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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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Metatarsalgia The Pain In The Forefoot Bones

It is unlikely that you realize how big a deal the ball of your foot really is. It is a major player in most of physical activities that we undergo daily. Running, walking, leaping and even sitting down involves the balls of your feet. But when pain starts to be felt everytime you put pressure on your feet, if there is a great deal of stress felt when you land from a leap or a continuous strain when you run, you might have to think about whether or not you have metatarsalgia.

Metatarsalgia simply means “achy metatarsal” and the condition is simply a sore bone or bones in the forefoot. Pain and inflammation in the balls of your feet are the usual symptoms of metatarsalgia. This condition is frequent among athletes and those who do high-contact sports. Activities like basketball, gymnastics and many other sports put high pressure on the feet and, without proper care and rest, inflammation and pain may occur leading to the said disorder.

Excessive running and jumping can stress the metatarsal, which is the name for the long bones found in the front part of your feet just a little bit below your toes.

Although metatarsalgia is not highly risky and has little or no long-term drastic effect, it can definitely hamper you. If you are in a physical career and your mobility and use of your feet are vital to your work, metatarsalgia may pose a major problem. This disorder is highlighted by sharp pain that continuously gets worse after prolonged periods of activity. This is followed by numbness or tingling in the toes that eventually worsens even when you rest and relax your feet.

The immediate remedy for this disorder is rest. Prevent pressure from being applied to your feet. Soaking the feet in ice and cold water may help soothe the pressure and eventually dampen the pain. Wearing proper footwear and shock-absorbent shoes also helps prevent the progression of metatarsalgia. Since this is more a strain than a disease, metatarsalgia is very simple to avoid and treat. More often than not, this disorder is simply a byproduct of bad maintenance and improper foot care. Learn to be responsible in taking care of your feet. Like a well-oiled and maintained care, your feet can go a long way without any further complications.

Exercise and a balanced diet are important to athletes and to you as well, but take time to consider the little things like the balls of your feet, and take that much deserved vacation to relax when needed.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008


Gangrene refers to the death and decay of tissue. It is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the effected part of the body. Gangrene can also be the result of bacterial infection or frostbite. It most commonly affects the toes, fingers, and limbs. It most commonly affects the elderly.

Certain diseases increase a person’s risk of developing gangrene. People with diabetes or atherosclerosis are in particular danger of developing gangrene. For people with diabetes, their feet are susceptible to infection and gangrene because their ability to sense a foot injury is impaired. If they get a cut or sore on their feet and it is left untreated, gangrene may develop.
Gangrene causes the effected skin to turn blue or black. It causes a foul odor and severe pain or numbness. If the infection causes the gangrene spreads throughout the body, it can cause septic shock.

Gangrene will progress if left untreated. The physician will need to surgically remove the dead tissue. In some cases, amputation is necessary. Antibiotics are administered intravenously to fight the infection if there is one present. If gangrene is treated quickly, the prognosis is good.

There are things that people can do to prevent gangrene. To prevent gangrene from frostbite, people should wear warm clothing, including thick socks, when they must be exposed to cold. After returning indoors from cold-weather conditions, people should check their feet for any areas that have become pale, hard, cold, and numb. They should call their doctor immediately if they have those symptoms.

People with diabetes should check their feet daily. Anyone with a wound to their foot should wash their feet with soap and water at least daily to prevent infection unless a doctor says otherwise. Wounds should be kept clean and dry throughout the day. If the wound becomes infected, seek medical attention in order to avoid further problems such as gangrene.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Understanding Sever's Disease - Calcaneal Apophysitis

Also known as calcaneal apophysitis, sever’s disease is a condition that affects your adolescent children usually between the age of nine and 14. This occurs when the growth plate of your kid’s heel is injured. As you may know, your foot is the first part of your body to grow into full size. During early puberty, bones grow faster than tendons and muscles, thus causing the tendons and muscles to tighten. At this time, the heel then becomes less flexible. When your child starts a new sport, or engages in a rather vigorous activity than before, the tight tendons may put too much pressure at the back of the heel or the calcaneus, thus injuring the heel.

