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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

Monday, 12 April 2021 00:00

How Runners Can Heal Their Heels

When you walk or run, the thick tissue on the bottom of your feet connecting the front of your foot with your heel—the plantar fascia—stretches and contracts. Repeated stretching and contracting of the plantar fascia can precipitate tearing or inflammation, otherwise known as plantar fasciitis. Runners are often afflicted with plantar fasciitis, which can cause a stabbing pain located on the bottom of the heel. Some simple at-home therapies for plantar fasciitis include refraining from activities that aggravate the area, icing it with an ice pack or massaging it by rolling a frozen water bottle under your feet. Additionally, a podiatrist may be able to help heal the plantar fascia by taping or splinting it, creating custom orthotics, or suggesting proper footwear and gentle stretching exercises.

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

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

Corns and calluses are both hardened layers of dead skin that can develop on the feet to protect them from stress, irritation and rubbing that has occurred over a period of time—usually as a result of wearing ill-fitting shoes or friction between the toes. The difference between corns and calluses is where they are located: calluses are on the bottom of the toes, and corns are on a bony area on the top of the foot. Corns also have a thick “core” of skin at their base and are either hard (on the top of the toes), or soft (between the toes). Corns, like calluses, can be painful and cause difficulty walking. Occasionally, a little blood may collect where the skin of the foot and the corn meet and cause discoloration or even split the skin and allow an infection to possibly occur. You can help avoid getting a corn by wearing properly sized shoes with plenty of room for the toes to move. If the corn does not go away on its own over several months, or is causing pain or difficulty walking, a podiatrist may relieve discomfort or even remove pressure and pain from the area by safely shaving away some of the dead skin. They may also be able to correct any structural issue you might have using orthotics to distribute weight more evenly.

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 Everything You Need to Know About Corns

Shin splints are a painful, yet sometimes avoidable, common form of shin pain among athletes. Shin splints—also known as Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS)—are usually associated with runners and gymnasts, and occur when the muscles that attach to the tibia, or shin bone, are overused and become inflamed. Athletes can sometimes get shin splints if they increase training too rapidly, or don’t warm up properly or wear proper shoes. The pain associated with shin splints can cover the entire inner part of the shin, and unlike exertional compartment syndrome—a more serious condition often mistaken for shin splints—usually goes away with proper self-care. A podiatrist can recommend a treatment/management plan which may include massaging or icing after activity, orthotics, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and switching to more appropriate footwear.

Ankle and foot injuries are common among athletes and in many sports. They can be caused by several problems and may be potentially serious. If you are feeling pain or think you were injured in a sporting event or when exercising, 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.

Common Injuries

The most common injuries that occur in sporting activities include:

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Broken Foot
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Stress Fractures
  • Turf Toe

Symptoms

Symptoms vary depending upon the injury and in some cases, there may be no symptoms at all. However, in most cases, some form of symptom is experienced. Pain, aching, burning, bruising, tenderness, tightness or stiffness, sensation loss, difficulty moving, and swelling are the most common symptoms.

Treatment

Just as symptoms vary depending upon the injury, so do treatment options. A common treatment method is known as the RICE method. This method involves rest, applying ice, compression and elevating the afflicted foot or ankle. If the injury appears to be more serious, surgery might be required, such as arthroscopic or reconstructive surgery. Lastly, rehabilitation or therapy might be needed to gain full functionality in the afflicted area. Any discomfort experienced by an athlete must be evaluated by a licensed, reputable medical professional.  

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 Sports Related Foot And Ankle Injuries
Tuesday, 23 March 2021 00:00

Are You Suffering From Ingrown Toenails?

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can lead to more serious concerns, such as an infection. Knowing proper nail care can help in the prevention of an ingrown toenail. Give us a call, and get treated!

Monday, 22 March 2021 00:00

Peripheral Neuropathy 101

Peripheral neuropathy is caused when the nerves in the extremities such as the hands or feet are damaged.  Neuropathy is generally indicated by pain, numbness, tingling, or a pins and needles sensation in the feet.  While one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes, it can also be caused by metabolic disorders, alcohol, trauma, vitamin deficiency, and even genetics.  Treatment options for neuropathy are often individualized and focused on the cause of the neuropathy.  Therefore, patients who are experiencing the signs of peripheral neuropathy in their feet should visit a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment method.

Neuropathy

Neuropathy can be a potentially serious condition, especially if it is left undiagnosed. If you have any concerns that you may be experiencing nerve loss in your feet, 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 for neuropathy.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a condition that leads to damage to the nerves in the body. Peripheral neuropathy, or neuropathy that affects your peripheral nervous system, usually occurs in the feet. Neuropathy can be triggered by a number of different causes. Such causes include diabetes, infections, cancers, disorders, and toxic substances.

