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Arthritis and Your Feet

Joint diseases that cause stiffness, pain, and swelling can be particularly debilitating, especially when any of the more than thirty joints in each of your poor feet is affected. There are several common arthritic conditions that can have painful consequences for your feet.

 

These include:

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)—This is actually an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own defense mechanisms mistake the lining of the joints for an intruder and proceed to attack. The resulting damage to joints is extremely painful and can contribute to debilitating deformities in the hands, fingers, and toes.

 

Trauma Induced Arthritis—This type of arthritis is most likely to follow an injury to a joint. In fact, it is much more likely that a previously injured or dislocated joint will suffer from the disease, sometimes many years after the initial injury.

 

Osteoarthritis—This is the arthritis that comes with plain old wear and tear from the rigors of living and aging on the feet. All that constant weight bearing and pounding of the joints in the feet and ankles eventually takes it’s toll and most people over fifty—some much younger— suffer to some degree from osteoarthritis.

 

Treatment:

Treatments for arthritis can include a variety of therapies from pain medication to surgery. Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the feet and ankles and increase joint flexibility and range of motion will be recommended. Your foot doctor may prescribe orthotic inserts and specially made shoes to decrease pressure on raging joints, and isolate foot deformities including bunions, hammertoes and claw toes.

 

If you are concerned that your arthritis is causing problems that you would like to have addressed, a foot specialist is uniquely qualified to perform all the necessary tests and exams.

 

 

For foot arthritis or any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles, Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.

My Foot Fell Asleep!

The pins and needles, falling asleep sensation that everyone experiences occasionally in their extremities, is a normal result of nerve compression that can be caused by your body position. This can also happen when the blood supply to your feet is impinged in a way that inhibits blood circulation. These phenomena will tend to subside after shifting your position or taking the pressure off the nerves or blood vessels. If this feeling happens to you persistently, no matter what position you are in, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

 

Some of these conditions may include:

 

      Pinched nerve—There are multiple places where a nerve can become pinched, beginning in the back where the nerve exits the spinal cord, all the way down to your foot. Physical therapy or surgery may be necessary to treat this condition.

      DiabetesPeople with this condition are prone to peripheral nerve damage that can cause numbness in the hands and feet. This is often one of the initial symptoms seen in patients later diagnosed with diabetes.

      Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiencies—Eating a poor diet, and not getting enough B vitamins are both associated with nerve problems that can cause numbness in the feet.

      Systemic health problems—Thyroid gland issues, liver and kidney disease, chronic inflammation and hormone imbalances are also possible causes of nerve problems resulting in foot numbness.

 

If you’ve noticed that your feet tend to be falling asleep more often and don’t wake up easily, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist for further evaluation to help determine the actual cause. The sooner you begin treatment, the better chance you have of avoiding a chronic condition with further complications down the road.

 

 

For diabetic foot issues or any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles it is important to see a foot specialist to receive the correct care. Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.

Orthotic Intervention

Orthotic shoe inserts are specially designed to alleviate specific foot problems and to optimize athletic performance by shifting your weight and improving your gait mechanics to help reduce the risk of injury or to help heal an already injured foot. Sometimes used in combination with immobilizing boots or orthopedic shoes, they can treat many different conditions ranging from soft tissue injuries to biomechanical deformities including:

 

      Plantar fasciitis

      Peroneal tendonitis

      Diabetic foot ulcers

      Sprained ankles

      Neuromas

      Heel pain

      Fractures

      Arch pain and gait correction

 

In addition to a comprehensive physical examination, your foot doctor will perform a computerized biomechanical gait analysis to determine how specific orthotics may benefit your particular situation. In some instances, your doctor may recommend gel pads or foam cushions to help mitigate the sources of irritation and pain. Other types of orthotic inserts are used to correct problems with gait mechanics, which is the technical term for the way your foot comes down when you walk or exercise and the effect this has on your posture.

 

Poor posture can have radiating repercussions for your knees, hips and back, and patients are frequently amazed at how a well fabricated and properly placed shoe insert can have dramatic effects in alleviating these bodily aches and pains.

