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October 2021

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 00:00

Ankle Foot Orthotics for Athletes

Ankle foot orthotics are shoe inserts that offer support to control the placement and movement of the ankle, correct deformities, and compensate for weakness. These inserts are used to stabilize the foot and ankle and provide toe clearance during the swing phase of gate.

Athletes often suffer foot problems because their feet are not being supported within the shoe. Ankle and foot orthotics are custom made inserts that alleviate stress on the foot. However custom orthotics should be prescribed by a podiatrist who specializes in customized footwear and orthotics design. These inserts are used by athletes for different reasons. Runners use orthotics to absorb shock at heel contact and to set up the forefoot for push-off. Basketball players wear them to control their forefeet while jumping and running.

The two main types of orthotics are over-the-counter orthotics and custom-made orthotics. To be eligible for custom orthotics, an examination of the foot and ankle will need to be completed. Afterward, both the foot and ankle will need to be casted and fitted for the proper orthotic. When the fitting process is complete, adjustments can be made to make sure everything fits perfectly.

Over the counter orthotics tend to be more popular than custom fit ones. Athletes who have less severe aches and pains in the foot, ankle or lower back area can use the over-the-counter version of orthotics. Unfortunately, over-the-counter orthotics tend to not work in treating severe injuries or ailments. Whenever you suspect you may need an ankle foot orthotic, you should consult with your podiatrist to determine which type of orthotic is right for you.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 00:00

What Do Orthotics Do?

Shoe inserts that are designed to relieve pain caused by various foot conditions are known as orthotics. Common foot conditions treated by orthotics may include corns and calluses, tendonitis, bunions, heel pain, and stress fractures. Orthotics can also help non-foot related issues such as correcting posture and alignment. Orthotics come in a variety of types, including custom made ones, cushioned ones that absorb shock, and pressure relieving orthotics that distribute body weight across the sole of the foot. A podiatrist will consider many factors when prescribing orthotics, which include any existing foot conditions, the structure of the foot, biomechanics, and the patient’s lifestyle. If you believe that orthotics are right for you, a podiatrist will be able to help point you in the right direction. 

If you are having discomfort in your feet and would like to try orthotics, contact one of our podiatrists from North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.

Over-the-Counter Inserts

Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct overarched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.

Prescription Orthotics

If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you or if you have a more severe foot concern, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high-quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and severe forms of heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.

If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist about the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain-free.

If you have any questions please contact our offices located in Petaluma and Sonoma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ankle Foot Orthotics for Athletes
Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:00

How to Care for Your Child's Feet

It is never normal for a child to experience pain in his or her feet. Foot pain that lasts more than a few days and limits a child’s ability to walk should be examined by a podiatrist. Many adult foot ailments originate in childhood and may be present at birth. Common foot issues that are experienced by children are pediatric flat foot, Sever’s disease, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.

A child’s foot grows rapidly during the first year, allowing it to reach almost half of their adult foot size. Consequently, foot specialists consider the first year to be the most crucial point in the foot development process. There are ways you can help ensure that your child’s foot develops properly. One way is to carefully look at your baby’s feet. If you notice any deformities, you should immediately seek professional care. You should also loosely cover your child’s foot, since tight coverings may prevent movement and inhibit normal development. Another tip is to change the baby’s positioning throughout the day. If your baby lies down in one spot for too long, it may put an excess amount of strain on the feet and legs.

It is best that you try not to force a child to start walking. Children will begin to walk when they are both physically and emotionally capable to do so. You should also avoid comparing your child’s walking progress with other children because the age range for independent walking may range. When your child’s feet begin to develop, you may need to change both their shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for their feet to grow.

Kids are sometimes prone to splinters, cuts, and severe injuries because they tend to walk around barefoot. This also makes them more susceptible to developing plantar warts which is a condition caused by a virus that invades the sole of the foot through breaks in the skin. These ailments can be avoided by making sure your child wears shoes in unsanitary environments. You should also wash any minor cuts or scrapes on your child’s feet. It is a myth that exposure to fresh air will heal injuries; fresh air will only expose your child’s cuts to germs.

