any discomfort that may be experienced. If the toe is bent at an unnatural angle indicating a severe break, a consultation with a podiatrist is suggested for ways to properly treat your broken toe.

A broken toe can be very painful and lead to complications if not properly fixed. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What to Know About a Broken Toe

Although most people try to avoid foot trauma such as banging, stubbing, or dropping heavy objects on their feet, the unfortunate fact is that it is a common occurrence. Given the fact that toes are positioned in front of the feet, they typically sustain the brunt of such trauma. When trauma occurs to a toe, the result can be a painful break (fracture).

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

  • Throbbing pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising on the skin and toenail
  • The inability to move the toe
  • Toe appears crooked or disfigured
  • Tingling or numbness in the toe

Generally, it is best to stay off of the injured toe with the affected foot elevated.

Severe toe fractures may be treated with a splint, cast, and in some cases, minor surgery. Due to its position and the pressure it endures with daily activity, future complications can occur if the big toe is not properly treated.

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, 05 February 2018 00:00

A Diabetic’s Guide to Proper Foot Care

Foot problems may become more severe if you are a diabetic, and additional care must be taken to avoid complications. There are several techniques that can be practiced for optimum foot care, including checking the feet daily for any cuts or redness, cutting the toenails correctly, and washing and drying thoroughly between the toes. If the skin becomes hardened, you may consider applying a moisturizer on the top and bottom of the feet which will promote softer skin. Choosing to wear shoes that fit well will not only feel comfortable, but will be beneficial in avoiding conditions that may lead to sores and infections. When buying shoes, it’s important to make sure the toes have adequate room to move around, and choosing a shoe with a lower heel may be helpful to avoid falling. It is of vital importance that daily foot inspections be carried out. Any type of wound, especially one that is not healing, must be addressed with immediate attention. A consultation with a podiatrist is advised to learn about the importance of proper diabetic foot care.

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 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.

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018 00:00

How Do I Know If I Have a Bunion?

If you have a bump on the side of your big toe, there is a chance that you may have a bunion. It's common for the structure of the foot to change as a result of the big toe being pushed toward the other toes. This worsens misalignment in the toes, resulting in the bony protrusion developing. This progressive condition is commonly caused by a predisposed, inherited trait affecting the structure of the foot. Poor-fitting shoes do not cause bunions, although they may advance the progression of the disorder. Common symptoms may include experiencing numbness or a burning sensation, in addition to observing swelling and redness in the area. Some patients may notice calluses developing on the big toe, and movement may become restricted. A treatment option can include choosing the right shoes with enough room so the toes can be comfortable and move freely. Activities that irritate the bunion, such as standing for long periods of time, should be avoided. If you are experiencing pain from a bunion, a consultation with a podiatrist is advised.

If you are suffering from bunions, 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?

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.

Read more about Bunions
Monday, 22 January 2018 00:00

Common Foot Issues Affecting Seniors

As the aging process occurs, the cushioning in the feet becomes thinner and the nails can become brittle and dry. Sores on the feet may take longer to heal typically due to poor circulation, a common ailment in elderly people. Walking, stretching, and keeping the legs uncrossed are all beneficial in keeping the blood flowing freely. Feet generally become larger over time, and choosing shoes that avoid friction is necessary for a comfortable fit. There are several foot issues elderly people are most likely to experience, including athlete’s foot, dry skin, and ingrown toenails. These conditions may be prevented by washing and drying the feet thoroughly, especially in between the toes. When the toenails are properly trimmed, ingrown toenails may be avoided. Applying a moisturizer on the feet will not only feel good, but help keep the skin from getting dry. Please consult with a podiatrist if you have any questions regarding elderly foot care. 

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

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 threating 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, 15 January 2018 00:00

Buying the Right Shoes for the Right Sport

Proper support is crucial while running and is typically obtained through purchasing running shoes as opposed to shoes designed for walking. Running is considered a high impact sport, and it’s important to have the correct cushioned shoes to help promote proper balance. A firmer sole is important to a runner for maintaining stability, and a sole that’s more flexible is easier for a walker to wear as it grips the toe and the heel. Thick heels are preferred in running shoes as they provide proper cushioning and support for the jogger. If a walker should wear shoes made for running, they may experience conditions such as shin splints or Achilles tendons injuries. This is often because the mechanics of walking and running are different. Running shoes offer features designed to keep the foot in a neutral position and may provide more stability than walking shoes. An additional difference between the two types of shoes may be that running shoes are made of lighter materials that are meant to enable a jogger to move faster.

For more information about walking shoes versus running shoes, consult with Dr. James McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can measure your feet to determine what your needs are and help you find an appropriate pair of footwear.

Foot Health: The Differences between Walking & Running Shoes

There are great ways to stay in shape: running and walking are two great exercises to a healthy lifestyle. It is important to know that running shoes and walking shoes are not interchangeable. There is a key difference on how the feet hit the ground when someone is running or walking. This is why one should be aware that a shoe is designed differently for each activity.

You may be asking yourself what the real differences are between walking and running shoes and the answers may shock you.

Differences

Walking doesn’t involve as much stress or impact on the feet as running does. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be any less prepared. When you’re walking, you land on your heels and have your foot roll forward. This rolling motion requires additional support to the feet.

Flexibility – Walking shoes are designed to have soft, flexible soles. This allows the walker to push off easily with each step.

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, 08 January 2018 00:00

What Can Cause an Achilles Tendon Injury?

The purpose of the Achilles tendon is to connect the calf muscle to the heel bone. It is the longest tendon in the body, and walking or running would be impossible to accomplish without it. There are several causes for Achilles tendon pain, including inflammation of the tendon, known as tendonitis, or a tear occurring due to sudden movement, often causing severe pain. Surgery may be required to repair the tendon if the patient is unable to walk or stand. Other symptoms may include swelling, stiffness, and reduced strength in addition to experiencing a limited range of motion. There may be several factors which may increase the possibility of an Achilles tendon injury, including a change in the playing surface or an increase in training for athletes. If you think you may have this condition, a podiatrist will be able to help.

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
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