Foot and Ankle Center Blog

Posts for: July, 2018

July 30, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Blister  

A foot blister is a small pocket of fluid that forms on the foot. Blisters can be painful while they heal. Foot blisters are caused by several things, including friction, burns, contact with irritants, and autoimmune diseases. Treatment can alleviate your pain, prevent infection, and help heal your blister. Here's what to do when you keep getting blisters on your feet.

1. See a podiatrist- When foot blisters interfere with your normal activities, you should see a podiatrist. Podiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, including blisters. Depending on the cause of the foot blister, your podiatrist will form a treatment plan for you. 

2. Cover your blisters- If a blister does occur, do not pop it. A blister should be covered to reduce irritation and cut back on the risk of infection. Wash your blisters with soap and water and cover them with dressings, like bandages or gauze pads. Your dressings should be changed every day. 

3. Use antibiotic ointment- Antibiotic ointment helps prevent infections in blisters. You can purchase antibiotic ointment at a local pharmacy. Apply antibiotic ointment to the foot blisters as directed, especially before you put on your socks or shoes.

4. Keep your feet dry- Keep your feet dry at all times. After you shower, dry your feet thoroughly. Wear socks every day to keep moisture away from the skin of your feet. For sweaty feet, use products that help control moisture. 

5. Use custom orthotics- Orthotic devices are molded pieces of rubber, leather, or other material that are inserted into shoes. You can get custom-made orthotic devices from your podiatrist. Orthotic devices can be helpful in preventing and treating foot blisters. Orthotic devices can reduce friction on foot blisters and alleviate your pain. 

6. Wear the right shoes- Rubbing and pressure from shoes that are too tight often cause blisters on the feet. Avoid wearing shoes that cause foot blisters. Wear good-fitting footwear that fit comfortably and leave your feet with some wiggle room, especially on long walks or runs. Wearing the right footwear can prevent future blisters.

7. Use foot powders- Friction can make foot blisters worse and increase your pain. In order to reduce friction on blisters, buy a powder designed for your feet at a pharmacy. Pour it into your socks before putting on your shoes to reduce pain. If a powder causes your foot blisters to become irritated, stop using it.

Don't let foot blisters knock you off your feet. Find a podiatrist in your area and schedule an appointment. A podiatrist can help you get rid of those foot blisters once and for all. The journey to healthy feet starts with you!

July 25, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Ankle Sprains  

You've been running on an uneven surface in the local park. Every now and then, your left ankle would twist, but you kept going. Now at ankle sprainhome, that ankle is super sore. Is this an ankle sprain? At Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois, Dr. John Sigle and Dr. Grant Gonzalez treat numerous ankle sprains. While they are fully qualified in reconstructive surgeries, most sprains don't need surgical repair. Read about the signs of ankle sprains and how your Springfield, IL, podiatrist can help.

The anatomy of your ankle

Three bones and three ligaments make up your ankle: the talus bone, the tibia, the fibula, and the fibrous connective tissues which bind them together and allow the foot to move up and down, sideways and in a circular motion. While the ankle is made to be strong, certain stressors can fracture it, or more commonly, sprain it.

The most common kind of ankle sprain comes from sudden twisting movement from side to side. Typically sprains happen when running, stepping off a curb or step, playing basketball, or dancing. This twisting force partially or completely tears the supporting ligaments of the ankle.

Signs of sprains

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society says that 25,000 Americans sprain their ankles every day. How do you recognize a sprain? Here are the signs and symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Limited range of motion and ability to bear weight

Upon visual inspection and X-ray examination of injured ankles, orthopedic physicians and podiatrists grade sprains according to severity. Even the most severe sprains usually do not need surgical repair. However, prompt treatment of any sprain spares the patient long-term problems of ankle instability and limited mobility.

Treating ankle sprains

If you suspect an ankle sprain, call your podiatrist in his Springfield, IL, office right away. Most treatments are simple and involve common sense strategies such as:

  • Rest
  • Ice (20 minutes on and 20 off)
  • Compression with an elastic bandage to limit swelling and provide comfort and support
  • Elevation on a pillow above heart level
  • Stretch and do physical therapy as directed

Sometimes a more severe sprain requires a soft cast or crutches.

Preventing sprains

When you exercise, run, play tennis, and so on, wear well-supporting shoes. Be sure to warm up ahead of strenuous physical activity, and do targeted exercises to strengthen leg muscles. Keep near ideal weight. Finally, don't be sedentary during the week and then exercise super-strenuously on the weekends. Instead, incorporate a moderate amount of physical activity into your daily routine to maintain strength and flexibility and to avoid injury.

Contact us

If you think you have an ankle injury or any problem with the lower extremities, please contact Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois with locations in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville and Sullivan, IL. You'll enjoy precise care in a friendly, patient-centered atmosphere. Call us for an appointment today.

July 05, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: hammertoes  

When most people think about foot deformities they most often think about bunions; however, hammertoes are just as common. This unassuming deformity comes about gradually, so you may not even notice it until it’s too late. “What is a hammertoe?” You might be wondering. A hammertoe affects the middle joint of a toe (often the smaller toes), causing the toe to bend downward. In severe cases, a hammertoe will look almost claw-like.

There are two kinds of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. As you might imagine, a flexible hammertoe is one in which you can still straighten the toe out. If you aren’t able to straighten the affected toe then this is a rigid hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe isn’t as serious as a rigid one; however, it’s important that you take care of your hammertoe to make sure that it doesn’t get worse.

While there is no way to cure a hammertoe there are simple measures you can take to prevent it from progressing. First and foremost, you need to take a look at the shoes you are wearing and make sure that they aren’t too tight. When you slip your feet into your shoes, does it cause your toes to bunch up against one another? If so then this could make your hammertoe worse.

Instead, opt for shoes with an ample toe box, which will allow your toes to wiggle and move around freely. If you have a structural imbalance within the foot this can leave you prone to foot problems such as hammertoes and bunions. To correct this imbalance, talk to your foot doctor about getting custom orthotics (shoe inserts), which can be placed into your shoes to help provide cushioning, support, and shock absorption for your feet.

If pain or stiffness does rear its ugly head you can choose to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, which can tackle both pain and inflammation in one fell swoop, or you can place a towel-wrapped ice pack (never put ice directly on the skin, as it can cause severe burns) over the area for several minutes.

Just as you can buy pads to cover a bunion or callus, you can also buy a non-medicated protective pad to cover over a hammertoe. Since the deformed toe joint juts out this can leave the toe prone to calluses, which can cause pain when wearing shoes. To prevent a callus from forming, you can apply a protective pad over the deformed toe joint before putting on shoes.

Of course, if you are dealing with significant or frequent pain, or if the hammertoe is rigid, then you will want to turn to a podiatric specialist. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the disfigured joint.