You will be able to know it is sever’s disease that your child has when he complains about pain and tenderness in the heel. Pain can occur in one or both heels. You may see him limping when he walks or has discomfort upon waking up. The pain will increase when you let him stand on a tiptoe. You can also do a squeeze test by squeezing both sides of the very back of your child’s heel. Of course this will hurt as well because your child’s tendons have become tight.

To treat sever’s disease, you must stop your child from doing any activity that will bring heel pains so as not to aggravate the situation. You may apply ice to the injured heels for faster remedy. Your child must never go barefoot and you should elevate the heel part to relieve tension. It will also be very helpful that your child do stretching exercises of the hamstrings and calf muscles that will help relax the Archilles tendon. You may give him non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines for severe heel pains. For special cases, your doctor may recommend arch supports and heel cups if your child is flat-footed and has a high arc or bowed legs. For extreme cases, your child could be put in a cast.

Sever’s disease will go away eventually when the growing of the bone is already complete at around the age 13. There are no reports of any long-term disability with Sever’s disease. When treated, the disease will subside in two to eight weeks, and your child can continue to play sports again in time. This can also be prevented by having stretching exercises early on before any vigorous activity to maintain good flexibility of your child’s body. You can get him good-quality shoes in the market with shock absorbent soles and other footwear that are firm enough for more support in any activity he decides to do.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin on the foot. Dermatophytes are the mold-like fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Other names for athlete’s foot are tinea pedis, dermatophytosis and ringworm of the foot. The fungus causes the basal layer of the skin to produce excess skin cells. This fungal infection is similar to other fungal infections that affect other parts of the body, such as ringworm and jock itch.

Athlete’s foot is most common in men between teenage and middle age. Athlete’s foot normally occurs between the toes. The fungal infection can spread to the toenails, sides, and soles of the feet. It can be easily transmitted in public showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, stinging, burning, cracking skin, peeling, itchy blisters, and excessive dryness of the skin of the foot. If the athlete’s foot infects the toenails, it can cause them to become discolored, crumbly, ragged, and thick. It can also cause the toenails to separate from the nail bed.

There are over-the-counter cures for athlete’s foot that are usually effective in treating the condition. The over-the-counter treatments are anti-fungal medications in the form of sprays, ointment, lotions, and powders. A doctor may prescribe other treatments such as an oral antibiotic or vinegar soaks.

To prevent athlete’s foot, keep feet dry, especially between the toes. Socks made of natural materials, such as cotton, allow air to reach the feet and prevent moisture from building up between the toes. Socks should be changed at least daily. Wear some sort of protection, like sandals, in public showers and locker rooms. Never borrow shoes or socks from someone else. Shoes should allow some ventilation. Rubber and vinyl shoes are not the best choices. Treat the feet with an over-the-counter antifungal treatment at the first sign of infection.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Brachymetatarsia is a genetic condition characterized by an abnormally short metatarsal. The toe with the short metatarsal will be shorter than normal. If more than one toe is affected, the condition is called brachymetapody.

This condition is caused by the premature closing of the growth plate of the metatarsal. This premature end in growth results in the short metatarsal. There is no medical, noninvasive intervention that can cause the natural growth of the bone.

Brachymetatarsia can cause several problems. The effected person may experience difficulty with the weight distribution of the toes. Since the abnormally short toe cannot support its usual amount of weight, the other toes are forced to compensate. This can cause pain in the toes that are compensating and bearing the extra weight. Brachymetatarsia can interfere with the natural walking gait.

Treatment for most cases of brachymetatarsia is noninvasive, conservative care. Padding and orthotics can help alleviate pressure on the toes. If the condition is problematic or if noninvasive methods don’t help, surgical intervention may be recommended by a physician. Surgery to correct brachymetatarsia means lengthening the short metatarsal.

The surgeon may cut the bone and add a bone graft to lengthen the metatarsal. Tendons and skin around the short toe have to be modified to allow for the new length. In some cases, a bone graft is not possible due to a severe difference in length of the short toe versus the unaffected toes. Instead of lengthening the extremely short metatarsal, the surgeon may reduce the length of the other toes. This helps equal out the pressure on the toes.

A new treatment for brachymetatarsia involves the use of an external device attached to the effected metatarsal by surgical pins. This device is used to encourage the lengthening of the short metatarsal by adjustment at appropriate intervals.

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