Posts for: September, 2016
What exactly is a foot ulcer? It is a sore on the foot where the skin has opened up to reveal underlying tissues. It may be superficial to begin with but can quickly develop into a crater like shape that goes further into the foot. There are different stages of ulcers, some which can just involve the surface of the foot and some that may involve deeper layers of the foot, including muscles, tendons, nerves, and bone.
Causes of foot ulcers can vary. Typically, those with poor blood circulation are more prone to have ulcers which is why it seems to be that people with diabetes tend to be the population more likely to develop an ulcer on the foot, with about 15% of diabetics developing a foot ulcer at some point in their lifetime. Things such as minor trauma to the foot in those with neuropathy can be the trigger of the ulcer because you may go days or weeks without realizing there is a wound on the bottom of the foot. People that are are sedentary or bed bound can also have decreased circulation to the foot and an ulcer can eventually form on the foot or heel. Other risk factors may include: wearing poorly fitted shoes, poor hygiene, nerve damage to the foot, and smoking.
Management of a foot ulcer is of utmost importance. The first step is to start by making and keeping appointments with your podiatrist. From there, each individual case is different and will require frequent monitoring and assessment of the ulcer. Some common treatments may include wound debridment, wearing appropriate therapeutic foot wear to prevent worsening of the ulcer, dressing the ulcer and maintaining a clean and sterile dressing, controlling blood glucose, infection control, and antibiotic therapy.
Sometimes hospitalization can occur from foot ulcer related conditions, such as infection, and we strive to avoid this. Working together with your podiatrist will keep you on the right track. Together with your podiatrist, you will have a treatment plan that is unique to your needs.Call our office with any questions or to set up an appointment.
Diabetes can affect all parts of a body. You're worried about checking your blood sugar, changing your diet, exercising, and taking your medicine and insulin. But what kind of toll does diabetes take on your feet? Long story short, it can have a big effect. One of the main reasons a person with diabetes may end up in the hospital is due to foot related problems, such as infections of the foot, wounds, ulcers, and gangrene. Unfortunately, if you have diabetes and are not controlling your sugar and taking care of your feet, outcomes such as foot surgery and amputation of the toe, foot, or even ankle and lower leg are a possibility.
On the bright side, you do have control over your health and your feet! First and foremost, always keep your sugar in control. Follow your doctors advice and guidelines. As for your feet, start seeing your podiatrist soon after you develop diabetes. Nothing helps more then proactive and preventative health care! Visiting your podiatrist early on allows for a baseline assessment of your feet and then is it much easier to detect when a problem arises.
When you have diabetes, sores and broken skin can become ulcerous very quickly. If you catch it in the beginning stages, it is much easier to treat and much less painful. It is important to set up an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as possible if you notice any new signs or symptoms as it may prevent further pain, hospitalization, and loss of toes or foot due to amputation. Some of the signs to look out for include cracked dry feet, numbness or tingling in your lower legs, feet, or toes, pain, variations or changing skin tone, bleeding, bruising, fungus, swelling of the ankles or feet, or any other new symptom that was not present before.
How can you stay proactive at home?
-Start by following a healthy diet and maintaining proper blood sugar control.
-If you smoke, look into smoking cessation options. Many hospitals and state run options are available and will provide free materials to help you quit.
- It is important to monitor your feet daily! When you first get up and when you go to bed are great times to look at your feet. Using a mirror or having a family member look at your feet everyday will allow you to see if there are any kinds of new sores or breaks in the skin.
-Wash your feet everyday, but test the water with your hand or a thermometer first. If you are experiencing neuropathy, you may not be able to tell the temperature by dipping your feet in, and you can scald your foot and not even realize it.
-Wear proper fitted shoes! By wearing proper fitted shoes, you decrease the chance of developing sores on your feet. Also, wear shoes inside and outside. You may not realize you have stepped on something if you are barefoot.
-Keep your toenails trimmed and clean.
-See your podiatrist often, even if you do not have any current foot problems. If you have diabetes, you want frequent assessments of your feet. You can also use these appointments to discuss any concerns you may have about your feet and talk about ways to keep your feet healthy!
-Contact your doctor if any new symptoms or sores being to develop.
You may have heard us mention orthotics in our previous blogs, but what exactly are they and how can they benefit you? Custom foot orthotics are insoles and foot support for your feet that are molded specifically to your foot to maintain a neutral position of the foot. Having a custom orthotic insert or shoe creates an the perfect environment for your feet during all types of conditions, such as walking and running.
