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Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Ankle Pain

Pain experienced in the ankle can be caused by a multitude of conditions. While the most common cause is an ankle sprain, other possible problems can include arthritis, gout, ankle instability, ankle fracture, nerve compression, or tendinitis. In more serious cases, ankle pain can be a sign of improper alignment of the foot or an infection.

Ankle pain can often be accompanied by symptoms such as redness, swelling, stiffness and warm in the affected area. Pain can be described differently depending on the condition; short, stabbing pain and a dull ache are some examples. If such symptoms are persistent and do not improve after time, be sure to schedule an appointment with your local podiatrist.

Depending on the condition behind your ankle pain, different treatments may be prescribed by your podiatrist. For ankle sprains, the first step in treatment involves rest, ice, elevation, and compression. Be sure to avoid placing pressure on the ankle, use an ice pack several times a day, and use a compression bandage and elevation to reduce swelling. Other more serious conditions may require the assistance of certain drugs and medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, or even cortisone injections.

Consult with your foot and ankle doctor to best determine the cause of your ankle pain and the appropriate treatment. Depending on the severity of your ankle pain and the condition behind it, recovery from ankle pain may take some time.

Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Ankles

Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects small joints first, but it can move to larger joints, such as ankles. If this condition spreads to the ankles, then it can hinder one’s ability to walk, and cause extreme discomfort. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually come in flares that can last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. These symptoms include inflammation and stiffness in the joints of the ankle. If this goes untreated, then this condition has the potential to permanently change the structure of the ankle joints. Rheumatoid arthritis also breaks down cartilage in the ankle that protects the bones from rubbing together, so this may create friction that will cause further weakness and instability. Oftentimes, people with rheumatoid arthritis in the ankles also experience symptoms in their feet. If you feel that you may have rheumatoid arthritis in either your feet or ankles, then it is strongly recommended that you consult with a podiatrist to receive treatment.

Ankle pain can be caused by a number of problems and may be potentially serious. If you have ankle pain, consult with one of our podiatrists from New England Foot and Ankle. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Ankle pain is any condition that causes pain in the ankle. Due to the fact that the ankle consists of tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments, ankle pain can come from a number of different conditions.

Causes

The most common causes of ankle pain include:

  • Types of arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and gout)
  • Ankle sprains
  • Broken ankles
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Stress fractures
  • Bursitis
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis

Symptoms

Symptoms of ankle injury vary based upon the condition. Pain may include general pain and discomfort, swelling, aching, redness, bruising, burning or stabbing sensations, and/or loss of sensation.

Diagnosis

Due to the wide variety of potential causes of ankle pain, podiatrists will utilize a number of different methods to properly diagnose ankle pain. This can include asking for personal and family medical histories and of any recent injuries. Further diagnosis may include sensation tests, a physical examination, and potentially x-rays or other imaging tests.

Treatment

Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are rest, ice packs, keeping pressure off the foot, orthotics and braces, medication for inflammation and pain, and surgery.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chelmsfordand Newburyport, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

What to Know About a Broken Toe

The forefoot is composed of five metatarsal bones and fourteen phalanges. Each toe has three phalanges except for the big toe which only has two. Our toes play an essential role to the walking process, which is why a broken toe could seriously disrupt one’s ability to move around. Toe fractures are common and can be very painful. Fortunately, these injuries rarely require surgery and usually heal with rest and a change in activity.

Broken toes typically result from a traumatic event such as falling, stubbing the toe, or dropping something on the toe. Traumatic toe fractures may be categorized as either minor or severe fractures. At times, one may hear a “pop” or “crack” sound when the bone breaks. Common symptoms of a traumatic toe fracture include pain, throbbing, bruising, swelling, and redness.

Another type of toe fractures is a stress fracture. These injuries usually appear in the form of small hairline breaks on the bone. Stress fractures develop after repetitive activity instead of a single injury. Stress fractures occur when the muscles in the bone become too weak to absorb impact. Consequently, the toe bone becomes vulnerable to any pressure and impact it endures. Symptoms for a stress fracture in the toe include swelling without bruising, tenderness to the touch, pain that goes away with rest, and pain after walking or running.

