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Kevin F Gallagher, DPM
Board Certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery
(724) 941-4330


November 2019

Monday, 25 November 2019 00:00

What are Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body. Its purpose is to connect the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. This tendon is responsible for facilitating all types of movement, like walking and running. This tendon provides an enormous amount of mobility for the body. Any injuries inflicted to this tissue should be immediately brought up with a physician to prevent further damage.

The most common injuries that can trouble the Achilles tendon are tendon ruptures and Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis is the milder of the two injuries. It can be recognized by the following symptoms: inflammation, dull to severe pain, an increased flow of blood to the tendon, thickening of the tendon, and slower movement time. Tendinitis can be treated via several methods and is often diagnosed by an MRI.

An Achilles tendon rupture is trickier to heal, and is by far the most painful injury. It is caused by the tendon ripping or completely snapping. The results are immediate and absolutely devastating, and will render the patient immobile. If a rupture or tear occurs, operative and non-operative methods are available. Once the treatment begins, depending on the severity of the injury, recovery time for these types of issues can take up to a year.
 

Simple preventative measures can be taken as a means to avoid both injuries. Prior to any movement, taking a few minutes to stretch out the tendon is a great way to stimulate the tissue. Calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses are all suggested ways to help strengthen the lower legs and promote Achilles tendon health.

Many problems arise among athletes and people who overexert themselves while exercising. Problems can also happen among those who do not properly warm up before beginning an activity. Proper, comfortable shoes that fit correctly can also decrease tendon injuries. Some professionals also suggest that when exercising, you should make sure that the floor you are on is cushioned or has a mat. This will relieve pressure on the heels. A healthy diet will also increase tendon health.

It is very important to seek out a podiatrist if you believe you have an injury in the Achilles region. Further damage could result in severe complications that would make being mobile difficult, if not impossible.

The part of the body that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone is called the Achilles tendon. This tendon allows the foot to point and flex, and it is necessary for it to function properly in order to walk. It is susceptible to normal wear and tear, and may gradually rupture. This condition is called Achilles tendinosis, and can cause severe pain and discomfort. The noticeable signs that an Achilles tendon injury may have occurred is immediate pain in the calf and surrounding areas, limited mobility, and a popping sound may be heard at the time of the injury. This ailment may happen for a variety of reasons. These can include wearing incorrect shoes for a particular sport, exercising on uneven surfaces, or from medical conditions such as flat feet. Treatment may consist of performing specific stretches that can heal and strengthen the Achilles tendon, in addition to elevating the affected foot, which may reduce existing swelling. It is strongly advised that you consult with a podiatrist if you have endured this type of injury.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Kevin F. Gallagher of Gallagher Podiatry. 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 one of our offices located in McMurray and Hickory, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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Monday, 18 November 2019 00:00

What Are Bunions?

Bunions are large bony bumps at the base of the big toe. Medically known as hallux valgus, a bunion is a misalignment of the metatarsophalangeal joint, or big toe joint. The misalignment will generally worsen with time if left untreated.

The exact cause of bunions is unknown, with genetics seen as a potential cause. High heels and poorly-fitted footwear, rheumatoid arthritis, and heredity all seem to be potential factors behind the exacerbation of bunions. Women have been found to be more likely to develop bunions in comparison to men.

Bunions do not always produce symptoms. The best way to tell is if the big toe is pushing up against the next toe and there is a large protrusion at the base of the big toe. You may or may not feel pain. Redness, swelling, and restricted movement of the big toe may be present as well.

Podiatrists use a variety of methods to diagnose bunions. If there are symptoms present, podiatrists will first consider that it is a bunion. If not, a physical examination will be conducted to check function of the big toe. Finally, an X-ray may be taken to view the extent of the bunion and confirm it is a bunion.

Typically, nonsurgical methods are used to treat bunions, unless the bunion has become too misaligned. Orthotics, icing and resting the foot, roomier and better fitted shoes, taping the foot, and pain medication are usually utilized first. If the bunion doesn’t go away or causes extreme pain, surgery may be required. Surgeons will either remove part of the swollen tissue or bone to straighten the toe out.

