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A Podiatrist Approved Running Shoe

Take special care to select shoes that will support and help reduce the risk of injury. Running shoes are shoes that have been designed for running, but are they really all that important? A lot of people think that running shoes are another scam, just something to market a new product at a higher price. So, are those people right? Is there actually a reason to invest in running shoes? The answer is: absolutely yes. In this post, we will give you the official rundown on investing in a good pair of running shoes—and why you should absolutely do it! What Is The Deal With Running Shoes? The reason that people aren’t entirely convinced by running shoes is because they are a fairly new concept. People have run for hundreds of years, and the truth is that those people did so without specific running shoes. In fact, many of them did it without any shoes at all. So, what is all the hype with running shoes? As humans evolve, we tend to make better tools to suit our needs. Now more than ever, the science behind making shoes is getting very advanced. Though not every shoe is designed with performance and health in mind, some of them are. High-end running shoes have been made using a scientific understanding of foot health, which is why they are such a big deal. The difference between a true running shoe and a standard pair of sneakers is in the design. Running shoes, particularly running shoes from big names in the athletic shoe world are made to offer support and improve performance. These shoes are tools that are made to support that specific movement, which is why there are different shoes for every kind of major sport. Running shoes are physically built to support your feet while you run, and they can generally help you to run more effectively for this reason. In most cases, running shoes are made to give you that special boost and keep you from common injuries at the same time. Great Brands For Running Shoes Running shoes are a very popular style of shoe. In fact, some people end up wearing them daily without even realizing it. However, as a runner, you want to invest in a brand that you know you can trust. The reason that not every running shoe is worth the money is because not every shoe is made using science. Major brands in the athletic space are known to spend their time on research and development for performance-based shoes, but not every brand does that. Some brands really do just make a sneaker and call it a running shoe. The best way to avoid this is to take the time to invest in a brand that has a reputation for making good running shoes. Common brands include: Nike—It is no secret that Nike has been a pioneer in the athletic footwear space for some time. This brand has always put a lot of time and money towards making shoes that completely support the athletes that wear them. They offer a wide range of running shoes, and you can even get a great price if you catch them on sale! Adidas—Adidas has been in the world of footwear for a long time and they have really started to accel lately. While they are known for their signature logo and style of shoe, they have widened their product lines by quite a bit and put more of a focus on athletic shoes for athletes. Like Nike, Adidas offers a wide range of running shoe options and regularly drops new ones. Under Armour—Over the years Under Armour has really widened their focus on performance-based tools. Now, they are a leading name in athletic wear. While most people know that Under Armour designs active clothing, not everyone knows that they make great shoes too. You might be surprised to learn that their shoes offer a really comfortable fit and a lot of durability. Their footwear line is growing, so check out their lineup to see if they have a good running shoe for your style. If they don’t today, they might tomorrow. Conclusion A good pair of running shoes is a wonderful investment for any runner to make. If you run with any kind of frequency, wearing proper footwear is more important than ever. You don’t want to be the person who ends up with an unpleasant injury from wearing the wrong kind of shoes. Give your feet the love and support that they need by offering them a nice pair of running shoes. You will feel the difference from the moment that you put them on—and that is why it is such a worthy investment! #running #feet #Podiatry

Are You Neglecting The Most Important Part of Your Feet?

At Foot and Ankle of Greater Des Moines, we take foot arches very seriously. Though most of us think little of our foot arches until they bother us, maintaining good arch health is one of the more crucial focuses of the podiatry world. All over, podiatrists encourage their patients to care for their arches, but few seem to understand just how important this is. Fortunately, we decided to pull together some information to help you understand the importance of good foot arch health. In this article, we will give you all of the information that you need to make informed decisions for the sake of your feet! The Importance of Good Foot Arch Health Your arches play a valuable role in the overall comfort and support that your feet receive when you go outside for a walk. Ensuring that your arches stay healthy means that you will be able to count on them at the moment that you need to. There is a wide range of ways to harm your arches, and some of them are surprisingly simple. Good arch health means that your feet will be able to absorb the impact of your actions. Whether it is supporting you when you take the dog out for a walk or when you run a marathon, your arches keep your feet safe and your body comfortable. Failing to maintain them can lead to problematic injuries and other issues down the line. Effects of Poor Arch Health Poor arch health can lead to a wide range of conditions that you will not want to deal with. The most commonly recognized outcome is “flat feet” which occur when your arch physically collapses. Flatfoot is a problem that occurs when your arch and lower leg health is suffering in some way. It can be caused by an actual injury or from poor maintenance over time. In some, it is more common than it is for others. The reality is that failing to protect your arches will likely lead to one thing: pain. The majority of people who grapple with their arch health all end up visiting the local podiatrist because of the sheer discomfort. Since your arches play a vital role in most activities, it is not a particularly pleasant place to experience pain. Worse, it can lead to long-term implications depending on how severe the problem is. How To Maintain Proper Arch Health Maintaining your arch health is really a fairly dedicated process. There are a few easy ways to help support your arches so that they are prepared for anything that you might face. The most basic way to support your arches is to wear supportive shoes. With supportive shoes, you can rest easy with every step knowing that your arches are not being unnecessarily strained. This is one of the most passive ways to offer long-term arch support to your feet. In addition to wearing supportive shoes, it is important to not put too much strain on your arches. Avoid spending too much time on your feet, straining your feet, or engaging in activities that put too much effort on them without proper training. Weight can also play a large role in arch health, so maintain a healthy body weight to support your arches even more. How To Restore An Arch Restoring an arch is a process that you should work on with a podiatrist, but it largely involves a series of exercises and stretches designed to passively strengthen your arch. Many people role a tennis ball or comparable device under their arch while others do arch lifts, or other orthopedic exercises. If you have concerns about your arches, ask your doctor for good ways to strengthen them. Conclusion Your arches play a vital role in the overall support of your body, which is why it is so important to take appropriate measures to support them. No matter how old you are or how active you are, you should take steps to ensure that your arches are able to get the support that they deserve. Remember, the right pair of shoes can go a long way. For any questions, feel free to contact Foot and Ankle of Greater Des Moines to discuss your podiatry needs!

