With diabetes, even a small foot injury can mean major problems unless treated immediately.
If you have diabetes, simple issues like trimming your toenails, getting a blister from ill-fitting shoes, or nicking your ankle while shaving can cause a chain reaction of health problems. An estimated 25% of diabetics will deal with foot wounds and their complications; they are typically slow to heal and subject to infection, which can lead to expensive, long-term treatments to get it under control. Family Foot and Ankle Centers serving McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Reston is here to educate their diabetic patients about recognizing foot wound symptoms and how to prevent them from happening.
How do foot wounds develop?
Certain diseases and conditions make foot wounds very difficult to treat. For example, the minor injuries listed above don't usually cause any problems for people who have normal blood circulation. Diabetics, however, often have neuropathy (nerve damage) or restricted blood flow. Complications from food wounds often happen as a result of these conditions. When poor circulation is combined with increased blood glucose levels, feeling is reduced (or totally absent) in the extremities and healing is much slower. The wound, therefore, is at a much higher risk for ulceration and infection. In extreme cases, amputation may be the only way to stop the infection from spreading further.
What are the symptoms of diabetic foot wounds?
Pain is a not a typical sign for those with reduced feeling in the feet and ankles; the pain receptors are weakened and not a good indicator for diabetic foot wounds. Many patients first contact their McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Reston podiatrist after noticing stains on their socks from wound drainage. The area around the wound may be swollen and red. A foul odor may be present if the wound has been left to progress. Any time a diabetic person injures their foot, even if it seems insignificant, should immediately contact their podiatrist.
How do I prevent foot wounds?
Diabetic patients who are at risk for foot wound complications should take precautions to avoid any injuries to their feet and ankles. They should not walk around barefoot, both indoors and out. Wearing properly fitted and comfortable shoes is also important to prevent blisters. Your podiatrists also encourage their diabetic patients to practice excellent hygiene and inspect the feet and ankles daily for any cuts, bruises, redness or any other abnormalities.
If you do notice a foot wound developing, it's important to contact the podiatry team at Family Foot and Ankle Centers right away. Early treatment of foot wounds is the key to proper healing. Call your podiatrist at Family Foot and Ankle Centers in McLean at (703) 556-8637, Ashburn at (703) 723-9267, Fairfax at (703) 273-9818 and Reston at (703)723-2719. Or visit our website at familyfootandankle.com. Get some relief today and get back on your feet!
Discover the telltale signs of a foot infection and what you can do to prevent diabeticrelated foot problems.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you likely know all too well there is a significant chance you may deal with a foot complication. While foot problems for healthy individuals often go away on their own, when you have diabetes maintaining good foot health is vitally important. Since diabetics are at an increased risk for lower limb amputation, it’s important to check your feet everyday for signs of infection. Here are some common foot problems you may face:
Athlete’s foot: This fungal infection is characterized by itching, cracked, and red skin on the foot. While there are some overthecounter treatments, if you have diabetes and are currently dealing with Athlete’s foot, we recommend talking to your podiatrist first. Your podiatrist may prescribe a stronger antifungal pill or cream to fight the infection.
Fungal nail infection: If you are suffering from brittle, discolored nails that are fragile and tend to crumble, then you may have a fungal infection. These nail infections are more difficult to treat, so talk to your podiatrist about whether oral medication or laser treatment is recommended.
Calluses/Corns: These are both the result of hard skin build up, with calluses developing on the bottoms of feet and corns developing on or between toes. These may develop from wearing shoes that rub against your skin. Sometimes using a corn pad can help cushion and protect the callus or corn from further damage while also promoting faster healing. However, talk to your podiatrist about certain medications that can help soften this condition.
Blisters: Just as friction from rubbing shoes can cause calluses and corns, they can also cause painful blisters. These blisters can become infected, and it’s important to leave blisters alone and not to pop them. Use an antibacterial gel or cream to help prevent infection and to protect the damaged skin.
Ulcers: These deep sores in the skin can easily become infected if not cared for properly. Poorly fitted shoes and even minor scrapes can cause ulcers to form. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your outcome. Talk to your podiatrist about the best treatment options for diabeticrelated foot ulcers.
Ingrown toenails: An ingrown toenail is when the edge of the nail grows or cuts into the skin, causing pain, swelling, and irritation. If you trim your toenails too short, or you crowd your toes into tight shoes, you are more likely to develop this problem.
How do you prevent these foot problems in those with diabetes?
The best thing you can do is seek medical attention and treatment for your diabetes. If your condition is under control, then you’re less likely to deal with these complications. Be sure to also practice good hygiene when it comes to cleaning and drying off your feet. Also, examine your feet each day to check for any changes or problems that may need additional care. Always trim toenails straight across and do not round the nail; doing this will prevent ingrown toenails.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it’s time to see your podiatrist right away for treatment. The sooner you seek treatment the better the prognosis. Don’t put off your foot health.
