Foot and Ankle Center Blog
By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
July 31, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Sprained Ankle  

Signs and Treatment for Sprained Ankles

Do you have a sprained ankle? Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries. Ankle sprains sprain occur when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. Ankle sprains can be very painful and incapacitating. If you have an ankle sprain, it's a good idea to see your podiatrist. Read on to to learn about the signs and treatment for sprained ankles.

Signs You Have a Sprained Ankle

1. Pain: An ankle sprain can be painful and can make it hard to carry out your day-to-day activities. You may also feel discomfort when you place weight on the affected area. The pain may worsen when the area is pressed and during standing or walking.

2. Redness: A sprained ankle can cause warmth and redness around the affected area. If your ankle is warm, red, and swollen, it is inflamed. Warmth and redness is caused by increased blood flow to the area.

3. Swelling: When an ankle is injured with a sprain, inflammation occurs. Swelling is the body’s protective response to an injury. Inflammation occurs because of increased fluid in the tissue. This is a normal reaction of the body and is the start of the healing process. However, sometimes the body produces more swelling that necessary.

4. Bruising: A sprained ankle causes bruising around the affected joint. A contusion, commonly known as a bruise, is made up of blood beneath the skin. A bruise results in a discoloration of the skin. Bruising is a result of injury to the blood vessels in the skin.

5. Stiffness: A sprained ankle causes limited range of motion and stiffness. Inflammation and pain often limit movement after the injury. Your podiatrist may advise against moving the ankle to allow your ankle to heal. Your podiatrist may also design an exercise program to reduce stiffness after the injury.

Treating a Sprained Ankle

1. Rest your ankle: All ankle sprains require a period of rest. Resting your ankle will allow the healing process to begin. Stay off your feet to allow your ankle to heal. Gently exercise your ankle on a regular basis to reduce stiffness. Avoid strenuous activites, such as running and aerobics, until you can walk without it causing any pain.

2. Elevate your ankle: Keep your ankle raised above the level of your chest for several days after injury. Use pillows to keep your foot elevated. Keep your foot elevated for a few hours per day until your ankle stops swelling. Elevation is important after an injury as it helps to reduce the amount of blood flow to the injured area. This helps to reduce the inflammation, bruising, and pain.

3. Ice your ankle: Ice treatment can help decrease pain, swelling, bruising, and muscle spasms. To make an ice pack, fill a freezer bag with ice. Put an ice pack on your injured ankle for 10 minutes every 2 hours. Wrap an elastic medical bandage around the ice pack to hold it in place. You should not use ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. If you have circulation issues or diabetes, talk to your doctor before applying ice.

4. Compress your ankle: Apply a compression bandage from the toes to above the ankle. Wrapping your ankle will help to avoid bruising and swelling. Wrap the bandage around your ankle and foot, and secure it with medical tape. Make sure the bandage doesn't restrict blood flow to your toes or make the pain worse. Do combine compression with elevationa and rest whenever possible.

5. Take a pain reliever: If you have severe pain, a narcotic pain reliever can make you feel better. An OTC pain reliever may also help reduce the pain and swelling. Most medical professionals recommend anti-inflammatory medicines such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or ketoprofen. You can also take acetaminophen for pain, although this medicine does not reduce inflammation. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

6. See a doctor: A podiatrist can diagnose and treat an ankle sprain. Your doctor may order x-rays to determine if you have a broken bone in your ankle. You may receive an ankle brace to keep your ankle from moving and allow ligaments to heal. Your doctor will also give you medications to reduce swelling and pain. Once you can bear weight without increased pain, your doctor will add strengthening exercises to your treatment plan.

Whether your goal is getting back to work, hobbies, sports, the gym, or just enjoying life, a podiatrist can help. If you have an ankle sprain, search for a podiatrist in your area and schedule an appointment. A podiatrist can help you get back on track in no time!

