No More Aggravating Blisters

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Runners, hikers, and even frequent shoppers all have something in common: blisters. These painful little bubbles can affect just about anyone, and often times limit a person’s ability to run and even walk. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid getting blisters, and even if one does form, most blisters do not need a doctor’s attention.

Causes

Blisters form when the connections between different layers of skin breakdown. As a result, the skin layers begin to pull farther and farther apart. Usually, this breakdown of adhesion is caused by continual stretching of the skin as an object holds onto one area. For example, a blister on the back of a person’s heel develops from the shoe pushing tightly to the back of the foot while the heel wants to move up and down. Over time, skin layers will separate. Additionally, moisture, such as sweat, does not cause blisters itself. However, it creates an atmosphere within a shoe that makes the skin slightly more prone to sticking to areas on the shoes and/or socks which, in turn, increases the chances of blister formation.

Preventative Measures

Preventative measures often protect people from blisters by limiting the harsh friction between your skin and shoe. The first idea to keep in mind is avoid wearing new shoes during active times of the day. New shoes tend to be much stiffer, and do not shape to the contours of your foot as effectively. This creates areas on the foot that are not normally adept to intense friction with the insole of the shoe. Another simple step in blister prevention is to wear some type of moisture-controlling socks. As more sweat is absorbed, the foot endures less negative skin stretching causing blisters. Wearing an extra pair of socks can also help as an extra layer of protection. Lastly, using athletic tape to wrap areas that may form blisters, such as toes, balls of feet, and back of heels helps to eliminate skin-to-shoe friction.

Treatments

Even with proper precautions, blisters can still happen. Luckily, they normally only hang around for a few days. If you get a blister, wear shoes as infrequently as possible. Protect the blister with a loose bandage until the body absorbs the fluid in the blister and the blister thoroughly heals. More importantly, do not pop it unless it is large and likely to be irritated further. To pop a blister, wash hands and sterilize a needle by pouring alcohol over it. Poke a small hole in the blister and squeeze the liquid out. Seek out medical attention if the blister pus is white or yellow. This means it is infected. After popping, apply an anti-biotic ointment to the site with a bandage loosely covering the area.

The Final Four and Basketball Injuries

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It has been madness this March. Between bracket-busting upsets and game-winning buzzer beaters, the sport that us Hoosiers know and love brought pure excitement this 2016 NCAA tournament. Now, we have finally reached the Final Four. However, preparation for this road began for the student-athletes many months ago with dedication and hard work. And while not always apparent, this preparation included staying healthy. Playing basketball at such a high level requires eating right, staying fit, and strengthening the body, because just one injury can affect the entire outcome of the tournament.

What is an ankle sprain?

Keeping away from injury in a game like basketball can be extremely difficult. One of the most predominant injuries in the sport is a sprained ankle. As the foot moves beyond the standard degree of rotation, the ligaments attaching to the bones within the ankle are forcefully pulled at a greater length than normal. The severity of a sprained ankle can vary tremendously based on the degree to which the ligament(s) are compromised. An over-stretched ankle may present as minor discomfort while a torn ligament may cause major swelling and extreme tenderness.

 

What are the types of ankle sprains?

The most common ankle sprain is an inversion in which the foot rolls medially as the ankle moves outward. Usually, both the anterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneal fibular ligament are affected on the lateral portion of the ankle region. Second, an eversion injury often times is more severe. The deltoid ligament of the medial side of the ankle can be torn and may result in a fracture of the distal fibula bone. The last and least common ankle sprain is a high ankle sprain. While the foot is planted, the ankle rotates which often completely tears a ligament.

 

What you can do?

Ankle sprains will usually heal themselves with a few simple steps. Primarily, rest is the most important action. Refraining from using your ankle for a few days accelerates the healing process. If the injury caused pain and swelling, ice and elevation helps to decrease the inflammation that slows the healing process. To work most effectively, ice the affected area for 10-20 minutes every couple of hours until the swelling subsides. Furthermore, taking regular doses of anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) and wrapping the ankle in an ACE bandage is also recommended.

