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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 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 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 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, 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 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. 

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 D. 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
Friday, 30 March 2018 00:00

Before you start dancing...

 

Maintaining proper foot care is essential at any age, and it’s especially important for the elderly population to pay close attention to their feet. Commonly, assistance is often needed to properly trim the toenails because of eyesight concerns or experiencing difficulty in bending down. There are several steps to correctly trimming the toenails, and it’s suggested to start by soaking the feet in a warm bath to aid in softening the nails. It’s wise to thoroughly dry the feet, especially between the toes, and apply a moisturizer that will prevent the skin from cracking. Trimming the toenails straight across the nail bed can prevent ingrown toenails and infections from developing. Please schedule a consultation with a podiatrist for additional information on how to care for elderly feet.

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

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-threatening 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.

Read more about Elderly and their Feet
Monday, 19 March 2018 00:00

Options on How to Measure Your Feet

Comfort is one of the most important things to look for when buying shoes, and comfort starts with measuring your feet correctly so proper shoes can be chosen for maximum support. There are several ailments that can occur from wearing shoes that fit poorly, which include blisters, cuts on the feet, and long-term injuries. Measuring the feet periodically will aid in choosing the correct size, and this can be done on a Brannock device which is typically found in shoe stores. An alternative to this tool is to measure the length and width of the foot on paper by tracing the outline of your foot. This may help you determine if a wider or narrower width is needed for optimum comfort. Please consider a consultation with a podiatrist for more information on how to determine your proper shoe size.

Getting the right shoe size is an important part of proper foot health. Seek the assistance of Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Getting the Right Shoe Size

There are many people who wear shoes that are the incorrect size, negatively affecting their feet and posture. Selecting the right shoes is not a difficult process, so long as you keep several things in mind when it comes to choosing the right pair.

  • When visiting the shoe store, use the tools available to measure your foot.
  • Be sure there is ‘wiggle room’. There should be about an inch between your toes and the tip of your shoes.
  • Do not always assume you are the same size, as manufacturers run differently.
  • Purchase shoes later in the day, as your feet swell as the day progresses.
  • If a shoe is not comfortable, it is not suitable. Most shoes can’t be ‘broken in’, and comfort should be the ultimate goal when it comes to choosing the right pair of shoes

As our feet hold our body weight and keep us moving, it is important to treat them right. Picking the right pair of shoes can provide your feet comfort and mobility without 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 Getting the Right Shoe Size: To Keep Your Feet Happy
Monday, 12 March 2018 00:00

How High Heels Affect Runners’ Feet

If you choose to wear high heels frequently, you may experience pain that’s common among those selecting to wear this type of shoe. Typically, when high heels are worn, the ankles bend forward, often affecting the circulation in the feet. Most runners are aware of how the arches are affected from wearing high heels and may experience aches and pains in the calves. There are several options available that may help the feet feel their best while running, one of which is limiting the time high heels are worn. It’s important to rest your feet between runs, and this is often accomplished by wearing supportive shoes. Performing proper exercises that stretch and strengthen the feet is beneficial in keeping the feet healthy and may allow the sport of running to be enjoyed to its full potential.

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 Effect of High Heels on the Feet

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 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.

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
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