Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Possible Cause of Heel Pain in Children: Sever's Disease

If your child complains of heel pain, you should definitely take their complaints seriously. Children – particularly those who are athletic/physically active in the early part of puberty, which for girls typically happens between 8 – 10 years of age and for boys between 10 – 12 years of age – may have what is called Sever’s Disease. This condition occurs in children during their growth stages when the growth plate in the heel is injured. What typically happens is that in early puberty, bones grow faster than muscles and tendons. Muscles and tendons become tight as a result and the heel is less flexible. When the child stands or bears any weight on his or her heel, the tight heel tendons may put too much pressure on the back of the heel, injuring the heel and causing Sever’s disease.

Signs that your child may be suffering from Sever’s disease include pain in one or both heels that usually occurs with activity (usually around the time your child would begin a new sport or season), a tendency to tiptoe, walking with a limp, increased intensity of pain when running or jumping. Another sign is if your child’s heel hurts when you squeeze both sides toward the very back of the heel.

The good news about Sever’s disease is that it is highly treatable with non-invasive methods. The first thing to do is to stop or limit any activity that causes the child pain. Treat the injured heel with ice for 20 minutes at a time, 3 times a day. If you notice that your child has a high arch, flat feet, or bowed legs, you may want to bring your child in to one of our six clinic locations for orthotics, arch supports, or heel cups. For a child with severe heel pain, your doctor may recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.

Stretching exercises can help lessen the pain of Sever’s disease; particularly those that stretch the hamstring and calf muscles and tendons on the back of the leg. These stretches should be performed 2 or 3 times a day and held for about 20 seconds in both legs, even if only one heel is experiencing pain.

Sever’s disease does not typically cause any long term problems, but you should call your doctor if the pain doesn’t get better after treatment, the pain gets worse, or if you notice swelling or changes to the skin color. Typically after treatment, children feel better anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months. The doctor will let you and your child know when it is safe to resume normal physical activity.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011: American Diabetes Association Alert Day - Know Your Risk

26 million Americans are impacted by diabetes. A quarter of those individuals are not even aware that they have the disease and can live for years without knowing it until more serious complications arise.

Today marks the 23rd Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day, which is a one day “wake-up” call to Americans to determine if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or if they may already be affected and not realize it. The ADA is looking to rally one million people to take the Diabetes Risk Test over the course of the next month as part of their “Join the Million Challenge”.

In addition to the 26 million diabetic Americans, approximately 79 million have prediabetes which means their blood sugar is higher than normal but not yet to diabetic levels. That is one in three American adults currently at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that there are ways to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes among those at risk. Losing just 7% of body weight through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) coupled with healthy eating can reduce your risk.

The Diabetes Risk Test is provided by the American Diabetes Association to help individuals determine their risk. All people have to do is answer simple questions about their weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors. You can get the test by visiting www.stopdiabetes.com, calling 1-800-DIABETES, or texting JOIN to 69866. While the Alert Day is today, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown toenails can affect anyone, but they typically afflict males more than females and adults more than children. An ingrown toenail is a toenail that has grown into the skin instead of overtop of it.

A number of things could cause an ingrown toenail. Cutting the toenail too short or rounding the edge could cause it to grow into the skin. Shoes or socks that don’t fit well can also be the culprit – they may press the nail into the toe, encouraging it to grow into the skin rather than over it. If you play soccer or dance, stub your toe, or do an activity that can injure the nail, you may also come to have an ingrown toenail.

The good news is that ingrown nails are treatable. We can take care of your nail here at Community Foot Specialists if you are in the Dayton, Springfield, Beavercreek, Centerville, or Vandalia, OH areas.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stay In the Game: Avoiding Baseball Related Foot and Ankle Injury

From Little Leagues through the Major Leagues – baseball and softball players put a lot of strain on their feet and ankles. Ankle sprains are a common baseball injury that can occur when players run the bases and step on or slide into the base. Should a sprain occur, the RICE principle (listed below) should be followed.

Rest- Rest your ankle. Don’t walk on it.

Ice- Ice should be immediately applied. It can keep the swelling down and should be kept on the area for 20 to 30 minutes, three or four times a day.

Compression- Wrap and immobilize the ankle to help keep swelling down.

