Official Blog of Dr. Peter F. Gregory and his Foot Health Team
What are Sweaty Feet?
Excessive sweating of the feet is called hyperhidrosis. It’s more common in men than in women, and more common in young adults than older adults.
People whose feet sweat excessively often also have problems with excessive sweating of the palms. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, 3 percent of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis.
Excessive sweating of the feet seems to be an inherited problem. No one knows exactly why it occurs, but people who sweat excessively seem to have a different “set point” than other people. Most people sweat when it’s hot out, or when they become warm. People with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively almost all the time.
The most obvious symptom of hyperhidrosis is feet that sweat excessively. Some people sweat so much that their feet may slip around inside their shoes.
The feet may also have a whitish, wet appearance; sometimes, foot infections are present as well. (Constant wetness breaks down the skin, allowing infection to set in.) Foot odor is common.
Those suffering from hyperhidrosis may also experience emotional stress and worry regarding foot odor. Sweat-related anxiety and isolation can be particularly severe among teens with plantar hyperhidrosis.
Good foot hygiene is essential. Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap; be sure to wash between the toes. Dry the feet thoroughly, then apply cornstarch, foot powder, or an antifungal powder to your feet. Wear wicking socks made of natural or acrylic fiber blends that draw the moisture away from your feet instead of trapping it. Some synthetic blends are designed to wick moisture away from the skin and work best to keep the feet dry. One hundred percent cotton socks absorb moisture but do not wick it away from the skin and frequently lead to blisters, so they should be avoided.
It’s also a good idea to change socks during the day. Stash an extra pair of socks at school or at work, and change socks mid-way through the day. Wear shoes that are made of breathable materials.
A technique called iontophoresis, which uses water to conduct a mild electrical current through the skin, has been found helpful for people with sweaty feet. People can purchase iontophoresis machines for at-home use.
When to Visit a Podiatrist
If your feet sweat excessively, see a podiatrist. According to the US National Library of Medicine, less than 40 percent of people with excessive sweating seek medical care. A podiatrist can help you control this embarrassing condition. Patients who talk to their podiatrists about plantar excessive sweating may also have concerns regarding extreme sweating elsewhere – such as in their underarms, on their palms, or on their face or scalp.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Most often, excessive sweating of the feet is diagnosed based on your reporting of symptoms and a physical exam of the feet. A podiatrist can also do a starch-iodine test to confirm the diagnosis. First, an iodine solution is applied to the bottom of the feet. After the solution has dried, cornstarch is sprinkled over the area. The treated area turns dark blue if excessive sweat is present.
Treatment options are tailored to your symptoms. Over-the-counter or prescription roll-on antiperspirants may be applied directly to the feet. Botox injections can temporarily control excessive sweating of the feet. (The effect generally lasts for about six to nine months.) Oral prescription medications, often anticholinergics, can be used. Severe cases of sweaty feet may be treated with a surgical procedure called a sympathectomy, which interrupts the nerve signals that tell the body to sweat excessively.
Good foot hygiene can prevent foot odor and foot infections, two common side effects of sweaty feet.
For help contact the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. at 734-522-7676.
What is a sprained ankle?
An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments supporting your ankle tear. An ankle sprain can be mild or severe, depending on which ligaments you damage and how critically you harmed them.
Even after minor sprains, you may have an increased risk of re-injuring your ankle. If you repeatedly sprain the same ankle, you may develop arthritis, balance issues, or even chronic pain.
Sometimes, you can recover from a sprained ankle by resting it. However, if you’re experiencing severe pain, swelling, or the inability to walk or put weight on your foot, it’s critical to have it assessed by a foot and ankle professional like the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M.
What causes a sprained ankle?
Ankle sprains occur when your ankle twists or is forced out of its normal position, typically by a fall. You can sprain your ankle doing everyday activities, and this injury is common among those who engage in sports or athletics.
Other common ways you can sprain your ankle include:
- Tripping or falling down
- Walking on an uneven surface
- Wearing unsupportive shoes
How is a sprained ankle treated?
