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Friday, 29 December 2017 00:00

Things You Can Do for Plantar Fasciitis Pain

For most, plantar fasciitis pain comes on gradually. Your plantar fascia (fibrous tissue along the bottom of the feet) helps you stay mobile and connects the balls of the feet to your heel bone. Repetitive movements often required in sports or certain jobs can make it become inflamed.

If you notice that the bottom of your feet feel sore or tight, try one or more of the following 10 home remedies to prevent the pain from getting worse:

  1. RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression (bandage or socks), Elevate. These are the first actions you should take when you encounter pain, especially if it won’t go away after a few seconds. Doing these often will help prevent the injury from getting worse, especially if it’s an overuse injury.
  2. Stretch when you wake up: There are a few ways to stretch the calves and the plantar fascia. Try this one before you take your first steps in the morning: stretch the bottom of the feet by bending at your hips and reaching for your toes. Pull the toes back so that you feel the stretch along the soles of your feet. If you can’t reach, use a band or towel to pull on the top of the foot.
  3. Massage the plantar fascia: When you have your foot across your knee with the soles facing up, you can feel the plantar fascia tighten up. Rub the area up and down along the band of tissues.
  4. Use a golf, lacrosse, or handball: Whether you’re sitting at work or at home in front of the TV, give the soles of your feet a massage by rolling the ball on the ground using your foot. Rolling it around can stimulate circulation and healing. Pushing down on pressure points will give you relief.
  5. Soak your feet in a warm bath: Epsom salt can relieve tightness and can encourage healing when added to the bath.
  6. Use orthotics: Whether it is over-the-counter or custom-made by our podiatrist, orthotics can help displace the strains of the feet while you go about your day-to-day activities.
  7. Change your shoes: If you wear flats, high heels, or other shoes with poor support, your feet will continue to feel terrible in them. Find better shoes and stick to supportive, cushioned shoes to prevent worse symptoms.
  8. Change your workout routine: Chances are, athletes who have repeatedly stressed their plantar fascia will suffer most from fasciitis pain. Unless it’s unavoidable, change your exercise for a while to allow the plantar fascia to rest. Or take breaks often while you exercise. Try not to increase weight or speed too rapidly, as this can also irritate the plantar fascia.
  9. Splint your feet at night: For some, using a night splint can be helpful. It immobilizes the feet in the flexed position so that they do not strain while you are sleeping. This can help prevent morning pain.
  10. Toe exercises: Strengthen your feet by doing foot and toe exercises, such as picking up and moving marbles or a small towel.

If your plantar fasciitis pain does not get better after trying some of these home treatments, consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. Our foot doctor will assess your feet to get you the right treatment. Make an appointment today at any of our offices in Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City!

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 00:00

What Osteoporosis Can Mean for Your Feet

Osteoporosis, a disease in which your bones slowly lose more calcium than it absorbs, is usually thought of as a disease that your grandparents get and suffer from. And for the most part, that’s true. However, those with early onset osteoporosis can be diagnosed even before the more typical age of 50 years old.

The good news is that it can be prevented or slowed with good nutrition and strength training exercises. Even after diagnosis, medications are available that may help slow the bone loss process and even restart bone building.

How do your feet come into play?

Don’t forget, each foot is made of 26 bones, which means that the feet account for about a quarter of the all the bones in the body. This means that osteoporosis, a systemic disease of the bones, is likely to affect your feet and ankles.

Since your feet have to bear the weight of your entire body, that puts more pressure on them as they endure impact on the ground. The feet and ankles are more likely to experience:

  • bone pain at the top of the foot
  • fractures from a small injury, or even just from walking!

In fact, the bones can become so brittle that when you go in for a checkup on pain, redness, and swelling on your feet, our podiatrist may detect a fracture, and also determine that you may have osteoporosis. That’s right, some people find out they have osteoporosis because of a foot fracture!

What can you do to reduce risks

  • Start young. Learn how to eat well and strengthen your body and bones when you are an active young adult. It’s best to develop healthy habits to carry through your life.
  • Eat well. Be sure to have a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for good calcium absorption into the bones. Some foods, like high sodium prepackaged dinners and fizzy soda with phosphoric acid can adversely affect calcium absorption into the bones.
  • Exercise often and with resistance or weights. This will help to make the bones denser, reducing the risk of weak, brittle bones later.
  • Get assessed at your physicals if it runs in your family. This is especially important for women after menopause begins since hormone changes can affect calcium absorption and loss.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking has shown to increase risk of osteoporosis.

Do you or someone in your family have osteoporosis? It may be passed down genetically, so consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. He will assess your feet to get you the right diagnosis so that you can get the appropriate treatment. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!

Published in Blog
Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00

Giving Yourself a Diabetic Foot Exam

Did you know that diabetes can affect not only your blood sugar levels, but can also be damaging to your kidneys, eyes, nerves, and feet? In fact, for those who do not have severe symptoms, losing feeling in the feet can be the first sign of diabetes. After an assessment by a podiatrist or other medical professional, patients with this condition, known as neuropathy, in the feet can eventually be diagnosed with diabetes.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Neuropathy is a result of nerve damage due to high levels of blood sugar. It can have effects beyond a loss of sensation – it can lead to reduced circulation and healing, because your body can no longer communicate properly to serve your feet’s needs. The smallest cuts or injuries can become larger issues, such as ulcers. That’s why it’s important to take care of your feet, whether or not you have diabetes. After all, about 10% of the US population has diabetes (including those who are not yet diagnosed).