 

Although there may not be any Indiana teams left for us to cheer for this weekend, we can still enjoy the best NCAA players competing and admire their health and hard work to reach the Final Four. Whether you are playing basketball or gardening in the warm weather this spring, Dr. Stevens DPM at Indy South Foot & Ankle welcomes anyone who may have questions or needs treatment for their ankle pain.

How the New EPAT Therapy Can Help You

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Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Treatment (EPAT) is an instrument that can help patients with relief from a variety of musculoskeletal pains and injuries. This non-invasive procedure requires only 3-5 treatments that last about 10 minutes. Clinically proven and approved by the FDA, EPAT improves blood circulation, clears damaged tissues, and reinforces the body’s healing process. With essentially no risk factors or side effect, this treatment is a home run!

 

How does EPAT work?

Your clinician rubs the sonicator (about the size of a microphone) to send sonic, acoustic pressure waves into the pain-affected area on the foot. A certain gel will also accompany the instrument to improve the conduction of the sound waves through the skin. This sonication gently ‘damages’ the soft tissue in the immediate area. However, this minimal effect from the treatment does not actually injure you, but rather does just enough damage to induce a healing response in the body. For clarity, a comparable technique to this is simply lifting weights in the gym. During a workout, muscles are forced to exert extreme efforts that may not be initially a healthy process, but signals the body to grow additional muscle mass. For EPAT, the blood vessels, muscles, ligaments, tendons and tissues receive a ‘workout’ that creates an area of cell growth and healing.

 

What is a musculoskeletal injury? Should I receive EPAT?

A musculoskeletal injury corresponds to any issue causing pain or discomfort in the muscles, bones, ligaments, and/or tendons. Although diagnostically, the question of whether something is musculoskeletal problem may be unclear, a majority of all injuries of the foot lie within the category. As a result, EPAT has the miraculous ability to help a wide variety of patients including those with:

  • Ankle, foot, and toe pain
  • Achilles pain
  • Neuromas
  • Bone spurs
  • Overuse of the same area on the foot
  • Trauma
  • Sprains
  • Fractures

 

Your local podiatrist or orthopedic physician will be your best resource for questions regarding your symptoms.

 

Why is EPAT so special?

In addition to serving so many types of injuries, EPAT is a quick, safe, and non-invasive procedure. Often times, the therapy acts as an alternative to surgery. Therefore, you will not have to be put under anesthesia, and are at no risk for scarring, infection, or post-operative issues. Also, after EPAT, you can return to nearly all your daily activities immediately. Within only five weeks, most patients feel complete pain relief! So let’s get you into Indy South Foot & Ankle and get you pain free.

Beat Dry Feet

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Dry, cracked feet can hurt. Bad. Often times we do not even know how our heels became so barrenly unmoisturized. But now, even putting on socks every morning has become a struggle. We are all at risk for cracked soles. This cold wintertime works hard to dry out our feet. Additionally, simple things like age, not drinking enough water, wearing flip-flops, standing for long periods of time everyday, and medical conditions such as diabetes are all influential risk factors.

The simplest treatment is moisturizing your feet with the lotion in your bathroom cabinet twice a day. Unfortunately, basic lotions may not fully work. If not, Dr. Stevens sells two products that are clinically proven and effective. Both Foot Miracle Therapeutic Cream and AMERIGEL Care Lotion moisturizer gives you the hydration your heels need to get you back on your feet.

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Do not forget to take care of your feet while recovering during any treatments. Washing your feet thoroughly daily stops bacteria from growing in any cracks. Wearing socks and comfortable tennis shoes are always a good idea when thinking about the health of your feet. The goal is to eliminate dryness now and keeping it away!

3 Easy Steps to Eliminate Smelly Feet

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The cold weather is finally here during. As we hibernate inside with our families, we warm up by the fireplace, drink some hot coco, and are forced to sit next to our dads’ smelly feet. Yes, we all know someone that can make you cringe when he or she takes off their shoes. However, do you know that preventing stinky feet can be very simple?

