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August 2020

Monday, 31 August 2020 00:00

Treating Toenail Fungus

Fungal infection of the toenail, or onychomycosis, typically appears as a gradual change in a toenail’s texture and color that involves brittleness and darkening.  The fungal infection itself occurs beneath the surface of the nail.  Aside from discoloration, other symptoms include the collection of debris beneath the nail plate, white marks on the nail plate, and a foul odor emanating from the nail.  If ignored, the infection can spread into other nails and the skin; in severe cases, it can hinder one’s ability to work or walk. 

The toenails are particularly vulnerable to contracting infection in moist environments where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as around swimming pools, public showers, and locker rooms.  Fungal infection may also be more likely to occur in nail beds that have been injured, and sufferers of chronic diseases such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immunodeficiency conditions are particularly prone to developing fungal nails. 

Fungal nails can be primarily prevented by practicing proper hygiene and regularly examining the feet and toes.  Carefully washing the feet with soap and water and thoroughly drying the feet afterwards are essential.  Other tips include wearing shower shoes in public areas, changing shoes and socks daily, keeping toenails clipped at a short length, wearing breathable shoes that fit properly, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and disinfecting home pedicure tools and instruments used to cut nails.

Fungal nail treatment may vary between patients and the severity of the condition.  Your podiatrist may suggest a daily routine of cleansing that spans over a period of time to ease mild infections.  Over-the-counter or prescription antifungal agents may also be prescribed, including topical and/or oral medications.  Debridement, or the removal of diseased nail matter and debris, may also be performed.  In more severe cases, surgical treatment may be needed.  In some instances, the temporary removal of the fungal nail allows for the direct application of a topical antifungal to the nail bed.  In other cases, a chronically painful fungal nail that has not responded to other treatments may be permanently removed; this allows the infection to be cured and avoids the growth of a deformed nail.  

Monday, 31 August 2020 00:00

Fungal Nails 101

When fungus gets under the toenail, it begins to feed on the keratin that makes up the nail. While an infected nail is easy to treat in the early stages, the infection becomes more and more difficult to manage as it grows. Common risk factors for developing a fungal nail infection may include trauma, poor hygiene, sweating, and walking barefoot in moist environments. Toenails that have been infected by a fungus will become brittle, crumble, and turn yellowish in color. Treatments for infected toenails can include topical medications, oral medications, and laser treatment. If you believe that you are afflicted with a toenail fungus, it is important that you consult with a podiatrist for proper care and treatment.

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, 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.

Symptoms

  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail

Treatment

If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.

Prevention

In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

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.

 

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Monday, 24 August 2020 00:00

Everything You Need to Know About Gout

Gout, typically found in diabetic patients, is an unusually painful form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. The condition typically strikes the big joint on the big toe. It has also been known to strike the knees, elbows, fingers, ankles and wrists—generally anywhere that has a functioning, moving joint.

The high level of uric acid in a person’s bloodstream creates the condition known as hyperuricema—the main cause of gout. Genetic predisposition occurs in nine out of ten sufferers. The children of parents who suffer gout will have a two in ten chance of developing the condition as well. 

This form of arthritis, being particularly painful, is the leftover uric acid crystallizing in the blood stream. The crystallized uric acid then travels to the space between joints where they rub, causing friction when the patient moves. Symptoms include: pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation. Additional side effects may include fatigue and fever, although reports of these effects are very rare. Some patients have reported that pain may intensify when the temperature drops, such as when you sleep.

Most cases of gout are easily diagnosed by a podiatrist’s assessment of the various symptoms. Defined tests can also be performed. A blood test to detect elevated levels of uric acid is often used as well as an x-ray to diagnose visible and chronic gout.

Treatment for gout simply means eliminating symptoms. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (Colchicine and other corticosteroid drugs, etc.) will quell the redness, the swelling, and the inflammation. However, managing your diet, lifestyle changes, and using preventative drugs are all helpful toward fully combating the most severe cases.

 Those that lead an inactive lifestyle are at a higher risk for gout. Any amount of exercise decreases the probability of repeat encounters with the condition. Reducing your consumption of red meat, sea food, and fructose-sweetened drinks also reduces the likelihood of chronic gout as well.

Ingesting Vitamin C, coffee, and particular dairy products can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are new drugs out on the market that inhibit the body’s production of uric acid-producing enzymes. However, reducing or eliminating your overall levels of uric acid is the best remedy to ensuring you lead a gout-free life.

Monday, 24 August 2020 00:00

How Does Gout Occur?

Research has indicated that there are millions of Americans who are affected by the foot condition that is referred to as gout. It generally affects the joints in the big toe, and can cause severe pain and discomfort. It can develop as a result of an excess of uric acid that is found in the bloodstream and lodges in the joints of the body. Uric acid can come from specific foods that are frequently eaten, which can include shellfish, red meat, and drinks that have a high sugar content. Many patients have noticed their gout attacks can begin at night, and may subside naturally. In severe cases, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can properly treat this form of arthritis.

