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


March 2020

Monday, 30 March 2020 00:00

How to Treat Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are calcium deposits that cause bone protrusions on the heel bone. Heel spurs are usually associated with plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the plantar fasciitis in the foot becomes inflamed. Typically, heel spurs don’t cause any symptoms. However, they can produce chronic or intermittent heel pain. Those who have had the condition often describe the irritation as a stabbing pain.

There are risk factors that may make you more likely to develop heel spurs. People who have abnormal walking gaits, run and jog on hard surfaces, are obese, or wear poorly fitting shoes are more likely to develop heel spurs.

Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to avoid developing heel spurs. One of the best ways to do this is by wearing well-fitting shoes with shock-absorbent soles. Another preventative technique is to choose running shoes if you plan on running, and walking shoes if you plan on walking. Shoes are made for different activities and it is important to research a shoe before you purchase a pair.

The pain associated with heel spurs often decreases the more you walk. However, a recurrence of pain after an extended period of rest or walking is likely to occur with this condition. Those with severe heel spur pain may opt to go the surgical route for treatment.  However, more than 90% of those with the condition get better without surgical treatment. If you have a heel spur and want to know if surgery is right for you, you should go to your podiatrist and he or she will be able to conduct a pre-surgical test or exam to determine if you are an optimal candidate for surgery.

Monday, 30 March 2020 00:00

Possible Symptoms of a Heel Spur

A small growth, generally made of calcium, which forms between the arch of the foot and the heel may be referred to as a heel spur. Common symptoms that affect many patients with this condition can consist of pain in the heel, which may be more intense after arising in the morning, followed by a dull ache that can last most of the day. Additionally, there is often swelling in the heel and surrounding areas, and it may be painful when touched. A heel spur may occur as a result of gradual strain that affects the soft tissues in the heel, and from the formation of calcium deposits. Patients who are overweight, wear improper footwear, or who have endured an injury to the heel, may be more susceptible to developing this condition. If you feel you have this ailment and would like to learn about effective treatment methods, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist.

Heel spurs can be incredibly painful and sometimes may make you unable to participate in physical activities. To get medical care for your heel spurs, contact Dr. Kevin F. Gallagher from Gallagher Podiatry. Our doctor will do everything possible to treat your condition.

Heels Spurs

Heel spurs are formed by calcium deposits on the back of the foot where the heel is. This can also be caused by small fragments of bone breaking off one section of the foot, attaching onto the back of the foot. Heel spurs can also be bone growth on the back of the foot and may grow in the direction of the arch of the foot.

Older individuals usually suffer from heel spurs and pain sometimes intensifies with age. One of the main condition's spurs are related to is plantar fasciitis.

Pain

The pain associated with spurs is often because of weight placed on the feet. When someone is walking, their entire weight is concentrated on the feet. Bone spurs then have the tendency to affect other bones and tissues around the foot. As the pain continues, the feet will become tender and sensitive over time.

Treatments

There are many ways to treat heel spurs. If one is suffering from heel spurs in conjunction with pain, there are several methods for healing. Medication, surgery, and herbal care are some options.

If you have any questions feel free to contact one of our offices located in McMurray and Hickory, PA. We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to meet your needs.

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Monday, 23 March 2020 00:00

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), or peripheral arterial disease, is a circulatory problem in which there is a reduction of blood flow to the limbs due to narrowed arteries. When peripheral artery disease develops, the extremities do not receive enough blood flow; this may cause symptoms to develop such as claudication, or leg pain when walking. The legs are the most common site of peripheral artery disease.

Claudication, or leg pain when walking, is one of several symptoms that can develop due to peripheral artery disease. Other symptoms caused by the disease include painful cramping in the hips, thighs, or calves after certain activities; leg numbness or weakness; coldness in the lower leg or foot; sores on the lower extremities that do not heal; hair loss on the lower extremities; and a missing or weak pulse in the lower extremities. In more severe cases, pain may even occur when the body is at rest or when lying down.