If you suspect that you have a broken toe, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist. He or she will likely diagnose you by performing a physical exam and an X-ray. Treatment for a broken toe may include the R.I.C.E. method, buddy taping, surgery, or antibiotics. The R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is a common treatment method for many injuries because it decreases pain. Buddy tapping involves wrapping the injured toe next to an adjacent toe to keep it supported and protected. These two methods have proven to be effective in the healing process for toe fractures. The estimated healing time for a broken toe is approximately four to six weeks. If the injury becomes infected or requires surgery, the estimated healing time may take eight weeks or more. 

Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

What to Do About a Broken Toe

Everyone stubs their toe from time to time, but sometimes stubbing it too hard can result in a broken toe. Stubbing your toe causes immediate pain, but it usually only takes a couple minutes to subside. If the pain does not dissipate and continues for a long time after the initial blow, you may be dealing with a broken bone. Some signs of a broken toe are swelling, discoloration, and bruising. If you put weight on your foot and become unable to walk due to pain, your toe may be broken. If you suspect that your toe is broken, the best idea is to seek help from a medical professional. A doctor will most likely use an x-ray to determine whether your toe is broken and how to properly treat it. If you think you may have a broken toe or want additional information, then you should consult a podiatrist for help.

Broken toes may cause a lot of pain and should be treated as soon as possible. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from New England Foot and Ankle. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is a Broken Toe?

A broken toe occurs when one or more of the toe bones of the foot are broken after an injury. Injuries such as stubbing your toe or dropping a heavy object on it may cause a toe fracture.

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

  • Swelling
  • Pain (with/without wearing shoes)
  • Stiffness
  • Nail Injury

Although the injured toe should be monitored daily, it is especially important to have a podiatrist look at your toe if you have severe symptoms. Some of these symptoms include worsening or new pain that is not relieved with medication, sores, redness, or open wounds near the toe.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chelmsfordand Newburyport, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is often caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is usually the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis, can be the result of excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This restricts how much blood can flow through arteries. Reduced blood flow to a certain area of the body severely limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients that part of the body receives. This leads to degeneration in the muscles and other tissues. Sometimes, poor blood circulation in the feet and legs can be caused by other conditions, such as the damaging or inflammation of blood vessels, known as vasculitis.

The lack of oxygen and nutrients caused by poor blood circulation can restrict muscle growth and development, as well as cause muscle pain and cramps, weakness, and stiffness. Other common symptoms include numbness in the legs and feet, skin discoloration in the affected limbs, slower nail and hair growth, and erectile dysfunction in men. In more severe cases of PAD, pain can be present even when a person isn't exercising, and may range from mildly uncomfortable to completely debilitating.

Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is more common in those who are overweight or obese, have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, who smoke, or who have a family history of PAD or related conditions such as a heart attack, stroke, etc. Diabetes and smoking place a person at greatest risk for developing poor blood circulation, although advanced age, over 50, can also increase risk.

If you are experiencing poor blood circulation in the feet and legs caused by PAD, it is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke caused by this condition. If you smoke, quit completely. This will increase the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. Exercising and reducing the saturated fats in your diet. Saturated fats come from fatty meats, fried foods, whole milk, etc., can make a difference in improving blood circulation in feet. It is also important to avoid developing influenza and to carefully control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.

Your doctor may recommend combining lifestyle changes with a prescription medication regimen to improve blood circulation. The most commonly-used medications for PAD are called statins and work by blocking the amount of enzymes in your body that produce cholesterol. They are known by the brand names Zocor, Lipitor, Crestor, and others.