 

So, If you are an active recreational sports enthusiast, foot orthotics can help you to increase your performance level while decreasing your risk of injury. Those suffering from diabetes complications will find that well-fitted orthopedic shoes are essential to the ongoing treatment of their condition. Whatever your activity level, a foot specialist is essential in the development of a program that helps you to achieve your foot health goals.

 

 

For gait abnormalities or any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles it is important to see a podiatrist to receive the correct care. Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.

Fallen Arch Consequences

When you contemplate the notion that your feet really form the foundation for the rest of your body to rest upon, it becomes obvious that neglecting problems with your feet and ankles can have far-reaching consequences. If you are cursed with feeble flat feet—or fallen arches—it is one of those conditions that if left untreated can lead to a wide variety of other problems including severe pain in your feet, ankles, and muscles.

 

Due to the fact that you may change the way you walk to accommodate the condition, your posture can also be affected, and radiating pain and discomfort can infiltrate your hips and lower back. Flat feet can even cause headaches due to this abnormal posture, so it’s advisable to have your feet checked and properly treated by a podiatrist as soon as you notice that you have fallen arches in order to help avoid these additional consequences.

 

Causes of Fallen Arches:

Although it is quite normal for toddlers and infants to have flat feet because their arches are still in the developmental stages, some infants grow up and actually never fully develop arches. This is a totally normal variation, and doesn’t cause any of the usually detrimental effects, or produce any painful symptoms in these individuals.

 

Other causes may include:

      Age related—As the tendons and ligaments in your foot get looser as you get older, your arches naturally fall.

      Sprains and fractures—Poorly treated ankle sprains or other damage to the foot may contribute to the likelihood that your arches will fall without the proper support.

 

Treatment of Fallen Arches:

Your podiatrist may suggest the following treatments:

      Orthotic devices— such as arch supports. Store bought supports will be worth a try, but your podiatrist may recommend custom fit inserts that are molded to the precise contours of your feet.

      Physical therapy— your doctor can suggest a variety of strengthening and flexibility exercises for your feet and ankles, including stretching the tendons and calf muscles.

      Shoes that fit properly— Extra room and support can be very beneficial to fallen arch treatment.

 

If you are experiencing problems that may be associated with fallen arches, the sooner you seek the assistance of a foot specialist, the less likely you are to suffer with future complications.

 

For fallen arches, or any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles it is important to see a foot specialist to receive the correct care. Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.

Sesamoid Bone Foot Problems

A bone that is embedded in a tendon or muscle is called a sesamoid bone. These bones can be compared to pulleys, since they help tendons slide with less friction. The largest sesamoid bone in the body is actually the kneecap, or patella. There are also two small sesamoid bones in the foot at the connection of the first metatarsal bone to the big toe.

 

When sesamoid bones in the foot become irritated or injured they can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Some common conditions affecting these bones include:

 

      Jammed Toe (or Turf Toe). As the name implies, this condition occurs when you stub your toe while playing on fields made of artificial turf. When you jam your toe, damage to the soft tissue and tendons can occur causing rapid onset of severe pain.

      Break or hairline fracture. The repeated pressure on the forefoot from sporting or other aggressive physical activity can cause a sesamoid bone to break or suffer a stress fracture.

      Sesamoiditis. This is a form of tendinitis, meaning that the tendons surrounding the sesamoid bone become chronically irritated and inflamed. Ballet dancers frequently suffer from sesamoiditis, as do people who are on their feet all day for work.

 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sesamoid Bone Problems

 

Your podiatrist will begin the examination by checking the range of motion of your big toe, and by determining where the pain is located. An X-ray of the foot may be taken and the doctor will ask you about your medical history, activity level, and to describe your symptoms. A treatment plan will be individually drawn up depending upon the exact sesamoid condition that is discovered.

 

For an injured sesamoid bone, or any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles it is important to see a foot specialist to receive the correct care. Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M. of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.