If you have a bunion, it is recommended to see a podiatrist. The longer it is left untreated, the worse it may get. Podiatrists can properly diagnose and treat a bunion before it gets worse.

Monday, 18 November 2019 00:00

How Do Bunions Develop?

A bunion typically develops gradually, and is considered to be a deformity. It is defined as a bony protrusion that forms on the side of the big toe. This condition can occur as a result of genetic factors, or from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. Symptoms that many patients may experience are redness and swelling surrounding the affected area, a burning sensation, or the feeling of numbness. In severe cases, an X-ray may be necessary to perform to help determine how large the bunion is, in addition to observing any existing arthritis. Moderate relief may be found if orthotics are worn, as well as resting the foot. If the bunion is causing extreme pain, surgery may be a viable option for treatment. This can be successful in permanently straightening and realigning the joints and bones. If you have developed a bunion, it is advised that you schedule a consultation with a podiatrist who can offer treatment options that are correct for you.

If you are suffering from bunions, contact Dr. Kevin F. Gallagher of Gallagher Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why Do Bunions Form?

Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary

Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How Are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in McMurray and Hickory, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Wednesday, 13 November 2019 00:00

Heel Pain Can Be Treated!

Do you suffer from heel pain when you get up in the morning?

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 00:00

How to Deal with Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. It is caused when the tinea fungus grows on the foot. It is possible to catch the fungus through direct contact with someone who has it or by touching a surface that is contaminated with it. This type of fungus thrives in warm, moist environments such as showers, locker room floors, and swimming pools. Your risk of getting it may also increase by wearing tight-fitting, closed-toe shoes, or by having sweaty feet.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, stinging or burning sensations between the toes. You may also experience toenails that are discolored, thick, crumbly, or toenails that pull away from the nail bed.

Your podiatrist may diagnose athlete’s foot by detecting these symptoms or by doing a skin test to see if there is a fungal infection present. The most common exam used to detect Athlete’s foot is a skin lesion potassium hydroxide exam. To use this method, your doctor will scrape off a small area of the infected skin and place it into potassium hydroxide. The potassium hydroxide will destroy the normal cells and leave the fungal cells untouched so that they are visible under a microscope.

There are a variety of treatment options for athlete’s foot. Some medications are miconazole (Desenex), terbinafine (Lamisil AT), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra), and tolnaftate (Tinactin). While these options may be able to treat your fungus, it is best that you consult with a podiatrist in order to see which treatment option may work best for you.

In some cases, Athlete’s foot may lead to complications. A severe complication would be a secondary bacterial infection which may cause your foot to become swollen, painful, and hot.

There are ways that you can prevent athlete’s foot. Washing your feet with soap and water each day and drying them thoroughly is an effective way to prevent infections. You also shouldn’t share socks, shoes, or towels with other people. It is crucial that you wear shower sandals in public showers, around swimming pools, and in other public places. Additionally, you should make sure you wear shoes that can breathe and change your socks when your feet become sweaty. If you suspect that you have Athlete’s foot, you should seek help from a podiatrist as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 00:00

Fungus and Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common condition that affects the bottom of the feet or in between the toes. It can be uncomfortable as a result of consistent itching, and in severe cases, blisters may form. It is caused by a fungus that typically lives and thrives in moist environments. These types of areas often include public swimming pools, shower room floors, and surrounding areas. It is considered to be contagious, and an effective prevention method may consist of wearing appropriate shoes while in these places. Some patients may find mild relief if an anti-fungal spray is applied. If you are noticing symptoms of athlete's foot, it is suggested that you speak to a podiatrist who can properly diagnosis this condition, and prescribe medication if this ailment is severe.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is often an uncomfortable condition to experience. Thankfully, podiatrists specialize in treating athlete’s foot and offer the best treatment options. If you have any questions about athlete’s foot, consult with Dr. Kevin F. Gallagher from Gallagher Podiatry. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment.

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a non-serious and common fungal infection of the foot. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be contracted by touching someone who has it or infected surfaces. The most common places contaminated by it are public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Once contracted, it grows on feet that are left inside moist, dark, and warm shoes and socks.

