Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stress Fractures Of The Feet

Feet are constantly under pressure during normal daily activity. This pressure is intensified during vigorous exercise. Repeated exercise, such as running everyday, can cause a condition known as a stress fracture.

A stress fracture is a small break in the bone caused by overuse. During exercise, the muscles usually act as shock absorbers which limit the jarring to the bones. As an individual exercises, the muscles become tired and less able to absorb the shock of the impact the exercise causes. As the muscles tire, more of the pressure of impact affects the bones. Over time, this can lead to a stress fracture of the foot, ankle, or fibula, a bone in the lower leg.

With the amount of pressure exerted during exercise, it is no surprise that stress fractures most commonly affect the bones of the foot. Stress fractures can occur in the metatarsals of the foot or the heel. Stress fractures of the foot can cause pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising.

Applying ice or a cold pack to the affected area can help reduce swelling and help prevent further bruising. Apply ice packs for up to ten minutes, then keep the ice pack off the injury for ten minutes before reapplying. Do not leave the ice pack on for an extended period of time. The use of cold packs can be replaced by the application of heat after a day or two. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to minimize the discomfort.

Stress fractures are further treated by reducing weight-bearing activities. Most stress fractures heal in two to four weeks. However, some stress fractures can take six to eight weeks to heal. The doctor may specify the use of a brace or special protective footwear during this time. An x-ray or bone scan may be used to check if the bone is fractured or completely broken. The doctor may prescribe the use of crutches to reduce the pressure exerted on the injured foot.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Morton's Neuroma Treatment

Morton’s neuromas are caused by a thickening or irritation of the nerves of the foot. Morton’s neuromas often develop as the result of compression. They cause pain, burning, or tingling sensations of the third and fourth toes. This pain can be aggravated by wearing shoes that are too narrow, such as those with pointed toes.

Morton’s neuromas become progressively more painful. There are several treatment options. If left untreated, Morton’s neuromas can lead to permanent nerve damage. Therefore, it is important to see a physician and discuss the treatment options that are recommended.

One treatment option is to use padding or orthotic devices. Since Morton’s neuromas are caused by compression, the use of these non-invasive techniques is for the purpose of relieving sources of compression. Padding can be used to support the metatarsal arch which acts to alleviate the pressure on the nerve while walking. Orthotic devices work the same way, however they are often custom-made to provide the best arch support possible.

Any shoes worn by someone with a neuroma should have a wide toe. Using over-the-counter pain relievers, such as anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) can provide relief from the pain associated with Morton’s neuromas. The doctor may suggest that forms of exercise be restricted. Applying ice packs during flare ups can help reduce swelling if that has become a problem.

If non-invasive methods fail to provide relief, the doctor may subscribe a more drastic course of treatment. The doctor may first suggest a series of injections of a mixture of corticosteroids and anesthetics. If this therapy fails to provide relief, surgery may be recommended.

Surgery for Morton’s neuromas involves the removal of the neuroma. Since it removes the neuroma, it effectively treats the pain. However, the surgery often causes permanent loss of sensation to the treated area of the foot.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Morton's Neuroma Diagnosis

Morton’s neuromas are a source of pain or discomfort for those affected by them. A neuroma is caused by the compression of inflammation of the nerves. Morton’s neuromas are a thickening of the nerves of the third and fourth toes.

The Morton’s neuroma can cause pain, burning, and tingling in the foot. It may cause a sensation that there is a pebble inside the ball of the foot. The pain becomes progressively worse over time. A Morton’s neuroma can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated.

The pain from a Morton’s neuroma often becomes worse while walking, exercising, or wearing shoes. Because Morton’s neuromas are caused by compression to the nerves, they more commonly affect women. This is due to ill-fitting women’s shoes and high heels. Shoes that are too narrow or have pointed toes exert too much pressure on the foot. Morton’s neuromas are only one of several foot disorders that can be attributed to such footwear.

A Morton’s neuroma must be diagnosed by a physician. A doctor will take a thorough history of the onset of the symptoms. An x-ray may be taken to rule out the presence of a fracture. An x-ray can also rule out arthritis by using it to judge bone density.

A podiatrist may be able to feel the neuroma by squeezing and pushing on the affected area. The podiatrist may look for Mulder’s sign. Mulder’s sign is the occurrence of a clicking noise when the foot is squeezed with one hand while pressure is exerted on the affected area by the podiatrist’s other hand.

