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Blog | Foot Doctor Gig Harbor WA 98335

Monday, 14 September 2020 00:00

Causes of Cracked Heels

Cracked heels occur when the skin on the heels becomes thickened and dried out. Because the soles of the feet lack oil glands, the feet’s skin is often drier than the skin on the rest of the body. Due to this lack of moisture, the skin may lose its elasticity and become painful and unsightly. There are a variety of issues that can cause heels to dry out. Pressure on the feet from too much standing or weight gain can increase the risks of cracks. Footwear that offers little protection of the heel, such as flip flops, can also cause the skin in the heels to dry out. Conditions such as fungal infections, lack of nutrients in the skin and genetics are also risk factors for cracked heels. If you are suffering from cracked heels, it is important to consult with a podiatrist for proper treatment and relief methods.

If the skin on your feet starts to crack, you may want to see a podiatrist to find treatment. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Cracked Heels

It is important to moisturize your cracked heels in order to prevent pain, bleeding, and infection. The reason cracked heels form is because the skin on the foot is too dry to support the immense pressure placed on them. When the foot expands, the dry skin on the foot begins to split.

Ways to Help Heal Them

  • Invest in a good foot cream
  • Try Using Petroleum Jelly
  • Ease up on Soaps
  • Drink Plenty of Water

Ways to Prevent Cracked Heels

  • Moisturize After Showering
  • Skip a Shower
  • Keep Shower Water Lukewarm
  • Don’t Scrub Your Feet

If you are unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels, seek guidance from a podiatrist. Your doctor will help you with any questions or information you may need. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Solutions for Cracked Heels
Tuesday, 08 September 2020 00:00

Do I Need Hammertoe Surgery?

A hammertoe, as its name suggests, is a condition that affects the joints of the toe, causing it to bend in a downward shape, resembling a hammer. To help improve the toe’s flexibility, lessen the pain caused by the hammertoe, and to straighten the affected toe, surgery may be a good option for you. Surgery for a hammertoe will typically be suggested by a professional after conservative treatments, such as splints or orthotics, have failed to improve the condition. To help prepare for surgery, your podiatrist may suggest seeing a physical therapist, keeping weight off of your toe, and practicing certain exercises to help improve your overall balance in order to prepare you for moving around post-surgery. To help decide if surgery is the best treatment option for you, please consult with a podiatrist.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Hammertoe
Monday, 31 August 2020 00:00

Plantar Warts Grow Inward

A plantar wart is defined as a wart on the sole of the foot. It grows inward as a result of the pressure the feet endure on a daily basis, and can cause severe pain and discomfort. They appear to be flat, and many plantar warts have small, black specs in the center that are tiny blood vessels. Warts can be contagious, and are caused by a fungus that lives and thrives in warm and moist environments. These environments include public swimming pools, shower room floors, and surrounding areas. It is important to refrain from sharing shoes, socks, and towels, as this may limit the spread of plantar warts. There are effective treatment methods available, and it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can determine which one is best for you.

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Plantar Warts
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 00:00

Plantar Warts Can Be Treated!

Plantar warts are small growths that develop on parts of the feet that bear weight. They're typically found on the bottom of the foot. Don't live with plantar warts, and call us today!

Monday, 24 August 2020 00:00

Reflexology Is a Form of Foot Therapy

An effective type of foot therapy is known as reflexology. This is practiced by applying pressure to specific parts of the foot that are linked to certain organs. By implementing this form of foot therapy, several health benefits may be noticed which may be helpful for preventing illness. Additionally, reflexology may be helpful in promoting relaxation by calming the nervous system, and this may help to reduce stress. When specific parts of the foot are touched, it is known to improve overall well being, and many patients have observed that their immune systems have become stronger. A podiatrist can help you to determine the best way to perform foot massages, and it is suggested that you schedule a consultation to learn more about this type of therapy.

Foot therapy is often necessary for those recovering from either foot deformities or foot injuries. If you have concerns regarding therapy, Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Most Common Injuries

People who are active or athletes are prone to a variety of injuries. Therefore, it is often important to take part in physical therapy in order to quickly get back on the right track. 

What to Do When Injured

Physical Therapy – This specialized treatment will focus on the affected area, speeding up recovery and the overall healing process. It is a proven method that has helped millions of people return from any injury.

During physical therapy you will undergo regimented training to get back into full form. Training is often very difficult, especially at first when the foot feels weak. Physical therapy often involves:

Basic stretching and twisting exercises – getting the feet’s mobility and flexibility up.

Massaging – the therapist will massage the injured area in order to activate the muscles and relax them.

