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October 2019

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 00:00

Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Our bones are important aspects of our body and they are constantly changing. The heavier the workload for a bone, the more likely it is that calcium will be placed in it. When a bone isn’t used often, there won’t be much calcium within it. When stress from repetitive loads prevent the bone from being able to repair itself, cracks will start to form. Stress fractures are defined as cracks in a bone that result from repetitive force, such as overuse.

The most common cause of stress fractures is a sudden increase in intensity and duration of physical activity. For example, if you begin to run long distances without working your way into doing so, you will be more likely to develop a stress fracture.

Common symptoms of stress fractures are pain and swelling near the weight bearing area on the injured bone. When initial x-rays are performed, it is possible that the fracture will not show up. However, once the stress on the area continues, the damage will increase, and the fracture will be severe enough to show up on an x-ray. Certain parts of the foot are more likely to develop stress fractures than others. Areas that typically have these fractures are: the metatarsals, the navicular bone, the calcaneus, tibia, and fibula.

Since women are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, they are twice as likely as men to sustain a stress fracture. Additionally, old age causes a decrease in bone mineral density which is why elderly people are also likely to develop these fractures.

It is important for you to be professionally diagnosed by a podiatrist if you suspect you have a stress fracture, because there are other injuries that can easily be mistaken for a fracture.  Sprains, strains, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Morton’s neuroma can all easily be mistaken for stress fractures in the foot. Your podiatrist will likely ask you a series of questions to determine what type of pain you are experiencing. These questions will help your doctor identify whether you have a stress fracture.

The best method of treatment for a stress fracture is rest. Additionally, a walking boot, cast, or crutches, will help rest the area that is injured. The typical healing time for stress fractures is 4-12 weeks, however this depends on which bone is involved.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 00:00

Stress Fractures in the Feet

Patients who have had a stress fracture in the foot are often aware of the pain and discomfort it can typically cause. It can occur as a result of overuse from participating in sporting activities, or from standing for the majority of the day. Many people feel the pain after an activity is completed, and it may be difficult to walk. Additional reasons why this type of injury may occur can include changing footwear, increasing the intensity of training, or from running on different surfaces than what one is accustomed to. Relief may be felt when the affected foot is elevated, and the activity that caused the fracture is ceased. Stress fractures may be prevented when the feet are properly warmed up and stretched. If you feel you have endured a stress fracture, it is strongly advised that you schedule a consultation with a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition.

Stress fractures occur when there is a tiny crack within a bone. To learn more, contact Pete O’Donald, DPM from Texas. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain free and on your feet.

How Are They Caused?

Stress fractures are the result of repetitive force being placed on the bone. Since the lower leg and feet often carry most of the body’s weight, stress fractures are likely to occur in these areas. If you rush into a new exercise, you are more likely to develop a stress fracture since you are starting too much, too soon.  Pain resulting from stress fractures may go unnoticed at first, however it may start to worsen over time.

Risk Factors

  • Gender – They are more commonly found in women compared to men.
  • Foot Problems – People with unusual arches in their feet are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Certain Sports – Dancers, gymnasts, tennis players, runners, and basketball players are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Lack of Nutrients – A lack of vitamin D and calcium may weaken the bones and make you more prone to stress fractures
  • Weak Bones – Osteoporosis can weaken the bones therefore resulting in stress fractures

Stress fractures do not always heal properly, so it is important that you seek help from a podiatrist if you suspect you may have one. Ignoring your stress fracture may cause it to worsen, and you may develop chronic pain as well as additional fractures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Nederland, TX. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle
Monday, 28 October 2019 00:00

Wounds That Don't Heal Need to Be Checked

Your feet are covered most of the day. If you're diabetic, periodic screening is important for good health. Numbness is often a sign of diabetic foot and can mask a sore or wound.

Monday, 21 October 2019 00:00

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. This considered to be one of the most frequently recorded medical illnesses throughout history. Gout occurrences in the US have risen within the past twenty years and the condition now affects 8.3 million people which is 4% of all Americans. Researchers have found that gout affects men more than women and African-American men more than white men. 