Consider the health of your feet the when you purchase your next pair of ski boots.
It’s time to grab those skis and hit the trails! Perhaps you’ve finally decided to take that weekend trip and go skiing with the family, but before you leave, you need to purchase a new pair of ski boots. Before you grab the first pair of boots that you see, it’s important to consider your feet and ankles. Your podiatrist offers up foot care tips for skiers and snow bunnies alike.
Why Do I Need Proper Ski Boots?
While this might seem like a silly question, you would be surprised how many athletes and skiers don’t really consider their foot and ankle health when it comes time to purchase shoes. However, your feet and ankles absorb shock and act as brakes, able to turn and steer in a different direction at a moment’s notice. This is a lot of wear and tear on your feet, and if you’ve ever had a preexisting foot injury, you are even more prone to damage.
You can reduce your chances of injury just by buying proper skiing gear. Ski boots are, by far, the most important piece of equipment you’ll own as a skier. Here are some things you should know before purchasing your next pair of ski boots:
- Your ski boots should fit snugly. If the boots are too loose, they will slide around, placing pressure and strain on different areas of the foot.
- If you have found it difficult to turn while skiing, this may be due to an imbalance in the structure of your foot. If this is the case, talk to your podiatrist about custommade orthotics that can be inserted into your ski boots to provide additional support and stability.
- It’s generally a good idea to buy or rent your skis from someone who knows about ski boots, like a winter sports retail specialist. If you already have orthotics that you wear when you ski, you’ll want to bring those in—along with the socks you’ll wear on the slopes—when you are trying on a new pair of ski boots.
- Try on a variety of different ski boots and walk around the store in them to see how they fit. Remember that you’ll probably be wearing these boots for several hours a day, so they must fit you perfectly.
- If you’re an avid skier, then talk to your podiatrist about special orthotics that can be used to protect your feet from constant wear and tear that will happen when you’re on the slopes for hours a day, multiple days a week.
The more time you spend calculating how your foot health plays into the equation the safer your feet will be when it comes time to hit the slopes. Enjoy a fantastic ski weekend without worrying about foot injuries!
Find out how marathons impact feet and what you can do to maintain good foot health.
Marathons are a great way to stay active and fit while also enjoying the rush of the competition. For some, marathons are a lifestyle that they just can’t live without. The adrenaline and endorphins from completing another marathon can leave you hungry for more; however, while you’re enjoying the afterglow of yet another completed marathon, it’s important to consider your feet!
While we often don’t think of our feet until there is a problem, it’s important to protect them during marathon training and competitions to ensure that they stay healthy and happy. Let’s learn about the effect marathons can have on your feet, and what you can do to protect them.
Common Foot Problems of Marathon Runners
While marathoners tend to be healthier than the rest of the population, there are some precautions that should be taken to ensure that the athlete staves off the common injuries that can occur over those strenuous miles.
Do you know just how much a marathon knocks your feet around? On average, a runner will land about 13,00020,000 times on each foot with their whole weight. That’s certainly a lot of force and pressure that your feet have to deal with. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you experience any of these common issues:
- Toenail injuries
While these conditions are more common and rarely warrant a trip to your podiatrist’s office, there are some other more serious foot conditions that marathoners need to be aware of:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Stress fractures
- Ankle strains and sprains
Foot Problem Prevention
The key to preventing marathonrelated foot injuries is to always choose the proper shoes. This means finding highimpact shoes that can give you the ample support your foot needs to do its job properly. Go to a sporting goods shoe store, where the employees will have some expertise in which shoes would work best for your athletic needs. Here are some good rules when it comes to your marathon shoes:
- Never purchase shoes that are too loose or too tight. While you want room for your toes to move around, you don’t want the shoes rubbing against parts of your feet.
- Opt for orthotics to provide additional support and comfort while pounding the pavement.
- Always throw out old shoes, as they won’t provide you with the proper support and cushioning you need. While it’s up for debate when you should replace your shoes, most runners tend to toss their old pair after about 300 to 400 miles.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. While some foot pain can easily go away on its own with rest, some conditions are more serious and require your podiatrist’s attention. If your symptoms become severe or don’t go away after a couple days, it’s might be time to schedule an appointment with us.
Your heel really hurts. You feel a stabbing pain, and it’s so bad you can’t do what you need to do. Instead, you are forced to sit with your feet up and try to relax. It’s frustrating, because you have a busy life, but you can hardly put pressure on your feet. It’s time to see your podiatrist at Family Foot and Ankle Centers serving McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Reston, and get back on your feet.
- A heel spur, which is a hard calcium deposit on the bottom of your heel
- A stone bruise, which you can get on the underside of your heel from stepping on a sharp stone or rock
- Bursitis, which is inflammation where your Achilles tendon connects to your heel bone
- Using wedges and heel or arch supports
- Stretching your arches
- Icing your heel 3 times a day for 15 minutes
- Taking over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen
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