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October 2021

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 00:00

Vascular Testing in Podiatry

In foot care, vascular testing may be required in the diagnosing and treatment of certain podiatric conditions. Vascular testing is particularly relevant for patients with high-risk diabetes, poor circulation, peripheral artery disease (PAD), and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Procedures typically involve the examination of blood vessels throughout the body for blockages or buildup.

Vascular testing is very important for the diagnosis of various conditions, including peripheral artery disease and chronic venous insufficiency, as these conditions can greatly affect one’s quality of life and cause pain in the lower limbs. Circulatory problems in the feet and ankles can reflect issues throughout the body, making testing of the blood vessels pertinent.

Testing methods vary between practitioners and can be specific to certain foot and ankle problems. Modern technology has brought about the ability to perform vascular testing using non-invasive methods, such as the cuff-based PADnet testing device. This device records the Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)/Toe-Brachial Index (TBI) values and Pulse Volume Recording (PVR) waveforms. Contact your podiatrist to determine what vascular testing is available for your needs.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulatory disease that narrows arteries and restricts blood flow in the extremities. This can cause cramping in the legs when exercising, which usually subsides when you stop. PAD can also cause pain, numbness, swelling, and discoloration in the feet, and can be a prelude to more dangerous complications. One of the tests a podiatrist may use to test the blood flow through arteries and veins is a duplex ultrasound. There are two components to a duplex ultrasound. The first is traditional ultrasound which creates an image by bouncing sound waves off of blood vessels. The second is doppler ultrasound which measures sound waves reflected off of flowing blood to visualize its direction and speed. Duplex ultrasounds are non-invasive. The patient remains still as the podiatrist hovers a wand (transducer) over the area to be tested which sends out sound waves. These sound waves are then reflected back and translated into images. To learn more about PAD and various ways to test for it, please make an appointment with your local podiatrist.

Vascular testing plays an important part in diagnosing disease like peripheral artery disease. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, or diabetes, consult with Dr. Kirk Sherris from Liberty Bay Foot & Ankle. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Vascular Testing?

Vascular testing checks for how well blood circulation is in the veins and arteries. This is most often done to determine and treat a patient for peripheral artery disease (PAD), stroke, and aneurysms. Podiatrists utilize vascular testing when a patient has symptoms of PAD or if they believe they might. If a patient has diabetes, a podiatrist may determine a vascular test to be prudent to check for poor blood circulation.

How Is it Conducted?

Most forms of vascular testing are non-invasive. Podiatrists will first conduct a visual inspection for any wounds, discoloration, and any abnormal signs prior to a vascular test.

 The most common tests include:

  • Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) examination
  • Doppler examination
  • Pedal pulses

These tests are safe, painless, and easy to do. Once finished, the podiatrist can then provide a diagnosis and the best course for treatment.

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

 

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Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:00

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. These types of injuries are very common and can occur in people of all ages. Sprains may range from mild to severe, depending on how much damage is done to the ligaments. If a sprain goes untreated, a more severe sprain may occur which can further damage the ankle. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle pain.

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering a sprained ankle. Those who participate in sports, walk on uneven surfaces, have a prior ankle injury, are in poor physical condition, or wear improper shoes are more likely to get a sprained ankle.

There are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect you are suffering from a sprained ankle. Some common symptoms are swelling, bruising, tenderness, and instability of the ankle. In cases where the tearing of the ligaments is severe, there may be a “popping” sound when the strain occurs.

The RICE method is proven to be effective in treating ankle sprains. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest is important for treatment especially within the first 24 to 48 hours. You should also ice your sprained ankle for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time. A small piece of cloth should be placed between the ice and the affected area. For the compression step, you should wear a brace that is snug, but not too tight that it cuts off circulation. When choosing a brace, be sure to choose one that is suitable for the type of ankle sprain you have. Lastly, you should elevate your foot above the heart as often as possible.

After you treat a sprain, you should go through rehabilitation to prevent the injury from occurring again. There are three phases to the rehab process. The first phase involves resting, protecting and reducing the swelling of the injury. The second phase consists of restoring the ankles flexibility, range of motion, and strength. The third phase consists of slowly returning to activity and maintenance exercises.

