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The largest tendon in the body is known as the Achilles tendon. Its function is to connect the heel bone to the calf muscles. Many tendons in the body are not flexible, and it is important to properly stretch this tendon before engaging in a sporting activity. If it should become irritated and inflamed, the result may be an Achilles tendon injury. The symptoms that are often associated with this type of injury can include tenderness, severe pain, discomfort, and the inability to bend the foot downward. If this tendon is not properly stretched, many people could tear their Achilles tendon if they start a new exercise regime, or increase the intensity considerably. There are numerous treatment options for this type of injury. If you feel you have injured your Achilles tendon, it is advised to consult with a podiatrist who can guide you toward the best treatment option.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.

What Are the symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?

There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms

  • Inflammation
  • Dull to severe pain
  • Increased blood flow to the tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

  • Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
  • Total immobility

Treatment and Prevention

Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:

  • Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
  • Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Achilles Tendon Injuries

The medical condition that is referred to as hammertoe can happen by wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. This may cause the middle toes to bend downward at the joint and resemble a hammer. This ailment often promotes an imbalance in the adjoining muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and many patients notice pain and discomfort. If the toes stay in a bent position for an extended period of time, they may become difficult to straighten out. Genetic factors may also play a significant role in developing hammertoe, in addition to existing medical conditions that may include diabetes or arthritis. If hammertoe is left untreated, corns, calluses and sores may form on top of the toes, and this can cause pain while wearing shoes. If you have hammertoe, it is strongly suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can guide you toward the proper treatment techniques.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
Monday, 01 July 2019 00:00

Have I Broken My Toe?

Many patients will experience a broken toe after a heavy object has fallen on it, or if it bangs into a piece of furniture. Consistent movements over an extended period of time can also weaken the bones in the toe, and this may result in a hairline fracture. Some of the symptoms that are associated with a broken toe often include pain, swelling, and bruising. Toes that are severely broken often bleed, and can point in the wrong direction. Many patients find comfort when the toe is elevated, as this may help to control any existing swelling. Additionally, the healing process can begin when the affected toe is taped to the toe next to it, which is referred to as buddy taping. If you feel you have broken your toe, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can perform an X-ray which confirms this condition, followed by beginning the correct treatment for you.

A broken toe can be very painful and lead to complications if not properly fixed. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What to Know About a Broken Toe

Although most people try to avoid foot trauma such as banging, stubbing, or dropping heavy objects on their feet, the unfortunate fact is that it is a common occurrence. Given the fact that toes are positioned in front of the feet, they typically sustain the brunt of such trauma. When trauma occurs to a toe, the result can be a painful break (fracture).

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

  • Throbbing pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising on the skin and toenail
  • The inability to move the toe
  • Toe appears crooked or disfigured
  • Tingling or numbness in the toe

Generally, it is best to stay off of the injured toe with the affected foot elevated.

Severe toe fractures may be treated with a splint, cast, and in some cases, minor surgery. Due to its position and the pressure it endures with daily activity, future complications can occur if the big toe is not properly treated.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What to Know About a Broken Toe
Monday, 01 July 2019 00:00

It's Time for Beautiful Feet.

Want to wear open toe shoes again? ...Special occasion? Vacation? ...You don't need an excuse to have beautiful nails.

Monday, 24 June 2019 00:00

Possible Reasons for Gout Attacks

People who experience gout attacks will most likely have severe pain and discomfort surrounding the big toe. It occurs as a result of crystals that develop from excess uric acid in the bloodstream. Research has indicated that men are more prone to developing gout than women, and the risk increases if obesity is a factor. Additionally, gout can develop if the patient has kidneys that are not functioning properly, or has high blood pressure. Some of the symptoms that are associated with this condition often include swelling on the big toe and surrounding areas, redness, and tenderness when touched. If you have frequent gout attacks, it is strongly advised that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can properly diagnosis and treat this painful condition.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Gout
Monday, 17 June 2019 00:00

The Feet and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience pain in their feet at some point during their time with the ailment. Understanding the disease and the effects it could have on the feet may help you recognize the problem early and begin treatment. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the body attacks its own joints. This disease is unique in that many joints may be impacted at the same time. People with the disease may notice the development of bunions, hammertoes, and fallen arches. Additional foot complications affiliated with rheumatoid arthritis include heel pain, pinched nerves, nodules and rashes. The condition is painful and incurable. However, early treatment can help people with the disease control the discomfort and maintain their livelihoods. If you are experiencing any type of foot pain, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist.

Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of feet
  • Joint shift and deformation

Diagnosis

Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet
Monday, 10 June 2019 00:00

What Causes Blisters on the Feet?

