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Fairhope, Brewton, Atmore, Jay Phone (251) 928-6768

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Monday, 05 August 2019 00:00

Ingrown Toenails Can Cause Pain

The symptoms of an ingrown toenail can be quite noticeable. They typically consist of red and swollen skin on the sides of the big toe, and it generally causes pain and discomfort. It can occur as a result of wearing shoes that do not fit properly, and this can possibly cause the toenail to grow into the surrounding skin. If your child has an ingrown toenail, they may find mild relief when the affected toe is soaked in warm water. This may help to move the swollen portion of skin away from the nail. It may be beneficial to wear sandals as the healing process occurs, and this can help to keep pressure off of the nail. If you are afflicted with an ingrown toenail, it is strongly advised that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition. 

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Brent Harwood, DPM of Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care

Foot massages have become increasingly popular, and research has indicated it may help to heal ailments in other parts of the body. When the toes are curled, and the portion of the foot is massaged under the ball of the foot, this may aid in reducing anxiety. Patients who are suffering from chronic pain in the body may find that rolling the sole of the foot on a tennis ball could bring mild relief. Lower back pain may be diminished when the pressure points in the arches are massaged, followed by firmly rubbing the entire sole of the foot. If you are diabetic, it is suggested that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can provide information about how nerves that are damaged can be affected by massaging. 

Foot therapy is often necessary for those recovering from either foot deformities or foot injuries. If you have concerns regarding therapy, Brent Harwood, DPM of Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Most Common Injuries

People who are active or athletes are prone to a variety of injuries. Therefore, it is often important to take part in physical therapy in order to quickly get back on the right track. 

What to Do When Injured

Physical Therapy – This specialized treatment will focus on the affected area, speeding up recovery and the overall healing process. It is a proven method that has helped millions of people return from any injury.

During physical therapy you will undergo regimented training to get back into full form. Training is often very difficult, especially at first when the foot feels weak. Physical therapy often involves:

Basic stretching and twisting exercises – getting the feet’s mobility and flexibility up.

Massaging – the therapist will massage the injured area in order to activate the muscles and relax them.

Strengthening Exercises – this allows the muscles in the affected area to regain their full strength, a vital step towards full recovery.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Foot Therapy for Sports Injuries
Monday, 22 July 2019 00:00

What are Achilles Tendon Injuries?

The Achilles tendon is a fibrous band of tissue that links the muscles from your calf to your heel. The flexibility of the tendon is key for jumping, running, and walking. The Achilles bears a lot of stress and pressure during everyday activities, as well as during athletic and recreational play. If it becomes inflamed, swollen or irritated, it is called tendonitis. The most common risk factors for Achilles tendon injuries are starting a new sport, an increased amount or intensity of an activity, bone spurs on the heels, tight calf muscles when starting an activity, and wearing improper shoes when exercising. Common symptoms of Achilles tendon injuries include the following: pain that gets worse while being active, a stiff/sore Achilles tendon when first getting up in the morning, thickening of the tendon, and difficulty in flexing the affected foot. Some treatment options are rest, physical therapy, specific exercises to strengthen the calf muscles, and anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief such as ibuprofen or naproxen. An Achilles tendon injury may be prevented by stretching before exercising and by wearing the correct shoes. It may be suggested to cease exercise on uneven surfaces and stop activities that cause pain. If you have an Achilles injury or if you would like to take precautions to prevent an Achilles injury, please consult with your local podiatrist.

 

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Brent Harwood, DPM of Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.

What Are the Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?

There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms

  • Inflammation
  • Dull to severe pain
  • Increased blood flow to the tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

  • Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
  • Total immobility

Treatment and Prevention

Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:

  • Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
  • Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What are Achilles Tendon Injuries
Monday, 15 July 2019 00:00

Possible Causes of Heel Spurs

Many patients have pain in the heel area of the foot, and this may be indicative of condition that is known as a heel spur. It is considered to be a bony growth that forms underneath the heel and may be hooked or pointed. It grows toward the middle of the foot and can cause pain in the arch. The symptoms that are associated with heel spurs often include heel pain upon arising in the morning, swelling and heat coming from the affected heel, and the foot may feel achy as the day progresses. It can develop for a variety of reasons. These can consist of an injury that has occurred to the heel, participating in running and jumping activities, and wearing shoes that do not fit correctly. If you feel you may have developed a heel spur, it is advised to seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can determine what the best treatment is for you.