Symptoms of Neuropathy Include:

  • Numbness
  • Sensation loss
  • Prickling and tingling sensations
  • Throbbing, freezing, burning pains
  • Muscle weakness

Those with diabetes are at serious risk due to being unable to feel an ulcer on their feet. Diabetics usually also suffer from poor blood circulation. This can lead to the wound not healing, infections occurring, and the limb may have to be amputated.

Treatment

To treat neuropathy in the foot, podiatrists will first diagnose the cause of the neuropathy. Figuring out the underlying cause of the neuropathy will allow the podiatrist to prescribe the best treatment, whether it be caused by diabetes, toxic substance exposure, infection, etc. If the nerve has not died, then it’s possible that sensation may be able to return to the foot.

Pain medication may be issued for pain. Electrical nerve stimulation can be used to stimulate nerves. If the neuropathy is caused from pressure on the nerves, then surgery may be necessary.

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 Neuropathy

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that can cause swelling, pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion in any joint in the body. RA often affects the small joints of the feet and the ankle joint. In the front of the foot, the big toe joint is often affected. This can lead to difficulty walking, as the big toe joint bears the body’s weight. In the back of the foot, the three joints responsible for side to side movements of the foot can be affected and can make walking on any uneven surface very difficult. When the ankle is affected, the ability to climb stairs or ramps may be impaired. RA can also cause rheumatoid nodules to form on the feet, which can painfully rub against the shoes while walking. If you have RA in your feet or ankles, it is suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can help you manage this condition.

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
Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00

Signs and Causes of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet, mainly in between the toes. The infection usually causes a rash that becomes red, itchy, scaly, and dry. Other signs of athlete’s foot can include a foul odor, cracked skin, peeling of the skin, and a burning sensation. While anyone can get athlete’s foot, the fungus that causes athlete’s foot is usually spread in warm and moist environments such as communal showers or public pools. Athlete’s foot can also spread from sharing items that touch the feet. Patients who believe they have developed this condition should visit a podiatrist for a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.

Athlete’s foot is an inconvenient condition that can be easily reduced with the proper treatment. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic.  Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Athlete’s Foot: The Sole Story

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, can be an extremely contagious foot infection. It is commonly contracted in public changing areas and bathrooms, dormitory style living quarters, around locker rooms and public swimming pools, or anywhere your feet often come into contact with other people.

Solutions to Combat Athlete’s Foot

  • Hydrate your feet by using lotion
  • Exfoliate
  • Buff off nails
  • Use of anti-fungal products
  • Examine your feet and visit your doctor if any suspicious blisters or cuts develop

Athlete’s foot can cause many irritating symptoms such as dry and flaking skin, itching, and redness. Some more severe symptoms can include bleeding and cracked skin, intense itching and burning, and even pain when walking. In the worst cases, Athlete’s foot can cause blistering as well. Speak to your podiatrist for a better understanding of the different causes of Athlete’s foot, as well as help in determining which treatment options are best for you.

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 Deal with Athlete's Foot
Tuesday, 02 March 2021 00:00

Do I Have a Plantar Wart?

Plantar warts are a small growth on the sole of the foot. They grow because of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that infects the foot through small cracks in the skin. These growths usually form in weight bearing areas, and they usually appear flat. Plantar warts can often look grainy and somewhat rough, and can also be indicated by black dots that are often small clots, pain or tenderness while standing or walking, and thickened hard skin over the wart. If you have a plantar wart, please consult with a podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to suggest treatments such as cryotherapy, laser treatment, prescriptions or surgery

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, 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.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

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 All About Plantar Warts

Many pregnant women realize their feet have become bigger during their pregnancy and can permanently remain that way. This can happen from weight gain, or hormonal changes that naturally occur to aid in the delivery process. Swollen feet are a common ailment during pregnancy, and they can be noticed when the feet are at their largest at the end of the day. Mild relief may be found when compression socks are worn, and it may help to perform simple cardiovascular exercises. Pregnant women find it helpful to frequently elevate their feet, which may be beneficial in distributing the fluid from the feet to the legs. If you have questions about swollen feet or foot pain during pregnancy, it is strongly suggested that you speak to a podiatrist.

Pregnant women with swollen feet can be treated with a variety of different methods that are readily available. For more information about other cures for swollen feet during pregnancy, consult with Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What Foot Problems Can Arise During Pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward.  This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy but tends to occur in the later stages. 

How Can I Keep My Feet Healthy During Pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

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 Care for Pregnant Women
Sunday, 21 February 2021 00:00

Do Your Child's Feet Hurt?

Have your child's feet been examined lately? Healthy feet are happy feet. If your child is complaining of foot pain, it may be a sign of underlying problems.

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