Foot odor is caused by pesky bacteria that live on feet and inside of our shoes. Bacteria love dark, damp place, which is why shoes provide for excellent conditions of nutrients and growth. By keeping feet dry and clean, the odor given off by the bacteria can be minimized. Jeffery Stevens DPM advised his patients to follow these three steps each day to keep feet smell-free.

  1. Wear dry-fit or performance-based socks. These type of socks help keep your feet dryer than basic materials. When your feet and shoes do not soak for hours during the day in hot perspiration, bacteria will not grow as efficiently and thus, odor cannot accumulate.
  2. Wash your feet thoroughly. Unfortunately, soapy water on the shower floor is not sufficient enough to get feet squeaky clean. Be sure to scrub your feet and completely dry them afterward to ensure any bacteria have been removed.
  3. Use deodorant and anti-perspirant. There are many brands of shoe and foot deodorant and anti-perspirant. Most importantly, use a spray that can cover your feet and the inside of your shoes both before and after a long day.

 

Spending an extra five minutes a day on these three steps can make you and those around you very happy! If you have any questions, feel free to call us at Indy South Foot & Ankle.

Stopping Those Bumpy Bunions

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Bunions are a common foot deformity that can affect nearly any person. Over time, the bone on the side of the big toe or underneath the second toe can project outside of normal growth creating a bump that may or may not be seen superficially. The bump can even affect the alignment of the joints within the foot. In general, this occurs as an unfortunate defense mechanism of the body to protect your feet from damage when the toes receive consistent pressure. However, bunions can be very painful and cause other complications.

There are two main causes of bunion formation. First, genetics play a pivotal role in who may get bunions. As a result, it affects many people with a family history of the ailment. Secondly, improper shoes that constantly irritate the big toe can cause bunion formation.

Without an X-ray, bunions may be difficult to diagnose. However, there are many symptoms that occur on the side of the big to or underneath the second toe including:

  • Pain on the side of the big toe or underneath the second toe
  • Irritation or redness
  • Limited movement of the big toe
  • Toe calluses
  • Ulcerations (in extreme cases)

Fortunately, bunions can be managed a number of different ways, and surgery is only used after other treatments have been exhausted. Quick fixes are the first course of action by wearing wider, better-fitting shoes and providing extra cushion around the affected area. Often times, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, will reduce pain and irritation. If these techniques fail, Jeffery Stevens, DPM at Indy South Foot & Ankle can help. If surgery is not needed, orthotics will support the foot and align the joints properly. Cortisone injections also can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain to comfortably manage any bunions.

The Colts Woes Continue Due to Ankle Injuries

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The Indianapolis Colts’ have seemed to underachieve during the first half of this NFL season, and ankle injuries are not helping remedy the issues. Professional athletes put extreme amounts of strain on their lower extremities by pushing their bodies to the limit. Additionally, in a physically vicious sport such a football, players suffer from blows to the ankle more commonly than most injuries.

Currently, the Colts have three vital players burdened from ankle ailments. On October 25, Phillip Dorsett fractured his ankle after being tackled by a New Orleans Saints’ player. When healthy, Dorsett has been a major part of the Colts’ passing attack this season averaging over 15 yards per catch. Fortunately, damage around the bone fracture was limited, so he is expected to recover from his surgery in about four weeks.

The Colts’ top receiver, T.Y. Hilton suffered from an ankle sprain last week versus the Carolina Panthers. In general, sprains are tricky injuries because ice to reduce inflammation and rest from further irritation is the best course for treatment. As a result, sprained ankles have cloudy recovery timetables, and Indianapolis fans may or may not see Hilton on the field this Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Lastly, even Andrew Luck has joined the plague of ankle injuries. Although it does not seem too problematic, Luck was limited in practice on Wednesday. Let’s all hope that these injured players make complete recoveries, and that Indiana’s team stays healthy.

As it is football season, Indy South Foot and Ankle wishes all athletes, young and old, to stay injury-free this season. When practicing or playing in games, be sure to take the proper precautions by wearing appropriate shoes and protection. Most importantly, tell your coaches or team doctors about any uncommon pains or discomforts before the affected area worsens.

