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Posts for tag: swelling

   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.

This month, we’ve talked about ligaments and we’ve talked about tendons. Now we need to talk about your bones. Your feet have over a quarter of the bones in your entire body (26 in each foot to be exact). We rely on our feet to get us through everyday life, but everyday life might be getting back at us with damage to our bones.

 

Bones are rigid, unlike tendons, muscles, and ligaments, which bend and stretch. If you break a toe from a sudden event, you usually know by the immediate pain and the amount of cursing that accompanies it. Not every broken toe comes from a sudden trauma though, and the signs of a slow stress fracture aren’t always as obvious as a sudden injury.

 

A stress fracture is brought on by repetitive motion. This could be from sports or just from everyday activities. Over time, hairline cracks in a small bone can turn to big cracks and eventually full breaks. The early warning signs of a fractured toe are subtle, but if you pay attention to your feet (like I always tell you to!), you should be able to recognize when your feet just don’t feel right. The first sign is pain. I say it time, and again, pain is not normal. Any sudden pain that occurs during a specific motion or activity is bad. Pain that gets worse during activities and then feels immediately better when you rest can be indicative of a stress fracture.

 

READ MORE: Don't Stress Over Stress Fractures

 

As the fracture deepens, the pain will get worse and stick around longer. It may now be accompanied by swelling, bruising, or tenderness. You may find it difficult to put on a shoe or even walk on the fracture. Seeing a podiatrist before you get to this point is important. Stress fractures are more likely to occur in people who train on hard surfaces (like concrete), repeat certain motions (like jumping and running), or wear improper shoes with little cushioning.

 

Even though treatment is generally straightforward, these injuries take a lot of time to heal. Your podiatrist may recommend a splint or boot to immobilize the joint and protect the toe. During this time, you may have to sit out of your favorite activities until the fracture heals. If you return to the same activity too soon, you’ll continue to damage to your bones, and more drastic treatment options may need to be taken. During your healing time, try activities like swimming or cycling which take pressure off the feet.

 

READ MORE: Avoid Athlete's Foot at the Pool

 

You can avoid stress fractures by taking proper precautions such as good shoes for activity, varied training surfaces, and paying attention to early warning signs. If you think you have a fractured toe, stop all activity, use the R.I.C.E. method for symptom treatment, and make an appointment with the FAAWC. Your toes will thank you.

During winter time we don’t spend a lot of time looking at our feet, as they are usually bundled up in thick socks and warm shoes, but there are certain things we always need to pay attention to. One of those things is our toenails. Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail grows down into the skin, rather than outward as it’s supposed to. This condition is easily diagnosable since you can clearly see the skin growing over the nail. This may be accompanied by pain, redness, swelling, or even pus if infection is present.

 

Ingrown toenails occur on the big toe in nine out of ten cases, but other toes may be affected or even fingernails. Unfortunately, the majority of ingrown nails occur due to simple genetics. If you have larger-than-average toenails, but average size toes, this can lead to your nails growing down into the skin of your toe. People with particularly thick toenails or naturally curved nails may also be at higher risk of ingrown toenails. Although some ingrown nails may not be bothersome, secondary factors can exacerbate your condition to the point where you need to see a podiatrist.

 

READ MORE: Say Goodbye to Ingrown Toenails

 

One of the most common culprits of painful or infected ingrown toenails is improper nail cutting. Don’t cut your toenails too short, as this increases the chance they will grow into the skin. Nails should always be cut into a straight line, not a curve, to avoid edges progressing into the sides of your toe. Acute nail damage, such as stubbing your toe forcefully, can lead to misshapen nails that become ingrown. Ingrown nails may also develop if your toes are constantly squeezed together, either by tight shoes or conditions such as bunions that turn the toes toward each other.

 

Although cutting your toenail away from the skin might temporarily solve your problem, it will simply grow back the same way unless a surgical correction is made. Surgery is a scary word for most people, but fixing an ingrown toenail is a breeze and the procedure can actually be completed in a single office visit. First, a local anesthetic is applied, numbing the area so you remain blissfully ignorant to any feeling.

 

Next, the nail borders are removed; a fancy way of saying your nail is cut into a narrower shape and the folded skin is disconnected. In some cases, the entire toenail may be removed. Lastly, the nail matrix is chemically cauterized to eliminate the offending nail from growing back improperly. The matrix of your nail is the tissue it forms on and it is responsible for the length, size, and shape of the nail. The “cauterization” is actually just the application of a strong chemical that prevents the nail from growing back.

