Items filtered by date: February 2016

Thursday, 25 February 2016 09:16

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a connective tissue in the heel that stretches across the bottom length of your foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue becomes inflamed, causing heel pain and discomfort during physical activity. Although the condition is completely treatable, traditional methods can take up to a year to start becoming effective.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by a number of everyday activities, so understanding the condition is important for managing and treating it. One of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis is excessive running, especially with improper fitting or non-supportive shoes. Too much exercise can lead to the plantar fascia being overworked and overstretched, which can cause tears in the tissue. Along with improper fitting shoes, pronation, the rolling of the feet inward, is a common cause of plantar fasciitis. If not treated properly, the plantar fascia becomes overstretched and starts to tear, causing inflammation.

Despite the common causes of plantar fasciitis, there are many different treatment options. For less severe cases, conservative home remedies include taking anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain, applying ice packs to the bottom of your foot and heel, slowly stretching and exercising your feet to re-strengthen the tissue, and using orthotic devices are all ways to help manage your plantar fasciitis.

For more severe cases, shockwave therapy has become a common solution for plantar fasciitis. Shockwave therapy can effectively break up the tissue on the bottom of your foot which facilitates healing and regeneration. This fights the chronic pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Even if this doesn’t work, surgery is always a final option. Surgery on the tissue itself can be done to permanently correct the issue and stop the inflammation and pain in your heels.

No matter what the case may be, consulting your podiatrist is the first and best step to recovery. Even the slightest amount of heel pain could be the first stage of plantar fasciitis. Untreated symptoms can lead to the tearing and overstretching of tissue. Because the tearing of tissue can be compounded if it remains ignored, it can evolve into a severe case. The solution is early detection and early treatment. Talk to your podiatrist about the possibilities of plantar fasciitis if you’re experiencing heel pain.

Dealing with a toenail fungal infection can be both difficult and unpleasant. When fungi attacks the nails, it can leave them yellowed, thick, split, and damaged. It can also leave you ditching your favorite pair of flip flops, or even hiding your feet in embarrassment when around other people. But aesthetics aside, nail fungus can have other, potential, effects that are even more concerning. Eventually, it’s possible for walking to become painful, or for the infection to spread. At which point, removing the nail might be necessary.

Unfortunately, this common condition doesn’t go way on its own. Instead, its capacity to get worse, and to impact your health, reveals that treatment, and preventative measures, are the keys to stopping a toenail infection from worsening.

The Fight Against Fungus

While you may have picked up the fungus from something as simple strolling around the pool barefoot, it’s not so simple to treat or eliminate it. This is one reason why early detection and treatment always remains the preferred route. That being said, steps towards getting rid of the infection can go in several directions.

You can’t deny that over the counter creams and topical applications offer convenience. Yes, it’s pretty natural to like the idea of purchasing a solution at your nearby drugstore. However, many of these products lack that ability to provide effective treatment is less reliable because many don’t penetrate deep enough to fully eradicate the fungus. The same can be said for plenty of home remedies. Seeking treatment from a professional foot doctor is often the best way to go and fight the good fight against fungus. A podiatrist will evaluate your condition and then based on the severity of the infection, go over your options.

Sometimes, a topical medication is a part of the plan. In other cases, these treatment methods may be recommended:

  • The removal of thicker portions of the nail to provide pain relief (Debridement)
  • Getting rid of the fungus using laser treatments
  • Oral medications

Preventive Steps For Fungus-Free Feet

Even if you’ve kicked a fungal infection through treatment, it can come back. In order to keep it from returning and keep your feet healthy, here are several important steps to follow:

  • Keep your feet clean: Wash them regularly with soap and water, then dry them thoroughly
  • Keep your nails trimmed and make sure that toenail clippers, and grooming tools, are sanitized before using them.
  • Wear clean shoes that are made of breathable materials
  • Make sure to change your socks if they are dirty or damp
  • Put on shower shoes in public areas, like a gym locker room or pool shower area.

Discovering Your Treatment Options

Toenail fungus may seem like a relatively small issue, but its capacity to get in between you, your lifestyle, and your foot health, is greater than you may realize. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we use our experience and knowledge to help patients with all kinds of foot-related problems, from the big to the seemingly small.

If you are dealing with nail fungus or another foot issue, please call us at 562-420-9800, today, or request an appointment at our Long Beach office. This is the first step to determining which course of treatment is right for you and what we can do to help you achieve happier, healthier feet.

