Dr. Siegel & Footmaxx

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When a Bandage Won’t Fix It

ankle with ace wrap

 

Wrapping an ankle injury may get you through the day, but ignoring the problem or delaying treatment may make the condition worse. A local foot and ankle surgeon has a message for those suffering from ankle pain, whether it is an old injury that might not have healed properly or one that had limited treatment options in the past: Get your ankles checked. There are new advancements in regenerative medicine which include laser therapy and stem cell injections.

According to Dr. Kerry Zang, podiatric medical director of Arizona Institute of Footcare Physicians and a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, many who have suffered ankle sprains in the past could be at risk for more serious damage as they age and try to stay in good physical condition.  It is estimated that one in four sports injuries involves the foot or ankle, and a majority of them occur from incomplete rehabilitation of earlier injuries.

“Many older adults who have had a previous injury that wasn’t fully rehabilitated may experience swelling and pain as they increase their physical activity,” says Dr. Zang. “But pain isn’t normal in the ankle area, even if you’re starting to get back in shape.”

Dr. Zang adds that both serious athletes and weekend sports participants often misunderstand how serious a sprain can be, and they rush back into action without taking time to rehabilitate the injury properly.  “A sprain that happened years ago can leave residual weakness that isn’t noticed in normal daily activity, but subjecting the ankle to rigorous physical activity can further damage improperly healed ligaments, and cause persistent pain and swelling,” he says.

Recently, there have been very exciting breakthroughs for addressing ankle pain that can be done in the office setting. These treatments center on ways for healing to begin. “Regenerative therapy stimulates the body’s own natural healing process to repair chronically damaged tissue,” explains Dr. Zang. “Unlike cortisone injections, which suppress inflammation and stop healing, the goal of this therapy is to create a small amount of localized inflammation to help trigger the body to strengthen and repair the area.”

Stem cell therapy also works to promote healing. “Human amniotic membrane tissue reduces inflammation and scar tissue formation and enhances soft tissue healing,” says Dr. Zang. “We are finding that it is improving the patient’s quality of life.”

HEALTHY FEET ALL SUMMER LONG

Arizona Institute of Footcare Physicians

 ready for sandals image2

HEALTHY FEET ALL SUMMER LONG

Hot weather and sandals  bring focus to your feet.  During the summer feet are exposed and more vulnerable to irritation and injury.  In fact, foot problems are so common that many people just accept them as “normal”.  But, you don’t have to.  Often a few simple actions may bring relief.

DRY SKIN/CRACKED HEELS During the summer months when your feet are exposed to the weather—open sandals, no socks–they can sometimes become extremely dry and the skin on your heels may even crack.

☼ Putting skin lotion on these areas sometimes isn’t enough.  Soaking your feet and applying an intensive moisturizer may be the answer.  Be aware that serious problems can develop if the cracks become deep or infected.  Don’t overlook this condition you should consult a podiatrist.  There are products to balance exfoliating and moisturizing to relieve painful dry skin.

SWEATY FEET/FOOT ODOR Wearing tight-fitting…

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FLIP-FLOPS…NOT JUST FOR THE BEACH ANYMORE

suitcase beach picture FOR BLOG

Many of us are welcoming the warmer weather sporting flip-flops; however, their popularity is responsible for a growing epidemic of heel pain in this population, according to Dr. Mia Horvath, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

“We’re seeing more heel pain than ever,” says Dr. Horvath. “A major contributor is wearing flip-flop sandals with paper-thin soles every day. Many flip-flops have no arch support and can accentuate any abnormal biomechanics in foot motion, and this eventually brings pain and inflammation.”

While she doesn’t recommend this type of footwear, she understands that people are going to wear flip-flops, especially in the hot summer months.  Her office carries a line of flip-flops that incorporate special features that offer some support.

It is estimated that 15 percent of all adult foot complaints involve plantar fasciitis, the type of heel pain caused by chronic inflammation of the connective tissue extending from the heel bone to the toes. Being overweight and wearing inappropriate footwear are common contributing factors.

The pain is most noticeable after getting out of bed in the morning, and it tends to decrease after a few minutes and returns during the day as time on the feet increases.  Not all heel pain, however, is caused by plantar fasciitis. “It’s important to have a doctor evaluate what is causing your foot pain,” says Dr. Horvath.  “It could come from inflammation of the Achilles tendon, bursitis, arthritis, gout, stress fractures, or irritation of one or more of the nerves in the region.”

“Fortunately, heel pain responds well to conservative care,” explains Dr. Horvath.  “The sooner we start treatment, the better.”

HEALTHY FEET ALL SUMMER LONG

 ready for sandals image2

HEALTHY FEET ALL SUMMER LONG

Hot weather and sandals  bring focus to your feet.  During the summer feet are exposed and more vulnerable to irritation and injury.  In fact, foot problems are so common that many people just accept them as “normal”.  But, you don’t have to.  Often a few simple actions may bring relief.

DRY SKIN/CRACKED HEELS During the summer months when your feet are exposed to the weather—open sandals, no socks–they can sometimes become extremely dry and the skin on your heels may even crack.

