Blog

Monday, 26 March 2018 00:00

What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

The tarsal tunnel is a canal that exists between the ligaments that spans across the foot and a portion of the ankle bone. The nerves and tendons that are inside this tunnel allow mobility and enable the foot to easily point and flex. If a specific nerve called the tibial nerve inside this canal should become compressed, typically resulting from an injury, this condition is referred to as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Having flat feet is a possible reason for this condition, causing the tibial nerve to become strained. Certain health issues, such as arthritis and diabetes, may also cause the nerve to endure swelling and increased pressure. The nerve must be allowed to heal properly, and this may be accomplished by wearing a brace or supportive shoes. The discomfort that is experienced may be indicative of other foot-related conditions, so it’s advised to consult a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames of Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
- Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
- At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
- The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
- If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

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

Read more about Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Monday, 19 March 2018 00:00

Common Symptoms of Sesamoiditis

If you experience pain under the ball of your foot, you may have a condition that is referred to as sesamoiditis. There are small bones that exist within the sole of the foot, and a possible injury can cause inflammation to the tendons that connect the big toe to these bones. If this should happen, common symptoms may include pain being present while walking and running, in addition to experiencing difficulty standing on tiptoes. The skin typically does not show any signs of being swollen or red because the injured bones and tendons are deep within the foot. It generally stems from beginning any new activity that may involve running and jumping, typically indicative of a new sport. If you feel you are suffering from this ailment, it’s suggested that resting the foot by reducing the activity will be beneficial in promoting healing. Please consider a consultation with a podiatrist for more information about sesamoiditis.

Sesamoiditis is an unpleasant foot condition characterized by pain in the balls of the feet. If think you’re struggling with sesamoiditis, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames of Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor 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 our office located in Florence, Alabama. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Sesamoiditis

Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine believe iberiotoxin, a toxin from the venom of the Indian red scorpion, may be able to treat rheumatoid arthritis because of the benefits it may have. Iberiotoxin has a natural ability to block potassium channels in cells. These cells are active in RA, which may damage joints and prompt immune cells to cause inflammation. This toxin may have little or no side effect, and an added benefit may be that other channels or nerves may not be affected. Knowing all of this information, researchers then tested the toxin on rat models. The results were what they were hoping for. The substance stopped the progression of the disease and improved joint mobility. Their research later went on to be published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist  if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames of Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of feet
  • Joint shift and deformation

Diagnosis

Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.

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

Read more about Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet
Monday, 05 March 2018 00:00

How Stress Fractures Affects Runners

If you’re a disciplined and serious runner, one of the most uncomfortable things that can happen is to endure a stress fracture. This condition is typically frequent among runners, commonly due to the repeated force that’s applied when the foot meets the ground. Runners will often ignore the dull pain when the fracture first occurs, but this will only worsen the condition. There are generally no obvious symptoms for stress fractures, such as bruising or excessive swelling, so obtaining a proper diagnosis may be difficult. Having an MRI performed may possibly be an effective method of determining whether a stress fracture exists, as the pain may be indicative of other ailments that result in similar foot pain. Treatment plans that allow the fracture to heal completely can involve ceasing all running activities temporarily and wearing a walking boot to help with stability. It typically takes 6-8 weeks to completely heal the fracture, and practicing non-impact activities, such as swimming, can aid in the desire for cardiovascular exercise. A consultation with a podiatrist is suggested if you have any questions regarding stress fractures.

Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames from Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.

Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Stress fractures occur in the foot and ankle when muscles in these areas weaken from too much or too little use.  The feet and ankles then lose support when walking or running from the impact of the ground. Since there is no protection, the bones receive the full impact of each step. Stress on the feet can cause cracks to form in the bones, thus creating stress fractures.

What are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures occur frequently in individuals whose daily activities cause great impact on the feet and ankles. Stress factors are most common among:

  • Runners                                  
  • People affected with Osteoporosis
  • Tennis or basketball players
  • Gymnasts
  • High impact workouts

Symptoms

Pain from the fractures occur in the area of the fractures and can be constant or intermittent. It will often cause sharp or dull pain with swelling and tenderness. Engaging in any kind of activity which involves high impact will aggravate pain.

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

Read more about Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle
Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00

How Do Ingrown Toenails Develop?

If you experience pain, swelling, and redness on the side of the toe, you may have an ingrown toenail. The toenail may become infected, which is often indicated by secretion of a yellow or white colored pus oozing from the affected area. Wearing shoes that fit improperly, cutting the toenails incorrectly, and toenail fungus are all possible causes of ingrown toenails. Additionally, if you have incurred an injury to the toe area, you may be susceptible to developing ingrown toenails. Preventive measures may include trimming the toenails straight across, wearing shoes that are comfortable and fit properly with enough room around the toes, and washing and drying the feet thoroughly on a regular basis. A consultation with a podiatrist is advised for proper treatment options for ingrown toenails.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames of Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

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

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
Monday, 19 February 2018 00:00

All About Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis affects more than three million people each year. This ailment typically occurs when the foot’s shock absorbing ligament, also known as the plantar fascia, suffers inflammation or small tears from too much tension or stress. The ligament associated with plantar fasciitis runs across the entire bottom of the foot. However, the pain associated with this condition is usually only located within the center of the heel. Some people do tend to experience pain up into their arch, though. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a variety of occurrences such as jobs that keep people on their feet, stressful exercises, obesity, or wearing shoes with little support. Treatments for plantar fasciitis may include icing your feet, receiving cortisone injections, wearing a specialized boot, and even doing stretches. If you are experiencing any foot pain, an appointment with your podiatrist is highly advised.      

