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June 2020

Monday, 29 June 2020 00:00

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. This considered to be one of the most frequently recorded medical illnesses throughout history. Gout occurrences in the US have risen within the past twenty years and the condition now affects 8.3 million people which is 4% of all Americans. Researchers have found that gout affects men more than women and African-American men more than white men. 

Symptoms of gout are warmth, swelling, discoloration, and tenderness in the affected joint area. The small joint on the big toe is the most common place for a gout attack to occur.

People who are obese, gain weight excessively, drink alcohol heavily, have high blood pressure, or have abnormal kidney function are more likely to develop gout. Furthermore, certain drugs and diseases are likely to increase levels of uric acid in the joints which eventually leads to gout. You are also more likely to develop gout if you eat a lot of meat and fish.

Many who experience gout attacks will experience repeated attacks over the years. Some people who have gout symptoms, may never have them again, but others may experience them several times a year. If you have gout symptoms throughout the year, you may have recurrent gout. Those who have gout should also be careful about their urate crystals collecting in their urinary tract, because this may lead to kidney stones.

Diagnosis for gout is done by checking the level of uric acid in the joints and blood. Your podiatrist may also prescribe medicine to reduce uric acid buildup in the blood, which will help prevent any gout attacks.

To treat gout, your podiatrist may also prescribe you Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) which will relieve the pain and swelling of a gout episode and it can also shorten a gout attack. Maintaining a healthy diet is also a proven method to prevent gout attacks. 

Monday, 29 June 2020 00:00

How Does Gout Occur?

Elevated levels of uric acid in the blood are often the cause of a medical condition that is known as gout. Common symptoms that many patients experience are severe pain and discomfort, and it is often difficult to walk. Gout may occur as a result of eating specific foods that can include red meat, seafood, and drinks that have a high sugar content. Additional reasons can consist of genetic factors and existing medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity. After a proper diagnosis is performed, treatment can begin. It is beneficial to adopt healthy eating habits and drink plenty of water daily. If you are afflicted with gout, it is strongly advised that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can determine the correct treatment plan for you.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact Chukwuma Ukata, DPM from Advanced Carolina Foot and Ankle Center. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

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

Read more about Gout
Monday, 22 June 2020 00:00

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is a nail that has curved downward and grown into the skin.  This typically occurs at either 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.  In most cases, 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.

Monday, 22 June 2020 00:00

Possible Causes of Ingrown Toenails

The condition that is known as an ingrown toenail can happen as a result of stubbing your toe. It may cause the nail to grow into the surrounding skin, which can cause pain and discomfort. Additional reasons this ailment can happen include trimming the toenails incorrectly, or wearing shoes that are too snug. Patients have found mild relief when the nail is soaked in warm water, as this may help to soften the edges of the nail. If you have an ingrown toenail, it is strongly suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can treat the nail before it becomes infected, and offer you correct treatment remedies.

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Chukwuma Ukata, DPM of Advanced Carolina Foot and Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.

Causes

  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.

Treatment

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

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

Read more about Ingrown Toenails
Monday, 15 June 2020 00:00

How to Stretch Your Feet

Your feet endure a great amount of stress each day from constantly allowing us to move around. It is important to stretch your feet to help prevent them from becoming injured. Your toes may easily deform into unhealthful positions if they are not stretched.

One of the most common reasons for toe deformities are the shoes you may be wearing. Shoes that are too tight may fold and shift the toes out of place. Heeled shoes may also push your toes upward. Forcing your toes into an unnatural position which may cause the muscles to tighten and prevent them from reverting to normal length. Another common reason is improper use of foot muscles. Many people fail to use the muscles in their feet or toes when they walk. Lastly, the positioning of your feet while walking may also cause toe deformities. If you walk with your feet facing outward, your “push-off” phase is on the side of your big toe instead of the bottom of your foot. This may cause the big toe to eventually tighten into a new shifted position.

