Tuesday, 27 June 2017 00:00

Ingrown Toenails 101

If you have swelling, pain, redness, or infection near your big toe; you may have an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails result when the corner of a nail grows into the soft flesh that surrounds it. While ingrown toenails may cause minimal pain at first, they can spread and worsen very quickly. People who have diabetes or other serious conditions that cause poor blood flow to the feet are at a higher risk of developing ingrown toenails. Nevertheless, there are at-home remedies that can be performed in order to treat minor cases of ingrown toenails. One method is to soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes a few times per day. Soaking will help reduce swelling along with tenderness in the feet. If you have an ingrown toenail that is progressively worsening, you should seek the assistance of a podiatrist right away.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Steven Hartung of Pennsylvania. 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 Williamsport, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017 00:00

How Alcohol May Be Linked to Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis, and it occurs as a result of uric acid buildup in the blood. This buildup of uric acid forms needle-like crystals which may cause severe pain in the joints and swelling. Although gout can be managed with proper prescription medications, people who have it should also try to make dietary changes to reduce symptoms. Studies have shown that “men who drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day - especially beer - could increase their chance of getting gout.” Researchers found that the alcoholic content in beer not only impairs the liver’s ability to detoxify uric acid, but it also affects the kidney’s ability to get rid of it. If you struggle with gout, you should consult with your podiatrist to figure out the best ways to prevent an attack in the future.

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. Steven Hartung from Pennsylvania. 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 Williamsport, PA. 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
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 00:00

Hammertoe Havoc

Hammertoe is caused when there is a muscle and ligament imbalance around the toe joint. This causes the middle joint of the toe to bend and become stuck in this position . Many people with hammertoe complain about rubbing and irritation at the top of the bent toe. Toes that tend to unnaturally curl, such as the baby toe, are also considered hammertoes. “Flexible” and “Rigid” are the two main types of hammertoes. If the toe can still be moved around, it is considered a flexible hammertoe. Hammertoes that don’t allow for any toe movement are classified as rigid hammertoes.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Steven Hartung from Pennsylvania. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Williamsport, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
Monday, 05 June 2017 20:34

Warding Off Plantar Warts

A Texas man called into his local radio station to tell a story about his experience using a gym shower while barefoot. Soon after using that shower, the man started to develop a firm itchy patch on his foot which ended up being a plantar wart. The man thought he could use at-home remedies to get rid of the wart, but he was wrong. After the virus that caused the warts had spread, he eventually decided to seek professional help from a podiatrist who concluded that the man needed to surgically remove the wart on his foot. This man’s story is a perfect example of why you should never shower in a public place barefoot.

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact Dr. Steven Hartung  from Pennsylvania. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, and causes mild to severe heel pain.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Excessive running
  • Non-supportive shoes
  • Overpronation
  • Repeated stretching and tearing of the plantar fascia

How Can It Be Treated?

  • Conservative measures – anti-inflammatories, ice packs, stretching exercises, physical therapy, orthotic devices
  • Shockwave therapy – sound waves are sent to the affected area to facilitate healing and are usually used for chronic cases of plantar fasciitis
  • Surgery – usually only used as a last resort when all else fails. The plantar fascia can be surgically detached from the heel

While very treatable, plantar fasciitis is definitely not something that should be ignored. Especially in severe cases, speaking to your doctor right away is highly recommended to avoid complications and severe heel pain. Your podiatrist can work with you to provide the appropriate treatment options tailored to your condition.

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

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Wednesday, 31 May 2017 13:40

Frank Jackson Undergoes Foot Surgery

Former Duke Blue Devil, Frank Jackson, recently underwent foot surgery and is expected to be sidelined until the middle of July. The 19-year-old Jackson is expected to be a second-round pick in this year’s NBA draft, and may be able to play this July in the summer league. Fortunately for him, the injury is not expected to interfere with his draft status. Prior to his injury, Jackson was successful on the court averaging 10.9 points while playing 24.9 minutes per game. He was able to shoot 47.3 percent from the floor and 39.2 from three.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact Dr. Steven Hartung of Pennsylvania. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:

  • Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

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

Read more about Foot Surgery

As warm weather approaches, many people choose to wear flip-flops. The flip-flop has been a popular summer shoe for decades, however there are many podiatrists that would caution against its usage. Foot injuries may occur as a result of wearing flip-flops, including stress fractures and blisters. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Emergency Room Visits, 25,300 out of 198,437 emergency room visits due to footwear were caused by wearing flip-flops. Although some of these injuries were minor cuts on the toes, others were more serious such as sprains and tendinitis.

Flip-flops are not always the best choice of footwear. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact Dr. Steven Hartung from Pennsylvania. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

Flip-Flops and Feet

When the weather starts warming up, people enjoy wearing flip-flops.  Flip-flops are comfortable, stylish, and easy to slip on and off; they're perfect for any summer beach goer.  However, these shoes can cause harm to the feet.

How Can Flip-Flops Affect Me Long-Term?

  • Ankle problems
  • Hip problems
  • Lower back problems
  • Pain in the balls of the feet
  • Problems with foot arches
  • Changes in the way you walk

Are there injuries associated with flip-flops?

Yes.  Since flip-flops are relatively weak and do not provide the same amount of support as sneakers, people who wear flip-flops regularly are more susceptible to injuries. On top of that, the open nature of the shoe makes your feet more prone to other problems, such as cuts and even infections.  Common injuries and ailments include:

  • Sprained ankles
  • Blisters
  • Infections
  • Cuts and Scrapes

I like wearing flip-flops, are there safe alternatives?