Dr. Jeffery Stevens always has open doors about answering questions regarding sports injuries. Do not hesitate to call us at Indy South Foot and Ankle so Dr. Stevens can get you quickly and safely back on the field.

Have Pain? Custom-Fit Orthotics May Be Able To Help

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What are orthotics?

Custom-fit orthotics are shoe inserts prescribed by physicians that help remedy a variety of pains and conditions. In the office, a doctor or nurse wraps a caste mold around a person’s feet in a way that gives a proper outlining and size of the patient’s heel, arch, and toes. Because each foot is unique, this mold will create an orthotic that perfectly fits the identity of one’s foot. The goal is to give support to each area and also absorb shock, relieve pressure, and improve balance.

Why do people need orthotics?

Often times under-appreciated, our feet happen to be one of the most important parts of the body. The foot is our foundation used daily whenever we walk, run, stand, and dance. Each person, although, uses their feet differently in activities and even in the way they walk. Orthotics can help make certain adjustments for comfort by aligning the foot and ankle or correct foot anomalies.

How do I know if I should be wearing orthotics?

A licensed podiatrist or orthopedic physician is the best source for determining who should wear orthotics. They base their decisions on numerous characteristics and symptoms. In general though, people who suffer from the following my be in need of orthotics:

  • Flat feet
  • High-arched feet
  • Bunions
  • Hammer toes
  • Chronic foot pain after exercise
  • Feet pointing too far inward or outward when walking
  • Chronic heel, knee, and/or lower back pain
  • Tendency to get blisters
  • Plantar faciitis
  • Abnormal lower limb length

 

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Why should I pay for orthotics?

Orthotics can often times be pricey without 100% certainty of curing an ailment. However, their effectiveness usually overshadows the prices. Orthotics have been proven to relieve chronic pain and abnormalities in day to day life, allowing you to be more active and more comfortable. Doctors prescribe them as a conservative method to avoid having to preform expensive surgery with a long recovery time. Additionally, professional orthotics last years, unlike many unfitted, over-the-counter products.

Dr. Stevens at Indy South Foot and Ankle prescribes orthotics on a weekly basis for his patients. If you suffer from any of these conditions, he strives to answer any questions or concerns that you may have about your feet.

Simple Steps For Diabetics to Keep Healthy Feet

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Most Americans are affected by diabetes in some way. You, a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance may be battling this disease. Unfortunately, diabetes also puts people at high risk for medial ailments in peripheral body parts, especially in the feet due to a condition called peripheral neuropathy (PN). This decreases the sensation in a person’s feet and lower legs from improper afferent nerve function. Since nearly 50% of those with type 2 diabetes suffer from PN, people with diabetes often have difficulties feeling their own foot injuries.

When injury goes unnoticed, even small cuts and sores can lead to infections that are detrimental to one’s health. Luckily though, proper personal care such as daily examinations and simple precautions will exponentially increase the preventative power of foot ailments. Below are quick steps that you can take in your everyday life.

  • Inspect your feet daily. Examine both the top and bottom of your feet for any cuts, bruises, blisters, swelling, redness, and dry skin cracking. Diabetes often impedes a person from feeling these symptoms and catching them early is the best way to ensure infections will not grow.
  • Wash regularly. Squeaky clean feet prevent dirt and sweat from building into true predicaments. Be sure to use lukewarm water, as extreme temperatures can damage skin and affect blood circulation. Also, washing with mild soaps and applying lotion post-bath act as defenses against illness.
  • Exercise (using caution!). Physical activity can always be beneficial to whole body health. When doing so as a person with diabetes, wearing comfortable shoes that fit correctly- not too tight- is essential. If you do have open sores, blisters, or cuts, wait to exercise until the injuries have been healed.
  • Proper footwear. Always wear socks and shoes – they are your shields from a world of harm. Thus, avoid open toe and heel shoes. Furthermore, wear clean and dry socks that are not tightly fit elastic. Tight socks and shoes may cut off circulation to your feet.
  • Proper nail care. Allowing a professional to care for your toenail is the best option. Do not be afraid to ask your podiatrist to cut nails, cuticles, etc. If you do prefer to take action yourself, cut toenail after bathing when they are soft and avoid cutting the skin and cuticles.
  • Talk to your podiatrist. Regular check-ups give patients the best chance to prevent irreversible harm to their feet. If blisters or swelling are noticed during your daily inspections, make an appointment for further care.