Chilblains: Everything You Need to Know About These Itchy Spots of Inflammation

Also known as pernio or perniosis, chilblains are small, itchy spots on the skin that appear when your skin’s tiny blood vessels become inflamed. It is thought that chilblains are an abnormal circulatory reaction to repeated exposure to cold, or damp environments (non-freezing). Their appearance are usually small red patches that swell, itch, or blister, and are usually found on the feet and hands. While they aren’t sore at first, in severe cases where blisters or ulcers develop, chilblains do become painful. Who Do They Most Commonly Affect? Chilblains most commonly impact women more so than men, but those who are overly sensitive to weather changes and temperature can also develop chilblains. Those who have medical conditions such as anemia or Raynaud’s, are at greater risk of developing them. As well as, those who are sedentary, elderly, or those with poor circulation. What Are the Symptoms? You may experience any of the following symptoms within 2 -14 hours after exposure to a cold or damp environment. Chilblains normally impact the hands, lower legs, ears, and feet. An intense itching on the skin. An extreme burning sensation of the affected area. Swollen patches that are either red, blue, or white. Dry skin that splits. Skin bumps or lesions. Blistering or ulcers in severe cases. Changes in skin tone from red to dark blue, which is accompanied by pain. You can worsen chilblains by subjecting them to sudden temperature changes, like when you enter a warm house after being out in the cold, or by heating your cold hands or feet by placing them under hot water, or by a heater. What Causes Chilblains & Are There Risk Factors? While the exact cause of chilblains is unknown, the condition is thought to be associated with the body’s reaction to cold exposure, or wet and damp environments. Medical professionals believe that chilblains have something to do with the body’s circulatory system reacting abnormally to the body rewarming after being exposed to the cold. The idea here is that as the body rewarms the cold skin, the small blood vessels expand at a faster rate than the nearby large blood vessels can handle, causing blood to leak into the tissues, causing itchiness, burning, and inflammation. Identified risk factors include: Being a woman. Your home is not well insulated and is therefore drafty. You routinely smoke tobacco products. Being underweight by at least 20% less than what is expected for your height. Wearing tight-fitting clothing in cold or damp conditions. You live in a high humidity, cold environment (Nov-April). You have poor circulation making you more susceptible.. You have an autoimmune disorder like lupus (connective tissue disease). You have been diagnosed with Raynaud’s disease (causes color changes in the skin) Are There Any Complications Associated With Them? In more severe cases, chilblains can cause complications like infections, skin ulcers, and scarring. You may also be susceptible to permanent skin discoloration of the affected area. These complications tend to be rare though, are normally tied to an underlying condition, and often occur due to rubbing or scratching the affected area. How Are Chilblains Diagnosed? Chilblains can be diagnosed during a routine physical examination, if they are present at the time. You may be asked questions regarding recent exposure to cold or damp environments, and in rare cases, the affected skin may be biopsied to look for underlying conditions. Your general practitioner may also want to rule out other related conditions like circulation problems, lupus, skin cancer, cold urticaria, or vasculitis. Can You Prevent Chilblains? The main way to prevent chilblains from forming is by keeping your entire body warm at all times, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible. So, we recommend also doing the following: When in damp or cold weather, avoid long periods of exposure if possible. Trap heat by wearing several layers of clothing. Wear well fitted, comfortable, and warm shoes. Always dry your feet after bathing or showering. Purchase wool or cotton socks, so your feet can breathe. Improve peripheral circulation by doing gentle exercises every day. See a podiatrist or foot doctor for regular checkups on your feet. Keep your hands, feet, and face, as dry and warm as possible. When going out in cold weather, cover all exposed skin. Decrease sudden temperature changes to a gradual process instead. Quit smoking. What Is the Treatment Path Like? Chilblains will typically go away within 2-3 weeks after they develop, but there are some things that you can do at home to ease your symptoms. Do not apply direct heat to the affected skin. Do not massage, scratch, or rub the chilblains. Always rewarm your skin gently and gradually. Keep your skin dry. Clean the skin with antiseptic to reduce infection risk. Soothe the skin with calamine lotion or other anti-itch lotions (unscented) If you find yourself with severe chilblains that have resulted in recurring ulcers, then seek out a podiatrist for medical treatment. You may also want to get checked for any underlying health conditions that would impact your circulatory system.

Did you know that Fungus Grows Here?

