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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.

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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 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
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 D. 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.

Read more about Flat Feet
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 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
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 D. 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.

Read more about What to Know About a Broken Toe
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.

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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 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.

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 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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