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Monday, 29 October 2018 00:00

Causes of Hammertoe

A condition that is referred to as hammertoe is typically the result of weakened muscles in the toes. This may be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit correctly, medical conditions including arthritis, or genetic traits, which may include having high arches. Some of the symptoms that may be associated with this condition can often include difficulty in walking or moving the toes, in addition to having a toe that tends to bend in a downward direction. There may be several remedies that can relieve a portion of the discomfort and this may depend on the reason why the hammer toe is present. If it is because of shoes that do not fit properly, changing the footwear may be an option to consider. Additionally, wearing insoles in your shoes may aid in providing moderate relief if the hammer toe develops due to high arches. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to permanently straighten the toes, which may be successfully performed by a podiatrist.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. James McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work 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 care needs.

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Friday, 26 October 2018 00:00

Before you start dancing...

 

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Researchers in Korea have found that excessive weight gain may lead to the unsightly condition known as onychomycosis, which is also referred to as toenail fungus. In patients who are diabetic, this condition may be painful and may lead to the development of additional infections. It may be beneficial to treat this ailment as early as possible and this may be accomplished by using a topical medicine. In more advanced cases, injections may be necessary to administer around the nail bed. Toenail fungus is typically not life-threatening, and there may be moderate symptoms that may accompany this condition. The most noticeable signs may be a thickening of the toenail, and may often appear black in color as the infection progresses. If you feel you have this condition, it’s advised to consult with a podiatrist who can recommend the best course of treatment for you.

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, 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.

Symptoms

  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail

Treatment

If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.

Prevention

In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

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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Despite the fact that many women enjoy wearing high heels, they may want to be aware of the potential damage wearing these types of shoes may cause. The toes may endure increased pressure, and this may specifically occur under the big toe. If you are susceptible to bunions, this may result in the formation of one, in addition to the development of corns and calluses, which may typically form on the balls of the feet or on top of the toes. Pain affecting the heel of the foot may be related to a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This may occur when the band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel to the toes becomes inflamed, and severe pain and discomfort may often accompany this condition. Research has shown that regardless of the ailments that may develop as a result of wearing high heels, a large percentage of women choose to wear this type of shoe.

High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or 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.

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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If you notice a large bony protrusion on the side of your big toe, you may have what is referred to as a bunion. It is considered to be a deformity, and there may be several reasons why this condition may occur. Research has shown that genetics may play a significant role in the formation of bunions. If you happen to have a pre-existing case of bunions, wearing shoes that do not fit correctly could possibly make it even worse. This type of footwear may include shoes that have a narrow toe area, which does not have adequate room for the toes to move about in. This may result in the toes being forced to squeeze into an area that is too small. There is a significant reduction in the development of bunions in non-western countries and this may be a result of wearing shoes that fit correctly. If you feel you have a bunion, it’s suggested to speak with a podiatrist who can begin treatment options that are right for you.

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.

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Monday, 01 October 2018 00:00

Causes and Symptoms of a Broken Foot

People who have broken their foot are most likely familiar with the severe pain and discomfort that may be associated with this condition. Typical symptoms of this type of fracture may include swelling, bruising and the inability to walk on the foot. The most common reasons for this to occur may be from a fall or from overuse, which may be a result of consistent running and jumping. If you feel you have broken your foot, a proper diagnosis must be performed, which will determine the severity of the fracture. This is accomplished by having an X-ray, CT scan or bone scan taken. When this occurs, proper treatment may begin, which may include wearing a cast or a supportive boot. In severe breaks where the bone protrudes from the skin, surgery may be a necessary option to repair any damage the foot has incurred. It is suggested to speak with a podiatrist if you have broken your foot and would like to learn about treatment options that are correct for you.

A broken foot requires immediate medical attention and treatment. If you need your feet checked, 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.

Broken Foot Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A broken foot is caused by one of the bones in the foot typically breaking when bended, crushed, or stretched beyond its natural capabilities. Usually the location of the fracture indicates how the break occurred, whether it was through an object, fall, or any other type of injury. 

Common Symptoms of Broken Feet:

  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blue in color
  • Numbness
  • Cold
  • Misshapen
  • Cuts
  • Deformities

Those that suspect they have a broken foot shoot seek urgent medical attention where a medical professional could diagnose the severity.

Treatment for broken bones varies depending on the cause, severity and location. Some will require the use of splints, casts or crutches while others could even involve surgery to repair the broken bones. Personal care includes the use of ice and keeping the foot stabilized and elevated.

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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