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Tuesday, 20 February 2018 00:00

The Benefits of Exercising the Feet

While some exercises are performed routinely, it’s common for many people to be unaware of the importance of stretching the feet. The feet are the foundation of the body, and maintaining the health of the foot and strengthening the muscles are crucial for overall health. Exercises that promote balance can establish stability in the body, and this is generally accomplished in just a few minutes each day. One of the stretches that helps to keep the feet strong are heel raises, in which the heels are raised and lowered while the feet are hanging over a step. This will not only strengthen the ankle and foot, but the Achilles tendon will benefit also. Rocking back and forth on the balls of the feet also aids in maintaining balance and helps to prevent ankle injuries from occurring. Typically, the feet will become more flexible from doing proper exercises, which will aid in the general well being of the body.

Exercising your feet regularly with the proper foot wear is a great way to prevent injuries and build strength. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Exercise for Your Feet

Exercise for your feet can help you gain strength, mobility and flexibility in your feet. They say that strengthening your feet can be just as rewarding as strengthening another part of the body. Your feet are very important, and we often forget about them in our daily tasks. But it is because of our feet that are we able to get going and do what we need to. For those of us fortunate enough to not have any foot problems, it is an important gesture to take care of them to ensure good health in the long run.

Some foot health exercises can include ankle pumps, tip-toeing, toe rises, lifting off the floor doing reps and sets, and flexing the toes. It is best to speak with yOur doctors to determine an appropriate regimen for your needs. Everyone’s needs and bodies are different, and the activities required to maintain strength in the feet vary from individual to individual. 

Once you get into a routine of doing regular exercise, you may notice a difference in your feet and how strong they may become.

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.

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Monday, 12 February 2018 00:00

Causes and Treatment of Cracked Heels

If severe dryness is experienced on the heels of the foot, it may lead to a condition referred to as cracked heels. Calluses will form to protect the skin, and may often split open, possibly leading to a painful infection. Poorly fitting shoes, shoes with exposed backs, obesity, and eczema are among the many reasons for cracked heels to develop. If daily activities include standing for long periods of time, further damage may occur because of the constant pressure the heels must endure. Applying a moisturizer daily will not only feel good, but will help to eliminate the dryness associated with cracked heels. A consultation with a podiatrist is advised to discuss the removal of calluses from severely cracked heels.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How do you get them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

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.

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Tuesday, 06 February 2018 00:00

How Do I Know If I Have an Ingrown Toenail?

When a toenail cuts into the side of the toe, it is often referred to as an ingrown toenail. Common causes for this condition may be shoes that are not fitting properly and toenails being trimmed incorrectly. Wearing shoes with pointed toes or high heels may cause the toes to have limited room to move freely, resulting in the nails burrowing into the side of the toe. General symptoms may include pain around the toe, and the skin becomes red and swollen. Drainage from the area may indicate an infection, which may require taking an antibiotic for treatment. It may be beneficial to avoid wearing shoes that fit tightly, and sandals with an open toe are recommended until the nail is healed. Prevention of this condition may include properly cutting the toenails, which ideally is performed straight across, and keeping the feet dry and clean.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, 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.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right 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 and ankle needs.

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018 00:00

Is My Child Suffering From Athlete’s Foot?

Many people get athlete’s foot, including children. Your child may complain of itching on the feet or may possibly experience a burning sensation. Occasionally there may be redness or an unpleasant odor that may develop from in between the toes. These may all be symptoms of athlete's foot, an uncomfortable fungal infection that typically develops within the feet and can possibly travel to other parts of the body if left untreated. It’s recommended for you and your child to consult with a podiatrist, who may test for the fungus by taking a small skin sample of the affected area. Treatment often consists of applying a powder or cream which may contain medicine to kill the fungus, enabling the foot to feel better quickly. Additionally, making sure your child does not wear shoes as often as possible and keeping the feet dry is important in keeping the fungus from growing. Prevention of this condition may include putting antifungal powder in your child’s footwear and drying the feet thoroughly, especially in between the toes.

Athlete’s foot is an inconvenient condition that can be easily reduced with the proper treatment. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates.  Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Athlete’s Foot: The Sole Story

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, can be an extremely contagious foot infection. It is commonly contracted in public changing areas and bathrooms, dormitory style living quarters, around locker rooms and public swimming pools, or anywhere your feet often come into contact with other people.

