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Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis, the inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of your foot, causes heel pain and discomfort and often worsens with physical activity. Risk factors include activities stressing your heel, being overweight, pregnant, or having high arches. Beyond heel pain, symptoms of plantar fasciitis include aching, burning, or swelling. This discomfort is typically most pronounced in the morning or after prolonged sitting, standing, or activity. Causes vary from playing sports to being on your feet a lot, poor arch support, or tight calf muscles. Treatment involves rest, wearing supportive footwear, using orthotics, and stretching the affected area. In severe cases, steroid injections or surgery might be considered. Prevention includes maintaining a healthy weight, wearing supportive shoes, warming up before exercise, and allowing recovery between physical activities. If you have heel pain and suspect you might have plantar fasciitis, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that is often caused by a strain injury. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact one of our doctors from New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. When this ligament becomes inflamed, plantar fasciitis is the result. If you have plantar fasciitis you will have a stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As the day progresses and you walk around more, this pain will start to disappear, but it will return after long periods of standing or sitting.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Having high arches in your feet
  • Other foot issues such as flat feet
  • Pregnancy (due to the sudden weight gain)
  • Being on your feet very often

There are some risk factors that may make you more likely to develop plantar fasciitis compared to others. The condition most commonly affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It also tends to affect people who are obese because the extra pounds result in extra stress being placed on the plantar fascia.

Prevention

  • Take good care of your feet – Wear shoes that have good arch support and heel cushioning.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If you are a runner, alternate running with other sports that won’t cause heel pain

There are a variety of treatment options available for plantar fasciitis along with the pain that accompanies it. Additionally, physical therapy is a very important component in the treatment process. It is important that you meet with your podiatrist to determine which treatment option is best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Dealing With an Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are a common injury, often the result of sudden twists, rolls, or impacts that stretch or tear the ligaments connecting the bones of the ankle joint. These ligaments are vital for stability and movement, making ankle sprains a significant concern. Ankle sprains typically occur during activities that involve sudden changes in direction, uneven surfaces, or accidental missteps. Sports like basketball, soccer, and trail running, as well as everyday occurrences like tripping or stumbling, can lead to these injuries. The most common type of ankle sprain is when the foot rolls inward, causing damage to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle. Common signs of a sprain include pain, swelling, and bruising around the affected area. Walking or bearing weight on the injured ankle can be painful, and there might be a sensation of instability or weakness. In severe cases, there could be a popping sound at the time of injury, indicating a possible ligament tear. Prompt treatment is required to prevent further complications and ensure recovery. If you suspect an ankle sprain, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible to determine the extent of the injury and receive the appropriate care. 

Ankle sprains are common but need immediate attention. If you need your feet checked, contact one of our doctors from New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains take place when the ligaments in your ankle are torn or stretched beyond their limits. There are multiple ways that the ankle can become injured, including twisting or rolling over onto your ankle, putting undue stress on it, or causing trauma to the ankle itself.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Mild to moderate bruising
  • Limited mobility
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration of the skin (depending on severity)

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

Treatment of a sprain depends on the severity.  Many times, people are told to rest and remain off their feet completely, while others are given an air cast. If the sprain is very severe, surgery may be required.

If you have suffered an ankle sprain previously, you may want to consider additional support such as a brace and regular exercises to strengthen the ankle.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Seniors Have a Greater Propensity of Falling

The risk of falling increases with age due to declining physical health, greater mobility issues, a more sedentary lifestyle, vision problems, hazards in the home, and side effects of medications. Falling can be serious for older people and is one of the leading causes of injury, disability, or even death in this age group. Stability and balance can be issues for seniors, which makes falling a risk. Because vision declines with age and older people have more eye-related diseases, seeing and judging distances becomes harder and it is easier to fall over obstacles in their environments. Issues with poor lighting, clutter, and improper maintenance in homes are more likely in this population, which also contribute to falling. Sadly, an elderly person is also more likely to fall for no obvious reason, but this can happen from a medical condition, such as a heart issue, circulation problems, or dehydration. To minimize falling and the consequences it might have, if you are a senior, it would be wise to assess and tend to home risks, get regular physical and eye exams, wear supportive and well-fitting shoes, use walking devices as needed, and try to stay as active as possible. Including a podiatrist among the health care professionals you see for routine foot exams and treatment of any current or brewing issues can increase your confidence that your mobility and independence will continue unharmed.