☼ Putting skin lotion on these areas sometimes isn’t enough.  Soaking your feet and applying an intensive moisturizer may be the answer.  Be aware that serious problems can develop if the cracks become deep or infected.  Don’t overlook this condition you should consult a podiatrist.  There are products to balance exfoliating and moisturizing to relieve painful dry skin.

SWEATY FEET/FOOT ODOR Wearing tight-fitting shoes, synthetic socks or shoes or hereditary factors may account for excessive sweating.  When bacteria combines with perspiration feet get smelly.

☼ Keep your feet clean and dry.  Using foot-deodorizing powder, odor absorbing insoles and socks can help alleviate this condition.  There are new products available that actually kill the odor causing bacteria.  The easy treatment takes three days and lasts for six months.  For more severe cases there are prescription medications to reduce perspiration.

ATHLETE’S FOOT Athlete’s foot is a fungus that thrives on moist, wet feet.  Symptoms include cracking, peeling and itching around the edge of the foot and between your toes.

☼ Preventing it is much simpler than treating it.  Keep your feet and bath or shower area clean and dry.  Avoid walking barefoot in community pools and showers.  Always wear clean socks and don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row.

☼ If you get athlete’s foot, apply an over-the-counter antifungal powder and sprinkle some in your shoes.  If symptoms get worse, or don’t resolve, a stronger or prescription medication may be needed.

Summer Tips

☼        Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool.  Avoid walking barefoot whenever possible.

☼        Use powder to reduce perspiration and wear light socks that help keep your feet dry.

☼        Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your feet.

☼        Walking is the best exercise for your feet.

☼        Trim toenails straight across.

☼        People with Diabetes need to take special care of their feet.  Never walk barefoot, not even inside, and inspect your feet everyday.  It is important to see a podiatrist at least once a year for a check-up.

☼        Never buy shoes that are uncomfortable in the store.

Remember to take good care of hot, aching feet in the summertime.  Sometimes a nice cool water soak with Epsom salts or Lemon juice, a massage can also be helpful. 

Shedding Some Light on Nail Fungus

Fungus Toenails

There is an exciting break-through in treating toenail fungus that kills the fungus while leaving the nail and surrounding skin unharmed. In the past, treatment options have been limited to topical preparations, which have a low success rate and can take up to a year to show signs of improvement. An oral medication also is available, but it can put the liver at risk, and offers a limited level of success.

This new treatment for toenail fungus is receiving national attention as a noninvasive treatment for this unsightly condition, and poses virtually no risk to the patient. It does not affect healthy tissue and the treatment is painless. While you cannot see results overnight, your nails are continually growing, and the healthy nail will start to present itself at the cuticle in a very short time.

The best defense against toenail fungus, of course, is prevention. You are more at risk if you live in a hot or humid climate, wear shoes that keep your feet moist, or if you have diabetes. Fungus is contagious, and you can contract it from going barefoot in a public shower, by the pool or at a nail salon. Keeping feet clean, dry and covered can help reduce the risk of getting this condition.

While a nail infection most likely will not cause any other serious health problems, it can be painful and make wearing certain shoes very difficult. The decision to treat nail fungus is up to each individual, however, it is important to note that nail fungus won’t go away by itself, and it may get worse over time.

This new therapy is an exciting break-through for people with painful, thick, discolored or infected toenails. Although patients have been discouraged in the past, now there is hope.

Foot Health Awareness Month starts today!

feet-transparentWhat Your Feet Reveal About Your Health

April is Foot Health Awareness Month

Believe it or not, your feet can reveal a lot about your overall health. April is National FootHealth Awareness Month and St. Luke’s Medical Center is sharing some of the top red flags when it comes to feet.

“Just by examining feet, you may be able to detect health issues ranging from diabetes to circulation and kidney problems,” said Susan Erredge, D.P.M., a podiatrist on the medical staff at St. Luke’s Medical Center and Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital.

Here are some things to look out for:

Red Flag: Cracked heels

Cracked heels can develop as a result of wearing flip-flops or sandals too often or standing for prolonged periods of time. They can also be the symptom of thyroid and skin disorders or diabetes.

Red Flag: Hairless feet or toes

Surprise! Hairy toes are healthy. That’s because poor circulation, usually caused by vascular disease, can make hair on the feet vanish.

Red Flag: Sores that will not heal

These can be a major indicator of diabetes. Elevated blood glucose levels lead to nerve damage that will cause sores to go unnoticed. Eventually these sores may lead to infections, or even amputation.

Red Flag: Swollen feet

Swollen ankles and feet are common and usually are not a cause for concern, especially after walking or standing for long periods of time. However, feet and ankles that stay swollen can be a sign of something more serious ranging from cardiovascular disease to infection.

Red Flag: Numb feet

Being unable to feel your feet or having a heavy pins-and-needles sensation is a hallmark sign of damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system sends information from the brain and spinal cord to every part of the body. The top causes of this condition are alcohol abuse and diabetes.

We’re not talking about the nervous pit in your stomach. People often complain of cold feet, especially women, and it may be nothing or it may be a symptom of an under functioning thyroid.  Another possible cause is poor circulation.  “Don’t ignore these warning signs,” says Dr. Erredge. “Early detection can help identify and potentially prevent or lessen more serious health problems.” If you experience any of these foot issues, a trip to the podiatrist’s office should be your next step.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit our website at www.azfeet.com or call 480-834-8804.