Symptoms of gout are warmth, swelling, discoloration, and tenderness in the affected joint area. The small joint on the big toe is the most common place for a gout attack to occur.

People who are obese, gain weight excessively, drink alcohol heavily, have high blood pressure, or have abnormal kidney function are more likely to develop gout. Furthermore, certain drugs and diseases are likely to increase levels of uric acid in the joints which eventually leads to gout. You are also more likely to develop gout if you eat a lot of meat and fish.

Many who experience gout attacks will experience repeated attacks over the years. Some people who have gout symptoms, may never have them again, but others may experience them several times a year. If you have gout symptoms throughout the year, you may have recurrent gout. Those who have gout should also be careful about their urate crystals collecting in their urinary tract, because this may lead to kidney stones.

Diagnosis for gout is done by checking the level of uric acid in the joints and blood. Your podiatrist may also prescribe medicine to reduce uric acid buildup in the blood, which will help prevent any gout attacks.

To treat gout, your podiatrist may also prescribe you Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) which will relieve the pain and swelling of a gout episode and it can also shorten a gout attack. Maintaining a healthy diet is also a proven method to prevent gout attacks. 

Monday, 21 October 2019 00:00

Gout and Elevated Uric Acid Levels

Severe pain and discomfort in the big toe and surrounding area may be indicative of a condition that is known as gout. It is a type of arthritis that can develop as a result of elevated uric acid levels in the bloodstream, which can cause crystals to form. These can lodge in the joints of the big toe. Additional symptoms that many patients can experience may consist of swelling, redness, and difficulty moving the toe. There are certain foods that have high levels of purines, which can contribute to abnormal uric acid levels. These can include shellfish, red meat, and drinks that have excess sugar. Many times gout attacks will improve over several days. There may be measures that can be implemented that can help to reduce future gout episodes. These can include eating foods that are healthy, and drinking plenty of water daily. If you are suffering from gout, it is strongly suggested that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can offer you correct treatment options.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact Pete O’Donald, DPM from Texas. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Nederland, TX. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Gout

Running may seem like a simple to do. However, running is actually a complex movement that puts stress on the ligaments, bones, and joints of the body.  Selecting the correct running shoe is important for increasing performance and avoiding risk of injury.  Running shoes should be selected based on your foot type.  Considerations such as trail versus road shoes are important. Your foot type dictates the degree of cushioning, stability and motion control you require.  The most accurate way to learn your foot type is to visit a local shop that specializes in running shoes.  Professionals can measure your arch type, stride and gait and help you with your shoe needs.

The design of running shoes is created around the idea of pronation.  Pronation is the natural rolling movement of your ankle from the outside to inside when your foot strikes the ground.  If you run properly you strike the ground on the outside of your heel and roll in the direction of your big toe before pushing off once more.  Pronation is beneficial because it assists the lower half of your body in absorbing shock and storing energy.  Those considered neutral runners pronate correctly and do not need running shoes that help correct their form.  Neutral runners can choose from a wide variety of shoes, including barefoot or minimal types.  However, those who have arch problems or who adopt an incorrect form while running may experience too much or too little pronation. They may require running shoes that offer additional support.

Those who overpronate experience an over-abundance of ankle rolling.  Even while standing, those who severely overpronate display ankles that are angled inward.  It is not uncommon for them to have flat feet or curved legs.  The tendency to overpronate may cause many injuries.  Areas that tend to become injured are the knees, ankles, and Achilles tendon.  If you find that you have a tendency to overpronate, you should look at shoes that provide extra stability and motion-control.  Motion-control shoes are straight and firm. Shoes of this type do not curve at the tip.  The restricted flexibility along the middle of the shoe prohibits the foot from rolling too far inward as your foot strikes the ground.

A less common problem is underpronation.  Underpronation, also called supination, is when the feet are unable to roll inward during landing.  Those who underpronate have feet that lack flexibility and high arches.  This prevents any kind of shock absorption, even though it does place less rotational stress on ankles and knees.  This added force can cause fractures, ligament tears, and muscle strains because the legs are trying to compensate for the impact.  Those who underpronate need shoes with more cushioning and flexibility.  If you have a tendency to underpronate, selecting stability or motion-control shoes may cause you more problems by continuing to prevent pronation.

