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Thursday, 28 June 2018 00:00

Reminder - When was the last time...

Custom orthotics (shoe inserts) should be replaced periodically. They need to fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles.

Published in Blog
Monday, 25 June 2018 00:00

Can Wearing High Heels Damage My Feet?

Many women choose to wear high heels so the feet and legs can have a luxurious look. Research has shown there may be reasons why high heels should be avoided. Toenails can become damaged, and wearing certain high heels is said to be the number one cause of ingrown toenails. Many women tend to fall much more frequently when this type of shoe is worn, and this may cause possible bone fractures. If there is not an adequate amount of room to move about within the shoe, it can cause an already existing case of bunions to become even worse. It’s suggested to limit wearing high heels to a few days per week, and to also choose a lower heel. Doing these things may provide ample relief. Additionally, having your feet massaged regularly will not only feel good, but may aid in the overall health of the foot.

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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Published in Blog
Monday, 18 June 2018 00:00

Causes of Athlete’s Foot

A fungal infection that develops in the skin of the feet, which may be referred to as athlete's foot or tinea pedis, often produces discomfort and pain. Probable symptoms may include itching and burning skin in addition to blisters that may form in between the toes. Athlete’s foot is typically caused by a fungus that thrives in warm and dark environments and may spread when the foot touches the contaminated area. This type of fungus often lives in public showers and pools, and may be prevented from spreading by wearing appropriate shoes in these areas. If you are affected by this condition, it may be beneficial to wash your feet often followed by thoroughly drying in between the toes. If your socks should become wet from excess moisture, it’s important to change them frequently in addition to wearing cotton socks which may aid in absorbing additional perspiration. For severe infections, a consultation with a podiatrist is advised for more aggressive treatment options

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is often an uncomfortable condition to experience. Thankfully, podiatrists specialize in treating athlete’s foot and offer the best treatment options. If you have any questions about athlete’s foot, consult with Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment.

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a non-serious and common fungal infection of the foot. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be contracted by touching someone who has it or infected surfaces. The most common places contaminated by it are public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Once contracted, it grows on feet that are left inside moist, dark, and warm shoes and socks.

Prevention

The most effective ways to prevent athlete’s foot include:

  • Thoroughly washing and drying feet
  • Avoid going barefoot in locker rooms and public showers
  • Using shower shoes in public showers
  • Wearing socks that allow the feet to breathe
  • Changing socks and shoes frequently if you sweat a lot

Symptoms

Athlete’s foot initially occurs as a rash between the toes. However, if left undiagnosed, it can spread to the sides and bottom of the feet, toenails, and if touched by hand, the hands themselves. Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Scaly and peeling skin

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is quick and easy. Skin samples will be taken and either viewed under a microscope or sent to a lab for testing. Sometimes, a podiatrist can diagnose it based on simply looking at it. Once confirmed, treatment options include oral and topical antifungal medications.

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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Published in Blog
Monday, 11 June 2018 00:00

What is the Achilles Tendon?

The longest tendon in the body is referred to as the Achilles tendon. Its location lies in the back of the foot and its purpose is to connect the heel bone to the calf. Research has shown that it may become damaged or torn as a result of a sudden injury, and it’s advised to seek treatment as soon as possible. Typical symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture may include difficulty in standing on tiptoes in addition to bruising and swelling at the point of an injury. In order to obtain a proper diagnosis, a podiatrist may use a method referred to as the Thompson’s test. This involves squeezing the calf muscles while lying face down so movement in the ankle can be observed. For severe tears, surgery may be a necessary option as a permanent solution which may prevent the tendon from re-rupturing. For less severe tears, it may be advantageous to wear a brace or a cast so healing can commence. Please consult with a podiatrist for additional information about Achilles tendon injuries.

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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Published in Blog
Monday, 04 June 2018 00:00

What Causes Cracked Heels?

Heel fissures is another name for a condition referred to as cracked heels. The skin will typically appear dry and callused, and may generally be uncomfortable. Pain may be experienced by patients whose skin on their heels are severely cracked and infection may occur as a result of this. There are several reasons for this condition to develop, including standing for the duration of the day, the heels enduring additional weight from being obese, or shoes that do not fit correctly. For mild cases, relief may be found in soaking the feet in warm water, followed by applying a moisturizer which may help soften the skin.  For more severe cases, it’s suggested to consult with a podiatrist who may remove the dead skin and can recommend and provide appropriate shoe inserts.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, 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.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How Do You Get Them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

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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Published in Blog
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