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By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
August 11, 2014
Category: Running

Imagine you’re out for your regular run when you feel a sharp, excruciating pain in the middle of one foot. Every stride hurts. You do your best to hobble home and then have the injury checked out: You may a have metatarsal stress fracture. If you want to return to running without a complete break of the involved bone or bones, you’re going to have to invest in your foot care.

Tiny Cracks Leave Your Foot in PainSome runners don’t have to imagine that scenario; they’ve lived it and know the pain! These injuries are shallow cracks that result from repeated hard impacts—which means they’re a common problem for runners. These splits are fractures and weaken your bones, so you have to take the time to allow them to heal or risk a complete break.

As frustrating as it may be, you have to take time off from all hard-impact activities so you don’t worsen the injury. For a fractured metatarsal, you may need a special boot or a cast to avoid accidentally subjecting your foot to too much pressure. Take time to ice and elevate your foot to decrease inflammation and swelling as well. Bones take time to properly heal.

Then, when you aren’t experiencing pain and the split has healed, you can begin easing into your activities. This stage is important because jumping right back into pounding the ground could reinjure your foot right away. Instead, begin physical therapy exercises to strengthen and condition your foot. During this time, you can also take steps to correct any biomechanical issues that led to the bone cracks in the first place. After a time of conditioning, you can begin slowly building you way back up to your normal training regimen.

Don’t neglect any of these steps in your recovery if you want to run well. Taking the time you need to heal the right way is the key to returning to the trails after stress fractures. If you’re struggling at all with the healing process or wondering if your foot pain might be from bone cracks, let us take a digital x-ray and evaluate your condition here at West Lawn Podiatry Associates, the Center for Foot and Ankle Care in the Reading, PA, area. Call (610) 678-4581 or submit a request through our website to take care of your feet.

Photo Credit: Zirconicusso via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
August 11, 2014
Category: Ankle Sprain

Sprained Ankles Need TreatmentThis past June and early July saw the return of the World Cup. This year’s tournament in Brazil had plenty of controversy and in-game upsets, but it did its job: for couple weeks, the world was united by the sport of soccer. Whether you play backyard pick-up games, joined a school team, or even just enjoy the sport on TV, you know how important the feet are to soccer. Injuries like a sprained ankle can ruin a player’s entire game.

An ankle sprain can keep you off your feet for weeks, depending on its severity. You don’t have to be an international soccer star to suffer a sprain, either—it can happen when you jump, jog, or even step off a curb. The key to recovering quickly is how you treat it. Prompt first aid for a sprained ankle can help your foot begin to mend even before you see someone from our team here at West Lawn Podiatry Associates.

When the injury first happens, follow the RICE model to manage the pain until you can get other treatment: rest, ice, compress, and elevate. Avoid walking on the affected limb if you can. This keeps it immobilized and gives it time to rest.

Ice the area with a cold pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, four times a day during the first few days after the injury. This will decrease swelling and inflammation as well as numb some of the pain. Wrap the joint with a compression bandage, too. When you can, sit and elevate the ankle above the level of the heart. This discourages swelling as well.

These first aid measures help you manage the pain and prevent additional injury until you can have your ankle cared for by your podiatrist. Whatever you do, don’t try to play sports through the pain of a sprain. That is the best way to cause serious damage. Instead, call (610) 678-4581 or fill out an online request form to reach West Lawn Podiatry Associates, PC in West Lawn, PA.

Photo Credit: Samarttiw via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stiff Hammertoes May Need SurgeryNo driver enjoys construction season. It’s inconvenient to follow detours and deal with the extra traffic. You don’t have to drive far to see those orange barrels and cones closing off lanes or protecting workers as they pound and hammer away. Road construction can be frustrating, especially since it seems to drag on and on. A different type of “hammer” that can painfully drag on as well is your hammertoe. If you’ve been dealing with the issue for a while, you might want to consider hammertoe surgery.

A hammertoe can be flexible and responsive to noninvasive treatment, but it can also be stubbornly painful, stiff, and problematic. It’s fairly common for the condition to accompany other issues as well, such as bunions. So what do you do if nothing improves it?

In some cases, surgery may be your best option. If your toe becomes fixed in the bent position, it can cause friction against your shoes, which can lead to blisters and corns. The pressure can make it uncomfortable to walk around as well. Since the digit is stuck, conservative methods may not be effective for relieving your pain. Even if the toe doesn’t become fixed, everyone’s feet and comfort levels are different. Your foot may not respond to noninvasive therapies well enough to eliminate your discomfort.

If this happens, directly addressing the damaged tissues through surgery may be your best option for relief. How the procedure is performed will depend on the extent of the damage and your individual needs. Sometimes a simple tendon transfer will help provide more connective tissues to keep the digit straight. Other cases may need to cut and realign the toe bones.

Deciding if you need a procedure and which one will work best for you is something to discuss with experienced surgery professionals, like our team at West Law Podiatry Associates. Hammertoe surgery is a big step, so make sure you are well-informed by specialists you trust. If you have any questions, or are interested in an appointment to examine your hammertoe, contact our office in the Reading county area by calling (610) 678-4581 or using the website request page.

Photo Credit: Satit_Srihin via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learn More About Diabetic Foot CarePennsylvania is a great state, but it struggles with diabetes. For the last few years, the rate of diabetes diagnoses in the state has increased faster than the national average. If you or someone you care about has this disease, you already know how much it changes your daily health care routine. What many people forget about is just how important diabetic foot care is for preventing complications of this condition.

Taking special care of your feet is not optional when managing the disease. With diabetes, your feet more vulnerable to infections and injuries. Good diabetic foot care works to protect your feet from these risks by keeping them clean, protected, and regularly inspected for problems.

Keeping your feet clean means washing them every day and taking care of your skin and your nails. You need to thoroughly wash the dirt and sweat off your lower limbs to help prevent infections. Trim your nails to avoid in-growing and fungal nails. Keep your skin moisturized to prevent cracks, too.

Protecting your feet involves wearing the right shoes and orthotics to support your lower limbs. Use shoes that fit comfortably and have sufficient room for your toes. Custom orthotics can help provide extra arch support and cushioning. This is particularly important if you have developed any symptoms of neuropathy.

Inspecting your feet regularly allows you to catch and treat problems before they deteriorate. Many issues that become serious for diabetic feet, like ulcers, started out much smaller. They may have originally been a tiny cut or blister that went unnoticed. Inspecting your feet every day helps you monitor changes and get care right away if problems arise.

Diabetic foot care is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your health with diabetes. It can help you avoid serious issues like ulcers that could lead to amputations. If you’d like more information about your foot care, or need an appointment to check your feet, set up an appointment at West Lawn Podiatry Associates in the Reading area in West Lawn. You can call (610) 678-4581 or submit a form through our website to reach us.

Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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