The condition called “trench foot” was first officially diagnosed in 1812 by a doctor who treated French soldiers who spent a lot of time in cold, wet trenches. Though it is relatively rare in patients, trench foot is a very concerning foot problem that you should be aware of. If you have any potential symptoms, schedule an urgent appointment with your podiatrist to have it properly diagnosed and treated.
What Is Trench Foot?
Trench foot is a foot condition that develops because the feet have been exposed to very cold water or dampness for a very long time. Proper circulation to the feet stops as blood vessels constrict due to the cold. The feet are vulnerable to bacteria and the elements, causing a number of undesirable symptoms. Common symptoms of trench foot include:
- Discolored feet (turning red, blue or black)
- Tingling, itching or burning
- Numbness in the feet
- Red blisters
In severe cases, parts of the feet, like toes, can begin to fall off. If the foot already has some type of infection or wound, the progression of trench foot can be more aggressive. In untreated cases, gangrene can develop and amputation may be necessary.
Who Is at Risk for Trench Foot?
Trench foot was first noticed in soldiers who were forced to spend days, weeks or months in wet trenches. Wearing poorly designed shoes or boots allows the feet to become damp and cold. Any patient who lives in an outdoor environment that is very cold and gets long periods of rain could be at risk for trench foot—especially if proper boots aren’t worn at all times.
Getting Help with Trench Foot Symptoms
It’s important to have any symptom of trench foot looked at by a podiatrist as soon as possible. There are a few common ways that doctors treat trench foot:
- Warming the feet with heated pads or warm water.
- Physical therapy to bring circulation back to the feet.
- Cleaning and disinfecting the feet with antifungal agents.
- Removing bad tissue so that good tissue has a chance to regenerate on the feet.
Schedule an urgent appointment with your podiatrist if your feet have been exposed to cold, damp or dirty conditions for an extended period of time and you’re experiencing symptoms of trench foot. The sooner it is treated, the better the chance of returning the feet to a normal and healthy condition.
Find out how AFO devices could offer your foot and ankle some much needed support.
Are you suffering from a severe fracture or sprain in your foot or ankle? Has a stroke or orthopedic disorder affected your ankle strength? If so, there is an easy way to improve your balance and offer some muchneeded stability and support to weak muscles in both the foot and ankle.
AFO, also known as an ankle foot orthosis, is a podiatric device often made from plastic that is worn to provide additional support to both the ankle and foot. AFOs account for about 26 percent of all orthotics in America. This plastic frame runs from the knee down to the foot and helps maintain better alignment and movement.
This orthotic is customdesigned to provide optimal ankle support and to promote proper motion and gait. AFOs can be worn under shoes, but may require the wearer to purchase larger shoes to accommodate the bulk of the orthotic.
Who Wears AFOs
A number of people can benefit from wearing these plastic devices, including those who are dealing with either orthopedic or neurological problems that affect their joints, movement and posture. Those who have suffered a stroke or have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis could find significant improvements to their posture, alignment and motion by wearing an AFO. AFOs can also help with muscular imbalance.
Orthopedic conditions that can benefit from AFOs include fractures, drop foot, sprains and arthritis. If you suffer from foot pain or weakened muscles due to an injury, then you may also want to consider how AFO could help you.
Both children and adults can benefit from wearing AFOs. In fact, about 80 percent of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy currently use an orthotic to improve their coordination and movement.
To find out whether an AFO is right for you or your child, talk to your podiatrist today. We would be happy to customdesign an AFO to accommodate your podiatric needs.
In many cases, ingrown toenails can be successfully treated at home. Unfortunately, sometimes your symptoms worsen no matter what home remedies you try. The Ashburn, Fairfax, McLean and Reston, VA., podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center discuss when it's important to seek professional treatment for your ingrown toenail.
You have diabetes
If you have diabetes, call your foot doctor as soon as you notice the first signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail. Although freeing the trapped edge of a nail may seem like a minor matter, people who have diabetes are more likely to develop infections due to cuts and breaks in the skin. If your nail pierces the skin at the side of your toe, an infection can occur fairly quickly. It's best to be safe and visit your podiatrist when you develop an ingrown toenail.
You can't free the trapped nail edge
Freeing a trapped nail edge is often as simple as soaking your foot in warm water for 30 minutes and gently prying the corner of your nail free with a small piece of cotton. If your nail is firmly embedded in the skin, it may be impossible to remove it yourself. Attempting to force the nail free can injure your toe and nail and may even cause an infection.
