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Sunday, 12 November 2017 00:00

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

When there is an imbalance in the size of the nail and the enlargement of the skin edge, this may cause an ingrown toenail. Reasons for this may include the nail naturally growing inward, improper shoe fitting, and hereditary conditions. Other causes may be from an improper pedicure and/or poor foot hygiene. Common symptoms can be tenderness of the nail, swelling and redness. Additionally, drainage and pus may occur if there is an infection involved. Home remedies may include soaking the affected toe in lukewarm water, or applying antibacterial ointments for bacterial infections and antifungal ointments for fungal infections. Those who have diabetes or poor circulation are advised to consult a podiatrist even if the symptoms appear to be mild.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Rudolph La Fontant of Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

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

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
Monday, 06 November 2017 00:00

Toenail Care for the Elderly

Geriatric (elderly) people may be prone to foot problems, which may include ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses. A reason for this may be their inability to cut their own toenails due to poor eyesight or loss of mobility. A qualified caregiver should be able to cut toenails properly. Ideally, toenails should be kept short, as more problems tend to arise if the nails are too long. The shorter they are, the less risk there is of breaking a nail. As we age, it’s beneficial to stay healthy and active. However, it’s important to remember to practice proper foot care. A podiatrist should be consulted to learn the best options for correct maintenance and treatments.

If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. Rudolph La Fontant  of Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs and provide you with quality treatment.

Geriatrics and Podiatry
When people age, some common issues that may occur are bone density loss, dry skin, poor circulation, and rough brittle nails. These issues may also affect your foot health if the necessary steps are not taken to alleviate the problems.

It is important to take care of your feet because feet that are injured or diseased can affect your overall health. Having painful feet hinders your ability to do daily activities or may decrease your willingness to do the things that you need to do.

Visiting Your Geriatrician
As we age, health problems become more likely, so it is essential to visit your doctor for check-ups to ensure that you are doing the best you can to take care of your health. It is recommended to check your feet frequently for any possible cuts, bruises, swelling, corns or any other irregularities. 

Taking Care of Elderly Feet
Cracked or dry feet can be treated by applying moisturizer often. It is also important not to wear old socks because the older the sock is, the higher the possibility there will be that there is bacteria there. Wear fresh socks and make sure they fit properly.

Proper foot health means that you can have a more active lifestyle and you will not be bogged down by pain. Foot health also leads to good circulation, which is paramount for overall health.

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

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Monday, 30 October 2017 00:00

How to Alleviate Symptoms of Gout

Gout results from sharp crystals being formed when there is an abundance of uric acid in the blood. The big toe is usually the first place for this to happen, although, if not treated, it may spread to other joint areas like the knee or elbow. If there is tenderness or stiffness in the joint, this could potentially be a sign of gout. Using ice on the affected joint and drinking plenty of water can help to reduce symptoms. If you think that you might have gout, a podiatrist will be able to properly diagnose you and lead you on the path to recovery and future prevention.

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. Rudolph La Fontant from Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. It often develops in the foot, especially the big toe area, although it can manifest in other parts of the body as well. Gout can make walking and standing very painful and is especially common in diabetics and the obese.

People typically get gout because of a poor diet. Genetic predisposition is also a factor. The children of parents who have had gout frequently have a chance of developing it themselves.

Gout can easily be identified by redness and inflammation of the big toe and the surrounding areas of the foot. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, joint pain, and running high fevers. Sometimes corticosteroid drugs can be prescribed to treat gout, but the best way to combat this disease is to get more exercise and eat a better diet.

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

Read more about Everything You Need to Know About Gout
Monday, 23 October 2017 00:00

Finding the Right Pair of Shoes For You

When it comes to shopping for running shoes, there is no perfect shoe that works for everyone. Everyone has a different foot type so just because you’re the same size as someone else, it doesn’t mean their shoe will fit you correctly. Higher prices or brand names also don’t guarantee a great shoe either. There are certain qualities to look for when shoe shopping though. Shoes should be comfortable, especially for long periods of time. Knowing your foot type, such as whether you overpronate or have a neutral foot, can help as well. A podiatrist can help determine your foot type and can also make recommendations about what shoes to wear. A good pair of shoes should provide enough space for your toes, be breathable and comfortable, and support your feet.

If you are a runner, wearing the right running shoe is essential. For more information, contact Dr. Rudolph La Fontant from Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type

To increase performance and avoid the risk of injury, it is important to choose the right running shoe based on your foot type. The general design of running shoes revolves around pronation, which is how the ankle rolls from outside to inside when the foot strikes the ground.

  • Neutral runners are able to choose from a wide variety of shoes, including minimalist shoes or even going barefoot.
  • Runners who overpronate, or experience an over-abundance of ankle rolling, should choose shoes that provide extra motion control and stability.
  • Runners who underpronate, or supinate, have feet that have high arches and lack flexibility, preventing shock absorption. They require shoes with more flexibility and cushion.

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

Read more about Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type

A new study by the University of Waterloo says that the elderly need up to twice as long as young adults to realize they are falling. Seniors are already at an increased risk of falling due to a number of reasons. This study helps show that once they are falling, they don’t process it as quickly as a younger person would. Consequently, there are more times that seniors can’t react fast enough to catch themselves or brace for impact. Falls are a leading cause of hospitalization among the elderly. Studies like this and increased awareness are needed to help prevent future falls among this rapidly growing group of people.

Preventing falls among the elderly is very important. If you are older and have fallen or fear that you are prone to falling, consult with Dr. Rudolph La Fontant from Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality advice and care.

