What's the best way to take care of diabetic feet? It's vigilance, constantly guarding against serious complications related to wounds, circulation, nerve function and more. At Alexandria Family Podiatry in Sterling, Dr. Richard Lee and Dr. Steven Lin partner with their patients for best continuing care and treatment outcomes.
How diabetes affects your feet
Diabetic neuropathy threatens foot health. High blood sugar levels characteristic of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes reduce a patient's perception of heat, cold, pain, and other sensations controlled by the nervous system. When you combine neuropathy with the impaired circulation and dry skin diabetics experience, wounds and poor wound healing result.
Caring for diabetic feet
A daily care regimen is critical to a diabetic's podiatric health. Your Sterling podiatrists tailor care plans suited to each diabetic patient's needs and risks. However, in general, these guidelines help every person with diabetes stay healthy:
- Wear well-fitting shoes to protect your feet from bruising, laceration and pressure points.
- Alternate pairs of shoes, especially in the hot weather when feet sweat a lot.
- Never go barefoot, even indoors.
- Wear quality, clean socks every day.
- Wash and dry your feet daily. Inspect them for color changes, scratches, bruising, blisters, or other signs of injury.
- Avoid heating pads, hot water bottles, and over the counter heat patches as treatment for pain or cold feet. Carefully test your bath or shower water for temperature.
- Trim your toenails straight across with clean clippers to avoid ingrown toenails. If you cannot do this yourself, your Sterling podiatrist will do it for you.
- Moisturize your feet every day, but don't put lotions or cream between toes.
- Stop all tobacco use as the toxins in smokeless tobacco and cigarettes impair circulation in the extremities.
- If you develop a sore, ingrown toenail, corn, callus, severely cracked skin, or another suspicious change in how your feet look or feel, see your podiatrist right away.
In-office podiatric care is key
The American Podiatric Medical Association says that routine diabetic foot care by an experienced podiatrist decreases the chances of in-hospital care by 24 percent. At Alexandria Family Podiatry in Sterling, VA, Dr. Lee and Dr. Lin and their team will work with you to keep your feet and ankles functional and as healthy as possible. If you're diabetic and it's time for your routine check-up, please call our office for an appointment at one of our convenient locations in either Sterling or Alexandria, VA, at (703) 823-2357.
After finding out you have a bunion, your first question is likely going to be "How can this be treated?" Dr. Richard Lee and Dr. Steven Lin, your podiatrists in Sterling or Alexandria, VA, have many patients at Alexandria Family Podiatry who have asked the same question. Below, they've discussed some of the ways bunions are typically managed.
For mild to moderate bunions, your Sterling or Alexandria podiatrist often recommends wearing splints that can be purchased at most local drugstore chains. Splints hold the toe in a more natural position and gently stretch the soft tissues that have tightened in the area. These devices aren't meant to reverse the bunion, but help to stop it from worsening. Painful bunions often respond well to rest, analgesic medication, and consistent use of shoes that have plenty of room in the toe area. To protect the bunion further, cushioned pads can be applied to the area and worn inside the shoe.
If the solutions above don't provide relief from your bunion, your Sterling or Alexandria podiatrist may prescribe a custom-made orthotic device to be worn inside the shoe; like non-prescription splints, they help to reposition your joints, but with more exact pressure points and cushioning. You may also respond well to physical therapy exercises. A cortisone injection near the affected joint can also help to reduce inflammation and pain.
As with most conditions, surgical correction of bunions is considered a "last resort" if other methods of treatment haven't shown to relieve the problem. There are many different kinds of bunion surgery, but the basic process involves removing the bunion and straightening out the joint. Downtime is often extensive, but many patients see full relief from surgery if they follow the after-care instructions to the letter.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee or Dr. Lin, contact Alexandria Family Podiatry in either Sterling or Alexandria, VA, today!
Find out how to get your heel pain under control.
It’s amazing how quickly heel pain can affect your daily activities. Maybe you were all set to put on those running shoes to enjoy the great weather or you thought you could easily leave the car at home and get some errands done on foot. Of course, if heel pain is happening to you the first thing you want to do is get to the bottom of this issue as soon as possible. Our Alexandria and Sterling, VA, podiatrists, Dr. Richard Lee and Dr. Steven Lin, are here to tell you more about heel pain.
What is causing my heel pain?
There are many reasons why you might be dealing with heel pain, which is why you should turn to a foot doctor in Alexandria and Sterling if you are dealing with heel pain that doesn’t go away or is severe. While the most common cause of heel pain is an inflammatory issue called plantar fasciitis, there are other reasons someone might be dealing with heel pain. Other causes of heel pain include:
- Achilles tendonitis
- A ruptured Achilles tendon
- Heel spur
- Bone tumor
How can I treat my heel pain?
Unless the pain is severe, you have diabetes or a compromised immune system, or the pain doesn’t respond to rest and at-home care, you can easily manage your symptoms on your own. If we’ve told you that your heel pain is due to plantar fasciitis here are some common ways to manage your symptoms:
Ice: Don’t ignore the power of icing your heel. Whenever you are resting your feet it’s a good idea to place an ice pack on the heel (just make sure to wrap a washcloth around the ice pack before placing it onto your foot to prevent burns). You can also freeze a bottle of water and roll it along the arches of socked feet (which are often stiff and sore if you have plantar fasciitis). Ice the heel for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day.