There are many reasons why stretching your toes may be helpful. One reason is that healthy spacing may aid in avoiding calluses and other injuries that are caused by rubbing.  Stretching will also prevent you from developing toes that curl, hammertoes, or bunions.

A great way to stretch your toes is to place them in your hands and bend them all downward; this will help you stretch the top of your foot. Next, you should repeat this process but instead bend them upward enough to feel a nice stretch in the bottom of your foot. You should then try to pull each toe apart from the next and pull any toes that are bent upward until they are back downward.

If you are looking to practice stretching your entire foot, you can try a towel stretch. This is done by sitting on the floor with your legs in front of you. Take a towel and wrap it around your toes. Afterward, pull the towel toward you with your toes and hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds before releasing. Practice this stretch for three sets. Another stretch your feet are towel lifts. This is done by sitting in a chair and trying to pick a towel up from the ground with your toes. Try lifting the towel with your little toes for five sets before switching feet.

If you are an athlete, or exercise often, it is especially important for you to practice stretching your feet. Those who suffer from foot pain caused by poor footwear, plantar fasciitis, or long hours of standing at work may also benefit from foot exercises.

Monday, 15 June 2020 00:00

Stretching the Plantar Fascia

Many people who enjoy running are aware of the importance of stretching their feet. The pain that is felt from the foot condition that is known as plantar fasciitis generally occurs as a result of repetitive use. Research has indicated there are specific stretches that can be performed for the plantar fascia. These can include towel stretches, and certain massage techniques. Additionally, this part of the foot can be stretched by rolling the bottom of the foot on a tennis ball. Flexibility may be increased when the calf muscles are lengthened. This is implemented by facing a wall while standing, and gently stretching one leg at a time. If you would like more information about the benefits of stretching the feet, please consult with a podiatrist.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with Chukwuma Ukata, DPM from Advanced Carolina Foot and Ankle Center. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Stretching the muscles in the foot is an important part in any physical activity. Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but also prevent it as well. However, it is important to see a podiatrist first if stretching is right for you. Podiatrists can also recommend other ways to stretch your feet. Once you know whether stretching is right for you, here are some excellent stretches you can do.

  • Using a foam roller or any cylindrical object (a water bottle or soda can will do), roll the object under your foot back and forth. You should also exert pressure on the object. Be sure to do this to both feet for a minute. Do this exercise three times each.
  • Similar to the previous one, take a ball, such as a tennis ball, and roll it under your foot while seated and exert pressure on it.
  • Grab a resistance band or towel and take a seat. If you are using a towel, fold it length wise. Next put either one between the ball of your foot and heel and pull with both hands on each side towards you. Hold this for 15 seconds and then switch feet. Do this three times for each foot.
  • Finally hold your big toe while crossing one leg over the other. Pull the toe towards you and hold for 15 seconds. Once again do this three times per foot.

It is best to go easy when first stretching your foot and work your way up. If your foot starts hurting, stop exercising and ice and rest the foot. It is advised to then see a podiatrist for help.

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

Read more about How to Stretch Your Feet
Monday, 08 June 2020 00:00

Treating Toenail Fungus

Fungal infection of the toenail, or onychomycosis, typically appears as a gradual change in a toenail’s texture and color that involves brittleness and darkening.  The fungal infection itself occurs beneath the surface of the nail.  Aside from discoloration, other symptoms include the collection of debris beneath the nail plate, white marks on the nail plate, and a foul odor emanating from the nail.  If ignored, the infection can spread into other nails and the skin; in severe cases, it can hinder one’s ability to work or walk. 

The toenails are particularly vulnerable to contracting infection in moist environments where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as around swimming pools, public showers, and locker rooms.  Fungal infection may also be more likely to occur in nail beds that have been injured, and sufferers of chronic diseases such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immunodeficiency conditions are particularly prone to developing fungal nails. 

