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Wednesday, 06 January 2016 08:49

Gout: Its Causes and Treatments

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How to Identify and Treat Gout

For many people, a life full of “extremes” is a highly enjoyable one. Just ask the lovers of extreme sports, foods, or fitness. However, it’s another thing altogether when it comes to the element of extreme pain. Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, can be the cause of such intense pain that the result is debilitating. Along with swelling and redness, the excruciating pain often initially occurs in the joint at the base of the big toe, but it can attack other joints as well. This attack can flare-up without warning in the middle of the night, or strike suddenly upon rising out of bed in the morning.

What Causes it?

Unfortunately, gout is hardly an uncommon condition. It affects millions, about 4% of the nation’s adult population, and occurs more often in men ages 40 to 60. Women are also at risk however, and are especially susceptible to developing gout after menopause.

So, what causes the disease? To sum it up, gout is caused by an excess amount of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is produced when chemicals called purines, which are naturally found in the body and in certain foods, are broken down. In a normal situation, the uric acid would merely be dissolved in the body or passed through into urine. However, when too much is being produced or an insufficient amount is being eliminated by the kidneys, the uric acid then accumulates and crystallizes. These urate crystals are sharp and can cause inflammation and pain as they form in the joint.

Common Risk Factors

The tendency to develop gout can be linked to several different factors. One example being that the painful disease may occur due to genetics and a family history. Diet can also play a big part in gout flare-ups. Consuming certain foods and drinks that contain high levels of purines, like red meat, shellfish, and alcohol can lead to the formation of urate crystals. Other possible contributors to gout include:

  • Obesity
  • Certain medications like diuretics and aspirin
  • Age & gender
  • Other health issues such as diabetes and high-blood pressure
  • Chemotherapy
  • Trauma or recent surgery

Treatment

While it’s true that the symptoms of gout can be extremely painful, the good news is that it is a treatable and controllable condition. While many attacks of gout last about 10 days before disappearing, it’s important to seek treatment early on so that uric acid levels can be monitored and steps can be taken to prevent the disorder from worsening.

After examining the affected joint, a podiatrist or doctor typically runs a few tests to make sure that uric acid/urate crystals are the cause of the symptoms and then proceed with different treatment steps.

Most often, medications are prescribed to alleviate the pain associated with this type of arthritis, and to reduce possible gout complications like kidney stones. Lifestyle changes and other methods may also prevent painful gout flare-ups or the condition occurring in the first place. These can include:

  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Limiting meat and fish consumption
  • Keeping hydrated with water and other fluids
  • Elevation to relieve inflammation
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Treatment and preventative measures really are key, because otherwise, gout may result in the inability to wear shoes and socks because of the inflammation and soreness, or reoccurring attacks of burning pain and even joint damage.

Gout Pain Relief With Superior Care

The truth is that gout is no laughing matter. Instead, it’s the source of one extreme that better left off of life’s to-do list; pain. If you are experiencing attacks of gout, or another type of foot problem, request an appointment with Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center in Los Angeles today. Together, our team of experienced foot doctors and staff strive to help each patient achieve feet that are both healthy and happy, to the extreme.

Thursday, 10 December 2015 08:45

Congratulations to Dr. Ornelas

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Tuesday, 01 December 2015 08:42

How to use a Foam Roller for Muscle Health and Recovery

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Foam rolling may sound more like an arts and crafts project than a fitness technique. However, more and more people are discovering the awesome benefits of self-myofascial release using a foam roller. So whether you are an athlete or just a casual fitness enthusiast, take a look today at how rolling can help improve your overall muscle health and aid in quick and healthy muscle recovery.

What is Self-Myofascial Release?

Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a technical term for self-massage. Once used by professional athletes, coaches, trainers and therapists, SMR helps to relieve sore or tight muscles and trigger points to make your muscles happy, healthy and ready for exertion. It works by applying light pressure across the muscles, which causes the muscles to release and relax. This helps ease sore muscles and helps rid the body of trigger points, or specific knots in muscles.

What are the Benefits of Foam Rolling?

If you are any sort of athlete or struggle with sore muscles on a regular basis, then foam rolling will change your life. Here’s some of the amazing benefits that foam rolling for SMR has to offer:

  • Breaks down painful muscle knots
  • Releases muscle toxins
  • Decreases muscle soreness
  • Increases blood flow to muscles
  • Improves range of motion
  • Prevents injuries
  • Speeds muscle recovery
  • Corrects muscle movement patterns
  • Improves overall muscle health

How To Get Started with Foam Rolling for SMR?