You have an infection
Infections can spread from your toe to the rest of your foot and your leg if you don't receive prompt treatment with antibiotics. If you have an infection, your toe may be in pain and you might notice that it looks swollen and red. In some cases, you may see pus around the nail.
Ingrown toenails occur frequently
Some people are prone to developing ingrown toenails. The problem can occur if your toenails are curved, you wear tight shoes, you have a chronic fungal infection or you frequently injure your toes when you play sports. Your Ashburn, Fairfax, McLean, Reston VA., podiatrists can offer treatments that will help you avoid future ingrown toenails.
Get back on your feet with professional ingrown toenail care! Call the podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center in Ashburn, Fairfax, McLean, Reston VA., at any of the following offices to schedule an appointment:
Ashburn, VA - (703) 723-9267
Fairfax, VA - (703) 273-9818
McLean, VA - (703) 556-8637
Reston, VA - (703) 723-2719
Learn how to properly care for your foot cast to promote faster healing.
If you’ve broken a bone in your foot, then chances are pretty good that your podiatrist has told you that you have to wear a cast to protect and support it until the break heals.
However, there are certain things you need to do to properly care for your foot cast, so it can be most effective in helping your injury heal. It’s important to understand the basic elements that go into caring for your cast, so you are back to your old self in no time.
Handling Foot Swelling
Sometimes your foot may swell while it’s in the case, making the cast feel uncomfortable and restrictive. Here are some ways to reduce your foot swelling, so you cast doesn’t feel so unpleasant:
- Elevate your foot above your heart for the first three days after your cast has been put on. If you can, also try to sleep with your foot propped up on a pillow.
- Wiggle and move your toes around to keep blood flow circulating throughout your injured foot.
- You can also apply an ice pack, covered with a towel, around your cast for the first two to three days after getting your cast. Ice the cast for about 20 minutes every couple of hours throughout the day.
Handling an Itchy Cast
Sometimes the skin underneath the cast can get a bit itchy, which is enough to drive anyone a little mad. Here are some ways to relieve that itch without damaging your cast:
- Turn your hair dryer on cool and target under your cast to reach the itchy spots
- Apply a towelwrapped ice pack to the cast where the itchy area is
- Consider taking an overthecounter antihistamine to help relieve itching
Whatever you do, do not try to place utensils or objects under your cast to scratch your skin, as this could cause an open wound and potential infection.
Keeping Your Cast Dry
Most of the time, your podiatrist will recommend that you avoid getting your cast wet. If your cast is made from plaster then you will need to keep it dry at all times. Apply a plastic bag or waterproof wrapping over your cast when bathing or showering.
If you have a fiberglass cast, however, it’s typically okay if it does get wet. This is because the cast is usually lined with a waterrepellent layer; however, find out from your podiatrist whether or not your fiberglass cast can be wet. Anytime your fiberglass cast gets wet, just let it air dry.
If you have any questions about your foot cast, call your podiatrist today!
Any workout instructor or coach will tell you that you have to stretch your body before participating in strenuous activity, and that is good advice. However, stretching isn’t a cure-all for all that ails your feet. Here are a few busted stretching myths that you may have been taught in physical education class as a youngster. The full truth can be found by making an appointment to talk to your podiatrist.
Myth 1: Stretching Prevents All Foot Injuries
Stretching regularly reduces the chance of injury to the feet, but it doesn’t prevent injuries from happening altogether. Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney found that stretching before physical activity doesn’t really make a difference as to whether an injury will occur. Also, if you think that stretching before a workout will eliminate soreness the next day, that’s also a myth. Stretching just gives you more flexibility and may help reduce the occurrences of serious sprains.
Myth 2: Even Stretching for Just Under a Minute Helps
Many people who stretch before a workout or sports game only do so for a few moments before jumping fullspeed into the activity. But studies have shown that stretching for just 30 to 45 seconds is not enough to make a significant effect on the flexibility of muscles and joints in your feet. Stretching longer (at least five to 10 minutes) is a better idea. Some experts suggest that simply easing slowly into the activity may even be more helpful than stretching in some cases.
Myth 3: Stretching Will Heal the Muscles and Joints
Some patients neglect to visit their doctor when they have foot pain because they believe that simple stretching will heal torn or sprained ligaments. Stretching is a way of making your joints and muscles more flexible, but it does not heal them. Additional treatments and therapies are necessary to successfully heal torn, damaged or inflamed body parts.
These myths busted should not discourage you from stretching your feet and other body parts—just know that you shouldn’t think of it as a replacement for professional care and advice from a qualified podiatrist. If you’re an athlete having foot pain or complications, schedule an appointment to discuss the issue with your podiatrist today.
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