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July 2020

Monday, 27 July 2020 00:00

The Ankle-Brachial Index

The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a quick and non-invasive form of vascular testing that your podiatrist may perform during a routine visit. It is frequently used to assess the presence or severity of peripheral artery disease, a potentially dangerous condition that results in poor circulation to the lower limbs. The ankle-brachial index test is performed in several steps. Similarly to typical checkups at your physician’s office, first, the doctor will measure your blood pressure around your upper arm. Then, the doctor will measure your blood pressure around your ankle. The two numbers are compared to find the ankle-brachial index value, a number that is used to determine the presence or severity of peripheral artery disease. The lower the ABI value is, the greater the chance that you have arterial disease. If you suspect you have poor circulation to your lower limbs, it is recommended that you visit a podiatrist, who can perform an ankle-brachial index test, as well as other vascular tests to assess blood flow to your feet and ankles. 

 

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 one of our podiatrists from Chicago Podiatric Surgeons. Our doctors 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 one of our offices located in Chicago and Tinley Park, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

Read more about Vascular Testing in Podiatry
Monday, 27 July 2020 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.

The Achilles tendon, located just above the heel, is a band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon is particularly prone to injury from overuse. Common causes of Achilles tendon issues include over-training, excessively increasing the intensity or distance that you run or jog, lack of training variation, running on hills, and wearing shoes that do not sufficiently support your feet. You may also be at greater risk of injuring your Achilles tendons if you are male, 30 years of age or older, and have a higher body weight or diabetes. Weakness, poor endurance, or tightness in the calf muscles, poor muscular control of your lower limbs, and stiff ankle and foot joints can increase your risk as well. Consult with a podiatrist to discuss how you can continue to stay active while reducing your risk of Achilles tendon injuries. 

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of Chicago Podiatric Surgeons. Our doctors 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 one of our offices located in Chicago and Tinley Park, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Achilles Tendon Injuries
Monday, 20 July 2020 00:00

Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body; it is a tough band of fibrous tissue that stretches from the bones of the heel to the calf muscles. This tendon is what allows us to stand on our toes while running, walking, or jumping, it is common for this tendon to become injured. In severe cases, the Achilles tendon may become partially torn or completely ruptured. However, this tendon is susceptible to injury because of its limited blood supply and the high tensions it endures.

The people who are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries are athletes who partake in activities that require them to speed up, slow down, or pivot. Consequently, athletes who engage in running, gymnastics, dance, football, baseball, basketball, or tennis are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries. Additionally, there are other factors that may make you more prone to this injury. People who wear high heels, have flat feet, have tight leg muscles or tendons, or take medicines called glucocorticoids are more likely to have Achilles tendon injuries.

A common symptom of an Achilles tendon injury is pain above the heel that is felt when you stand on your toes. However, if the tendon is ruptured, the pain will be severe, and the area may become swollen and stiff. Other symptoms may be reduced strength in the lower ankle or leg area, and reduced range of motion in the ankle. When the Achilles tendon tears, there is usually a popping sound that occurs along with it. People who have acute tears or ruptures may find walking and standing to be difficult.

If you suspect you have injured your Achilles tendon, you should see your podiatrist to have a physical examination. Your podiatrist will likely conduct a series of tests to diagnose your injury including a “calf-squeeze” test. Calf squeeze tests are performed by first squeezing the calf muscle on the healthy leg. This will pull on the tendon and consequently cause the foot to move. Afterward, the same test will be performed on the injured leg. If the tendon is torn, the foot won’t move because the calf muscle won’t be connected to the foot.

Friday, 17 July 2020 00:00

Gout Pain Can Be Managed

Gout is a painful, inflammatory form of arthritis. Those affected will typically feel an intense stiffness in the joints of their feet, particularly in the big toe. Schedule a visit to learn about how gout can be managed and treated.

Monday, 13 July 2020 00:00

What Can Cause a Stress Fracture?

A stress fracture is a common sports injury, often brought upon by overuse and repetitive activities. Stress fractures can occur when small cracks form in the bone. Quite often athletes may develop a stress fracture due to errors in their training technique. For example, it can be very damaging to suddenly increase the intensity of a work-out regime or to increase the amount of walking one does. Increasing the difficulty of training over the course of a few months can be much safer as opposed to a few weeks. Other factors such as improper equipment can also lead to the development of a stress fracture. Worn-out footwear, or shoes that are too stiff can also be damaging to how one performs their training. For further information on how to prevent getting a stress fracture, please consult with a podiatrist.

Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact one of our podiatrists from Chicago Podiatric Surgeons. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.

Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Stress fractures occur in the foot and ankle when muscles in these areas weaken from too much or too little use.  The feet and ankles then lose support when walking or running from the impact of the ground. Since there is no protection, the bones receive the full impact of each step. Stress on the feet can cause cracks to form in the bones, thus creating stress fractures.