If you want to cash in on the benefits of foam rolling, the first step is to find a good foam roller. Different rollers have different firmness and durability levels, so pick whichever roller feels right for you. Once you’ve got a good roller, you’ll want to find your sore muscle groups and trigger points. This can be done through two methods: self-exploration or consultation with a doctor or therapist. You can massage different muscle groups to find sore spots and knots, or you can have a professional help you determine the best spots to roll out.

How to Foam Roll Like a Pro

After you’ve determined where to begin foam rolling to get the best results, you can begin your exercises. Light to moderate pressure should be applied to specific muscle groups (e.g. quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, upper back, etc.) one at a time. Move the foam roller slowly, about an inch per second. Pass back and forth across each muscle group 3 to 4 times for maximum effect.

Be aware that foam rolling may hurt a bit. The pressure on your trigger points could cause a few seconds of pain before the muscle releases. If you come across a tender spot during your rolling, leave the foam roller on that spot until the pain lessens and the muscle releases, which should happen within about 30 seconds. If the pain is too intense, work on rolling the surrounding area to help the trigger point relax, then try rolling on the trigger point again. Don’t foam roll an area if it is simply too painful. Remember to avoid rolling on joints or bones.

Get Foam Rolling Today!

Foam rolling for self-myocardial release will help you immensely. It will rid your muscles of pesky trigger points, or knots, and it will release the toxin buildup in your muscles. You’ll have more elastic, relaxed muscles that will recover more quickly. You’ll notice a difference in your workouts and your everyday life as your muscles become healthier.

The best way to get started with foam rolling is to consult a professional. The doctors at Superior Foot and Ankle center are experts at foam rolling. They can help pinpoint your trigger points and problem areas and give you specific and customized foam roller exercises. Contact Superior Foot and Ankle today and get rolling with healthier muscles!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 08:38

Weak Ankles: How to Strengthen Them

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Strengthening Weak Ankles for Walking, Hiking or Running

A firm foundation is more important than many people may even realize. Working together as a powerful team, the foot and the ankle provide balance, support and mobility to the body, helping to form a strong base and keeping it on the go. When an instrumental component to this structure becomes weakened, it can put limitations on a person’s involvement in the activities that they love. Weak ankles are a prime example of this, and for men and women alike, it can be the main factor that prevents them from joining in on a fun game of soccer, going on a hike or a run, or merely accomplishing the tasks of day to day life with a normal degree of comfort and stability.

Causes & Symptoms

Oftentimes, a person’s ankles can become unstable as a result of previous injuries, congenital causes or repeated ankle sprains. A common feeling is an unsteadiness or a giving out of the joint. It is also fairly typical for individuals with weak ankles to favor the lateral part of their feet, leaving the legs and feet feeling tired or exhausted by the end of the day. The situation can worsen by rolling the ankle, which can cause swelling, tenderness and pain.

Ways to Strengthen Your Step

It can be said that weak ankles are a part of a vicious cycle. Commonly caused by injury, they then subsequently increase the risk for further missteps, injuries, or sprains. Like many other foot issues, discovering the best method of treatment is most suitably done after a podiatrist examines the foot and determines the exact source of the problem. However, in general, performing these basic stretches and exercises every other day can help to strengthen the ankle-supporting muscles that have been weakened, and promote stability, flexibility and future sprain prevention:

Balancing Stance – Stand on one foot and balance yourself. This works the supporting muscles of the ankle as it shifts to remain stable during the pose. Then switch feet and repeat the exercise. You can also try this while holding hand weights to further build up the muscles.

Heel Raises & Walks – Stand with feet shoulder width apart and slowly lift yourself up on your toes. Hold briefly and then lower the heels down to the starting position. Do this for 10-15 reps. If you find this too difficult, hold onto the back of a chair for support. To increase the challenge and muscle strengthening, try the exercise while holding weights. Another muscle strengthening exercise is to balance yourself on your heels and walk around the room.

Resistance Exercises – At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we offer Thera-Band products such as resistance bands to help patients improve range of motion and muscle cooperation. These bands can be used to strengthen weak ankles through simple exercises. For example, in one exercise, sit on the floor and wrap an end of the band around the foot. Grab the other end with both hands and push your foot forward. Then return to the original position. Do this for about 15 to 20 reps. You can also try tying the band to a stable fixture. Once seated, wrap the other end around your foot. Then flex the toes inwards against the band.