Orthotic prescriptions are on the rise. They are a great non-surgical option to give your feet maximum efficiency in all types of situations. Benefits of custom orthotics include decreased pain in the feet, decreased stress on the feet, redistribution of pressure of the foot, and prevention of injury in active people. Orthotics can help all different types of conditions, such as flat foot, plantar fasciitis, and neuromas. Elderly people may benefit from custom orthotics as well, as it provides increased ankle stability which can create more stable walking and prevent additional pressure on the feet, ankle, knees, hips, and lower back.
Getting fitted for orthotics is also very simple. It is done right in the office by your podiatrist and then they will be created specifically to your feet. Each person is different, so you will receive an assessment by your podiatrist and go over all your treatment options to determine if orthotics will treat your condition. Call our office of you would like to set up an appointment!
How would you feel if you knew that lasers can cure your pain? Would you be relieved, excited, nervous, or wary that it is even true? At Emerald Coast Podiatry, we CAN use laser therapy to treat your pain. Common examples of treatable conditions include Neuroma, Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, wounds, foot and ankle sports injuries, and almost any other foot and ankle pain. Often with this laser treatment, it will treat both the problem and the pain.
How does this work? The laser uses specific wavelengths of light to target and treat the tissue inside your body which in turn stimulates and increases your own body's healing process while producing therapeutic pain relief . The FDA approved therapy is efficient, safe, and can be done right in the office. Typical treatments take place over 2-3 weeks a few times a week and are beneficial for both acute and chronic painful conditions, with side effects being minimal to none. Laser therapy boasts an 85%-90% efficiency in reducing pain and inflammation beginning with the first treatment!
To find out more information, call our office to set up an appointment! We will be happy to discuss the benefits of treatment specific to your condition. We can diagnose and treat you right in office!
As we age, the wear and tear, injury, and deformities of our feet slowly become more apparent. The geriatric population has a lot to deal with and may let the health of their feet go to the wayside even though it is more important then ever to take care of your feet as you age! Poor foot health can advance already declining mobility and increase pain unnecessarily. If foot problems are left untreated, it may lead to worsening or future knee, hip, and lower back problems. Below are common geriatric foot health concerns and symptoms.
No matter what your age, pain is never normal. As we age, the feet may spread and lose fatty tissue on the pads that cushion the feet in addition to the normal wear and tear that have taken place over the years. Elderly people need to frequently have their feet measured and fitted for proper fitting shoes and your podiatrist can also custom fit orthotics just for you.
While it may sound silly, keeping your nails trimmed and free from infection is big part of maintaining foot health. As we age, it may become more difficult to maintain the nails on your feet due to mobility constraints. Elderly patients may need to see their podiatrist to ensure proper nail and foot health continues. Ingrown nails can cause many problems, such as pain, redness, swelling, and infection.
While you can have foot fungus at any age, the elderly population may at risk due to several reasons. Nails are already more brittle and likely to crack, creating a way for fungus to inhabit the nails. Not being able to inspect feet properly is another way a fungus can go undetected and become a bigger problem. Treatments may be done in your podiatrists office and can include medications or laser treatments.
Peripheral neuropathy can cause loss of feeling to your feet and can be caused by a variety of things, most commonly diabetes mellitus. Symptoms will include pins and needles type tingling of the feet, numbness, and/or stabbing and shooting pains in the feet. It is important to inspect your feet regularly because the combined loss of feeling and decreased mobility leave the elderly population at an increased risk of having cuts and wounds to the feet that may go undetected. Be sure to use a mirror placed on the floor or have another person inspect your feet daily. Your podiatrist can also inspect your feet and treat your neuropathy at your exam.
Corns are areas of the foot that become thickened over time due to varying pressure placed on the foot, causes he corns to go deeper and possibly painful. There are hard and soft corns. Hard corns are typically found around the tops of the smaller toe on the outside and may be caused by poorly fitted shoes. Soft corns can be found in between your toes and remain soft because of the moistness between the toes and can become infected if left untreated. Calluses tend to be found on the bottom of your foot on the area before your toes begin. Calluses form from pressure or friction on the foot and from wearing improper fitted shoes. Treatments your podiatrist can perform include chemical treatments, fitted orthotics, trimming the thickened skin, and surgery.