When it comes to topics that the majority of people do not want to discuss, toenail fungus is at the top of the list. This is understandable, but it can be problematic for people who find themselves with a reason to know more about it. While it can be less than ideal to find yourself with a suspected or confirmed case of toenail fungus, don’t worry. The field of podiatry has come a long way to make sure that if you find yourself with any kind of toenail fungus problems, there are ways for you to easily and comfortably manage it. With the help of your local foot doctor, you can rid yourself of any fungal problems that might be plaguing your feet. What Is Toenail Fungus? Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that grows specifically around your nails. You can sometimes identify it as a discolored spot underneath your nail, but most people don’t recognize it until it begins to become a bigger problem. Since the majority of people don’t spend their time analyzing their toenails, it’s not uncommon for people to miss the beginning stages of an infection entirely. After all, the human body is known to do strange things, and sometimes it can be difficult to discern between what is an odd occurrence and what is a true problem. Toenail fungus can actually be both of these things. As is the case with most medical concerns, toenail fungus can vary widely in severity. There are minor cases of toenail fungus that don’t turn into a problem that the body can handle by itself. Some infections can be managed at home using specific over the counter medications. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there are toenail fungus infections that require a trip to your local foot doctor to manage before they get worse or cause you problems. A severe toenail fungus infection is not something that most people enjoy looking at. While there are certainly worse conditions, this one tends to be universally disliked by those who experience it. Though toenail fungus might start out as a small spot in your nail, it can grow to a point where there are notable symptoms. A major point of focus is the way that it impacts your general toenail appearance. In many cases, the fungus can turn your nail white or yellow. The result is an unbecoming look that makes your nail look dirty and misshapen, which is not something that most people want to see when they look down at their toes. In addition to general appearance, toenail fungus can have pretty significant impacts on your toenail health. You might find that your toenails become very thick, and in many cases they will become brittle and prone to breakages. This leads to more concerns with nail appearance because it can make the nail look rotten and gnarled. As if that isn’t enough, in some instances, toenail fungus can even lead to an unbecoming foot odor. While most of us end up with stinky feet after a hot day, the fungus smell is something else to contend with entirely. Treating Toenail Fungus When it comes to treating toenail fungus, there are varying degrees of treatment depending on your needs. At Wasatch Foot & Ankle Institute, we would advise that if you suspect yourself of having toenail fungus, you have it looked at. While there are over the counter treatment options available, if you fail to treat your infection correctly, you do run the risk of it returning. Medical assistance is the best possible way to spare your toenails from further infection. Treating toenail fungus comes in a variety of ways depending on budget, severity, and chance of recurrence. There are oral medications that can be taken and have a wide range of effectiveness. These antifungals might require you to take them for an extended period of time, but they tend to work more quickly than some of the other options, which makes people favor them. Other popular options include the use of medicated lotions, creams, and nail polishes. These topical treatments can easily be applied to the nail and surrounding area in order to help stop the fungal growth and begin the healing process. These versions can take slightly longer, but in some cases they might take less time overall to treat the effected area. There are some factors that can impact the success rate with topicals including how thick your nail is, how well you clean your feet, and what kind of environment you keep them in. In a more recent turn of events, laser removal is becoming a popular option when it comes to treating toenail fungus. This approach involves using any variety of FDA approved laser to expose the fungus to concentrated heat. Using this approach, the fungus will begin to die. The number of treatments that it takes is determined by the resiliency of the fungi and severity of infection. Some people might need one treatment while others might require multiple. The process itself can take time, but this is proving to be an effective way to treat this bothersome type of infection. As it is growing in popularity, the technology is becoming more effective at helping people to manage these problems. If you’re interested in this approach, you can pop over to your local podiatry clinic for evaluation so that they can determine if this approach might be right for you. Conclusion Toenail fungus is not something that anyone wants, but it has been known to happen. While there are preventative steps that we can all take in the fight against fungus, sometimes there is simply no avoiding it. If you or a loved one find yourself with a presumed case of toenail fungus, don’t panic. A quick appointment with your local foot doctor can help you to rectify the problem before it gets worse. Though toenail fungus might look like a bad problem, it is generally not dangerous and can be treated with a little dedication. Just remember to thank your favorite podiatrist for helping you to heal!

Have Hammertoes? Your Guide to What They Are, Prevention, and Treatment Options

When you lay your feet flat against the floor, you expect your toes to point straight forward and sit perpendicular to the floor’s surface. In the case of a foot with hammertoes, one or more toes will curl downward instead, so that your middle toe joint resembles that of a hammer. This happens when the ligaments and muscles around the middle toe joint buckle and get stuck. While this is a common deformity that typically affects the second, third, or fourth toes, it can be seen in all toes. Flexible & Rigid Hammertoe Types You can tell which type of hammertoe you have by simply seeing if you can move the toe. If you are able to move your toe at the middle joint, this is a flexible hammertoe. This is a mild form of the deformity and can be treated without surgery. If the tendons have become too rigid and the joint has been pressed out of alignment, you aren’t going to be able to move your toe. If this is the case, this is a rigid hammertoe and often requires surgery to fix. Symptoms of the above types of hammertoes include swelling and redness, inability to straighten the toe, pain when moving or earring shoes, difficulty walking, and corn or calluses on the top middle joint of the toe. What Causes Hammertoes in the First Place? A hammertoe forms as a result of a muscle imbalance within the toe. The muscles or tendons in your toes work in pairs to straighten or bend the toe as needed. If the toe ends up being bent either upward or downward for too long, the muscles will tighten up and become stuck. Since they cannot stretch out, you end up with an imbalance and a middle joint that buckles. There are a few situations that can cause this imbalance: 1. You have arthritis in the toes that cause changes in the middle joint. 2. You have been using poorly fitting footwear for a prolonged period. 3. You have unstable foot posture, which results in the overuse of your toes. If you have excessive contraction of the muscles/tendons in your toes, this can cause hammertoes. This is seen in individuals who excessively roll-in (pronation) or excessively roll-out (supination) their toes. The most common cause of this imbalance is wearing ill-fitting shoes. If shoes are too narrow, they may push the smaller toes into a bent or flexed position for a long period of time. The toes may also rub against the inside top of the shoe, causing calluses or corns to form, which aggravates the hammertoe. If you wear a lot of high heels, this forces the foot downward, placing pressure on the toes and bending them. How to Prevent Hammertoes From Forming? The main way to keep hammertoes from forming is to control any bone or muscle imbalances that could occur due to malalignment. What this means is that you need to wear proper fitting shoes at all times, so that there isn’t too much pressure being placed on your toes, forcing them to be in a bent position for long periods of time. Here are some basic tips for purchasing well-fitting shoes: ● Have one-half inch between your longest toe and the end of your shoe. ● Avoid pointy, narrow toe boxes. ● Look for shoes that have good arch support. ● Fit and purchase your shoes at the end of the day. Your feet will swell throughout the day, giving you a better indicator of what is comfortable. ● Pay attention to how your feet fit in the shoe. The shoe size may not always be the best indicator of whether a shoe is right for you. If you fall in love with a pair of shoes, but they are a little bit tight, don’t purchase them expecting them to stretch as you wear them. This is only going to increase your risk of developing hammertoes. What are the Treatment Options for Hammertoes? If you have a flexible hammertoe, where the middle joint is still flexible, then you can expect the following treatment recommendations: 1. Purchase new footwear. You will need to change your footwear from tight, narrow shoes, to ones that have a roomy toe box. You may need to avoid wearing certain kinds of shoes until the hammertoe has been fixed; such as: high heels, cleats, and shoes with pointy toe boxes. Furthermore, you may need to wear sandals for the time being. 2. Engage in toe exercises. Your doctor may recommend that you stretch your toes out manually on a daily basis or spend time picking items up with your toes. You may be told to practice toe curls to help strengthen the tendons. 3. Non-medicated cushions. If your hammertoes come with calluses or corns on the top of the middle joint, you may be prescribed non-medicated corn pads or cushions to relieve pressure and pain on the joint. If you have a rigid hammertoe, where the toe can no longer move properly, then surgery is often recommended. Depending on the severity of the hammertoe, you will receive one of the following treatment options: 1. Tendon lengthening. This is often done on more flexible hammertoes that have severe deformities, as it eliminates the joint imbalance by creating longer tendons. 2. Tendon transfer from bottom to top. One way to pull the buckled middle joint up is by transferring tendons from the bottom of the toe to the top, to help pull the joint into place. 3. Joint fusion (arthrodesis). With this kind of procedure, the surgeon will remove a small portion of the middle joint where it is inflexible. An external wire, pin, or internal plate will hold the bones together until they fuse together. This allows the toe to fully extend. It is often done in combination with tendon lengthening. If you require surgery to fix your hammertoes, the recovery time is about 4-6 weeks. Expect to have swelling, stiffness, and redness in the toe until fully healed. It is recommended to elevate your foot and limit activity during the healing process.