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. It often develops in the foot, especially the big toe area, although it can manifest in other parts of the body as well. Gout can make walking and standing very painful and is especially common in diabetics and the obese.

People typically get gout because of a poor diet. Genetic predisposition is also a factor. The children of parents who have had gout frequently have a chance of developing it themselves.

Gout can easily be identified by redness and inflammation of the big toe and the surrounding areas of the foot. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, joint pain, and running high fevers. Sometimes corticosteroid drugs can be prescribed to treat gout, but the best way to combat this disease is to get more exercise and eat a better diet.

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.

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Monday, 17 August 2020 00:00

Solutions for Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can make life very frustrating and embarrassing when displaying the bare feet. Aside from being unpleasing to the eye, they can also tear stockings and socks and wear out shoes at a faster rate. When severe, cracked heels may cause pain or infection.

Cracked heels are a problem for those who are athletic, those who may walk a lot, and those who have especially dry skin. Those who use medication that dry the skin, those who swim often, wearing certain types of shoes, and those who are diabetic may have trouble with cracked heels. Seniors whose skin produces less oil may also have trouble with cracked feet. There is no one way to develop cracked feet, and there is no cure.

Today, the market consists of numerous products that have a variety of ingredients to promote healing. Some of these are over-the-counter. Others are prescribed by a doctor, especially for those who have chronic dry feet and heels.

Some doctors recommend wearing socks at night for those with rough skin. This helps further healing, and helps creams stay on longer and better absorb into the skin.

One way to alleviate dryness that causes cracked heels is by using moisturizers both day and night. Another way is to make sure the skin is clean and dry at all times. Using a pumice stone to buff away dead skin before putting on moisturizer can also help. Cracked heels will not respond to the cream unless the outer layer of skin is first removed through exfoliation. After exfoliation, lotion or ointment will be absorbed by the skin more easily.

Foods that produce healing and balance can also help the skin from within. Everything that is put into the body can either help it or hurt it. Taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc can also be very beneficial.

Nevertheless, not all products are guaranteed to help treat cracked feet. Seeing a professional is best if other treatments options were unsuccessful. A podiatrist should be able to give the best advice to help with this problem.

Cracked heels can be unpleasant to look at and may also cause a great deal of foot pain if left untreated. In serious cases, the cracks may turn into fissures, which are deep cracks in the skin that can lead to bleeding. While cracked heels are linked to dryness of the skin, they may also form due to a vitamin deficiency. If you aren’t getting the proper vitamin intake, the skin may become dry, dull, and prematurely age. Vitamin E is particularly beneficial in protecting collagen in your skin, and can be found in foods such as avocados, mangos, and salmon. For more information on what vitamins may help the prevention of cracked heels, please consult with a podiatrist.

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 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.

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 offices located in Petaluma and Sonoma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Monday, 10 August 2020 00:00

Why Biomechanics Are Important

In podiatry, biomechanics involves assessing the structure, alignment and function of the feet. The foot provides us with the ability to walk upright and has developed to adapt to whatever surfaces we walk on. Because the average person takes between 5,000 and 18,000 steps in a single day, the foot can experience stress from repetitiveness, resulting in injury. While options such as orthotics can help prevent injury, paying special attention to the strength and flexibility of the feet allow their function to improve. Therefore, if you are actively on your feet, make sure to consult with a podiatrist to help find any predisposed issues.

If you have any concerns about your feet, 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.

Biomechanics in Podiatry

Podiatric biomechanics is a particular sector of specialty podiatry with licensed practitioners who are trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Biomechanics deals with the forces that act against the body, causing an interference with the biological structures. It focuses on the movement of the ankle, the foot and the forces that interact with them.

A History of Biomechanics

  • Biomechanics dates back to the BC era in Egypt where evidence of professional foot care has been recorded.
  • In 1974, biomechanics gained a higher profile from the studies of Merton Root, who claimed that by changing or controlling the forces between the ankle and the foot, corrections or conditions could be implemented to gain strength and coordination in the area.

Modern technological improvements are based on past theories and therapeutic processes that provide a better understanding of podiatric concepts for biomechanics. Computers can provide accurate information about the forces and patterns of the feet and lower legs.

Understanding biomechanics of the feet can help improve and eliminate pain, stopping further stress to the foot.

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.

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Biomechanics and its related study deal with the forces that act against the body and affect things like our movement. In podiatry, biomechanics are studied to determine the movement of the ankle, toes, and the foot, as well as the forces that impact them. Podiatrists who train in this specialty are able to effectively diagnose and treat conditions that affect people’s everyday movement.