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan might be used to check to make sure the compression of the nerve is not caused by a tumor. The MRI can be used to judge the lsize of the neuroma and its progression. This helps the doctor determine the best course of treatment.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Neuromas Of The Foot

Neuromas are non-cancerous growths that can inflict pain by affecting the nerves of the foot. These benign growths can wrap around a nerve of the foot. They are caused by a compression or irritation or the nerve.Neuromas most commonly affect the nerves between the base of the third and fourth toes of one foot. The neuromas in this location are called Morton’s neuromas. It is sometimes called an intermetatarsal neuroma.

An achy feeling in the toes may be the first sign of a neuroma. This ache is sometimes followed by tingling or burning sensations in the toes. The pain is often exasperated by wearing shoes that are too narrow. In addition to the achiness of the toes, the individual may feel as though there is a pebble in the ball of the foot. The discomfort can be temporarily relieved by massaging the foot.

The discomfort and pain worsens over time. If left untreated, a neuroma can cause permanent nerve damage. A neuroma must be diagnosed by a physician. Because they don’t affect the bone, x-rays are useless as a diagnostic tool for neuromas other than to rule out bone damage as the cause of the pain. Therefore, the doctor relies on a description of the symptoms experienced by the individual.

The doctor may treat the neuroma by injecting the affected site with a mixture of corticosteroids and an anesthetic. The injection plus the use of orthopedic footwear may alleviate the symptoms. The injections are often repeated two or three times over the following month or two to provide relief.

If the corticosteroid injections fail to provide relief from the pain, surgery may be necessary. Surgical intervention consists of the removal the neuroma. This provides permanent relief from the pain, however it can result in permanent numbness to the affected area of the foot.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Plantar Warts During Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes many changes to a woman’s body. Pregnancy does not make women more susceptible to plantar warts. However, women should take certain precautions during pregnancy regarding plantar warts.

Over-the-counter treatments for plantar warts should not be used during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman develops a plantar wart during pregnancy, she should consult her doctor for treatment options.

The duct tape home remedy for plantar warts could be used during pregnancy without the over-the-counter treatments. The pregnant woman could cover the affected area with a small piece of duct tape. Leave the duct tape in place for six days. Then, soak the foot and rub the plantar wart with a pumice stone. Remember to wash hands thoroughly after handling the affected area as to not cause the plantar wart to spread.

A pregnant woman may need help with this treatment method. If it is uncomfortable to reach the sole of the foot, it is better for her to get assistance from someone rather than risk straining muscles to do the treatment alone.

Health during pregnancy is very important. While pregnant, a woman is often focused on her diet. It’s important to remember that a pregnant woman’s overall health should not be neglected. Proper diet, rest, and low-impact exercise are great, but a pregnant woman should not ignore her general health.

Feet experience extra pressure during pregnancy. If possible, a pregnant woman should check the soles of her feet just like anyone else. Plantar warts can begin from small cuts on the soles of the feet when they are exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV). Therefore, a pregnant woman should take special care of her feet.

Proper hygiene can help prevent exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV). People should avoid going barefoot in public showers. Public showers, such as in gyms, are high risk for contamination of human papillomavirus (HPV). People should use clean socks and towels. Avoid sharing socks with others.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Plantar Wart Treatment

Plantar wart treatment is the removal of the plantar wart. There are several options for getting rid of plantar warts. Some plantar wart treatments are administered by a doctor. There are home treatments for plantar warts as well.

A common removal method is cryotherapy. This is the freezing of the plantar wart. A doctor applies liquid nitrogen either by spraying or with a cotton-tipped applicator. The liquid nitrogen causes the affected area to blister. This causes the wart tissue to die. The treated wart will fall off usually within a week. This is usually effective, but may require subsequent visits for repeat treatments. Cryotherapy can be painful.

Cantharidin is an extract from the blister beetle. A doctor applies cantharidin to the plantar wart and covers it with tape. Similar to cryotherapy, the cantharidin causes the treated area to blister. A week later, the doctor clips off the plantar wart. A doctor in the United States is not likely to use this method since cantharidin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If plantar warts are resistant to treatment, the doctor may suggest more aggressive treatment methods. There are two surgery methods that might be used to remove plantar warts. One method is laser surgery. The other surgical method is the use of an electric needle.
The doctor may choose to use the power of the individual’s immune system to get rid of the plantar wart. Immunotherapy involves using medication to strengthen the person’s immune systems response the plantar wart. The doctor might inject the plantar wart with interferon. Another immunotherapy treatment for plantar warts is imiqimod (Aldara) cream.