Dr. Gregory can diagnose an ankle sprain with a physical examination, which may include palpating the ankle to find the injured ligaments. He may gently move your ankle in different directions to determine your range of motion.
Dr. Gregory may also order an X-ray or MRI of your foot and ankle to ensure you didn’t fracture or break any bones.
After determining the location of your sprain, he designs a treatment plan that usually includes:
- Elevation of your foot
- Physical therapy exercises
How long does it take an ankle sprain to heal?
Ankle sprains can take 4-12 weeks to heal, depending on the severity. You may need crutches to help you stay off your feet for a while, and Dr. Gregory may advise ice therapy to reduce swelling.
With proper attention to your treatment plan, you’ll be healed and back on your feet as soon as possible.
If you suspect you have a sprained ankle, book an appointment with the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. today by calling our Livonia office at 734-522-7676.
Our bones are important parts of our body, and they are constantly changing and enduring stress. When stress from repetitive loads prevent the bone from being able to repair itself, cracks may begin to form. These cracks can develop into stress fractures, or cracks in the bone that result from repetitive force and/or overuse.
The most common cause of a stress fractures is a sudden increase in the intensity and duration of physical activity. For example, if you begin to run long distances without working your way into doing so, you will be more likely to develop a stress fracture.
Common symptoms of stress fractures include pain and swelling near the weight bearing area on the injured bone. When initial X-rays are performed, it is possible that the fracture will not appear. However, once the stress on the area continues, the damage will increase, and the fracture will eventually be severe enough to show up on an X-ray. Certain parts of the foot are more likely to develop stress fractures than others. Areas that are more likely to develop stress fractures include the metatarsals, the navicular bone, the calcaneus, tibia, and fibula.
Since women are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, they are twice as likely as men to sustain a stress fracture. In addition, old age causes a decrease in bone mineral density, which is why elderly people are also likely to develop these fractures.
It is important to be properly diagnosed for a stress fracture because there are other injuries that can easily be mistaken for a fracture. Sprains, strains, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Morton’s neuroma can all easily be mistaken for stress fractures in the foot. Dr. Gregory will likely ask you a series of questions to determine what type of pain you are experiencing. These questions will help Dr. Gregory identify whether you have a stress fracture or if it is something else.
The best method of treatment for a stress fracture is rest. A walking boot, cast, or crutches may also help limit movement to the area that is injured. The typical healing time for stress fractures is 4-12 weeks; this depends, however, on which bone is involved as well as the age and health of the individual patient.
The Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. is here to help. Call 734-522-7676 for a convenient appointment.
The Achilles tendon is located in the back of the calf, and its purpose is to connect the heel bone to the calf muscles. While anyone can injure their Achilles tendon, it is said people that frequently participate in sporting activities like basketball or tennis, may be at a higher risk due to constant stopping and sharp turns. When the tendon stretches too far, it can rupture or tear. This can cause considerable pain and discomfort, and daily activities may be difficult to complete. Some of the symptoms that are often associated with this injury can include difficulty in standing on toes, walking up steps, and some patients may notice the back of the ankle is bruised or swollen. It can help to ease the pain by elevating the affected ankle as often as possible, as this may help to reduce swelling. Treatment can include wearing a brace or splint, which may help to stabilize the foot. If you feel you have injured your Achilles tendon, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can guide you towards the best treatment options.
Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. to provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.
What Are the symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?
There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.
Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms
- Dull to severe pain
- Increased blood flow to the tendon
- Thickening of the tendon
- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
- Total immobility
Treatment and Prevention
Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:
- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office at 734-522-7676. We are located in Livonia, Michigan.
What Are Skin Cancers of the Feet?
Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, including in the lower extremities. Skin cancers of the feet have several features in common. Most are painless, and often there is a history of recurrent cracking, bleeding, or ulceration. Frequently, individuals discover their skin cancer after unrelated ailments near the affected site.
