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North Andover (978) 686-7623
Tewksbury (978) 640-1010

March 2020

Monday, 30 March 2020 00:00

Do I Have a Severe or Mild Ankle Sprain?

An injury that has damaged the ligaments of the ankle is often referred to as an ankle sprain. If the ligaments completely tear, the sprain is said to be severe, and can produce extreme pain and discomfort. If the ligaments become irritated, you may have endured a mild ankle sprain, and this may happen as a result of overstretching. Once the injury has occurred, a proper diagnosis is typically performed, which can be helpful in ruling out a broken ankle. Many patients find it beneficial to wrap the affected ankle in an elastic bandage, as this aids in providing necessary support as the healing process occurs. If you feel you have sprained your ankle, please consult with a podiatrist as quickly as possible so they can effectively treat this condition.

Although ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor injuries. If you need your ankle injury looked at, contact one of our podiatrists from Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains are the result of a tear in the ligaments within the ankle. These injuries may happen when you make a rapid shifting movement while your foot is planted. A less common way to sprain your ankle is when your ankle rolls inward while your foot turns outward.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Pain at the sight of the tear
  • Bruising/Swelling
  • Ankle area is tender to touch
  • In severe cases, may hear/feel something tear
  • Skin discoloration

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

In many cases, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) is used to treat ankle sprains. However, you should see a podiatrist to see which treatment option would work best with your injury. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

It is important to ask your doctor about rehab options after you receive treatment for your injury. Stretching, strength training, and balance exercises may help the ankle heal while also preventing further injury.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Ankle Sprains
Monday, 30 March 2020 00:00

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. These types of injuries are very common and can occur in people of all ages. Sprains may range from mild to severe, depending on how much damage is done to the ligaments. If a sprain goes untreated, a more severe sprain may occur which can further damage the ankle. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle pain.

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering a sprained ankle. Those who participate in sports, walk on uneven surfaces, have a prior ankle injury, are in poor physical condition, or wear improper shoes are more likely to get a sprained ankle.

There are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect you are suffering from a sprained ankle. Some common symptoms are swelling, bruising, tenderness, and instability of the ankle. In cases where the tearing of the ligaments is severe, there may be a “popping” sound when the strain occurs.

The RICE method is proven to be effective in treating ankle sprains. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest is important for treatment especially within the first 24 to 48 hours. You should also ice your sprained ankle for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time. A small piece of cloth should be placed between the ice and the affected area. For the compression step, you should wear a brace that is snug, but not too tight that it cuts off circulation. When choosing a brace, be sure to choose one that is suitable for the type of ankle sprain you have. Lastly, you should elevate your foot above the heart as often as possible.

After you treat a sprain, you should go through rehabilitation to prevent the injury from occurring again. There are three phases to the rehab process. The first phase involves resting, protecting and reducing the swelling of the injury. The second phase consists of restoring the ankles flexibility, range of motion, and strength. The third phase consists of slowly returning to activity and maintenance exercises.

If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and a suitable treatment option for your condition.

Saturday, 28 March 2020 00:00

Before you start dancing...

 

Monday, 23 March 2020 00:00

Painful Plantar Fasciitis

Located on the bottom of the foot, there is a large portion of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. This is known as the plantar fascia, and if it becomes inflamed, the condition known as plantar fasciitis may develop. This condition can occur for a variety of reasons. These can include standing for extended periods of time throughout the day on a hard surface, participating in running or jumping activities, or from wearing shoes that do not fit correctly. Common symptoms that are often associated with plantar fasciitis can include swelling, severe pain after arising in the morning, and it may be difficult to walk. You may find relief when proper foot stretches are performed, and when the affected foot is elevated, as this may help to diminish existing swelling. It is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist if you experience any symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact one of our podiatrists  from Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Non-supportive shoes
  • Overpronation
  • Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia

How Can It Be Treated?

  • Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
  • Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
  • Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel

While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Plantar Fasciitis
Monday, 23 March 2020 00:00

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a connective tissue in the heel that stretches across the bottom length of your foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue becomes inflamed, causing heel pain and discomfort during physical activity. Although the condition is completely treatable, traditional methods can take up to a year to start becoming effective.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by a number of everyday activities, so understanding the condition is important for managing and treating it. One of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis is excessive running, especially with improper fitting or non-supportive shoes. Too much exercise can lead to the plantar fascia being overworked and overstretched, which can cause tears in the tissue. Along with improper fitting shoes, pronation, the rolling of the feet inward, is a common cause of plantar fasciitis. If not treated properly, the plantar fascia becomes overstretched and starts to tear, causing inflammation.

Despite the common causes of plantar fasciitis, there are many different treatment options. For less severe cases, conservative home remedies include taking anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain, applying ice packs to the bottom of your foot and heel, slowly stretching and exercising your feet to re-strengthen the tissue, and using orthotic devices are all ways to help manage your plantar fasciitis.

For more severe cases, shockwave therapy has become a common solution for plantar fasciitis. Shockwave therapy can effectively break up the tissue on the bottom of your foot which facilitates healing and regeneration. This fights the chronic pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Even if this doesn’t work, surgery is always a final option. Surgery on the tissue itself can be done to permanently correct the issue and stop the inflammation and pain in your heels.

No matter what the case may be, consulting your podiatrist is the first and best step to recovery. Even the slightest amount of heel pain could be the first stage of plantar fasciitis. Untreated symptoms can lead to the tearing and overstretching of tissue. Because the tearing of tissue can be compounded if it remains ignored, it can evolve into a severe case. The solution is early detection and early treatment. Talk to your podiatrist about the possibilities of plantar fasciitis if you’re experiencing heel pain.

Monday, 16 March 2020 00:00

Flat Feet and Tip-Toe Walking

As your child's feet become stronger, it is important that the correct size shoes and socks are worn while walking outside. Research has indicated the importance of having your child's feet measured approximately every three months, as this can be helpful in determining the correct shoe size. The feet will typically become stronger while walking barefoot indoors, which can be a result of the toes grasping the floor. Many babies are born with flat feet, however the arch generally will develop during the teenage years. Additionally, it is common for many children to walk on their tip-toes, which can be indicative of an existing foot issue. If you would like more information about how to properly care for your child’s feet, please consult with a podiatrist.

Making sure that your children maintain good foot health is very important as they grow. If you have any questions, contact one of our podiatrists of Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

Having healthy feet during childhood can help prevent medical problems later in life, namely in the back and legs. As children grow, their feet require different types of care. Here are some things to consider...

Although babies do not walk yet, it is still very important to take care of their feet.

Avoid putting tight shoes or socks on his or her feet.

Allow the baby to stretch and kick his or her feet to feel comfortable.

As a toddler, kids are now on the move and begin to develop differently. At this age, toddlers are getting a feel for walking, so don’t be alarmed if your toddler is unsteady or ‘walks funny’. 

As your child gets older, it is important to teach them how to take care of their feet.

Show them proper hygiene to prevent infections such as fungus.

Be watchful for any pain or injury.

Have all injuries checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Comfortable, protective shoes should always be worn, especially at play.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What to Do to Keep Your Child’s Feet Healthy

Being a parent involves caring for your child in every way you can. You make sure they are eating the right food, being nice to others, and staying out of any trouble. However, it is also important that you are watchful of their health, more specifically their foot health. Maintaining good foot health in childhood is important in preventing later conditions in life from happening. As children continue to develop, their feet require different techniques of care. Here are some various ways in which you can help your child’s feet stay healthy.

A baby needs a lot of care and attention overall, but the importance of their feet should never be forgotten. Before a baby turns one, their feet change and develop greatly. It is important that during this time, a mother avoids putting tight socks on their child. She should also encourage movement of their feet so the baby can begin to feel more comfortable using them.

As a baby enters the toddler years of his or her life, they are begin to walk around. When your baby begins to take those first steps, it is crucial that they are wearing protective shoes on their feet. As a mother that is observant of your child’s feet, you may notice changes in them. This is completely normal as the feet are becoming susceptible to the activity of walking. It is normal for a toddler to be a bit unsteady or to “walk funny” at first.

