When to see a Podiatrist about Flat Feet

Treatment for Flat FeetFlat feet, fallen arches, or “pes planus” is normally a symptomless and fortunately painless condition. It is characterized by the arch of the foot collapsing completely, which causes the entire sole of the foot to come into perfect contact with the ground. An estimated 20-30 percent of the entire population has some form of flat feet, ranging in severity from asymptomatic to somewhat problematic. Most people who endure this problem are able to experience life pain and symptom free from the nearly unnoticeable abnormality. However, a small sector of those affected do experience pain or discomfort, which is when a treatment program needs to be put in action.

Fairly common in infants and small children, but also prevalent in adults, flat feet becomes a problem if pain or discomfort is present in the foot or even around the knee and lower leg area. Pain around the knee and lower leg areas can arise because flat feet can alter proper foot and leg alignment, which will put unusual strain on the knee. Adults can develop the condition as the result of injury or even from normal wear and tear due to the natural aging process.

Treatment of flat feet by a fully educated, trained, and licensed Boston podiatrist should be sought if the previously mentioned pain in the foot or knee areas start to surface and becomes a painful problem. Depending on the cause and exact type of the condition, a variety of forms of treatment may be prescribed. Verification of the exact cause and type of flat feet that each individual has, should only be handled by a professional podiatrist. Often times, the actual treatment method will include some form of arch support or light gymnastic style exercise. In rare cases, something more involved may be necessary, but only your skilled podiatrist would be able to accurately make that determination.

If you suffer from flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or any other form of problematic foot condition, we encourage you to contact our Boston foot clinic today and potentially rid yourself of that problem in virtually no time at all!

Celebrities Suffer Foot Problems Too

Celebrity Foot ProblemsVictoria Beckham. Michelle Yeoh. Sarah Jessica Parker. What do these ladies have in common? Less than perfect feet. Each of these ladies suffers from bunions.

You may have heard of bunions and associated them with old age. That isn’t the case however. Bunions are very often caused by ill fitting shoes and high heels.

So what is a bunion?

A bunion is a bump that forms at the base of the big toe (though sometimes they are also found on the outside of the foot at the little toe). The bone and tissue is forced out of place at the joint and the toe then bends inwards towards the other toes. It comes about from years of pressure at the joint, exactly what years of fitting a foot into a high heel with pointed toes does.

What are the symptoms?

  • An obvious bump on the outside of the foot
  • Pain, redness, swelling at the joint
  • An inward turned big or little toe
  • Restricted range of motion in the affected toe

What can be done?

For the short term, applying ice will help pain and swelling. Non steroidal anti inflammatory pain medications can also be beneficial. For the long term, wearing wide shoes that are more box shaped and no heels over two inches tall.

A Boston podiatrist visit will probably be in your future. They may design special orthotics, use cortisone injections, prescribe pain medications, recommend padding and taping to keep the foot in a proper position, or prescribe therapy. As a last resort it may require bunion surgery (bunionectomy) to remove the bony prominence.

Stylish shoes and heels may make you feel beautiful, but would those celebrity ladies now suffering from bunions say it was worth it?

If you suffer from bunions or other foot issues check out our website and contact our Boston foot clinic today.

Image courtesy of patrisyu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Study Finds Diabetic Shoes & Inserts Reduce Amputations

Foot OrthoticsA new study from Sweden finds that proper interventions such as diabetic shoes, inserts, podiatry, and regular checkups can reduce the number of amputations by more than 50% in patients with diabetes. These are the findings, and some steps people with diabetes can take to protect their feet.

According to an article from News-Medical.net, researchers at the University of Gothenburg studied more than 114 Swedish patients with diabetes who were considered at risk for developing ulcers. These wounds typically occur when the foot is overloaded, and they may lead to amputation. The study involved three different types of shoes inserts, all of which were found to be effective in reducing pressure and cutting the risk of ulcers by more than 50%.

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing a foot ulcer is close to 25% for people with diabetes. It is recommended that all patients with diabetes have their feet evaluated by a Boston podiatrist at least once a year. If abnormalities such as bunions or hammertoes are discovered, your foot doctor may recommend more frequent examinations. Self-exams are also important. Checking your feet each day for injuries or abnormalities can help prevent more serious problems. In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle changes such as shoe inserts may be helpful.

If your diabetes is well managed, you may be able to wear conventional shoes. In other cases, your Boston podiatrist may suggest comfort shoes or footwear specifically designed for people with diabetes. These styles are called “depth shoes” because they have extra room built in for inserts that redistribute pressure on the foot to help prevent ulcers. In the most serious cases, custom shoes can also be made to fit a mold of your feet.

Regular foot evaluations by a podiatrist, self-examinations, and proper footwear are an essential part of managing diabetes and reducing the risk of amputations. Contact our Boston foot clinic for more information about diabetic foot care.

Menopausal Women at Risk for Gout Should Seek a Podiatrist’s Care

Treatment for GoutHave you ever been awoken by the sensation of incredible pain coursing through your ankles and toes? Did those same areas appear swollen and red? Perhaps they felt hot and sensitive to touch as well. If so, you may have developed a type of incurable arthritis in your feet and ankles.

Known as gout, it is a progressive disease that typically afflicts certain segments of the population. Among those that may find themselves in such situations are post-menopausal women. Researchers believe that the condition tends to occur in females, in a small part, due to the hormonal changes associated with menopause. The condition also tends to be associated with comorbidities like diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia, alcoholism and kidney disease.

The disease is generally accepted by those in the podiatry community to have four stages. The first is known as asymptomatic hyperuricemia. The subsequent stages are acute, intercritical and chronic tophaceous. Preventive measures may be taken to help reduce a woman’s chance of developing gout. If it does form, aggressive treatment is generally given during the second and fourth stages when the body’s uric acid levels are at their greatest. It may also be given during the third stage when the disease is less active.

Because the condition is caused by excessive levels of uric acid, two types of tests are commonly used to confirm a gout diagnosis. The first type involves a blood draw. The second type consists of removing and analyzing a person’s synovial fluid. However, some members of the medical community may also request a urinalysis, X-rays and a synovial biopsy be completed as well.

Once a gout diagnosis has been made, there are quite a few treatment options that may be prescribed by your Marlborough podiatrist. Some of the standard methods used early in the disease’s progression are the adoption of medication routines, lifestyle and dietary changes. In the mid to final stages, a podiatrist may recommend surgery.

The formation of something known as “tophi” tends to be the main impetus for such recommendations to be issued. Tophi are actually pockets of uric acid crystals that can be drained to alleviate some of the person’s discomfort and minimize his or her risk of irreversible joint damage. We should also mention that the pockets’ drainage may also help to improve a person’s range of motion and ambulation. To learn more about gout in women and how it may be treated, please contact our Marlborough podiatry office today.

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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