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Posts for category: Podiatry

By Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates
February 24, 2020
Category: Podiatry
Tags: frostbite  

The feet are particularly vulnerable to frostbite, which is a condition that can occur due to exposure to extreme cold. The feet can be affected by frostbite more quickly than other parts of the body since they are farthest from the heart and core, where it is warmest. Medical treatment should be sought as soon as possible if frostbite is suspected. The skilled podiatrists at Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates Boise, Nampa/Caldwell, and Meridian, ID are experienced at effectively treating frostbite.

Symptoms and Stages of Frostbite

It is always important to seek medical treatment if frostbite might have occurred. Some of the symptoms associated with frostbite include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Blistering
  • Cold sensations
  • Burning sensation
  • Skin appears hard or waxy
  • Joint and muscle stiffness
  • Loss of sensation

Frostbite develops in three stages. During the initial stage of frostbite, only the top layer of the skin is affected. As frostbite progresses, additional layers beyond the epidermis become damaged. The three stages of frostbite include:

  • Frostnip — First-degree frostbite that affects only the epidermis. It causes a cold feeling, redness, and numbness.
  • Superficial Frostbite — Second-degree frostbite that affects the dermis, which is the layer of skin below the epidermis. The skin begins feeling warm and fluid-filled blisters can appear within 24 to 36 hours after the skin has been rewarmed.
  • Deep Frostbite — Third-degree frostbite that affects the subcutaneous tissue below the epidermis and dermis. This is the most serious stage of frostbite. Numbness, large blisters, and joint and muscles stiffness commonly occur at this stage. As tissues dies, deeply frostbitten skin eventually turns hard and black.

Treating Frostbite on the Feet

Exposure to extreme cold can cause the water found within skin tissues to freeze and form ice crystals, which can cause skin tissue to die. The feet are particularly vulnerable to frostbite since they are so far from the body’s core. The best way to prevent frostbite is to keep the feet dry and warm at all times, and to limit exposure to cold temperatures.

If frostbite does occur, see our podiatrists for treatment as soon as possible. Even if it is only first-degree frostbite, it is critical to seek professional medical treatment and ensure proper healing and to avoid causing further damage to the feet. For example, it can be tempting to aggressively rub the feet or use a hair dryer to try warming them up. However, doing so could lead to burns if the skin has become numb and lost sensation

When dealing with frostbite, it is best to seek professional medical attention right away. The podiatrists here at Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates can administer the appropriate treatment methods based on the stage of frostbite that has developed. To schedule an appointment at our Boise location, call (208) 327-0627. For our Meridian office, call (208) 888-9876 or call (208) 463-1660 for the Nampa/Caldwell location.

By Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates
February 17, 2020
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Heel Pain  

Heel pain is a common foot problem that podiatrists often treat. Knowing the cause of your pain is important in determining the most effective treatment method. Even if the pain heel painseems minor, it’s amazing how much it can affect your whole body, making it difficult to get out of bed let alone go on your regular run. If you are struggling with heel pain you might be dealing with a condition known as plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

The source of your pain may originate in the plantar fascia, a tough band of connective tissue that connects your toes to your feet. If the fascia becomes inflamed, you may feel pain in your heel. Of course, everything from wearing high heels to long runs can actually irritate and cause inflammation within the plantar fascia. When this happens this is known as plantar fasciitis. This condition is usually the result of overuse and repeated stress rather than an injury.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that originates at the bottom of the heel below the heel bone. The pain may spread to the arches of the feet and may also be accompanied by stiffness. These symptoms are often exacerbated first thing in the morning or after long bouts of sitting or standing. Sometimes, light activity and exercise can momentarily lessen the pain.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

If you know that you have plantar fasciitis (perhaps you’ve had it before) then you know it’s important to rest, avoid physical activity, and take over-the-counter pain relievers. Of course, if you’ve never experienced heel pain before it’s important to see a podiatrist to find out whether it’s plantar fasciitis or another condition such as heel spurs or Achilles tendonitis. A thorough evaluation from a medical professional is often necessary, especially if this is the first time dealing with heel pain.

Your podiatrist can also show you stretching and strengthening exercises that you can perform to help stretch the plantar fascia to reduce pain and discomfort. Some patients also choose to wear a night splint to reduce morning stiffness and arch pain.

If your symptoms aren’t being alleviated through conservative treatment methods or if you are experiencing chronic heel pain your podiatrist may recommend surgery.

If you are dealing with stubborn and painful heels turn to a podiatrist for a consultation.

By Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates
February 05, 2020
Category: Podiatry

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that often affects blood flow to the legs due to narrowing of the arteries. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a serious condition in which fat deposits known as plaques build up in the arteries and eventually restrict or block blood flow.

If you have PAD you will most likely experience painful cramping, weakness or numbness in the legs, particularly during movement. You may also notice that the leg or foot is colder than the rest of your body. Sometimes persistent sores can develop that won’t heal. Your legs may also change color or the skin may appear shiny. While the pain will often go away at rest, if PAD is left untreated you may notice these symptoms even at rest. Sometimes symptoms can even be bad enough to affect your sleep.

While these symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions you should not ignore your symptoms, as undiagnosed PAD can lead to heart attack or stroke. This is why it’s important to see your podiatrist if you notice leg or foot numbness, weakness, tingling or pain.

