Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy and Its Effects on the Feet

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the nerve cells. This can result in pain and numbness in any part of the body like the digestive system, the urinary tract, the blood vessels and the heart but it most often affects the nerves in the legs and feet.

Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy and Its Effects on the Feet
Diabetic neuropathy can be peripheral, autonomic, proximal or mononeuropathy and they are diagnosed depending on the area that they affect.

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type and it affects the feet and legs first and if not controlled, may slowly move upwards affecting hands and arms. Symptoms in the feet include:

  • Numbness
  • Inability to feel hot and cold sensation
  • Inability to feel pain
  • Tingling
  • Burning sensation inside feet
  • Cramping
  • Sharp or shooting pain
  • Pain and sensitivity to touch
  • Foot ulcers, infections
  • Bone and joint pain
  • A diabetic who has peripheral neuropathy could have one or more of the above symptoms. People with diabetic neuropathy need to monitor their feet regularly.

Taking Care of Diabetic Feet at Home

  •  Inspect feet regularly for corns, calluses, cuts, injuries, etc. Since the diabetic will have decreased sensation in the feet, an injury or infection may get overlooked.
  •  Wear well fitting shoes that are wide and do not cause shoe bites or friction.
  •  Avoid walking barefoot to prevent injuries.

Also Read: How To Protect Your Legs and Feet If You Have Diabetes

Regular Podiatric Consult Is a Must

Apart from taking care of the feet at home, a diabetic with peripheral neuropathy must see a podiatrist regularly. The podiatrist will help in maintaining foot health and provide treatment that will help decrease pain and improve quality of life. Oral medication may be prescribed to help with symptoms. A thorough foot check will be performed regularly to check for injuries and infections. You will also be educated on how to take care of your feet at home. Diabetics with peripheral neuropathy should consult a podiatrist at least once a year.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Use of PRP Therapy in Cartilage Repair

Our ankles hold up the weight of our body throughout our lives. Hence, it is not surprising that ankle problems arise. The ankles are the area most affected by cartilage damage. They will benefit greatly from any kind of treatment that will help repair or regenerate cartilage.

Medical technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the treatment of tissue repair and regeneration. The biggest boost to this area of medicine has been PRP therapy. PRP injections provide positive cellular changes in the joints. They help in the regeneration of articular cartilage, increase volume of lubricants in the ankle area and stimulate stem cells. 

Use of PRP Therapy in Cartilage Repair

Who Can Benefit from PRP Therapy?

  •       People with Chronic Illnesses - PRP therapy benefits patients suffering from diseases that lead to the degeneration of the ankle tissue like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  •       Sportspeople - It is a very effective treatment for cartilage damage caused by sports injuries as it reduces the friction that is caused by overwork and tearing of tissue.
  •       Seniors - PRP delays degeneration of ankle tissues by repairing them and this can be a big help for elders who are dealing with ankle problems.

PRP Procedure

It is a simple day procedure which can be done by your podiatrist in his/her clinic. The doctor will use the patient’s own blood to prepare the PRP injections. Blood is drawn from the patient and the PRP is separated. This prepared injection is now injected into the treatment area where it will release the growth factors and stimulate the stem cells to start working. It is a short procedure and usually normal activities can be resumed immediately afterwards.

Also Read: Fighting Chronic RA Pain with these Tips

When Should You Talk to Your Podiatrist About PRP Therapy?

If you are suffering from chronic ankle problems due to illness, age or injury, it could be that the cartilage of your ankle is damaged. Your podiatrist may suggest PRP therapy to help in repairing the cartilage as a non-invasive alternative to surgery.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Is Surgery the Only Option for Bunions?

What Are Bunions?

Bunions are bony protrusions on the bottom of the big toe. It is formed when the bones of the big toe and the front of the foot get misaligned. It causes the joint to stick out at an awkward angle.

Is Surgery the Only Option for Bunions?

Why Do They Manifest?

Bunions can be a genetic problem and can be seen as a slight deformity in younger people. They can worsen as they grow older. In adults, bunions can form due to tight fitting shoes. Arthritis is another reason for the formation of bunions.

How Do You Know if You Have Bunions?

Enlarged bunions can be extremely painful and may limit the movement of the big toe. An emerging bunion can cause corns or calluses due to the friction between the protrusion and your footwear. Bunions can also manifest as a swelling on the base of the big toe. It is better to see a doctor during the early stages and get it treated before it affects your movement or causes pain.