Keeping Your Feet Healthy & Your Ankles Strong

For hikers, runners and athletes, keeping ankles strong is extremely necessary to maintain their performance and level of activity. But overall, weak ankles can have an impact on those of any pursuit, coming in between doing the things they enjoy and making further injury a bigger risk. If you have concerns about your ankle pain or another foot problem, request an appointment at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center in Long Beach today. We provide the highest standard of care to treat each patient with their individual symptoms and needs. Viewing surgery as a last resort, we put our podiatry knowledge to good use, so our patients can put their best foot forward through life.

Thursday, 05 November 2015 08:34

Congratulations to Dr. Connie!

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A Big Congratulation to Dr. Connie!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to share in the joy of Dr. Connie’s upcoming bundle of joy. We have been blessed to have her here with us at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center. Her expertise in podiatric surgery has been invaluable, and her wonderful personality has always been a great source of joy for our patients, as well as our staff.

Dr. Connie Enjoying a Great Time at the Baby Shower

doctor connie new baby 300x268

Recently, we were able to say thank you and to celebrate the arrival of her upcoming baby with a wonderful baby shower. Friends, colleagues and extended “family” (here’s Dr. Vikki’s mom with Dr. Connie at the shower) came together to celebrate this time of joy in Dr. Connie’s life.

She’s having a…

And for all of you wondering if she’s having a boy or a girl; well, we’ll let the last picture be the answer to that.

doctor connie baby shower

Congratulations, Dr. Connie!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 08:31

ITB Syndrome and how to Care for it

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For many runners, hitting the pavement isn’t only a healthy form of exercise, it’s a passion and a way of life. However, no matter what the motivation behind the activity may be, the unfortunate fact is athletes are often prone to an onset of physical complaints, including foot problems, heel pain and other ailments.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), is one of the leading knee injuries that runners experience. It can impact activity levels and lead to disabling pain. Discovering more about this common injury and how to care for it can help keep runners on track…literally.

What is ITBS?

ITB Syndrome involves the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs from the hip to the knee, which helps to stabilize the knee and aid in joint movement. When friction of the ITB band on the side of the knee occurs, the result is inflammation and irritation. This causes sharp pain that is located on the outside of the knee. It may also include the following symptoms:

Swelling around the outside of the knee
Pain that increases with continued running or activity
Feeling the band “snap” as the knee bends and straightens
Feeling intense pains strike when knee is slightly bent
In some cases, pain and tightness at the outside of the hip

What Causes the Syndrome?

Classified as an overuse injury, ITB syndrome is caused by the repetitive bending of the knee. However, there are several different factors that can contribute to the knee pain and increase the chances a person will experience it. Common risk factors include:

  • Overpronation of the foot
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Bowed legs
  • Legs that are uneven in length or an uneven running stride
  • Wearing worn-out footwear
  • Running downhill
  • Improper training techniques: too much too soon, insufficient warm-up before activity or not enough rest in between periods of exercise

What Can Be Done For Care & Treatment?

If nothing is done to take care of ITBS, the pain can become chronic and bring activity to a halt. There are several things that can be done to alleviate the pain and prevent the problem from worsening.

Resting is perhaps the most obvious form of care. For runners, it may be one of the most difficult. Running less often and/or shorter distances should be done to allow the ITB band time to heal. However if pain continues, running should be stopped completely, and another treatment pursued. Other methods for caring for ITBS may include:

Ice – Applying ice to the area can help reduce inflammation and pain. This can be done for a length of about 15-20 minutes or until pain diminishes.
Orthotics – Visiting with a podiatrist and possibly having footwear fitted for orthotics can help to ensure proper support.
Stretches – Regularly doing side stretches that stretch the ITB band and hip muscles are helpful for treatment and preventative measures.
Roll It Out – Using a foam roller can work to stretch out the ITB band and act as a deep tissue massage. This can be done by sliding down on one’s side and putting the foam roller under the leg. Next, roll the foam from the hip to the knee using the pressure of body weight.
Strengthening Exercises – Performing lower body exercises like squats and lunges can help build up weak butt and hip muscles. These weak muscles may be contributing factors to the syndrome.

In certain cases, a doctor may recommend additional treatment options such as medication and electrotherapy. Surgery is another option, but it is only performed as a last resort.

The most important thing is that something should be done to care for ITBS in order for runners to once again tackle a path without pain. If you need to be fitted for orthotics, or have another foot issue, contact Super Foot & Ankle Care Center in Long Beach. Our experienced podiatrists and staff are dedicated to helping patients achieve proper foot health in order to get back to being active in the things they love in life.

