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Posts for tag: arthritis

   Gout is a painful arthritic condition that affects nearly 4% of the world’s population, yet most people don’t recognize a gout attack when it happens. Pretty surprising for a disease that was first identified in 2640BC.

    Gout, also called hyperuricemia, is brought on by high levels of uric acid which form crystals in the body. Uric acid is needed to break down purines, a chemical compound found naturally in many foods. Some bodies produce too much uric acid, and instead of being used, it builds up in the metatarsal joint of your big toe.

    Symptoms include sudden and intense pain with redness and swelling. Attacks often happen at night and create tenderness so acute it’s painful to even lay the bedsheets over your toe. Lavish and decadent foods such as bacon, veal, scallops, and alcohol (particularly beer) have high levels of purines and can trigger the condition.

READ MORE ABOUT GOUT: My Big Toe Hurts

 Many first-time gout sufferers delay treatment and eventually end up in an urgent care for pain relief. No need! Corticosteroid injections are available in-office and reduce swelling and pain almost immediately. Next, your podiatrist will work with you to form a plan to manage your gout.

    The good news is that gout attacks are easily avoidable with dietary changes or oral medications. The bad news is that without treatment, the potential for an attack is always present because the internal process that leads to gout cannot be corrected.

    If you are suffering from an attack, don’t delay your treatment. Gout can be indicative of cardiovascular issues or kidney damage. Know the signs and symptoms, so there’s no doubt in your mind about gout.

You may have seen the title of this blog and thought of the pointed wheels worn by cowboys on their boots to urge a horse forward. Yes, those are also called spurs, but a Heel Spur is different. Your bones are constantly being repaired and strengthened by your body to keep up with the stresses of everyday activity, but when this process goes awry, it can leave odd-shaped calcium deposits on the exterior of the bone. If this happens to your heels, it's a heel spur. The deposit may be pointed and sharp or it could be flat and barely noticeable. It could cause intense pain or have no symptoms at all. Generalized pain in the heel needs to be evaluated by a podiatrist since there are many causes.

 

Plantar Fasciitis

This is one of the most common conditions associated with heel spurs. The plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. When the plantar fascia is damaged, your body sends a message to your heel to strengthen the bone to make up for lost support. A heel spur brought on by plantar fasciitis forms on the underside of the bone and if it becomes prominent enough, you may begin to feel it like a lump in your shoe. About 50% of all heel spurs form as a result of plantar fasciitis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

 

READ MORE: Heel Pain? Arch Pain? Could be...

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis

This is an arthritic condition that causes excess bone growth in the spine. Symptoms generally present with pain and stiffness in the low back and hips, but everything in our bodies is connected to something else. Unfortunately, that something else in this case is your feet. Both your Achilles tendon and your plantar fascia are at risk of being damaged by AS, which can lead to heel spurs on the back or bottom of your heel.

 

DISH

Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostasis. When we break down these words, we find that DISH is a spread out (Diffuse) pain with no identifiable cause (idiopathic) in the bones (skeletal) that involves too much growth (hyperostosis). Calcium deposits form down the sides of the upper spine and neck, but can be found as far away as the heels. Heels spurs from DISH will form on the back side of the heel and can make it difficult to wear certain shoes that rub in the affected area.

 

No matter what is causing your heel spur, the MLS pain laser can stop an active spur from growing and relieve the associated pain. Another good idea—and don’t faint when I say this—is to wear a raised heel. Not a HIGH heel, mind you, but a shoe that tilts the foot slightly forward can avoid excess pressure on the affected area. There’s no getting around it, if you suspect you may have a heel spur, you need to come see us. Your podiatrist will check for multiple causes of heel spurs and offer treatment suggestions.

 

READ MORE: Get Summer Ready Feet Today

Arthritis affects 40 million people in the US. There are many types of arthritis and it can manifest in almost any part of the body so it’s difficult at times to keep track of what’s what. The most common arthritic condition of the foot is called Hallux Rigidus. No, it’s not a spell from Harry Potter; Hallux is a name for the big toe and Rigidus means it has become rigid, unable to bend.