Lisfranc Injury: A Common Midfoot Fracture That Disrupts Your Ability to Walk

Our feet are one of the most complex areas of the body, with each foot containing 19 muscles, 26 bones, 33 joints, and 107 ligaments. Out of the 206 bones in your body, that’s 52 bones in your feet alone. While this structure makes it easy for us to move and flex as needed, it also means that an injury to this area requires a podiatrist or foot doctor to treat due to its complex nature. When it comes to injuries of the foot, the midfoot fracture or LisFranc injury is commonly missed since it can be confused with other injuries like a simple sprain. In this article, we’re going to go over what a LisFranc injury is, how you can recognize one, what the different types are, and how it is treated. What Is a LisFranc Injury? Let’s first identify what exactly the LisFranc is. The foot is complex enough that podiatrists divide it into three parts for ease of conversation: The forefoot, midfoot and hindfoot. The hindfoot consists of the heel and ankle, while the forefoot is composed of your toes and the bones that support them, the metatarsals. Finally, the midfoot contains all the bones that make up the arches of your feet. The LisFranc joint refers to the collection of bones and ligaments that connect the metatarsals to the midfoot, and is located right in the middle of your foot, just in front of your ankle. With all that said, an injury in this area is referred to as a LisFranc injury, and includes damage to the bones, ligaments, or both, often coupled with damage to the surrounding cartilage. What Are The Main Causes Behind a LisFranc Injury? This type of injury often occurs either when something heavy is dropped on the foot or when the foot is twisted while flexed. While a relatively rare injury, podiatrists often see it in those who play contact sports like soccer or football. It is also seen in individuals like runners, military personnel, and horseback riders, due to heavy foot use or falling. However, it can also occur during low-impact missteps, such as missing a staircase or twisting too far during a fall. What Are The Symptoms of a Midfoot Injury? If you have pain in your midfoot area and are unable to bear weight, it is critical to visit us, your local podiatrist located in Des Moines to have it looked at immediately. Make note of which types of symptoms you are experiencing as this can indicate which type of LisFranc injury you are experiencing and help the ankle doctor during their assessment of you. Look for any of the following symptoms. Swelling in the foot - midfoot area. Pain throughout the midfoot area when applying pressure to it. Pain throughout the midfoot area when trying to stand. Bruising on the top or bottom of the foot or along the arch of the foot (side in the middle). An abnormal widening of your foot. Depending on the location of the LisFranc injury and what type you have, the symptoms may vary. You may experience all of the above or any combination of them. If you cannot get checked out by a foot doctor right away, be sure to stay off your feet and use ice and elevation to reduce swelling. Understanding the 3 Types of LisFranc Injuries There are 3 types of LisFranc injuries you can experience, sometimes one at time or sometimes in combination with one another. A LisFranc sprain occurs when you stretch the ligaments within the midfoot causing instability in the midfoot joint. This happens because the ligaments in the midfoot along the bottom are stronger than those on top. A LisFranc fracture happens when there is a break in any of the bones that make up the LisFranc joint. The most common are avulsion fractures which is when a small piece of bone is pulled off or away. Although, you can completely break bones in the midfoot as well. A LisFranc dislocation is when the bones in the LisFranc joint are forced out of their normal positions, causing a dislocation. How Are LisFranc Injuries Diagnosed & What Is The Standard Treatment? When you visit a podiatrist, they will ask about how the injury occured and they will examine the foot to determine the severity of the injury. They may take a medical history to see if this is the first time you’ve experienced this type of injury or if you’ve had previous injuries that may have increased your risk for a LisFranc injury. If a podiatrist concludes that a LisFranc injury is present, they will x-ray the area to confirm their diagnosis. When it comes to treatment, a podiatrist will determine if surgery is needed or not. If you have fractured a bone in the midfoot, dislocated it, or torn any of the ligaments, surgery is likely. Otherwise, you will be recommended to do a combination of the following: Use a cast. Immobilizing the foot and keeping pressure off of it allows it to heal. Take medication. Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen help reduce pain and swelling. Use ice and elevate your foot. A common technique used to reduce swelling. It is common to use the above treatment methods for 6-8 weeks while your foot heals. Once you are able to bear weight on it again, you may be required to attend physical therapy to rebuild strength in your foot again.