Every 11 seconds, an elderly American is being treated in an emergency room for a fall related injury. Falls are the leading cause of head and hip injuries for those 65 and older. Due to decreases in strength, balance, senses, and lack of awareness, elderly persons are very susceptible to falling. Thankfully, there are a number of things older persons can do to prevent falls.

How to Prevent Falls

Some effective methods that older persons can do to prevent falls include:

  • Enrolling in strength and balance exercise program to increase balance and strength
  • Periodically having your sight and hearing checked
  • Discuss any medications you have with a doctor to see if it increases the risk of falling
  • Clearing the house of falling hazards and installing devices like grab bars and railings
  • Utilizing a walker or cane
  • Wearing shoes that provide good support and cushioning
  • Talking to family members about falling and increasing awareness

Falling can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience for elderly persons; this can make them less willing to leave the house, and less willing to talk to someone about their fears of falling. Doing such things, however, will increase the likelihood of tripping or losing one’s balance. Knowing the causes of falling and how to prevent them is the best way to mitigate the risk of serious injury.  

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

Read more about Falls Prevention

A new study conducted by the University of Oregon, and with the participation of Stanford University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Colorado Boulder, seeks to identify athletes who are likely to develop stress fractures. With newly known risk factor indicators available, athletes who are at risk for stress fractures can be alerted and allowed to rest to prevent them. Stress fractures, or tiny hairline fractures in the bone, most commonly occur from overuse and lack of rest. The study is still in its early stages and will take several years to produce conclusive results. Researchers are hopeful that this will help prevent athlete's injuring themselves and allow them to keep playing.
 

Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact Dr. Rudolph La Fontant from Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor 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 our office located in Des Moines, IA. 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
Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the posterior tibial nerve in the tarsal tunnel becomes pinched or compressed. This causes a number of symptoms including burning and shooting pain, a pins and needles sensation, numbness, and tightness in the foot. There are several reasons why the nerve could become compressed, which include bony prominences, bone spurs, abnormal heel position, and the swelling of tendons in the tarsal tunnel. Due to the nature of tarsal tunnel syndrome, diagnosis may be difficult because it can seem to mimic the symptoms of other conditions; heel pain and arch pain are some examples. It is best to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing any of those symptoms. Podiatrists can offer a number of treatments, such as orthotics, taping or bracing, rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medication, or even surgery if other treatments do not improve your condition.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. Rudolph La Fontant of Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
- Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
- At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
- The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
- If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

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

Read more about Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Monday, 25 September 2017 00:00

What to Do About Foot Pain

Foot pain can be a very debilitating condition to experience. First, however, it is important to figure out what is causing it. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Standing for long periods of time and overuse can cause the plantar fascia to become inflamed. Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone. Thankfully there are a number of treatments available for heel pain, with many of them being very easy to do. Keeping pressure off the feet, resting, and avoiding overuse can improve the condition of many who suffer from plantar fasciitis. Another method for treating heel pain includes buying a new pair of well-fitted shoes. Look for a pair that is not too tight or loose for your feet. Shoes should also have enough space in the toe box for your toes to wiggle around. Finally, look for a pair that is comfortable and that would be fine to wear for long periods of time. If you have heel or general foot pain that will not go away, see a podiatrist for a diagnosis and proper treatment.

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, contact Dr. Rudolph La Fontant of Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. 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 Des Moines, IA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Heel Pain
Monday, 18 September 2017 00:00

Pregnancy and Swollen Feet

Swollen feet among pregnant women is a very common and normal condition. However, it can be very uncomfortable for women and should be monitored closely. The feet become swollen most often in the third trimester due to increased blood pressure and fluids in the lower body. The swelling tends to worsen during the day but can decrease or go away after a night of sleep. Sometimes, the swelling can spread to other parts of the body such as the thighs, hands and face. If the swelling spreads, it is important to see a doctor, as this could be a sign of potentially serious conditions. While you can’t get rid of swollen feet, consuming less salt, avoiding the consumption of too much liquid, and getting enough vitamins can help reduce the swelling. If your feet are swollen and are causing you pain, it is recommended to see a podiatrist for treatment.

Pregnant women with swollen feet can be treated with a variety of different methods that are readily available. For more information about other cures for swollen feet during pregnancy, consult with Dr. Rudolph La Fontant from Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. Our doctor will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What foot problems can arise during pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward.  This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy, but tends to occur in the later stages. 

How can I keep my feet healthy during pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

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

Read more about Pregnancy and Foot Health
Monday, 11 September 2017 00:00

Diabetes and Foot Care

While the relationship between diabetes and the feet may not seem important to most people, it is of the utmost concern. Diabetics generally suffer from poor blood circulation and neuropathy, or nerve loss. Due to the loss of sensation associated with neuropathy, diabetics may not realize when they have a foot ulcer. The wound may also become infected due to the poor blood circulation and improper healing. Amputations are not uncommon because of diabetes, and awareness of this issue is vital to those who have the condition. Diabetics should inspect their feet daily for wounds, splinters, or any abnormalities. If you have diabetes, avoid going barefoot and wear well-cushioned footwear that provides optimal foot support and wiggle room for the toes. Finally, it is highly recommended to see a podiatrist for a foot examination at least once a year.

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. Rudolph La Fontant from Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa. 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 Des Moines, IA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Diabetic Foot Care
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Locations & Hours

Foot & Ankle Institute of Iowa
2629 Beaver Ave. Suite 15
Des Moines, IA 50310

Phone: (515) 223-5219
Fax: (515) 223-9344

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Tuesday: 8:30 am - 5 pm
Wednesday: 8:30 am - 5 pm
Thursday: 8:30 am - 5 pm
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