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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 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 How to Care for Diabetic Foot
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 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 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.

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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 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.

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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 D. 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 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.

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Tuesday, 02 January 2018 00:00

Why Do I Have Blisters On My Feet?

Friction is generally the leading cause of blisters occurring on the feet. The majority of them are filled with a clear fluid; however, if an infection occurs, it may appear to have a yellowish hue. Typically, wearing ill-fitting shoes may cause friction on the skin, usually developing during repetitive motions like running and walking at moderate speeds. Some other causes of blisters may originate from severe burns or tissue damage caused by frostbite, while certain medical conditions including eczema can be linked to blisters on the feet. Treatment may include wearing shoes that fit comfortably without having the toes rub together. You can also apply a gauze pad for protection. If this option is chosen, infection may be avoided by changing the dressing regularly. Relief will be desired if extreme discomfort is experienced, and the blister may need to be drained. Please consider a consultation with a podiatrist for advice and recommendations for treatments of blisters.

Blisters are prone to making everyday activities extremely uncomfortable. If your feet are hurting, 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.

Foot Blisters

Foot blisters develop as a result of constantly wearing tight or ill-fitting footwear. This happens due to the constant rubbing from the shoe, which can often lead to pain.

What Are Foot Blisters?

A foot blister is a small fluid-filled pocket that forms on the upper-most layer of the skin. Blisters are filled with clear fluid and can lead to blood drainage or pus if the area becomes infected.

How Do Blisters Form?

Blisters on the feet are often the result of constant friction of skin and material, usually by shoe rubbing. Walking in sandals, boots, or shoes that don’t fit properly for long periods of time can result in a blister. Having consistent foot moisture and humidity can easily lead to blister formation.

Prevention & Treatment

It is important to properly care for the affected area in order to prevent infection and ease the pain. Do not lance the blister and use a Band-Aid to provide pain relief. Also, be sure to keep your feet dry and wear proper fitting shoes. If you see blood or pus in a blister, seek assistance from a podiatrist.

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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Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:00

Heel Pain Can be Treated!

Do you suffer from heel pain when you get up in the morning?

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 00:00

How to Prevent Corns

Coupled with friction, an excessive amount of pressure on the feet is the most probable cause of corns.  Corns can cause the skin to become dry and hardened;  the skin’s consistency can also become soft and rubbery, which most often occurs between the toes.  Infections can be common for patients with poor circulation or diabetes, and treatment may be necessary to prevent complications.  Many options are available for treating corns.  Pumice stones are an effective way to remove thickened skin from the foot, though if used incorrectly they can cause damage.  The use of foam wedges between the toes may also be recommended to relieve pressure from soft corns.  Wearing supportive shoes, preferably with a low heel, may be helpful as well.  A consultation with a podiatrist is advised for a diagnosis and assessment of any underlying causes of corns.

If you have any concerns 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 can be described as areas of the skin that have thickened to the point of becoming painful or irritating. They are often layers and layers of the skin that have become dry and rough, and are normally smaller than calluses.

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

  • Well-fitting socks
  • Comfortable shoes that are not tight around your foot
  • Shoes that offer support

Treating Corns
Treatment of corns involves removing the dead skin that has built up in the specific area of the foot. Consult with Our doctor 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.

Read more about Corns: What Are They, and How Do You Get Rid of Them
Monday, 18 December 2017 00:00

Taking Proper Care of Foot Wounds

Knowing how to take care of a wound on your foot is important, especially if you are diabetic as it is more susceptible to infection and less likely to heal properly. In addition to diabetes, not maintaining a healthy diet and excessive drinking can also make it harder for wounds to heal. If you do sustain a foot wound, wash the area gently with mild soap and water and then apply a bandage. It is important to change bandages everyday in order to promote healing. If the foot wound seems serious it is recommended that you see a podiatrist. If you are a diabetic, however, every foot wound should be considered serious and seeing a podiatrist is strongly recommended.

Everyday foot care is very important to prevent infection and other foot ailments. 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.

Everyday Foot Care

Often, people take care of their bodies, face and hair more so than they do for their feet. But the feet are a very important aspect of our bodies, and one that we should pay more attention to. Without our feet, we would not be able to perform most daily tasks.

It is best to check your feet regularly to make sure there are no new bruises or cuts that you may not have noticed before. For dry feet, moisturizer can easily be a remedy and can be applied as often as necessary to the affected areas. Wearing shoes that fit well can also help you maintain good foot health, as well as making it easier to walk and do daily activities without the stress or pain of ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or even flip flops. Wearing clean socks with closed shoes is important to ensure that sweat and bacteria do not accumulate within the shoe. Clean socks help to prevent Athlete’s foot, fungi problems, bad odors, and can absorb sweat.

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 Every Day Foot Care
Monday, 11 December 2017 00:00

Finding the Right Footwear for Each Activity

When it comes to buying shoes, it’s important to buy footwear that is suitable for what you will be doing. If you plan on running, try to find footwear that is breathable, flexible, supportive, and comfortable. While you should look for these traits in all footwear, different environments require different features. Hiking, for example, requires a more rigid shoe that may not be as breathable, especially if they are designed for cold weather environments. Walking, on the other hand, can be performed in running shoes that are comfortable and well-fitted. If you go rock climbing, then rock climbing shoes are essential as they have superior gripping to help prevent falls. However, rock climbing shoes are not very supportive and are meant to be tight around the feet. These attributes make them unsuitable for everyday wear. Wearing the right type of shoes is vital to preventing foot injuries and will allow you to more safely enjoy all your favorite outdoor activities.

If you are a runner, wearing the right running shoe is essential. For more information, 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.

Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type

To increase performance and avoid the risk of injury, it is important to choose the right running shoe based on your foot type. The general design of running shoes revolves around pronation, which is how the ankle rolls from outside to inside when the foot strikes the ground.

  • Neutral runners are able to choose from a wide variety of shoes, including minimalist shoes or even going barefoot.
  • Runners who overpronate, or experience an over-abundance of ankle rolling, should choose shoes that provide extra motion control and stability.
  • Runners who underpronate, or supinate, have feet that have high arches and lack flexibility, preventing shock absorption. They require shoes with more flexibility and cushion.

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 Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type
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