If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and a suitable treatment option for your condition.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:00

When Your Ankle Twists Too Far

If you’ve ever stepped off a curb or jumped and landed awkwardly, you may have felt your ankle twist. Sometimes, an ankle can twist so much that the ligaments that support the ankle become overstretched or torn. When this happens, it is known as an ankle sprain. Ankle sprains range in severity, but symptoms usually include ankle pain, tenderness, swelling, and bruising. The more damaged the ligaments, the worse the symptoms. In more severe sprains, it may be difficult or impossible to walk due to ankle pain and instability. The ankle may also have a restricted range of motion. If you suspect that you have sprained your ankle, it is suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist as soon as possible.  

Although ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor injuries. If you need your ankle injury looked at, contact Dr. Kirk Sherris from Liberty Bay Foot & Ankle. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains are the result of a tear in the ligaments within the ankle. These injuries may happen when you make a rapid shifting movement while your foot is planted. A less common way to sprain your ankle is when your ankle rolls inward while your foot turns outward.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Pain at the sight of the tear
  • Bruising/Swelling
  • Ankle area is tender to touch
  • In severe cases, may hear/feel something tear
  • Skin discoloration

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

In many cases, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) is used to treat ankle sprains. However, you should see a podiatrist to see which treatment option would work best with your injury. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

It is important to ask your doctor about rehab options after you receive treatment for your injury. Stretching, strength training, and balance exercises may help the ankle heal while also preventing further injury.

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

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Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:00

Are Bunions Affecting Your Everyday Life?

Have you noticed a bony protrusion on the side of your big toe? If so, you may have developed the foot condition known as a bunion. Don't let bunions interfere with your daily activities.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 00:00

The Basics of Diabetic Foot Care

Although diabetes is known primarily for affecting blood sugar, it has cascading effects on every part of the body, including the feet. People with diabetes need to be extra attentive to the health of their feet because diabetes can impair circulation and nerve function in the feet, leading to an increased risk of developing poorly healing foot wounds. When washing the feet, use a gentle soap and lukewarm water, then dry your feet thoroughly, particularly between the toes. Moisturize the tops and bottoms of your feet (but not the toes) to prevent dry skin, and see a podiatrist if you have corns, calluses, cracked heels, or other skin problems. Trim your toenails straight across and not too short to prevent ingrown toenails. Finally, inspect the feet daily for any unusual sensations or changes in appearance, such as new or worsening cuts, scrapes, sores, or discoloration. If you notice anything amiss, please see a podiatrist for treatment as soon as possible. 

Diabetic foot care is important in preventing foot ailments such as ulcers. If you are suffering from diabetes or have any other concerns about your feet, contact Dr. Kirk Sherris from Liberty Bay Foot & Ankle. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. The condition can damage blood vessels in many parts of the body, especially the feet. Because of this, taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes, and having a podiatrist help monitor your foot health is highly recommended.

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

  • Routinely inspect your feet for bruises or sores.
  • Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels, as blood sugar levels play such a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised.

It is always best to inform your healthcare professional of any concerns you may have regarding your feet, especially for diabetic patients. Early treatment and routine foot examinations are keys to maintaining proper health, especially because severe complications can arise if proper treatment is not applied.

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

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Tuesday, 12 October 2021 00:00

Diabetic Foot Conditions

Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin, which is required for glucose to feed your body’s cells. It is typically caused by the immune system mistaking healthy cells for foreign invaders and destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. On the other hand, people with Type 2 diabetes cannot respond to insulin properly, and eventually cannot produce enough.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, with 1 in 4 having no idea they have it. Surprisingly, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. The symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, fatigue, hunger, and even blurry vision.

Diabetes can also affect the feet as well. Over time, diabetes can cause nerve damage to your feet, which could then lead to symptoms such as tingling, pain and numbness in the feet. Neuropathy can be very dangerous to a person with diabetes, since it prevents them from feeling injuries such as cuts or blisters in the feet, and if not detected early enough, may lead to infection. Neuropathy can also lead changes in the shape of your feet and toes. The best way for people with diabetes to prevent or delay neuropathy is keeping their blood glucose levels in their target range. This consists of eating right, having the correct amount of exercise, and taking medications.

Diabetes can also create calluses and foot ulcers as well. Calluses build up faster and occur more frequently with those affected by diabetes. If there are too many calluses, therapeutic shoes and inserts may be required. It is important to have calluses trimmed by a health professional, as doing it yourself may lead to infections. If these calluses continue to develop and thicken, they can lead to foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are open sores, that appear on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. These ulcers can lead to future infections if not treated and may possibly result in losing a limb. It is important to report any ulcers to your podiatrist right away. Your doctor may take x-rays to examine the foot and clean out any dead and infected tissue.

