Official Blog of Dr. Peter F. Gregory and his Foot Health Team
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.
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.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.