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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.

Gig Harbor (253) 858-8100
Same Day Emergency Appointment Available

March 2020

Monday, 30 March 2020 00:00

What Is a Hammertoe?

There are many types of deformities that can happen to the feet. One of these is referred to as a hammertoe, which can cause the toe to bend downward instead of naturally pointing forward. It can develop gradually due to genetic reasons, or from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. Additional reasons why this ailment may occur can include an injury to the toe, or medical conditions such as arthritis or nerve damage. Common side effects of hammertoe may consist of corns or calluses, they can form on top of the affected toe, and it may be difficult to walk and flex your foot. Patients may find mild relief when insoles are worn in the shoes, and surgery may be a necessary option to correct severe hammertoe. If you are afflicted with this ailment, it’s suggested that you consult with a podiatrist as quickly as possible for proper treatment to begin.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. James D. 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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Saturday, 28 March 2020 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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Peripheral artery disease, otherwise referred to as PAD, causes the blood vessels to narrow, which in turn, restricts blood flow to different parts of the body, including the feet. To help prevent developing this condition, it’s suggested that you commonly partake in physical activity and maintain low cholesterol levels. PAD can be difficult to diagnose, which is why it is so important to be aware of the symptoms. Hair loss on the feet and legs, leg weakness, ulcers on the feet or legs, numbness towards the lower extremity regions, and the foot or leg feeling cold, are all signs indicating you may have developed PAD. There are several methods to test for PAD. In order to properly diagnose this condition and receive the proper treatment, it is highly recommended to consult with a podiatrist.

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, 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.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heel
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.

Diagnosis

While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.

Treatment

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

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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As the aging process occurs, the skin on the feet may become thin and lose cushioning. The feet may also be more susceptible to the development of uncomfortable foot conditions, which may include blisters and corns. Additionally, ingrown toenails may be a common ailment among seniors, as this can be a result of poor visibility while trimming the toenails. The feet may generally feel better when shoes and socks that are worn fit correctly, and it is beneficial to avoid wearing high heels. It may also be helpful to choose shoes that have Velcro fasteners, as opposed to laces that can be easily tripped on if they become untied. Many elderly patients choose to be under the care of a podiatrist, who can monitor any existing foot conditions.

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, 09 March 2020 00:00

Possible Causes of Cracked Heels

The medical condition that is known as cracked heels is defined as splits in the skin that may gradually develop into deep fissures. This may cause pain and discomfort, and in severe cases, the skin may begin to bleed. Common symptoms that are associated with this ailment can include hardened and itchy skin, and it may be difficult to walk. This condition may develop from standing for extended periods of time throughout the day, or from frequently wearing shoes that have an open back. Some patients have found mild relief when the feet are washed and dried, followed by using a good moisturizer. Additionally, it may be beneficial to drink plenty of water on a daily basis, and to implement a gentle exercise routine. If you are afflicted with cracked heels, it is strongly advised that you speak with a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition.

If the skin on your feet starts to crack, you may want to see a podiatrist to find treatment. 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

It is important to moisturize your cracked heels in order to prevent pain, bleeding, and infection. The reason cracked heels form is because the skin on the foot is too dry to support the immense pressure placed on them. When the foot expands, the dry skin on the foot begins to split.

Ways to Help Heal Them

  • Invest in a good foot cream
  • Try Using Petroleum Jelly
  • Ease up on Soaps
  • Drink Plenty of Water

Ways to Prevent Cracked Heels

  • Moisturize After Showering
  • Skip a Shower
  • Keep Shower Water Lukewarm
  • Don’t Scrub Your Feet

If you are unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels, seek guidance from a podiatrist. Your doctor will help you with any questions or information you may need. 

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 Solutions for Cracked Heels
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Monday, 02 March 2020 00:00

How to Protect Your Feet While Working

Teaching is a profession that typically requires the instructor to stand for the majority of the day. For those in a profession that requires standing for long periods of time, such as a teacher, it’s important to be aware that this may cause general foot pain, as well as the development of an uncomfortable foot condition. Research has indicated this may be prevented by keeping the feet strong, and by wearing comfortable shoes. These can include footwear that have adequate room for the toes to move freely in, and footwear that includes insoles that can provide the feet support and cushioning. It may be beneficial to perform gentle stretching exercises before beginning and ending your day, as this may improve the overall strength of the feet. If you are involved in a profession in which you stand for most of the day, please consult with a podiatrist who can recommend the best shoes to wear for your chosen field.

While working on the feet, it is important to take the proper care of them. For more information about working on your feet, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Working on Your Feet

Standing on your feet for long periods of time can cause stress and pain in your feet. Your whole body may experience change in terms of posture, back pain, bunions, callouses and or plantar warts. There are ways to avoid these conditions with proper foot care, smart choices and correct posture.

Positive Changes

Negative heeled shoe – Choosing this shoe type places the heel slightly lower than the ball of the foot. These are great for overall foot health. Find shoes that fit you correctly.

Go barefoot – Our feet were not designed to be enclosed for all hours of the day. Try to periodically expose your feet to air.

Eliminate Pain

Foot Exercises – Performing simple exercises, incorporating yoga and doing stretches are beneficial. This will allow increased blood flow to the area and muscles of the foot.

Achilles tendon – Stretching the foot out flat on the floor will relax the calf muscles and tendon. These exercises can be performed almost anywhere. Make sure you add these exercises to your daily regimen. 

With a little bit of this information and knowing more about foot health, you will notice changes. Foot stretches and proper footwear will help with pain and prevent further issues.

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 Working on Your Feet
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