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

Items filtered by date: October 2018

Research has shown that wearing shoes that fit properly may aid in preventing uncomfortable foot conditions from developing. Ingrown toenails may occur if the shoes that are worn fit too tightly, possibly causing the toenails to grow into the skin. It’s important to have your feet measured before purchasing shoes, and it may be beneficial to do this at the end of the day when the feet are typically at their largest. The shoe may feel comfortable when the ball of the foot fits properly in the widest portion of the shoe and there is adequate room for the longest toe to move about in. Many people make the mistake of expecting the shoes to stretch and become broken in as they are worn, and this may produce foot conditions such as corns or blisters. Please consult with a podiatrist for additional information about what to look for when buying shoes.

It is important to find shoes that fit you properly in order to avoid a variety of different foot problems. For more information about treatment, contact Brent Harwood, DPM from Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor will treat your foot care needs.

Proper Shoe Fitting

Shoes have many different functions. They cushion our body weight, protect our feet, and allow us to safely play sports. You should always make sure that the shoes you wear fit you properly in order to avoid injuries and deformities such as: bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and more. It is important to note that although a certain pair of shoes might be a great fit for someone else, that doesn’t mean they will be a great fit for you. This is why you should always try on shoes before buying them to make sure they are worth the investment. Typically, shoes need to be replaced ever six months to one year of regular use.

Tips for Proper Shoe Fitting

  • Select a shoe that is shaped like your foot
  • Don’t buy shoes that fit too tight, expecting them to stretch to fit
  • Make sure there is enough space (3/8” to ½”) for your longest toe at the end of each shoe when you are standing up
  • Walk in the shoes to make sure they fit and feel right
  • Don’t select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe, but by how the shoe fits your foot

The shoes you buy should always feel as good as they look. Shoes that fit properly will last longer, feel better, and improve your way of life each day.

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 care needs.

Read more about How to Get a Proper Shoe Fit
Monday, 29 October 2018 00:00

How to Get a Proper Shoe Fit

Many people suffer from foot problems because their shoes are poorly fitted. When shopping for a new pair of shoes, fashion usually triumphs over comfortability. A pair of well fitted shoes is essential in preventing foot problems and potential injuries.

Poorly fitted shoes can cause foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and foot pain. Shoes such as high heels and sandals may cause problems for your feet. These shoes put the foot in an unnatural position for long periods and fail to provide good foot support. It is recommended to not wear either one for an extended period.

When you are trying on shoes, make sure they have enough space for your toes to move around. Shoes shouldn’t be cramped but also shouldn’t have too much room that your foot moves around in them. A snug shoe is a good choice. They should also provide good arch support and cushioning. Athletic shoes tend to offer both good support and cushioning. A degree of flexibility is necessary so they aren’t too stiff or too unsupportive.

If you can wear your shoes for a long period of time without experiencing any discomfort, this is a sign that your shoes fit properly. Do not be too dismayed if the shoe isn’t a perfect fit at first; many shoes take a few days to weeks to properly break in. However don’t expect an uncomfortable shoe to become fitted to your foot.

For those with foot conditions such as flat feet or pronation, orthotics may be helpful or even necessary to prevent foot pain. Orthotics are inserts that are placed in the shoe and provide support and cushioning for the foot. While there are many types of orthotics out there, custom-made orthotics may be necessary depending upon your foot and foot conditions.

Feet change in size over time. It is important to check your foot size over time so that you can make sure you have the perfect fit for your feet. A podiatrist can provide more information on proper shoe fitting and foot orthotics.

Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

The Location of the Sesamoid Bones

The bones that are found surrounding the joints in the foot are referred to as sesamoid bones. Research has confirmed the big toe contains different types of these particular bones and they have specific functions, which includes providing stability while walking. If an injury should occur to one or more of these bones, inflammation is likely to develop and this typically results in severe pain and discomfort. This is referred to as sesamoiditis, and generally occurs from repetitive activity that may be associated with dancing, basketball, or tennis. Patients who experience this condition often notice gradual pain developing in the foot, in addition to swelling and tenderness surrounding the affected joint. The first phase of treatment will often include rest and cessation from the activity that has caused this ailment. It’s suggested to speak to a podiatrist if you are afflicted with sesamoiditis for further treatment options that are correct for you.

