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Brunswick (207) 725-4008
Damariscotta (207) 563-3233
Augusta (207) 620-7273

January 2019

Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Ankle Pain

Pain experienced in the ankle can be caused by a multitude of conditions. While the most common cause is an ankle sprain, other possible problems can include arthritis, gout, ankle instability, ankle fracture, nerve compression, or tendinitis. In more serious cases, ankle pain can be a sign of improper alignment of the foot or an infection.

Ankle pain can often be accompanied by symptoms such as redness, swelling, stiffness and warm in the affected area. Pain can be described differently depending on the condition; short, stabbing pain and a dull ache are some examples. If such symptoms are persistent and do not improve after time, be sure to schedule an appointment with your local podiatrist.

Depending on the condition behind your ankle pain, different treatments may be prescribed by your podiatrist. For ankle sprains, the first step in treatment involves rest, ice, elevation, and compression. Be sure to avoid placing pressure on the ankle, use an ice pack several times a day, and use a compression bandage and elevation to reduce swelling. Other more serious conditions may require the assistance of certain drugs and medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, or even cortisone injections.

Consult with your foot and ankle doctor to best determine the cause of your ankle pain and the appropriate treatment. Depending on the severity of your ankle pain and the condition behind it, recovery from ankle pain may take some time.

Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Ankles

Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects small joints first, but it can move to larger joints, such as ankles. If this condition spreads to the ankles, then it can hinder one’s ability to walk, and cause extreme discomfort. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually come in flares that can last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. These symptoms include inflammation and stiffness in the joints of the ankle. If this goes untreated, then this condition has the potential to permanently change the structure of the ankle joints. Rheumatoid arthritis also breaks down cartilage in the ankle that protects the bones from rubbing together, so this may create friction that will cause further weakness and instability. Oftentimes, people with rheumatoid arthritis in the ankles also experience symptoms in their feet. If you feel that you may have rheumatoid arthritis in either your feet or ankles, then it is strongly recommended that you consult with a podiatrist to receive treatment.

Ankle pain can be caused by a number of problems and may be potentially serious. If you have ankle pain, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foot & Ankle Associates of Maine. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Ankle pain is any condition that causes pain in the ankle. Due to the fact that the ankle consists of tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments, ankle pain can come from a number of different conditions.

Causes

The most common causes of ankle pain include:

  • Types of arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and gout)
  • Ankle sprains
  • Broken ankles
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Stress fractures
  • Bursitis
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis

Symptoms

Symptoms of ankle injury vary based upon the condition. Pain may include general pain and discomfort, swelling, aching, redness, bruising, burning or stabbing sensations, and/or loss of sensation.

Diagnosis

Due to the wide variety of potential causes of ankle pain, podiatrists will utilize a number of different methods to properly diagnose ankle pain. This can include asking for personal and family medical histories and of any recent injuries. Further diagnosis may include sensation tests, a physical examination, and potentially x-rays or other imaging tests.

Treatment

Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are rest, ice packs, keeping pressure off the foot, orthotics and braces, medication for inflammation and pain, and surgery.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Brunswick, Damariscotta, Augusta, ME. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Monday, 21 January 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.

Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

Treating Fungal Nails with Laser Treatment

Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) is one of the most common nail disorders among adults. It is a mycotic infection that occurs underneath the nail plate. The nail can become deformed, lifted, brittle, and discolored. These symptoms may lead to acute pain in the toenail area. There are various types of fungal nail infections and various types of treatments. One form of treatment is laser therapy, which also consists of varying methods. Photodynamic therapy uses light irradiation and a photosensitizing drug to find specific cells and destroy them. Other laser therapies that involve neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet or low-level lasers aim to selectively hinder fungal growth. Laser therapies are selective to the localized infection, which decreases the chance of systemic side effects. If you are interested in laser treatment for a fungal infection, consult with a podiatrist for further guidance.

Laser treatment can be an effective way to get rid of toenail fungus. If you have any questions about laser treatment, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foot & Ankle Associates of Maine. Our doctors 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 one of our offices located in Brunswick, Damariscotta, Augusta, ME. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails
Monday, 14 January 2019 00:00

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition that affects the joint that is just behind the big toe in the area known as the ball of the foot. It is most common in younger people and people who have just begun an exercise program. Since the sesamoid bones are like a pulley controlling the big toe, they can rub against each other and cause a gradual onset of pain. Pain may also be caused by the inflammation of tendons surrounding the bones. If ignored, sesamoiditis can lead to other, more serious problems such as severe irritation and fractures of the bones.

The cause of sesamoiditis is sudden increase in activity. The ball of your foot acts as a springboard to help you lift off when you are jogging or running. Sudden increase in the use of these bones or the tendon that controls them can cause irritation. The tendon then begins to develop inflammation and the joint begins to swell. People with smaller, bonier feet or those with a high arch are typically more susceptible to this condition.

Sesamoiditis is fairly simple to diagnose since the symptoms have a gradual onset rather than a sudden impact. The symptoms begin with slight irritation around the joint shortly after the increase in activity. The discomfort eventually turns to pain with light swelling and possibly redness. Although redness or bruising are rare, this may be a symptom. After each session of exercising, the aggravated joint becomes more irritated and increases into a very intense throbbing.