Treatment for Bunions

If treated in the early stages, non-surgical procedures may help relieve the symptoms of a bunion. This could include wearing padding over the bunions, medications and topical creams, icing and insoles. If it is severe, the podiatrist may suggest shoe inserts, corrective shoes or other orthotic devices to help provide relief.

When Is Surgery an Option?

Surgery may be considered only if alternative treatments do not help in relieving the pain or if the bunion affects your movement. Surgical options include:

·   Removing swollen tissue from around the base of the big toe.

·   Straightening the big toe by removing the protruding bone.

·   Realigning the bones of the big toe and the front of the foot.

·   Joining the bones of the affected area permanently.

As recovery after surgery will take time and rehabilitation is necessary, the podiatrist will use surgery as the last resort in the case of bunions.

 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Use of Orthotic Insoles for Pain Management

One of the most effective pain management treatments for foot problems are orthotic insoles. These are special shoe or heel inserts prescribed by a doctor. They are usually custom-made to treat specific foot problems.

Podiatrists use orthotic insoles extensively to treat foot ailments and as an alternative to other extreme options, like surgery. Very often, with the right foot support, pain due to foot ailments can be eased effectively.

Use of Orthotic Insoles for Pain Management

Use of Orthotic Insoles for Different Kinds of Foot Problems

Arthritis

Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can affect the feet and can cause deformities that result in pain. Use of orthotic insoles can rectify the problem and ease the pain.

Bunions

These are bony protrusions that form at the base of the big toe and they can be quite painful. Orthotic insoles with a wide toe box are used to help in reducing the pressure on the foot thus relieving pain.

Bursitis

This is caused due to inflammation of the fluid filled sacs at the joints of the heels and toes. Orthotic insoles with support arches can help reduce the discomfort caused by bursitis.

Diabetes

Diabetics can develop diabetic neuropathy which causes loss of sensation in the feet. Orthotic insoles may be recommended to protect the feet and prevent injuries and foot ulcers.

Heel Spurs

This condition causes excess bone growth on the bottom of the heel. Insoles can help in supporting the heel and reducing swelling.

High Arches

High arched feet can give rise to a number of foot problems like shin splints, knee pain and plantar fasciitis. Use of insoles can help in correcting foot position and offering pain relief.

Injuries

Trauma to feet and ankles may cause foot problems that can be relieved with the use of proper orthotic insole support.

There are various kinds of OTC insoles available but it would be better to see a podiatrist if you have a foot ailment. They will be able to advise you on the best solution for your problem.


Thursday, 20 August 2020

Cracked Heels: Symptoms and Treatment

Cracked heels or heel fissures manifest as dry and split skin around the heels and sides of the foot. If neglected, cracked heels could give rise to a thick callus. Not only are cracked heels painful, but they can also cause infections. The lock downs and work from home situations of our current reality has resulted in many people now walking barefoot at home, for most of the day. It has also prevented people from availing regular pedicures; they now go on for months together without any kind of foot treatment. This has increased the incidence of cracked heels.

Cracked Heels: Symptoms and Treatment

How Do You Spot Cracked Heels?

  •      Dry skin around the heels
  •      Roughness around the heels
  •      Split skin or fissures
  •      Thick callus
  •      Bleeding around the heels
  •      Redness around heels
  •      Swelling
  •      Pus or other signs of infection around the heels

Home Treatment for Cracked Heels

If there is redness, roughness or dry skin around the heels, it could be a symptom of the beginning of cracked heels and with some care and maintenance at home, you should be able to prevent it from getting severe.

Read More: Top 5 Tips for Cracked Heels

To take care of cracked heels at home, soak your feet in water and massage a handful of Epsom salt into your heels for an added boost. After ten minutes, scrub the heels using a pumice stone. Moisturize the feet after the treatment. There will be an improvement within a few days of this treatment.

When to Consult a Doctor

If your heel pains when you walk or if there is swelling, pus or infection, you would need the more capable hands of a podiatrist to help in relieving the foot problem. The podiatrist will use a combination of medication, ointments and pediatric procedures to relieve the problem.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Preventing Common Foot Problems During Lockdown

COVID-19 has uprooted our lives in many different ways. It is a tough time for everyone but we must stay positive and continue looking after our physical health, now more than ever. One of the least looked after and most used parts of the body, the feet, is having more than its fair share of abuse. On a normal day, in a normal world, the feet would have been looked after in various ways. People would have had regular pedicures and massages and any small foot ailment would have been attended to immediately.