What Are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures occur frequently in individuals whose daily activities cause great impact on the feet and ankles. Stress factors are most common among:

  • Runners                                  
  • People affected with Osteoporosis
  • Tennis or basketball players
  • Gymnasts
  • High impact workouts

Symptoms

Pain from the fractures occur in the area of the fractures and can be constant or intermittent. It will often cause sharp or dull pain with swelling and tenderness. Engaging in any kind of activity which involves high impact will aggravate pain.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chicago and Tinley Park, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Stress fractures are small breaks in the bone that are caused by repetitive stress. They typically occur due to overuse, forcing the bones of the foot or ankle to continually absorb the full impact of each step taken. Stress fractures can also be caused by abnormal foot structure, osteoporosis, bone deformities, or wearing improper footwear during exercise.

Stress fractures are common for individuals whose daily activities cause high levels of impact on their feet and ankles. Those who run, play tennis or basketball, or practice gymnastics tend to experience these fractures more frequently. Anyone is susceptible to this problem, though. Individuals who are normally sedentary and suddenly begin an intense, high impact workout may sustain stress fractures. This is because their muscles are not yet strong enough to handle and cushion the intensity of their activity. Osteoporosis may also cause someone to get stress fractures, because the disease weakens an afflicted person's bones and makes it easier for them to break down.

Pain from stress fractures typically occurs in the general area of the fracture. Pain can also manifest as “pinpoint pain” or pain that is felt when the site of the injury is touched, and can be accompanied by swelling. It may occur during or after activity, and it may disappear while resting and return when standing or moving. Engaging in any kind of activity, high impact or otherwise, will aggravate the pain. If the intensity of the activity increases before the stress fracture has properly healed, it can cause a full fracture.

Treatment can vary depending on the individual and the degree of injury. The primary way to treat a stress fracture is to rest the hurt foot. Some fractures will heal quickly with only a little bit of rest, while others may require a long rest period and the use of crutches, immobilization, or physical therapy. Under certain circumstances, surgery may be required to install support pins around the fracture to assist in healing.

If you are undergoing a new exercise regimen in running or some other kind of high impact activity, set incremental goals on a weekly basis so you can build up muscle strength. Make sure to wear supportive shoes to better protect you feet.

If you begin to experience any symptoms of stress fractures, you should stop exercising and rest. If the symptoms persist, consult with your podiatrist. Remembering these tips can help you prevent stress fractures to your foot and ankle, and allow you to continue living normally.

Monday, 06 July 2020 00:00

Flat Feet

Flatfoot is a condition that occurs when the arches on the foot are flattened, which allows the soles of the feet to touch the floor. Flatfoot is a common condition and it is usually painless.

Throughout childhood, most people begin to develop arches in their feet, however, some do not. Those who do not develop arches are left with flatfoot. The pain associated with flat feet is usually at its worse when engaging in activity. Another symptom that may occur with those who have this condition is swelling along the inside of the ankle.

It is also possible to have flexible flatfoot. Flexible flatfoot occurs when the arch is visible while sitting or standing on the tiptoes, but it disappears when standing. People who have flexible flatfoot are often children and most outgrow it without any problems.

There are some risk factors that may make you more likely to develop flatfoot. Those who have diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of flatfoot development. Other factors include aging and obesity.

Diagnosis for flat feet is usually done by a series of tests by your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will typically try an x-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI on the feet. Treatment is usually not necessary for flat foot unless it causes pain. However, therapy is often used for those who experience pain in their flat feet. Some other suggested treatment options are arch supports, stretching exercises, and supportive shoes. 

Flat feet is a condition known for causing fallen arches, meaning the feet lay completely flat on the floor. There are two different kinds of flat feet one may experience, rigid and flexible. A flexible flat foot has an arch when resting, however, when standing or walking, the arch then disappears. This type of flat foot is often common among pediatric aged patients. A rigid flat foot develops during adulthood due to the weakening of the tibialis posterior muscle tendon. This type of flat foot may worsen over time and can cause pain and swelling in the feet, particularly the inside arch of the foot and ankle. Rigid flat foot may eventually lead to arthritis as well. For a proper diagnosis and recommended treatment plan, it’s suggested that you consult with a podiatrist.

Flatfoot is a condition many people suffer from. If you have flat feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Chicago Podiatric Surgeons. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Are Flat Feet?

Flatfoot is a condition in which the arch of the foot is depressed and the sole of the foot is almost completely in contact with the ground. About 20-30% of the population generally has flat feet because their arches never formed during growth.

Conditions & Problems:

Having flat feet makes it difficult to run or walk because of the stress placed on the ankles.

Alignment – The general alignment of your legs can be disrupted, because the ankles move inward which can cause major discomfort.

Knees – If you have complications with your knees, flat feet can be a contributor to arthritis in that area.  

Symptoms

  • Pain around the heel or arch area
  • Trouble standing on the tip toe
  • Swelling around the inside of the ankle
  • Flat look to one or both feet
  • Having your shoes feel uneven when worn

Treatment

If you are experiencing pain and stress on the foot you may weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs around the inside of the ankle. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chicago and Tinley Park, IL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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