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 care needs.

Read more about Sesamoiditis
Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition that affects the joint that is just behind the big toe in the area known as the ball of the foot. It is most common in younger people and people who have just begun an exercise program. Since the sesamoid bones are like a pulley controlling the big toe, they can rub against each other and cause a gradual onset of pain. Pain may also be caused by the inflammation of tendons surrounding the bones. If ignored, sesamoiditis can lead to other, more serious problems such as severe irritation and fractures of the bones.

The cause of sesamoiditis is sudden increase in activity. The ball of your foot acts as a springboard to help you lift off when you are jogging or running. Sudden increase in the use of these bones or the tendon that controls them can cause irritation. The tendon then begins to develop inflammation and the joint begins to swell. People with smaller, bonier feet or those with a high arch are typically more susceptible to this condition.

Sesamoiditis is fairly simple to diagnose since the symptoms have a gradual onset rather than a sudden impact. The symptoms begin with slight irritation around the joint shortly after the increase in activity. The discomfort eventually turns to pain with light swelling and possibly redness. Although redness or bruising are rare, this may be a symptom. After each session of exercising, the aggravated joint becomes more irritated and increases into a very intense throbbing.

Treatment for sesamoiditis can vary depending on the severity of the situation. However, treatment is almost always approached in a noninvasive way. For a case that is just beginning the doctor may recommend a very strict rest period that will limit the activity allowed on the joint. If you must be active, a recommendation for as modified shoe or insole, along with bandaging and immobilizing the big toe will be made to ensure that pressure is not placed on the joint. For severe cases, it is typically recommended that the joint and the big toe be completely immobilized to allow adequate time to heal. Ice and an over the counter anti-inflammatory may can help with the pain and discomfort while you are at rest.

When you return to your regular exercise activities, it is recommended that you use an insole that will allow even distribution of impact to your entire foot, rather than just the balls of your foot. This will prevent further aggravation of the injury.

 

Many people are afflicted with several types of foot conditions, and these may be indicative of additional health issues that may be present in the body. Some people may experience muscle spasms and this may be a result of dehydration. If these spasms should occur while walking or running, it could be a symptom of a circulatory ailment. Additionally, a condition that is referred to as gout may be a result of excess uric acid that is present in the blood. Gout is a form of arthritis, which affects the big toe and typically produces extreme pain and discomfort. Patients who experience cold feet for the majority of the time may be aware that it may be a symptom of diabetes, thyroid concerns, or anemia. If you are experiencing any foot conditions, please consult with a podiatrist to learn how this may be a sign of other health issues.

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 contact Brent Harwood, DPM from Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor 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 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 care needs.

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Monday, 15 October 2018 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, 08 October 2018 00:00

Are Most Babies Born with Flat Feet?

When babies are born, many first-time parents do not pay particular attention to their babies feet other than to notice how cute they are. Most babies feet are extremely flexible, and are constructed of several bones and joints with additional support coming from the ligaments. Twelve months of age is typically when most children begin to walk, and flat-footedness is a common condition among these new walkers. As their walking skills develop, the muscle strength will improve and a normal arch will develop. Toddlers will benefit by walking barefoot indoors as often as possible, which will allow the sole of the foot to touch the floor. This will aid in strengthening the tendons and ligaments in addition to the muscles of the foot. When the proper time comes for your child to wear shoes, it’s important to have their feet correctly measured. Please consult with a podiatrist if you would like additional information on how to care for your children’s feet.

