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4201 Edgmont Ave
Brookhaven, PA 19015

December 2020

Monday, 28 December 2020 00:00

Keys for Managing Gout

Gout is a very painful type of arthritis that can cause joints to become stiff, hot, or tender. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid, most commonly affected is the big toe. Those who eat a lot of foods that contain high purine levels, such as red meat, seafood, and alcohol, are at an increased risk for developing gout. Other risk factors that may contribute to the onset of gout can include include genetics, family history, sex, or age. Gout is found to be more common in men and the risk increases with age. Because there is no cure for gout, even when no symptoms are present, it is important to manage this condition correctly. One key to managing gout is keeping a healthy weight because excess body weight can lead to more uric acid in the body. Another key to managing gout is to have a well balanced diet that cuts down on the intake of foods and alcohols that are rich in purines. Staying hydrated is important as well. If you are afflicted with gout, make sure to check with a podiatrist for help managing it as well as various treatment techniques.  

 

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact Paul Haluska, DPM from Mercury Podiatry, Inc. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Brookhaven, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Monday, 28 December 2020 00:00

Everything You Need to Know About Gout

Gout, typically found in diabetic patients, is an unusually painful form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. The condition typically strikes the big joint on the big toe. It has also been known to strike the knees, elbows, fingers, ankles and wrists—generally anywhere that has a functioning, moving joint.

The high level of uric acid in a person’s bloodstream creates the condition known as hyperuricema—the main cause of gout. Genetic predisposition occurs in nine out of ten sufferers. The children of parents who suffer gout will have a two in ten chance of developing the condition as well. 

This form of arthritis, being particularly painful, is the leftover uric acid crystallizing in the blood stream. The crystallized uric acid then travels to the space between joints where they rub, causing friction when the patient moves. Symptoms include: pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation. Additional side effects may include fatigue and fever, although reports of these effects are very rare. Some patients have reported that pain may intensify when the temperature drops, such as when you sleep.

Most cases of gout are easily diagnosed by a podiatrist’s assessment of the various symptoms. Defined tests can also be performed. A blood test to detect elevated levels of uric acid is often used as well as an x-ray to diagnose visible and chronic gout.

Treatment for gout simply means eliminating symptoms. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (Colchicine and other corticosteroid drugs, etc.) will quell the redness, the swelling, and the inflammation. However, managing your diet, lifestyle changes, and using preventative drugs are all helpful toward fully combating the most severe cases.

 Those that lead an inactive lifestyle are at a higher risk for gout. Any amount of exercise decreases the probability of repeat encounters with the condition. Reducing your consumption of red meat, sea food, and fructose-sweetened drinks also reduces the likelihood of chronic gout as well.

Ingesting Vitamin C, coffee, and particular dairy products can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are new drugs out on the market that inhibit the body’s production of uric acid-producing enzymes. However, reducing or eliminating your overall levels of uric acid is the best remedy to ensuring you lead a gout-free life.

Monday, 21 December 2020 00:00

Understanding Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid syndrome is a partial dislocation of the bones in the middle of the foot. While cuboid syndrome is typically the result of overuse or injury, pronated feet (feet that turn inward when walking), training on uneven surfaces, poorly fitted shoes, and climbing stairs can all be contributing factors as well . A common sign of cuboid syndrome is pain on the outside of the foot near the little toe. Pain may also be felt in the middle of the foot, or at the base of the fourth and fifth toes. Since the pain is sometimes difficult to pinpoint, cuboid syndrome is often confused with a stress fracture. Other symptoms can include difficulty walking, swelling, pain that becomes worse with weight-bearing, and increased pain when lifting the heel and pushing off the toe. If you are experiencing any pain in the foot it is highly recommended to consult with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cuboid syndrome, also known as cuboid subluxation, occurs when the joints and ligaments near the cuboid bone in the foot become torn. If you have cuboid syndrome, consult with Paul Haluska, DPM from Mercury Podiatry, Inc. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Cuboid syndrome is a common cause of lateral foot pain, which is pain on the outside of the foot. The condition may happen suddenly due to an ankle sprain, or it may develop slowly overtime from repetitive tension through the bone and surrounding structures.