As a parent, you should ensure that your child’s feet are developing properly and are being properly maintained. Consequently, it is important that you perform routine inspections on his or her feet to detect any injuries or deformities in their early stages. Early detection and treatment will help to ensure that your child does not develop any serious foot conditions.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:00

Why Is My Child Limping?

Kohler’s Disease, which typically occurs in children between 3 and 7 years of age, is a rare bone disease which affects the tarsal navicular bone in the foot. This boat-shaped bone connects the ankle with the lower bones in the feet. In Kohler’s Disease, this bone suddenly loses its blood supply causing it to degenerate. The child usually feels pain and tenderness along the arch and there may be swelling and redness. It is popularly believed that Kohler’s disease may be caused by strain or injury to the navicular and its blood vessels before the bone becomes completely hardened. The good news is that the navicular bone usually recovers and regains its density, size, and structure within time. However, until such time, the child may limp or walk on the side of the affected foot to compensate for the pain they experience while walking. A podiatrist can diagnose Kohler disease in your child and ease their pain with special supportive shoes and, or orthotics, casting, and pain relievers.

Making sure that your children maintain good foot health is very important as they grow. If you have any questions, contact one of our podiatrists of North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

Having healthy feet during childhood can help prevent medical problems later in life, namely in the back and legs. As children grow, their feet require different types of care. Here are some things to consider...

Although babies do not walk yet, it is still very important to take care of their feet.

Avoid putting tight shoes or socks on his or her feet.

Allow the baby to stretch and kick his or her feet to feel comfortable.

As a toddler, kids are now on the move and begin to develop differently. At this age, toddlers are getting a feel for walking, so don’t be alarmed if your toddler is unsteady or ‘walks funny’. 

As your child gets older, it is important to teach them how to take care of their feet.

Show them proper hygiene to prevent infections such as fungus.

Be watchful for any pain or injury.

Have all injuries checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Comfortable, protective shoes should always be worn, especially at play.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Petaluma and Sonoma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about How to Care for Your Child's Feet
Tuesday, 12 October 2021 00:00

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. These types of injuries are very common and can occur in people of all ages. Sprains may range from mild to severe, depending on how much damage is done to the ligaments. If a sprain goes untreated, a more severe sprain may occur which can further damage the ankle. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle pain.

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering a sprained ankle. Those who participate in sports, walk on uneven surfaces, have a prior ankle injury, are in poor physical condition, or wear improper shoes are more likely to get a sprained ankle.

There are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect you are suffering from a sprained ankle. Some common symptoms are swelling, bruising, tenderness, and instability of the ankle. In cases where the tearing of the ligaments is severe, there may be a “popping” sound when the strain occurs.

The RICE method is proven to be effective in treating ankle sprains. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest is important for treatment especially within the first 24 to 48 hours. You should also ice your sprained ankle for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time. A small piece of cloth should be placed between the ice and the affected area. For the compression step, you should wear a brace that is snug, but not too tight that it cuts off circulation. When choosing a brace, be sure to choose one that is suitable for the type of ankle sprain you have. Lastly, you should elevate your foot above the heart as often as possible.

After you treat a sprain, you should go through rehabilitation to prevent the injury from occurring again. There are three phases to the rehab process. The first phase involves resting, protecting and reducing the swelling of the injury. The second phase consists of restoring the ankles flexibility, range of motion, and strength. The third phase consists of slowly returning to activity and maintenance exercises.

If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and a suitable treatment option for your condition.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 00:00

When Ankle Sprains Do Not Heal Properly 

Ankle sprains are common injuries that cause the ligaments that support the ankle joint to become overly stretched or torn. If an ankle sprain does not heal properly additional sprains may occur, which may lead to ankle instability. Ankle instability can cause pain, tenderness, or swelling in the ankle, as well as make it feel wobbly or loose. Your weakened ankle may also roll out frequently on the lateral side of your foot when you are walking, standing, or playing sports. If you exhibit any of these symptoms and have had previous ankle sprains, you may be experiencing chronic ankle instability. Make an appointment with a podiatrist to receive a proper diagnosis and determine a treatment method that is specific to you. 

