Warmer weather has arrived and as this article was written, thousands of hikers have already hit the trail. Hiking, especially long distance hiking, is a sure way to test your feet and overall foot health. A pain-free foot is key to transporting you from one camp to the next.
Dr. Eric Silvers of Advanced Foot and Ankle Center states “During a long distance hike, it is likely that a foot problem will arise and it is imperative to recognize a foot problem and treat it before it becomes the reason to throw you off the trail.”
Blisters- Caused from friction, moisture, ill fitting shoes and fungus, can lead to pain and infection and an altered gait. “Your skin is the largest organ in your body,” states Dr. Eric Silvers . “Its main purpose it so separate the outside from the inside of your body.” When compromised, infection, pain and even death can be the end result if an aggressive bacteria such as MRSA or e coli enters the blister and is not treated. Proper foot care and attention is especially important on multi day hiking trips when medical care is not easily accessible. It is important to tend to blisters immediately. First, clean the blister, release the fluid with a sterile needle or small pocket knife. Covering the blistered area with Mole Skin or Leukotape is effective after applying a very thin coat of triple antibiotic ointment or betadine/provodine ointment. Close monitoring of the skin around the blister is important so that an infection does not develop. If you notice increased pain, redness and drainage, it is best to get off the trail and seek medical attention for possible antibiotics and dressings. It is also best to re assess your shoegear if friction from the shoe is causing the blister.
Foreign bodies can also result when walking barefoot around camp. It is important to always wear some type of shoe when you are up and about. If you notice a foreign body that cannot be removed at camp with tweezers, it is important to seek medical attention before continuing with your hike as the chance of infection is high.
Various forms of tendonitis are common during hiking. The Achilles tendon along the back of the ankle and heel area is prone to becoming inflamed. Causes of Achilles tendonitis are frequent uphill climbs and also shoegear that may rub on the tendon. If you notice, pain and swelling of the Achilles tendon due to activity, it is best to add a heel lift for a few days, take an anti inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen and take a rest day or two. Do not attempt to push through the pain from Achilles Tendonitis as it will not improve with continued activity. If the problem persists, a walking boot and immobilization will be required. Other forms of tendonitis such as peroneal, posterior tibial and anterior tibial tendonitis are common especially when you are walking through rocky terrain. If you are prone to ankle sprains, it is highly encouraged that you wear an ankle brace during your activities.
Foot stress fractures can develop during a hike. If you have not slowly introduced your body to hiking conditions, you may be prone to stress fractures. Signs and symptoms of metatarsal stress fractures include, swelling, pain and at times redness along the top of the mid arch area. Heel stress fracture symptoms are consistent with progressive heel pain during activity, swelling at times and pain with side to side compression of the heel. If you suspect that you may have a stress fracture, seek medical attention as soon as you can get off trail. Do not risk developing a displaced fracture by fighting through the pain.
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the more common foot problems that can present itself during a long hike. Symptoms are arch and heel pain that is present after rest and after long periods of standing and walking. The plantar fascia can also become strained. A strained plantar fascia will feel like burning and stretching in the area of the foot arch. “It is recommended to be evaluated for custom molded foot orthotics if you have had any issues with arch and/or heel pain”, states Dr. Silvers.
Insect bites to the foot from ants, ticks, spiders and mosquitoes can be avoided with Gaiters. If you do suffer an insect bite, it is important to monitor the bite for any signs of infection.
Advanced Foot and Ankle center is a full service podiatry practice with emphasis on sports medicine.
Is your ingrown nail a real nuisance or is it just too painful to handle anymore? Drs. Eric Silvers, Dustin Lloyd and Christopher Witt of Advanced Foot & Ankle Center in McKinney and Prosper, TX, can help you!
Ingrown toenails are when your toenails perforates skin in the corners, or sides of your feet. They may be hard, swollen, and tender in the beginning, eventually causing an infection if not taken care of immediately.
Your toes may also become:
- Skin may start growing over the ingrown toenail
There are several things that may lead to ingrown toenails, such as someone not trimming toenails properly, like too short, especially the big toes, wearing shoes that are too tight or short, resulting in crowded toes, repeated trauma or injury to your feet, or fungus infections. Ingrown nails may be simply heredity, or due to poor foot structure.
Treating ingrown toenails can be a simple fix. Try wearing shoes that give your toes more space to move. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if there is an infection, but soaking the foot in warm and soapy water several times a day and keeping your feet clean may resolve the issue. If your ingrown toenail is causing an acute infection, the surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail may be needed. The procedure is known as partial nail plate avulsion. Your doctor will inject your toenail with an anesthetic and cut out the ingrown section.