Heel spurs can be incredibly painful and sometimes may make you unable to participate in physical activities. To get medical care for your heel spurs, contact Brent Harwood, DPM from Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor will do everything possible to treat your condition.

Heels Spurs

Heel spurs are formed by calcium deposits on the back of the foot where the heel is. This can also be caused by small fragments of bone breaking off one section of the foot, attaching onto the back of the foot. Heel spurs can also be bone growth on the back of the foot and may grow in the direction of the arch of the foot.

Older individuals usually suffer from heel spurs and pain sometimes intensifies with age. One of the main condition's spurs are related to is plantar fasciitis.

Pain

The pain associated with spurs is often because of weight placed on the feet. When someone is walking, their entire weight is concentrated on the feet. Bone spurs then have the tendency to affect other bones and tissues around the foot. As the pain continues, the feet will become tender and sensitive over time.

Treatments

There are many ways to treat heel spurs. If one is suffering from heel spurs in conjunction with pain, there are several methods for healing. Medication, surgery, and herbal care are some options.

If you have any questions feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to meet your needs.

Read more about Heel Spurs

It is beneficial to maintain proper foot care which can be helpful in accomplishing daily activities. Choosing a correct shoe size is important in preventing uncomfortable foot conditions from developing. Many people find it useful to measure the feet using a Brannock device, as this will help in determining the correct shoe size. It is important to try shoes on at the end of the day, because this can help to ensure the shoes will fit properly when the feet are at their largest. Additionally, there needs to be adequate room in the tip of the shoe, so the toes can move freely. Both shoes should be tried on and walked in before purchasing them, and if the footwear is made of a soft, leather material, it may reduce the possibility of getting skin irritations. Many people find it easier to find shoes that fit well if a shoe is shaped like the foot. If you would like additional information about the importance of wearing shoes that fit properly, please consult with a podiatrist.

Finding a properly-fitting shoe is important in reducing injuries and preventing foot problems. For more information about treatment, contact Brent Harwood, DPM from Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Proper Shoe Fitting

A common concern when it comes to foot health, having properly fitted shoes can help prevent injuries to the foot. Out feet affect our posture and gait, which in turn affects the biomechanics and overall bodily structure. With 33 joints, 26 bones, and over 100 ligaments, the potential for serious injury is much greater than one realizes. Although the feet cease growth in adulthood, they still change shape as they mature. Here are some factors to consider when it comes to investing in proper fitting shoes:

  • Be sure the shoes fit correctly right away
  • Ensure the ball of your foot fits comfortably in the widest portion of the shoes
  • Even though they may look fashionable, improper fitting shoes can either create adverse conditions or exacerbate existing ones you may already have
  • Walk along a carpeted surface to ensure the shoes comfortably fit during normal activity

Keeping in mind how shoes fit the biomechanics of your body, properly-fitting shoes are vitally important. Fortunately, it is not difficult to acquire footwear that fits correctly. Be sure to wear shoes that support the overall structure of your body. Do your feet a favor and invest in several pairs of well-fitted shoes today.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Proper Shoe Fitting

If chronic pain is present in the feet, surgery may be an option to consider. One type of surgery that is referred to as arthroscopic debridement may help patients in the beginning stages of arthritis. This procedure removes any inflamed tissue that has developed on the joints and surrounding areas. If you have a bunion and wearing shoes becomes painful, permanent removal of the bunion could be a successful treatment option. Many people experience heel pain. This may be indicative of plantar fasciitis, or heel spurs. These patients may find it beneficial to undergo heel surgery, which can be helpful in correcting the condition. Aftercare for most foot surgeries will typically consist of keeping the foot elevated, in addition to wearing a splint or bandage on the recovering foot. If you are considering any type of foot surgery, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist who can properly guide you.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact Brent Harwood, DPM of Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:

  • Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Foot Surgery
Monday, 24 June 2019 00:00

Obesity and Heel Pain

Many people suffer from heel pain, including people who are obese. Mild relief may be found when exercises and foot stretches are frequently performed. People who are overweight may have challenges in practicing a regular exercise regime, and this may be a result of the additional weight the body endures. There are aerobic exercises that can be performed, which can aid in weight loss. If traditional forms of exercise are difficult to partake in, there are other methods to accomplish a weight loss goal. These can include cycling and swimming. Additionally, it is helpful to reduce the amount of calories that are eaten, as this can be beneficial in attaining exercise goals. If you are overweight and experiencing heel pain, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist who can guide you toward relief.

