Diabetes: Check Your Feet!

017Diabetes: Check Your Feet!

Thomas A. LeBeau

St. Augustine Foot and Ankle

When you have diabetes, you need to examine your feet every day. Be sure to look at all areas of your feet, including your toes. It may be helpful to use a handheld mirror or a magnifying mirror attached to the bathroom wall near the baseboard to inspect your feet. If you can’t see well, have someone else use this Diabetes Foot Checklist to examine your feet for you. Using this Diabetes Foot Checklist helps you remember to examine all areas of your feet.

Diabetes Foot Checklist
Check your feet for: What to do if you notice a problem
Skin color:

·         Red

·         Blue or black

·         Redness could point to irritation from shoes, overheating or other early signs of a problem. Do what you can to discover the cause so you can fix it, such as wearing shoes that fit better.

·         Blue or black areas can mean bruising or blood flow problems. Call your doctor to report them.

Patches where hair is missing Bald patches may mean irritation from shoes or a blood flow problem. Show the areas to your doctor during your next visit.
Blister ·         Try to discover the cause of the blister. Friction or rubbing against your skin causes blisters. You may need new shoes.

·         Do not break the blister or open it yourself. Leave the skin over the blister intact.

·         Cover the blister with a sterile, nonstick dressing and paper tape.

·         Call your doctor if any blister becomes red, oozes, or is not healing after 4 days.

Break in your skin ·         Gently wash the area with mild soap; blot it dry and cover it with a sterile, nonstick dressing.

·         Call your doctor if any break in the skin becomes red, oozes, or is not healing after 4 days.

Note: Examine the underside of your toes and the area between the toes for breaks in the skin.

Calluses (hardened areas of skin) and corns (pressure sores, usually found on or between toes) Show the area to your doctor at your next visit. This is very important.

·         Do not use products sold in drugstores to remove corns, calluses, or other problems.

·         Don’t use a pumice stone on calluses unless your doctor or foot doctor (podiatrist) shows you how to use it properly.

·         No cutting, filing, or anything that may break the skin on your feet.

Peeling skin or tiny blisters between your toes or cracking and oozing of the skin This may be athlete’s foot. Treating athlete’s foot early can prevent serious foot infections. See the topic Athlete’s Foot for more information.

·         To prevent athlete’s foot, wear shower shoes or bathing shoes when you use public showers or pools. Otherwise, keep feet dry.

·         Keep feet clean. Wear clean socks every day.

·         Do not treat athlete’s foot without first seeing your doctor or podiatrist.

Moisture between your toes Dry between your toes well. Moisture between your toes provides a good place for bacteria and fungi to grow, causing infection.
Feelings of numbness, burning, or “pins and needles” If you have new numbness or tingling in your feet that does not go away after changing position, call your foot doctor.
Sore (ulcer) Do not try to treat a foot ulcer at home. Call your foot doctor immediately. If you check your feet regularly, you usually will see a problem before it becomes an ulcer.
Ingrown toenail Do not treat an ingrown toenail at home. Call your foot doctor for an appointment.

With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything we can to help you manage your diabetes and keep your feet healthy. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms in the checklist above or are feeling pain in your foot or lower leg of any kind please come see us as soon as possible. Give us a call to set an appointment at (904) 824-0869 or feel free to email us at info@staugustinefoot.com

Toenail Fungus: Quick Read

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At St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we offer laser treatment for toenail fungus.

Toenail Fungus

Thomas A. LeBeau, DPM

St. Augustine Foot and Ankle

A fungal toenail infection occurs when a fungus attacks the toenail or nail bed. Fungi (plural of fungus) can attack your nails through small cuts in the skin around your nail or through the opening between your nail and nail bed.

If you have a healthy and strong immune system, a fungal toenail infection is not likely to cause serious problems. Instead the fungal toenail may look bad, hurt, or cause permanent damage to your nail or nail bed. A fungal nail infection could lead to more serious problems if you have diabetes or a weak immune system.

Yeasts, molds, and different kinds of fungi can cause fungal nail infections. Most are caused by the same type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot.

Fungi grow best in warm, moist places, and they can spread from person to person. You can get a fungal nail infection from walking barefoot in public showers or pools or by sharing personal items, such as towels and nail clippers. If you have athlete’s foot, the fungus can spread from your skin to your nails.

A nail with a fungal infection may:

Continue reading below…

  • Turn yellow or white.
  • Get thicker.
  • Crumble and split, and it may separate from the skin.

When you have a fungal toenail infection, it can be uncomfortable or even painful to wear shoes, walk, or stand for a long time. The fungus could also spread to other nails or your skin.

At St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will diagnose your fungal nail infection by examining the nail, discussing your health history, and possibly doing tests to look for fungi.

Whether to treat a fungal nail infection is up to you. If it isn’t treated, it won’t go away. It might get worse. At St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we have a number of methods to treat fungal toenails without oral medications. These methods include topical oils and creams in addition to advanced laser treatment. We have a very high success rate in treating fungal toenails. The sooner you get in to us to be treated the more likely and more quickly we can help you get rid of your toenail fungus.