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames  from Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Non-supportive shoes
  • Overpronation
  • Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia

How Can It Be Treated?

  • Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
  • Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
  • Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel

While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.

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

Read more about Plantar Fasciitis
Monday, 12 February 2018 00:00

Staying Active after Foot Surgery

Joseph Jones was a 46 year old active runner, until a pain in his left heel was diagnosed as a bone spur causing him to go through surgery.  During his recovery however, Jones refused to stop living an active lifestyle. Before Jones’ surgery, he had to wear a boot for three weeks.  During these three weeks he performed activities such as stretching, lifting small weights, and doing sit-ups.  After his surgery, Jones continued lifting weights and doing stretching exercises taught to him by his physical therapist.  Aside from the activities Jones thought to do during his injury, other ideas you could partake in are as follows: yoga, exercising while sitting or lying down, using resistance bands, and exercising your legs. It is best to speak with your podiatrist before performing any of these exercises during an injury or before a surgical procedure.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames of Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:

  • Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

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

Read more about Foot Surgery
Monday, 05 February 2018 00:00

A Diabetic’s Guide to Proper Foot Care

Foot problems may become more severe if you are a diabetic, and additional care must be taken to avoid complications. There are several techniques that can be practiced for optimum foot care, including checking the feet daily for any cuts or redness, cutting the toenails correctly, and washing and drying thoroughly between the toes. If the skin becomes hardened, you may consider applying a moisturizer on the top and bottom of the feet which will promote softer skin. Choosing to wear shoes that fit well will not only feel comfortable, but will be beneficial in avoiding conditions that may lead to sores and infections. When buying shoes, it’s important to make sure the toes have adequate room to move around, and choosing a shoe with a lower heel may be helpful to avoid falling. It is of vital importance that daily foot inspections be carried out. Any type of wound, especially one that is not healing, must be addressed with immediate attention. A consultation with a podiatrist is advised to learn about the importance of proper diabetic foot care.

Diabetic foot care is important in preventing foot ailments such as ulcers. If you are suffering from diabetes or have any other concerns about your feet, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames from Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. The condition can damage blood vessels in many parts of the body, especially the feet. Because of this, taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes, and having a podiatrist help monitor your foot health is highly recommended.

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

  • Routinely inspect your feet for bruises or sores.
  • Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels, as blood sugar levels play such a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised.

It is always best to inform your healthcare professional of any concerns you may have regarding your feet, especially for diabetic patients. Early treatment and routine foot examinations are keys to maintaining proper health, especially because severe complications can arise if proper treatment is not applied.

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

Read more about How to Care for Diabetic Foot
Monday, 29 January 2018 00:00

What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

Plantar hyperhidrosis is a disorder in which the feet exhibit excessive sweating. This condition can cause the patient to experience extreme discomfort as well as emotional anxiety and embarrassment. Athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and foot infections may occur as a result of the feet constantly sweating. Hyperhidrosis is often a predisposed inherited condition and typically intensified by ingesting caffeine or eating specific foods. There are several ways to treat this condition, including washing and thoroughly drying the feet, wearing shoes that are made of thin material, and using a foot powder in the shoes. A consultation with a podiatrist is recommended for suggestions on how to make your feet more comfortable if you are affected by hyperhidrosis.

If you are suffering from hyperhidrosis contact Dr. Michael T. Hames of Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

Hyperhidrosis of the Feet

Hyperhidrosis is a rare disorder that can cause people to have excessive sweating of their feet. This can usually occur all on its own without rigorous activity involved. People who suffer from hyperhidrosis may also experience sweaty palms.

Although it is said that sweating is a healthy process meant to cool down the body temperature and to maintain a proper internal temperature, hyperhidrosis may prove to be a huge hindrance on a person’s everyday life.

Plantar hyperhidrosis is considered to be the main form of hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis can refer to sweating that occurs in areas other than the feet or hands and armpits. Often this may be a sign of it being related to another medical condition such as menopause, hyperthyroidism and even Parkinson’s disease.

In order to alleviate this condition, it is important to see your doctor so that they may prescribe the necessary medications so that you can begin to live a normal life again. If this is left untreated, it is said that it will persist throughout an individual’s life.

A last resort approach would be surgery, but it is best to speak with your doctor to find out what may be the best treatment for you.

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

Read more about Hyperhidrosis of the Feet

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel. When this tendon is injured, immediate attention is necessary to encourage proper healing. This injury typically occurs while participating in a sport involving running or jumping and may initially be felt due to a sharp pain in the back of the heel. Symptoms of this condition may include the inability to point and flex the foot, limping, and experiencing significant swelling and pain. Treatment may consist of applying ice packs to the affected area, and it’s advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Occasionally, the leg is put into a cast for proper healing. For severe tears to the Achilles tendon, surgery and a rehabilitation program may be necessary for a complete recovery.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames of Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor can 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

  • Inflammation
  • Dull to severe pain
  • Increased blood flow to the tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

  • 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 located in Florence, Alabama. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What are Achilles Tendon Injuries
Page 3 of 6