You may be at an increased risk for peripheral artery disease if you:

  • Smoke
  • Are obese
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have diabetes
  • Are over age 65
  • Have a family history of peripheral artery disease or stroke

Preventing Peripheral Artery Disease

Your podiatrist’s goal is to reduce your risk for peripheral artery disease, especially if you are at an increased risk. This involves implementing a variety of lifestyle changes. Some ways to prevent PAD include:

  • Getting your diabetes under control
  • Lowering your cholesterol
  • Exercising regularly several times a week
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet and avoiding junk foods
  • Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight

Treating Peripheral Artery Disease

If you do end up developing PAD a podiatrist can be an instrumental part of your medical team to help you manage your symptoms and prevent complications. PAD treatments are designed to reduce symptoms such as leg pain while also stopping the buildup of fat deposits within the arteries.

Again, modifying your lifestyle can greatly improve your condition. The same lifestyle changes that prevent PAD can also treat PAD. Of course, lifestyle modifications alone won’t be enough to prevent atherosclerosis from progressing. Therefore, your podiatrist may also prescribe certain medications including cholesterol and blood pressure medications, diabetes medication, and medication that prevents blood clots. Sometimes surgery or angioplasty is recommended if there is a blockage within the arteries.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of PAD it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist right away for an evaluation.

By Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates
January 21, 2020
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Warts   Plantar Warts  

Oddly enough, there are a lot of Old Wives Tales and folk remedies surrounding warts. Perhaps you’ve even heard of some one them; however, if you end up dealing with one or clusters of these hard, skin-colored bumps you may be wondering how you got them and how to treat them. If you develop warts, particularly on the soles of your feet, this is something that your podiatrist can help you treat.

What are plantar warts?

All warts are the result of a virus that invades the skin through cuts or tiny open wounds. Warts, especially on the feet, can be mistaken for a corn or callus; however, unlike corns or calluses that often go away in a couple of weeks, it can take years for a wart to go away. During this time, warts can also spread to other areas of the body including the hands and face.

How do I know that I have plantar warts?

If you’ve never had a wart before you may not be able to distinguish this growth from other common foot problems. This is where a podiatrist can help. A foot doctor can diagnose warts through a simple physical exam. Plantar warts can cause pain, particularly when standing or walking. Patients who have diabetes or circulation problems in their feet should seek immediate medical care if they develop warts or experience any changes in their feet.

How are plantar warts treated?

While warts can go away on their own this can usually take years for the body to fight off the viral infection. Since plantar warts can be uncomfortable or even painful many people turn to a podiatrist to treat warts. The type of treatment that your foot doctor will recommend will depend on the size, amount and location of the wart or warts. Common wart treatments include:

  • Medication: a special acid-based medication (e.g. salicylic acid) is applied to the skin where the acid will break down the wart. Several applications may be required over the course of several weeks in order to get rid of the wart.
  • Freezing: sometimes warts can be frozen off through a procedure known as cryotherapy
  • Curettage: this is the surgical removal of a wart using a special scalpel (local anesthesia is applied to the area to numb it before treatment)
  • Laser: laser treatment can also be used to breakdown and destroy the wart

It’s important to protect your feet from potential reinfection. If you are prone to developing plantar warts then talk with your podiatrist about measures you can take to keep your feet healthy and free from infection.

By Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates
January 07, 2020
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Sprained Ankle   Sprain  

One wrong step and you could just end up dealing with a sprained ankle. A sprain occurs when the ankle suddenly rolls inwards or outwards, which jolts the ankle joint out of place and also overstretches (and perhaps even tears) the ligaments and tendons of the ankles. These tendons also provide the feet with support. It’s important to understand how to best care for a sprained ankle and when you should see a podiatrist for care.

You could be dealing with an ankle sprain if you experience:

  • Swelling
  • Ankle pain
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Limited range of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Trouble putting weight on the ankle

If you suspect that you have sprained your ankle it’s important to call your podiatrist right away. A foot doctor will be able to discuss your symptoms with you and then determine whether you should come in for an immediate evaluation. A doctor will also provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that will promote a fast and complete recovery.

There are different degrees of a sprain and the way your podiatrist recommends treating the injury will depend on its severity and the symptoms you are experiencing. Mild sprains can often be managed with simple home treatment. This includes resting and staying off the ankle as much as possible as well as:

  • Bandaging or wrapping the ankle
  • Wearing an ankle braces
  • Using crutches (for more serious sprains)
  • Elevating your ankle to reduce swelling
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
  • Not putting weight on the ankle
  • Icing the ankle 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a day (for the first 48 hours after injury)

It can take up to 10 days for a mild sprain to heal, while more severe sprains can take several weeks. When you come into the office for an evaluation, your podiatrist will also discuss how long you should stay off the ankle and avoid certain activities.

It is rare for a sprained ankle to require surgery; however, if there is significant damage to the ligaments that could lead to long-term instability and other issues, or if your symptoms do not improve with home care, then your foot and ankle doctor may recommend surgery to repair the torn ligament.

With proper and prompt care an ankle sprain should heal completely and not require additional treatment; however, the minute you experience symptoms of a sprained ankle or ankle injury you should see your podiatrist as soon as possible.