The following are diabetic foot exam steps that you can perform on your own. It can help you to find signs of diabetes-related foot problems that you can treat sooner, rather than later. If you have already lost sensation in your feet, be sure to check your feet daily:

  1. Whether or not you have diabetes, be sure to keep up with foot hygiene. Wash your feet daily with soap and warm water to prevent infections.
  2. Visually inspect your feet. Look for any skin changes, cuts, rashes, or bruises you may not have realized you have. Be sure to look at the feet from all angles – top, bottom, both sides, front, and back. If you are not flexible enough to turn your foot up so you can see the bottom, use a mirror or ask a family member to check for you.
  3. Touch every part of your foot. Lightly press on all parts of your feet to check for swelling or bruising. Also take note of the skin on your feet and check for temperature variation, dryness, calluses, or bumps from rashes or bony spurs. Be sure to moisturize dry skin on your feet and ankles, but don’t put any lotion in between the toes as this can cause fungal infection

Foot care for diabetics is very important. If you notice any changes in your feet, consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works right away. He will assess your feet and ankles to see what treatment you may need. Since an unnoticed problem can become way worse and more difficult to treat, it’s important that you make an appointment today at any of our offices in Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX!

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 00:00

Orthotics Can Reduce Your Foot Pain

In many cases of acute injuries, as well as with chronic pain symptoms, podiatrists will often prescribe orthoticsas part of rehabilitation or pain management. Depending on the reason for prescribing orthotics, they can be useful for prevention of future problems (e.g. when used for children), immobilizing injuries to prevent worsening symptoms (e.g. after foot or ankle surgery), and for treating painful symptoms of foot or ankle deformities.

There are generally two types of orthotics that our foot doctor will prescribe: accommodative foot orthoses and functional foot orthoses.

Accommodative orthotics are:

  • Generally made of more flexible or soft materials such as leather, foam cushions, and rubber.
  • Used to provide extra support or relieve pressure from a painful area.
  • Typically used for treatment of minor pain caused by diabetic foot ulcerscorns and calluses, and bunions.

Functional orthotics are:

  • Generally made of flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid plastic or graphite materials.
  • Used to control pain or prevent worsening problems due to abnormal function.
  • Typically used for treatment of conditions like big toe joint paintendonitis, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis.
  • Additionally, children may require orthotic inserts or custom orthotic shoes to control problems with pediatric flat feet, in- and out-toeing, or other injury to the growth plates.

Both are created by taking a mold of your feet and/or ankles using plaster or foam. Mechanical or optical scanners can also help to take measurements for an accurate fit. This process takes place during an office visit, taking into consideration your footprint, gait, and any inflammation or deformity in the feet or ankles. The end goal is to either relieve symptoms so that you can resume normal activities without pain, or to deter/correct a deformity that can keep getting worse.

For additional questions regarding how orthotics can help your foot or ankle pain, consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. He will assess your feet and ankles to see if orthotics will work for you. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!

Published in Blog
Friday, 01 December 2017 00:00

Take Care of Your Traveling Feet

Even post-Thanksgiving, there’s a lot of traveling you might have to do. The December holidays, as well as New Year’s Eve celebrations, not to mention skiing or snowboarding trips, can mean more flights and/or bus rides coming up. As you pack your bags and try to remember every single item you may need, we have a few extra suggestions for you. The following “Top 10 Tips for Traveling Feet” will (hopefully) remind you that your feet, which carry you everywhere, will need some care while taking you on your travels:

  1. Pack comfortable walking shoes. Depending on the reason for travel, you’ll likely need at least two pairs of shoes. Comfortable walking shoes that fit properly are a must, especially if you’ll be doing some exploring or spending more than 10 minutes walking around your travel destination.
  2. Pack activity-specific shoes. If you are going for a formal event, you’ll want to pack your fancy shoes, but don’t depend on them for regular use. Are you going hiking during this trip? You’ll want to bring the activity-specific shoes so that you don’t risk injury because you’re wearing the wrong shoes.
  3. Buy a pair (or 2) of orthotic inserts. This is especially important if your walking shoes are not providing enough support, as well as for formal shoes, like in high heels. Orthotic inserts can help reduce pressure on the midfoot.
  4. Bring a pair of flip-flops. Even in the winter? Yes. If you can bring a pair of clean flip-flops, they will be useful in so many ways: on long-distance flights, walking around a hotel room and shower, keeping your feet off the dirty or cold floors of your relatives’ home, and especially if you’ll be using any communal showers, like at a gym or spa (to prevent contracting foot diseases).
  5. Pack extra socks. If your feet tend to sweat a lot and cause foot odor, you’ll want to change your socks at least once each day. Staying in soggy, smelly socks will not only be uncomfortable, but can also make you more prone to chafing and infection.
  6. Wash your feet each night. This is something you should do each night anyway, but while traveling, it gives you a chance to relax and inspect your feet for any issues.
  7. Treating cuts or blisters. Earlier is better than trying to deal with them later when you get back home. You may want to bring (at least) some antibiotic ointment if you won’t have access to it at your travel destination.
  8. Stretch and massage the feet. Have you had a long day of walking around? Danced the night away? Stood all day helping with cooking for the holiday meal? Thank your feet for supporting you by stretching them and giving them a nice rub.
  9. Keep your feet moving. If you’ll be sitting or standing for a long period of time (such as on the plane or waiting in line shopping for deals), wiggle your toes, make foot circles, and whatever else you can think of to keep blood circulating to and from your feet to prevent swelling.
  10. Rest. If you have foot issues, it’s important to schedule rest periods. Overworking feet with weak or painful ankles, for example, could lead to more painful issues later.

For questions regarding travel and your feet, consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. He will assess your feet and ankles to give you tips for a smooth trip. Make an appointment today at any of our offices in Abrams (Dallas)Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX!

Published in Blog
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