Causes

The most common causes of cuboid syndrome include:

  • Injury – The most common cause of this ailment is an ankle sprain.
  • Repetitive Strain – Tension placed through the peroneus longus muscle from repetitive activities such as jumping and running may cause excessive traction on the bone causing it to sublux.
  • Altered Foot Biomechanics – Most people suffering from cuboid subluxation have flat feet.

Symptoms

A common symptom of cuboid syndrome is pain along the outside of the foot which can be felt in the ankle and toes. This pain may create walking difficulties and may cause those with the condition to walk with a limp.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of cuboid syndrome is often difficult, and it is often misdiagnosed. X-rays, MRIs and CT scans often fail to properly show the cuboid subluxation. Although there isn’t a specific test used to diagnose cuboid syndrome, your podiatrist will usually check if pain is felt while pressing firmly on the cuboid bone of your foot.

Treatment

Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are ice therapy, rest, exercise, taping, and orthotics.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Brookhaven, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Monday, 21 December 2020 00:00

Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid syndrome mostly affects athletes, although it can affect non-athletes too. It is also known as cuboid subluxation or cuboid fault syndrome.  This condition occurs when joints and ligaments near the cuboid bone of the foot are damaged, or when the cuboid bone itself is dislodged from its natural position. It is usually marked by pain on the outer side of the foot, which may be persistent or may come and go. Cuboid syndrome can be difficult to diagnose unless it becomes severe and more noticeable. Your doctor will likely ask questions about when the pain began and how long it has been present, and will put pressure on the cuboid bone to determine if that area is the origin of the pain.

Causes of Cuboid Syndrome

  • Any repetitive stresses placed on the foot due to athletic activities are a common cause of cuboid syndrome.
  • Although it develops over time, it is possible that this syndrome can occur all of sudden due to a single event or injury.
  • Over-pronation can exacerbate the condition if not corrected.

Disagreements Amongst Podiatrists Regarding Cuboid Syndrome

  • Some refer to it as the dislocation of the calcaneal-cuboid joint only.
  • Other podiatrists see it as an injury of the ligaments located nearby, which also involves the cuboid bone.

It is very important that when you experience any kind of pain on the side of your foot, you should seek medical care right away. If a subluxed cuboid is caught early, your feet may respond well to the treatment, and you can get back into sports or other activities again as soon as the pain subsides.

Monday, 14 December 2020 00:00

What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes are painful deformities that frequently form on the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is often caused by an issue in foot mechanics. This can be caused by the person’s specific gait or the manner in which they walk, or by shoes that do not comfortably fit the deformity.  Hammertoes can be formed after wearing shoes that are too narrow or short for the foot or have excessively high heels. Shoes that are not properly sized will force the toes into a bent position for long periods of time. This can cause the muscles to shorten and toes to bend into the deformity of a hammertoe.

Hammertoe can also be caused by complications from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trauma to the foot, heredity, or a cerebral vascular accident. Pain and difficult mobility of the toes, deformities, calluses, and corns are all symptoms of a hammertoe.

Someone who suspects they have the symptoms of a hammertoe should consult with a physician—particularly a podiatrist. Podiatrists diagnose and treat complications of the foot and ankle. If the podiatrist discovers that the affected toes are still flexible, treatment for the hammertoe may simply involve exercise, physical therapy, and better-fitting shoes. Treatment for hammertoes typically involves controlling foot mechanics, such as walking, through the use of customized orthotics.

For more serious cases in which the toes have become inflexible and rigid, surgery may be suggested. During the operation, the toe would receive an incision to relieve pressure on the tendons. A re-alignment of the tendons may then be performed by removing small pieces of bone to straighten the toe. In some cases, the insertion of pins is needed to keep the bones in the proper position as the toe heals. The patient is usually allowed to return home on the same day as the surgery.