Solutions to Combat Athlete’s Foot

  • Hydrate your feet by using lotion
  • Exfoliate
  • Buff off nails
  • Use of anti-fungal products
  • Examine your feet and visit your doctor if any suspicious blisters or cuts develop

Athlete’s foot can cause many irritating symptoms such as dry and flaking skin, itching, and redness. Some more severe symptoms can include bleeding and cracked skin, intense itching and burning, and even pain when walking. In the worst cases, Athlete’s foot can cause blistering as well. Speak to your podiatrist for a better understanding of the different causes of Athlete’s foot, as well as help in determining which treatment options are best 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 and ankle needs.

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Tuesday, 23 January 2018 00:00

Excess Uric Acid May Cause Gout

When uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints, it may cause a painful condition known as gout. More often than not, gout originates in the big toe, and if left untreated may cause complications. The joints will often feel swollen and stiff, in addition to severe pain being experienced. Gout most often affects middle aged people, the majority being male who may have a hereditary predisposition for it. It is also more common in people who are overweight or drink alcohol in excess. Health issues may also be a factor in causing this condition, including high blood pressure or an underactive thyroid gland. Treatment may begin with lifestyle changes and a balanced diet, in addition to medications prescribed to reduce uric acid in the blood. Please consult a podiatrist if you think you may have gout for treatment options for this painful condition.

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. 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 type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. It often develops in the foot, especially the big toe area, although it can manifest in other parts of the body as well. Gout can make walking and standing very painful and is especially common in diabetics and the obese.

People typically get gout because of a poor diet. Genetic predisposition is also a factor. The children of parents who have had gout frequently have a chance of developing it themselves.

Gout can easily be identified by redness and inflammation of the big toe and the surrounding areas of the foot. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, joint pain, and running high fevers. Sometimes corticosteroid drugs can be prescribed to treat gout, but the best way to combat this disease is to get more exercise and eat a better diet.

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 Everything You Need to Know About Gout
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 00:00

Signs of a Broken Ankle

Severe pain, swelling and bruising on the foot may be indicative of a broken ankle. This typically occurs as a result from falling or from something heavy that has been dropped on the foot. Other evidence may include hearing a snapping noise coming from the foot at the time of injury or a dislocation occurring in the ankle, producing an odd shape. Applying an ice pack may numb the pain temporarily, and keeping it elevated will help the swelling dissipate. An x-ray is commonly taken to confirm the severity and presence of a broken ankle. Treatment may include having the foot in a cast or wearing a boot for more mobility. A podiatrist will make the determination depending on the extent of fracture. Utilizing crutches may be an option if it’s determined that any weight placed on the ankle is prohibited.

Broken ankles need immediate treatment. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet. 

Broken Ankles
A broken ankle is experienced when a person fractures their tibia or fibula in the lower leg and ankle area. Both of these bones are attached at the bottom of the leg and combine to form what we know to be our ankle.

When a physician is referring to a break of the ankle, he or she is usually referring to a break in the area where the tibia and fibula are joined to create our ankle joint. Ankles are more prone to fractures because the ankle is an area that suffers a lot of pressure and stress. There are some obvious signs when a person experiences a fractured ankle, and the following symptoms may be present.

Symptoms of a Fractured Ankle

  • Excessive pain when the area is touched or when any pressure is placed on the ankle
  •  Swelling around the area
  •  Bruising of the area
  • Area appears to be deformed

If you suspect an ankle fracture, it is recommended to seek treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you have your podiatrist diagnose the fracture, the quicker you’ll be on the way towards recovery.

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 All About Broken Ankles

Most athletes at some point will sustain a foot or ankle injury which may become a chronic, ongoing condition possibly affecting different parts of the foot. Symptoms of an ankle sprain may be swelling, tenderness, and bruising in addition to experiencing intense pain. Any athlete that plays a sport that includes jumping and running may be susceptible to sprains and breaks of the ankle. It can occur as a chronic condition, possibly affecting long-distance runners, or from an incident such as falling, common among football players. Another type of injury may be shin splints, often characterized by tenderness and pain in the front of the leg. This occurs when the unconditioned leg endures repeated strain, usually happening at the beginning of a training regimen. Runners may experience sharp pains in the foot, often referred to as plantar fasciitis, as extra stress is put on the numerous bones and joints. When the band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed, symptoms may include severe pain and difficulty in walking. A consultation with a podiatrist is advised for a diagnosis and treatment options.

Sports related foot and ankle injuries require proper treatment before players can go back to their regular routines. For more information, 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.