Lastly, diabetes can also lead to poor circulation and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The poor circulation in the feet and leg area is a result of diabetes narrowing and hardening, eventually slowing down the blood flow in that area. The best way to prevent this is to keep away from smoking and follow your doctor’s advice for maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol. PAD is similar to this complication. PAD is when blood vessels narrow or are blocked by fatty deposits. PAD also increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes and is a common condition to those affected by diabetes. The combination of both PAD and neuropathy may lead to infections and can result in amputation of certain limbs. PAD can be prevented with wearing the proper foot wear and regularly taking care of your feet.

If you want to take care of your feet, you should wash and dry them carefully and perform daily inspections to check for cuts, blisters, or swelling. Any physical activity you partake in should be approved by your health care provider. You should also be sure to wear special shoes if advised to do so by your doctor.

Tuesday, 05 October 2021 00:00

How to Deal with Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. It is caused when the tinea fungus grows on the foot. It is possible to catch the fungus through direct contact with someone who has it or by touching a surface that is contaminated with it. This type of fungus thrives in warm, moist environments such as showers, locker room floors, and swimming pools. Your risk of getting it may also increase by wearing tight-fitting, closed-toe shoes, or by having sweaty feet.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, stinging or burning sensations between the toes. You may also experience toenails that are discolored, thick, crumbly, or toenails that pull away from the nail bed.

Your podiatrist may diagnose athlete’s foot by detecting these symptoms or by doing a skin test to see if there is a fungal infection present. The most common exam used to detect Athlete’s foot is a skin lesion potassium hydroxide exam. To use this method, your doctor will scrape off a small area of the infected skin and place it into potassium hydroxide. The potassium hydroxide will destroy the normal cells and leave the fungal cells untouched so that they are visible under a microscope.

There are a variety of treatment options for athlete’s foot. Some medications are miconazole (Desenex), terbinafine (Lamisil AT), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra), and tolnaftate (Tinactin). While these options may be able to treat your fungus, it is best that you consult with a podiatrist in order to see which treatment option may work best for you.

In some cases, Athlete’s foot may lead to complications. A severe complication would be a secondary bacterial infection which may cause your foot to become swollen, painful, and hot.

There are ways that you can prevent athlete’s foot. Washing your feet with soap and water each day and drying them thoroughly is an effective way to prevent infections. You also shouldn’t share socks, shoes, or towels with other people. It is crucial that you wear shower sandals in public showers, around swimming pools, and in other public places. Additionally, you should make sure you wear shoes that can breathe and change your socks when your feet become sweaty. If you suspect that you have Athlete’s foot, you should seek help from a podiatrist as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 05 October 2021 00:00

Ringworm on the Feet

Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that can affect any part of the body. When it affects the feet, it is also known as athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot can cause some very unpleasant symptoms, including itching, burning, or stinging between the toes, a red, scaly rash on the feet, dry, flaking, or peeling skin, foot blisters, and a foul odor. The infection can also spread to the toenails causing them to become thickened, brittle, and discolored. Fortunately, fungal infections of the feet tend to respond well to treatment. Your podiatrist may prescribe topical antifungal medications, such as creams or powders, that you apply directly to your feet, or oral antifungal medications that you take by mouth. If you have symptoms of ringworm on your feet, please seek the care of a podiatrist.  

Athlete’s foot is an inconvenient condition that can be easily reduced with the proper treatment. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact Dr. Kirk Sherris from Liberty Bay Foot & Ankle.  Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Athlete’s Foot: The Sole Story

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, can be an extremely contagious foot infection. It is commonly contracted in public changing areas and bathrooms, dormitory style living quarters, around locker rooms and public swimming pools, or anywhere your feet often come into contact with other people.

Solutions to Combat Athlete’s Foot

  • Hydrate your feet by using lotion
  • Exfoliate
  • Buff off nails
  • Use of anti-fungal products
  • Examine your feet and visit your doctor if any suspicious blisters or cuts develop

Athlete’s foot can cause many irritating symptoms such as dry and flaking skin, itching, and redness. Some more severe symptoms can include bleeding and cracked skin, intense itching and burning, and even pain when walking. In the worst cases, Athlete’s foot can cause blistering as well. Speak to your podiatrist for a better understanding of the different causes of Athlete’s foot, as well as help in determining which treatment options are best for you.

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

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