Elevate- Elevate the ankle above heart level as much as possible for up to two days.

Follow up with a podiatrist to help fully evaluate the extent of your injury. You could have possible injuries to tendons that will not properly heal unless a treatment plan is followed, which could lead to chronic instability and recurrent sprains.

The ankle is not the only area of concern for baseball injuries. Overexertion and excessive training can cause Achilles tendonitis or heel pain in a player. Gentle, regular stretching of the calf muscles before, during, and after a game can help minimize aggravation in the Achilles tendon and overall pain and tightness in the calf. The often abrupt starting and stopping in baseball is usually the culprit.

One of the main things to remember is to wear proper footwear for the sport you are playing. In baseball and softball, that means wearing cleats, spikes, or sneakers.

Cleats should only be worn on the field, and should be introduced gradually to baseball and softball players so that they can get a feel for them and how they differ from other athletic footwear when practicing or playing the game. Cleats certainly will help improve traction; however they can leave ankles more susceptible to twists and turns.

Spikes are made to be a lighter, more flexible alternative to cleats. They engage with the ground in a different way than cleats do, and should also be introduced gradually.

Sneakers are appropriate footwear for many who only play recreationally or those children under 10 years who aren’t yet ready for cleats.

Irritation, redness, or blisters experienced after wearing cleats could be a warning sign of a biomechanical problem in the player’s legs or feet. No matter the footwear selection, if pain is experienced during play it should be addressed immediately. Call Community Foot Specialists to schedule an appointment.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Unexplained colorful Toes

Raynaud’s disease is an elusive, relatively misunderstood condition that can go on for years prior to a person taking action to address their colorful toes. The smaller blood vessels in your body become susceptible to minor contractions that can cause your toes to become multicolored. Raynaud’s most commonly occurs in cold weather areas and in smokers. The blood vessels in the feet and toes vasospasm, or over react, causing the toes to transition between three colors. Initially, they turn white, then blue and finally may appear bright red before returning to their natural color.
Though not entirely well understood, there are some factors that contribute to, or point to, the diagnosis of Raynaud’s in the toes or the feet:
- Most commonly in cold weather

- Smokers are at a greater risk

- Women between the age of 25-40 are most commonly inflicted

- Toes may feel cool to the touch and go numb

- Can be triggered by stress
If you fear that you may have Raynaud’s disease, or Raynaud’s phenomenon, you should see your podiatrist. Steps should be taken to reduce the severity of attacks. Keeping the areas most susceptible warm, if you smoke, stop, and in some cases medications that can widen the blood vessels can be prescribed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Do It Yourself Foot Care: When to See a Podiatrist Rather than the Drugstore

You would think after walking the aisles of your local drugstore that many of your foot ailments could be solved by picking up product off the shelves without having to set – well, foot – in a podiatrist’s office. In reality, while some of these products may work to solve your problem, others may cause other issues for you. Here’s a run down of what to try and what to toss in terms of drugstore foot care remedies for the following ailments:

Blisters. These ailments can often be handled at home without the help of a podiatrist. Make sure that if the blister pops, you cover it with a sterile dressing or Band-Aid and monitor it to make sure it is healing properly.

Ingrown Nails. Drugstore remedies can often do more harm than good with ingrown nails. Doing it yourself may put you at risk for infection. Schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists to avoid the possibility of infection and have the nail removed. Letting a professional handle this problem may help you get rid of the problem for good.

Wart Removal. The medications you get from the drugstore are relatively mild and may be useful for some people in remedying this condition without visiting a podiatrist, however if left on the foot too long, it can cause ulcerations. Our podiatrists could utilize more effective medications or perform simple procedures to make your warts disappear. If you have neuropathy, you should NEVER use over the counter wart removers without the supervision of a podiatric physician.

Toenail Fungus. There are all sorts of sites on the internet that claim success in eliminating toenail fungus by using a variety of household products (bleach, duct tape, white vinegar to name a few), but there’s no science-based evidence to support these claims. We recommend scheduling a visit for the podiatrist to evaluate your foot and determine the best course of treatment for you.

Sprains and Strains. Initial treatment for these injuries can be done at home, using the RICE principle. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, if swelling is persistent after applying this principle, you should schedule a visit with the podiatrist’s office in order to determine the extent of the injury.