Strengthening Exercises – this allows the muscles in the affected area to regain their full strength, a vital step towards full recovery.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Foot Therapy for Sports Injuries
Monday, 17 August 2020 00:00

Two Types of Corns on the Feet

Patients who have corns on their feet are often aware of the discomfort they may cause. A corn is generally caused by excessive friction that may come from the shoes and socks that are worn. There are two types of corns that can develop on the feet. Hard corns can develop on top of the toes, or on the bottom of the feet. The center of the corn can be removed, and may take several weeks to heal. If the corn forms between the toes, it is identified as a soft corn, and can cause severe pain while walking. It may be prevented by wearing shoes that have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. If you notice you have either type of corn on your feet, it is advised that you speak with a podiatrist who can begin effective treatment as quickly as possible.

Corns can make walking very painful and should be treated immediately. If you have questions regarding your feet and ankles, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Corns: What Are They? And How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Corns are thickened areas on the skin that can become painful. They are caused by excessive pressure and friction on the skin. Corns press into the deeper layers of the skin and are usually round in shape.

Ways to Prevent Corns
There are many ways to get rid of painful corns such as:

  • Wearing properly fitting shoes that have been measured by a professional
  • Wearing shoes that are not sharply pointed or have high heels
  • Wearing only shoes that offer support

Treating Corns

Although most corns slowly disappear when the friction or pressure stops, this isn’t always the case. Consult with your podiatrist to determine the best treatment option for your case of corns.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Everything You Need to Know About Corns

The idea behind PRP injections is to use the body’s natural healing ability to repair ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It is an abbreviation for Platelet Rich Plasma, and can possibly help to reduce inflammation. The process of receiving these types of injections begins with extracting a blood sample, followed by placing it in a centrifuge. After it is spun to extract the platelets, it is injected into the affected site. Research has indicated that the healing process may be accelerated in foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis and certain types of arthritis. It is suggested that daily activities are limited for approximately the first week to ensure a proper recovery time. If you are suffering from chronic foot pain, please consult with a podiatrist who can determine if receiving PRP injections is the correct treatment for you.

If you are suffering from a foot condition, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is PRP?

Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is blood taken from a patient and spun in a centrifuge, concentrating the amount of platelets. The plasma is then re-injected into the site of injury or damage, assisting the body in repairing damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and tissue. PRP helps the body speed up its healing process.

Uses of PRP

Injuries affecting the foot sometimes don’t heal properly because of poor blood circulation. The healing time slows down, and recovery time is affected by poor blood supply. PRP injections will speed up recovery and resolve this issue.

Treatment

PRP is the first regenerative treatment for damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments. No surgery needed. It is only applied with an insertion of a needle.

Ultrasound – An ultrasound is needed for proper placement of the platelets.

Injection – When the first injection is received, the patient will return to the doctor in about 2 to 3 weeks and monitor the recovery process.

Recovery time – Some people respond to treatments differently. Therefore, depending on your condition, the doctor will make any remaining decisions on how many more injections are needed, or if any additional ones are even required.

Benefits

One may be able to avoid major surgery, and recovery time will be cut down. PRP injections also avoid creating scar tissue and damage to the area. Risks are also very low using PRP as a treatment. There is no risk of rejection, contracting a disease from using another person’s blood, or infection.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about PRP Injections In Your Feet

The condition that is known as cracked heels can cause the skin to lose flexibility. The heels endure the weight of the body, and consistent pressure may cause the skin to develop deep cracks, which are often referred to as fissures. This foot ailment may occur for several reasons. These can include standing for long periods of time throughout the day, or from wearing shoes that have an open back. Medical conditions such as eczema or psoriasis may also lead to the development of cracked heels. Additionally, the fat pads in the heels of overweight people may be affected, which may gradually cause cracks in the skin of the heels. Moderate relief may be found when the feet are frequently soaked in warm water, followed by applying a good moisturizer. If you have developed cracked heels, it is suggested that this condition is monitored by a podiatrist, who can recommend effective treatment and prevention options.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander from Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How Do You Get Them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Solutions for Cracked Heels
Monday, 27 July 2020 00:00

Can Yoga Help Bunions?

A bunion is defined as a bony growth that develops on the side of the big toe. It can cause the middle toes to shift and may make it difficult to wear shoes. Severe bunions may cause limited mobility and instability, and people who enjoy practicing yoga may find it is challenging to balance. Bunions may develop due to genetic factors, or from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely. When specific practices in yoga are performed, it may be beneficial for gradually aligning the feet, which may help prevent bunions from developing. If you would like additional information about bunions and how yoga stretches may help any accompanying discomfort, please consult with a podiatrist.

If you are suffering from bunion pain, contact Dr. James D. McAlexander of Gig Harbor Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.

Causes

  • Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
  • Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development

Symptoms

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Callus or corns on the bump
  • Restricted motion in the big toe

In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Gig Harbor, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Bunions

If you are suffering from tenderness, pain, or stiffness in the joints of your feet or ankles, call us to schedule an appointment.

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