With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything we can to help you overcome a toenail fungus as quickly as possible. If you think you may have a toenail fungus, give us a call to set an appointment at (904) 824-0869 or feel free to email us at info@staugustinefoot.com

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Sever’s Disease

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s Disease

Thomas A. LeBeau

St. Augustine Foot and Ankle

Growing pains may sound like an old wives’ tale. In the case of Sever’s disease, though, your child’s growth spurt can lead to serious pain. It’s not actually a disease but a heel injury.

What Causes It?

During a growth spurt, your child’s heel bone grows faster than the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in her leg. In fact, the heel is one of your child’s first body parts to reach full adult size. When the muscles and tendons can’t grow fast enough to keep up, they are stretched too tight.

If your child is very active, especially if she plays a sport that involves a lot of running and jumping on hard surfaces (such as soccer, basketball, or gymnastics), it can put extra strain on her already overstretched tendons. This leads to swelling and pain at the point where the tendons attach to the growing part of her heel.

How Does It Affect Your Child?

Sever’s disease is more common in boys. They tend to have later growth spurts and typically get the condition between the ages of 10 and 15. In girls, it usually happens between 8 and 13.

Symptoms can include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness in one or both heels
  • Tenderness and tightness in the back of the heel that feels worse when the area is squeezed
  • Heel pain that gets worse after running or jumping, and feels better after rest. The pain may be especially bad at the beginning of a sports season or when wearing hard, stiff shoes like soccer cleats.
  • Trouble walking
  • Walking or running with a limp or on tip toes

How Is It Treated?

The good news is that Sever’s disease doesn’t cause any long-term foot problems. Symptoms typically go away after a few months.

The best treatment is simply rest. Your child will need to stop or cut down on sports until the pain gets better. When she’s well enough to return to her sport, have her build up her playing time gradually.

Your doctor may also recommend:

  • Ice packs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to relieve the pain
  • Supportive shoes and inserts that reduce stress on the heel bone. These can help if your child has another foot problem that aggravates Sever’s disease, such as flat feet or high arches.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises, perhaps with the help of a physical therapist
  • In severe cases, your child may need a cast so her heel is forced to rest.

Can It Be Prevented?

Once your child’s growth spurt ends, and she’s reached full size, her Sever’s disease won’t return. Until then, the condition can happen again if your child stays very active.

Some simple steps can help prevent it. Have your child:

  • Wear supportive, shock-absorbing shoes.
  • Stretch her calves, heels, and hamstrings.
  • Not overdo it. Warn against over-training, and suggest plenty of rest, especially if she begins to feel pain in her heel.
  • Try to avoid lots of running and pounding on hard surfaces.
  • If she’s overweight, help her lose those extra pounds, which can increase pressure on her heels.

With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything we can to help your child with their heel pain and get them back to their regular activity. If you suspect your child has Sever’s disease or heel pain of any kind please give us a call to set an appointment as soon as possible at (904) 824-0869 or feel  free to email us at info@staugustinefoot.com

Broken Toe

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We are here to help with your broken toe.
We are here to help with your broken toe.

 

Broken Toe

Thomas A. LeBeau

St. Augustine Foot and Ankle

What causes a broken toe (fracture), and what are the symptoms?

You may get a broken toe by stubbing it, dropping something on it, or bending it. A hairline crack (stress fracture) may occur after a sudden increase in activity, such as increased running or walking.

Symptoms of a broken toe may include:

  • A snap or pop at the time of the injury.
  • Pain that is worse when the toe is moved or touched.
  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Possible deformity (not just swelling), such as a toe pointing in the wrong direction or that is twisted out of normal position. A dislocated toe can also look deformed.
  • Decreased movement or movement that causes pain.

How is a broken toe diagnosed?

A broken toe is diagnosed through a physical examination. Your health professional will look for swelling, purple or black and blue spots, and tenderness. An X-ray may be needed to determine whether the toe is broken or dislocated.

How is it treated?

Home care after breaking a toe includes applying ice, elevating the foot, and rest. Medical treatment for a broken toe depends on which toe is broken, where in the toe the break is, and the severity of the break. If you do not have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease, your toe can be buddy-taped to your uninjured toe next to it. Protect the skin by putting some soft padding, such as felt or foam, between your toes before you tape them together. Your injured toe may need to be buddy-taped for 2 to 4 weeks to heal. If your injured toe hurts more after buddy taping it, remove the tape.

In rare cases, other treatment may be needed, including:

  • Protecting the toe from additional injury. This may include using splints to stabilize the toe, a short leg cast, or a brace.
    • Surgery, if the break is severe.

Medical treatment is needed more often for a broken big toe than for the other toes. An untreated fracture may cause long-term pain, limited movement, and deformity.

With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything we can to help with your broken toe and get you back to your regular activity. If you suspect you have a broken toe or are feeling pain in your foot or lower leg of any kind please give us a call to set an appointment at (904) 824-0869 or feel free to email us at info@staugustinefoot.com