If surgery is performed to repair a hammertoe, following the postoperative directions of your doctor is essential. Directions may include several stretches, picking up marbles with your toes, or attempting to crumple a towel placed flat against your feet. Wear shoes that have low heels and a wide amount of toe space to maintain comfort. Closed-toe shoes and high heels should be avoided. Shoes with laces allow the wearer to adjust how fitted he or she may want the shoes to be and also allow for greater comfort. To provide adequate space for your toes, select shoes that have a minimum of one-half inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside of the shoe. This will also relieve pressure on your toes and prevent future hammertoes from forming.

Other preventative measures that can be taken include going shopping for new shoes in the middle of the day. Your feet are its smallest in the morning and swell as the day progresses. Trying on and purchasing new shoes midday will give you the most reliable size. Be sure to check that the shoes you purchase are both the same size. If possible, ask the store to stretch out the shoes at its painful points to allow for optimum comfort.  

Monday, 14 December 2020 00:00

Surgical Treatment of Hammertoes

Hammertoes are a foot condition characterized by an abnormal bending of the second, third, fourth, or pinky toes. This deformity of the toes can cause pain and irritation in the toes, as well as corns and calluses. There are many nonsurgical treatment options for hammertoes, including shoe modifications, splinting the toe, padding or trimming corns and calluses, and certain exercises, therapies, and medications. However, sometimes these more conservative treatments fail and surgery may become an option. There are several surgical treatment options. In a joint fusion, the cartilage surfaces of the affected joint are removed and a screw is placed into the area to prevent motion. In a phalangeal head resection, a portion of the phalanx bone is removed and tension in the affected tendon is released. There are also tendon transfers, in which the tendons that are too tight may be cut or transferred to relieve tension and straighten the toes. To find the best treatment for your hammertoes, please consult with a podiatrist.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Paul Haluska, DPM of Mercury Podiatry, Inc. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Brookhaven, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
Monday, 07 December 2020 00:00

Wound Care

Diabetics must be wary of all wounds, regardless of depth or size. Diabetes, a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly use glucose the way it normally would, causes various complications that make wounds difficult to heal. Nerve damage or neuropathy will cause diabetics to have trouble feeling the pain of a blister or cut until the condition has significantly worsened or become infected. A diabetic’s weakened immune system can make even the most minor of wounds easily susceptible to infection. Diabetics are also more prone to developing narrow, clogged arteries, and are therefore more likely to develop wounds.

Wounds should be taken care of immediately after discovery, as even the smallest of wounds can become infected if enough bacteria build up within the wound.  To remove dirt, wounds should be first rinsed under running water only. Soap, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine can irritate the injury and should be avoided. To prevent infection, apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover it with a bandage. The bandage should be changed daily. The skin around the wound may be cleaned with soap.

To prevent further exacerbation, see a doctor—especially if you have diabetes. Minor skin conditions can become larger problems if not properly inspected. As the wound heals, make sure to avoid applying pressure to the affected area.

Monday, 07 December 2020 00:00

How Can I Treat Wounds on My Feet?

A cut on the skin of the feet can develop into a serious complication if it is not treated promptly. When the cut is minor, it may be treated by using surgical tape, which can be helpful in keeping it closed. Occasionally, a cut will occur if something hard or sharp becomes embedded in the skin, and an X-ray may have to be performed. It is beneficial to keep the wound and surrounding area clean, dry, and protected with a bandage. Because deep cuts may require stitches, if you notice you have cuts on your feet, it is recommended that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can guide you toward an effective treatment method.

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with Paul Haluska, DPM from Mercury Podiatry, Inc. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a non-diabetic. 

What Is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Brookhaven, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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If you are suffering from tenderness, pain, or stiffness in the joints of your feet or ankles, call us to schedule an appointment.

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