Treatment for sesamoiditis can vary depending on the severity of the situation. However, treatment is almost always approached in a noninvasive way. For a case that is just beginning the doctor may recommend a very strict rest period that will limit the activity allowed on the joint. If you must be active, a recommendation for as modified shoe or insole, along with bandaging and immobilizing the big toe will be made to ensure that pressure is not placed on the joint. For severe cases, it is typically recommended that the joint and the big toe be completely immobilized to allow adequate time to heal. Ice and an over the counter anti-inflammatory may can help with the pain and discomfort while you are at rest.

When you return to your regular exercise activities, it is recommended that you use an insole that will allow even distribution of impact to your entire foot, rather than just the balls of your foot. This will prevent further aggravation of the injury.

 

Monday, 14 January 2019 00:00

Where Are the Sesamoid Bones Located?

The structure of the foot consists of 26 bones. Two of these bones are referred to as the sesamoid bones, and their location is under the joint of the bottom of the big toe. The condition known as sesamoiditis occurs if these bones should become inflamed and irritated, which may be caused by an injury. Many patients have noticed symptoms that may include pain while standing, or severe discomfort if the toe is pulled in an upward motion. A proper diagnosis is generally necessary in confirming this condition, and this may consist of having an X-ray or MRI performed. There are several forms of effective treatment, including wearing shoes that offer additional cushioning, resting the foot, or using custom orthotics. These methods may provide a portion of the desired relief, and it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist for additional treatment options.

Sesamoiditis is an unpleasant foot condition characterized by pain in the balls of the feet. If you think you’re struggling with sesamoiditis, contact one of our podiatrists of Foot & Ankle Associates of Maine. Our doctors will treat your condition thoroughly and effectively.

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition of the foot that affects the ball of the foot. It is more common in younger people than it is in older people. It can also occur with people who have begun a new exercise program, since their bodies are adjusting to the new physical regimen. Pain may also be caused by the inflammation of tendons surrounding the bones. It is important to seek treatment in its early stages because if you ignore the pain, this condition can lead to more serious problems such as severe irritation and bone fractures.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

  • Sudden increase in activity
  • Increase in physically strenuous movement without a proper warm up or build up
  • Foot structure: those who have smaller, bonier feet or those with a high arch may be more susceptible

Treatment for sesamoiditis is non-invasive and simple. Doctors may recommend a strict rest period where the patient forgoes most physical activity. This will help give the patient time to heal their feet through limited activity. For serious cases, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine a treatment option that will help your specific needs.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Brunswick, Damariscotta, Augusta, ME. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Sesamoiditis
Monday, 07 January 2019 00:00

Treating Heel Pain with Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is one treatment option for plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes heel and foot inflammation and pain. This type of injury is often caused by overworking the feet. Heel pain is most common in people that exercise often, individuals who are overweight, and people whose profession require them to stand for long periods of time.

Heel pain can be caused by a number of problems including ill-fitting shoes, strenuous exercise routines or work hazards. Simple treatment options involve buying new shoes, taking ibuprofen, doing heel and foot exercises, and resting your feet. For severe cases, shockwave therapy can be considered a more viable form of treatment.

Shockwave therapy should be considered for patients that have had unsuccessful treatment or whose heel pain has lasted for more than six months. In shockwave therapy, a device delivers shockwaves to the patient’s body, which jumpstart the body’s repair mechanisms. These mechanisms then begin working more effectively to repair damage done to the heel area.

Shockwave therapy also helps eliminate pain in the heel area. When the body’s natural repair mechanisms are triggered, tissue healing in the body is sped up. This leads to pain reduction after pain transmission nerves are stimulated.

Shockwave therapy eliminates the risk factors associated with surgery, such as the use of anesthetics, and is less invasive. Since this technique also helps improve the body’s natural healing techniques, recovery time should be shorter than surgical procedures.

Discomfort issues can also be a side effect of treatment. Short-term issues normally include skin bruising, minor pain during and after treatment, swelling of the heel, and discolored tissue. However, these side effects of shockwave therapy usually disappear after a few days. The fast recovery time of shockwave therapy makes it easy for patients to return to their daily routines.

Like most types of treatments, surgeries, and medications, shockwave therapy is not for everyone. Potential patients with heart conditions and people with pacemakers should not be considered for this technique. People on certain types of medications, usually medications affecting blood clotting, would be ineligible for shockwave therapy. Children and pregnant women should avoid this treatment option as well.

Overall, shockwave therapy could be a great option for heel pain. It is less invasive than surgery, helps trigger natural healing mechanisms, and should be considered by people who have had long bouts of heel pain or tried conventional treatment options that were unsuccessful.