Thursday, 18 February 2016 09:12

Everything You Need to Know About Gout

Gout, typically found in diabetic patients, is an unusually painful form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. The condition typically strikes the big joint on the big toe. It has also been known to strike the knees, elbows, fingers, ankles and wrists—generally anywhere that has a functioning, moving joint.

The high level of uric acid in a person’s bloodstream creates the condition known as hyperuricema—the main cause of gout. Genetic predisposition occurs in nine out of ten sufferers. The children of parents who suffer gout will have a two in ten chance of developing the condition as well. 

This form of arthritis, being particularly painful, is the leftover uric acid crystallizing in the blood stream. The crystallized uric acid then travels to the space between joints where they rub, causing friction when the patient moves. Symptoms include: pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation. Additional side effects may include fatigue and fever, although reports of these effects are very rare. Some patients have reported that pain may intensify when the temperature drops, such as when you sleep.

Most cases of gout are easily diagnosed by a podiatrist’s assessment of the various symptoms. Defined tests can also be performed. A blood test to detect elevated levels of uric acid is often used as well as an x-ray to diagnose visible and chronic gout.

Treatment for gout simply means eliminating symptoms. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (Colchicine and other corticosteroid drugs, etc.) will quell the redness, the swelling, and the inflammation. However, managing your diet, lifestyle changes, and using preventative drugs are all helpful toward fully combating the most severe cases.

 Those that lead an inactive lifestyle are at a higher risk for gout. Any amount of exercise decreases the probability of repeat encounters with the condition. Reducing your consumption of red meat, sea food, and fructose-sweetened drinks also reduces the likelihood of chronic gout as well.

Ingesting Vitamin C, coffee, and particular dairy products can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are new drugs out on the market that inhibit the body’s production of uric acid-producing enzymes. However, reducing or eliminating your overall levels of uric acid is the best remedy to ensuring you lead a gout-free life.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 09:11

The Health Benefits of Regular Foot Massages

There are many physical and psychological health benefits related to foot massages. Daily foot massages, for a couple minutes at a time, has been proven to fight depression and relieve headaches. Here is a list of the many health benefits of having regular foot massages.

Stress Relief

Regular foot massages have been shown to greatly relieve stress, as well as, many of the symptoms associated with it, such as energy loss and headache. A five to ten-minute foot massage, after a long day, can significantly relieve fatigue and increase feelings of well-being. Try using scented oil when administering your foot massage, for the added benefit of aromatherapy.

Blood Circulation & Sleep

Poor blood circulation causes many foot health issues. Regular foot massages can regulate your blood flow and keep your feet healthy, as well as, combat foot health problems such as inflammation, swelling, and pain. Foot massages also stimulate the limbic system and help prevent varicose veins. When night falls, massaging your feet right before bed helps you unwind, relax your nerves, and relieve any aches and pains-promoting restful sleep. Try using a lavender scented oil when administering your foot massage, as the lavender scent in calming and promotes relaxation.

Foot Health

Not only does regular foot massage promote healthy blood circulation, it can also relieve everything from minor aches to arthritis pain. In addition, it has been shown that regular foot massages, with olive or coconut oil, can significantly relieve the pain associated with foot tendonitis. Additionally, daily foot massage can help strengthen your ankles and increase your flexibility, which can prevent foot-related injuries.

Pain & Depression

While it’s well known that foot massages relieve foot pain, it also an effective way to treat other common body aches and pains. For example, regularly massaging your ankle and Achilles tendon can help relieve lower back pain and pressure. Additionally, because foot massage is such an effective stress relief treatment, it has also been shown to relieve migraine and headache pain. Regular foot massages also help you feel relaxed and balanced, promoting a sense of calm. Considering stress, tension and fatigue are associated with situational depression, daily foot massages have been shown to not only combat to these symptoms, but depression itself.

Other Health Benefits

  • Helps manage PMS and Menopause symptoms.
  • Assists those suffering from restless leg syndrome manage their illness.
  • Relieves swollen feet during pregnancy.
  • Relieves the chronic pains of arthritis in the feet and legs.
  • Helps those with minor foot injuries to heal quicker.

Now that you are aware of the health benefits from regular foot massages, be sure to incorporate this into your daily routine, along with your regular visits to Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center. If you have any questions or concerns about your foot health, please feel free contact us today, at 562-420-9800.