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 doctors from New England Foot & Ankle . 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 Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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When to See a Podiatrist for Wound Care

As the summer months begin, the risks of cutting or otherwise wounding your feet may increase. Wearing sandals or flip flops, as well as going barefoot more often can increase the chances of having to deal with foot wounds. If you are bleeding profusely from a wound, immediate medical attention is vital. There also may be times when a podiatrist is needed to attend to foot wounds, including punctures, lacerations, toenail injuries, and broken toes. When you step on a nail or other sharp object, the puncture wound may appear small and may not bleed very much. But because the depth of the wound can be a source of infection as well as damage to nerves and tendons, attention from this foot doctor is suggested. Abrasions or scrapes may bleed and ooze fluids, making it difficult to clear it from debris. To avoid infection setting in, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist. Similarly, if you have a skin injury and have diabetes or vascular disease, seeing a podiatrist as soon as possible is strongly suggested. 

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with one of our doctors from New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a non-diabetic. 

What Is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Are You Suffering From Nerve Damage?

Neuropathy is a condition that can lead to numbness or loss of sensation in the feet, but it can also cause pain. This condition is more likely to develop for those who are diabetic, obese, or with high blood pressure.

Gout Affects Joints in the Big Toe

Gout is a type of arthritis that can cause severe pain and discomfort. Gout develops due to excess uric acid in the body which leads to the formation of sharp crystals in the joints. These crystals can trigger inflammation and cause intense pain, often affecting the big toe, knees, ankles, and other joints. Several factors can contribute to gout, such as a diet rich in purines found in red meat, seafood, and sugary drinks. Family history, obesity, and certain medications can also contribute to gout. To manage this condition, you must make healthy lifestyle choices, which include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of water. Medications can help reduce pain and control uric acid levels. Early diagnosis and proper management are pivotal in preventing gout attacks and potential joint damage. If you experience joint pain in the big toe, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our doctors from New England Foot & Ankle . 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 Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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The Rate of Toddler Foot Growth

When babies are born, their foot bones are not fully developed and act more like cartilage. The significant milestone of standing occurs when their feet, legs, hips, and core can support their weight, typically between nine to 18 months of age. Once they start walking, running and jumping will quickly follow. Although foot structure is usually developed by age two, complete development continues until the teen years. Given the crucial role of feet in standing and movement, parents need to care for their children's feet from an early age to avoid potential motor skill and ability issues in the future. Parents often wonder when it is appropriate to introduce shoes to their babies. Initially, shoes are unnecessary as they can hinder foot growth and movement. However, once walking is mastered, shoes become relevant. Keep in mind that rapid growth necessitates frequent changes in shoe size. As children get older, the speed of foot growth slows down. It is crucial to invest in well-fitting, durable shoes that support movement, balance, and coordination. Regularly checking shoe fit and promptly replacing them when outgrown is recommended by experts. On average, a child's shoes need to be changed every three to four months. If you have additional questions about your toddler’s feet, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist who can provide valuable information.

Making sure that your children maintain good foot health is very important as they grow. If you have any questions, contact one of our doctors of New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

Having healthy feet during childhood can help prevent medical problems later in life, namely in the back and legs. As children grow, their feet require different types of care. Here are some things to consider...

Although babies do not walk yet, it is still very important to take care of their feet.

Avoid putting tight shoes or socks on his or her feet.

Allow the baby to stretch and kick his or her feet to feel comfortable.

As a toddler, kids are now on the move and begin to develop differently. At this age, toddlers are getting a feel for walking, so don’t be alarmed if your toddler is unsteady or ‘walks funny’. 

As your child gets older, it is important to teach them how to take care of their feet.

