Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.
A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.
The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:
- Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
- Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
- Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
- Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
- Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
- Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition
For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.
When should someone consider bunion surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:
- Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
- Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
- You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
- Your bunion is affecting your quality of life
It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control. We serve the Shelbyville, Decatur, Springfield, and Carlinville Illinois area, call to make an appointment!
Springfield’s Larry Austin Jr. Competes in NCAA 3-on-3 U National Championship Tournament in Minneapolis!
The Foot &Ankle Center of Illinois salutes Larry Austin Jr. as he competes in the NCAA 3X3 U National Championship Basketball Tournament taking place during the Final Four weekend April 4-7, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Larry was selected along with three other players to represent the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Each NCAA Division I basketball conference selected their top four seniors or players who exhausted their eligibility to play. 128 players will play non-stop on 3-on-3 action during a three day competition. Pool play runs on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals will air on Twitter from 9:30 AM–1:30 PM. Sunday’s Semifinal Consolation and Championship games will air from 2:10- 4 PM on ESPN2. The winning team earns a $150,000 prize.
Many basketball fans and enthusiasts in Central Illinois remember the outstanding career Larry Austin Jr. had when he played for Lanphier High School in Springfield, IL from 2010-2014. During high school he received numerous All Conference, All-Tournament, and MVP awards. He was a two time All-State Class 3A Team selection and played on the USA U16 National Team. He was a highly ranked prospect by ESPN.com, Scout.com, and Rivals.com.
Austin played two seasons at Xavier University, one season for the Vanderbilt University, and a final season at Central Michigan University.
This past year was Austin’s banner year. He was the Chippewa’s single season assists leader and holds the single season steals record. Austin was the MAC West Player of the Week and All-MAC Defensive Team. He was selected on the 1st Team NABC All-District, 2nd Team All-MAC, and Member of the 3X3 U MAC Team.
Austin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University and is completing his Master’s degree at Central Michigan.
Larry has been Dr. Sigle’s patient at the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois and Illinois Laser Center for several years. According to Dr. Sigle, “Larry is a premiere athlete with exceptional ability; and we are fortunate to be a part of his medical team. He’s in great condition and very resilient. We have had an opportunity to know Larry as a person and observe his quiet and humble manner. He is a wonderful young man who loves his family and hometown. He’s really well grounded. We wish him the very best in this upcoming tournament and future pursuits. We are pretty confident Larry will take his game to the next level.”
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Heel pain
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Foot fractures
- Sports-related injuries
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot care
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
Have Plantar Fasciitis? We Can Help!
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed and irritated. Podiatrists offer treatments that can provide relief from plantar fasciitis. Dr. John Sigle and Dr. Grant Gonzalez at Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois, which has offices in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville and Sullivan, IL, offer a complete range of podiatric services. Read on to find out how we can help with plantar fasciitis.
#1- Orthotic Devices. Your healthcare provider may recommend custom orthotic devices to manage your condition. Orthotics are specially-made devices designed to comfort and support your feet. Research has shown that these devices improve function and reduce foot pain.
#2- Medications. Plantar fasciitis is often treated with medications such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve). You can also get pain relief with targeted topical pain medications from your doctor. Be sure to follow your podiatrist's directions when taking medicine.
#3- Cortisone Shots. If your pain is severe or doesn't respond to oral medications, you might want to think about getting a cortisone injection. The injections usually comprise a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication. Cortisone injections offer quick relief for foot pain and inflammation. Cortisone injections allow your doctor to deliver a high dose of medication directly to the problem area.
#4- Stretches. Your podiatrist may prescribe stretching exercises to treat your condition. You'll learn exercises to stretch and strengthen your Achilles tendon, plantar fascia, and lower leg muscles. Stretching exercises are an effective way to manage and prevent foot pain. Stretching exercises are easy to do and should be done when you wake in the morning.
#5- Night Splints. To treat plantar fasciitis, your podiatrist may recommend a night splint. Night splints hold your foot in a certain position during sleep, thereby helping to reduce morning pain. It gently stretches the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia and keeps them from getting tight during the night.
#6- ESWT. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy is an effective treatment for persistent plantar fasciitis. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy utilizes the application of high-intensity radiation. It stimulates blood flow in the foot and promotes healing.
Whether your goal is getting back to work, sports, or just enjoying life, our talented podiatrists Dr. John Sigle and Dr. Grant Gonzalez can help. Call Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois at 217-787-2700 today to schedule a consultation in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville and Sullivan, IL. We want you to have a wonderful life!
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