Tag Archives: podiatrist

Don’t Stress the Gate River Run

The excitement of the Gate River Run is building here on the First Coast as the largest 15K race in the US will once again serve as the race where America’s top Olympic athletes will compete for $85,000 in prize money.  Many athletes can experience foot pain when they do not properly train for races or when they compete in too many and the repetitiveness of running causes an “overuse injury”.  The one overuse injury seen in many runners is the stress fracture.

Stress fractures are small, painful cracks in bones that are most commonly caused by forces that are repetitively applied to the bone overtime. It is very common for runners and track and field athletes to have stress fractures because they are running long distances every day and are therefore having these stresses occurring more at the bones in their feet.  Stress fractures are also seen in people who start a new work out program and do too much too quickly.  Another common reason in which stress fractures occur are because of osteoporotic bone, most commonly seen in the elderly and females.  Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bone, therefore making bones more susceptible to breaking.  Osteoporosis can be detected by a simple bone scan that can be done in the office.

At first, stress fractures may not be too bothersome, but they tend to get worse overtime.  Some ways to tell that you have a stress fracture include: increase in pain and swelling with activity, decreased pain and swelling with decreased activity, pain in a specific area, and pain that gets worse overtime.  After having a stress fracture for a long period of time, the pain may be chronic and/or get worse, so it is important to try and detect it early.  Many times the later you catch it the more difficult it is to treat, as well as taking longer to heal.  After a podiatric examination of the foot, the way to confirm that you have a stress fracture is to get an x-ray or MRI.  The mainstay of treatment for stress fractures is by immobilizing the foot, which is most commonly done by having the patient wear a removable CAM boot in which most cases they are still able to walk.

Here at First Coast Foot Clinic we treat stress fractures on a daily basis. Whether you’re a runner, have started a new workout program, or just have foot pain in general, make an appointment today to make sure you do not have a stress fracture.  Remember that they start out minimally painful, or sometimes even without symptoms so it is good to catch it early for the most effective treatment.

All shoes Are Not Created Equal

air-jordan-2011-dominate-another-day-rocket-shoes-video-commercial-600x338The 26.2 with Donna marathon runners had some stiff competition last weekend with Tesfaye Girmafrom Ethiopia finishing the race with a record time of 2:15:40. Most of us can only dream of running a marathon in that time or opt for rocket boosters on our shoes to do so.   When running in these races it is very important to have the right type of shoe.  When buying athletic shoes, may people are more worried about getting a particular brand name, or a style that is “in” or looks “cool”, than they are about whether or not the shoe actually fits their foot and is comfortable.  The truth is that all of these can be accomplished simultaneously if the correct considerations and evaluations are taken prior to shoe shopping.  These considerations are especially important in an active person, or athlete searching for the best athletic shoes.  To many people, shoe styles and materials may look the same, but all shoes are not created equal.

The first thing that anyone shopping for shoes should consider is what size they need, in length and in width.  This can be accomplished with a Brannock foot measuring device,available at many shoe stores.   This device has different measurements for both males and females, and not only measures the overall length and width of the entire foot, but also measures the arch length, the length from the heel to the ball of the foot.  This is important because shoes are designed to flex at the ball of the foot, and properly positioning the ball of the foot in the shoe can prevent toe crowding, pressure, and the general uncomfortable nature of an ill-fitting shoe.

Feet should be measured at the end of the day, after they have endured all of the day’s stresses and impact acting on them.  A proper fitting shoe should leave around a quarter inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.  If one size feels too small and the next size up feels too large, either try a different brand of shoe or choose the larger size.  Shoes that are too small or constricting can cause injury to the toes such as calluses, contractures, bruising, loss of the toenail, bunions, and can predispose toenails to nail fungus, called onychomycosis.

The best way to ensure that you get an athletic shoe that fits properly and is the perfect fit for your foot is to make an appointment with a podiatrist.  Here at First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic, Dr. Reddy can evaluate your foot type to help you pick the right shoe for your foot.  He can also dispense items that help with shoe fit and function such as orthotics that are worn in shoes. Regardless of whether you decide to make an appointment before purchasing your new shoes, or bring them with you after, we look forward to helping you find that perfect fit.

November: Diabetes Awareness Month

010 awareness-monthNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month, and for many people feet are the last thing they think of when they hear the word diabetes.

Diabetic patients are at a higher risk of developing foot problems than those without diabetes, due to nerve damage and poor circulation associated with the disease.  60-70% of diabetics experience damage to nerves that diminish the pain sensation, this is called neuropathy.  The idea of less pain sounds great, but without normal pain sensation we become less aware when we injure ourselves.  Injuries such as scratches, blisters or sores can lead to an infection and if gone unnoticed become very serious.

