Preventive foot care may not exactly be at the top of the list of many people's healthcare priorities, but like the rest of the body, feet are susceptible to injury and ailments as we age and can act as a kind of barometer for other health issues that can affect your general well-being. Even if you are healthy and not experiencing symptoms of a specific foot or ankle injury or condition, the podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland recommend adding preventive foot care as part of your overall health and wellness routine in order to catch potential problems before they have a chance to progress.
Foot and Ankle Care and Treatment in Silver Spring, Olney, Clinton and Kensington, MD
Many age related illnesses are actually preventable and treatable when diagnosed early, but many people wait to go to the doctor until symptoms like pain and difficulty walking or moving begin to disrupt their quality of life. This can be especially true with orthopedic and podiatry problems. Foot pain can be easy to dismiss or attribute to common factors like walking too much or wearing uncomfortable shoes, but there are other signs and symptoms to look out for. Podiatrists recommend that adults, especially with diabetes, regularly check feet for signs of infection and other problems like poor circulation.
Everything from toenails to the bones and joints in our feet and ankles can become brittle and less stable (and therefore more susceptible to injury) with age. Get to know your feet and what they look (and feel) like when they're healthy so that you can more easily spot a problem if it develops. Look for cuts, bruises, pain, or wounds that are slow or resistant to healing on their own. Keep your feet clean and dry at all times, with well trimmed toenails to avoid fungal and bacterial infections and ingrown toenails. If you have difficulty caring for your feet on your own or are a diabetic, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist at regular intervals to help keep your feet healthy.
Find a podiatrist in Silver Spring, Olney, Clinton and Kensington, MD
Don't wait for a health condition like diabetes or arthritis to slow you down and interfere with your health and quality of life. For more information about preventive foot care, contact Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland by calling 301-924-5044 for Olney, 301-439-0300 for Silver Spring, 301-868-7670 for Clinton, and 301-942-8110 for Kensington to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist today.
Ankle sprains are a very common injury that can affect anyone at any time. Unlike other podiatric injuries, which can be more likely in athletes or highly active people, even a sedentary person can sprain an ankle by simply walking down the street. A mild sprain can typically be treated at home with conservative methods like rest and icing. Moderate to severe ankle sprains can affect mobility and damage to the ligaments in the ankle and may increase the risk of ankle instability and arthritis in the future. The podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland offer diagnosis and treatment for a range of foot and ankle injuries and conditions like ankle sprains and sports injuries.
Foot and Ankle Injury Treatment in Olney, Clinton, Kensington and Silver Spring, MD
Any motion that causes a sudden forceful twisting motion of the ankle can lead to a sprain. The most common causes of ankle sprains include:
- Walking or working out on uneven surfaces
- Participating in sports like soccer, tennis, basketball, trail running, or football
The most common symptoms of an ankle sprain are:
- Bruising and swelling
- Pain and tenderness
- Limited range of motion/inability to move the ankle
- Difficulty putting weight on the ankle
- Ankle instability
Depending on the nature and severity of the sprain, symptoms can clear up within a week or two with conservative treatments like icing and rest. Moderate to severe strains that do not respond to conservative treatments can be treated by a podiatrist with medication, physical therapy, or an assistive device to support the ankle while it heals. In very rare cases, surgery may be recommended to repair damage to the ligaments or other soft tissue.
Find a Podiatrist in Olney, Clinton, Kensington and Silver Spring, MD
If you are suffering from an ankle sprain or other foot or ankle injury, contact Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland by calling 301-924-5044 for Olney, 301-439-0300 for Silver Spring, 301-868-7670 for Clinton, and 301-942-8110 for Kensington to schedule an appointment today.
Not sure if you should see a podiatrist? The podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland, located in Sliver Spring, Olney, Clinton, and Kensington, MD, explain what foot doctors do and answer a few questions about foot and ankle conditions.
What do podiatrists do?
Podiatrists diagnose and treat problems of the foot, ankle and lower leg. They also perform foot and ankle surgery, if needed.
What conditions do podiatrists treat?
Foot doctors treat a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including:
- Plantar warts
- Ingrown toenails
- Toenail fungus
- Athlete's foot
- Corns and calluses
- Excessive sweating
- Heel pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Bone spurs
- Shin splints
- Fractures and stress fractures
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Achilles tendinitis and tendinosis
How do the shoes I wear affect my feet?
Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes are the key to keeping your feet in good shape. If your shoes are worn or don't adequately support your foot, you're more likely to develop a variety of conditions, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and other conditions.
High heels and tight shoes increase your risk of developing bunions and hammertoes, while flip flops and flats that don't have adequate arch support may cause stress fractures, Morton's neuroma, and plantar fasciitis.
Wearing tight shoes can also increase your risk of toenail fungus. When your shoes press on your nails, they become weaker and may even separate from the nail bed slightly, providing the perfect pathway for fungus to invade your nail bed.