We often view the sun's harmful rays as the primary cause of skin cancer; the condition is often found on parts of the body that receive the most sun exposure. Skin cancers of the feet, however, are more often related to viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, or inherited traits. Unfortunately, the skin of the feet is often overlooked during routine medical examinations, and for this reason, it important that the feet are checked regularly for abnormalities that might indicate evolving skin cancer.
Types and Symptoms
Some of the most common cancers of the feet are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma: Basal cell carcinoma frequently is seen on sun-exposed skin surfaces. With feet being significantly less exposed to the sun, it occurs there less often. This form of skin cancer is one of the least aggressive cancers in the body. It will cause local damage but only rarely spreads beyond the skin. Basal cell cancers may appear as pearly white bumps or patches that may ooze or crust and look like an open sore. On the skin of the lower legs and feet, basal cell cancers often resemble non-cancerous skin tumors or benign ulcers.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer on the skin of the feet. Most types of early squamous cell carcinoma are confined to the skin and do not spread. However, when advanced, some can become more aggressive and spread throughout the body. This form of cancer often begins as a small scaly bump or plaque, which may appear inflamed. Sometimes there is a history of recurrent cracking or bleeding. Occasionally it begins as a hard projecting callus-like lesion. Though squamous cell cancer is painless, it may be itchy. Squamous cell cancer may resemble a plantar wart, a fungal infection, eczema, an ulcer, or other common skin conditions of the foot.
Malignant Melanoma: Malignant melanoma is one of the deadliest skin cancers known. Non-surgical treatments are rarely effective, and many remain experimental. This type of skin cancer must be detected very early to ensure patient survival. Melanomas may occur on the skin of the feet and on occasion beneath a toenail. They are found both on the soles and on the top of the feet. As a melanoma grows and extends deeper into the skin, it becomes more serious and may spread through the body through the lymphatics and blood vessels.
Malignant melanoma has many potential appearances, leading to its nickname, “The Great Masquerader.” This skin cancer commonly begins as a small brown-black spot or bump; however, roughly one third of cases lack brown pigment and thus appear pink or red. These tumors may resemble common moles; however, close inspection will usually demonstrate asymmetry, irregular borders, alterations in color, and/or a diameter greater than 6 mm. Melanomas may resemble benign moles, blood blisters, ingrown nails, plantar warts, ulcers caused by poor circulation, foreign bodies, or bruises.
When to Visit a Podiatrist
Podiatrists are uniquely trained as lower extremity specialists to recognize and treat abnormal conditions on the skin of the lower legs and feet. Skin cancers affecting the feet may have a very different appearance from those arising on the rest of the body. For this reason, a podiatrist's knowledge and clinical training is of extreme importance for patients for the early detection of both benign and malignant skin tumors.
Learn the ABCDs of melanoma. If you notice a mole, bump, or patch on the skin that meets any of the following criteria, see a podiatrist immediately:
- Asymmetry - If the lesion is divided in half, the sides don't match.
- Borders - Borders look scalloped, uneven, or ragged.
- Color - There may be more than one color. These colors may have an uneven distribution.
- Diameter – The lesion is wider than a pencil eraser (greater than 6 mm).
To detect other types of skin cancer, look for spontaneous ulcers and non-healing sores, bumps that crack or bleed, nodules with rolled or “donut-shaped” edges, or scaly areas.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your podiatrist will investigate the possibility of skin cancer both through a clinical examination and with the use of a skin biopsy. A skin biopsy is a simple procedure in which a small sample of the skin lesion is obtained and sent to a specialized laboratory where a skin pathologist will examine the tissue in greater detail. If a lesion is determined to be cancerous, your podiatrist will recommend the best course of treatment for your condition.
Prevention of skin cancer on the feet and ankles is similar to any other body part. Limit sun exposure, and make sure to apply appropriate sunscreen when you are outdoors and your feet and ankles are exposed. If you have any questions or concerns regarding skin cancers on your feet please contact the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. 734-522-7676. We are here to help.
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