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Why are my feet flat?

Adult-acquired flat foot is a condition that results in a fallen arch and the foot pointed outward.  This condition is most common in women over the age of 40.  A variety of foot problems can lead to adult acquired flatfoot deformity but the most common cause is a gradual stretching out of a tendon near the ankle bone, known as the posterior tibial tendon.  This tendon is the main stabilizer of the foot arch.  While the cause of the stretching is not fully understood, many doctors believe that wearing high heels and standing or walking for long periods may add to the problem.  Other risk factors include obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.   People with flatfoot experience different symptoms depending on…

Finding the Right Shoe Insert for Diabetics

For some diabetics, extra thought and care need to be given to protect the foot’s skin.  It can be damaged from pressure and shearing forces while inside a shoe.  With many types of shoe inserts available it is hard to determine which type protects the skin and prevents shearing damage.  Orthotics, store-bought arch supports, diabetic shoe inserts, and gel or foam shoe padding all fit inside shoe and are all designed to help the foot.  But there are big differences in the inserts, not only in design and materials but also in function and purpose.  These differences become very important when supporting a diabetic foot.   Buying an insert does not require a podiatrist, and many different options are available. …

Peripheral Neuropathy Treatments

Peripheral neuropathy is the term used to describe damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system.  It often causes numbness and pain in hands and feet.  Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include a gradual onset of numbness and tingling, burning pain, sharp electric like pain, or extreme sensitivity to touch.  A wide range of factors from trauma to diabetes and alcoholism can cause these symptoms.  The one thing that is common of the causes is that many times peripheral neuropathy can be avoided.  The risk factors associated with peripheral neuropathy are diabetes (especially if sugar levels are poorly controlled), alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies, exposure to toxins, and repeated physical stress.   The nervous system can be divided into two broad categories. …

Is there a rock in my shoe?

A common cause of pain between the toes while walking is a neuroma.  Neuromas are caused by a small growth of nerve tissue and are otherwise known as a pinched nerve or nerve tumor.  The nerve most commonly affected nerve is found between the third and fourth toes.  A neuroma is a growth of nerve tissue causing a burning sensation, tingling and numbness, or swelling between the toes and in the ball of the foot.  Those suffering from the condition often find relief by stopping their walk, taking off their shoe, and rubbing the affected area.  Another common feeling during walking is that of a stone beneath the foot.   The exact cause of a neuroma is unclear but foot…

New Ways to Fix Hammertoes

For the past few decades, surgeons have used the same method to hold the toe in place after hammertoe surgery.  Traditionally, they use a wire stabilize the toe for 4-6 weeks after surgery.  This wire, known as a k-wire, runs down the middle of the bones in the toe, through the skin, and out the end of the toe.  It is fast, technically sound, and inexpensive.  Unfortunately, using the wire adds to the patient’s worry of a pin sticking out of the end of their toe, small possibility of infection, and the anxiety and discomfort of removing the pin.   Modern technology has allowed for newer forms of screws and staples to replace the k-wire.  There are three different types…

Fast Facts on Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes can damage your nerves over time and lead to their deterioration and eventual death.  Burning and tingling sensations are warning signs that your nerves are having a difficult time carrying messages from your brain to parts of the body.  These sensations will eventually stop, but this occurs once the nerves stop functioning.  The nerve damage is called diabetic neuropathy.  Luckily, this process can be delay or even prevented by taking control of your diabetes.  Here are some important facts.   1. Nerve damage is common among diabetics. About half of the people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy.  This is because over time, high blood glucose levels will injure small blood vessels and nerves.  The excess glucose damages…

Bunion Surgery Myths

A bunion, otherwise known as hallux abducto valgus involves misalignment of the bones at the big toe joint and sometimes the joint within the big toe.  This abnormal anatomy causes the boney prominence on the inside of the big toe.  Conservative treatments vary, but surgery is the best treatment and extremely common.  Some people avoid the surgery because they have heard stories and misconceptions.  The surgery does typically require realignment of the bones through bone cuts and screws.  The podiatrists at Coastal Podiatry Associates are well trained, having executed hundreds of bunion surgeries.  The following statements are myths, especially when using Coastal Podiatry.   Myth 1: Bunion Surgery is Extremely Painful Bunion surgery is not different from other surgeries.  In…

Ankle Sprain 101

Ankle injuries can occur to anybody and may be tricky to treat.  Many times a sprain will initially get better but fail to completely heal or even start to become painful again.  People with conditions outside of the ankle that have not been diagnosed or treated properly are at an increased risk for recurrent ankle injuries.  Many of these conditions are difficult to assess on initial exam and often fail to be diagnosed immediately following injury.  Persistent inability to bear weight or bear weight without pain, persistent swelling, clicking or popping, feeling of instability, or pain that doesn’t decrease are all reasons to see a podiatrist for a physical exam and treatment.  Ankle sprains can commonly be classified into several…

Rheumatoid Arthritis In the Foot and Ankle

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease that attacks multiple joints throughout the body with the first symptoms typically appearing in the toes and feet.  These initial symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, sole, or ball of the foot.  The joints may also feel warm and the pain may be so severe that a person’s walking pattern changes.  The new demands placed on the foot can lead to corns, bunion, claw toes, or hammertoes.  Since RA affects the entire body, people frequently have feelings of fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite.  Women are affected three times more often than men are especially under 40 years of age.   The frequent appearance of symptoms to initiate in the…

A Painful Big Toe

The most common site of arthritis in the foot is at the base of the big toe.  This joint is called the first metatarsophalangeal joint or 1st MTPJ.  This joint is especially important because it must bend every time a step is taken.  As the joint ages, walking can become painful or difficult.  The 1st MTPJ is made up of two bone ends, each protected and covered by smooth cartilage.  Wear and tear from injury or normal use can cause damage to this cartilage.  As the protective cartilage wears away, the bones start rubbing together.  This may lead to a bone spur (bone overgrowth).  Spurs will reduce the joints normal function and range of movement.  The result is a stiff…

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