Plantar Fasciitis: What You Need To Know

If you are a highly athletic individual and are constantly on your feet, you stand a higher chance of developing plantar fasciitis. Notably, this condition is very common among runners. Before we can get deeper into the topic, it is essential that we understand what plantar fasciitis is. At the bottom of your foot, there’s a thick band that runs across it attaching your toes to the heel bone. This fibrous band of tissue is known as the plantar fascia and provides support to not only the arch of the foot but the surrounding muscles. Due to the functional importance of the plantar fascia, when it’s overstretched or torn, it can lead to heel pain and inflammation. After numerous studies, doctors have come to the conclusion that plantar fasciitis can lead to the development of heel spurs. The heel pain caused by this condition is often characterized by a stabbing sensation on your heel. If the first thing you experience in the morning is heel pain, chances are that you are suffering from plantar fasciitis. Additionally, if you tend to experience stabbing pain in your heel after walking and/ or standing for too long, you may have developed the condition as well. Runners or athletic people are not the ones at risk of developing Plantar fasciitis. Numerous studies show that obese or overweight individuals stand the risk of developing the condition as well. This is because the plantar fascia is a weight-bearing part of the body, and the more you weigh, the more strain you place on it. Additionally, an obese or overweight person has a high fat composition in his body. The fat is deposited along the arterial walls, leading to cardiovascular diseases. The fat is also deposited in other areas of the body such as the plantar fascia. The more fat deposited on it, the less flexible it is. The stiffer the plantar fascia, the easier it is to damage. Below we take a look at a number of other causes of plantar fasciitis. Causes
As previously mentioned, Plantar fasciitis occurs after the plantar fascia is damaged or torn from too much stress or tension. Overstretching the plantar fascia can aggravate it, leading to inflammation and development of the aforementioned condition. Wearing high heeled shoes too often Tight or stiff Achilles tendons Uncomfortable foot position Unusual walking style Wearing worn out shoes with worn out soles that can’t offer proper foot protection Obesity or being overweight Having flat feet Having a high arch Age: The Plantar fasciitis condition is common among people aged 40 and above. Exercises that place too much strain or tension on the plantar fascia Occupations that require extended periods of standing, walking or sitting Research has found that this condition is more common among women than it is in men. The above-highlighted causes can also be viewed as risk factors. By knowing the risk factors and causes, you can effectively prevent the development of Plantar fasciitis and protect the health of your heel. Additionally, visiting a plantar fasciitis podiatrist is another way of preventing the development of the condition. One key factor in prevention that most trained podiatrists recommend is learning the signs of plantar fasciitis. This way, you can keep tabs on the health of your foot. Also, knowing the warning signs can ensure that you seek early treatment and intervention before any further damage can occur. Symptoms and Signs of Plantar Fasciitis
Characterized by a stabbing pain on the heel, near the heel or the bottom of the foot
Experience pain after exercise. You often experience what is termed as first step pain. This is when you experience pain in your heel area immediately after you wake up. Pain occurs after extended periods of standing, walking or even sitting. If you suspect that you may be suffering from the condition, seeking immediate treatment from a qualified podiatrist is crucial. Ignoring the condition and avoiding treatment will aggravate the condition, leading to the development of chronic heel pain. Chronic heel pain can hamper mobility and make carrying simple tasks difficult and painful. Not seeking treatment can also lead knee, back or other foot problems. That said, the first step to effective treatment is a correct and accurate diagnosis. At The Foot and Ankle Clinic of Greater Des Moines, we recognize the importance of proper diagnosis. Backed by medical practitioners that are highly trained and educated in the field of podiatry, we are able to offer the best form of treatments as well. Diagnosis
Accurate diagnosis is often made after a series of physical tests and examination with an additional look at one’s medical history. Other tests such as imaging tests such as X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are also carried out. The test results, which often indicate the area of the foot experiencing pain, dictate the type of treatment offered. This is because, by identifying the area of pain, the podiatrist will be able to determine the cause and hence, provide effective treatment. Methods of Treatment
Notably, the methods of treating Plantar Fasciitis are categorized into two: non- surgical and surgical. Nonsurgical Methods of Treatment
Medications: The type of medication given are the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), also used for treating lateral ankle instability. They are effective in treating and reducing inflammation in the plantar fascia. Steroid injections: This type of treatment is often administered if the medication does not help with reducing pain in the affected area. Such injections are also great for reducing inflammation. Tenex procedure
Therapy: When it comes to therapy, three types can be administered to help treat the affected area. They include: Shock wave therapy Orthotics Physical therapy Night Splints Surgical Method of Treatment
This method of treatment is usually the last resort. If all the above methods of treatment fail, then surgically detaching the plantar fascia from the heel bone is the last option. It helps reduce and get rid of severe pain in that area. In conclusion, by visiting The Foot and Ankle Clinic of Greater Des Moines can help safeguard the health of your foot. Say goodbye to foot problems and pain by maintaining regular visits with one of our highly trained and certified podiatrist.

Recognizing Poor Circulation in Your Feet

Poor circulation is an underlying indicator of many different health problems, but it is also a problem itself. Due to gravity and the way that our circulatory system works, it is fairly common for poor circulation to present itself in the feet and the legs. Recognizing the indicators of poor circulation can help you to more easily achieve quick and effective medical treatment as needed. Our feet aren’t just important because they take us from one place to the next. They can tell us a surprising amount about our health as a whole. Read on to learn about poor circulation, how to recognize it, and what it can imply. What Does Poor Circulation Mean? Poor circulation means that your body is ineffectively circulating the blood in your body. Since our bodies rely on blood to get nutrients and oxygen, it comes as no surprise that good circulation is fairly important. If your body is not circulating enough blood, you can experience a wide range of problems and side effects. To ensure that your body’s needs are being met, keeping a good pulse on the effectiveness of your circulation can be incredibly important. What Can Poor Circulation Cause? When you have poor circulation, you reduce your body’s ability to operate in the way that it needs to. It is simply not as effective because its resources are not operating under prime conditions. Poor circulation can make you feel exhausted, put unnecessary strain on your body, and even lead to more dangerous outcomes. If your body is struggling to get enough oxygen to different areas, you can end up feeling fatigued, unable to think clearly, suffering from a lack of oxygen or feeling winded, or even end up with damage to certain parts of your body. The fact is that everyone’s body needs enough blood in the right areas to keep everything in good order, which is why it is so important to pay attention when you see indicators of poor blood circulation. You can generally keep a fairly strong gauge on your circulation and even detect high blood pressure from your feet and legs. Conditions Associated With Poor Circulation Poor circulation can be caused by a collection of different forces. Certain conditions and medications can lead to poor circulation, forcing those who are already suffering in some way to deal with an entirely new problem on top of it all. Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity can all lead to poor circulation. While they can be a cause of poor circulation, it is important to understand that some people don’t actually know they have an underlying health condition until they are being treated for poor circulation and the doctor looks for a cause. The fact that some of these conditions are associated with poor circulation can also be important for sufferers to understand for their own treatments. If you are experiencing a loss of circulation, you might need to discuss other treatment options with us. In some instances, poor circulation can actually clue patients into the fact that their condition is actually worsening. For example, those who suffer from heart disease often experience worsening circulation as their arteries begin to build up with plaque and other buildups. Symptoms of Poor Circulation Poor circulation can show itself in different ways depending on your body. Some people are more prone to experiencing certain symptoms than others, which is why it is so important to consult a medical professional if you have begun to experience any of the symptoms commonly associated with poor circulation. Common Symptoms Include: Numbness In The Legs Legs “Falling Asleep” Tingling In Legs and Feet Inconsistent Temperature In Feet (Very Cold, For Example) Swelling In Feet and Legs Discolored Feet (Particularly Red, Purple, and Blue) The Presence of Varicose Veins Pain or Discomfort Sores, Particularly On Feet or Lower Legs Lower Leg or Foot Cramping Conclusion When your feet start to give you trouble, there is likely a bigger story regarding your overall health. While feet can certainly come with their own set of problems, if you begin to notice your feet and legs showing symptoms of poor circulation, it is likely best to get it checked out. The podiatrists at Wasatch Foot and Ankle can tell the difference between an actual issue with your feet and other conditions that might be causing the problems. They will also be able to identify if your concerns are specifically related to an injury or underlying foot-related medical condition. When in doubt, ask the podiatrists here at Wasatch Foot and Ankle Institute.