A blister that forms on the foot may develop for a variety of reasons. These may include friction that comes from frequent running, a burn that occurs on the foot, or an allergic reaction to an insect bite. Additionally, blisters may form from wearing shoes that fit poorly. When a blister occurs, the small portion of the affected area of the skin becomes irritated, and the top layer of skin becomes raw. The body’s natural defense is to protect the area by forming a bubble filled with fluid over it. As the skin begins to heal, the fluid will gradually drain, and the blister will disappear. If the blister is in an uncomfortable area, mild relief may be found if it is drained. This can be accomplished by cleaning the blister with alcohol and carefully puncturing the area, which will allow complete drainage. It is important to apply an antibacterial cream to the area, followed by covering the blister with a bandage. If you have blisters on your feet that are causing pain and discomfort, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can treat this condition.

Blisters may appear as a single bubble or in a cluster. They can cause a lot of pain and may be filled with pus, blood, or watery serum. If your feet are hurting, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Foot Blisters

Foot blisters are often the result of friction. This happens due to the constant rubbing from shoes, which can lead to pain.

What Are Foot Blisters?

A foot blister is a small fluid-filled pocket that forms on the upper-most layer of the skin. Blisters are filled with clear fluid and can lead to blood drainage or pus if the area becomes infected.

Symptoms

(Blister symptoms may vary depending on what is causing them)

  • Bubble of skin filled with fluid
  • Redness
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Itching

Prevention & Treatment

In order to prevent blisters, you should be sure to wear comfortable shoes with socks that cushion your feet and absorb sweat. Breaking a blister open may increase your chances of developing an infection. However, if your blister breaks, you should wash the area with soap and water immediately and then apply a bandage to the affected area. If your blisters cause severe pain it is important that you call your podiatrist right away.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Blisters

Many foot and ankle complications can be helped by Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections. When a small amount of a patient’s blood is drawn, the platelets can be separated from the rest of the blood. Platelets contain growth factors, which assist in treating injuries. When platelets are re-injected into an affected area, the body can naturally increase the rate of healing. Some conditions that the injections have been known to work with are chronic plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, arthritis, and more. While there may be some pain and irritation to the injection site right after treatment, healing should begin within a few days. Since your own blood is used, the procedure is generally low-risk. The amount of injections and the response to them vary according to each patient. Speak with a podiatrist if you are interested in learning more about PRP Injections.

If you are suffering from a foot condition, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is PRP?

Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is blood taken from a patient and spun in a centrifuge, concentrating the amount of platelets. The plasma is then re-injected into the site of injury or damage, assisting the body in repairing damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and tissue. PRP helps the body speed up its healing process.

Uses of PRP

Injuries affecting the foot sometimes don’t heal properly because of poor blood circulation. The healing time slows down, and recovery time is affected by poor blood supply. PRP injections will speed up recovery and resolve this issue.

Treatment

PRP is the first regenerative treatment for damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments. No surgery needed. It is only applied with an insertion of a needle.

Ultrasound – An ultrasound is needed for proper placement of the platelets.

Injection – When the first injection is received, the patient will return to the doctor in about 2 to 3 weeks and monitor the recovery process.

Recovery time – Some people respond to treatments differently. Therefore, depending on your condition, the doctor will make any remaining decisions on how many more injections are needed, or if any additional ones are even required.

Benefits

One may be able to avoid major surgery, and recovery time will be cut down. PRP injections also avoid creating scar tissue and damage to the area. Risks are also very low using PRP as a treatment. There is no risk of rejection, contracting a disease from using another person’s blood, or infection.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about PRP Injections in the Feet
Saturday, 01 June 2019 00:00

Heel Pain Can Be Treated!

Do you suffer from heel pain when you get up in the morning?

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 00:00

Types of Effective Foot Surgery

There are several types of foot conditions that may require surgery if other treatment methods are ineffective. A bunion is considered to be a deformity affecting the side of the big toe. If you have a bunion, and would like it to be permanently removed, this type of surgery is referred to as a bunionectomy. When this is completed, some patients find it helpful to have their toes straightened, and will undergo an osteotomy. If pain is experienced in the toe area, this may be indicative of a neuroma, which is commonly referred to as “pinched nerves”. The affected area may feel numb, and can possibly interfere with everyday activities. Surgery may be an option for relief by removing the damaged tissue surrounding the nerve. If you have severely broken your foot, having a fusion performed may be a consideration for relief. This surgery uses screws to connect and realign the bones. If you are experiencing foot pain, and would like additional information about foot surgery, please consult with a podiatrist.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact one of our podiatrists of Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:

  • Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Shillington and Hamburg, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Foot Surgery
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