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March 2021

Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00

The Kitchen Area May Cause Falling

A common place for patients who are 65 or older to fall can be in the kitchen. This can happen as a result of having slippery floors or trying to retrieve items in places that are hard to reach. It may be beneficial to frequently sit in a sturdy chair while preparing foods, as this may help to maintain balance. Having a non-skid rug in front of the sink may help to prevent falling, and it is suggested that sturdy shoes are worn while in the living environment. It is common for spills to occur, and greasy or sticky foods may cause accidents in the kitchen. If you would like additional information about how falling in the kitchen can affect the feet, please confer with a podiatrist who can offer you effective preventive methods.

Preventing falls among the elderly is very important. If you are older and have fallen or fear that you are prone to falling, consult with one of our podiatrists from North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality advice and care.

Every 11 seconds, an elderly American is being treated in an emergency room for a fall related injury. Falls are the leading cause of head and hip injuries for those 65 and older. Due to decreases in strength, balance, senses, and lack of awareness, elderly persons are very susceptible to falling. Thankfully, there are a number of things older persons can do to prevent falls.

How to Prevent Falls

Some effective methods that older persons can do to prevent falls include:

  • Enrolling in strength and balance exercise program to increase balance and strength
  • Periodically having your sight and hearing checked
  • Discuss any medications you have with a doctor to see if it increases the risk of falling
  • Clearing the house of falling hazards and installing devices like grab bars and railings
  • Utilizing a walker or cane
  • Wearing shoes that provide good support and cushioning
  • Talking to family members about falling and increasing awareness

Falling can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience for elderly persons; this can make them less willing to leave the house, and less willing to talk to someone about their fears of falling. Doing such things, however, will increase the likelihood of tripping or losing one’s balance. Knowing the causes of falling and how to prevent them is the best way to mitigate the risk of serious 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 Falls Prevention
Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00

Falls Prevention

Elderly Americans are very susceptible to falls as they get older. Everyone experiences decreases in flexibility, balance, strength, and the senses as they age. This correlates to some eye-opening statistics. 1 in 4 Americans aged 65 and older fall each year. An elderly American is being treated for a fall in an emergency room every 11 seconds, and every 19 minutes, an older person dies from falling. In light of these striking statistics, one can see the importance of taking steps to prevent falls.

Finding an exercise program for the elderly is an excellent way to reduce the likelihood of falls. Look for an exercise program that improves strength and balance. Elderly people who live a more sedentary lifestyle, with little physical activity, are at an increased risk of falling. Wearing well-fitted footwear that provides good foot support and cushion will help prevent falls from poorly fitted shoes. Talking to a podiatrist about your susceptibility to falls and about inspecting your prescriptions will help to avoid any medication that could make falls more likely. Due to a decline in the senses among the elderly, having your eyes and hearing checked is recommended.

Around half of all falls occur in the household. Removing tripping hazards in the home and making it more accommodating to older persons can significantly reduce falls. Some notable household changes include increasing lighting around the house, installing grab bars in the shower and bathroom, and making sure the floor is clear of clutter. Other smart options include installing a shower chair, using rubber-bottomed rugs, and placing railings on both sides of stairwells.  

Finally, discuss with a doctor and your family about your fear of falling. This will help to increase awareness among the population on the need for fall prevention. A lack of awareness on the matter, and a downplaying of importance are what increase the risks of falling. Following these tips can help to reduce the risk for yourself and your loved ones.

 

Monday, 22 March 2021 00:00

Systemic Diseases of the Foot

There are several systemic diseases, or diseases that affect the whole body, that either display symptoms in the feet or affect the health of the feet. Common systemic diseases that affect the overall health of the feet, and the patient’s ability to walk comfortably, include gout, diabetes mellitus, neurological disorders, and arthritis, among others.

In gout, which is caused by an excessive buildup of uric acid in the body, the most common symptoms of pain, inflammation, and redness occur at the metatarsal/phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe. Any excess levels of uric acid crystallize and are deposited in tendons, joints, and surrounding bone and muscle tissue. Gout is commonly treated with NSAIDs to relieve pain and inflammation and other drugs to lower uric acid levels in the body. Gout most commonly affects those who are overweight, have low protein diets and lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Diabetes mellitus is an increase in the level of blood sugar in which the body cannot counteract with naturally occurring insulin in the body. The three types of diabetes, Type I, Type II and Gestational Diabetes, are all signs the body is either not producing enough insulin or is not efficiently using the insulin that is produced. Gestational diabetes only affects women who are pregnant and have never, prior to pregnancy, exhibited symptoms of the disease.

