By contactus
January 09, 2012
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Five myths about foot care

From bunions to broken toes, local foot and ankle surgeons have heard it all

Madison, WI   “Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way!”

Old wives’ tales and myths like that example are fun to laugh at. We believed them as children. “Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.” But there are other myths that are no laughing matter, especially when they involve your health.

From bunions to broken toes, the foot and ankle surgeons at Associated Podiatrists LLP have heard it all. The Doctors at Associated Podiatrists LLP treat patients in muliptle cities and towns in Southwest Wisconsin.  They share five myths about foot care and the realities behind them.

Myth: Cutting a notch (a “V”) in a toenail will relieve the pain of ingrown toenails.
Reality: When a toenail is ingrown, the nail curves downward and grows into the skin. Cutting a “V” in the toenail does not affect its growth. New nail growth will continue to curve downward. Cutting a “V” may actually cause more problems and is painful in many cases.

Myth: My foot or ankle can’t be broken if I can walk on it.
Reality: It’s entirely possible to walk on a foot or ankle with a broken bone. -It depends on your threshold for pain, as well as the severity of the injury-But it’s not a smart idea. Walking with a broken bone can cause further damage.

It is crucial to stay off an injured foot until diagnosis by a foot and ankle surgeon. Until then, apply ice and elevate the foot to reduce pain.

Myth: Shoes cause bunions.
Reality: Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types make a person prone to developing a bunion. While wearing shoes that crowd the toes together can, over time, make bunions more painful, shoes themselves do not cause bunions.

Although some treatments can ease the pain of bunions, only surgery can correct the deformity.

Myth: A doctor can’t fix a broken toe.
Reality: Nineteen of the 26 bones in the foot are toe bones.

There are things we can do to make a broken toe heal better and prevent problems later on, like arthritis or toe deformities.

Broken toes that aren’t treated correctly can also make walking and wearing shoes difficult. A foot and ankle surgeon will x-ray the toe to learn more about the fracture. If the broken toe is out of alignment, the surgeon may have to insert a pin, screw or plate to reposition the bone.

Myth: Corns have roots.
Reality: A corn is a small build-up of skin caused by friction. Many corns result from a hammertoe deformity, where the toe knuckle rubs against the shoe. The only way to eliminate these corns is to surgically correct the hammertoe condition.

Unlike a callus, a corn has a central core of hard material. But corns do not have roots. Attempting to cut off a corn or applying medicated corn pads can lead to serious infection or even amputation. A foot and ankle surgeon can safely evaluate and treat corns and the conditions contributing to them.

By contactus
September 10, 2011
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Q & A with Associated Podiatrists, LLP: Bunions

 

Q) What causes bunions?

A) Bunions are caused by a faulty mechanical structure or muscle imbalance in your foot that tends to run in families.  If your parents or grandparents had bunions; that means that you may be predisposed to getting them at some point in your lifetime.

Q) Are bunions caused by tight fitting or poor shoe gear?

A) Not entirely.  Shoes by themselves normally do not cause bunions.  While wearing shoes that crowd the toes together can, over time, make bunions more painful or speed the progression of the deformity, shoes themselves are usually not the sole contributing factor to the development of bunions.

Q) Are there non-surgical treatments available for bunions?

A) Custom orthotics, pads, and splints can ease the pain of bunions and perhaps slow the progression of the bunion.  However, only surgery can correct the alignment of the toe.

Q) When is the right time to have a bunion surgery?

A) When the bunion starts to become painful it is a good idea to see your podiatrist to discuss the options.  The old saying goes: "if it isn't broken, don't fix it."  That is pretty sound advice.  However, if one waits too long to have the bunion corrected, other problems can occur which also need to be fixed surgically and can prolong your recovery.  

Q) Do you, as a podiatrist, perform the surgery for bunions?

A) Podiatrists are skilled surgeons who perform a multitude of foot and ankle surgeries.  Podiatrists are recognized as the authority on bunion surgeries.

Q) What is the recovery time for a bunion procedure?

A) Nowadays, most patients walk the same day of surgery with a special shoe or walking boot.  We rarely need to place the patient in a cast or have them utilize crutches for extended periods of time.  Most patients require about 4 weeks before they can comfortably walk in their normal shoes again. 

Q) What about time off of work after a bunion surgery?

A) If your job allows you to sit for the majority of the day, then you can expect to return to work within about a week but this varies from patient to patient.  If your job requires long periods of standing or walking, then your time off of work may be longer.  Most patients with a job that is very physically demanding go back to work sooner if they can go back with certain restrictions or on "light-duty."

Q) Does bunion surgery hurt?

A) Bunion surgeries require surgically fracturing the bones in order to realign them.  Pain and discomfort will vary from patient to patient.  Most patients tolerate the surgery very well and do not need to take pain medicine regularly for more than a few days.

Q) Do the bunions ever come back?

A) Your podiatrist will evaluate your bunion and will choose the most appropriate type of procedure for you.  Preventing recurrence is crucial in the planning of the surgical procedure.  With the technology and surgical techniques available nowadays the recurrence rate is generally very low.

Q) Where can I go for more information?

A) Make an appointment with your area podiatrist or ask your doctor for a referral.  There are also some great web sites you can visit like FootHealthFacts.org. 

By contactus
September 04, 2011
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Single podiatrist visit: $3.5 billion in US health care savings per year

If every American at risk for developing a diabetic foot ulcer visited a podiatrist once before complications set in, the US health care system could save $3.5 billion in one year. Closing this gap in podiatric care would reduce health care waste on preventable conditions, which reportedly starts at $25 billion, by 14 percent.

This estimation is a projection based on findings from a Thomson Reuters study published in the March/April 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.

The study’s numbers were based upon the American population that has either commercial insurance (116 million) or Medicare (46 million) in the Thomson Reuters MarketScan Research Database. Sponsored by APMA and independently conducted by Thomson Reuters, the study measured the health care records of nearly 500,000 patients with commercial insurance and/or Medicare.

Publication in JAPMA, a peer-reviewed journal, validates these data for legislators, the media and other health care professionals. APMA has created a variety of resources for members to use as they communicate with these and other stakeholders about the study.

Read more: www.apma.org/podiatristvalue





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