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Stephan J. LaPointe, DPM, PhD, FACFAS

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Blog

Tuesday, 27 September 2022 00:00

Severe Pain Can Accompany Gout

The pain from the foot condition known as gout is often worse during the night. Patients are often awakened by swollen joints in the big toe that can become red and inflamed. This extremely painful ailment, a type of arthritis, can cause an inability to walk, and crawling up the steps is not uncommon in severe cases. Gout can happen as a result of genetic reasons, or from eating foods that have high levels of purines. Foods in this category include shellfish, red meat, and drinks that are made with large amounts of sugar. These types of foods produce excess uric acid, which forms into crystals that can lodge in the joints of the big toe. There are methods that can be implemented that may help to diminish some of the pain of gout. Among them are drinking plenty of water, frequently elevating the affected foot, and eliminating the foods that can cause this condition. Gout can be recurring, so it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can help you to manage this ailment and provide you with proper relief tactics.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe from Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Gout
Tuesday, 20 September 2022 00:00

Why Do Bunions Develop?

There are some people who refer to bunions as a bone disorder. This foot condition is the result of a foot structure abnormality, and can be caused by genetic factors. Additionally, patients who choose to wear shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in may notice a bunion is developing. It is defined as a bony protrusion on the side of the big toe, and in severe cases, may be large enough to shift the other toes toward each other. There may be existing medical conditions that may lead to getting a bunion. These can include having a low arch, rheumatoid arthritis, or possibly from having endured a foot injury. Common symptoms that affect many people with bunions can consist of redness, numbness, and there may be a burning sensation in the affected joint.  Mild relief may come from wearing shoes that are larger which can accommodate the protrusion, and it may help to place a protective covering over the bunion. If you have a bunion, it is advised that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can offer you effective treatment options.

If you are suffering from bunions, contact Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe of Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why Do Bunions Form?

Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary

Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How Are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about What Are Bunions?
Wednesday, 14 September 2022 00:00

Different Types of Foot and Ankle Surgeries

Foot or ankle surgery can be recommended by a podiatrist to relieve pain, correct a foot deformity, or restore function to a foot or ankle. It is often a last resort, after more conservative treatments are prescribed. Such surgery is usually elective and takes place in a podiatrist’s office, in a hospital, or a surgery center. Whether or not surgery is suggested depends on one’s age, medical history, and insurance coverage. Once surgery is done, the patient must follow instructions for the foot or ankle to heal properly and without complications. Foot surgeries can include toenail removal, and arthroscopic foot or ankle surgery. This is a type of endoscopy that allows a doctor to investigate an area of the body without cutting it open. Additional types of surgeries can consist of plantar fascia release, and ankle fusion or replacement. If you have foot or ankle problems and pain interferes with your daily life, see a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Surgery may be appropriate if other treatments are ineffective.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe of Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:

  • Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Foot and Ankle Surgery
Tuesday, 13 September 2022 00:00

Wounds That Don't Heal Need to Be Checked

Your feet are covered most of the day. If you're diabetic, periodic screening is important for good health. Numbness is often a sign of diabetic foot and can mask a sore or wound.

Wednesday, 07 September 2022 00:00

What Causes Heel Pain?

There are many causes of heel pain. Heel pain is often caused by plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the connective tissue that spans the sole of the foot—from the heel bone through the arch up into the forefoot. Heel spurs, which are calcium deposits that form on the heel bone in response to repeated trauma, can sometimes cause heel pain as well. Oftentimes, these two conditions occur at the same time. People may be more at risk of developing heel pain if they are overweight, which puts undue stress and tension on the plantar fascia. Overusing the plantar fascia may also contribute to plantar fasciitis, as well as having tight calf muscles or wearing improper footwear that does not offer adequate support. If you have any heel pain, see a podiatrist who can diagnose and help to remedy this condition.