If you are dealing with an ingrown toenail, make sure to contact one of your foot doctors, Drs. Eric Silvers, Dustin Lloyd and Christopher Witt of Advanced Foot & Ankle Center in McKinney and Prosper, TX for help.
Foot and or Ankle pain is very common during and after pregnancy”, says Dr. Witt, a podiatrist in McKinney, TX. “During pregnancy there are lots of changes happening to accommodate your little one that occur throughout your body”. Dr. Witt states that the most common complaints he sees during and after pregnancy is swelling in the feet and ankles, arch pain and numbness and tingling to the foot. “Swelling in the feet and ankles is an almost universal complaint. This occurs because your body is going through so many changes chemically that you begin to retain fluid. Since your feet are the farthest thing from your heart and they are usually not elevated, they are likely to become swollen”. Dr. Witt adds, “Later in pregnancy, as your uterus becomes larger it can compress the large veins in the pelvis and abdomen, reducing the blood return from your legs back to the heart”. Another common complaint he sees during and shortly after pregnancy is arch and/or heel pain. Dr. Witt states that this is also related to hormone changes. “There is a specific hormone that is released during pregnancy to relax and allow the ligaments in the pelvis to stretch easier for birth. This same hormone causes other ligaments in your body to loosen, especially in your feet. When these ligaments stretch, your foot gets longer and puts more tension on the plantar fascia. This will cause heel and arch pain”. Lastly, Dr. Witt also sees a lot of new Moms with tingling, numbness or nerve pain to the feet. “These symptoms can occur due to an epidural or inflammation of a nerve due to structural changes that we spoke about before. Almost all foot and ankle issues that are caused during and after pregnancy can be treated conservatively. It is important that you see us so that we can get your started on the best treatment plan before things get worse. Being pregnant is hard enough, don’t let your feet add to it”.
If you have any questions about this or any other foot and/or ankle issue, Dr. Witt would be more than happy to evaluate you. Please call 972-542-2155 for more information.
As you age, it becomes even more important to take care of yourself, especially your feet. Foot health tends to decline in seniors for many reasons, including:
∙ Years of walking
∙ Improper footwear
∙ Poor circulation
∙ Diseases related to foot problems such as diabetes and gout
∙ Improperly trimming toenails
When problems are ignored, they may worsen and lead to more dangerous issues. There are easy ways to take care of aging feet and nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain.
When to talk to your doctor
It’s important to know when symptoms are just common aches and pains and when they might be something more serious. Even if your pain isn’t related to something serious, you still need to take care of your feet since they are the foundation of the body. Aging foot pains may cause pain in the knees, hips, or back.
Some symptoms to look out for are:
∙ Brittle or discolored toenails
∙ Discoloration or cold/numb feet
∙ Severe pain in feet and ankles
∙ Blisters or cracked skin
∙ Sores and wounds
Tips for maintaining healthy feet
Taking care of feet is simple and will pay off in the long run. Some easy tips for foot health are:
∙ Inspect your feet and nails regularly
∙ Use soap to wash your feet and always thoroughly dry them
∙ Use lotion to prevent dry, itchy, and cracked skin
∙ Wear properly fitted shoes and clean socks
∙ Trim your toenails regularly
∙ Don’t cross your legs
∙ Elevate your feet when seated
Taking care of aging feet is simple, and your dedicated foot doctors are here to help. Foot care is something you shouldn’t avoid, and individuals that aren’t able to take care of their feet are encouraged to see their podiatrist for foot care appointments. If you have any questions about taking care of your aging feet, call our office today to make an appointment!
Although not as common as upper extremity injuries, lower extremity injuries do occur quite often in baseball. According to Dr. Witt, Podiatrist and foot and ankle sports medicine specialist at McKinney and Prosper, TX, “Injuries usually occur during base running, sliding and fielding balls”. Dr. Witt adds,” Most often in baseball, an injury will start small and gradually get worse because the player never takes time off to rest and the schedule is so grueling. The most important aspect of treating these injuries is to stop playing through the pain. Small ligament and tendon strains can turn into complete tears if you don't seek treatment”, he adds, “You can turn a small problem into a season ending issue without proper medical care”. Another common complaint that Dr. Witt sees in the office is heel pain in kids between the age of 7-14. “This pain is usually due to irritation and inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. This is a very treatable issue that usually does not require any medication but it will not get better without treatment”. Other common baseball injuries that Dr. Witt treats are ankle sprains, turf toe and midfoot sprains. “These injuries can hurt just as bad as fractures. It is important to get in to see us so that we can take an xray in the office and find out exactly what is going on. Once we determine the issue, we’ll work together as a team to figure out the best way to get you back on the field and better than ever!” If you have any questions regarding this or any other foot or ankle issue, you can contact Dr. Witt at 972-542-2155.
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