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Duncansville (814) 696-3397


pedal
 

July 2019

Your feet are covered a good part of the day. If you are diabetic, periodic screening is important for good health. Numbness is often another sign of diabetic foot and can mask a sore or wound.

Monday, 29 July 2019 00:00

Ligaments and Ankle Sprains

There are several ways ankle sprains can occur. It happens once the supporting ligaments become injured when the ankle is twisted, possibly resulting from stepping off a curb unexpectedly. The symptoms that are often associated with sprained ankles can include pain and discomfort surrounding the affected ankle, and the ankle may appear bruised and swollen. Many patients find it difficult to walk, and may have to use crutches. After a proper diagnosis is performed, which consists of having an X-ray taken, the treatment process can begin. It is important to elevate the ankle, as this may help to reduce any existing swelling. If you feel you have sprained your ankle, please consider scheduling a consultation with a podiatrist who can guide you toward beginning the proper treatment.

Although ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor injuries. If you need your ankle injury looked at, contact Dr. Bert Altmanshofer from Pennsylvania. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains are the result of a tear in the ligaments within the ankle. These injuries may happen when you make a rapid shifting movement while your foot is planted. A less common way to sprain your ankle is when your ankle rolls inward while your foot turns outward.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Pain at the sight of the tear
  • Bruising/Swelling
  • Ankle area is tender to touch
  • In severe cases, may hear/feel something tear
  • Skin discoloration

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

In many cases, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) is used to treat ankle sprains. However, you should see a podiatrist to see which treatment option would work best with your injury. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

It is important to ask your doctor about rehab options after you receive treatment for your injury. Stretching, strength training, and balance exercises may help the ankle heal while also preventing further injury.

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

Read more about Ankle Sprains
Monday, 29 July 2019 00:00

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. These types of injuries are very common and can occur in people of all ages. Sprains may range from mild to severe, depending on how much damage is done to the ligaments. If a sprain goes untreated, a more severe sprain may occur which can further damage the ankle. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle pain.

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering a sprained ankle. Those who participate in sports, walk on uneven surfaces, have a prior ankle injury, are in poor physical condition, or wear improper shoes are more likely to get a sprained ankle.

There are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect you are suffering from a sprained ankle. Some common symptoms are swelling, bruising, tenderness, and instability of the ankle. In cases where the tearing of the ligaments is severe, there may be a “popping” sound when the strain occurs.

The RICE method is proven to be effective in treating ankle sprains. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest is important for treatment especially within the first 24 to 48 hours. You should also ice your sprained ankle for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time. A small piece of cloth should be placed between the ice and the affected area. For the compression step, you should wear a brace that is snug, but not too tight that it cuts off circulation. When choosing a brace, be sure to choose one that is suitable for the type of ankle sprain you have. Lastly, you should elevate your foot above the heart as often as possible.

After you treat a sprain, you should go through rehabilitation to prevent the injury from occurring again. There are three phases to the rehab process. The first phase involves resting, protecting and reducing the swelling of the injury. The second phase consists of restoring the ankles flexibility, range of motion, and strength. The third phase consists of slowly returning to activity and maintenance exercises.

If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and a suitable treatment option for your condition.

Monday, 22 July 2019 00:00

Laser Treatment of Toenail Fungus

If you have toenail fungus, laser treatment may be the answer. Some symptoms of fungal nails include yellow, white, or brown nail discoloration, thickening of the nail or change in texture, change in shape of the nail and any flaky debris that is present under or on the nail. The FDA has approved a few different types of laser devices for the treatment of onychomycosis, which is another name for a fungal nail infection. Some of the laser devices include PinPointe Footlaser, GenesisPlus and Noveon. These laser devices kill off the nail fungus by emitting pulses of energy that impart heat to the infected tissue on the nail. When the fungus on the nail absorbs the heat from the laser treatment, it will begin to die off. While some patients will have success with a single laser treatment, additional treatments can be prescribed depending on the results. This most often depends on the type of laser treatment being utilized. Laser treatment can be a more expensive method, but it also happens to be the most efficient. If you are dealing with toenail fungus and are interested in laser treatment, consult with a podiatrist. 

 

Laser treatment can be an effective way to get rid of toenail fungus. If you have any questions about laser treatment, consult with Dr. Bert Altmanshofer from Pennsylvania. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment for fungal nails.

What Are Toenail Fungal Infections?

Onychomycosis, or fungal infection of the nail, is a relatively common and non-serious condition. Around 10 percent of U.S. citizens are afflicted with fungal nails. Common forms of fungus that infect the nail include dermatophytes, yeasts, and molds.