Monday, 05 October 2015 08:29

How to Treat Your Bunions Without Surgery

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In terms of leading foot disorders, bunions certainly make the list. This common condition occurs when the big toe joint becomes misaligned and a bump forms at its base. Early on, this deformity can cause a person little to no discomfort, but in more severe cases, bunions can become very painful and interfere with normal day-to-day activities.

While advances in medical techniques have helped bunion surgery make great strides, sometimes more conservative methods can work to provide sufficient relief. These top 4 treatments won’t completely get rid of the bunions altogether, but they can work to ease the pain and prevent the situation from progressing.

Change it Up:

Often, altering your footwear choice is a great initial start for treating your bunions.This generally means avoiding irritation by wearing shoes that are roomy and wide in the toe box, rather than tight or pointed. A knowledgeable podiatrist can help you find appropriate footwear. These shoes not only will offer a better orthopedic fit, but will be better designed or made of materials like soft leather, as to prevent inflaming the bunion.

Protect it:

Moleskin pads and gel guards can work as a type of shield for the bunion, protecting it from agitation and friction. In addition to their pain-relieving qualities, these items can help to prevent the development of corns, calluses and hammertoes, which often can be a subsequent result of the condition.

Support it:

Inserts and orthotics are additional conservative treatments that can provide valuable bunion relief. By redistributing weight, they lessen the pressure that’s placed on the misaligned toe joint. There are several over the counter options available in stores, but for a more customized insert to fit your foot, your podiatrist may prescribe a specific orthotic.

Ice it:

If your bunion is agitated or inflamed, ice can alleviate the pain. Applying ice packs several times a day, for roughly 20 minutes, will work to reduce swelling and discomfort.

Discover the Best Option for Your Bunion

At times, home remedies and conservative treatments can be great avenues for bunion relief. However, as each case is unique, getting the most appropriate care is done after meeting with a podiatrist. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we view surgery as the last resort, but we also understand the benefits it can offer certain patients. Now that these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and require less downtime, bunion surgery is easier and far more convenient for patients. Whatever your individual case may be, we will carefully determine the best treatment plan to get your feet back on a healthy track. So, if you would like to discover the best option for your bunion, please schedule an appointment at our Long Beach office today.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 08:27

Why Hammertoes Will not Heal on Their own

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Your feet are the foundation of your body. Often, people do not even realize how much they depend on them. Nevertheless, if foot problems occur, the value of keeping feet healthy and happy undoubtedly becomes an understatement. Your daily life, health, and the level of participation in enjoyable activities, can all be greatly impacted by problems of your feet.

One issue that particularly arises is called “hammertoes.” Simply judging by its name, it may be hard to take this foot problem seriously. However, it’s important not to be fooled. This buckling, or curling, of the toe joints is a progressive and often painful condition.

Although in the beginning stages, the buckled joints may be flexible and not the source of much discomfort, treatment for hammertoes from a specialist should always be sought out as soon as possible to help address the deformity before it worsens.

Why Do People Get Them?

Hammertoes occur due to a muscle and tendon imbalance around the joint of the toe, causing the joint to curl and possibly become buckled in an arched position. As structural deformities, hammertoes can often result in handicapping a person. They can also cause the development of corns and calluses and lead to other concerning foot problems.

People can get hammertoes for a variety of reasons. One leading cause is genetics. Those with inherited foot types, such as flat feet or high arches, have feet that are less stable and are often predisposed to develop this deformity. Other factors that can lead to hammertoes include:

  • Wearing Narrow/Small Shoes
  • Arthritis
  • Daily usage of flip flops
  • High Foot Arches
  • Pressure from Bunions
  • Foot Trauma

Why Don’t They Go Away On Their Own?

Because this is a progressive condition, hammertoes don’t just go away or heal on their own. Instead, without intervention, the problem only exacerbates. Different degrees of severity do exist, but each should be addressed with attention and care. For serious conditions, where the joints have become painful and rigid, surgery may be the best solution to permanently correct the deformity.

In other cases, more conservative treatments and custom foot orthotics can be utilized to alleviate the problem and prevent its progression.

Helpful Tips

Prior to seeing a podiatrist, there are a few things a person can do to possibly help treat their hammertoes:

  • Wear better, wider-toed footwear. Uncramp your toes and give them the opportunity to lay flat.
  • Toe stretches and exercises. This can help imbalanced toe joints. Picking up items off the floor with your toes is one simple and effective exercise that can be done easily.

Nailing Those Hammertoes Down

When it comes to hammertoes, it’s really not a wait and see situation. The sooner you seek treatment, the quicker you can get your feet on a healthier and happier track. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we see surgery as a last resort, but will carefully review your specific situation to best determine which avenue of treatment is right for you.