 

Here at Indy South Foot and Ankle, we provide care for a large number of diabetic patients. Dr. Stevens urges his patients to take all of the proper precautions, and often times he advises patients to wear specialized diabetic shoes and socks which are sold in the office to ensure total foot health.

Get Back up on Clean Feet – Fungal Nail Laser Treatment

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In the heat of this summer, we all want to wear comfortable sandals and let our toes wiggle in the beautiful sunlight. However, you may feel uncomfortable looking down at your feet in open flip-flops. Although toenail fungus sounds distasteful, and maybe even appalling, the condition affects over 11 million Americans a year. You are not alone in this battle to have great-looking feet.

 

What is Toenail Fungus?

This condition is an infection that grows in the cracks of your nails or cuts in the skin. Different types of fungi will affect different parts of the nail and can have various symptoms. In general, though, the infection discolors the nail with a grimy, yellowish tint and causes an irregular thickening of the nail. Tenderness or pain may or may not be a symptom. As the fungus grows, it begins to build up enough pressure to loosen and even detach the nail from the toe itself. Additionally, toenail fungus does not cover a toe overnight. Like most ailments, it’s best to catch it early, so be cautious of a discoloration around the corners of your toe.

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

Those pesky fungi love warm, dark, and moist places which makes your feet prime targets. One can encounter a fungus just about anywhere but communal places with water such as swimming pools, lakes, and public showers are common homes for these creatures. Age also increases your risk, and being over 65 doubles your chances. Lastly, being a runner with tight fitting, sweaty shoes make you more susceptible, especially people who have underlying conditions such as athlete’s foot. Once a fungus infiltrates the toenail, it slowly grows underneath the nail and often times will spread to other toes.

How Do Doctors Diagnose it?

Because many ailments alter toenail color and shape, fungus can be difficult to diagnose by a simple physical examination. Based on severity and other factors, doctors can either determine fungal growth non-invasively in the office or send a small sample of the nail to a lab that uses methods to detect non-human DNA fragments.

How Can Toenail Fungus be Treated?

The medical market provides various simple remedies such as topical creams and anti-fungal prescription pills that fight the infections that can help, especially during the early stages of growth. The problems of side effects and non-specific treatment remain, however, causing the fungus to overcome the healing process and reoccur after discontinued usage. The entire affected toenail(s) can also be removed with surgery which involves post-operational recovery time and risks that not all the infection was completely removed. As a favorable alternative, laser treatment provides a cornerstone between new medical technologies, simplicity, and painlessness with very limited restrictions on same-day activities. During the process, a laser of specific energy is safely pointed toward the affected area. The fungi absorb this energy and perish as a result. Though side effects may induce the loss of the toenail, studies have shown that this method should completely rid the nail of the infection and significantly increase the chances that it regrows fully healthy Overall, only 1 to 3 laser treatments are needed and the procedure lasts about 15 minutes.

How Can I Find Out More Information?

Dr. Stevens welcomes anyone with questions into the Indy South Foot and Ankle office. When talking to him, any of your questions regarding foot health and care will be answered. If a patient does need laser treatment, our office has the ability to preform the procedure every few months at an affordable cost. Furthermore, Indy South Foot and Ankle is offering a special deal! If you like us on Facebook (Indy South Foot & Ankle) and/or follow us on Twitter (@Indy_South_Foot), you will receive 50% off of a treatment on August 11th – savings up to $300!

Together, we will conquer toenail fungus and get you confidently wearing sandals again.

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