Our lives have changed immensely in the past month. As social distancing has become the current norm, we've had to give up going to the gym, playing sports, competing in 5Ks, and other activities. Fortunately, you can stay active and still follow social distancing recommendations by making a few changes to your normal routine. Wearing supportive shoes while you exercise can help you avoid tendonitis, sprains, and other foot/ankle conditions treated by your podiatrist in Harrison and Mountain Home, AR, Dr. Eric Arp of Arp Foot and Ankle Clinic.
4 Ways to Stay Active
Following a few of these tips can help you stay in shape during the pandemic:
- Set Your Alarm Clock: You'll encounter fewer people running or walking in parks or in your neighborhood if you exercise earlier than normal. An early morning jog around the neighborhood will get your heart pumping and naturally help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Create Your Own Gym: Don't have a treadmill, stair stepper, or weights at home? You can still take advantage of the benefits of these types of workouts. Walk up and down your stairs a few times a day or run in place when you watch TV at night. Build up your muscles by lifting empty milk containers filled with water or performing planks, pullups, or pushups.
- Take a Turn on the Dance Floor: Pump up the music and practice your dance moves from the comfort of your living room. Dancing is an excellent way to get a little aerobic exercise and doesn't require any special equipment.
- Try a New Form of Exercise: If you're working from home, use the time you used to spend commuting to your Harrison or Mountain Home job to exercise. YouTube.com has thousands of exercise videos that can help you keep busy and active. Give Pilates or kickboxing a try, master tai chi, or embrace the benefits of Zumba.
Have you been experiencing foot or ankle issues? Schedule an appointment with your Mountain Home and Harrison, AR, podiatrist, Dr. Arp of Arp Foot and Ankle Clinic by calling (870) 365-3668 for the Harrison office or (870) 425-7363 for the Mountain Home office.
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection of the feet that is typically characterized by itchy, burning patches of skin between the toes that may also crack or bleed. Since untreated athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails, it’s particularly important that you treat this problem as soon as you notice it. Athlete’s foot won’t typically clear up by itself; however, home remedies and treatments may be all you need to eliminate the fungal infection.
Treating Athlete’s Foot
If you are an otherwise healthy individual who is just dealing with an unfortunate bout of athlete’s foot chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to treat the problem on your own. There are a variety of over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments that can be applied directly to the skin. Make sure to read and follow all instructions to ensure that the medication gets rid of the infection.
Along with properly treating your athlete’s foot it’s also important to keep feet as dry as possible. After all, fungus thrives best in warm, damp environments. By keeping feet dry you make it a less hospitable environment for this infection. This means wearing clean socks and shoes every day. Opt for socks with natural fibers, which are breathable and can wick away sweat. If your feet are particularly sweaty you can also apply an antifungal powder throughout the day.
When to See a Podiatrist
If you find that cracked, painful feet are making it difficult to stand or move around then this means it’s time to see a podiatrist for treatment; however, if the fungal infection isn’t impacting mobility then you may be able to treat the problem on your own with over-the-counter medications.
If you notice signs of an infection such as a swollen foot, pus draining from the foot, increased redness, or open sores it’s also important that you see a doctor right away. Antibiotics will be necessary in order to treat the infection.
If you are dealing with diabetes, nerve damage in your feet or other problems that impact the health of your feet it’s even more important that you see a podiatrist right away if you notice symptoms of athlete’s foot or other problems. Do not try to treat the infection on your own, as this could lead to more serious complications.
If you are dealing with persistent or recurring athlete’s foot it’s important that you also have a podiatrist that you can turn to for answers. While this condition may seem harmless it’s important that you don’t leave it untreated. A podiatrist can provide you with the treatment you’re looking for.
Did you know that the metatarsals, or bones in the foot, are the most commonly broken bones in the human body? These long bones run the length of the foot and a fractured metatarsal means that there is a break in at least one of these five bones (the fifth metatarsal is the most commonly fractured metatarsal bone). If you suspect that you’ve broken a bone in your foot it’s important that you see a podiatrist right away.
Broken metatarsals most commonly occur as a result of a sports injury; however, this fracture can also occur over time due to overuse and wear (this is commonly known as a stress fracture). Dropping a heavy item on the foot or experiencing a bad fall can also cause broken metatarsals. Signs and symptoms of a broken toe caused by trauma to the foot include:
- Hearing a snapping or popping sound at the moment of injury
- Severe and sudden pain in the toe immediately after impact or trauma
- Bruising or swelling of the toe (this may not appear until the day after the injury)
- Changes in the alignment or appearance of your toe
Symptoms of a stress fracture will be a bit different from traumatic fractures. Since stress fractures occur over time as a result of overuse you may start to notice foot pain with your routine activities or pain that goes away with rest but is exacerbated by physical activity. A metatarsal that has sustained a stress fracture may also be tender to the touch.