Sports Related Foot and Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are a common occurrence when it comes to athletes of any sport. While many athletes dismiss the initial aches and pains, the truth is that ignoring potential foot and ankle injuries can lead to serious problems. As athletes continue to place pressure and strain the area further, a mild injury can turn into something as serious as a rupture and may lead to a permanent disability. There are many factors that contribute to sports related foot and ankle injuries, which include failure to warm up properly, not providing support or wearing bad footwear. Common injuries and conditions athletes face, including:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Plantar Fasciosis
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Ankle Sprains

Sports related injuries are commonly treated using the RICE method. This includes rest, applying ice to the injured area, compression and elevating the ankle. More serious sprains and injuries may require surgery, which could include arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery. Rehabilitation and therapy may also be required in order to get any recovering athlete to become fully functional again. Any unusual aches and pains an athlete sustains must be evaluated by a licensed, reputable medical professional.

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.

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Tuesday, 02 January 2018 00:00

Why Do I Have Blisters On My Feet?

Friction is generally the leading cause of blisters occurring on the feet. The majority of them are filled with a clear fluid; however, if an infection occurs, it may appear to have a yellowish hue. Typically, wearing ill-fitting shoes may cause friction on the skin, usually developing during repetitive motions like running and walking at moderate speeds. Some other causes of blisters may originate from severe burns or tissue damage caused by frostbite, while certain medical conditions including eczema can be linked to blisters on the feet. Treatment may include wearing shoes that fit comfortably without having the toes rub together. You can also apply a gauze pad for protection. If this option is chosen, infection may be avoided by changing the dressing regularly. Relief will be desired if extreme discomfort is experienced, and the blister may need to be drained. Please consider a consultation with a podiatrist for advice and recommendations for treatments of blisters.

Blisters are prone to making everyday activities extremely uncomfortable. 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 develop as a result of constantly wearing tight or ill-fitting footwear. This happens due to the constant rubbing from the shoe, which can often 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.

How do Blisters Form?

Blisters on the feet are often the result of constant friction of skin and material, usually by shoe rubbing. Walking in sandals, boots, or shoes that don’t fit properly for long periods of time can result in a blister. Having consistent foot moisture and humidity can easily lead to blister formation.

Prevention & Treatment

It is important to properly care for the affected area in order to prevent infection and ease the pain. Do not lance the blister and use a Band-Aid to provide pain relief. Also, be sure to keep your feet dry and wear proper fitting shoes. If you see blood or pus in a blister, seek assistance from a podiatrist.

 

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.

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Tuesday, 26 December 2017 00:00

How the Foot is Structured

The relationship between the foot and the lower leg in motion is called foot biomechanics. When the foot is structured correctly, routine activities such as walking and running should typically occur without pain. The foot and ankle combine flexibility with support, providing functions that include shock absorption of one's body weight. Additionally, this part of the body acts as a lever during the push-off period before taking a step. There are 26 bones located in the foot and ankle; these bones are maintained by ligaments and tendons, helping the arches “give” when weight is placed on the foot. Functions of the arches include supporting the weight of the body while standing. The structure of the foot is anatomically linked, resulting in even distribution throughout the foot during weight-bearing activities.

If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Berks Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Biomechanics in Podiatry

Podiatric biomechanics is a particular sector of specialty podiatry with licensed practitioners who are trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Biomechanics deals with the forces that act against the body, causing an interference with the biological structures. It focuses on the movement of the ankle, the foot and the forces that interact with them.

A History of Biomechanics
-  Biomechanics dates back to the BC era in Egypt where evidence of professional foot care has been recorded.
-  In 1974, biomechanics gained a higher profile from the studies of Merton Root, who claimed that by changing or controlling the forces between the ankle and the foot, corrections or conditions could be implemented to gain strength and coordination in the area.

Modern technological improvements are based on past theories and therapeutic processes that provide a better understanding of podiatric concepts for biomechanics. Computers can provide accurate information about the forces and patterns of the feet and lower legs.

Understanding biomechanics of the feet can help improve and eliminate pain, stopping further stress to the foot.

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.

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Monday, 18 December 2017 00:00

Why Do I Have Heel Pain?

There are many different possible causes of heel pain. Heel pain may occur when constant weight is placed upon the heel. Pain is typically caused by repetitive stress, resulting in soreness and extreme discomfort. Other causes of heel pain may include wearing shoes with heels that are too low or from a worn pad in the heel area of the shoe. One common diagnosis for heel pain is plantar fasciitis, a condition which can be caused by overpronation. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. When a patient overpronates, this tissue can stretch and can become inflamed, resulting in intense pain in the arch and heel of the foot. The pain may subside as the day progresses and can feel the most intense first thing in the morning. Treatment may include cushioning and elevating the heel to alleviate pressure on the foot. If the pain is the result of overpronation, a shoe with good arch support and a firm heel may prevent the inflammation. Please consult a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis if the pain persists.

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, 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.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

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.

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