There are two main issues that affect the feet that are commonly caused by diabetes. They include diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. Diabetic neuropathy can lead to damaged nerves and affect the feet through numbness and loss of sensation. Peripheral vascular disease restricts the flow of blood to the foot and can, in extreme cases, lead to the necessity of amputating the foot. Peripheral issues that are caused by diabetes and can affect the foot include athlete’s foot, nail infections, corns, blisters, bunions, severe dry skin, plantar warts and ingrown toenails. These can all be attributed to the decrease of blood flow to the foot.

Neurological disorders and rheumatoid arthritis can also have severe impact on the health of the feet. Neurological disorders can affect the nerves in the main structure of the foot and cause loss of sensation and possible decreased muscle response. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the bones and joint structures of the foot, making it impossible to walk normally without serious pain.

All systemic diseases that affect the foot can effectively be treated to minimize joint and muscle damage if they are diagnosed early and treated with medication and lifestyle therapy. Diabetes patients must monitor their blood sugar levels and work with their physician to keep their levels as close to normal as possible. Rheumatoid arthritis patients should work with their physician to ensure the proper medications are being taken to reduce the amount of damage to the joints of the body.

Monday, 22 March 2021 00:00

What Is Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy

Idiopathic peripheral neuropathy refers to damage of the peripheral nerves where cause can not be determined. When the peripheral nerves are damaged, there are often symptoms that affect the feet. These can include numbness, a tingling or burning sensation, pain, a loss of sensation, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, or difficulty moving the lower limbs. Treatment for idiopathic peripheral neuropathy that affects the lower limbs focuses on managing the symptoms of the disease. Certain medications or physical therapy may be suggested. Mobility aids, such as orthotic shoes, canes, or braces may be prescribed to help you balance and walk. For more information about peripheral neuropathy, please consult with a podiatrist.

When dealing with systemic disease of the feet, it is extremely important to check the affected areas routinely so that any additional problems are caught quickly.  If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles contact one of our podiatrists from North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors will assist you with all of your podiatric needs.

Systemic Diseases of the Feet

Systemic diseases affect the whole body, and symptoms usually are displayed in the feet. This condition can make a patient’s ability to walk unbearable.  Systemic diseases include gout, diabetes mellitus, neurological disorders, and arthritis.

Gout – is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. Common symptoms include pain, inflammation, and redness at the metatarsal/phalangeal joint of the base big toe. Gout can be treated by NSAIDs to relieve pain and inflammation, and other drugs that lower the acid levels in the body.

Diabetes mellitus – is an increase in the level of blood sugar that the body cannot counteract with its own insulin. Failure to produce enough insulin is a factor in Diabetes.

Diabetes of the Feet

Diabetic Neuropathy – may lead to damaged nerves and affect the feet through numbness and loss of sensation.

Peripheral Vascular Disease – can restrict the blood flow to the feet, and often times lead to amputation of 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.

Read more about Systemic Diseases of the Foot
Monday, 15 March 2021 00:00

What Causes Heel Fissures?

Heel fissures are cracks in the skin of the heels that can be painful and uncomfortable. There are many potential causes of heel fissures such as standing for prolonged periods of time. The effects of prolonged standing can be mitigated by wearing shoes that are supportive and padded in the heel area. Skin conditions, such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and palmoplantar keratoderma, can all affect the skin of the heels by making them dry, scaly, or thickened, and therefore more likely to crack. You may also develop cracked heels as the result of wearing inappropriate footwear. Shoes that are backless can cause or worsen cracked heels because there is nothing to keep the back of the foot in place while pressure is exerted on it from walking or standing. The extra pressure on the foot can cause dry skin on the heels to crack. If you have painful cracked heels, it is recommended that you see a podiatrist for treatment.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. 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

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

Read more about Solutions for Cracked Heels
Monday, 15 March 2021 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.

Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00

Diagnosing and Treating Sesamoiditis

Sesamoids are tiny bones that are situated in a muscle or connected to tendons. There are two tiny sesamoids in the front of the foot that provide mobility to the big toe and aid the tendons. Sesamoiditis occurs when these tendons become swollen or irritated, which can cause pain in the big toe or ball of the foot, or prevent full motion of the big toe. A podiatrist can examine your foot, and perform various tests and X-rays to help determine if you have this condition, which can be common among certain athletes and dancers. Treatment is typically non-surgical, and may include over-the-counter pain killers, resting and icing the area, taping the big toe to restrict movement, and wearing certain orthopedic pads or soft-soled shoes. If the situation persists, a short brace or steroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and help the area heal properly. Surgery to remove the sesamoid may be an option if more conservative measures fail to provide relief. If you believe you may have sesamoiditis, don’t delay in seeking professional treatment from a podiatrist.