When choosing running shoes that fit correctly, it is important to properly measure your foot. This is helpful in determining the correct size that provides maximum comfort. There are several different forms of running styles, and it is wise to purchase running shoes that correlate with your choice. While running on uneven surfaces, the feet will feel better when flexible shoes are worn, and this can be helpful in providing ample support and cushioning. There are shoes that are designed for running on trails where rocks and mud may be present. These types of shoes have additional tread which can be beneficial in providing the support that is needed while engaging in this type of running. If you have questions about running shoes, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can guide you toward choosing shoes that are correct for you.

If you are a runner, wearing the right running shoe is essential. For more information, contact Pete O’Donald, DPM from Texas. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type

To increase performance and avoid the risk of injury, it is important to choose the right running shoe based on your foot type. The general design of running shoes revolves around pronation, which is how the ankle rolls from outside to inside when the foot strikes the ground.

  • Neutral runners are able to choose from a wide variety of shoes, including minimalist shoes or even going barefoot.
  • Runners who overpronate, or experience an over-abundance of ankle rolling, should choose shoes that provide extra motion control and stability.
  • Runners who underpronate, or supinate, have feet that have high arches and lack flexibility, preventing shock absorption. They require shoes with more flexibility and cushion.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Nederland, TX. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type
Monday, 07 October 2019 00:00

Treating Toenail Fungus

Fungal infection of the toenail, or onychomycosis, typically appears as a gradual change in a toenail’s texture and color that involves brittleness and darkening.  The fungal infection itself occurs beneath the surface of the nail.  Aside from discoloration, other symptoms include the collection of debris beneath the nail plate, white marks on the nail plate, and a foul odor emanating from the nail.  If ignored, the infection can spread into other nails and the skin; in severe cases, it can hinder one’s ability to work or walk. 

The toenails are particularly vulnerable to contracting infection in moist environments where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as around swimming pools, public showers, and locker rooms.  Fungal infection may also be more likely to occur in nail beds that have been injured, and sufferers of chronic diseases such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immunodeficiency conditions are particularly prone to developing fungal nails. 

Fungal nails can be primarily prevented by practicing proper hygiene and regularly examining the feet and toes.  Carefully washing the feet with soap and water and thoroughly drying the feet afterwards are essential.  Other tips include wearing shower shoes in public areas, changing shoes and socks daily, keeping toenails clipped at a short length, wearing breathable shoes that fit properly, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and disinfecting home pedicure tools and instruments used to cut nails.

Fungal nail treatment may vary between patients and the severity of the condition.  Your podiatrist may suggest a daily routine of cleansing that spans over a period of time to ease mild infections.  Over-the-counter or prescription antifungal agents may also be prescribed, including topical and/or oral medications.  Debridement, or the removal of diseased nail matter and debris, may also be performed.  In more severe cases, surgical treatment may be needed.  In some instances, the temporary removal of the fungal nail allows for the direct application of a topical antifungal to the nail bed.  In other cases, a chronically painful fungal nail that has not responded to other treatments may be permanently removed; this allows the infection to be cured and avoids the growth of a deformed nail.  

Monday, 07 October 2019 00:00

What Causes Toenail Fungus To Develop?

Research has indicated that approximately half of the population is affected with nail fungus, and it is most likely to occur in the toenails. It is caused by a fungal infection, and typically develops in the big toe. There are several symptoms that are associated with this ailment. These can include a yellowing of the nail, and it may appear brittle and dull. In severe cases, the nail may produce a foul odor, and can lift from the nail bed. The fungus that causes this contagious condition lives and thrives in warm and moist areas. These can consist of public swimming pools and locker room floors. There may be preventive measures that can be taken that can include wearing appropriate shoes while in these types of environments, in addition to wearing shoes and socks that are made of a breathable material. If you notice a toenail fungus is developing, it is suggested that you schedule a consultation with a podiatrist who can offer you proper treatment techniques.

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 Pete O’Donald, DPM of Texas. 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 Nederland, TX. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus
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