Hallux Rigidus is a degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis), meaning it can occur from the everyday wear and tear you put on your feet. You are at greater risk for hallux rigidus if you have a family history of arthritis or have a preexisting structural abnormality (fallen arches, excessive pronation, etc.). One in every 40 adults over 50 years old are affected by this condition.

READ MORE: Osteoarthritis

The toe becomes stiff because the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the large toe becomes inflamed and hinders proper movement. This leads to a big problem because our big toe needs to bend every time we take a step.

Symptoms of Hallux Rigidus include pain and of course inability to bend the big toe. At first, this may be minor and aggravated by cold or damp weather. You may have trouble with certain activities and movements such as running or squatting. Inflammation of the joint can lead to swelling, redness, and difficulty wearing shoes. Eventually, bone spurs may occur, and the toe can become completely immobile.

Diagnosis requires a physical examination where your podiatrist will test the flexibility and range of motion in your joint. They may also take x-rays to check the progression of arthritis or look for bone spurs. Like most podiatric ailments, if caught early enough, Hallux Rigidus has some simple non-surgical solutions. 

You guessed it, wearing the right shoes that don’t put undue pressure on or squeeze the toes can help keep your big toe moving. Orthotic devices to correct structural abnormalities, corticosteroid injections, and foot exercises or physical therapy are all conservative treatment methods that help stop the progression of this painful condition.

READ MORE: Footwear for Spring

The stiffer your big toe becomes, the less chance there is of keeping a full range of motion. If you feel that your big toe just isn’t the same as it used to be and is keeping you from living a healthy and active lifestyle call the FAAWC for an appointment today.

This Saturday we celebrate Veteran’s Day, a day to show appreciation for all the men and women in our armed forces who risk their lives for our freedom and safety. Unfortunately, veterans are also sacrificing their foot health for us. One study found that “flatfoot deformity and arthritis were significantly more prevalent in veterans versus nonveterans” (https://goo.gl/WX88Uo). In addition, male veterans have significantly more bunion deformities than male nonveterans and female veterans were more likely to suffer sprains. The goal of the study was to form guidelines for soldiers to help prevent these common veteran foot problems. Whether you’re a soldier or not, let’s take a look at how to prevent these common podiatric problems.

 

Flatfoot Deformity

It’s possible for your feet to go flat of your own doing. This is called Acquired Adult Flatfoot Deformity (AAFD). There is no single cause for this deformity; it occurs from the daily wear and tear of walking and running, which soldiers certainly do a lot of. As we walk, the posterior tibial tendon (the one that connects the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot) rolls our foot inward and keeps our arches raised. If we overuse this tendon, our feet can go flat. Proper arch support through insoles, orthotics, and choosing good footwear is the best prevention method for this deformity.

 

Arthritis

There are over 100 different forms of arthritis, but soldiers are particularly susceptible to two of these: osteoarthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs from the slow disintegration of the protective layer between our bones. It can take a lot to make this happen, but veterans have been through a lot. Post-traumatic arthritis generally occurs as a result of other foot injuries such as dislocations and fractures, which soldiers suffer plenty of. The best way to avoid giving yourself arthritis is to keep your weight down, wear supportive shoes, and exercise your feet. If you’re just standing around, get into a light lunge and stretch that Achilles tendon. Try picking up things with your toes to keep your joints mobile and healthy.

 

Bunions

If you want to get technical, a deformity of the bone at the base of your big toe is called hallux valgus, but know them better as bunions. Bunions are tricky suckers because doctors still don’t know the exact cause. Some bunions can form from trauma, others are blamed on genetics, while still others can form from abnormal biomechanics. Shoes don’t directly cause bunions, but podiatrists still agree that a good prevention method is to wear shoes with a wide toe box that avoid squeezing the big toe out of alignment. The only other prevention method is to make sure you see your podiatrist regularly and especially if you experience any pain or visible deformity of your joint.