Common Foot Problems

With lock downs and work from home restrictions, many people are spending long periods of time at home, wearing unsupportive slippers or no foot wear at all. Our feet are not used to being unsupported for long periods of time. This is causing a range of problems that include arch pain, foot and muscle fatigue, weak ankles, joint pain and corns and calluses.

Read More: 5 Common Foot Problems

Preventing Lock down Foot Problems

  •      Use Supportive Shoes: Wear footwear that offers a proper grip on the floor, even at home. With unsupportive slippers, our feet work extra hard to get a grip on the floor and this leads to muscle strain, tendon pain and ankle pain.
  •      Keep Your Feet Active: Our feet are used to a certain amount of exercise every day. With gyms, stadiums, beaches and parks closed, it is important to find an alternate way to keep the feet active. It is necessary to make sure that our feet get at least half the amount of exercises that it used to get to before the pandemic.

  •       Keep Your Feet Warm: Walking barefoot on cold floors are causing chilblains among the younger generation. Wear socks and avoid excessive exposure to the cold.
  •     If you have any foot problems, don’t ignore them. Make a telehealth appointment with your podiatrist and get it attended to immediately.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Emergency At-Home Treatment for Sprains and Strains

Getting to a hospital in case of an emergency is becoming increasingly difficult and getting immediate care is well-nigh impossible. It is important to know how to take care of simple emergencies, like sprains and strains at home.

Emergency At-Home Treatment for Sprains and Strains

What Is the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?

A sprain occurs when a ligament or muscle gets twisted and a strain happens if it is overextended. These problems can happen even when you are at home doing a household chore and can be quite painful. Both, a simple sprain and strain can be alleviated with similar home treatments.

Home Treatment for Sprain or Strain

·     RICE Therapy – Stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate

Rest the area for as long as possible or till the pain recedes. If you have to move about, use crutches so that the injured area is not overloaded.

Ice the area for 20 minutes every hour. Wrap a bandage around the area to compress it. You can use a brace, a sports tape or even a bandage to hold the area in place. It is important to keep the injured area elevated to reduce inflammation. Keep it raised on a pillow.

Also Read: Treating an ankle sprain


Medication for Pain and Inflammation

Regular NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like Advil, Aspirin, etc. can help with the pain and inflammation.

·    Speak to a Tele health Expert

Get advice on what to do and what kind of medication to take by consulting your podiatrist over the phone. For simple strains and sprains, you should start feeling better over a couple of days with the above treatment. You should see a doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • If there is a popping or crunching sound with the injury.
  • If there is substantial swelling which doesn’t reduce.
  • If the person cannot move the foot.
  • If the person cannot put weight on the foot.
  • If there is numbness.


Sunday, 19 July 2020

Importance of At-Home Foot Care for the Elderly

Though lock downs are gradually being lifted, the older generation has to continue being careful and step out only if absolutely necessary. They should strive to minimize visits to hospitals and clinics. This means taking care of their body, including their feet. Elderly people are prone to foot ailments and if they have a foot problem in these stressful times, it may be difficult to get it treated. Here are some tips on taking care of your feet at home.

Importance of At-Home Foot Care for the Elderly

      Wear the Right Footwear

Wear proper footwear that gives a good grip on the floor and offers support. This prevents falls and offers stability; it helps protect the feet from injuries as well. A lightweight trainer with a good strap is ideal for use inside the house while boots are a good choice for the outdoors.

Stretching Exercises

Circulation is important for the feet. When you are seated for long periods of time, flex your toes and wriggle them to keep the circulation going.
        

    Read More: A Daily Foot Care Routine

  
      Keep Your Feet Warm

If the weather is cold, make sure that you wear socks to protect your feet and keep them warm. The socks will also act as a protection against dirt and dust by preventing them from getting under your toe nails.

Moisturize Twice a Day

As people age, their skin dries up faster and this is true for the skin on the feet as well. Constant moisturizing can help prevent corns and calluses.

Keep the Feet Dry

Wet and sweaty feet can cause toe fungus. It is important to wipe your feet dry before wearing footwear. If you have sweaty feet, it may help to wear breathable shoes or open toed sandals.