Obesity has become very problematic at this point in time and can have extremely negative effects on the feet. If you’re an obese individual and are concerned about your feet, contact Brent Harwood, DPM from Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Obesity and Your Feet

Since your feet are what support your entire weight when standing, any additional weight can result in pain and swelling. Being overweight is one of the main contributors to foot complications.

Problems & Complications

Extra Weight – Even putting on just a few extra pounds could create serious complications for your feet. As your weight increases, your balance and body will shift, creating new stresses on your feet. This uneven weight distribution can cause pain, even while doing the simplest tasks, such as walking.

Diabetes – People who are overweight are at serious risk of developing type-2 diabetes, which has a drastic impact on the health of your feet. As you get older, your diabetes might worsen, which could lead to loss of feeling in your feet, sores, and bruises. You could also become more prone to various infections.

Plantar fasciitis – Pressure and stress that is placed on muscles, joints, and tendons can trigger plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of tissue that forms along the bottom of the foot. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about How Obesity Affects Your Feet

Many women enjoy wearing high heels despite knowing they can be harmful to the feet. There are many uncomfortable conditions that can originate from wearing this type of shoe, including shortened Achilles tendons, and a restriction in circulation. Additionally, the ankles can bend forward, and it may feel like you are standing on tiptoes when high heels are worn. Many people experience bunions and hammertoes from wearing high heels. These ailments can be a result of having inadequate room for the toes to move freely in. Research has shown it is beneficial to alternate between wearing high heels and flat shoes, as this may help to reduce any foot damage that can occur. If you would like additional information about how high heels can harm the feet, please consult with a podiatrist.

High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact Brent Harwood, DPM from Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because of their many styles and societal appeal.  Despite this, high heels can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

Which Parts of My Body Will Be Affected by High Heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – May shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – Heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – They decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain.  The vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What Kinds of Foot Problems Can Develop from Wearing High Heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

How Can I Still Wear High Heels and Maintain Foot Health?

If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems.  Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet.  Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising.  If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work.  Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Effect of High Heels on the Feet

The location of the sesamoid bones is inside a tendon in the foot. The two bones are next to each other under the big toe joint in the bottom of the foot. They help to raise and move the big toe and can push off the ground while running. They take the strain off the foot while walking and running by absorbing the weight of the foot. If these bones should become inflamed, a condition that is referred to as sesamoiditis develops. It happens as a result of pressure that is exerted on the sesamoid bones and is a common condition among runners. There may be existing circumstances that lead to this ailment, including having high arches, or feet that have minimal cushioning on the sole of the foot. The symptoms that are common with sesamoiditis will typically include achiness in the ball of the foot, and a severe, throbbing sensation. If you feel you have sesamoiditis, it is advised to consult with a podiatrist, so proper treatment can begin.

Sesamoiditis is an unpleasant foot condition characterized by pain in the balls of the feet. If you think you’re struggling with sesamoiditis, contact Brent Harwood, DPM of Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor 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 one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Sesamoiditis
Monday, 03 June 2019 00:00

The Feet and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience pain in their feet at some point during their time with the ailment. Understanding the disease and the effects it could have on the feet may help you recognize the problem early and begin treatment. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the body attacks its own joints. This disease is unique in that many joints may be impacted at the same time. People with the disease may notice the development of bunions, hammertoes, and fallen arches. Additional foot complications affiliated with rheumatoid arthritis include heel pain, pinched nerves, nodules and rashes. The condition is painful and incurable. However, early treatment can help people with the disease control the discomfort and maintain their livelihoods. If you are experiencing any type of foot pain, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist.

Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact Brent Harwood, DPM of Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of feet
  • Joint shift and deformation

Diagnosis

Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fairhope, Brewton, and Atmore, AL and Jay, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet
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