Most over-the-counter treatments for plantar warts contain salicylic acid. The over-the-counter treatments often suggest treating the plantar wart after bathing or soaking. Some suggest the user to rub the affected area with a pumice stone to remove any dead skin on the plantar wart. The over-the-counter treatment is then applied. The treated plantar wart is then covered with a pad.

A home remedy for plantar wart removal is the use of duct tape. The plantar wart is covered with a piece of duct tape for six days. Duct tape can be used alone or in combination with an over-the-counter treatment. After the six days, the person is to soak the foot and gently scrape the plantar wart with a pumice stone. This often results in the removal of the plantar wart.
When using home treatment, it is important to remember that plantar warts can spread if proper hygiene is not followed. Plantar warts can spread by handling them and touching other parts of the foot. A plantar wart should also be covered to avoid the contamination of shower and bathroom floors.

They can also spread from the skin shed from a plantar wart. Therefore, anyone using a home method that suggests rubbing the plantar wart with a pumice stone should keep in mind that the skin that sloughs off the wart can potentially cause the further spread of the plantar wart. Hands should be thoroughly washed after any home treatments.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Detecting Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are warts that occur on the soles of the feet. They are noncancerous growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is fairly common and may be present on the floor of a shower, especially public showers such as at the gym. They are treatable, but can cause pain, discomfort, or complications if left untreated.

Detecting a plantar wart can be done by examining the bottom of the foot for a wart. The human papillomavirus enters the skin through a small cut or abrasion. The virus causes the formation of a plantar wart.

Plantar warts appear as bumps on the bottom of the foot. These bumps are often hard with well-defined edges. They are usually brown or gray in color. The warts may have a rough or grainy surface. They also interrupt the natural lines of the skin on the soles of the feet. Plantar warts are often flat due to the pressure on the soles of the feet during walking, standing, and other activity.

They may contain tiny black spots, which are caused by clotted blood vessels in the affected area. When diagnosing a plantar wart, a doctor may pare it down with a scalpel. A plantar wart will bleed when cut. This distinguishes it from a callus or corn, which do not have a blood supply.

Once a plantar wart is detected, there are options for treatment. Some plantar warts go away without treatment, however some untreated plantar warts develop into precancerous lesions or cause excessive pain if left untreated. Therefore, it’s usually best to treat the plantar wart. Consult your doctor if you have any questions or if there is bleeding or inflammation of the affected area.
Treatment for plantar warts involves its removal. This can be done with over-the-counter remedies or by a doctor. The over-the-counter medications should not be used by people with diabetes, who are pregnant, or have circulatory or cardiovascular problems.

Plantar warts can reappear after their removal. If one persists after home treatment or recurs, see your doctor. Also, if the plantar wart changes in color or appearance or multiplies, you should seek treatment from your doctor.

Plantar warts can be spread to other areas of the soles of the feet or to other people. Proper hygiene is important to limit its spread. Shower floors and towels should be thoroughly cleaned. Plantar warts can also be spread by bleeding or skin shed from the plantar wart. Hands should be washed after touching or treating the affected area of the plantar wart to avoid further contamination. Scratching the plantar wart should be avoided.

The soles of the feet are often neglected until something is causing pain or discomfort. Problems can often be avoided or resolved quickly if the soles of the feet are checked regularly and proper hygiene is followed. This is especially important for young children and those with diabetes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts appear as brown or gray hard, thick patches of skin. Plantar warts often appear to have dark specks. Plantar warts on feet are common. They are often flat due the pressure exerted on the feet. Plantar warts can cause pain while walking. They may cause discomfort that may feel like there is a small pebble in the shoe.

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is unlikely to develop a wart with every contact with HPV. However, the warts can be spread by touching the wart then touching other parts of the body. They can also be spread from person to person by contaminated showers and towels. People with foot injuries or weakened immune systems have a higher risk of developing plantar warts. Children and teenagers are especially susceptible to developing warts.
Most plantar warts are harmless and will even go away on their own in a few months, but can last for years. If someone experiences one or more plantar wart complications, they should seek medical advice. If a wart bleeds, becomes inflamed, or causes severe pain, a doctor should be consulted. Some untreated plantar warts can turn into precancerous lesions.