Cut Nails Regularly

If nails are not cut regularly, it could cause ingrown toe nails that could get infected.

Following these simple home care routines for the feet will ensure that the feet stay healthy and the risk of developing a foot problem is minimized.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Ankle Arthroscopy – Procedure and Recovery

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that is used to treat different kinds of joint issues. It is a popular treatment method for patients with joint problems as it uses a minimally invasive method to treat the condition.

Ankle Arthroscopy – Procedure and Recovery


What Kind of Ankle Problems Can Be Treated with Arthroscopy?

Some common causes of ankle issues are accidents and injuries. Ankle arthroscopy may be advised in the following cases:

  •     When a fracture does not cause a clean break and even after the larger bones set, there is debris around the area which causes pain and inflammation.
  •      When there is ligament damage after a bad sprain.
  •      When there is tissue and tendon damage around the ankle due to wear and tear.

What Does an Arthroscopic Procedure Entail?

The procedure is usually done in an operating theater. The ankle is numbed locally with an anesthetic. A small incision is made in the ankle and a fiber optic camera is inserted into the incision. With the help of the camera, small surgical tools will be used to perform this procedure. The incisions will be closed up and bandaged after the procedure is over. Arthroscopy helps in a speedier recovery while minimizing scarring. Complications too are fewer than open surgery.

Also Read: Treating an ankle sprain


Recovery from Ankle Arthroscopy

The recovery time after an ankle arthroscopy will depend on how fast the ankle heals and how bad the injury was. The podiatrist may recommend the use of crutches for a while to lessen the weight on the ankle. Sometimes, in the case of a severe injury, the patient may be placed in an immobilizer for as long as five to six weeks. If the arthroscopic remodeling involved extensive surgery, the podiatrist may have the leg encased in a cast to prevent movement and promote healing. Medication may be prescribed after surgery to help manage pain and inflammation.

The podiatrist will then give a rehabilitation plan to be followed for complete recovery.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

PRP and Its Use in Healing

What Is PRP?

PRP is the acronym for platelet-rich plasma which is a concentration of a person’s blood platelets. It helps in promoting tissue healing and regeneration. It also promotes new capillary growth and accelerates epithelialization in chronic wounds.


PRP and Its Use in Healing


When Is PRP Therapy Recommended?

Our joints undergo constant abuse. It could be because of extreme sports and training; it could be through wear and tear or it could be because of aging. But every one of us has been to a doctor due to some kind of pain related to our ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It may have been a torn ACL, rotator cuff tear, Achilles tendon rupture, tendonitis or some other soft-tissue related injury. Some problems are not very severe and with a little help from a podiatrist, simple treatment plans and pain and inflammation medication, get better.

But at times, the injury can also be quite severe and could take a long time to heal and can even become chronic. That’s when PRP therapy may be suggested as it helps in tissue regeneration. When treated with PRP injections, the injury heals faster and the recovery is quicker.

How Does PRP Therapy Work?

This procedure uses the platelet rich plasma of the patient’s own body to heal tissue. Platelets contain thrombocytes that help in creating blood clots and have healing and regenerative properties. 

The injections are prepared by taking a few tubes of blood from the patient and running it through a centrifuge. This concentrates the platelets which are then prepared as injections. Using ultrasound imaging, it is injected into the tendon or ligament that is damaged.

Benefits of Using PRP Injections

  •         Recovery is faster
  •         The requirement of anti-inflammatory and pain medication is reduced
  •         Side effects are limited
Podiatrists around the world are using this new therapy to reverse problems caused by soft tissue damage with great results.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

5 Lock down Tips – How to Find the Right Shoes for Your Growing Child Online

Growing up in a New Reality

In a world where life has changed and everything seems Topsy-turvy, there is one thing that hasn’t change. Children keep growing. Even a lock down can’t stop that and sooner or later, you will need to find some new shoes to fit those growing feet. With shoe shops closed and also to prevent unnecessary outdoor activity, it may be a better idea to get your child’s new shoes online. It is important to choose the best shoes for your children as some shoes can cause skin infections or foot odor due to low quality.

