Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
Are your joints stiff as you arise from bed in the morning? Do they follow the tune of the old Rice Krispies commercial with a snap, crackle and pop? Are they tender to the touch or ache with movement? If you can relate to any of this, chances are you have osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of Arthritis and can affect the foot and ankle.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is more commonly encountered as a person ages. For the most part, it is a progressive disease due to wear and tear on the joints over the years. The cartilage, or the cushion between the bones, is eventually lost causing the bones to wear against one another. This then leads to the common symptoms of inflammation, pain, stiffness and furthermore, loss of function and deformity.
The most common joints affected in the foot include the ankle joint, the joint below the ankle joint, the big toe joint and the little toe joints. Clearly this can be debilitating considering we use our feet day in and day out. Numerous options are available to help with osteoarthritis from a Podiatrist’s stand point. Please let us assist you in getting you back on your feet so you can give Kellog’s their Rice Krispies jingle back.
Most people have seen commercials advertising different medications for psoriasis. You know, the commercials where people try to hide patches on their skin that cause them embarrassment. Well, psoriatic Arthritis is often preceded by psoriasis, the skin condition that forms inflamed patches of skin with scales that become visually unpleasing and uncomfortable for people. Psoriatic arthritis is another form of arthritis that can affect the feet.
Aside from the skin condition, psoriatic arthritis can resemble rheumatoid arthritis. This type of arthritis more commonly affects the toe joints creating them to become painful, warm and swollen (resembling sausage toes). If left untreated it can cause significant joint damage. Psoriatic arthritis is also known for causing pain where tendons and ligaments insert such as the plantar fascia on the bottom, resembling plantar fasciitis of the foot or the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can also affect your nails and toenails causing them to flake and pit.
Your rheumatologist can help you manage this condition with medications, but your Podiatrist can help you keep your feet feeling as comfortable as possible with different shoe gear & insert options, injections, and surgical procedures. If your feet are suffering from psoriatic arthritis, please call Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic to schedule an Appointment.
Awoken in the middle of the night you are greeted by an exquisitely painful big toe and redness with swelling and warmth to accompany it. You don’t recall any injury that day and are wondering how this just came about out of the blue. If this is the first time you have experienced this, you will likely schedule an appointment to see your doctor to see what could be afflicting your great toe. If this is not your first time, this is an all too familiar pain and you know that what you are dealing with is gout.
Gout is a type of Arthritis caused by urate crystals that deposit in joints and cause a painful inflammatory reaction. Gout occurs for one of two reasons with the first being the body produces too much uric acid which is a byproduct of purines, a substance in the body that can also be found in certain foods. The second reason is that the kidneys don’t properly eliminate the uric acid causing it to build up in the body.
Gout that goes untreated can lead to joint damage. It can also lead to deposits in the skin called tophi. Tophi are a buildup of gouty crystals. Tophi can be found in numerous places including fingers, elbows, feet and the Achilles tendon.
There are certain risk factors that increase your chance of developing a gouty attack. These include;
1. A diet rich in meat, seafood & alcohol.
2. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes.
3. Medications, such as aspirin or blood pressure medications.
4. A recent trauma or surgery increases the risk of developing gout.
5. Genetics. A family history of gout increases your chances of developing a gouty attack.
6. Men are more likely to develop gout attacks, though the chance for women increases after menopause.
Numerous measures can be taken at home to avoid gout including maintaining a healthy weight, watching your diet, and drinking plenty of water. There are also medications that can help treat the acute gouty attack, but also help prevent them in the future. If you think you may be dealing with gout, Contact Us here at Dakota Foot & Ankle to schedule an appointment for further diagnosis and treatment.
Painful Working Feet
Whether you are a hair dresser, teacher, carpenter, mechanic or nurse, you all have one thing in common. Painful feet. In fact, anyone who stands a good portion of the day is more prone to foot problems and pain. The feet take more pressure from your body than any other joints in your body.