TTS & Pain: Recognizing Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome - What It Is & When You Should See a Podiatrist

For being such a crucial part of the body, the human ankle is actually a very simple structure, containing only three main bones that create the very joint that allows you to walk, run and dance. Despite its simplicity, it is also one of the easiest areas to hurt, with ankle sprains accounting for nearly two million injuries reported to podiatrists in America each year. A small number of ankle injuries, however, aren’t sprains at all, but instead a more serious issue known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. We’ll be exploring this rare condition in greater detail, namely what it is, what causes it, and what you can do if you suspect that you’re being affected by it. What Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome? Let’s first explore the area that tarsal tunnel syndrome affects; the ankle, and more specifically, the aptly named tarsal tunnel. Due to its complexity, podiatrists divide the foot into three areas for the sake of easy conversation: The forefoot, the midfoot and the hind foot. The hindfoot, where we’ll be focusing, consists of the heel and ankle bones. On the inside of your ankle lies the tibia, which is attached to your heel via the flexor retinaculum, a thick band of ligaments. Together, these form a sort of channel, through which runs nerves, veins and arteries. One of these nerves, the tibial nerve, can become pinched with repeated pressure from various sources. Over time, this damages the nerve and results in severe pain, pins and needles or even loss of sensation in the foot. What Causes This Painful Foot Condition? You develop tarsal tunnel syndrome when the tibial nerve comes under constant compression, but this tends to be caused by other ailments such as: Flat feet that stretch the tibial nerve. Benign bony growths in around the tarsal tunnel. Inflammation from arthritis in the area. Varicose veins that develop in the membrane that surrounds the tibial nerve. Tumors or lipomas near the tibial nerve. Injuries such as an ankle sprain or fracture that causes swelling and inflammation in the area. Diabetes. Over use of the foot or ankle most commonly caused by exercising, standing, running, or prolonged walking. How Is TTS Diagnosed? If you believe that you have tarsal tunnel syndrome, it is important to visit with a podiatrist or foot doctor so they can help identify the cause of the TTS and create a treatment plan with you so that the condition doesn’t become worse. While you can visit a general practitioner for some advice, it is better to book an appointment with us, your local podiatrist located in Des Moines or an orthopedic surgeon. At your appointment with an ankle doctor, they will ask about the symptoms you are experiencing and how your symptoms progressed. They will then ask to examine your foot and ankle, looking for key physical characteristics that indicate tarsal tunnel syndrome. One of the tests they may run is called a Tinel Test, where the podiatrist simply taps on the tibial nerve to see if you experience a tingling sensation or pain. If your foot doctor does suspect tarsal tunnel syndrome, they may order additional tests such as an electromyography which looks for nerve dysfunction or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if they believe that a bony growth could be the cause of the condition. You may be also asked to stay for an x-ray or for a nerve conduction velocity test (EMG). How Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Treated? At the first sign of symptoms, you should have a foot doctor assess your foot and ankle for TTS as there are several options for treatment, especially if it is a minor case of TTS. The most common treatment options include using RICE - rest, ice, compression, and elevation in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. However, if you have a severe case of TTS, aggressive treatment options do exist. l Rest is the first line of defense. This will reduce inflammation and pressure on the nerve. You may need to replace high-impact exercises like running with low-impact ones like swimming. In severe cases, you may need to refrain from exercise completely. RICE is next. Use rest in combination with ice to reduce inflammation and compression/elevation to reduce blood flow to the area. Use full immobilization if there is physical damage done to the nerve. This will give the nerve a change to heal. Injection therapy can be used for very painful bouts of TTS. This will put local anesthetics or corticosteroids directly into the nerve to provide relief. Your podiatrist may recommend orthopedic shoes or correct devices that help limit motion around the nerve and provide support to your foot’s arch. This can also help prevent your foot from rolling inward. Physical therapy can also be used to stretch and strengthen the connective tissues, mobilize the tibial nerve and open up the joint space around it to reduce compression. This can be combined with acupuncture, manual therapy, taping and bracing, or even ultrasound therapy. Foot exercises should be done to help prevent the worsening of symptoms. These can include: ankle pumps, ankle circles, heel-toe raises, pencil toe lifts, balance exercises, plantar fascia stretch, gastrocnemius stretch, and the soleus muscle stretch. Are There Any Complications With This Condition? In that tarsal tunnel syndrome is very similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, in that the nerve is being squeezed in such a narrow and confined space, there are some complications that can come with this condition. It tends to cause pain on both the inside of the ankle and the bottom of the foot, and it may impact both your lower leg and toes.You may experience tingling, burning, searing or shooting pain, numbing, a weakened ability to flex or bend your toes, as well as loss of sensation in the toes, sides and bottoms of the affected foot.