Thursday, 11 February 2016 09:09

How to Select the Right Shoes for Your Children

Soon after a child takes his or her very first steps, they seem to be everywhere, at once, scurrying about with a new-found sense of freedom and a desire to explore. At this time, parents have many questions about choosing the right footwear for their little one. Sure, there are a lot of cute options out there, and they are super adorable. But parents should look beyond mere aesthetics and focus more on other aspects that will help their child put their best foot forward. Injuries and foot problems requiring pediatric foot care, all can occur as a result of improper shoes. In order to help parents on their quest for what’s best, here are 8 essential tips about kid’s footwear selection:

  1. The Material- Stay away from shoes that are made of man-made materials, like plastic. Instead look for shoes that are more breathable, with an upper portion that is constructed of something like leather or canvas. Since kid’s feet perspire a lot, materials such as these will help air out the shoe and keep feet dry. They also tend to last longer, provide more comfort, and prevent blisters from forming.
  2. The Soles- Be on the lookout for shoes that have some sort of traction on the bottom of the sole, as slick soles can cause a child to slip and possibly injure themselves. The thickness and consistency of the sole is important, as well. Soles should be flexible for comfort and mobility, and somewhat thick for protection. Heels are not recommended for children, as they can make walking difficult. This can also be the case for toddlers when wearing a shoes with a slight heel.
  3. The Fit- This is a big one because ill-fitting footwear can cause a slew of problems including, bunions, ingrown toenails, and calluses. Children should wear shoes that fit their feet right, being neither too tight nor too loose. There should be a little room (roughly half an inch) at the toe end of the shoe so that a child’s toes are not scrunched up or jammed. Additionally, since kids feet grow fast-every few months or so, make sure to replace their shoes when needed.

Superior Care For Precious Feet

Choosing the right shoes and keeping foot care a priority, is important for everyone, both, young and old. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we understand that parents desire the best possible care for their children, and we aim to provide it with our extensive podiatric knowledge and our friendly and open approach to treatment. If your child is in need of expert foot care, contact our Long Beach office today for an appointment. We look forward to meeting you both, and helping make sure your child’s feet stay on a happy and healthy track.

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 09:05

Foot Health Tips for Athletes

Athletes are busy people. Whether they’re students balancing homework and extracurricular activities, or 9-5 workers trying to stay in shape in the evenings, athletes only have limited time for everything else. Focus on diet, exercise, and responsibilities, foot health is one of the last things on an athlete’s list of concerns. If you or someone in your family leads an active lifestyle, make sure they’re taking the time to take heed of the following foot care tips.

Shoes

If you’re devoted to a particular sport, you probably have a great pair of sport-specific shoes already. If for some reason you don’t, or you’re planning to start playing a new sport regularly, make sure that you get a specialized pair, soon. Basketball shoes, for example, have a very particular type of cushioning designed for rapid changes in direction and hard landings. If your shoes don’t fit well or aren’t designed for the activity, you could be risking injury.
When looking for shoes, shop in the afternoon or later, when your feet swell to their largest size. And one more thing: shoes tend to lose shock absorption between 250-500 miles. Runners who go for 25 miles every week will need new shoes, every 2.5-5 months.

Socks

Any old pair of socks might seem to do the trick, but believe it or not, those fancy Nike or Underarmor logo socks really do have a purpose. If your socks aren’t made with moisture-wicking fabric, the fabric will retain moisture for too long and may cause blisters.
College students, stay on top of your laundry: if you don’t change your socks often, you could develop foot odor.

Blisters, and Calluses

Speaking of blisters, don’t ever pop them. If they happen to pop, wash the area, apply antiseptic, then apply a bandage.
As for calluses, talk to your doctor before making a decision. Don’t try to remove them on your own, even if you have an over-the-counter product.

Toenails

Make sure toenails are trimmed to avoid in-grown nails. Cut the nails straight across, but leave them slightly longer at the end of each toe. Watch out if they turn black or blue; it could be a sign of blood underneath the nail, or possibly a condition like melanoma or an infection.

That should cover most (if not all) potential foot problems. If you take nothing else from this article, remember to practice proper hygiene, and use proper sports shoes and socks.

Feel free to contact us you have any further questions and concerns about your foot health. For a consultation, call Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, at 562-420-9800, to set up an appointment today.