Monday, 07 January 2019 00:00

The Benefits of Shockwave Therapy

The benefits of using a method that is referred to as shockwave therapy may be experienced as accelerated pain relief and ease in mobility. It is defined as an acoustic energy wave that may provide relief to patients who have chronic foot conditions. It is administered through an applicator that consists of compressed air and is injected into the affected area. It may be effective in improving blood flow to the damaged tissue, in addition to stimulating the formation of new blood vessels. It has been known to reverse chronic inflammation, and this may bring moderate desired relief. If you would like additional information about shockwave therapy, please consult with a podiatrist to see if this type of treatment is correct for you.

Shockwave therapy is a treatment commonly used to treat various injuries and conditions, particularly plantar fasciitis in the feet. To learn more, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foot & Ankle Associates of Maine. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is a new treatment option designed to treat bone conditions such as tennis elbow, shoulder pain, and others. Shockwave therapy uses high intensity sound waves that are directed to the affected tissues of the body with pinpoint accuracy. The effects are very beneficial, leading to a production of collagen fibers, eliminating inflammation.

Who Benefits from Shockwave?

Shockwave is recommended for patients suffering from heel pain and associated problems. Heel pain is a common condition which can be caused by obesity, overexertion, and spending a substantial amount of time on hard floors with your feet exposed and unsupported.

Fast and Easy

The therapy is actually a simple process that can leave patients feeling better the very next day. Shockwave therapy is not as dramatic as it sounds. It enables more blood flow to effected areas, addressing the source of the problem and allowing treatment to last for a long time.

Treatment & Recovery Time

Shockwave treatment will enable your feet to recover quickly. This is especially important since surgery is not required. It is cost effective and does not require the use of anesthesia. This treatment is a better option to surgery, since it is proven safe.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Brunswick, Damariscotta, Augusta, ME. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Treating Heel Pain with Shockwave Therapy
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 00:00

Taking Care of Elderly Feet

Many foot diseases and conditions become more serious and common among the elderly. Some of these conditions include diabetic ulcers, ingrown toenails, fungus, arthritis, corns, and calluses. Unfortunately, it may be harder for older adults to take care of their own feet, but there are some precautions they can take in order to avoid any serious conditions.

Dry, cracked heels tend to be a common problem for older people. In order to avoid this, you should always keep your feet clean and well moisturized. Special feet moisturizers should be used as average lotions might not provide enough moisture for dry and cracked heels. Daily foot inspections are crucial for the elderly to detect any irregularities in their earliest stages. During the aging process, blood circulation tends to slow down causing older people to not feel their feet as well as they used to. This often results in foot problems going unnoticed.

Fungal and bacterial conditions thrive on elderly feet because older adults are less likely to keep their feet clean and dry; this makes it easier for bacteria to take hold in their dry, cracked skin. Elderly people should be sure to thoroughly dry their feet, especially in between the toes, after bathing. This will help them avoid developing any fungal infections. Additionally, clean cotton socks should be worn after the feet are dried.

Cutting toenails straight across will help prevent ingrown toenails. When toenails are cut too lose, the nail might break through the skin resulting in an ingrown nail. Clippers should be used to cut the nails in order to make the cut even.

Elderly people who have diabetes are at risk of developing serious foot problems that may lead to amputation. Ulcers that are left untreated can lead to gangrene. Dry and cracked feet, fungus, and untended cuts under the nails may also lead to infections.

Fortunately, Medicare covers many different types of services for foot care. Elderly people with any of these foot conditions should seek the help of a podiatrist and perform daily foot inspections in order to ensure that they have healthy feet.

Wednesday, 02 January 2019 00:00

How to Manage Elderly Feet

Research has shown that it may be common for elderly people to develop uncomfortable foot conditions as the aging process occurs. It’s important to take proper care of your feet at any age, and this is especially true of the elder population. There are several methods to keep the feet healthy, and these may include incorporating gentle foot exercises and walking for short periods of time into your daily activities. This may aid in keeping the muscles in the feet strong, which can help in maintaining the balance that is necessary to prevent falling. There are several daily routines that can be implemented to keep the feet healthy, and these may include observing your feet daily, which may help in noticing any cuts or bruises, washing your feet every day, in addition to wearing shoes and socks that fit correctly. If you would like additional information about the importance of taking care of elderly feet, please consult with a podiatrist for proper guidance.

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from Foot & Ankle Associates of Maine. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

The Elderly and Their Feet

As we age we start to notice many changes in our body, but the elder population may not notice them right away. Medical conditions may prevent the elderly to take notice of their foot health right away. Poor vision is a lead contributor to not taking action for the elderly.

Common Conditions 

  • Neuropathy – can reduce feeling in the feet and can hide many life-threatening medical conditions.
  • Reduced flexibility – prevents the ability of proper toenail trimming, and foot cleaning. If left untreated, it may lead to further medical issues.
  • Foot sores – amongst the older population can be serious before they are discovered. Some of the problematic conditions they may face are:
  • Gouging toenails affecting nearby toe
  • Shoes that don’t fit properly
  • Pressure sores
  • Loss of circulation in legs & feet
  • Edema & swelling of feet and ankles

Susceptible Infections

Diabetes and poor circulation can cause general loss of sensitivity over the years, turning a simple cut into a serious issue.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Brunswick, Damariscotta, Augusta, ME. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Taking Care of Elderly Feet
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