Fungal nails can be primarily prevented by practicing proper hygiene and regularly examining the feet and toes.  Carefully washing the feet with soap and water and thoroughly drying the feet afterwards are essential.  Other tips include wearing shower shoes in public areas, changing shoes and socks daily, keeping toenails clipped at a short length, wearing breathable shoes that fit properly, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and disinfecting home pedicure tools and instruments used to cut nails.

Fungal nail treatment may vary between patients and the severity of the condition.  Your podiatrist may suggest a daily routine of cleansing that spans over a period of time to ease mild infections.  Over-the-counter or prescription antifungal agents may also be prescribed, including topical and/or oral medications.  Debridement, or the removal of diseased nail matter and debris, may also be performed.  In more severe cases, surgical treatment may be needed.  In some instances, the temporary removal of the fungal nail allows for the direct application of a topical antifungal to the nail bed.  In other cases, a chronically painful fungal nail that has not responded to other treatments may be permanently removed; this allows the infection to be cured and avoids the growth of a deformed nail.  

Monday, 08 June 2020 00:00

How Can a Fungal Toenail Develop?

Fungal toenails, while often unsightly, can also be extremely uncomfortable. They can be identified by discoloration and thickening of the toenail. In some cases the nail may become so brittle that it breaks or splits, causing a great deal of pain. Fungal toenails can be more common among people who are diabetic, have a poor immune system, lack personal hygiene, and those who do not wear proper footwear in high risk fungal contaminated environments. Some of these environments can include public swimming pools, gyms, locker rooms, and communal showers. The fungi can enter through an opening in the nail, causing the infection. If left untreated, it may spread, creating more serious foot complications. For more advice on how to treat this condition, it is suggested that you seek professional care from a podiatrist.

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact Chukwuma Ukata, DPM of Advanced Carolina Foot and Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Symptoms

  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail

Treatment

If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.

Prevention

In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

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

 

Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus

Corns are thickened areas on the skin’s surface, to the point of being irritating and sometimes painful. Commonly found on the feet, corns are circular or cone-shaped. They develop where there are areas of pressure or friction, such as on the little toe when it rubs up against shoes, or on the ball of your foot.

Corns are often confused with a callus, but there is a difference between them. Corns can be raised bumps that are painful to the touch. They consist of a rough, thick area of skin that may be dry or waxy. Corns tend to be surrounded by skin that is inflamed, and are usually much smaller than calluses.

Removing the dead skin that has built up is the key in treating corns. Salicylic acid medication is most common in accomplishing this. The acid works by dissolving keratin, which is the protein that makes up the majority of corns. You can purchase salicylic acid over-the-counter in products such as wart removers. It comes in a variety of forms such as medicated pads, drops, or creams. However, people who are diabetic should not use salicylic acid, but should instead consult their doctor immediately.

According to the product directions, applying the medication directly onto the corn will treat it. The top layer of the corn will begin to turn white after use. When that occurs, the layers of skin can then be peeled away, making the corn smaller. Shaving off corns with razors or other pedicure equipment is never a good idea. This can lead to infection. If your corn gets infected, and is not treated immediately, a visit to the doctor will be necessary.

Another way to treat corns and help prevent their return is by using orthotic inserts, fitted by a podiatrist. Inserts fit right into your shoes and adjusts the way your foot fits into your shoes. This fixes the way you walk. This will lower your chances of getting corns, and eliminate current corns by reducing rubbing from friction.

Surgery is rarely used to treat corns, but does occur on occasion. Surgery actually deals with the underlying issue that causes corns. During surgery, the bone is shaved and any abnormalities are corrected, thus reducing the amount of friction that occurs during walking.

To prevent corns, the first step is reducing friction. Always wear shoes that fit well and don’t rub your feet. Pads can be purchased if you notice rubbing developing. These pads can be purchased over-the-counter, and can be simply placed on the irritated area. Wearing cushioned insoles in your shoes can always reduce the friction, and making sure to wear well-fitting shoes. This will ensure that your foot is not being squeezed awkwardly, and prevent corns from forming in the first place.

Monday, 01 June 2020 00:00

Reminder: When Was the Last Time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

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