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Items filtered by date: November 2021

Tuesday, 30 November 2021 00:00

Gout May Be Causing Pain in Your Big Toe

If you suffer from sudden pain, swelling, tenderness, heat, and stiffness in the joint of your big toe, you may have gout. This condition is an inflammatory form of arthritis where excess uric acid forms hardened crystals in the joints. The big toe is usually where gout occurs. People most at risk of developing gout are those with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, kidney dysfunction, or a genetic predisposition to it. Some believe that eating foods that are rich in purines can also contribute to gout’s formation in a person’s body. Uric acid is a byproduct of the body’s process of breaking down purines. People who suspect they have gout should consult with a podiatrist who can not only diagnose the condition, but help manage pain with anti-inflammatory medicine, make dietary recommendations, and even remove uric crystals in severe cases.

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. Richard Silverstein from Union Foot Care. Our doctor 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 our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . 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, 30 November 2021 00:00

Everything You Need to Know About Gout

Gout, typically found in diabetic patients, is an unusually painful form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. The condition typically strikes the big joint on the big toe. It has also been known to strike the knees, elbows, fingers, ankles and wrists—generally anywhere that has a functioning, moving joint.

The high level of uric acid in a person’s bloodstream creates the condition known as hyperuricema—the main cause of gout. Genetic predisposition occurs in nine out of ten sufferers. The children of parents who suffer gout will have a two in ten chance of developing the condition as well. 

This form of arthritis, being particularly painful, is the leftover uric acid crystallizing in the blood stream. The crystallized uric acid then travels to the space between joints where they rub, causing friction when the patient moves. Symptoms include: pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation. Additional side effects may include fatigue and fever, although reports of these effects are very rare. Some patients have reported that pain may intensify when the temperature drops, such as when you sleep.

Most cases of gout are easily diagnosed by a podiatrist’s assessment of the various symptoms. Defined tests can also be performed. A blood test to detect elevated levels of uric acid is often used as well as an x-ray to diagnose visible and chronic gout.

Treatment for gout simply means eliminating symptoms. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (Colchicine and other corticosteroid drugs, etc.) will quell the redness, the swelling, and the inflammation. However, managing your diet, lifestyle changes, and using preventative drugs are all helpful toward fully combating the most severe cases.

 Those that lead an inactive lifestyle are at a higher risk for gout. Any amount of exercise decreases the probability of repeat encounters with the condition. Reducing your consumption of red meat, sea food, and fructose-sweetened drinks also reduces the likelihood of chronic gout as well.

Ingesting Vitamin C, coffee, and particular dairy products can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are new drugs out on the market that inhibit the body’s production of uric acid-producing enzymes. However, reducing or eliminating your overall levels of uric acid is the best remedy to ensuring you lead a gout-free life.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

High Heels Can Be Harmful

Most little girls can’t wait for the day that they are able to wear high-heeled shoes. And while high heels often look attractive, down the road, they can eventually cause painful foot conditions. Aside from the obvious possibilities of falling or spraining an ankle, wearing high heels for extended periods of time can also lead to lower back and knee pain. If 5-inch heels are causing a problem, rather than switching to flats, a middle-of-the-road approach is suggested. Flat shoes can cause the Achilles tendon to become inflamed, and this may hurt the back of the heel. Wearing lower heels somewhere between 1 and 2 inches can help alleviate symptoms as well as a wider toe box. If your feet hurt, whether you wear high heels or not, it is a good idea to consult a podiatrist for an evaluation and treatment plan.

High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact Dr. Richard Silverstein from Union Foot Care. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because of their many styles and societal appeal.  Despite this, high heels can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

Which Parts of My Body Will Be Affected by High Heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – May shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – Heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – They decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain.  The vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What Kinds of Foot Problems Can Develop from Wearing High Heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

How Can I Still Wear High Heels and Maintain Foot Health?

If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems.  Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet.  Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising.  If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work.  Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Why High Heels Are Not Ideal for Healthy Feet
Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

Why High Heels Are Not Ideal for Healthy Feet

It is no secret that high heels are uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Although beauty is pain, you should not sacrifice the health of your feet for a stylish heel. Wearing high heels can potentially cause many different foot conditions that may be avoided by wearing proper footwear.

The structure of high heels forces weight of your body to get shifted forward toward the ball of the foot. The higher the heel you wear, the more weight and pressure get shifted forward. The pressure that your toes may experience from wearing heels may lead to hammer toes, bunions, and ingrown toenails. Extra weight and pressure resulting from wearing heels may cause stress fractures. Furthermore, heels may cause pinched nerves which may result in Morton’s neuroma.

High heels are even more dangerous for people who are clumsy. Falling or tripping while wearing heels can cause an ankle sprain or twist.

What many people don’t know is that heels can also cause back and knee problems. In order for your body to stay balanced on heels, your spine has to sway unnaturally, which adds stress to your spine muscles. This may cause you to experience a sore lower back.  

If you decide to wear high heels regardless of the risks associated with them, there are ways you can minimize their harmful effects. One way to reduce injury is to massage and stretch your legs at the end of the day. Stretching can prevent the Achilles tendons and calf muscles from becoming too tight. If you are simply looking for more height, wedges and platforms provide a better surface area to distribute the body weight across compared to thinner heels.

If you experience pain from wearing high heels, it is important to see a podiatrist before any of your symptoms become worse.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

What to Consider Before Bunion Surgery

A bunion is a common foot deformity characterized by a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe joint. The bump can become inflamed, red, swollen, and painful. It also pushes the big toe out of alignment, so that it is tilted toward the smaller toes instead of pointing straight ahead. Bunions progressively worsen without treatment, and surgery is often the only option to permanently remove them. That said, there are many things to consider prior to making the decision to operate. Certain underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout, can increase the risk of complications from surgery. It is also important to think about your lifestyle. Do you intend to wear high heels, exercise, or stand for prolonged periods of time? These factors can help your podiatrist determine if bunion surgery is the right treatment option for you. For more information about bunions, please consult with a podiatrist. 