This year’s 2019 National Senior Games took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico June 14-24, 2019, under sunny blue skies. The Games consisted of a 20-sport biennial competition for men and women who were 50 years of age and older. Over 13,500 athletes competed from each state in the US. Athletes from Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Sweden, Trinidad, and Tobago also joined in the event. This is the largest multi-sport in the world for seniors. The theme of the National Senior Games Association is “Long Live the Challenge”©; and I can assure you that all of the athletes were striving for success every day!
Most participants were life-long athletes who had a passion for their sport and competition. Each athlete had a personal reason for competing. For some, it was to stand on the podium and receive a medal. For some, it was a life changer and personal affirmation to live a healthier lifestyle. For others, it was a motivation to continue their sport despite having major physical limitations. Some were cancer survivors. Some had pacemakers and spine surgery; while others had total ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder replacements.
I am quite certain that the competition for the majority of the athletes will not stop after the games ended. They all seemed to embrace the “it ain’t over til it’s over” philosophy. Perhaps age is a state of mind but Father Time reduces muscle strength, reflexes, agility, speed, and energy. Consequently, proper conditioning, physical modifications, and fitness gear become critical to reduce the chance of injury.
SENIOR ATHLETES SUSCEPTIBLE TO FOOT PROBLEMS
During the summer months, athletic and recreational programs are in full swing. Despite the differences among the sports, all participants are susceptible to foot and ankle problems. Here are some of the more common questions my patients ask and helpful tips to prevent foot and ankle injuries during tennis and pickleball, golf, and running.
TENNIS AND PICKLEBALL
Tennis and Pickleball are particularly stressful on your feet because of the quick starts and stops and lateral movements from side to side. Common foot problems include ankle sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, tennis toe, Achilles tendonitis and rupture.
INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
If you have weak ankles or history of sprains, wear a simple ankle brace inside your shoe. Select a stable tennis shoe that is not too rigid and provides flexibility to perform. The shoe should provide durable toe support. Custom orthotics is recommended to provide arch and joint support. Proper warm-up and stretching are also important. These actions will help flexibility, relieve foot pain, and extend playing time.
GOLF
Golf is stressful on your feet and ankles because of excessive walking up and down hills. Common problems for golfers include: heel pain, tendonitis, Metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain), capsulitis (inflammatory condition affecting the outer lining of the foot), and ligament sprains and pulls that keep the golf enthusiasts off the greens. Improper shoes can also cause blisters, neuromas, and other foot and ankle pain.
INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
Walking up and down hills is a normal motion that puts abnormal stress on your Achilles tendon. Walking on uneven surfaces puts a lot of strain on the tendons along the outer portion of the ankle. If you don’t stretch before hand, you will put a lot of wear and tear on your muscles that may lead to severe tendonitis. If you use arch supports in your shoes, you will be surprised how much better your feet feel at the end of a round of golf.
RUNNING
Gravity tends to come into play more during running and a considerable more stress is placed on your feet. The 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels all work together in the foot while running and take on maximum stress. Common foot problems that occur are plantar fasciitis (heel pain), Achilles tendonitis, Metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuroma (fibrous tissue around the nerve in the foot), blisters, corns, calluses, Athletes foot, Onychomycosis (toenail fungus), and shin splints.
INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
Runners should properly condition their body, build a routine, and stretch their muscles, tendons, and ligaments before and after each run. Proper running shoes are critical. Shoes should provide flexibility in the right places to help with shock absorption. More rigidity is needed in the middle of the foot. The heel should sit low in the shoe and the cushioned sole should be slightly wider than a walking shoe to absorb impact. Custom orthotics will reduce stress on lower extremities and allow you to run with less fatigue. Keep your feet powdered and dry and wear clean socks. Shoes hold moisture so alternate shoes with each run. If you develop recurring and/or increasing aches and pains, contact a podiatrist to help pinpoint the problem and prevent more serious injury or long-term damage to your feet.
Enjoy your summer fitness activities and avoid foot and ankle injuries. Seek medical assistance if your foot and ankle pain does not get resolved from rest and conservative treatments. Many injuries may become serious and cause further problems if not properly diagnosed. Standard X-rays may not provide sufficient images to diagnosis actual conditions. MRIs and CT Scans may be necessary to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
Contact the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois at (217) 787-2700 to schedule an appointment with advanced board certified foot and ankle surgeons. Clinics are located in Springfield, Decatur, Taylorville, Carlinville, Shelbyville, and Sullivan, IL. Visit myfootandanklecenter.com to learn about new laser technology used to by professional sports teams to reduce pain and inflammation and eliminate toenail fungus. Also learn about advanced imaging technology available to accurately diagnose your condition.


Foot & Ankle Injury Prevention Tips for Senior Athletes
John M. Sigle DPM, FACFAS


 

By FOOT & ANKLE CENTER OF ILLINOIS
June 28, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: hammertoes  

A hammertoe is a common foot deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. As a result, this causes the toes to bend downward. Since this bend causes the joint to stick out this can put more pressure on the affected joints when wearing shoes, which can also make the deformity worse over time. As with most foot deformities a hammertoe will start out minor and continue to progress over time if left untreated.

During the earlier stages you may not notice much pain and discomfort. In fact the only way you may be able to tell that you have a hammertoe is by examining the foot and noticing that the small toes bend downward like a claw. Of course, at this stage the deformed joint is still flexible enough to be straightened out.

However, if the deformity progresses this can cause the joint to become rigid, which won’t respond effectively to simple conservative treatments. As you might imagine, the sooner you see a podiatrist to treat your hammertoe the better. Early intervention is key, as a hammertoe will not get better without the proper care.

Hammertoes are often the result of an imbalance in the muscle or tendon of the foot. Over time, this leads to structural changes in the foot. Genetics may also play a role in whether your feet are at risk for this deformity. A hammertoe can also be made worse by wearing shoes that are too tight and put too much pressure on the toes.

Along with the structural changes that occur with hammertoes it’s also common to experience redness, inflammation or the development of a corn or callus on the toe. If you are noticing symptoms of a hammertoe see your podiatrist for an evaluation. A simple physical exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose a hammertoe; however, sometimes an x-ray will be performed in order to determine the extent of the deformity.

If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, more often than not simple nonsurgical treatment options are all that’s needed. Following simple treatment options and care can prevent the hammertoes from becoming rigid or painful. Some nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Wearing the appropriate footwear. This means wearing shoes that aren’t pointy or have high heels, which can put more pressure on the toes.
  • Placing custom orthotics into your shoes, which can ease discomfort and prevent pain resulting in a muscular imbalance.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, which can reduce both pain and inflammation.
  • Splinting the toe or toes to keep them straight, which can also reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain.
  • Applying protective non-medicated padding over the top of the toe to prevent a corn or callus from developing.

If your hammertoe is painful or rigid then you may need to discuss whether surgery is the best option for alleviating your symptom and correcting the deformity. If you are dealing with a hammertoe turn to a foot specialist for help.

By FOOT & ANKLE CENTER OF ILLINOIS
May 31, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Diabetic Feet  

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?

  1. Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
  2. Wash and dry your feet daily.
  3. Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
  4. Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
  5. Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
  6. Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
  7. Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
  8. Avoid all forms of tobacco.
  9. Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
  10. 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.

By FOOT & ANKLE CENTER OF ILLINOIS
May 03, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions   Bunion Surgery  

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!  





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