When your child grows out of their toddler years, it is important that you begin to show him or her how to care for their feet on their own. Practice with your child proper hygiene in order to prevent foot fungus or infection. Since children are constantly on the move, it is crucial to be cautious of any accidents or injuries that might occur. If an injury occurs, it is advised that you take your child to be examined by a doctor immediately. Since your child is still growing, particular injuries can shift the way in which a bone or other important part of the foot is developing.

Babies and kids are always changing and growing. Your job as a parent is to make sure they stay healthy and making sure they are properly maintained. This involves proper foot care and making sure the feet stay healthy. Following this guide, your child can live a long and happy life.

Monday, 09 March 2020 00:00

Wound Care

Diabetics must be wary of all wounds, regardless of depth or size. Diabetes, a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly use glucose the way it normally would, causes various complications that make wounds difficult to heal. Nerve damage or neuropathy will cause diabetics to have trouble feeling the pain of a blister or cut until the condition has significantly worsened or become infected. A diabetic’s weakened immune system can make even the most minor of wounds easily susceptible to infection. Diabetics are also more prone to developing narrow, clogged arteries, and are therefore more likely to develop wounds.

Wounds should be taken care of immediately after discovery, as even the smallest of wounds can become infected if enough bacteria build up within the wound.  To remove dirt, wounds should be first rinsed under running water only. Soap, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine can irritate the injury and should be avoided. To prevent infection, apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover it with a bandage. The bandage should be changed daily. The skin around the wound may be cleaned with soap.

To prevent further exacerbation, see a doctor—especially if you have diabetes. Minor skin conditions can become larger problems if not properly inspected. As the wound heals, make sure to avoid applying pressure to the affected area.

If a wound has developed on your foot, it’s extremely important that you identify which kind of wound it is and take the necessary steps to ensure it heals safely and properly. Oftentimes, wounds go unnoticed on the feet, which is why you should check them daily for any abnormalities. Some common types of wounds that can form include scrapes, abrasions, cuts, or puncture wounds. To care for your wounds, you should begin by washing the affected area with soap and water, followed by thoroughly drying the feet. An antibiotic ointment should then be applied, followed by fully covering the wound. If you find the damaged area has not stopped bleeding after a few hours, professional help should be sought, as stitches may be required. If you also experience redness, swelling, pain, drainage from the wound, or develop a fever, you should seek professional care, as this may be signs that the wound has become infected. In order to safely treat any wounds of the feet, consult with a podiatrist for professional care and an advised plan of action.

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a non-diabetic. 

What Is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Wound Care
Monday, 02 March 2020 00:00

Solutions for Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can make life very frustrating and embarrassing when displaying the bare feet. Aside from being unpleasing to the eye, they can also tear stockings and socks and wear out shoes at a faster rate. When severe, cracked heels may cause pain or infection.

Cracked heels are a problem for those who are athletic, those who may walk a lot, and those who have especially dry skin. Those who use medication that dry the skin, those who swim often, wearing certain types of shoes, and those who are diabetic may have trouble with cracked heels. Seniors whose skin produces less oil may also have trouble with cracked feet. There is no one way to develop cracked feet, and there is no cure.

Today, the market consists of numerous products that have a variety of ingredients to promote healing. Some of these are over-the-counter. Others are prescribed by a doctor, especially for those who have chronic dry feet and heels.

Some doctors recommend wearing socks at night for those with rough skin. This helps further healing, and helps creams stay on longer and better absorb into the skin.

One way to alleviate dryness that causes cracked heels is by using moisturizers both day and night. Another way is to make sure the skin is clean and dry at all times. Using a pumice stone to buff away dead skin before putting on moisturizer can also help. Cracked heels will not respond to the cream unless the outer layer of skin is first removed through exfoliation. After exfoliation, lotion or ointment will be absorbed by the skin more easily.

Foods that produce healing and balance can also help the skin from within. Everything that is put into the body can either help it or hurt it. Taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc can also be very beneficial.

Nevertheless, not all products are guaranteed to help treat cracked feet. Seeing a professional is best if other treatments options were unsuccessful. A podiatrist should be able to give the best advice to help with this problem.

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