Official Blog of Dr. Peter F. Gregory and his Foot Health Team
The Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. helps patients overcome foot issues daily. Many common foot ailments that can be a breeze to treat for some people can cause a huge pain in the foot for diabetic patients. If you have diabetes, here are a few common issues to look out for:
Foot Ulcers -- Ulcers are cracks or sores that go deep into the skin of your foot. For someone with diabetes, an ulcer can start out as a mild blister from a shoe rubbing on your toes or a small cut on your foot. Untreated ulcers can grow to become serious infections, which can need surgery.
Blisters -- For diabetic patients, blisters can become a serious concern. If left untreated, they can lead to a nasty infection. If you notice a blister forming on your foot, call your podiatrist, and never pop it open.
Neuropathy -- High levels of glucose in your body can leave the nerves in your extremities damaged, leading to a lack of sensation in your feet. This doesn’t directly cause pain, but can make it difficult to notice a blister, wound, or crack on your foot. These blemishes can be serious if left untreated.
Fungal Nails -- Circulation issues and diabetes often go hand-in-hand. This makes fungal nails more difficult to treat and potentially more problematic. If topical solutions don’t rid your toenails of fungus, your podiatrist can help prescribe a regimen of oral medication.
Athlete’s Foot -- Dry skin associated with diabetes can leave your skin more prone to bacteria. Even tiny cracks can make athlete’s foot difficult to treat for a diabetic patient. Chat with your podiatrist for a solid solution to stop this infection.
If you notice a bump on the side of your big toe, you may have what is referred to as a bunion. It may cause pain and discomfort, and it may be difficult to wear shoes that are typically worn on a weekly basis. Some of the symptoms that are generally associated with this condition can include calluses that form on top of the bunion, pain and swelling surrounding the affected area, and the skin may feel sore. Bunions have been known to be caused by wearing shoes that do not have ample room for the toes to move freely in. Additionally, there may be existing medical conditions such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis that can contribute to this condition. If you have developed a bunion, it is advised that you consult with a podiatrist who can offer you proper treatment options.
If you are suffering from bunions, contact the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory D.P.M. at 734-522-7676. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is a Bunion?
A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.
Why Do Bunions Form?
Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary
Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions
How Are Bunions Diagnosed?
Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.
How Are Bunions Treated?
- Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
- Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
- Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
- Orthotics or foot inserts
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. at 734-522-7676. We offer care for all of your foot care needs
Listen to Your Feet! Symptoms of Heart Disease and Other Health Conditions
If you have foot pain or other unusual sensations such as numbness in your feet or toes, or if you notice changes in the appearance of your feet, you may not be experiencing a foot-related disease or injury. Why? Because your feet are often the first place where symptoms of other health conditions can appear.
Can Feet Show Symptoms of Heart Disease?
Now is the perfect time to consider atypical symptoms that may signal heart disease.
Some of these signs of heart disease appear in the feet first!
• Hair loss on your toes may signal peripheral arterial disease, also known as PAD. This condition restricts blood in the leg’s arteries which can result in heart disease. • Cold feet can also be a sign of PAD as well as thyroid dysfunction. If poor circulation has you suffering cold hands and feet, talk to your doctor.
Signs of Other Conditions that Appear in the Feet
• A persistent wound or open sore on your foot that isn’t healing may be a sign of diabetes. An untreated ulcer on the bottom of your foot may lead to an amputation. • Peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage beginning in the feet, is another sign of diabetes that causes numbness or a feeling of “pins and needles.” Please come see us promptly if you have any numbness in your feet. • If you notice that a toenail has begun to change color, thicken or separate from the skin, you may have a fungal infection. Those with autoimmune diseases or individuals taking medications such as corticosteroids are at a higher risk of fungal nail infections. • Gout is a type of arthritis and the first symptom may be a painful, enlarged big toe. This arthritis causes excess uric acid to build up, forming a painful crystal in the joint. • Psoriasis, a common skin condition, or psoriatic arthritis can cause your toenails to look pitted or to develop horizontal lines, or to appear discolored, crumbling or thickening. • Chronic iron deficiency or anemia can cause your toenails to look sunken or have spoon-like indentations. • Raynaud’s disease is a disorder of the blood vessels that cause toes and fingers to become numb and turn blue / purple when exposed to colder temperatures.
You can see that many of these diseases and conditions are serious health issues. If you experience any of these symptoms in your feet or toes, be sure to give the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. a call at 734-522-7676.
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.
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