Posts for: December, 2016
The metatarsal area is one of the most common sites for stress fractures. This article discusses the causes and treatments for these fractures.
Stress fractures anywhere on the body are caused by repeated forceful activity. Considering that the feet bear a person's body weight for much of the day, they are very susceptible to stress fractures. The long bones in the feet, the metatarsals, are particularly prone to these injuries. But how are they diagnosed, treated and prevented?
Why metatarsal stress fractures happen
Certain activities or conditions can make stress fracturing the metatarsal bones more likely. Athletes who run, dance, or jump are at risk, as are those who suddenly boost their activity level after a long period of idleness. Osteoporosis (a disorder that causes weakness and brittleness of the bones) can also increase the likelihood of stress fractures.
Diagnosis and treatment
Widespread foot pain is usually the first sign of a metatarsal stress fracture. It may disappear with rest at first, but over time, the pain will be continual and concentrated into a specific area of the foot. Because stress fractures can be extremely small, an x-ray may not immediately detect it. Bone scans or MRIs are often more accurate. Special footwear can take the pressure off of the affected area and allow the fracture to heal. Depending on the location of the fracture, a cast may be applied and crutches may be required.
Properly-fitted, quality footwear should always be worn during activity to support the feet. Alternating your activities (instead of focusing on one particular, repetitive action) will help to distribute the movements evenly. Diets rich in calcium and Vitamin D will help maintain bone integrity. It is also important to start any new physical activity slowly and work up at a gradual pace.
If you have been experiencing foot pain and believe it may be caused by a metatarsal stress fracture, contact your podiatrist for an evaluation today.
Discover the telltale signs of a foot infection and what you can do to prevent diabeticrelated foot problems.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you likely know all too well there is a significant chance you may deal with a foot complication. While foot problems for healthy individuals often go away on their own, when you have diabetes maintaining good foot health is vitally important. Since diabetics are at an increased risk for lower limb amputation, it’s important to check your feet everyday for signs of infection. Here are some common foot problems you may face:
Athlete’s foot: This fungal infection is characterized by itching, cracked, and red skin on the foot. While there are some overthecounter treatments, if you have diabetes and are currently dealing with Athlete’s foot, we recommend talking to your podiatrist first. Your podiatrist may prescribe a stronger antifungal pill or cream to fight the infection.
Fungal nail infection: If you are suffering from brittle, discolored nails that are fragile and tend to crumble, then you may have a fungal infection. These nail infections are more difficult to treat, so talk to your podiatrist about whether oral medication or laser treatment is recommended.
Calluses/Corns: These are both the result of hard skin build up, with calluses developing on the bottoms of feet and corns developing on or between toes. These may develop from wearing shoes that rub against your skin. Sometimes using a corn pad can help cushion and protect the callus or corn from further damage while also promoting faster healing. However, talk to your podiatrist about certain medications that can help soften this condition.
Blisters: Just as friction from rubbing shoes can cause calluses and corns, they can also cause painful blisters. These blisters can become infected, and it’s important to leave blisters alone and not to pop them. Use an antibacterial gel or cream to help prevent infection and to protect the damaged skin.
Ulcers: These deep sores in the skin can easily become infected if not cared for properly. Poorly fitted shoes and even minor scrapes can cause ulcers to form. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your outcome. Talk to your podiatrist about the best treatment options for diabeticrelated foot ulcers.
Ingrown toenails: An ingrown toenail is when the edge of the nail grows or cuts into the skin, causing pain, swelling, and irritation. If you trim your toenails too short, or you crowd your toes into tight shoes, you are more likely to develop this problem.
How do you prevent these foot problems in those with diabetes?
The best thing you can do is seek medical attention and treatment for your diabetes. If your condition is under control, then you’re less likely to deal with these complications. Be sure to also practice good hygiene when it comes to cleaning and drying off your feet. Also, examine your feet each day to check for any changes or problems that may need additional care. Always trim toenails straight across and do not round the nail; doing this will prevent ingrown toenails.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it’s time to see your podiatrist right away for treatment. The sooner you seek treatment the better the prognosis. Don’t put off your foot health.