Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Your Feet with Diabetes

Your Feet with Diabetes - Proceed with Caution

Diabetes affects over 23.6 million Americans with an estimated 1.6 million new cases being diagnosed every year. Diabetes is a systemic disease that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, and risk of limb amputation. In fact, the majority of non-traumatic amputations result from the complications of diabetes. If you have diabetes, regular visits to your primary care physician, as well as your podiatrist, is the key to preventing irreversible damage to your feet. Here are several tips specific to the patient with diabetes to help you take proper care of your feet:

1. Manage your diabetes-work with your doctors to ensure your blood glucose levels remain at an appropriate level at all times.

2. Examine your feet every day-take time to inspect your feet for blisters, bruises, or any discoloration. Make sure to check all aspects of the foot and use a mirror if necessary.

3. Get active-consult your doctors about appropriate ways to exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in managing diabetes.

4. Avoid going barefoot-wear socks and shoes to avoid injuries to your feet. Even small cuts and scrapes can go unnoticed in diabetic patients, especially those who have neuropathy.

5. Get fitted for good shoes-several shoe companies offer a variety of styles of diabetic shoes that have seamless linings in them to reduce any irritation to your skin. People (especially women) will often wear shoes that are too small which can lead to a variety of foot-related problems. Our feet change as we age. Make sure to get fitted every time you go to buy a new pair of shoes.

6. Trim your toenail straight across with slightly rounded edges - this will help avoid ingrown toenails and prevent the nail from cutting into your skin which may cause infection.

7. Wash your feet daily-use lukewarm water and soap to wash your feet. Dry your feet off, and apply baby powder to keep the feet dry throughout the day. This will help prevent blisters.

8. See a podiatrist regularly-a podiatrist is a foot and ankle doctor who is specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of all kinds of pathology (diseases) related to the foot. Diabetic foot care is one of the many aspects a podiatrist handles on a regular basis. Regular visits to a podiatrist significantly decreases the risk of foot-related complications in diabetic patients.

If you have any questions or concerns about your feet, please do not hesitate to contact our InStride Family Foot Care at 704-786-4482 or visit our website at


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Take Steps for Heel Pain

Take Steps to Overcome Heel Pain
Heel pain can halt our ability to exercise, and may sometimes keep us from going about our daily activities. While our awareness of the pain is usually an annoyance, it also serves as a warning sign that something is wrong with a part of our body, and that if we continue to perform a certain activity, further damage may occur. Pain is most often associated with some type of injury to a tendon, muscle, ligament, or soft tissue. Today, we will be focusing on heel pain. A recent survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association found that over 40% of Americans have experienced at least one episode of heel pain in the past year. While there are many conditions which cause heel pain, we’ll focus our discussion of one of the most common causes: plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a fibrous band of connective tissue that runs along the sole (or plantar surface) of the foot. This fibrous band (the fascia) flexes with every step taken, and serves to support the natural arch of the foot. Sometimes, the band can be over-stretched, causing microscopic tears which leads to inflammation and pain. One of the most common symptoms people complain of is a sharp stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel right after getting up off the bed. A heel spur is usually a byproduct of plantar fasciitis and not the actual cause of the pain. The pain associated with the inflammation is further aggravated by prolonged ambulation, walking barefoot, or by shoes that do not properly support the foot. If left untreated, the problem can become chronic and may lead to tearing of the fascia and the formation of scar tissue.
What to do: Avoid walking barefoot for long distances whenever possible. Use supportive shoes with a stiff heel counter that does not flex when you grab both ends of the shoe and try to twist. Avoid old shoes that have excessive wear on the soles. Click here for more information on how to choose a good shoe. Always warm up properly before exercising. Know your limits when exercising and avoid over-exerting yourself. Fatigue during exercise may lead to improper form which can lead to injury. If you are too short for your weight, losing weight can take unneeded stress off of your feet. Over the counter orthotics (inserts that are placed in the bottom of your shoes) are sold at specialty shoe stores and may help relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Using a tennis ball or a frozen water bottle to massage and stretch the bottom of your foot can help control inflammation and relieve pain. Over the counter anti inflammatory medications may also be helpful.
If your heel pain lasts for longer than a month, it is recommended that you visit a podiatrist. Your podiatrist is specifically trained to diagnose and treat all conditions related to the foot and ankle. Sometimes, a cortisone injection is given in the bottom of the foot to rapidly decrease the inflammation. Your podiatrist can also prescribe custom made orthotics for your shoes to help you heal and prevent the condition from returning. For more information on plantar fasciitis and how to treat it, visit

Monday, September 6, 2010

Achilles tendonitis - Enemy of the Weekend Warrior

Avoiding Injuries this Fall: Prevention and Treatment of Achilles Tendonitis

With Labor Day weekend now behind us, the transition from the scorching heat of summer to the cool of autumn means that going outside for a workout is more tolerable. September is a great month to start increasing your exercise activities. If our legs are going to take us longer than we’ve gone over the past several months then we also become more prone to running-related injuries. With flag football games popping up around the neighborhood, now is not the time to be laid up on the couch covered in ice packs and popping pain pills. Here are some tips to both prevent and treat one of the most common running injuries: Achilles tendonitis.

Achilles Tendonitis:

What is it?
An inflammation of the Achilles tendon (heel cord) that often presents itself as a recurring, localized, and sometimes debilitating pain on the back of the heel. Hill running and tight calf muscles make runners especially susceptible to this injury. Achilles tendonitis is thought to account for 11% of all running injuries.

How can I prevent it?
Stretch! Dynamic/active stretching (stretching that involves movement) before a run, and static stretching (holding a stretch for a certain length of time) after a run have been shown to reduce many types of running injuries. One of the simplest ways to stretch the Achilles is to find a set of steps, place the balls of your feet on the steps leaving your ankles hanging of the steps. Holding onto a railing or putting your hand on a wall as a guide, allow your weight to drop your heels below the level of the stairs, and then slowly raise yourself back up. Repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times for a complete set, and then add sets of 10 to 12 as you feel comfortable. I normally do 3 sets of these after my runs to keep my calves from getting too tight.
Another way to prevent Achilles tendonitis is simply a matter of maintaining a consistent training schedule. Weekend warriors (the runners you only see on a Saturday morning working off a week’s worth of doughnuts) are much more prone to injuries because their bodies are not used to the routine of running. Running, like any other sport, takes practice, and the people that incorporate it into their daily routine have fewer injuries.

What can I do to treat it? If you acquire Achilles tendonitis, taking a day or three of rest at first will be the most beneficial. Trying to run through the pain can turn the injury from something acute to chronic, and greatly increases your risk of rupturing your Achilles tendon (you do not want to go there!). A lift in your shoe will decrease the pull of the tendon during ambulation and an immobilizing wrap can also calm down the inflammation. Consider using over the counter non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Aleve, etc.). These drugs are sometimes useful in relieving the pain/swelling associated with injury. Icing the tendon for 15 minutes 2 times per day will also help with the inflammation. Cross training on an elliptical machine, a bike, or in a swimming pool can help you maintain your current level of fitness without putting strain on the injured tendon. Many elite athletes have been able to cross train through injuries and have been able to perform exceptionally well at world-class competitions. If your injury persists for longer than a couple weeks, seeking out the advice of a podiatrist (foot and ankle doctor) is helpful. A podiatrist can offer treatments, such as ultrasound or cold laser, as well as prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory medications that might be needed to help heal your injury. Sometimes, prescription orthotics might be suggested by the podiatrist to correct any biomechanical issues that might be leading to recurring Achilles tendon injuries.