Regardless of your lifestyle, age, or any other factors, many people experience foot problems throughout their lives. Twists and turns, improper balance, and added weight are just a few of the things that can add stress to the feet. These issues can also limit our bodies’ mobility that we often take for granted. Pain in the feet and ankles can also trickle up towards the lower legs, knees, hip, and even back area. This affects the way you move around on a daily basis.

Biomechanics and its related study deal with forces that act against the body and affect things like our movement. In podiatry, biomechanics are studied to determine the movement of the ankle, toes, and the foot, as well as the forces that impact them. Podiatrists who train in this specialty are able to effectively diagnose and treat conditions that affect people’s everyday movement.

Regardless of your lifestyle, age, or any other factors, many people experience foot problems throughout their lives. Twists and turns, improper balance, and added weight are just a few of the things that can add stress to the feet. These issues can also limit our bodies’ mobility that we often take for granted. Pain in the feet and ankles can also trickle up towards the lower legs, knees, hip, and even back area. This affects the way you move around on a daily basis.

The history of studying biomechanics dates back to ancient Egypt at around 3000 B.C., where evidence of professional foot care has been recorded. Throughout the centuries, advances in technology, science, and an understanding of the human body led to more accurate diagnosis of conditions such as corns for example. In 1974, biomechanics garnered a large audience when Merton Root founded Root Lab to make custom orthotics. He proposed that corrections of certain conditions could be implemented to gain strength and coordination in the area. Due to his research, we still use his basic principle of foot orthotics to this day.

As technology has improved, so have the therapeutic processes that allow us to correct deficiencies in our natural biomechanics. Computers can now provide accurate readings of the forces, movements, and patterns of the foot and lower leg. Critical treatment options can be provided to patients now who suffer from problems that cause their biomechanics to not function naturally. The best results are now possible thanks to 3D modeling and computing technologies that can take readings and also map out what treatment will do to the affected areas.

These advanced corrective methods were able to come to light thanks to an increase in both the technologies surrounding biomechanics and also the knowledge of how they work naturally. For example, shoe orthotics are able to treat walking inabilities by realigning the posture deviations in patients caused by hip or back problems. Understanding foot biomechanics can help improve movement and eliminate pain, stopping further stress to the foot. Speak with your podiatrist if you have any of these problems.

Monday, 03 August 2020 00:00

Pregnancy and Foot Health

Many pregnant women complain about foot pain while they are expecting. Foot pain can primarily be caused by weight gain and hormonal changes taking place in the body. By understanding how pregnancy impacts the health of a woman's feet, a pregnant woman can take action to keep her feet as healthy and comfortable as possible.

Because a woman's weight changes during pregnancy, more pressure is brought to bear on both the legs and the feet. This weight shift can cause two major foot problems: over-pronation, also known as flat feet, as well as edema, which is swelling of the feet. Over-pronation occurs when the arch of the foot flattens, causing the foot to roll inwards when the individual is walking, and can aggravate the plantar fascia tissues located along the bottom of the feet. If these tissues become inflamed, a pregnant woman can experience pain in the heel of the foot as well as severe foot pain while walking or standing. Swelling of the feet, or edema, often occurs in the later stages of pregnancy. It is caused by slow circulation and water retention, and may turn the feet a light purple color.

To keep feet in good health and prevent over-pronation, pregnant women should avoid walking barefoot and be sure they are wearing shoes that offer good arch support. A device known as an orthotic can be added to regular footwear in order to provide additional support for the feet during pregnancy. Any expectant mother whose feet hurt should first check to see if the shoes she is wearing are old, worn out and not offering the proper support necessary for distributing the weight of her body during pregnancy.

To treat edema of the feet, a good start is to wear quality footwear which offers support and good circulation. Keep feet elevated whenever possible by using a foot stool while seated. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water to prevent water retention in the feet. Any swelling that occurs in only one foot should be examined as soon as possible by a doctor.

Good foot health during pregnancy can help expectant mothers avoid foot pain that leads to other health problems. Massaging the feet and doing regular gentle exercise like walking aids foot health by contributing to good circulation. Supportive shoes are also a good investment that will support foot health during pregnancy.

Monday, 03 August 2020 00:00

Foot Changes During Pregnancy

There are many changes women endure during their pregnancy. The feet are generally affected, and swelling is a common ailment. This may be a result of various reasons, which can include an increase in leg pressure from the growing fetus, the development of flat feet, and the arch and ankle may become unstable. Additionally, hormonal changes may be responsible for hot and burning sensations that can occur in the feet. Many pregnant women find relief when their feet are frequently elevated, and it is beneficial to reduce sodium intake. If you would like more information about remedies that can help your feet to feel better during pregnancy, is it suggested that you consult with a podiatrist.

Pregnant women with swollen feet can be treated with a variety of different methods that are readily available. For more information about other cures for swollen feet during pregnancy, consult with one of our podiatrists from North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What Foot Problems Can Arise During Pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward.  This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy but tends to occur in the later stages. 

How Can I Keep My Feet Healthy During Pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

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.

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