Sesamoiditis is an unpleasant foot condition characterized by pain in the balls of the feet. If you think you’re struggling with sesamoiditis, contact one of our podiatrists of North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors will treat your condition thoroughly and effectively.

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition of the foot that affects the ball of the foot. It is more common in younger people than it is in older people. It can also occur with people who have begun a new exercise program, since their bodies are adjusting to the new physical regimen. Pain may also be caused by the inflammation of tendons surrounding the bones. It is important to seek treatment in its early stages because if you ignore the pain, this condition can lead to more serious problems such as severe irritation and bone fractures.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

  • Sudden increase in activity
  • Increase in physically strenuous movement without a proper warm up or build up
  • Foot structure: those who have smaller, bonier feet or those with a high arch may be more susceptible

Treatment for sesamoiditis is non-invasive and simple. Doctors may recommend a strict rest period where the patient forgoes most physical activity. This will help give the patient time to heal their feet through limited activity. For serious cases, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine a treatment option that will help your specific needs.

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 Sesamoiditis
Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition in which the sesamoid bones in the forefoot become inflamed from physical activity. Sesamoid bones are bones that are not connected to other bones but are located in tendons or muscle. Two of these sesamoid bones are very small and located on the underside of the foot near the big toe. Athletes such as runners, baseball and football players, and dancers are likely to experience sesamoiditis. Those with high arched feet, flat feet, or runners who run on the ball of their foot are also prone to suffer from sesamoiditis.

Symptoms include pain or throbbing on the ball of the foot near the big toe. The pain generally starts with a mild throbbing but gradually builds up to shooting pain. Bruising, swelling, and redness are possible, but in most cases, these symptoms are not present. However, moving the big toe can result in pain and difficulty.

To conduct a diagnosis, the podiatrist will examine the ball of the foot and big toe. They will look for any outliers and check the movement of the toe. X-rays will be taken to rule out any other conditions and ensure that it is sesamoiditis.

Treatment for sesamoiditis is generally mild and includes rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and ice treatments to deal with the swelling and pain. Orthotics may be needed with people who have flat or high arched feet to relieve pressure off the bones. In some cases the toe will be taped and immobilized to allow healing. The podiatrist may also decide to use a steroid injection to help with swelling as well. If you have sesamoiditis, you shouldn’t engage in any intensive activity, as it may inflame the area and worsen your pain. If the sesamoid bone has fractured, surgery may be required to remove the sesamoid bone.

If you are suffering from sesamoiditis or are experiencing symptoms similar to sesamoiditis, you should stop all physical activity that puts strain on the area. Furthermore you should see a podiatrist for a diagnosis to see if you have sesamoiditis.

Monday, 01 March 2021 00:00

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. This considered to be one of the most frequently recorded medical illnesses throughout history. Gout occurrences in the US have risen within the past twenty years and the condition now affects 8.3 million people which is 4% of all Americans. Researchers have found that gout affects men more than women and African-American men more than white men. 

Symptoms of gout are warmth, swelling, discoloration, and tenderness in the affected joint area. The small joint on the big toe is the most common place for a gout attack to occur.

People who are obese, gain weight excessively, drink alcohol heavily, have high blood pressure, or have abnormal kidney function are more likely to develop gout. Furthermore, certain drugs and diseases are likely to increase levels of uric acid in the joints which eventually leads to gout. You are also more likely to develop gout if you eat a lot of meat and fish.

Many who experience gout attacks will experience repeated attacks over the years. Some people who have gout symptoms, may never have them again, but others may experience them several times a year. If you have gout symptoms throughout the year, you may have recurrent gout. Those who have gout should also be careful about their urate crystals collecting in their urinary tract, because this may lead to kidney stones.

Diagnosis for gout is done by checking the level of uric acid in the joints and blood. Your podiatrist may also prescribe medicine to reduce uric acid buildup in the blood, which will help prevent any gout attacks.

To treat gout, your podiatrist may also prescribe you Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) which will relieve the pain and swelling of a gout episode and it can also shorten a gout attack. Maintaining a healthy diet is also a proven method to prevent gout attacks. 

Monday, 01 March 2021 00:00

Specific Foods May Lead to Gout

Swollen and painful joints in the big toe can indicate a condition that is referred to as gout. It is considered to be a form or arthritis that can cause severe pain and discomfort. Excess uric acid in the blood may contribute significantly to the onset of gout. However, there are purines in specific foods that may cause crystal like sensations that form in the joints of the foot. These types of foods can include shellfish, red meat, and drinks that are made with large amounts of sugar. Patients who have medical conditions such as heart or kidney disease and obesity may be prone to gout attacks. If you have debilitating foot pain, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can effectively diagnose and treat gout.

 

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. 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 form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment 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.

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