The health of a child’s feet is vital to their overall well-being. If you have any questions regarding foot health, contact Brent Harwood, DPM of Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tips for Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

  • Make sure their shoes fit properly
  • Look for any signs of in-toeing or out-toeing
  • Check to see if they have Clubfoot (condition that affects your child’s foot, twisting the heel and toes inward) which is one of the most common nonmajor birth defects.
  • Lightly cover your baby’s feet (Tight covers may keep your baby from moving their feet freely, and could prevent normal development)
  • Allow your toddler to go shoeless (Shoes can be restricting for a young child’s foot)
  • Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails
  • Keep your child’s foot clean and dry
  • Cover cuts and scrapes. Wash any scratches with soap and water and cover them with a bandage until they’ve healed.

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 care needs.

Read more about How to Care for Your Child's Feet
Monday, 08 October 2018 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.

People who regularly stretch their feet and toes are more likely aware of the many benefits that may accompany these movements. These may include increased blood flow into the feet, the muscles in the sole of the feet being properly stretched, and possibly helping to balance flat feet or fallen arches. Many people may discover moderate relief from the tired sensation that is often felt in the and feet, in addition to any swelling that may be present. Flexibility is generally improved as a result of improved strength. There are effective foot and toe stretches that can be performed, including pointing and flexing the toes in one direction multiple times, then repeating in the other direction. Please consult with a podiatrist if you would like additional information about the benefits of stretching the feet and toes.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with Brent Harwood, DPM from Southeast Podiatry. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Being the backbone of the body, the feet carry your entire weight and can easily become overexerted, causing cramps and pain. As with any body part, stretching your feet can serve many benefits. From increasing flexibility to even providing some pain relief, be sure to give your feet a stretch from time to time. This is especially important for athletes or anyone performing aerobic exercises, but anyone experiencing foot pain or is on their feet constantly should also engage in this practice.

Great ways to stretch your feet:

  • Crossing one leg over the others and carefully pull your toes back. Do 10-20 repetitions and repeat the process for each foot
  • Face a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot and keep it flat on the floor while moving the other leg forward. Lean towards the wall until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and perform 10 repetitions for each foot
  • Be sure not to overextend or push your limbs too hard or you could risk pulling or straining your muscle

Individuals who tend to their feet by regular stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

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 care needs.

Read more about Stretching Your Feet
Monday, 01 October 2018 00:00

Stretching Your Feet

Debilitating foot pain is a problem for many people. But just as stretching the torso can help alleviate back pain, stretching the feet can also help mend existing foot problems and prevent future ones.

The feet, as the body’s foundation, carry the body’s entire weight and can get easily strained from overexertion. Persistent sharp pain and cramping in the feet are often common concerns. Foot pain and foot problems can be due to any number of causes, and in many cases pain may be eased without medication or doctor visits. It is always a good idea, however, to first rule out any serious medical issues with a physician.

Stretching can help relax the feet and alleviate pain, but is especially important before heavy aerobic exercise. Stretching before such activities can help you avoid experiencing painful cramps or strained foot muscles. Stretches should be performed slowly and deliberately without forceful pulling. The stretch should be held for several seconds before relaxing.

A great way to stretch out and loosen up the foot muscles while sitting is to cross one leg over the other and pull the toes carefully back without overextending. Start by resting the left on the right knee. With the left hand, gently flex the left foot by pulling back on the toes. Do not pull too hard; just hard enough to feel the stretch in the arch of the foot. Then point the toes of the left foot as far as you can. Rotate the motion of pointing with pulling back on the toes. This should relax and stretch the muscles on the bottom and the top of the foot. Doing this stretch ten to twenty times should bring relief. Repeat the whole process for the other foot by resting the right on the left knee.

A stretch that focuses on the often injured Achilles tendon involves standing and facing a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot, keeping it flat against the floor. Move the other leg forward and lean toward the wall. You should feel a stretch through the back of your leg and your Achilles tendon, but do not push yourself too much. Stop when you feel a stretching sensation, and hold for 30 seconds. Ten repetitions may be done for each foot.

Stretching the feet is important for athletes or those performing aerobic exercise, but it can also help anyone with foot pain caused by poor footwear, plantar fasciitis, or long hours standing and walking. Individuals who tend to their feet by regularly stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

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