Diabetics also have a lower immune system as well as decreases blood flow, thus significantly slowing the healing process.  Therefore an infection in a diabetic patient is much more serious than that of a non-diabetic because of the body’s ability to fight off the infection is weakened.  Due to a lower immune system and decreased blood flow, this once simple skin wound can spread to underlying muscle, and even into bone.  Infection in bone is called osteomyelitis and is a very serious condition that can quickly lead to loss of the toe, foot, or possibly the limb.

Due to the serious consequences that can come from even the smallest scratch in a patient with diabetes, it is recommended diabetic patients be seen by a podiatrist at least once a year. This significantly decreases the chances of small cuts or nicks going unnoticed and progressing into more serious situations.  This can and will save you unnecessary pain as well as money.  Even a minor injury to a diabetic patient is an emergency, and it is highly recommended to visit your podiatrist immediately if you experience any injury to your foot.

Together_187_StackedList of recommendations for keeping diabetic feet healthy:

  • Wash and fully dry feet daily making sure to inspect them for any injuries or nail problems
  • Be sure to inspect between the toes
  • Wear supportive shoes that fully cover the toes as well as the heel, even when around the house
  • Do not self-treat your calluses
  • Elevate your feel while sitting to increase circulation

The key to keeping a diabetic foot healthy is prevention and early detection.  If you or someone you know is diabetic and does not have a podiatrist please contact First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinic.

Flat Feet Forever?

Lots has happen this month on the First Coast; The successful 2012 Southern Women’s Show, Zac Brown Band performing at Veterans Memorial, The Jacksonville Beach Sea and Sky Spectacular, Florida vs. Georgia and lets not forget Halloween 2012!  With all the different events that happened in Jacksonville this October, parents had enough to worry about, but there children’s flat feet does not have to be one of them.

Many parents express concern about the appearance of their children’s feet at a young age.  Children under three years old have many bones that are not fully formed.  This lack of support can give the appearance of a flat foot.  Children may also appear pigeon-toed or walk on the inside of their foot; both can be normal in the very young.

Flat feet, also called pes plannus, can be flexible or rigid.

  • Flexible flatfoot: The foot is flat when the child is weight-bearing, but appears normal when child is non-weight-bearing.
  • Rigid flatfoot: The foot will appear flat, regardless of the child’s position, whether weight-bearing or not.

 

Sometimes flat foot can cause pain in areas other than the feet.  The child may have pain in their ankle, knee, or even hip by changing the way they walk because of their flat feet. Due to the pain and weakness parents may see a decrease in the activity of their child. If you suspect this is happening your child should be evaluated by a podiatrist.  However, with young children, the flexible flatfoot is much more common and generally not something to be too concerned with if it is not bothering them.

If an older child that is closer to skeletal maturity still has a flat foot, then you may want to consider having them wear an orthotic in their shoes.Professionally fitted Orthotics that are placed in the shoe help control the foot’s motion and place it in its proper alignment.  The orthotics also help with common symptoms and deformitiesseen with flat foot including:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Bunions
  • Toe deformities

Getting the foot in correct alignment now can help avoid more serious conditions later on in life. Custom orthotics are the easiest way to prevent problems associated with flat foot and increase walking comfort.

Addressing flat feet today can prevent more serious complications, as the child gets older.  For more information on what’s normal, and what’s not or if you have questions about how First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic can custom fit you or your child’s feet for orthotics, visit our website or contact us today.

Is Your Middle School Superstar Benched with Heel Pain?

003 heel_pain_in_childrenAs summer comes to an end and fall season’s start, many parents face unexpected injuries to their favorite players.  I’m not talking about the Jacksonville Jaguars, though their O-line has its fair share of injuries, I’m referring to our middle school super-stars.  These young athletes seem to have grown a foot over summer, return to the school sports and are benched by heel pain.

A feeling of tightness throughout the foot and pain, specifically in the heel, can be caused from the bones of the foot growing faster than the muscles and ligaments.  The heel ossifies (turns into bone) later that the other foot bones, so children that play sports (most commonly soccer or basketball) and are very active are more likely to develop pain here.  The pain is caused from a repeated stress, such as running or jumping, on the growth plate in the heel, and is a sign of Sever’s disease.

Sever’s disease, medically called Calcaneal Apophysitis, is an inflammation caused by stress on the growth plate in the heel and is very common in children.  The pain is generally worse after physical activity, and commonly located on the side or back of the heel.  This is unlike another common condition, plantar fasciitis, which is worse after long periods of inactivity.  Sever’s will go away on its own in most children, but it may take a while.  There are several simple options we can offer to confirm the diagnosis, eliminate the pain and shorten recovery so kids don’t miss the fall sports season.  A fracture of the heel has very similar symptoms so if the pain is chronic, or does not subside with conservative treatments it should definitely be looked at by a podiatrist.