Overuse syndrome is typically the culprit of painful feet after being on them for hours at a time. It is a generalized term describing achiness of the feet. Sometimes, however, overuse syndrome can develop into a bigger problem such as plantar fasciitis or injuries due to compensating for tired, painful feet. A few pre-cautionary measures can be taken to avoid and or help soothe achy feet.
1. Compression stockings. Compression stockings are not just for expecting moms or people with varicose veins. Compression stockings help improve circulation of the legs and driving fluid back to the heart. Your legs and feet do not feel as tired at the end of the day as a result of wearing stockings.
2. Padded mats. Anti-fatigue mats can be beneficial if you stand in one place all day. These mats help encourage redistribution of pressure causing contraction and relaxation of muscles.
3. Comfortable shoes. Business women often wear heels to work. A heel of 2 ½ inches can increase the weight on the front of the foot by 75%. Regardless of career, shoes should have good arch support. If the shoe isn’t comfortable in the store, it will not be comfortable at work.
4. Stretch. Stretching helps re-distribute blood flow to muscles and can help take away the tension and achiness.
5. Inserts. Adding an insert in your shoe for added padding, shock absorption & arch support may be beneficial and help with fatigue of the feet.
They often say that you should love what you do when it comes to your job, but that can be hard when at the end of the day you can no longer tolerate being on your feet. Take these few preventative measures and stay one step ahead of pain, fatigue and injury!
Avoiding Common Obstacles after Foot Surgery
I frequently tell patients that foot surgery gets a bad rap. First off, patients have a hard time fathoming staying off their feet for such a prolonged period. Secondly, a lot of people hear horror stories of how painful foot surgery is. In all reality, noncompliance is often the underlying denominator for a really painful post-op period. Of value are the following tips to help the post op period go seamless.
1. Swelling/Pain. Icing and elevating is probably the single most important part of your post-operative period. The body’s natural reaction to something that has been injured/operated on is an initial inflammatory period causing blood to rush to the operative extremity. This sequentially causes swelling and a grueling throbbing pain. Elevation helps defy gravity and reduces the amount of blood flow/swelling to the operative foot. Icing also helps with the amount of blood flow and inflammation to the foot by constricting the blood vessels. If icing and elevation instructions are not abided by, you are likely to end up with a constricting bandage and a swollen, painful foot. We have found that ice machines have been a life saver for our patients, allowing for less leaks, eliminating the number of times of getting up for ice and improved compliance and less swelling as a result!
2. Sleep. Often times there will be a period of sleeping in a splint or a cast boot which makes it difficult to find a comfortable position as you toss and turn and get irreversibly stuck in your sheets and blankets. One trick that has been found to help is placing a box under the sheets & blankets that you can place your foot inside allowing for you to move a little bit more freely.
3. Mobility. Getting around after surgery can be tough, especially for the procedures that require non-weight bearing. Often time crutches can be very wearing when it comes to the amount of energy they require to use, not to mention wearing on the skin too. A lot of people will complain of armpit pain and sometimes blisters of the hands. One way to reduce the friction is to cut up a pool noodle and place it over the handles and arm rests. One way to avoid crutches all together, however is to try a scooter or the new innovative IWALK. Both require a sense of balance, but may allow for easier mobility.
4. Bathing. In most cases, the surgical bandage should not get wet the first week post-operatively. I specifically remember, after breaking my arm, fiddling with garbage bags and rubber bands that failed me in the end. Ultimately, the easiest way to avoid wet bandages is by sponge bathing the first week though I know this isn’t an option for some people. The next best option is to place a bag over the bandage and wind an ace wrap over the top of the bag, though you can also purchase cast protectors that have proven to be the next best thing since sliced bread.
Foot surgery can be a lot more tolerable by avoiding common obstacles. Keep these helpful hints in mind to allow for a smoother/quicker recovery. If you are thinking about foot surgery, Contact Us to schedule an appointment to find out if it is right for you.
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