Monday, 14 January 2019 00:00

Symptoms of Poor Circulation in the Feet

The circulatory system plays an important role in carrying nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, and poor circulation can be detrimental to a patient’s health. If you have this ailment, you may experience symptoms including a numbing sensation in your feet, memory loss, a tired feeling for most of the day, or a weakened immune system, which may be responsible for continued sickness. Additionally, some patients notice their skin and hair becoming brittle and dry, or dark circles may develop under the eyes. In severe cases where poor circulation has affected the patient for an extended period, the feet may become swollen, and this may be a result of nutrient imbalances. If you feel you have this condition, it is strongly suggested to consult with a podiatrist who can determine the cause and offer proper treatment guidance.

While poor circulation itself isn’t a condition; it is a symptom of another underlying health condition you may have. If you have any concerns with poor circulation in your feet contact one of our podiatrists of New England Foot and Ankle. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Poor Circulation in the Feet

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can potentially lead to poor circulation in the lower extremities. PAD is a condition that causes the blood vessels and arteries to narrow. In a linked condition called atherosclerosis, the arteries stiffen up due to a buildup of plaque in the arteries and blood vessels. These two conditions can cause a decrease in the amount of blood that flows to your extremities, therefore resulting in pain.

Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of poor circulation are:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Throbbing or stinging pain in limbs
  • Pain
  • Muscle Cramps

Treatment for poor circulation often depends on the underlying condition that causes it. Methods for treatment may include insulin for diabetes, special exercise programs, surgery for varicose veins, or compression socks for swollen legs.

As always, see a podiatrist as he or she will assist in finding a regimen that suits you. A podiatrist can also prescribe you any needed medication. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chelmsfordand Newburyport, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Poor Blood Circulation in the Feet
Monday, 07 January 2019 00:00

How to Stretch Your Feet

Your feet endure a great amount of stress each day from constantly allowing us to move around. It is important to stretch your feet to help prevent them from becoming injured. Your toes may easily deform into unhealthful positions if they are not stretched.

One of the most common reasons for toe deformities are the shoes you may be wearing. Shoes that are too tight may fold and shift the toes out of place. Heeled shoes may also push your toes upward. Forcing your toes into an unnatural position which may cause the muscles to tighten and prevent them from reverting to normal length. Another common reason is improper use of foot muscles. Many people fail to use the muscles in their feet or toes when they walk. Lastly, the positioning of your feet while walking may also cause toe deformities. If you walk with your feet facing outward, your “push-off” phase is on the side of your big toe instead of the bottom of your foot. This may cause the big toe to eventually tighten into a new shifted position.

There are many reasons why stretching your toes may be helpful. One reason is that healthy spacing may aid in avoiding calluses and other injuries that are caused by rubbing.  Stretching will also prevent you from developing toes that curl, hammertoes, or bunions.

A great way to stretch your toes is to place them in your hands and bend them all downward; this will help you stretch the top of your foot. Next, you should repeat this process but instead bend them upward enough to feel a nice stretch in the bottom of your foot. You should then try to pull each toe apart from the next and pull any toes that are bent upward until they are back downward.

If you are looking to practice stretching your entire foot, you can try a towel stretch. This is done by sitting on the floor with your legs in front of you. Take a towel and wrap it around your toes. Afterward, pull the towel toward you with your toes and hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds before releasing. Practice this stretch for three sets. Another stretch your feet are towel lifts. This is done by sitting in a chair and trying to pick a towel up from the ground with your toes. Try lifting the towel with your little toes for five sets before switching feet.

If you are an athlete, or exercise often, it is especially important for you to practice stretching your feet. Those who suffer from foot pain caused by poor footwear, plantar fasciitis, or long hours of standing at work may also benefit from foot exercises.

Monday, 07 January 2019 00:00

Why Is Stretching the Feet Important?

Research has shown the importance of properly stretching the feet daily, and this is especially true of athletes who participate in running and jumping activities. When the feet are stretched through a proper warm up routine, injuries may be prevented.  These injuries may include any tears or sprains that may occur as a result of performing running or jumping activities without initially stretching. Stretching may aid in loosening the Achilles tendon, which may prevent injuries such as Achilles tendinitis. Additionally, blood supply will increase when the muscles are properly stretched, and this may generally aid in the enjoyment of your chosen sport. If you would like additional information about the benefits of stretching the feet, consult with a podiatrist who can teach proper stretching techniques.