Prevention

The most effective ways to prevent athlete’s foot include:

  • Thoroughly washing and drying feet
  • Avoid going barefoot in locker rooms and public showers
  • Using shower shoes in public showers
  • Wearing socks that allow the feet to breathe
  • Changing socks and shoes frequently if you sweat a lot

Symptoms

Athlete’s foot initially occurs as a rash between the toes. However, if left undiagnosed, it can spread to the sides and bottom of the feet, toenails, and if touched by hand, the hands themselves. Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Scaly and peeling skin

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is quick and easy. Skin samples will be taken and either viewed under a microscope or sent to a lab for testing. Sometimes, a podiatrist can diagnose it based on simply looking at it. Once confirmed, treatment options include oral and topical antifungal medications.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in McMurray and Hickory, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Hammertoe is a medical condition that most commonly affects the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is referred to as such due to the abnormal downward bend in the affected toe that creates a hammer-like appearance. Hammertoe may form when there is an imbalance present in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that are meant to keep the toe straight. Many factors influence the causes of hammertoe, including: footwear which constraint the toes such as heels, previous toe injuries, toe length, aging, genetics, and the presence of certain diseases such as arthritis or diabetes. Along with the bending of the toe, those affected may also experience pain, swelling, redness, and the formation of corns or calluses on top of the hammertoe’s middle joint. To help prevent such from happening, one can practice the following: wearing low heels, making sure footwear is accommodating to the room needed for your toes, wearing adjustable laces and straps, and having proper arch support. Lifestyle changes and exercise may aid in nursing this condition as well. Because hammertoe is likely to worsen overtime, it is advised you speak with a podiatrist early on to discuss the proper treatment.

Hammertoe

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

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 one of our offices located in McMurray and Hickory, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Monday, 04 November 2019 00:00

What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes are painful deformities that frequently form on the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is often caused by an issue in foot mechanics. This can be caused by the person’s specific gait or the manner in which they walk, or by shoes that do not comfortably fit the deformity.  Hammertoes can be formed after wearing shoes that are too narrow or short for the foot or have excessively high heels. Shoes that are not properly sized will force the toes into a bent position for long periods of time. This can cause the muscles to shorten and toes to bend into the deformity of a hammertoe.

Hammertoe can also be caused by complications from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trauma to the foot, heredity, or a cerebral vascular accident. Pain and difficult mobility of the toes, deformities, calluses, and corns are all symptoms of a hammertoe.

Someone who suspects they have the symptoms of a hammertoe should consult with a physician—particularly a podiatrist. Podiatrists diagnose and treat complications of the foot and ankle. If the podiatrist discovers that the affected toes are still flexible, treatment for the hammertoe may simply involve exercise, physical therapy, and better-fitting shoes. Treatment for hammertoes typically involves controlling foot mechanics, such as walking, through the use of customized orthotics.

For more serious cases in which the toes have become inflexible and rigid, surgery may be suggested. During the operation, the toe would receive an incision to relieve pressure on the tendons. A re-alignment of the tendons may then be performed by removing small pieces of bone to straighten the toe. In some cases, the insertion of pins is needed to keep the bones in the proper position as the toe heals. The patient is usually allowed to return home on the same day as the surgery.

If surgery is performed to repair a hammertoe, following the postoperative directions of your doctor is essential. Directions may include several stretches, picking up marbles with your toes, or attempting to crumple a towel placed flat against your feet. Wear shoes that have low heels and a wide amount of toe space to maintain comfort. Closed-toe shoes and high heels should be avoided. Shoes with laces allow the wearer to adjust how fitted he or she may want the shoes to be and also allow for greater comfort. To provide adequate space for your toes, select shoes that have a minimum of one-half inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside of the shoe. This will also relieve pressure on your toes and prevent future hammertoes from forming.

Other preventative measures that can be taken include going shopping for new shoes in the middle of the day. Your feet are its smallest in the morning and swell as the day progresses. Trying on and purchasing new shoes midday will give you the most reliable size. Be sure to check that the shoes you purchase are both the same size. If possible, ask the store to stretch out the shoes at its painful points to allow for optimum comfort.  

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