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By Grand Rapids Podiatry
December 16, 2020
Category: Foot Condition
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the FeetRheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and it is characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and damage. RA, like other kinds of arthritis, is progressive, which means that symptoms will gradually get worse over time if left untreated. So, how do you know if you might be developing RA in your feet? While a podiatrist can certainly provide you with a definitive diagnosis, here are some telltale signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • You experience pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints of the foot, particularly the toes
  • You experience aching feet, particularly after activity or long periods of standing
  • Some parts of your foot may feel oddly warm to the touch or may emanate heat while the rest of the foot feels normal
  • The joints of the toes and ankles may swell
Symptoms are often mild at first and you may not even think that you have arthritis. Those between the ages of 30 to 60 are more likely to develop RA. You may notice intense flare-ups that are characterized by bouts of remission (in which you don’t experience symptoms). Do not take these symptom-free moments to mean that you are fine. It’s important to see a podiatrist right away if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.

What does RA do to the feet and ankles?

Along with painful joints and stiffness, you may also notice other changes to your feet over time. Some of these changes include,
  • Bunions
  • Corns
  • Hammertoes and claw toes
  • Bursitis
  • Circulation issues (e.g. atherosclerosis; Raynaud’s phenomena)
How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

Since RA is not curable, your podiatrist will focus on crafting a treatment plan that will help to alleviate your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to prevent severe and irreparable joint damage. Prescription medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are biologics that can reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease.

Of course, there are also lifestyle changes you can make along with taking prescription medication that can also ease symptoms,
  • Warm soaks
  • Custom insoles or orthotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Compression
  • Stretching exercises for the feet
  • Bracing
  • Steroid injections (for targeting severe inflammation)
Surgery is only necessary if there is severe joint or cartilage damage, or if inflamed tissue needs to be removed from around the joint.

Most people with RA will eventually develop foot and ankle problems, which is why it’s important to have a podiatrist on your team that can help you manage your RA effectively.
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
December 02, 2020
Category: Foot Care
What To Do for a High Foot ArchHere’s what you can do to prevent foot pain caused by high arches.

If you have high arches, you may notice them but not experience any problems; however, those with high arches bear more weight on the balls and heels of the feet. Over time, you may develop corns, calluses, hammertoes, painful calf muscles, or foot pain. If you have high arches, a podiatrist can provide you with a variety of ways to support your feet to prevent these problems.

Consider wearing custom orthotics

Orthotics are special devices that are placed inside the shoes to improve stability and to cushion the foot. These devices can reduce shock absorption while standing, walking, or running. While there are over-the-counter orthotics that you can buy, they aren’t specifically designed to fit your feet or treat the issues you’re dealing with.

A podiatrist can provide you with custom-fitted orthotics that can help to support the arches of your feet and distribute weight more evenly among the foot to prevent heel pain and pain in the ball of the foot.

Wear shoes that support your feet

You must be also wearing shoes that can accommodate your high arches, especially if you are on your feet most of the day or participate in physical activities. Those with high arches are prone to stress fractures and ankle sprains, and you must consider shoes that have,
  • A high top that can cushion and support the ankles
  • A spacious toe box that won’t put pressure on the toes or cause irritation to preexisting deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
  • A midsole that has added cushioning to reduce pressure
  • A high-abrasion rubber outsole that will provide more durability (especially important for running shoes and athletic footwear)
If you are prone to Achilles tendonitis because of your high arches you may also look for a shoe that offers a little heel lift, which can take the stress off the Achilles tendon and the arches of the feet.

Talk to your podiatrist about bracing

In some cases, your podiatrist may also recommend bracing the feet and ankles to help stabilize them and provide additional support. If your podiatrist has told you that you also have a drop foot, which means that you have trouble lifting the front of your foot, then bracing may also be a great way to manage this problem and provide a more natural and comfortable gait when walking.

While high arches alone aren’t a cause for concern it can be good to know about potential issues that it can cause along the way so you can take the necessary precautions now to protect your feet. If you are dealing with foot pain or other problems, a podiatrist can help.
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
November 12, 2020
Category: Foot Issues
Bad Circulation and Your FeetAre you dealing with numbness, tingling, or muscle cramps in your feet? If so, you could be dealing with poor circulation. Your feet must be getting proper blood flow, as this can provide the tissue with the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, as we get older, we’re more likely to deal with poor circulation. If you are experiencing symptoms of poor circulation in your feet, you must seek podiatry care from a qualified foot doctor.

Do I really have poor circulation in my feet?

It isn’t always easy to notice the warning signs of bad circulation. After all, it’s normal to feel a lack of sensation in your feet during cold winter days or to notice some aching and tiredness when standing for long periods of time; however, signs of poor circulation in the feet include:
  • A “pins and needles” sensation in your feet
  • Changes in the color of your feet
  • Swelling
  • Cold feet
  • Heaviness
  • Pain
  • Numbness or tingling
If these symptoms persist or keep coming back, it’s time to see a foot doctor. While circulation issues may only cause minor problems, it can also cause dangerous complications. Seniors must really pay attention to these symptoms and seek proper podiatry care right away if these symptoms appear.