Show them proper hygiene to prevent infections such as fungus.

Be watchful for any pain or injury.

Have all injuries checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Comfortable, protective shoes should always be worn, especially at play.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Wearing Orthotics May Help Certain Foot Conditions

There are specific foot conditions that may require patients to wear orthotics. They can range from having flat feet to other abnormal foot structures. Orthotics are defined as custom-made inserts for shoes and are designed to correct certain foot ailments. Having foot or heel pain may guide a patient toward inquiring about orthotics, and this information is often provided by a podiatrist. This type of doctor will perform a foot examination that can reveal existing deformities. This can be followed by having a conversation about current activities that are performed, which may help to determine the cause of the pain. Medical conditions that may improve by wearing orthotics can include arthritis, bunions, flat feet, and hammertoe. There are various types of orthotics that can be worn, and it is suggested that you confer with a podiatrist who can determine if this is the best course of treatment for you.

If you are having discomfort in your feet and would like to try orthotics, contact one of our doctors from New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.

Over-the-Counter Inserts

Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct overarched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.

Prescription Orthotics

If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you or if you have a more severe foot concern, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high-quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and severe forms of heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.

If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist about the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain-free.

If you have any questions please contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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A Compressed Foot Nerve May Indicate Morton’s Neuroma

Foot pain is a common ailment. It can happen in different areas of the foot and for various reasons. Pain that occurs between the third and fourth toes may indicate Morton’s neuroma has developed. It is a condition that affects the nerve between these toes and causes it to become compressed and irritated. Morton’s neuroma is generally caused by wearing shoes that do not have enough room in the toe area, such as high heels.  It is beneficial to choose a shoe with a wider toe box if high heels are desired to be worn. Common symptoms that are associated with Morton’s neuroma can consist of a burning or tingling sensation, and many people feel as if there is a small pebble in their shoe or sock. Relief may be found in the beginning stages of Morton’s neuroma by wearing shoes that fit correctly. For progressed cases, it may be necessary for a more invasive treatment to be performed. If you have pain in this part of your foot, it is suggested that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can effectively diagnose and offer correct treatment options for Morton’s neuroma.

Morton’s neuroma is a very uncomfortable condition to live with. If you think you have Morton’s neuroma, contact one of our doctors of New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors will attend to all of your foot care needs and answer any of your related questions.  

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a painful foot condition that commonly affects the areas between the second and third or third and fourth toe, although other areas of the foot are also susceptible. Morton’s neuroma is caused by an inflamed nerve in the foot that is being squeezed and aggravated by surrounding bones.

What Increases the Chances of Having Morton’s Neuroma?

  • Ill-fitting high heels or shoes that add pressure to the toe or foot
  • Jogging, running or any sport that involves constant impact to the foot
  • Flat feet, bunions, and any other foot deformities

Morton’s neuroma is a very treatable condition. Orthotics and shoe inserts can often be used to alleviate the pain on the forefront of the feet. In more severe cases, corticosteroids can also be prescribed. In order to figure out the best treatment for your neuroma, it’s recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition and provide different treatment options.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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The Importance of Foot and Toe Stretches

Many podiatrists cannot stress the importance of stretching the feet enough. When the feet are frequently stretched, foot pain and fatigue may be reduced, and circulation can be improved. The feet can tire from standing or walking for several hours during the day, in addition to wearing shoes that do not fit correctly. A common foot stretch is known as a calf or runner’s stretch. This is done by standing on a step while lowering one heel at a time until a gentle stretch is felt. The movement of the foot is controlled by two calf muscles, which connect to the Achilles tendon. These muscles can generally be tight, and performing a runner’s stretch can be an effective way to loosen them. The muscles in the feet that provide movement to the toes are called intrinsic muscles, and are located between the metatarsal bones. They can weaken with age, and stretching them properly may slow down this process. There are numerous stretches that can be done for the feet and toes, and if you would like more information about how to perform these, it is suggested that you speak with a podiatrist.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with one of our doctors from New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle 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 our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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