 

Almost all of our ingrown toenail treatments are done right in our office in a single visit (even if it’s your first visit). With a proper dressing and a loose (though protective!) shoe, most patients are able to resume normal activity within 24 hours, though extra care should be taken for several weeks while the toe heals. These procedures boast a 99% success rate with no ingrown toenail reoccurrence. Stop cutting away your painful ingrown nail and come see your podiatrist for a lasting solution. It’s really as simple as that.

 

READ MORE: Choosing Shoes to Avoid Foot Issues

The MLB season just ended with a stunning Championship win by the Houston Astros, but the hitting, throwing, running, and catching of 7 baseball games can really do a number on a player’s joints and lead to tendonitis in several different areas. While most of this tendonitis occurs in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists the symptoms and treatments are the same as if it occurred in your feet.

Tendonitis is an overuse injury brought on by a repeated motion that leaves joints, muscles, and of course tendons strained and weak. This can occur as it’s own injury or along with an acute injury, but tendonitis is definitely more common in athletes and especially older athletes. Our tendons lose elasticity as we get older (like a rubber band wears out), so the more we use it, the faster this may happen. Tendons connect muscle to bone and work between both, absorbing and releasing energy on both sides to move the parts of our bodies. Because they experience the stress you put on your bones and the strain you put on your muscles, tendons are very prone to damage.

Usual symptoms for tendonitis include general and achy pain, swelling, and tenderness. If these symptoms happen once they can be easily treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, if a player develops tendonitis they would feel theses symptoms all the time and a chronic condition will develop. The longer this goes on the bigger chance there is of a sudden rupture.

There are over 100 tendons in your legs, ankles, and feet so tendonitis has many places to manifest. The most common types of tendonitis in the feet are:

Achilles Tendonitis: Pain between the heel and the calf

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis: Pain on the inner side of the foot

Peroneal Tendonitis: Pain on the outer ankle

Extensor Tendontis: Pain on the top of the foot

Anterior Tibial Tendinitis: Pain at the front of you foot

Whether you play baseball with your kids in the backyard or you’re walking onto the field for the playoffs, repeated overuse can lead to chronic pain. See your podiatrist today if you continue to have pain in one area. We’re here to keep you in the game!

Ok so I'm exaggerating, but the health of your feet is often a good indicator of your overall health so when something seems wrong with your feet, it may have started elsewhere. Let’s look at a few signs our feet may tell us and what they may mean for our overall health:

  1. Skin and nails

Many people have dry feet and we just put up with it as a side effect of our feet being feet, but dryness in not normal. If you have dry feet no matter how much you moisturize, have your thyroid checked. A misbehaving thyroid can cause extreme skin dryness and even cracking of the toenails. Check your nails too. Do you see small pits or curves in your nails? These could be signs of psoriasis, anemia, or even lupus. But don’t jump to conclusions, only a podiatrist or other physician can definitively diagnose these conditions.

  1. Circulation

Do you have bald toes? Are your feet cold all of the time? These could be indications of poor circulation. Most people know when they have a serious vascular disease (PAD, arteriosclerosis, etc), but if you once had hairy toes and now they are smooth, this could indicate that your circulation is declining. Cold feet can also be another indicator of a pesky thyroid.

  1. Inflammation

Did you wake up with a bright red, hot, and painful big toe? That would be gout, an inflammatory disease that’s a cousin to arthritis. How about sudden clubbing – swelling of the digits creating a ‘rounded’ look to feet and toes? This could indicate a serious lung infection, intestinal disease (like Crohns), or even lung cancer. Watch the tips of your toes specifically and if you see swelling that just won’t go away, see your podiatrist. Just like vascular diseases though, most people know they have a greater health issue before they see these symptoms.

  1. Persistent sores or numbness

Both of these are strong indicators of diabetes. If you see sores or injuries on your feet (particularly the bottom) that just wont seem to heal or you suddenly start experiencing pins and needles sensations in your feet, have your blood sugar checked. Don’t put this one off either, when left untreated (meaning managing your diabetes) a foot ulcer can worsen over time creating infection. In fact, 6% of people with chronic ulcers end up hospitalized from complications.

  1. Pain

I say it over and over again, but pain is never normal! If you experience pain of any sort in your feet, go get it checked. Having pain around your joints? Could be an early indication of arthritis. Constantly cramping up? Could be dehydration or a mineral insufficiency of potassium, calcium, magnesium, or sodium. If your feet hurt all the time and become very painful to walk on you could be losing bone density, an early indication of osteoporosis.

There are all sorts of incredible things your feet can tell you (even if they aren’t really predicting the future) so pay attention to them. Examine your skin and nails for abnormalities, watch for sores or discolorations, and remember that pain in your feet is not normal! Start by seeing your podiatrist to rule out a directly related foot injury or disease then see your primary care physician to continue routine health monitoring. Your feet can tell you a lot if you just stop and listen.