Find the Right Shoes for Your Growing Child Online

Signs That Your Child Needs New Shoes

Whether it is covered shoes or sandals, some of the tell-tale signs that your child needs new shoes include the following:
  • The big toe starts to stick out in front
  • Heels stick out at the back
  • Covered shoes may get a slight bulge
  • Redness when shoes are taken off
  • Limping or pain maybe experienced while walking
  • Take a piece of paper and make the child stand on it.
  • Trace the child’s foot on the paper. The feet should be pressed down firmly upon the paper.
  • Use a marker to draw a straight line touching each side of the outline and measure the length from top to bottom and the width from left to right.
  • Use the length and width measurements to find your child’s shoe size on an online store’s sizing chart.


Also Read: Children’s Feet Need Special Care Too

Measuring Children for Shoes

Make Sure That the Shoe Fits
When buying something online, the time window to return it may be small so it is important to check if your child’s shoes are fitting well. Some ways to do that are listed below.
  •      Shoes should have a gap at the top when pressed.
  •      When fastened, shoes should not be too loose.
  •      Check for support and stability by balancing on one foot at a time.
If you don’t want to take the risk of ill-fitting shoes, the best solution is to get the same shoe type the child has, but just the next size up.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Effects of Aging on the Feet

As people get older, they develop a myriad of health issues. Quite a few of these issues are related to the feet. Our legs have been carrying our body weight for decades and the constant wear and tear is bound to affect the feet. Aside from this, aging can cause deterioration of muscles and can also cause the skin to lose its elasticity, causing additional problems.

Effects of Aging on the Feet

Problems Associated with Aging Feet

  •          Pain in the joints
  •          Dermatitis
  •          Ulcers
  •          Infections
  •          Sores
  •          Deformity of toes
  •          Problems with mobility
  •          Varicose veins
  •          Thrombosis
  •          Balance issues
  •          Issues due to underlying illnesses like rheumatism and diabetes

Ways to Reduce Podiatric Problems in the Elderly Stay Active

Being active increases blood circulation thereby avoiding certain circulatory problems that the elderly are prone to. Exercising also helps in keeping the muscles toned.


Also Read: Top 5 Tips to Care for Your Feet as You Age


Maintain Optimal Body Weight

A heavy body tends to put more pressure on the joints and this will cause more wear and tear on the legs. It is good to ensure a nutritious but low-calorie diet and an active lifestyle to keep those pounds off.

Foot Hygiene Is Important

The elderly have to ensure that they keep their feet clean and toe nails trimmed to prevent any kind of infection. A regular pedicure, even at home, is a good idea. Moisturizing aging feet every night can help keep the skin supple, decrease cracked heels and reduce brittleness in the nails.

Wear the Right Shoes

Comfort is more important than style as you get older. Avoid shoes with heels as it could cause a fall. Make sure that the shoes are not too constricting and have a good grip.

Regular Check-Ups

In the elderly, a small foot infection can snowball and cause a lot of pain and misery. A regular foot check-up with a podiatrist can keep your feet healthy and prevent foot problems.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Diabetes and Your Feet

Why Does Diabetes Affect Your Feet?

Diabetes is a vascular disease which means that the vascular or circulatory system of the body is affected. The circulatory system is responsible for sending oxygen to the various parts of the body, including the feet. When that is affected, it lowers the blood flow to the feet and hence the amount of oxygen that gets to the feet also decreases. 

Foot Treatment

Common Foot Problems for Diabetics

  • Diabetic neuropathy – Nerve damage to the legs and feet
  • Gangrene – Tissue death due to lack of blood flow
  • Charcot’s foot – Changes to the shape of the feet

Danger of Ignoring Diabetes Related Foot Problems

It is rightly said that diabetics have to take good care of their feet. Due to the decrease in blood flow to the feet, the feet could get numb. This means that even if there is an injury to the feet, the person may not be aware of it.

Diabetics are also prone to sores and foot ulcers that occur due to a decrease in blood flow to the extremities. It takes a long time for an infection to subside for a diabetic. Very often, infections like foot sores can fester and become septic and even the area around it can get infected. The infection can also spread very rapidly as the body of a diabetic doesn’t heal quickly.

How to Prevent Diabetes Related Foot Problems

Diabetics have to be very careful with their feet because of the aforementioned reasons. They should ensure that they follow proper foot hygiene. They should make sure that their feet are looked after and any problems that arise are tended to immediately. They should see a podiatrist regularly if they are prone to foot problems and ensure that there is nothing to worry about. Problems like ingrown toe nails, cuts, sores or red spots, corns, calluses and plantar warts should all be treated immediately and the problem nipped in the bud.