Some people assume that if they can walk on their foot then they must not be dealing with a broken metatarsal, but this is simply not true. This is why it’s always best to play it safe and to schedule an immediate evaluation with a foot and ankle specialist if you have experienced a traumatic foot injury that you suspect has led to one or more broken metatarsals. Not treating the broken bone could lead to certain deformities, which can greatly impact mobility. You may also experience chronic pain or be at an increased risk for arthritis.
Treating Broken Metatarsals
Common ways to treat a traumatic fracture include rest, splinting, or tapping toe affected toe, custom-made shoe inserts and wearing rigid footwear such as a special boot or shoe that provides the foot with protection, support, and cushioning.
If the break is severe enough your podiatrist may recommend surgery, but surgery is rarely necessary for treating broken toes. Those with stress fractures will want to avoid any activity that causes repetitive stress on the foot, to prevent the stress fracture from getting worse.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a broken bone after a fall, accident or injury then it’s time to schedule an immediate appointment with a podiatrist. The sooner you seek treatment the sooner you can begin your road to recovery.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that often affects blood flow to the legs due to narrowing of the arteries. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a serious condition in which fat deposits known as plaques build up in the arteries and eventually restrict or block blood flow.
If you have PAD you will most likely experience painful cramping, weakness or numbness in the legs, particularly during movement. You may also notice that the leg or foot is colder than the rest of your body. Sometimes persistent sores can develop that won’t heal. Your legs may also change color or the skin may appear shiny. While the pain will often go away at rest, if PAD is left untreated you may notice these symptoms even at rest. Sometimes symptoms can even be bad enough to affect your sleep.
While these symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions you should not ignore your symptoms, as undiagnosed PAD can lead to heart attack or stroke. This is why it’s important to see your podiatrist if you notice leg or foot numbness, weakness, tingling or pain.
You may be at an increased risk for peripheral artery disease if you:
- Are obese
- Have high cholesterol
- Have high blood pressure
- Have diabetes
- Are over age 65
- Have a family history of peripheral artery disease or stroke
Preventing Peripheral Artery Disease
Your podiatrist’s goal is to reduce your risk for peripheral artery disease, especially if you are at an increased risk. This involves implementing a variety of lifestyle changes. Some ways to prevent PAD include:
- Getting your diabetes under control
- Lowering your cholesterol
- Exercising regularly several times a week
- Quitting smoking
- Eating a healthy balanced diet and avoiding junk foods
- Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight
Treating Peripheral Artery Disease
If you do end up developing PAD a podiatrist can be an instrumental part of your medical team to help you manage your symptoms and prevent complications. PAD treatments are designed to reduce symptoms such as leg pain while also stopping the buildup of fat deposits within the arteries.
Again, modifying your lifestyle can greatly improve your condition. The same lifestyle changes that prevent PAD can also treat PAD. Of course, lifestyle modifications alone won’t be enough to prevent atherosclerosis from progressing. Therefore, your podiatrist may also prescribe certain medications including cholesterol and blood pressure medications, diabetes medication, and medication that prevents blood clots. Sometimes surgery or angioplasty is recommended if there is a blockage within the arteries.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of PAD it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist right away for an evaluation.
Orthotics are medical devices that podiatrists provide patients to treat heel pain and properly align the foot and lower extremities. Here at Arp Foot and Ankle Clinic, PC of Mountain Home and Harrison, AR, Dr. Eric Arp provides patients with orthotics to treat their unique issues—read on to learn more!
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are custom-made devices that are placed in shoes to correct foot alignment issues and abnormal walking patterns. Orthotics provide efficient and comfortable arch support to improve everyday activities, such as standing, walking, and running. They come in several shapes, sizes, and materials to improve function and protect feet.
Who needs orthotics?
There are several diseases that require orthotics to help ease everyday activities and reduce pain. Here are a few common foot issues that are treated at our offices in Mountain Home and Harrison, AR:
- Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the tissue on the sole of the foot. This painful condition makes it difficult to walk, and people usually feel the most pain in the morning.
- Arthritis (i.e. joint inflammation) not only affects joints, but it also irritates the tissue that surrounds the joint and other connective tissue. The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Diabetes affects people's circulation to limbs, especially feet. People suffering from diabetes are susceptible to diseases like neuropathy and require custom footwear.
What types of orthotics exist?
- Rigid orthotics are custom-made orthotics made of plastic or carbon fiber, which is a firm material.
- Soft orthotics are made of soft, cushioned materials to absorb shock and increase balance, especially for diabetic, arthritic, and deformed feet.
- Semi-rigid orthotics are made of layers of soft material reinforced with rigid materials, which is best for children who have flat feet, and people with in-toeing or out-toeing disorders.
Interested in orthotic treatment? Give us a call
Orthotics are a great way to deal with serious foot problems. If you would like to learn more about custom orthotics from Arp Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC, make sure you call our Harrison, AR, office at (870) 365-3668 or our Mountain Home, AR, office at (870) 425-7363 today to schedule an appointment.
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