Blog

Monday, 23 April 2018 00:00

Is Toenail Fungus Contagious?

If you are experiencing yellow and brittle toenails, you may have what is referred to as a toenail fungus. It is a reasonably common condition affecting millions of Americans and can be uncomfortable and unattractive. Research has shown that this contagious condition is caused by a fungus and may be prevented by wearing appropriate shoes in public showers, pools, and surrounding areas. Additionally, this condition may develop from an injury endured by the toenail or from wearing shoes that fit improperly, often providing inadequate room for the toes to move about. Toenail fungus may affect people who are diabetic, and these individuals must execute accelerated action for proper treatment. Please schedule a consultation with a podiatrist for additional information and proper treatment options for toenail fungus.

For more information about treatment, 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.

Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus is a condition that affects many people and can be especially hard to get rid of. Fortunately, there are several methods to go about treating and avoiding it.

Antifungals &  Deterrence

Oral antifungal medicine has been shown to be effective in many cases. It is important to consult with a podiatrist to determine the proper regiment for you, or potentially explore other options.

Talcum powder – applying powder on the feet and shoes helps keep the feet free of moisture and sweat.

Sandals or open toed shoes – Wearing these will allow air movement and help keep feet dry. They also expose your feet to light, which fungus cannot tolerate. Socks with moisture wicking material also help as well.

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 Toenail Fungus
Monday, 16 April 2018 00:00

What are Orthotics?

Corrective inserts that are designed to be used in shoes are often referred to as orthotics. There are several benefits to using orthotics, including providing comfort, stability, and additional support that the foot may need. They are typically used to correct certain foot abnormalities, including high arches, flat feet, or foot structures that may originate from a predisposed inherited gene. They are generally constructed of materials designed for the specific foot issue, which may be a high arch or specific heel injuries. If you have foot pain, there is a chance that orthotics may work for you. A podiatrist will be able to ascertain if orthotics are needed for your foot condition.

If you are having discomfort in your feet and would like to try orthotics, 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 are Orthotics?

Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain, but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.

Over-the-Counter Inserts

Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct overarched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.

Prescription Orthotics

If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you or if you have a more severe foot concern, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and severe forms of heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.

If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist about the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain-free.

If you have any questions please 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 Orthotics
Monday, 09 April 2018 00:00

What Do Hammertoes Look Like

A condition in which the middle toes are bent facing downward, often appearing as a deformity, is referred to as hammertoe. This condition can be painful and may cause the formation of other conditions such as corns and calluses. Wearing shoes that are too tight is one of the reasons for this ailment to develop, in addition to having a predisposed inherited gene. When the shoes are not fitting properly, the toes become crammed into an area that does not provide adequate room and can produce an altered foot structure. There are several forms of treatments, including taping the foot and toes to relieve uncomfortable pressure, strengthening the foot and toe muscles, or surgery for permanent removal of the hammertoe. It’s suggested to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist to learn about the best treatment options for you.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames from Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please 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 What Are Hammertoes?
Monday, 02 April 2018 00:00

Causes of Heel Spurs

If a tiny bone protrudes from the heel of the foot, you may have what is known as a heel spur. This condition occurs when the portion of tissue that connects the heel to the toes sustains an injury. Early symptoms may consist of swelling, pain, and general discomfort, and these typically occur while walking. Other contributing reasons for this condition can include weight gain or if the wrong shoes are worn. To properly diagnose this condition, an X-ray is typically performed to view the bone protrusion. There are several treatment options available, and these may include properly stretching the calf muscles, losing excess weight, and wearing shoes that fit correctly. It’s advised to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist to receive a proper diagnosis and to learn about the best treatment options for your heel spur.

Heel spurs can be incredibly painful and sometimes may make you unable to participate in physical activities. To get medical care for your heel spurs, contact Dr. Michael T. Hames from Hames Foot Clinic. Our doctor will do everything possible to treat your condition.

Heels Spurs

Heel spurs are formed by calcium deposits on the back of the foot where the heel is. This can also be caused by small fragments of bone breaking off one section of the foot, attaching onto the back of the foot. Heel spurs can also be bone growth on the back of the foot and may grow in the direction of the arch of the foot.

Older individuals usually suffer from heel spurs and pain sometimes intensifies with age. One of the main conditions spurs are related to is plantar fasciitis.

Pain

The pain associated with spurs is often because of weight placed on the feet. When someone is walking, their entire weight is concentrated on the feet. Bone spurs then have the tendency to affect other bones and tissues around the foot. As the pain continues, the feet will become tender and sensitive over time.

Treatments

There are many ways to treat heel spurs. If one is suffering from heel spurs in conjunction with pain, there are several methods for healing. Medication, surgery, and herbal care are some options.

If you have any questions feel free to contact our office located in Florence, Alabama. We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to meet your needs.

Read more about Heel Spurs
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
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