When buying flip-flops, try to find ones that have sturdy soles and that are made of high quality materials that will support for your feet.  These flip-flops will cost more, but will also last longer as a result.

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

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017 00:00

Achilles Tendon Injuries on the Rise

Many podiatrists are suspecting that Achilles tendon injuries will be on the rise especially amongst those aged 30 to 50. Every year, approximately 230,000 Achilles tendon injuries occur in the United States. While Achilles tendon injuries are typically common among young athletes, professionals suspect that the number of middle-aged and older patients sustaining Achilles tendon injuries is rising because they are staying active longer. The severity of Achilles tendon injuries can vary between mild to moderate. Injuries of this degree typically cause pain and stiffness but can heal on their own. Surgery may be necessary for more severe cases, such as the tearing or rupturing of the Achilles tendon.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Steven Hartung of Pennsylvania. Our doctor 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 our office located in Williamsport, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What are Achilles Tendon Injuries
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 00:00

Avoiding fungal nails

Toenail fungus is a foot condition that many people can fall prey to. Symptoms of the condition include yellow or brown nails, nails that split or crumble, or nails that lift up from the nail bed. To avoid developing this uncomfortable and often unsightly condition, professionals recommend the following tips. Keep the toenails trimmed short to avoid debris from building up beneath the nails. Wear shoes that properly fit and that are breathable, as fungus thrives in warm and moist environments. Use antifungal sprays or powders when needed, avoid going barefoot in public facilities, and never share shoes or nail clippers.

For more information about treatment, contact Dr. Steven Hartung of Pennsylvania. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus is a problem which affects many people and is hard to get rid of. Fortunately, there are several methods to go about treating toenail fungus.

Antibiotics & Treatments 

Lamisil – The most commonly effective treatment for toenail fungus. It is available as an antibiotic: Terbinafine tablet and cream. Terbinafine is a chemical component which kills fungal growth on the body. Applying regular doses will gradually kill the fungal growth. It is important to keep the area clean.

Talcum powder – Applying powder on the feet and shoes helps keep the feet free of moisture and sweat.

Sandals or open toed shoes – Wearing these will allow air movement and help keep feet dry. They also expose your feet to light, which fungus cannot tolerate. Socks with moisture wicking material also help as well.

Alternative Treatments

There are surgical procedures that are available for toenail fungus. Some people would prefer the immediate and quick removal of toenail fungus through laser surgery. Consult with yOur doctor about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

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

Read more about Toenail Fungus
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 00:00

Dealing with Aches and Pains as We Age

Arthritis and aching joints are one of the most prevalent complaints of people 55 years and over. Dr. Kendra Zuckerman of Main Line Health states, “arthritis technically means an inflammation of the joints.” Deborah Wolf, 76, shares her time between practicing law and playing tennis, and is not ready to slow down her rigorous schedule. However, after the development of arthritis in her knees, activity has become difficult. Dr. Zuckerman advises that exercise and weight-watching is important for arthritic patients, and that anti-inflammatory drugs can also help with the pain, too. Deborah works on knee strengthening and diet-planning to keep her pain at bay.

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact Dr. Steven Hartung from Pennsylvania. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

The Elderly and their Feet

As we age we start to notice many changes in our body, but the elder population may not notice them right away. Medical conditions may prevent the elderly to take notice of their foot health right away. Poor vision is a lead contributor to not taking action for the elderly.

Common Conditions 

  • Neuropathy – can reduce feeling in the feet, and can hide many life threating medical conditions.
  • Reduced flexibility – prevents the ability of proper toenail trimming, and foot cleaning. If left untreated, it may lead to further medical issues.
  • Foot sores – amongst the older population can be serious before they are discovered. Some of the problematic conditions they may face are:
  • Gouging toenails affecting nearby toe
  • Shoes that don’t fit properly
  • Pressure sores
  • Loss of circulation in legs & feet
  • Edema & swelling of feet and ankles

Susceptible Infections

Diabetes and poor circulation can cause general loss of sensitivity over the years, turning a simple cut into a serious issue.

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

Read more about Elderly and their Feet

This year Michigan Technological University participated in National Biomechanics Day on April 6th, a world-wide event for educators and students to advance the education of human biomechanics. The Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Department of the university collaborated with multiple departments across campus and invited local students to participate in hands-on activities focused on biomechanics research. Among these activities, members of the faculty demonstrated various tools used to analyze and describe human motion during exercise. Students were also given the chance to test their strength compared to Michigan Tech football players and to make imprints of their feet, allowing them to analyze how different foot types impact movements across multiple joints.

If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. Steven Hartung from Pennsylvania. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Biomechanics in Podiatry

Podiatric biomechanics is a particular sector of specialty podiatry with licensed practitioners who are trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Biomechanics deals with the forces that act against the body, causing an interference with the biological structures. It focuses on the movement of the ankle, the foot and the forces that interact with them.

A History of Biomechanics
-  Biomechanics dates back to the BC era in Egypt where evidence of professional foot care has been recorded.
-  In 1974, biomechanics gained a higher profile from the studies of Merton Root, who claimed that by changing or controlling the forces between the ankle and the foot, corrections or conditions could be implemented to gain strength and coordination in the area.

Modern technological improvements are based on past theories and therapeutic processes that provide a better understanding of podiatric concepts for biomechanics. Computers can provide accurate information about the forces and patterns of the feet and lower legs.

Understanding biomechanics of the feet can help improve and eliminate pain, stopping further stress to the foot.

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

Read more about Biomechanics in Podiatry
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