Do I need to see a podiatrist if I have diabetes?
Foot conditions that could be managed at home before you developed diabetes can quickly turn into serious infections after your diagnosis. The problem occurs when diabetes interferes with your body's ability to heal itself. Performing daily foot examinations at home and calling our Silver Spring, Olney, Clinton or Kensington office when you develop problems is important. Open sores and cuts, ingrown toenails, red streaks, corns, calluses, and changes in skin color or sensation should be evaluated by a podiatrist.
Podiatrists are dedicated to keeping your feet and ankles healthy. If you're concerned about a foot or ankle problem, schedule a visit with the podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland. Call the Olney, MD, office at (301) 924-5044, the Silver Spring, MD, office at (301) 439-0300, the Clinton, MD, office at (301) 868-7670 or the Kensington, MD, office at (301) 942-8110.
Taking good care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes. Our Olney, Silver Spring, Clinton and Kensington, MD, podiatrists discuss the importance of diabetic foot care and share information on steps you can take to prevent sores on your feet, including wearing orthotics.
How does diabetes affect the feet?
High blood glucose levels common in diabetes affect your entire body. In addition to raising your risk of heart and kidney disease, diabetes can also damage the nerves in your feet and slow your body's natural healing process. Because it's more difficult to fight infections when you have diabetes, even small wounds or sores can become infected very quickly. If nerve damage is so severe that you can no longer feel your feet, you won't notice if your shoes are too tight or you develop a blister. Failing to notice warning signs and small wounds can increase your risk of a serious infection that can lead to amputation, in some cases.
How can I reduce my risk of severe infection?
You can lower your risk of infection by following these steps:
- Examine Your Feet Daily: The key to avoiding infection is identifying a problem before it can become serious. At least once every day, examine your feet for red spots, blisters, cuts, scratches, corns, calluses, changes in the color of your foot, warm or cold sensations, red streaks or open wounds. If you notice a red spot, switch to another pair of shoes. If you notice any other problem, call our Olney, Silver Spring, Clinton or Kensington office. Don't attempt to treat the problem yourself.
- Avoid Athlete's Foot: When your skin begins to peel and flake away due to athlete's foot, small breaks in the skin can develop. Reduce your risk by wearing shower shoes in public locker and shower rooms and around pools.
- Wear Orthotics: Orthotics are special shoe inserts custom-designed by your podiatrist to fit your foot. Orthotics help stabilize your foot and prevent it from sliding inside your shoe. They also reduce the pressure that causes red spots and blisters.
Good foot care is the key to keeping your feet healthy. If you're interested in orthotics or are concerned about a foot issue, contact Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland. Call the Olney office at (301) 924-5044, the Silver Spring office at (301) 439-0300, the Clinton office at (301) 868-7670 or the Kensington office at (301) 942-8110.
As we age, our joints can become more prominent and difficult to move. However, deformed joints in your feet can restrict mobility and alter your entire lifestyle. That's why the podiatrists of Family Foot & Ankle Associates of Maryland want to treat patients with joint problems as soon as possible. If you've noticed your toes beginning to curl or bend at an odd angle, you may be dealing with hammertoes. Below, our podiatrists have answered questions they frequently hear from the patients they see in Silver Spring, Clinton, Kensington and Olney, MD.
What are hammertoes?
When the muscles surrounding the toe joints become weakened, the toes can become bent out of alignment. If the middle toe joint is affected, the deformity that results causes the toes to take on the shape of a hammer or upside-down V. Hammertoes can either be flexible, which is a milder form of the condition, or rigid, meaning the joint can no longer be moved.
What causes hammertoes?
An imbalance of the muscle activity around the three toe joints is what causes the development of hammertoes, but there are various reasons why this imbalance happens. Women that frequently wear high-heeled shoes are at particular risk for hammertoes due to the narrow, constricting toe boxes associated with this type of footwear. Arthritis, the degeneration and inflammation of joints throughout the body, can also cause hammertoes. Your family history of joint issues may play a part as well. A thorough examination from your Silver Spring, Clinton, Kensington and Olney podiatrist will identify the source of your hammertoes.
What are the complications associated with hammertoes?
Because most regular shoes aren't made to accommodate deformed joints, people visit their podiatrist with complaints of calluses, corns or painful blisters forming from constant friction against their hammertoes. People with diabetes have the added issue of poor circulation, which makes healing difficult and turns these uncomfortable problems into potentially dangerous infections without prompt treatment.
How are hammertoes treated?
Mild hammertoes can be cushioned with special pads that are worn on top of them. Your podiatrist may also teach you stretching exercises to do at home that will help loosen the joint. Wearing properly fitted footwear also helps give the toes the room they need. Severe hammertoes that cannot be moved and cause chronic pain may only resolve with surgery to reposition the joints.
To schedule an appointment, contact Family Foot and Ankle Associates at one of our convenient Maryland locations - Silver Spring, Clinton, Kensington and Olney - today!
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