Posts for: April, 2018
While you might not think about it, your feet certainly do a lot for you day in and day out: They help lug your tired body up those flights of stairs to get to your apartment after a long day of work. They pound the pavement (or the treadmill) for those regular stress-relieving sweat sessions. They suffer through endless hours of dancing in high heels for a night on the town with your friends. When you think about your feet in this light, they are pretty amazing.
However, just like everything else, our feet also change over time. What your feet needed when you were an athletic teenager will be different than the thirty-something professional wearing dress shoes or an older adult who is enjoying some post-retirement travel. It’s important that our feet get the unique care they need as you get older. After all, you may be at an increased risk for developing these common foot problems:
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Fungal infections
- Plantar fasciitis (one of the most common causes of heel pain)
Your feet will change as you get older. They may get larger and even require a completely different shoe size. You’ll lose density in the fatty pads of the feet. Skin also loses its elasticity and becomes thinner, so it may be more prone to infection or injuries.
Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, arthritis, nerve damage or obesity, these chronic health problems can also increase your chances of developing foot-related complications. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these health problems it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can turn to at the first sign of an issue. It’s important that you inspect your feet every day to look for any changes or symptoms such as redness, swelling, cuts or open wounds that may require immediate care.
You’ll also want to take into account the importance of wearing the right footwear. While this is something everyone should do, as you get older your feet lose a lot of their natural cushioning and, as a result, require additional support from their shoes. It’s important that the shoes you wear provide you with the ample support and cushioning you need.
Toenail fungal infections are also more common as you get older. While this infection may not seem like a big deal, leaving this infection untreated could cause it to spread to other areas of the foot. Plus, it leaves toenails brittle, yellow and unsightly. If you are having trouble treating a toenail fungus on your own, or if you deal with persistent fungal infections, this is also a time to turn to a foot doctor for care.
Osteochondritis isn’t a condition that most people have heard of and probably won’t unless their podiatrist diagnoses them with it. Osteochondritis is characterized by lesions that develop as a result of injury or death to the bone that lies under the cartilage of a joint. It’s common for the ankle joint to be affected by osteochondritis.
This condition is most often seen in children and teens, especially if they are athletes or participate in high-impact activities. Osteochondritis symptoms may appear immediately after the joint injury or may surface months afterward.
Common symptoms of osteochondritis in the ankle joint include:
- Pain and stiffness
- Tenderness and swelling around the ankle
- A popping or clicking sound in the joint
- Ankle instability (feeling
- as if the ankle might give out)
- Loss of joint flexibility and range-of-motion
If you or your little one is dealing with ankle joint pain or any of these other symptoms, particularly after an injury, it is important that you see a podiatrist who will be able to diagnose and treat the condition as soon as possible.
When you come in for care, a podiatrist will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing. During your physical exam your doctor may ask you to move the ankle around in order to check your range of motion.
In some cases, imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs are needed to check the extent of the damage and to provide more comprehensive images of the tissue, joints, bone, and cartilage of the ankle. Remember, these symptoms can also be indicative of other problems, and these imaging tests can rule out other issues and provide a definite diagnosis.
The main goal of osteochondritis treatment is to reduce pain and other symptoms while also improving how the ankle joint functions. Since those with osteochondritis are also at an increased risk for developing osteoarthritis later on, we will also recommend specific ways to reduce this risk.
In most cases, resting and avoiding activities that could exacerbate your condition is imperative to healing. If the damage is serious enough, a foot doctor may recommend wearing a cast or brace for a few weeks to provide additional support and protection for the affected ankle joint.
Physical therapy may also be prescribed to improve the health of the joint while also strengthening the muscles, ligaments, cartilage and other soft tissues surrounding the joint. These stretching and strengthening exercises will improve range of motion and flexibility in the joint and gradually restore function.
If you suspect that you or your child’s symptoms are due to osteochondritis, it is important that you schedule an evaluation with a foot care expert as soon as possible.