Stretching: It’s important to keep the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the feet feeling limber and flexible. Stretching your feet every day can also help alleviate stiffness and discomfort while also training, rehabbing, and strengthening the soft tissue of the foot to maintain their normal and healthy range of motion.
Footwear: The shoes you wear can support your foot structure or it can negatively impact it. Your feet take on a lot of shock absorption every time you move, so you need the right shoes for the job. With plantar fasciitis, it’s even more important that you have shoes that provide enough support and cushioning for the heels and the arches. Don’t wear shoes that are old and worn out. For cases that don't respond to simple treatments, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT) may be needed.
If you are looking for foot and ankle specialists in Sterling and Alexandria, VA, to provide quality and comprehensive foot care to you or a family member, then you’ve come to the right place. Turn to the experts at Alexandria Family Podiatry today for the care you need.
Dealing with ingrown toenails rather regularly? Find out what’s going on.
You were putting your shoes on when ouch! You noticed that the edge of your big toenail is a bit sore and perhaps even a little swollen and red. You could be dealing with an ingrown toenail. If you find yourself dealing with this issue rather regularly then it may have you wondering what could be going on. Our Alexandria and Sterling, VA, podiatrists Dr. Richard Lee and Dr. Steven Lin are here to tell you more.
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail is when the edge or corner of the toenail grows into the skin. While this can happen to any toenail it most commonly occurs in the big toe. Just looking at the toenail you should be able to see if the corner of the nail is sticking into the skin. Redness, swelling, and discomfort may also result. If there is drainage around the nail or if the skin is warm to the touch, these are signs of infection and you should call our Alexandria and Sterling foot doctors immediately.
What causes an ingrown toenail?
There are many habits that could play into your likelihood of developing an ingrown toenail. Common causes include:
- Damage or trauma to the nail (this is common if you play sports)
- Persistent or severe fungal infections of the toenail (it causes the nail to thicken)
- Improper nail trimming techniques
- Poorly fitted or tight-fitted shoes
You might be wondering how someone could trim toenails incorrectly; after all, it seems a rather easy habit. However, if you trim your toenails too short or if you trim the nails so they are curved then you are increasing your risk for an ingrown toenail. Trim nails straight across and make sure not to cut them too short.
Also, if you are someone who wears high heels a lot, or wears shoes that bunch up your toes and put pressure on them then you may also find yourself dealing with this issue more often. Make sure you are only wearing shoes that have a wide toe box and that don’t put pressure on areas of your feet.
Alexandria Family Podiatry in Sterling and Alexandria, VA, is here to provide your feet with the care they need to look and feel their best. No matter whether you are dealing with ingrown toenails, bunions, or heel pain, our expert team is here for you.
Dealing with a fungal infection in your toenail? Find out how to treat it.
While toenail fungus isn’t really a cause for concern if you are in good health, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore this problem if it happens. In fact, it’s important that you treat the problem as soon as you catch it to prevent it from spreading. Wondering how to treat this fungal infection? Our Sterling and Alexandria, VA podiatrists Dr. Richard Lee and Steven Lin have the answers you want.
There are several ways to treat a toenail fungus. How you treat it will really depend on the severity of the infection and the type of fungus present. Because of this, it’s a good idea to turn to our Sterling and Alexandria foot doctors to determine the best course of action. Here are some of the most common treatment options:
- Over-the-counter topical antifungal medications
- A prescription-strength oral antifungal medication
- Laser fungal treatment
Some people may find over-the-counter topical remedies effective but by and large they aren’t always the most effective. This is because the cream or gel isn’t able to penetrate through the hard enamel layers, which means that it won’t always be able to destroy all of the fungus present. While it might work for some people it’s won’t work well for everyone.
One of the first treatment options that many podiatrists offer is oral antifungal medication because it’s a great way to quickly kill the infection and it definitely offers a better success rate than antifungal creams. While you won’t notice an immediate difference you will notice that as the nail grows out that it grows in clear. Over time the nail will completely grow out healthy and without a trace of infection.
Sometimes a medicated nail polish is also recommended to help kill the infection around certain parts of the nail and skin. This may be prescribed in conjunction with oral medication. This nail polish will be applied and left on the nail for up to a week or more before being removed and reapplied. You may need to apply this medicated polish on the affected toenail for up to one year.
If you are dealing with a more stubborn or severe case of toenail fungus that doesn’t respond to other treatment options then we may advise you to consider laser therapy. During this treatment, the laser will safely and painlessly penetrate the nail to heat up and destroy the fungus living underneath. Again, you won’t notice a clear nail right away but after this treatment, you will see the nail growing out clear over the course of several months.
If you find yourself dealing with persistent or severe fungal infections then it’s time to turn to the experts who can give you the treatment you need. Call Alexandria Family Podiatry in Sterling and Alexandria, VA, today to schedule an appointment with us.
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