What causes poor circulation in the feet?

There are many reasons that people may develop poor circulation in their feet as they get older. Some causes can’t be helped but others are due to health conditions or bad habits. Causes of poor circulation include:
 
  • Age: As we get older most people will deal with some degree of decreased blood flow.
  • Inactive lifestyle: If you lead a sedentary lifestyle you are more likely to deal with blood flow issues, especially as you get older. We see this most often in seniors who have mobility issues and can’t stay active.
  • Overweight or obese: Being overweight or obese also puts a lot of stress on the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump out blood to the rest of the body including the feet.
  • Smoking: Smoking restricts blood flow, which makes it more difficult for blood to reach the feet. Smoking can also increase your risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can increase your risk for inflammation, poor circulation, and even nerve damage in the feet (known as neuropathy). You must work with your doctor and a podiatrist to control your blood sugar to reduce your risk.
You must discuss your poor circulation with a qualified podiatrist, as these seemingly innocuous symptoms could be signs of an underlying problem that could require urgent medical attention.
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
October 27, 2020
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Sesamoiditis  
SesamoiditisA sesamoid is a bone that connects to a tendon or muscle instead of another bone. The most common sesamoids are the patella (kneecap) and two bones found under the forefoot. The sesamoids in the foot help to provide the foot with weight-bearing support. Unfortunately, just like another bone, sesamoids can fracture or become inflamed. An inflamed sesamoid is known as sesamoiditis and it’s most often found in athletes.
 
What are the symptoms of sesamoiditis?
 
So, how do you differentiate pain from sesamoiditis from other causes of pain? You could be dealing with an inflamed sesamoid in the foot if you are experiencing:
  • Pain at the ball of the foot near the big toe
  • Pain when bending or straightening the big toe
  • Swelling
  • Pain that comes up gradually
Pain that comes on suddenly may be a sign of a fractured sesamoid rather than sesamoiditis, which is a form of tendinitis. You may experience pain when putting weight on the foot.

How is sesamoiditis treated?

The good news is that this inflammatory condition can be treated with rest and home care designed to ease the inflamed tendon or muscle. At-home care for sesamoiditis looks like:
  • Avoiding any activities that put pressure on the foot
  • Taking a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
  • Wearing supportive shoes with ample cushioning
  • Applying ice to the foot for 10-15 minutes every few hours
  • Avoiding shoes with pointed toes or high heels
It can take up to six weeks for sesamoiditis pain and inflammation to go away. If you are dealing with severe pain or swelling, or if you have trouble walking, then you must see a podiatrist right away. In more severe cases your doctor may recommend bracing the foot or using steroid injections to target unresponsive and more serious inflammation.

If you are experiencing severe or persistent foot pain, you must seek podiatry care from a qualified foot and ankle specialist. Foot pain should not go ignored. Call your podiatrist today. 
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
October 14, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Taking Care of Your FeetWrinkles and back pain aren’t the only issues you may deal with as you get older. You may also notice changes in your feet that can leave you prone to aches, pain, cracked heels and other unpleasant issues. As you get older it’s important that you provide your aging feet with what they need, and sometimes that means consulting a podiatrist for additional care and treatment. Here are some tips to keep your aging feet looking and feeling their best,

Clean Feet Daily

It’s easy for our feet, just like the rest of our bodies, to pick up bacteria and fungus. Washing your feet with soap and water every day can help to remove these germs to prevent infections. Just remember to always dry your feet off thoroughly after bathing to reduce your risk for fungal infections. While you can do this at any time of the night, bathing and washing your feet in the evening could help you relax prior to bedtime.

Keep Feet Moisturized

You may notice that as you get older your skin also gets drier. While staying hydrated will certainly help to keep skin supple and moisturized, it’s also a good idea to apply a moisturizer to your feet to prevent cracking or broken skin (which can lead to infection). Once you’ve applied moisturizer to the feet it’s a good idea to cover the feet with socks made from breathable material such as cotton.

Trim Nails Properly

If you neglect to trim nails regularly you may find that long nails are prone to fungal infections and ingrown toenails. If you are able to trim nails yourself you will want to trim them so they are level with the tips of the toes (any lower and you could risk an ingrown toenail). Always trim nails straight across, never curve the edges of the nails. If you are having trouble trimming your own nails you can turn to a podiatrist for proper foot care.

Wear Appropriate Footwear

With all the changes that occur to your feet as you get older, it’s particularly important that you wear the proper footwear that will provide additional support and cushioning. It’s also important that you have your feet properly measured (best done in the afternoon when feet are at their largest due to swelling) and shoes fitted by a specialist. If you are dealing with blisters, calluses, and sore feet then you’ll want to talk with your podiatrist about getting different shoes or about getting custom orthotics/arch support.

Fungal infections, bunions and ingrown toenails can appear almost instantly, so having a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular care and treatment can provide you with peace of mind. Talk with your podiatrist about how to keep your aging feet feeling young and healthy.




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