The Downsides to Sleeping With Your Feet Covered - Foot Trouble Possibilities

The idea of sleeping with your feet covered, whether it is with socks or with the blanket itself, is not a novel idea. Rather, this is a topic that is talked about quite a bit and is argued both ways. For some, covering their feet up means not waking up at night due to unbalanced body temperature, and for others, covering up means becoming way too hot at night. According to the science behind this topic, there are numerous benefits to wearing a pair of cozy socks or slipping those feet under the covers, but what’s not talked about a lot? The potential “foot trouble” you could get yourself into when covering up. Let’s dive and see what the downsides are. 5 Downsides to Covering Your Feet Up at Night While the majority of people may find that wearing socks at night helps them get a good night’s rest, there are some individuals who actually find that they come away with more foot trouble if they do. For these individuals, not only does covering up interfere with their sleeping patterns, but with the wrong blanket or wrong sock-type, it leads to rashes and infections. Here are 5 downsides to covering up at night. 1. Increased Risk of Infection. One of the many problems that individuals run into is not knowing which nighttime materials suit their own feet. If you choose a material that is either filled with chemicals, or is rough to the skin, and you wear them or cover your feet up with them over a prolonged period of time, you could end up with an infection. How? The material will chaff at your skin, opening up small sores, and creating an environment for dryness and further skin irritation. If your blankets or socks have any kind of chemicals in them, or you find yourself allergic to the material, you’ll end up with an infection in your feet. Make sure to be on the lookout for redness, tenderness, swelling, and open sores if you do choose to cover your feet up at night. 2. Compromised Hygiene. How often do you wash your blankets or your socks? Do you choose to cover up with a fresh set of sheets every night, or only wear bedtime socks at night that are clean? If the answer is no, you may be causing compromised hygiene, which can lead to foot trouble. Without clean sheets, blankets, or socks, your feet will be unable to breathe properly, and you may inadvertently create a breeding ground for bacteria while you sleep. 3. Increased High Blood Pressure. A commonly touted point for covering your feet up before bed is that it increases blood circulation. Unfortunately, for those who are wearing socks all day long and then covering their feet up at night may actually experience a decrease in flood flow. Why? Prolonged foot covering narrows the tissues, muscles, and blood vessels around your feet, thus decreasing circulation. Ever taken socks off that have left rings around your ankles or seen swelling above where the sock ends? Be careful of this, as this type of foot trouble can lead to worse health problems. 4. Overheating & Night Sweats. If you really want to cover those feet up, make sure you are doing so with the right materials. Wrong choice and you could end up overheating. If the covers aren’t breathable, then you could artificially make your temperature rise and cause yourself a whole heap of restless nights. 5. Skin Irritation Leading to Disrupted Sleep. Do you have extremely sensitive skin? If the answer is yes, wearing socks or covering your feet up at night may not be the best option for you. Excessive skin irritation, caused by wearing the wrong socks or covering up with the wrong sheet material, will lead to disrupted sleep. If you notice that you keep waking up completely exhausted, it may be from micro-disturbances at night, due to your feet being irritated. 6. Plantar Fasciitis. Possibly the biggest possibility with sleeping with your feet covered is the risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by stress to the fascia muscles that span the underside of the arch of your foot. When your bedding is tightly tucked in, they often will pull your foot down to a point if you’re a back sleeper, which over time can cause damage to those muscles. So, if you sleep on your back, do your feet a favor and loosen up the bedding at the end of your bed so that your feet can stretch out. How Can I Regulate Temperature Without Covering Up? If you are completely against covering your feet up at night, we recommend that you regulate your body temperature by placing a hot water bottle at the end of the bed, wearing a pair of slippers before heading to bed, or dipping your feet into a warm bath before bed. If I Cover My Feet Up Now, Should I Stop? If you are worried about foot trouble from covering your feet up, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop. Just make sure that you are swapping out your socks on a nightly basis for clean ones, and choosing blankets and sheets that are breathable.The consensus here is that sleeping with your feet covered isn’t bad at all, and actually offers up some amazing benefits, but if you find yourself struggling, it may be for the reasons above. If you’d like to learn more about why sleeping with your feet covered is good for you, check out the benefits here or here.

The Softening & Breaking of Your Ankle’s Cartilage - What You Need to Know

The world of sports has been a cornerstone of the entertainment industry since it was introduced by the ancient Greeks nearly 3000 years ago. It has borne names like Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretsky and countless others, each with their own story and list of accomplishments. However, these legends aren’t without their scars, as sports result in millions of injuries every year. Twenty percent of sports injuries are sprained ankles, which, if not treated properly, can result in much more severe conditions. One such condition is talar dome lesions, which refers to damage that is done to your ankle’s cartilage. We’ll be taking a closer look at this condition, what causes it, and what you can do if it is affecting you. What Is a Talar Dome Lesion? If you take a look at your ankle joint, which is located at the bottom of your shin (tibia) you’ll see the top of the talus bone, which is dome-shaped. Within this dome, there is cartilage which allows your ankle to move smoothly. This is what gives you the range-of-motion and flexibility you are used to. When this cartilage becomes damaged, you get a talar dome lesion. If the cartilage does not heal properly following an injury to the ankle joint, it will soften up and break off causing ankle pain. If you suspect that you have a talar dome lesion, it is important to book an appointment with us, your local podiatrist located in Des Moines to get an assessment done of your ankle. What Causes Talar Dome Lesions & What Are The Symptoms? The most common cause of talar dome lesions occur in patients who experience a traumatic injury to the ankle. This could be an ankle sprain from weight bearing forces, a traumatic landing with an ankle twist, or trauma from an automobile accident. It can also occur in individuals who wear inappropriate footwear or have poor foot biomechanics that put them at risk. It is unlikely that you will experience any symptoms right away, as talar dome lesions can take months to years to develop. If and when you do suspect that you have a talar dome lesion, look out for the following symptoms. Pain that develops deep in the ankle that does not go away. Pain that gets worse when bearing weight on the foot and goes away with rest. An ankle that gives out or locks when you are doing regular activities. An ankle that catches or clicks when walking. Swelling in the ankle when the foot is in use that goes away with rest. How Are Talar Dome Lesions Diagnosed? This type of foot injury can be difficult for a podiatrist to diagnose right away, just simply because the pain you are experiencing will be hard to pinpoint within the dome. When you visit with a foot doctor, they may question you about injuries to the area and ask if you have pain within the joint. If you are experiencing clicking or limited motion within the ankle area, it is important to let your podiatrist know as this may be a sign of talar dome lesions. If your ankle or foot doctor cannot come away with a 100% accurate diagnosis, they may order additional testing to evaluate the extent of the problem. This can include x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, or anesthetic injections to see if the pain is indeed coming from your joint. What Type of Treatments Are Available? The type of treatment plan that will be crafted for you depends on the severity of the talar dome lesions that you have. If the lesion is stable and does not have any loose pieces of cartilage or bone coming off from it, then you may not need surgery to fix the problem. Non-surgical options include any of the following: Full immobilization of the foot and leg. Your ankle doctor may want to place you in a cast to help protect the talus from any further injuries. This will allow the talus to heal, but you will be required to only engage in non-weight-bearing exercises that have limited to no range of motion to them. Anti-inflammatory medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen will be recommended to help reduce any inflammation in the talus dome and make pain symptoms manageable. Ankle braces. You may be required to wear an ankle brace after the injury has healed to keep you from re-injury. Physical therapy will be recommended to you to strengthen the area and increase your range-of-motion again. This may also include the use of ankle taping, ice/heat treatment, exercises, orthotics, dry needling, and soft tissue massages. If you go through the non-surgical route to fix the talar dome lesions and it is unsuccessful, you may be required to have surgery to remove the loose bone and cartilage fragments. A podiatrist that has training in foot surgeries can help with this. They will remove the loose fragments, which will in turn help create an environment for healing within the joint. Are There Any Complications With This Condition? One of the unfortunate and painful complications of talar dome lesions is arthritis within the joint. You may develop arthritis if the damage to the cartilage within the ankle joint is severe. If you do, this can result in inflammation, swelling, and limited range of motion. You may be required to use braces, complete physical therapy, use anti-inflammatory medications, or undergo further surgery as a result.