 

Sprains

Female service members were found to be more likely than non-military females to suffer from chronic ankle sprains. Luckily, there are a lot of prevention methods for avoiding these injuries. Keeping your foot, ankle, and calf muscles strong can allow for better control over our gait and thus help us maintain a proper stride. If you know you are going to be active and you are susceptible to ankle sprains, you may consider wearing a supportive ankle brace or learning some new taping techniques on your next podiatrist visit. As with all health issues, it helps to maintain a healthy weight and get all your vitamins and minerals to strengthen bones and keep you going without injury.

 

Don’t forget to thank a veteran this Saturday. His or her feet have done a lot for you.

August 21st is Senior Citizens day. After a certain age it seems there aren’t many milestones to hit before we start getting the senior citizen discount, but being a senior citizen can come with serious foot complications. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 seniors deal with foot problems needing medical treatment. Here’s a look at the most common foot ailments for those over 65 and some tips on how to keep your feet healthy before you reach that important milestone.

Bunions

As we know (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while), a bunion is a bony growth at the base of the big toe. Bunions are in actuality, a misalignment of the big toe joint, which means they will form very slowly over time from constant pressure. Of course, as senior citizens they have had plenty of time for these to develop. The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but can stem from trauma to the foot, genetic predisposition, or arthritis. Some bunions may have no symptoms whatsoever, but usually patients will experience tenderness, redness, and of course pain. Bunions tend to affect women more than men since tight high heels that squeeze the toes together are thought to contribute to bunion formation and symptoms. For seniors, bunions can represent a big problem, as they can either be a side effect of arthritis or even lead to chronic arthritic pain in the bunion. Some of the best ways to avoid bunion complications in later life are to make sure you are wearing proper footwear that gives your toes space, take care of existing bunions now before you develop pain, and take extra special care if you have genetic inclinations for foot deformities or arthritis. With proper care now, you can avoid bunions as a senior.

Toenail Problems

As we age, our aches and pains become more noticeable and many seniors have trouble reaching their feet. This can mean all sorts of things for your toenails. If you can’t see or never look at your feet you may miss all sorts of things such as fungal nails, ingrown toenails, and diabetic sores. Make sure you are washing your feet with soap; scrubbing lightly with pumice stone when necessary, and keep your toenails neatly trimmed. If you have trouble doing this yourself, don’t hesitate to visit our PediCare salon. It isn’t your standard pedicure; performed by certified medical nail technicians, this goes way beyond beauty. Basic service includes the One Half-hour PediCare: A no-frills service that includes toenail trimming, callus and corn reduction and the post-service application of moisturizer – $35. Take care of yourself now to maintain the healthy feet you need to carry you into your senior citizenship smoothly.

Arthritis and Diabetes

Sometimes old age can bring along some serious complications like diabetes and arthritis. Both of these diseases need medical attention as they have serious complications for you feet. Arthritis occurs from gradual wear and tear on the foot over a long time. In fact, out of all the age groups surveyed, the 65 and older crowd came in first with nearly 50% of participants reporting doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Pain, stiffness, and progressive foot deformities can be signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Diabetes progresses differently. Instead of your feet erupting in pain, you may slowly lose all feeling and have trouble distinguishing hot and cold or even be numb to painful wounds. Not only does diabetes cause loss of feeling, leaving foot ailments unnoticed, but it also cuts off full oxygen supply in the peripheral nerves making existing wounds slow to heal. Easy ways to combat these wounds is to manage diabetes through a plan with your primary care physician. Make seeing a podiatrist part of that plan. Check your feet, wash them well, use non-impact exercise, and fight existing foot ailments immediately.

The best way to ensure you remain, dancing, running, swimming, or even just lounging your way into old age is to take care of your feet early. We are taught to have annual checkups from a family physician, optometrist, and dentist. Why would you not add podiatrist to that list considering your feet are the foundation to a healthy life? Don’t wait until you start getting the senior citizen discount to think about your feet. Your feet will thank you.