003 seversWe at First Coast Foot and Ankle Cliniccan offer several options for treating and preventing Sever’s disease.  Children’s arch supportsare recommended for those who have not yet experienced the severe pain, but are at risk because of their participation in sports or high activity level.  Children’s arch supports are commercially available or can be custom fitted by us and will fit into athletic shoes or cleats. It is also important to choose an athletic shoe that supports the child’s arch since it is still developing.

Heel cushions can be a good option for children already experiencing the heel pain.  Icing for 20-30 minutes after strenuous activity and stretching exercises for the calf muscles will help alleviate the pain and decrease the chance of it returning.  Temporarily decreasing the activity level, specifically activities that include jumping or running, may also be required in order to let the area heal.

Let us help heal your pain, make an appointment to get your kid back in the game.

September is National P.A.D Month: Are You At Risk?

004 PAD_picBetween the changing of seasons bringing cooler temperatures, and events such as the 2012 First Coast Heart Walk, and Northeast Florida Beer Cup approaching, September is shaping up to be an exciting month in Jacksonville.

September is also P.A.D awareness month.  P.A.D stands for Peripheral Arterial Disease and currently affects around 8 million Americans.  People with PAD are at significantly increased risk for stroke and heart attack.  If caught early P.A.D is preventable and can be easily treated.

P.A.D occurs when arteries in the legs become clogged or blocked by fat deposits and cholesterol that stick to and accumulate on the walls of the artery. The more narrow and hard the artery is, the harder it is for blood to pass through, leading to decreased blood flow to the legs and feet that can result in a number of symptoms.

These symptoms include:  

  • Painful cramping in the legs while walking
  • Heaviness
  • Numbness and/or weakness of the lower extremity

Symptoms that occur later in the disease include: 

  • Pain or burning in the feet or toes while resting
  • Coolness and color changes of the skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Wounds of the feet or toes that do not heal

Risk factors include: 

  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Age greater than 50
  • Diabetes

Here at First Coast Foot Clinic, we use the reliable, non-invasive Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) to test for P.A.D.  Blood pressures are taken on both the arm and the ankle, and are compared to each other.  The ankle blood pressure should be about the same as the arm blood pressure, in which normal values are 0.95-1.2.  If it is below this, a patient will be tested further for P.A.D.

Sometimes P.A.D can show no symptoms at all, so it is important to get tested if you are at risk.  So while you are enjoying the Northeast Florida Beer Cup, be aware of what puts you at risk and remember you can always walk off those extra beer calories at the First Coast Heart Walk and keep your lifestyle active.  September is going to be a great month here in Jacksonville, but try to stay aware of P.A.D and catch it early.

Fiasco-Free Flip-Flops!

070 flip flopsThe warm sunshine of summer is near and feet everywhere are happily stepping out into a variety of sandals and flip-flops. However, in Florida these types of footwear are a wardrobe staple year-round. Though they may seem carefree and harmless, the wrong pair of flip-flops can lead to a variety of issues including, but not limited to: blisters, tendinitissprained ankles, ligament injuries, plantar fasciitis, cuts, scrapes, and stubbed toes.

Despite their fun or trendy appearance, flip-flops are typically not healthy for your feet. Generally speaking, most flip-flops should not be worn exclusively throughout the day. Like most things in life, moderation is key!

The following American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) flip-flop “do’s” and “don’ts” can help keep you from falling victim to flip-flop related foot problems this summer:

  • Do gently bend a flip-flop at the ends, ensuring it bends at the ball of the foot. Flip-flops of any kind should never fold completely in half.
  • Do look for the APMA’s Seal of Acceptance on flip-flops. Many companies, such as FitFlop, Chaco, and Orthaheel, have certain flip-flops or sandals that have been awarded the APMA’s Seal of Acceptance for demonstrating proper support.
  • Don’t re-wear flip-flops year after year. Inspect older pairs for wear. If severe signs of wear are found, discard them.
  • Don’t wear flip-flops if you have diabetes, as the footwear leaves feet susceptible to cuts and scrapes that may lead to serious injury. Instead, opt for lightweight footwear that covers and protects the toes.

If you have questions regarding making healthy shoe decisions, request an appointmentwith the First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinicin Jacksonville today.

Proper Sock-wear with your Footwear

sock-holeBetween Easter and Passover, many of us were dressed to impress recently.  When putting together such an outfit, choosing the correct pair of socks to wear will ensure not only comfort, but also optimum foot protection. Socks are not just a piece of foot “armor” acting as an additional barrier to the outside world, they are an essential element of complete, healthy footwear.  When it’s decision time for socks, keep the following two major criteria in mind:

1. Climate: Weather indictates sock choice just as much as shoe choice

  • In cooler temperatures and wet weather, thicker and well-insulated socks are recommended.
  • In warm climate areas such as Jacksonville, lightweight socks with moisture-wicking technology are the better choice.