Symptoms of Toenail Fungal Infections Include:

  • Nail thickening
  • Brittleness of the nail
  • Discoloration of the nail

Diagnosis for Fungal Nails

Fungal infections are diagnosed by fungal culture and microscopy. This will rule out any other conditions such as nail trauma, psoriasis, lichen planus, and onychogryphosis.

What Is Laser Treatment?

Laser treatment is a non-invasive, safe, quick, and painless procedure that uses the heat from a laser to kill fungus in the nail. Each infected nail is targeted with a laser for several minutes. The treatment is usually utilized several different times over a select period. During this time, a podiatrist will keep an eye on the infection.

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

Read more about Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails
Monday, 22 July 2019 00:00

Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails

A new treatment for fungal nails, or onychomycosis, which has grown in popularity in recent years, is laser treatment. Laser treatment involves the use of a laser that kills fungus in the toenail with heat. Laser therapy causes no side effects and does not affect nearby healthy tissue.

Toenail fungus afflicts almost 10 percent of the U.S. population and is more common among the elderly. The most common symptom of toenail fungus is the discoloration and thickening of the nail. The nail can also become brittle and a foul smell may be produced. In rare cases, pain might be present. While it is not a serious condition, it can lead to a perception of disgust amongst those it affects. There are several different fungi that cause fungal infections. These include dermatophyte, yeast, and mold. The most common of these is dermatophyte.

Diagnosis for fungal nails involves a podiatrist utilizing microscopy and fungal cultures. This will allow the doctor to determine whether it is a fungus or another condition, such as lichen planus, psoriasis, nail damage, and onychogryphosis.

Fungus in the nails can be hard to get rid of with over-the-counter drugs. This is due to the nail being hard and protective, with fungus able to slip between the nail bed and plate. Furthermore the slow growth of the nail increases the difficulty of fungus going away. Laser treatment seeks to get around this by directly penetrating through the nail and killing the fungus. The laser is used on each infected nail for a couple of minutes. Patients then typically return several weeks or months later for another laser treatment. During this time the podiatrist will routinely observe the foot and infection. It is also recommended to wear clean socks and shoes and allow the feet to dry and breathe to prevent toenail fungus.

Laser treatment is still a relatively new treatment and not all podiatrists have laser machines. Ask your podiatrist if they do laser treatment for toenail fungus and if it is right for you.

Summer typically brings about a lot more activity in children. The warm weather means they want to spend time outside. Also, many sports start or continue in the summer months, such as basketball, tennis, running and soccer. Adults should be looking out for certain foot injuries in children so they can remain healthy. These injuries include ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, corns and calluses. There are also a few preventative measures to take. You could tape the ankles to help with stability, and make sure the socks absorb moisture. As for shoes, some sports require specific types of shoes, and new footwear may need to be purchased, as children’s feet grow quickly. Children may not complain of pain, because they have not noticed it or they want to continue being active. Thus, adults should be observant of their children’s feet. If you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist.

The health of a child’s feet is vital to their overall well-being. If you have any questions regarding foot health, contact Dr. Bert Altmanshofer of Pennsylvania. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tips for Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

  • Make sure their shoes fit properly
  • Look for any signs of in-toeing or out-toeing
  • Check to see if they have Clubfoot (condition that affects your child’s foot and ankle, twisting the heel and toes inward) which is one of the most common nonmajor birth defects.
  • Lightly cover your baby’s feet (Tight covers may keep your baby from moving their feet freely, and could prevent normal development)
  • Allow your toddler to go shoeless (Shoes can be restricting for a young child’s foot)
  • Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails
  • Keep your child’s foot clean and dry
  • Cover cuts and scrapes. Wash any scratches with soap and water and cover them with a bandage until they’ve healed.

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

Read more about How to Care for Your Child's Feet
Monday, 15 July 2019 00:00

How to Care for Your Child's Feet

It is never normal for a child to experience pain in his or her feet. Foot pain that lasts more than a few days and limits a child’s ability to walk should be examined by a podiatrist. Many adult foot ailments originate in childhood and may be present at birth. Common foot issues that are experienced by children are pediatric flat foot, Sever’s disease, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.

A child’s foot grows rapidly during the first year, allowing it to reach almost half of their adult foot size. Consequently, foot specialists consider the first year to be the most crucial point in the foot development process. There are ways you can help ensure that your child’s foot develops properly. One way is to carefully look at your baby’s feet. If you notice any deformities, you should immediately seek professional care. You should also loosely cover your child’s foot, since tight coverings may prevent movement and inhibit normal development. Another tip is to change the baby’s positioning throughout the day. If your baby lies down in one spot for too long, it may put an excess amount of strain on the feet and legs.