 

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, contact Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe of Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Heel Pain
Tuesday, 30 August 2022 00:00

Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon plays an integral role in the functioning of the feet. The tendon essentially connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, facilitating movement of all kinds. Since this tendon is so important, suffering an Achilles tendon injury is nothing to take lightly. An Achilles tendon rupture occurs in an individual when the tendon is stretched or torn. Typically, the tendon can stretch or tear when a person is running and they accelerate their pace too quickly. The symptoms that an individual might feel after suffering from an Achilles tendon rupture can vary. Generally speaking, however, an individual with this tendon rupture is likely to feel pain that comes in sharp, sudden bursts. This pain is typically felt in the ankle or calf. Additionally, if you are suffering from an Achilles tendon rupture, you might sense a feeling of swelling where the Achilles tendon is located, between the heel bone and the calf. Lastly, another common symptom of an Achilles tendon rupture is experiencing discomfort and difficulty when moving the feet. Specifically, walking and moving the toes can be particularly difficult. If you suspect that you have ruptured your Achilles tendon, contact your podiatrist immediately.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe of Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.

What Are the Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?

There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms

  • Inflammation
  • Dull to severe pain
  • Increased blood flow to the tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

  • Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
  • Total immobility

Treatment and Prevention

Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:

  • Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
  • Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What are Achilles Tendon Injuries
Tuesday, 23 August 2022 00:00

Stretching the Toes

The benefits of stretching one’s feet are plentiful as are the toes. Someone serious about protecting the overall health of their feet can perform several different toe stretches to not only increase the strength of their toes but to improve mobility and agility. These benefits can be particularly helpful for individuals who are prone to falling. The first toe stretch that you might consider performing as part of a regular foot stretching routine is known as the big toe pull. You can perform this stretch by getting in a seated position and wrapping a belt or towel around the big toe. Extend the lower leg off the ground and pull the belt towards you as you repeatedly push the big toe against the belt. The big toe should be working against your pulling motion of the belt. This should be performed on one foot at a time. You might also choose to perform the doming stretch. This involves sitting on the ground while your feet are flat on the floor in front of you. You then will try to grab the floor with your toes, being sure that you are not simply curling the toes inward. You can then hold this position for five seconds or so. Stretching the toes is undoubtedly important, just as it is to remember to listen to your body throughout the exercises and to stretch gently. If you want to learn more about the benefits of stretching your feet, contact a podiatrist.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe from Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Being the backbone of the body, the feet carry your entire weight and can easily become overexerted, causing cramps and pain. As with any body part, stretching your feet can serve many benefits. From increasing flexibility to even providing some pain relief, be sure to give your feet a stretch from time to time. This is especially important for athletes or anyone performing aerobic exercises, but anyone experiencing foot pain or is on their feet constantly should also engage in this practice.

Great ways to stretch your feet:

  • Crossing one leg over the others and carefully pull your toes back. Do 10-20 repetitions and repeat the process for each foot
  • Face a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot and keep it flat on the floor while moving the other leg forward. Lean towards the wall until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and perform 10 repetitions for each foot
  • Be sure not to overextend or push your limbs too hard or you could risk pulling or straining your muscle

Individuals who tend to their feet by regular stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stretching Your Feet
Tuesday, 16 August 2022 00:00

Babies Born With Foot Problems

A congenital foot problem is one affecting the feet, toes, or ankles of newborns. Such problems include clubfoot, vertical talus, tarsal coalition, polydactyly, macrodactyly, and cleft foot. These afflictions can have various causes, but some are genetically based on someone in the family having a gene causing the condition. Others can simply be an anomaly. A few of these conditions are described here. Clubfoot is when the tendons of the foot shorten, the bones are of an unusual shape, and the Achilles tendon is tight, causing the foot to point inward and downward. The soles of the feet might also face each other. This condition typically affects both feet. If not treated, a child will walk on the sides of their feet and ankles. Polydactyly is when the child has more than five toes on one or both feet. Usually, a nubbin or small lump of tissue without a bone or joint will be present. Macrodactyly is when the toes are abnormally large due to the overgrowth of the underlying bone or soft tissue. Having this condition makes it harder for a child to use the affected foot in all activities. Cleft foot is rare and occurs when the foot is missing toes, a V-shaped cleft, or other anatomical differences. The main issues are whether a cleft foot can fit into a shoe, as well as the shape and appearance of the foot. If you have a child born with a congenital foot problem, consult with a podiatrist to see if any treatments or surgery is recommended to help your child continue life most comfortably.

