Texas Foot Doctor's Blog
Whether you are pregnant, have increased blood in your body or decreased circulation or maybe you are always standing or sitting for long periods of time at work, there is relief for your swollen ankles. If you are experiencing swollen ankles, your podiatrist offers solutions for finding relief.
Why Are My Ankles Swollen?
Swollen ankles do not just happen to pregnant women, but can affect each and every one of us at any stage of life. Your ankles swell for an array of reasons, including too much sodium in the diet, sodium retention, obesity, neuromuscular disorders, allergic reasons, trauma and standing too long.
What Can I Do to Alleviate My Swollen Ankles?
Drink water. When you drink plenty of water you are flushing your system. While this may seem like the opposite thing to do when you are retaining fluid, it helps to flush fluid away with more water. This is effective and will help you to see a reduction in the swelling of your ankles.
Elevate your legs above your heart. Sitting in a recliner with it fully reclined will do wonders for your swollen ankles. However, if you do not have a recliner available, then lying flat on your bed or couch with your feet elevated above your heart on pillows will work well, too.
Walk around. Walking around may help with your blood flow, and may reduce the swelling in your legs and ankles, but everything should be performed in moderation. Do not sit or stand in one place for too long. Remember to move your toes and flex your heels every few minutes to improve your circulation.
Visit your podiatrist. Prolonged ankle or leg swelling can be a sign of an underlying health problem. An appointment with your podiatrist is a wise decision that will help put your mind at rest.
Normally, most people will walk with their toes and feet pointing straight ahead. However, sometimes children’s feet turn when they walk, which can be called intoeing or being pigeon-toed. Your child may walk with their feet pointing in, but most cases can be corrected on their own as the child grows up, which most adults don't deal with intoeing.
Your podiatrist is available to properly diagnose your child’s feet and provide proper treatment plans when needed. There are three common causes of intoeing:
- Tibial torsion – the shinbone is the most commonly twisted bone. This twist can be caused by the way the baby lay in the womb while the bones are still soft.
- Femoral anteversion – the thighbone can also be twisted inwards, but is usually corrected over time, slowly.
- Metatarsus adductus – the feet are curved inwards and typically get better without treatment, but for some children who have very curved feet, some bracing may help in the first couple of years of life.
According to your podiatrist, children who have intoeing tend to trip a little more at first, but will be fine later on. Children with intoeing will also be just as good at sports and are no more likely to get arthritis or back problems than anyone else.
Intoeing should not get worse and your child should be able to participate in all types of physical activities. If you think your child’s intoeing is getting worse, visit your podiatrist. It is important to remember:
- Most children do not require treatment and self-correct over time.
- Special shoes and braces are not usually needed and are only recommended in rare cases.
- Orthotics have no role in the correction of intoeing.
Visit your podiatrist for more information on intoeing and the best measures to take to protect your child from further complications.
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that can partially or completely block blood flow back to the heart and cause damage to the one-way valves in the veins. The blood clot usually forms in a calf or thigh, but can also occur in the veins of the upper extremities.
The clot can also break free and travel through your blood to major organs, such as your lungs, which can be fatal. By visiting your podiatrist you can better understand DVT and how to properly prevent it from occurring.
Lowering Your Risk of DVT
To lower your risk and help prevent deep vein thrombosis, follow these important steps:
- Maintain an active lifestyle and exercise daily.
- Manage your weight by exercising and eating a healthy diet.
- If you smoke, it is important to quit.
- Check your blood pressure regularly, and take steps to lower it if necessary.
- Report any family or personal history of blood-clotting problems to your podiatrist.
- Discuss alternatives to birth control pills or hormone-replacement therapy
- If you are on an airplane for more than 4 hours, either walk or do leg stretches in your seat and also stay well hydrated and avoid alcohol consumption.
Visit your podiatrist for further information on deep vein thrombosis, and for more tips on how to prevent it from developing.
Our feet and ankles are prone to a number of problems at different stages of life. Below is a list of common foot and ankle problems. With each issue, you can find quick advice for finding relief from your ailment, and if you experience any of the following conditions, contact your podiatrist for further diagnosis and treatment options.
A bunion is a painful enlargement at the joint of the big toe. An important part of treatment is to wear shoes that conform to the shape of your foot and do not cause pressure areas. By doing this, you can often alleviate your pain. However, severe cases can be disabling. Visit your podiatrist for further treatment options if the change in shoes does not provide relief.
Heel pain is extremely common and can often begin without injury. You will often feel pain under the heel while standing or walking, with symptoms at their worst when first arising out of bed. Most cases will improve on their own. Heel stretching, medication to reduce swelling of the soft tissues of the foot and orthotics can all be helpful in providing relief from your heel pain. For prolonged and troubling cases, visit your podiatrist for further treatment.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are caused by pressure on the skin of your foot. Treatment involves relieving the pressure on the skin, usually by modifying the shoe. Pads to relieve the bony pressure are helpful, but they must be positioned carefully. A visit to your podiatrist will help in the treatment planning.
Plantar warts occur on the sole of the foot and look like calluses. They result from an infection by a specific virus and are like other warts, but they grow inward. Plantar warts are difficult to treat, but success has been achieved with repeated applications of salicylic acid to soften the overlying callus and expose the virus. Other treatments include injecting the warts with medication, freezing them with liquid nitrogen and, very rarely, surgery. Your podiatrist can create the best treatment plan for your plantar warts.
Often, the problems in your feet and ankles go away with time, rest, ice, anti-inflammatories and changing your shoes. However, sometimes these problems just won’t go away, and that's when you should visit your podiatrist for further diagnosis and treatment.
When Should I See a Podiatrist?
If you are having a specific foot problem, your best bet is to visit your podiatrist for the best care available. Several serious conditions, such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, can show up in your feet first, making it more important than ever to get them checked out.
A Wound or Sore That Does Not Heal
If you have an open sore on your foot or ankle, you should visit your podiatrist immediately! This is especially important if you have diabetes, as it takes a diabetic longer to heal even when being treated.
Some changes to your feet are normal as you age, but having pain isn’t one of them. As you begin putting more miles on your feet, you may notice that your feet change shape, lose cushioning, experience skin changes, develop arthritis and experience an array of other complications. It's always best to get checked by your podiatrist rather than unknowingly let a serious foot issue worsen, especially as you age.
Pain Increasing with Activity or Lasting more than 24 Hours
If you are experiencing pain that gets worse with activity, this may be a sign of a stress fracture. You should not try to work through the pain. Instead, it is vital that you visit your podiatrist. If you treat a stress fracture early, you can potentially avoid more serious problems, such as a stress fracture that will not heal, or one that turns into a fully broken bone.
Don’t ignore your foot or ankle pain! Visit your podiatrist for a diagnosis, treatment and to help prevent your symptoms from worsening.
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