It is best that you try not to force a child to start walking. Children will begin to walk when they are both physically and emotionally capable to do so. You should also avoid comparing your child’s walking progress with other children because the age range for independent walking may range. When your child’s feet begin to develop, you may need to change both their shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for their feet to grow.

Kids are sometimes prone to splinters, cuts, and severe injuries because they tend to walk around barefoot. This also makes them more susceptible to developing plantar warts which is a condition caused by a virus that invades the sole of the foot through breaks in the skin. These ailments can be avoided by making sure your child wears shoes in unsanitary environments. You should also wash any minor cuts or scrapes on your child’s feet. It is a myth that exposure to fresh air will heal injuries; fresh air will only expose your child’s cuts to germs.

As a parent, you should ensure that your child’s feet are developing properly and are being properly maintained. Consequently, it is important that you perform routine inspections on his or her feet to detect any injuries or deformities in their early stages. Early detection and treatment will help to ensure that your child does not develop any serious foot conditions.

Tuesday, 09 July 2019 00:00

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are growths that typically appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of the feet. These warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters the body through breaks in the skin, such as cuts, that are on the bottom of the feet. Plantar warts are more likely to affect children and teenagers, people with weakened immune systems, people who have a history with plantar warts, and people who walk barefoot in environments exposed to a wart-causing virus.

If you suspect you have plantar warts, you may have the following symptoms: pain or tenderness while walking, a lesion that interrupts the ridges in the skin of your foot, small fleshy lesions on the bottom of the foot, or a callus where a wart has grown inward over a well-defined spot on the skin.

HPV causes plantar warts to form and is very common. There are more than 100 kinds of the virus in existence. However, only a few of them cause warts on the feet. The other types of HPV are likely to cause warts on other parts of the body.

If you have plantar warts, your podiatrist may try different treatment methods depending on your specific case. Some treatments for plantar warts are peeling medicines (salicylic acid), freezing medicines (cryotherapy), or surgical procedures. Laser treatments and vaccines are also used to treat plantar warts.

Tuesday, 09 July 2019 00:00

What Are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts are small growths that appear on the heels of the feet. Pressure may make the warts grow inward beneath a thick layer of skin called a callus. Plantar warts are caused by HPV. The HPV virus is able to enter the body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of the feet. Some signs and symptoms of plantar warts include lesions on the bottom of the foot, callused skin where a wart has grown inward and pain or tenderness when walking or standing. Children and teenagers are considered to be the most at risk to get plantar warts.  Although plantar warts are not considered to be a health concern, you should still see a podiatrist in order to have the warts removed.

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. Bert Altmanshofer from Pennsylvania. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

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

Read more about Plantar Warts
Monday, 01 July 2019 00:00

Sever's Disease

Sever’s disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis is a common bone disorder that occurs during childhood. The disease is defined as an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. When a child has a growth spurt, his heel bone grows faster than the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in his leg. This disease is a result of overuse. The people who are most likely to be affected by this disease are children who are in a growth spurt, especially boys who are from the ages of 5 to 13 years old. 60% of children with Sever’s disease have both heels involved.

Symptoms of this disease are heel pain that intensifies during running and jumping activities. The pain is typically localized to the posterior part of the heel. Symptoms may be severe, and they can easily interfere with daily activities. Children who play soccer, baseball, and basketball are more likely to develop Sever’s disease.

Your doctor will diagnose your child based on his or her symptoms, x-rays are generally not helpful in diagnosing this disease. Your doctor may examine both heels and ask your child questions about his or her activity level in sports. Your doctor may then use the squeeze test on your child’s heel to see if there is any pain. Nevertheless, some doctors might still use x-rays to rule out any other issues such as fractures, infections, and tumors.

Sever’s disease can be prevented by maintaining good flexibility while your child is growing. Another prevention method is to wear good-quality shoes that have firm support and a shock-absorbent sole. Sever’s disease can be treated by ceasing any activity that causes heel pain. You should apply ice to the injured heel for 20 minutes 3 times a day. Additionally, orthotics should be used for children who have high arches, flat feet, or bowed legs.

If you suspect your child has Sever’s disease, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist to have his or her foot examined. Your doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain. In more severe cases, your child may need a cast to rest his or her heel. Fortunately, Sever’s disease does not cause long-term foot problems. After treatment, your child should start to feel better within two weeks to two months.

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