If you are suffering from bunion pain, contact Dr. Richard Silverstein of Union Foot Care. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.

Causes

  • Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
  • Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development

Symptoms

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Callus or corns on the bump
  • Restricted motion in the big toe

In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Bunions
Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

Bunions

A bunion is a bump that forms at the base of the big toe. Bunions form when the big toe pushes against the next toe, which forces the big toe joint to get bigger and stick out.  As a result, the skin over the bunion may start to appear red and it may feel sore.

There are risk factors that can increase your chances of developing bunions. People who wear high heels or ill-fitting shoes are more likely to develop them, in addition to those who have a genetic history of bunions or have rheumatoid arthritis.

The most obvious way to tell if you have a bunion is to look for the big toe pushing up against the toe next to it. Bunions produce a large protrusion at the base of the big toe and may or may not cause pain. Other symptoms are redness, swelling, and restricted movement of the big toe if you have arthritis. 

Nonsurgical methods are frequently used to treat bunions that aren’t severe. Some methods of nonsurgical treatment are orthotics, icing and resting the foot, taping the foot, and pain medication. Surgery is usually only required in extreme cases. However, if surgery is needed, some procedures may involve removing the swollen tissue from around the big toe joint, straightening the big toe by removing part of the bone, or joining the bones of your affected joint permanently.

Your podiatrist will diagnose your bunion by doing a thorough examination of your foot. He or she may also conduct an x-ray to determine the cause of the bunion and its severity.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

Gout Pain Can Be Managed

Gout is a painful, inflammatory form of arthritis. Those affected will typically feel an intense stiffness in the joints of their feet, particularly in the big toe. Schedule a visit to learn about how gout can be managed and treated.

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 00:00

Corns and Calluses

A corn is a lesion that forms in the skin of the foot, and it is typically circular in shape, small in size, and thick and rough in texture.  A corn generally occurs as a result of repeated pressure on the skin; one example of this is the rubbing of a shoe against the skin.  Corns differ from calluses in that their central cores are harder in texture.

A corn is a relatively common condition with a wide variety of treatment options.  If a corn becomes overly uncomfortable or painful, consult with your podiatrist; he can determine the best method of treatment that is appropriate for you.  Corns may return if the underlying cause of its development is not treated or removed.  Avoid removing corns at home, as improper removal may cause infection.

A callus, similar to a corn, is an area of skin that has become thickened due to repeated pressure and rubbing.  The rubbing causes the skin to create a layer of protective skin, which is the formed callus.  Calluses can differ in size between people, and they can also become painful.

Multiple treatments are available for calluses.  At-home treatment and removal should be avoided, as this can potentially lead to infection.  Your podiatrist can best determine the cause of your calluses and suggest the treatment most appropriate for you. 

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 00:00

How Are Corns Removed?

Corns are small, hardened bumps of skin that can grow on the feet due to friction. Even though they are small, corns can be tender and painful enough to interfere with daily activities. In addition to more conservative treatments like resting the affected foot and wearing wider, more comfortable shoes, various other treatment methods can be used to help get rid of a corn. Corns can be chemically removed using salicylic acid to pare down dead, thickened skin before it is trimmed off. More stubborn corns can also be removed with a scalpel by your podiatrist. If you have painful corns, it is suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist near you. 

Corns can make walking very painful and should be treated immediately. If you have questions regarding your feet and ankles, contact Dr. Richard Silverstein of Union Foot Care. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Corns: What Are They? And How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Corns are thickened areas on the skin that can become painful. They are caused by excessive pressure and friction on the skin. Corns press into the deeper layers of the skin and are usually round in shape.

Ways to Prevent Corns
There are many ways to get rid of painful corns such as:

  • Wearing properly fitting shoes that have been measured by a professional
  • Wearing shoes that are not sharply pointed or have high heels
  • Wearing only shoes that offer support

Treating Corns

Although most corns slowly disappear when the friction or pressure stops, this isn’t always the case. Consult with your podiatrist to determine the best treatment option for your case of corns.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Corns and Calluses
Tuesday, 02 November 2021 00:00

Ingrown Toenail Care

An ingrown toenail is a nail that has curved downward and grows into the skin.  This typically occurs at the nail borders, or the sides of the nail.  As a result, pain, redness, swelling, and warmth may occur in the toe.  If a break in the skin forms due to the ingrown nail, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area; this is typically characterized by a foul odor and drainage.

Ingrown toenails have multiple reasons for developing.  In many instances, the condition is a result of genetics and is inherited.  The most common cause, however, is improper trimming; cutting the toenails too short forces the skin beside the nail to fold over.  An ingrown toenail can also develop due to trauma, such as stubbing the toe, having an object fall on the toe, or participating in activities that involve repeated kicking or running.  Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short can also cause ingrown toenails.

Treatment for an ingrown toenail varies between patients and the severity of the condition.  Milder cases that don’t involve infection or other medical conditions can benefit from soaking the feet in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail.  In most cases, however, it is best to see your podiatrist for thorough and proper treatment.  After examining your toe, your podiatrist may prescribe oral antibiotics to clear the infection if one is present.  Surgical removal of either a portion of the nail or the entire nail may also be considered.  In some cases, complete removal or destruction of the nail root may be required.  Most patients who undergo nail surgery experience minimal pain afterward and can return to normal activity the following day.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented with proper nail trimming and by avoiding improper-fitting shoes.  When cutting the toenails, be sure that you are cutting in a straight line and avoid cutting them too short.  Shoes should not be too short or tight in the toe box.

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