Congenital foot problems require immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe of Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Congenital foot problems are deformities affecting the feet, toes, and/or ankles that children are born with. Some of these conditions have a genetic cause while others just happen. Some specific foot ailments that children may be born with include clubfeet, polydactyly/macrodactyly, and cleft foot. There are several other foot anomalies that can occur congenitally. What all of these conditions have in common is that a child may experience difficulty walking or performing everyday activities, as well as trouble finding footwear that fits their foot deformity. Some of these conditions are more serious than others. Consulting with a podiatrist as early as possible will help in properly diagnosing a child’s foot condition while getting the necessary treatment underway.

What are Causes of Congenital Foot Problem?

A congenital foot problem is one that happens to a child at birth. These conditions can be caused by a genetic predisposition, developmental or positional abnormalities during gestation, or with no known cause.

What are Symptoms of Congenital Foot Problems?

Symptoms vary by the congenital condition. Symptoms may consist of the following:

  • Clubfoot, where tendons are shortened, bones are shaped differently, and the Achilles tendon is tight, causing the foot to point in and down. It is also possible for the soles of the feet to face each other.
  • Polydactyly, which usually consists of a nubbin or small lump of tissue without a bone, a toe that is partially formed but has no joints, or an extra toe.
  • Vertical talus, where the talus bone forms in the wrong position causing other bones in the foot to line up improperly, the front of the foot to point up, and the bottom of the foot to stiffen, with no arch, and to curve out.
  • Tarsal coalition, when there is an abnormal connection of two or more bones in the foot leading to severe, rigid flatfoot.
  • Cleft foot, where there are missing toes, a V-shaped cleft, and other anatomical differences.
  • Macrodactyly, when the toes are abnormally large due to overgrowth of the underlying bone or soft tissue.

Treatment and Prevention

While there is nothing one can do to prevent congenital foot problems, raising awareness and receiving neonatal screenings are important. Early detection by taking your child to a podiatrist leads to the best outcome possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Congenital Foot Problems
Sunday, 14 August 2022 00:00

It's Time for Beautiful Feet

You don't need an excuse to have beautiful nails. Step outside without worrying about the appearance of your feet.

Tuesday, 09 August 2022 00:00

Who Is Prone to Getting Sever’s Disease?

There is a growth plate in the heels of all feet, and it may become inflamed during a growth spurt in teenagers who frequently participate in running and jumping activities. The point of inflammation is where the Achilles tendon attaches to the back of the heel bone. This is known as Sever’s disease and it can cause uncomfortable heel pain. In some cases, an X-ray is necessary to show any irregularities of the heel bone. The pain may be more severe in the morning after arising and the heel may be tender and swollen. It is beneficial to temporarily stop the activity that caused the pain and orthotics may be prescribed to help the heel feel better. Some patients need to wear a cast as this can help to accelerate the healing process. If your child has heel pain and you suspect it may be Sever’s disease, please schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who can effectively treat this condition. 

Sever's disease often occurs in children and teens. If your child is experiencing foot or ankle pain, see Dr. Stephan J. LaPointe from Georgia Foot & Ankle Specialists . Our doctor can treat your child’s foot and ankle needs.

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is also known as calcaneal apophysitis, which is a medical condition that causes heel pain I none or both feet. The disease is known to affect children between the ages of 8 and 14.

Sever’s disease occurs when part of the child’s heel known as the growth plate (calcaneal epiphysis) is attached to the Achilles tendon. This area can suffer injury when the muscles and tendons of the growing foot do not keep pace with bone growth. Therefore, the constant pain which one experiences at the back of the heel will make the child unable to put any weight on the heel. The child is then forced to walk on their toes.

Symptoms

Acute pain – Pain associated with Sever’s disease is usually felt in the heel when the child engages in physical activity such as walking, jumping and or running.

Highly active – Children who are very active are among the most susceptible in experiencing Sever’s disease, because of the stress and tension placed on their feet.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Rome, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle injuries.

Read more about Sever's Disease
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