Why Stretching is Important for Your Feet

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with one of our podiatrists from New England Foot and Ankle. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Stretching the muscles in the foot is an important part in any physical activity. Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but also prevent it as well. However, it is important to see a podiatrist first to determine if stretching is right for you. Podiatrists can also recommend other ways to stretch your feet. Once you know whether stretching is right for you, here are some excellent stretches you can do.

  • Using a foam roller or any cylindrical object (a water bottle or soda can will do), roll the object under your foot back and forth. You should also exert pressure on the object. Be sure to do this to both feet for a minute. Do this exercise three times each.
  • Similar to the previous exercise, take a ball, such as a tennis ball, and roll it under your foot while seated and exert pressure on it.
  • Grab a resistance band or towel and take a seat. If you are using a towel, fold it length wise. Next put either one between the ball of your foot and heel and pull with both hands on each side towards you. Hold this for 15 seconds and then switch feet. Do this three times for each foot.
  • Finally hold your big toe while crossing one leg over the other. Pull the toe towards you and hold for 15 seconds. Once again do this three times per foot.

It is best to go easy when first stretching your foot and work your way up. If your foot starts hurting, stop exercising to ice and rest the foot. It is advised that you then see a podiatrist for help.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chelmsfordand Newburyport, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about How to Stretch Your Feet
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 00:00

Taking Care of Elderly Feet

Many foot diseases and conditions become more serious and common among the elderly. Some of these conditions include diabetic ulcers, ingrown toenails, fungus, arthritis, corns, and calluses. Unfortunately, it may be harder for older adults to take care of their own feet, but there are some precautions they can take in order to avoid any serious conditions.

Dry, cracked heels tend to be a common problem for older people. In order to avoid this, you should always keep your feet clean and well moisturized. Special feet moisturizers should be used as average lotions might not provide enough moisture for dry and cracked heels. Daily foot inspections are crucial for the elderly to detect any irregularities in their earliest stages. During the aging process, blood circulation tends to slow down causing older people to not feel their feet as well as they used to. This often results in foot problems going unnoticed.

Fungal and bacterial conditions thrive on elderly feet because older adults are less likely to keep their feet clean and dry; this makes it easier for bacteria to take hold in their dry, cracked skin. Elderly people should be sure to thoroughly dry their feet, especially in between the toes, after bathing. This will help them avoid developing any fungal infections. Additionally, clean cotton socks should be worn after the feet are dried.

Cutting toenails straight across will help prevent ingrown toenails. When toenails are cut too lose, the nail might break through the skin resulting in an ingrown nail. Clippers should be used to cut the nails in order to make the cut even.

Elderly people who have diabetes are at risk of developing serious foot problems that may lead to amputation. Ulcers that are left untreated can lead to gangrene. Dry and cracked feet, fungus, and untended cuts under the nails may also lead to infections.

Fortunately, Medicare covers many different types of services for foot care. Elderly people with any of these foot conditions should seek the help of a podiatrist and perform daily foot inspections in order to ensure that they have healthy feet.

Wednesday, 02 January 2019 00:00

How to Manage Elderly Feet

Research has shown that it may be common for elderly people to develop uncomfortable foot conditions as the aging process occurs. It’s important to take proper care of your feet at any age, and this is especially true of the elder population. There are several methods to keep the feet healthy, and these may include incorporating gentle foot exercises and walking for short periods of time into your daily activities. This may aid in keeping the muscles in the feet strong, which can help in maintaining the balance that is necessary to prevent falling. There are several daily routines that can be implemented to keep the feet healthy, and these may include observing your feet daily, which may help in noticing any cuts or bruises, washing your feet every day, in addition to wearing shoes and socks that fit correctly. If you would like additional information about the importance of taking care of elderly feet, please consult with a podiatrist for proper guidance.

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from New England Foot and Ankle. Our doctors 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 one of our offices located in Chelmsfordand Newburyport, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Taking Care of Elderly Feet
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