Please contact our office today to set up an appointment to find hammertoe relief for your feet.

Often times, the importance of keeping feet healthy can get kicked under the rug and then easily forgotten. However, whether you’re going out for a run, shooting some hoops, or getting involved and supporting the Special Olympics, the value of proper foot care comes swiftly into play. While treatment from a Long Beach foot doctor is an appropriate way to ensure your individual needs get met, there are some general steps you can take to leading an active lifestyle with happy, healthier feet.

Lending a Helping Hand to Treat Feet

In the spirit of inclusion, involvement, and fun, thousands of people will come together for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. With the help of students, residents, and other podiatrists, Dr. Foley of Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center will serve her cause by performing foot screenings on the 7,000 participating athletes from 177 countries. The goal of this service is to ensure each competitor has appropriate shoes and gets foot care advice, in the hopes of keeping their feet and the games going strong.

Foot Screenings Will Focus on These Feet Factors:
  • Proper footwear
  • Toenail fungus
  • Athlete’s foot

How to Handle After-Exercise Foot Pain

Athletes are commonly more afflicted by foot pain, as they rely on their feet to perform. Athlete or not, everyone can use a helping hand in dealing with this discomfort. Try following these 3 helpful tips, the next time you encounter foot pain after intense physical activities:

  1. Rest & Foot Elevation – While it may not be easy to tell an athlete or heavily active person to give it a rest, that’s just what might be necessary to find a little foot pain relief. Also, as you are in a relaxed position, elevate your feet above the waist to reduce the foot pain and reduce possible swelling.
  2. Ice – Applying ice is another way to alleviate foot discomfort, decrease inflammation, and numb the aches. This can work to relieve heel pain from a strained plantar fascia, but may be inadvisable for those with diabetes or circulation issues.
  3. Listen to Your Body – Just like in other areas of the body, if pain persists, your feet are possibly trying to get your attention. Forget the no pain, no gain adage and visit your Long Beach foot doctor. Regular foot check-ups and preventative care measures will help keep healthy feet strong and foot pain at bay.

Consult a Long Beach Podiatrist for Foot Pain Relief

No matter if you are involved in the Special Olympics or not, foot discomfort certainly has a way of getting in the way of exercise and day-to-day activities. The experienced doctors and staff at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center are dedicated to helping out in the community and helping people everywhere have happy and healthy feet through quality treatment. Feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment for foot pain relief.

Dealing with heel pain can be a real pain in the foot, and unfortunately it’s not uncommon. Affecting many, is a condition called plantar fasciitis, where the tissue existing on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed and causes sharp, stabbing heel pain. Typically, this pain is strongest when you initially step out of bed in the morning. Plantar fasciitis treatment may be the best solution to handle your foot pain, but it pays off to have your Long Beach podiatrist review your case once pain becomes apparent.

Who’s Most Commonly Affected?

From exercise to work, to our daily activities, we are on-the-go and on our feet. For some, the increased amount of pressure to the plantar fascia tissue can create pain, damage or torn ligaments. Most commonly affected are people who are:

  • Overweight
  • Runners
  • Pregnant
  • On their feet constantly at work

How in the Heel Am I to Deal?

Undealt with, it’s possible that plantar fasciitis can eventually alter the way you walk. It can also lead to surgery. However, the good news is that most times it can be treated with conservative methods. Here’s a look at the top 4 steps you can take to help heal the heel pain:

Healing Steps:
  • Apply Ice: Several times a day you can ice your feet to decrease the inflammation and reduce the pain.
  • Evaluate Your Shoe Choice: Consider the possibility that your shoe selection may not be providing adequate support. By using proper footwear and/or using inserts/custom orthotics, heel pain can be relieved.
  • Stretches: Instructed stretches for your Achilles heel and plantar fascia  exercises can work to strengthen leg muscles and diminish the pain.
  • Visit a Doctor: Often, conservative methods tend to lead to recovery, however if pain persists you should visit a doctor. After an examination, your doctor will evaluate your initial condition and review your options. Treatments may involve medications, various therapies, and in some cases, surgical procedures.

Healed Heels and Happy Feet

With all the hustle and bustle of life, no one wants plantar fasciitis to cross their path. But if you are dealing with this heel pain or discomfort, the dedicated doctors and staff at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center can help. We see surgery as a last resort and strive to keep feet happy and healthy with educated assessments and preventative care methods. Contact our office today and voice any of your questions or concerns, or schedule an appointment with our podiatrists in Long Beach.

[Photo Credit: Laia Solanellas]

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