Although ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor injuries. If you need your ankle injury looked at, contact one of our podiatrists from North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains are the result of a tear in the ligaments within the ankle. These injuries may happen when you make a rapid shifting movement while your foot is planted. A less common way to sprain your ankle is when your ankle rolls inward while your foot turns outward.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Pain at the sight of the tear
  • Bruising/Swelling
  • Ankle area is tender to touch
  • In severe cases, may hear/feel something tear
  • Skin discoloration

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

In many cases, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) is used to treat ankle sprains. However, you should see a podiatrist to see which treatment option would work best with your injury. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

It is important to ask your doctor about rehab options after you receive treatment for your injury. Stretching, strength training, and balance exercises may help the ankle heal while also preventing further injury.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Petaluma and Sonoma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Ankle Sprains
Tuesday, 05 October 2021 00:00

Do I Need an X-Ray to Diagnose Hammertoes?

Hammertoe is a common foot deformity in which one or more of the four smaller toes bend downward at the middle joint, causing the affected toes to have a hammer-like shape. This condition can cause pain and discomfort that progressively worsens over time. The tops of the toes may develop corns or calluses as they rub against the inside of your shoes when walking. Diagnosing and treating hammertoe early is important, as the deformity can eventually become permanent. Your podiatrist will usually be able to diagnose hammertoe through physical examination alone. However, they may suggest an X-ray if they suspect that you could have arthritis or another condition that might be responsible for the hammertoe. In rarer cases, where the hammertoe is extremely painful, your doctor might also recommend that a fluid sample be taken from the joint to check for signs of infection or gout. If you have painful hammertoe, please seek the care of a podiatrist. 

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Petaluma and Sonoma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
Tuesday, 05 October 2021 00:00

What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes are painful deformities that frequently form on the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is often caused by an issue in foot mechanics. This can be caused by the person’s specific gait or the manner in which they walk, or by shoes that do not comfortably fit the deformity.  Hammertoes can be formed after wearing shoes that are too narrow or short for the foot or have excessively high heels. Shoes that are not properly sized will force the toes into a bent position for long periods of time. This can cause the muscles to shorten and toes to bend into the deformity of a hammertoe.

Hammertoe can also be caused by complications from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trauma to the foot, heredity, or a cerebral vascular accident. Pain and difficult mobility of the toes, deformities, calluses, and corns are all symptoms of a hammertoe.

Someone who suspects they have the symptoms of a hammertoe should consult with a physician—particularly a podiatrist. Podiatrists diagnose and treat complications of the foot and ankle. If the podiatrist discovers that the affected toes are still flexible, treatment for the hammertoe may simply involve exercise, physical therapy, and better-fitting shoes. Treatment for hammertoes typically involves controlling foot mechanics, such as walking, through the use of customized orthotics.

For more serious cases in which the toes have become inflexible and rigid, surgery may be suggested. During the operation, the toe would receive an incision to relieve pressure on the tendons. A re-alignment of the tendons may then be performed by removing small pieces of bone to straighten the toe. In some cases, the insertion of pins is needed to keep the bones in the proper position as the toe heals. The patient is usually allowed to return home on the same day as the surgery.

If surgery is performed to repair a hammertoe, following the postoperative directions of your doctor is essential. Directions may include several stretches, picking up marbles with your toes, or attempting to crumple a towel placed flat against your feet. Wear shoes that have low heels and a wide amount of toe space to maintain comfort. Closed-toe shoes and high heels should be avoided. Shoes with laces allow the wearer to adjust how fitted he or she may want the shoes to be and also allow for greater comfort. To provide adequate space for your toes, select shoes that have a minimum of one-half inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside of the shoe. This will also relieve pressure on your toes and prevent future hammertoes from forming.

Other preventative measures that can be taken include going shopping for new shoes in the middle of the day. Your feet are its smallest in the morning and swell as the day progresses. Trying on and purchasing new shoes midday will give you the most reliable size. Be sure to check that the shoes you purchase are both the same size. If possible, ask the store to stretch out the shoes at its painful points to allow for optimum comfort.  

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