What Are The Cause(s) of Ingrown Toenails & How Do You Fix Them?

If you have ever had the corner of a toenail grow directly into the surrounding skin and cause it to become inflamed, broken, or infected, then you know what it is like to have an ingrown toenail. While this is a common condition, it is one that is very painful and can cause quite a bit of swelling, redness, and bleeding if it goes untreated. Let’s take a look at what the most common causes are of ingrown toenails, how to go about fixing them, and how to prevent them in the future. 7 Causes of Painful Ingrown Toenails There are numerous causes for why an ingrown toenail may develop. The root cause can range from congenital issues, to repeated trauma of the toe, to common situations like improper grooming, cutting, and ill-fitting shoes or socks. Here are 7 of the most common reasons behind ingrown toenails: 1. If you cut your toenails incorrectly, angling them with the curve of your toe. This encourages the toenail to grow towards and into the side of the toe, rather than outward and on top of the skin. 2. If you wear ill-fitting footwear that places a lot of pressure onto your big toes. Or, if you wear socks, stockings, or shoes that are too tight, narrow, or flat for your feet. This added pressure on your toes can cause the toenails to grow incorrectly. 3. Accidentally stubbing your toes, dropping items on them, or repeatedly kicking something like in sports: soccer, ballet, or kickboxing are good examples. 4. If you tear the side of your toenails instead of using proper cutters, this can cause ingrown toenails. 5. Having irregular foot shapes or proportions (hereditary). For instance, if your toenail is larger than the toe itself or if the surrounding tissue of the nail border grows too far around the upper edges of the nail; this can cause ingrown toenails. 6. Cutting your toenails too short, encourages the skin along the sides of the nail to fold over the nail, causing an ingrown toenail to develop. 7. If you have diabetes, heart disease, or use tobacco, you may be more susceptible to developing ingrown toenails, due to poor circulation. What are the Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail? In the early stages of an ingrown toenail, you may notice that one or both edges of the toenail is hard to the touch and the tissue is swollen, red, and tender. You may notice this pain at first when you put on socks or place your foot into your shoes. As more fluid builds up in the surrounding tissue, the more painful it will become, and if it is left for too long, it can become infected. You may also notice dried blood when you take your socks off or small amounts of oozing pus draining from the area; especially if the toenail has broken the skin. Treating Your Ingrown Toenails at Home - Non-Surgical As soon as you realize that you have an ingrown toenail, treat it. By recognizing the symptoms early on, you may be able to prevent infection from setting in and the need to visit a medical center for care. Here is how to treat an ingrown toenail at home: 1. Soak your foot in warm water throughout the day. Ideally, you want to do this at least 3-4 times a day. If you are working, soak your foot in the morning before heading out and when you get home, and then 3-4 times on the weekends. Using Epsom salts will help bring down the inflammation. 2. Once you are done soaking the ingrown toenail, dry it completely. It is recommended that you place a bandage around it or some type of gauze so that it stays dry throughout the day. 3. Make sure that your shoes are not too tight. If they are, change your shoes out immediately or ear sandals until the ingrown toenail has healed. 4. If the toenail is extremely swollen or painful to the touch, consider taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve the pain. 5. If you have access to it, apply a topical antibiotic to prevent the ingrown toenail from becoming infected. Something like Neosporin would work well for this. 6. If the ingrown toenail is embedded into the surrounding tissue, you may need to gently lift it up and place either cotton or dental floss in between the nail and the skin. If you do this, change the cotton or dental floss out every single day. If you see no improvement within 2-3 days, then make an appointment with your general practitioner to have them take a look. Unresponsive Ingrown Toenails & Surgical Treatment If your ingrown toenail does not respond to at-home treatment, or you develop a severe infection, it is best to seek out your medical healthcare practitioner and see if surgical treatment is needed. 1. Partial Toenail Removal: with a partial toenail removal, the piece that is digging into the surrounding tissue will be removed. This is done by numbing the toe, and then lifting out the ingrown toenail from the sides of your toe and narrowing them down so that they no longer dig in. Cotton is placed under the remaining portion of your toenail and phenol is applied, which keeps the sides of the nail from growing back. 2. Full Toenail Removal (Matrixectomy): if your ingrown toenail is caused by the nail thickening to an abnormal size, then the doctor may remove the nail completely. With this procedure, you are given anesthetic and the entire nail is removed. The exposed nail bed is going to be extremely painful to touch, and it may take 3-4 months for your nail to regrow. In that time period, the toe will need to be kept completely covered in bandages, and you will need to use antibiotics to keep infection away. To prevent ingrown toenails from forming in the future, make sure that you trim your nails straight across (do not curve the edges), avoid cutting them too short, and wear proper fitting shoes and socks. If you are in work conditions here you are prone to dropping items on your feet, make sure to wear steel-toed boots.