2. Activity:  Would the sock you wear to work be the one you wear to climb a mountain?

  • To avoid heat build-up during high-impact activities such as running or fitness walking, choose a thinner sock with moisture-wicking capabilities.
  • If shock absorption and cushioning is what you need, choose a sock made of thicker material such as micro-acrylic fabric or cotton.

While the idea of “technical socks” might sound a bit funny, there’s no denying the big improvement they can make over your basic tube socks during certain activities.  One can now find socks made specifically for: “heavy” work, “light” work, sitting, walking, jogging, running, hiking, mountaineering, biking, skiing, snowboarding, sailing, scuba diving (yep, scuba diving!), aerobics, weightlifting, and the list goes on and on.  What’s the difference between them?  It all comes down to these features…

Padding:  Look for padding on the heel and ball of the foot for cushioning and protection.  This extra padding can be a real foot-saver.

Arch reinforcements:  Some socks offer a tighter, reinforced weave in the arch to improve support. Without proper support, arches can develop arch pain or even plantar fasciitis. Keep in mind, though, that your shoe choice is the key factor for arch support.

Height:  In many cases, height is merely a personal preference. However, crew and quarter socks do offer abrasion protection from boot/shoe tops, so socks at least as tall as the tops are recommended.

Fit:  When you try on socks, pay attention to how they fit in the toe and the heel. Correct length is very important. If a sock       is too long, it will bunch up over your toes. If it’s too short, the sock will slide down into the shoe and feel tight. For heavily padded socks, try them on with shoes to ensure everything fits comfortably together.

And last, but not least… for the sake of your feet (and fashion), regularly inspect your socks and discard outgrown, misshapen, or “holey” socks!

If your feet are suffering from the effects of a poor sock choice or any other reason,contact the First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinic today and make an appointment to meet with Dr. Reddy

Penguin Podiatry and Charcot Foot

064 Lucky the penguinLucky the Penguin wasn’t so lucky at birth.  He was born with a badly deformed foot, which made it difficult for him to swim and when walking develop sores, which would get infected. The zoo vet determined surgery would be too risky. Luckily for Lucky Teva, a local shoe company stepped forward and was able to engineer footwear to help Lucky function normally.

At the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic, Dr. Vimal Reddy sees this issue on a daily basis; but in humans, not penguins, of course. With diabetes a growing problem in Jacksonville FL, severe case can result in foot deformations called Charcot [shar-COH] neuroarthropathy or simply Charcot FootLike Lucky the Penguin, people with Charcot Foot have altered bone structure.  Walking will put stress on the foot in ways that can damage it, resulting in sores that can become infected. Like Lucky the Penguin, people with Charcot Foot are able to benefit enormously from custom shoes designed to distribute pressure across the foot.

For some, surgery could be the option to correct a foot deformity like Charcot but it’s no walk in the park. The procedure takes a great deal of metal fixators (plates, screws, pins, etc.) and the recovery period is long. For the right patient, it’s worth it if it can restore a patient’s ability to function normally.   Although surgery isn’t for everyone, patients like Lucky the Penguin will do just fine with their custom shoes.

If you have any questions or concerns for yourself of someone you love, please don’t hesitate to contact the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic to set up an appointment today.

Keeping Feet Safe and Warm on Slippery Slopes

062 Cartoon_Skier_320With the Holiday Season officially under way, ski trips are a great way to make the most of your time off during the wintery weather. While a snowy mountain may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Jacksonville, FL, getting away from the grey skies and misty rain to pristine white ski slopes can be a pleasant change of pace. For those of you who make regular trips, or if you just want to try skiing, Dr. Vimal Reddy offers these tips to make the most of your ski vacation.

1.     Keep your feet warm: Being out with ice cold feet can ruin your day. Make sure not to store boots outdoors overnight, making them frigid the next day.  Also, Invest in thermal socks they are worth the expense. By keeping your feet warm, not only will it be more comfortable, you lessen your risk for cold injuries such as chilblains or  frostbite.

2.     Wear properly fitting boots: Dr. Reddy recommends this for running shoes as well, but it is twice as important in skiing.  Due to the trauma that affects your feet on the bottoms, sides, tips of the toes and ankles, boots should be tight enough to cushion your feet, but not too tight as to bruise your toes or cut off circulation.

3.     Stretch out…Just like any other sport: If you limber up before skiing, you can improve your performance and lessen the chances of developing cramps. This article features some easy stretches to do before hitting the slopes.

4.     Know your skills and know your limits: While a ski vacation is enjoyable and unforgettable, don’t attempt a run that is beyond your level. An inexperienced skier might not be able to react to the twisting forces of the ground against the skis.  This could potentially lead to severe ankle sprains or worse. Enjoy the beauty of a crisp winter day while you relax on a run you can manage… don’t try and overdo it.

If you or anyone you know has more questions about winter and their feet, please contact the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic to make an appointment