The Achilles tendon, which attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone, is the strongest tendon in your whole body. It can withstand forces of over 1,000 pounds. It is also very susceptible to injury and inflammation and often causes athletes—both professional and amateur—to sit out many a game.
What Does it Feel Like?
In most patients we see at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care with Achilles tendonitis it starts gradually with some minor aches and pains in the tendon area a few hours after exercise. Over time, the pain gets worse and may occur while you are exercising as well. Other symptoms include swelling in the calf area, a little tenderness above the back of your heel first thing in the morning, stiffness and just an overall tired feeling in your calf and lower leg area.
What Causes It?
There are several factors that can bring on Achilles tendonitis, including:
What Can Be Done?
Once our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah have diagnosed Achilles tendonitis, there are several treatment options available depending on what’s causing the problem. Mostly likely, the foot doctor will ask you to rest the foot for a period of time and possibly to switch to activities that do not put strain on the tendon. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended to relieve pain and inflammation. To protect the tendon in the future, the podiatrist may recommend a bandage to limit the motion of the tendon, orthotics to relieve pressure on the area and exercises to stretch the tendon and make injury less likely.
Arthritis affects 53 million people in the U.S. including 300,000 children. Actually, arthritis isn’t one disease, it’s a category of disorders and disease that involve the joints. Your feet are particularly susceptible to arthritis since there are 33 joints in each foot. In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care want to share some important information about arthritis with our Edison, Monroe and Monmouth Junction patients.
What are the Signs of Arthritis?
Although there are many forms of arthritis, the symptoms generally are joint related. These include:
Types of Joint Disease
Osteoarthritis—this is the most common form of the disease. It results from the gradual deterioration of cartilage and joint lining and occurs more frequently in older people. This is also known as degenerative arthritis or wear and tear arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis—although it affects the joints, rheumatoid arthritis is a complex chronic inflammatory disease which affects other systems in the body as well. It is a very serious form of the disease and will get progressively worse over time.
Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in our country. Getting treatment when the disease is in its earliest stages can greatly slow the progression of joint deterioration and lessen the debilitating effects. Depending on the cause of the arthritis, our foot doctors have several treatment options including medication for pain and inflammation, physical therapy and orthotics, which can relieve pressure on troubled joints.
Now that the warmer weather is arriving and there will be more opportunities to go barefoot, we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care expect to see more cases of warts. Warts are caused by a virus and although they can develop at this time of the year, when feet are bare, they are more likely to come in direct contact with the virus. The virus enters your foot through very tiny, even microscopic cuts in the skin.
You can greatly reduce your risk of exposure to the virus that causes warts with a few simple tips:
What do Warts Look Like?
There are two main types of warts that develop on feet: Plantar warts, also known as verrucas, and common foot warts. The Plantar warts are generally flat and hard and have tiny black pinpoints in the center. They vary in color but often are gray or brown. Plantar warts usually form on the sole of the foot. Common foot warts tend to be raised and fleshy. They can develop anywhere on the feet or toes.
Sometimes warts will spontaneously disappear. Don’t be fooled, however, because they then frequently recur on the same site. Our foot and ankle doctors, Varun Gujral, DPM, and Dr. Nrupa Shah, DPM will examine your wart and determine the appropriate treatment. Warts can be very resistant to treatment and that is why non-prescription treatments often fail. The podiatrist has a variety of options available including freezing, laser cautery and prescription medications and ointments. If you find a wart on your foot, contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office for an appointment by calling: 732-662-3050. Warts can become painful and spread if left untreated.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month and we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care want our patients to understand this disease and how it affects your feet. Knowing how to prevent the disabling consequences of osteoporosis is an important factor in being proactive about the health of your feet. Here are some questions and answers to help you learn more about this disease.
What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones become thin and susceptible to fractures. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that the disease is responsible for 2 million broken bones each year.
Who gets osteoporosis? This disease strikes men and women as they age. Studies show that one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
How does osteoporosis affect the feet? Your feet have 28 bones each. In total, this accounts for approximately 25% of the bones in your entire body. Since your feet carry the weight of your whole body, they are often the first place that fractures caused by osteoporosis show up.
Can osteoporosis be prevented? Yes. There are several steps you can take to lower your risk of osteoporosis, including:
What role does my podiatrist play? Your foot doctor can help you diagnose osteoporosis. Often times stress fractures, tiny cracks in the surface of the bone, which are not the result of an obvious injury, are caused by osteoporosis. Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will use x-rays and bone densitometry tests (these measure calcium levels in the bones) along with a physical examination and your medical history to determine if you have osteoporosis.
What else can I do? Make sure that if you are in pain, you make an appointment at our Edison, Monmouth Junction or Monroe office to get it evaluated. The pain caused by a stress fracture may come and go and this leads many patients to wait too long before seeking treatment. Osteoporosis is frequently called the “silent crippler” because it is often not found until a bone is broken. So if you are experiencing any pain in your foot, contact our practice by calling 732-662-3050 as soon as possible.
Spring has sprung and as more athletes take to the field, we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care see an increase of the injury known as turf toe. Turf toe is an injury that occurs when the big toe joint bends upward beyond its normal range. This can happen suddenly, such as when you stub your toe or it “jams” or it can happen gradually over time with activities that require repeated pushing off with the big toe. The disorder gets its name because athletes who play on artificial turf are more prone to this injury due to the fact that the foot tends to stick to the surface, increasing the likelihood of the toe jamming and the turf toe injury occurring.
If you have turf toe, you will most likely feel pain in the big toe joint. There may also be swelling and stiffness and it may be difficult to bend the toe. When turf toe is the result of a trauma or sudden injury, the symptoms will come on immediately and get worse over the 24 hours following the injury. If turf toe is caused by repetitive motion, the symptoms will usually be intermittent and gradually get worse. Sometimes, because the pain is not so bad, a person will continue playing on the injured toe, making the injury more severe.
Healing Turf Toe
If you are having pain in your big toe joint, our foot and ankle doctors, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will do a complete examination of your big toe and your foot. The podiatrist will also take your medical history and ask questions about your activities and when you noticed the symptoms. X-rays or other imaging studies may be ordered to make sure the toe is not broken.
The treatment of turf toe follows the RICE regimen: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Once the injury has healed, the foot doctor may recommend modifications to your sports shoes or your activities to prevent turf toe from recurring.
If you think you may have turf toe or are experiencing pain or swelling anywhere in your foot, contact our Edison, Monmouth Junction or Monroe office for an appointment. The sooner your discomfort is diagnosed, the sooner you will be on the road to recovery.
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