Friday, 05 February 2016 09:02

How to Prevent Running Injuries

Overtraining and overusing the feet are the main causes of common running injuries. A number of these common injuries are caused by overrunning. Runner’s knee is a condition that is characterized by the back of the kneecap beginning to wear away and cause pain in the knee. This frequently occurs due to either a decrease in strength in the quadriceps muscles or ill-fitting shoes that are lacking in proper support for the inside of the forefoot. Strengthening exercises focusing on the quad muscle and sports orthotics are the usual treatments for those suffering from runner’s knee. Prevention of the condition lies in a focus on hip strengthening and quad-strengthening to keep the kneecap aligned. To help learn the best exercise to heal runner’s knee, one can also undergo physical therapy.

One common injury, called iliotibial band syndrome, is often caused by overtraining. This condition occurs when the iliotibial band gets irritated, creating pain and discomfort in the outside knee area. Plantar fasciitis, another common running injury, also occurs as a result of inflammation and irritation. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation and irritation of the bone in the foot. A large amount of pain is often experienced due to plantar fasciitis. The condition can be caused by a high arch, improper footwear, tight muscles, or flat feet. It can best be avoided by stretching and wearing appropriate footwear that supports the foot.

Another common injury for runners is stress fractures. These injuries occur due to running style, overtraining, or a lack of calcium. Stress fractures most often occur in several locations in runners, including the inner bone of the leg, the thighbone, the bone at the base of the spine and the bones of the toes. Stress fractures are best prevented by wearing proper footwear and by running on flat and hard surfaces; this will absorb some of the shock created during running.

Aside from overtraining, other causes of common running injuries include ill-fitting footwear, a lack of flexibility and strength, and irregular biomechanics. The best way to avoid running injuries is to prevent them from even occurring. Both iliotibial band syndrome and stress fractures are preventable. The first step that should be taken to prevent running injuries is to only wear footwear that fits properly and that is appropriate for whatever activity you are doing. Running shoes are the only protective gear available to runners that can safeguard them from sustaining injuries. Choosing the right pair of shoes is therefore extremely important. While running shoes are an important factor, it is also important to consider other facets of your running routine such as training schedules, flexibility, and strengthening. These elements should be considered and altered according to your running needs to best maximize your run and minimize the possibility of injury. Careful stretching before and after a run should also be considered to help prevent running injuries. Stretching muscles enables greater flexibility and a lesser chance of sustaining injury.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 08:59

Ways you can get Involved at the Special Olympics

Inclusivity and community are at the heart of the Special Olympics. Keeping in line with that spirit is why so many people can become involved in the organization, in several ways. Here at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, our participation has mainly been related to the health side of things. It could be said that, when these games are “afoot,” we help to keep foot health a priority. We do this by performing screenings that make sure participants are wearing proper shoes before they compete, and by offering our expertise and advice concerning foot-related problems. But for those of you who aren’t involved in health services, there are many other opportunities in which you can participate. Check out these ways you, or someone you know, can join in the fun and get involved in the movement:

Be a Coach/Official:

Whether it comes to motivating and teaching, or ensuring that the rules are implemented, coaches and officials are both integral parts of the Special Olympics. As the games and the number of its participants continue to grow, this is one area that could use more people to lend a helping hand.

Volunteer:

All over the world, Special Olympics offices need volunteers to help make them be the best that they can be. This can include things like meeting with the athletes and training them in various sports, or talents, such as photography, to capture the essence of the events and the heart of the competitors. Event organizers and fundraisers are also needed.

Participate:

Unified partners are those who play sports alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities. Like others involved, these participants get to experience the joy of the human spirit, when everyone works together. Help break down stereotypes and build up unity by joining the team!

Become an Athlete:

Children, ages 8 and up, with an intellectual disability are encouraged to become involved as an athlete and join in theses exciting events. For children, ages 2-7, the Youth Athletes program is available. At any skill level, athletes can become enriched by new friends and new challenges. Many have gained confidence and leadership skills that have led them to roles in coaching, mentoring, and public speaking.

Helping Acceptance Go Strong & Helping Feet Get Happy

Taking part in an organization like the Special Olympics can be a very rewarding experience, for all involved. It can work to create a better world where acceptance, friendship, and community can thrive. Learn how you can be a part of this process today.

Foot issues can have a big impact on everything from participating in sports, to volunteering, to the overall quality of life. If you are suffering from any of these problems, please contact our Long Beach office for help that can get your feet back on a happy, healthy track.

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