Over-the-counter treatments are available to get rid of a bothersome wart. A salicylic acid preparation is the most common over-the-counter medication. If a wart does not respond to treatment or if a fever develops after treatment, the affected person should seek medical attention. Overly aggressive treatment can cause a troublesome scar. People with diabetes, who are pregnant, or have circulatory or cardiovascular problems should never use the over-the-counter medications. Warts may reappear after treatment.

There are precautions that can be taken to prevent plantar warts. People should not walk barefoot, especially in public showers. If you have a plantar wart, it should be covered with waterproof tape when in public swimming pools or showers. Feet should be kept clean and dry. Socks should be changed daily. Children’s feet should be checked regularly. People should refrain from sharing shoes and socks.

To avoid enlarging or spreading the plantar wart, avoid picking at it, scratching it, or touching it excessively. Avoid contact with warts on other people. Try to limit contact with the wart against other parts of the body. Small cuts and scratches are especially susceptible to infection of the human papillomavirus and the warts it causes. Hands should be washed frequently, especially after dressing, handling the wart, or treating the wart.

If left untreated, warts can spread to the surrounding area forming a cluster called a mosaic wart. These larger warts can be painful and make it difficult to walk. Several treatment options are available. Besides the over-the-counter treatments, a doctor can remove a plantar wart surgically or with cryotherapy.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the nerves that lie inside the tarsal tunnel. This pressure on the nerves causes pain or numbness in the ankle, bottom of the foot, or along the calf. It may also cause a burning or tingling sensation. The tarsal tunnel syndrome could be caused by overuse, injury, or a disease that has caused swelling of the ankle.

If left untreated, permanent nerve damage can occur. A physician must diagnose tarsal tunnel syndrome since the pain could have many different causes. The doctor is likely to manipulate and press on the foot to determine the source of the pain. If the doctor suspects that a mass may be causing the pain, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan might be used to rule out the presence of a mass.

Once diagnosed, the physician will discuss treatment options. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to help with pain and inflammation. The doctor may suggest rest and the use of ice packs on the affected area. Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome is focused on alleviating pressure on the foot and ankle to give the injury a chance to heal.

Supportive shoes may be recommended by the physician. Custom shoe inserts that support the arch and restrict movement may be prescribed. Patients with fallen arches or severe cases of tarsal tunnel syndrome may have to wear a fitted brace. Sometimes a cast is used to restrict movement to allow healing of the nerve and surrounding tissue.

An injection of an anesthetic may be administered for pain relief. If less invasive methods of treatment fail to provide relief or if the cause of the tarsal tunnel warrants it, surgery may be recommended. A foot and ankle surgeon will do an exam and determine the best surgical procedure.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Pain on the inside of the ankle or bottom of the foot could be caused by tarsal tunnel syndrome. The pain associated with tarsal tunnel syndrome is typically a burning or shooting pain. It may also cause numbness or a tingling sensation.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to the more widely known carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the hands and wrists. The tarsal tunnel is located on the inside of the ankle. The nerves to the foot run through the tarsal tunnel. When these nerves are compressed, tarsal tunnel syndrome can develop. Tendons, arteries, and veins are also contained in the tarsal tunnel.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can have a sudden onset. It may be caused by overuse, such as extended periods of walking or standing. It may also be triggered by vigorous exercise. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be aggravated by the beginning of a new exercise routine.

Individuals with an outward tilt to their stance are more susceptible to developing tarsal tunnel syndrome. Therefore, those with fallen arches are more at risk for this disorder. Tarsal tunnel syndrome may also be caused by pressure exerted on the nerves in the tarsal tunnel. Cysts, varicose veins, arthritic spurs, or a swollen tendon can compromise the space of the tarsal tunnel.

An injury can cause tarsal tunnel syndrome. If an injury, such as an ankle sprain, causes swelling, the swelling could compress the nerves of the tarsal tunnel. Other diseases that can cause swelling, such as diabetes, can cause tarsal tunnel syndrome in the same manner. Being overweight can increase a person’s risk of developing the disorder.

Because the foot pain could have other causes, a physician must diagnose the condition. Early diagnosis and treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome is highly recommended. If left untreated, tarsal tunnel syndrome can cause permanent nerve damage.

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