Peripheral artery disease is typically caused by atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits build up in the arterial walls and reduce blood flow. Smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are some of the risk factors for peripheral artery disease.

If you are experiencing pain, numbness, or other symptoms in the lower extremities, see your healthcare professional immediately. Diagnosed peripheral artery disease can be treated with various medications, angioplasty and surgery, exercise programs, or alternative medicine. It is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment for you.

Peripheral artery disease, otherwise referred to as PAD, causes the blood vessels to narrow, which in turn, restricts blood flow to different parts of the body, including the feet. To help prevent developing this condition, it’s suggested that you commonly partake in physical activity and maintain low cholesterol levels. PAD can be difficult to diagnose, which is why it is so important to be aware of the symptoms. Hair loss on the feet and legs, leg weakness, ulcers on the feet or legs, numbness towards the lower extremity regions, and the foot or leg feeling cold, are all signs indicating you may have developed PAD. There are several methods to test for PAD. In order to properly diagnose this condition and receive the proper treatment, it is highly recommended to consult with a podiatrist.

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with Dr. Kevin F. Gallagher from Gallagher Podiatry. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heel
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.

Diagnosis

While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.

Treatment

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

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, 18 March 2020 00:00

How to Care for Your Child's Feet

It is never normal for a child to experience pain in his or her feet. Foot pain that lasts more than a few days and limits a child’s ability to walk should be examined by a podiatrist. Many adult foot ailments originate in childhood and may be present at birth. Common foot issues that are experienced by children are pediatric flat foot, Sever’s disease, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.

A child’s foot grows rapidly during the first year, allowing it to reach almost half of their adult foot size. Consequently, foot specialists consider the first year to be the most crucial point in the foot development process. There are ways you can help ensure that your child’s foot develops properly. One way is to carefully look at your baby’s feet. If you notice any deformities, you should immediately seek professional care. You should also loosely cover your child’s foot, since tight coverings may prevent movement and inhibit normal development. Another tip is to change the baby’s positioning throughout the day. If your baby lies down in one spot for too long, it may put an excess amount of strain on the feet and legs.

It is best that you try not to force a child to start walking. Children will begin to walk when they are both physically and emotionally capable to do so. You should also avoid comparing your child’s walking progress with other children because the age range for independent walking may range. When your child’s feet begin to develop, you may need to change both their shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for their feet to grow.

Kids are sometimes prone to splinters, cuts, and severe injuries because they tend to walk around barefoot. This also makes them more susceptible to developing plantar warts which is a condition caused by a virus that invades the sole of the foot through breaks in the skin. These ailments can be avoided by making sure your child wears shoes in unsanitary environments. You should also wash any minor cuts or scrapes on your child’s feet. It is a myth that exposure to fresh air will heal injuries; fresh air will only expose your child’s cuts to germs.

As a parent, you should ensure that your child’s feet are developing properly and are being properly maintained. Consequently, it is important that you perform routine inspections on his or her feet to detect any injuries or deformities in their early stages. Early detection and treatment will help to ensure that your child does not develop any serious foot conditions.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 00:00

Children and Walking

Children’s feet may become stronger when shoes are not worn while indoors. When children are barefoot, they start performing a grasping action with their toes, which can be beneficial in strengthening the entire foot. When walking is done outdoors, it is important to purchase shoes that fit correctly. It is important to measure your child’s feet approximately every three months to avoid purchasing footwear that may constrain their toes. Focusing on buying shoes that are lightweight and made of a breathable material may also be beneficial to the overall health of your child’s feet. Adequate room is necessary in the top of the shoe for the toes to move freely in. Additionally, proper foot care can consist of washing the feet daily, followed by drying them completely between the toes. When the toes are trimmed in a straight line, uncomfortable foot conditions that can include ingrown toenails may be prevented. If you would like additional information about how to care for your child’s feet, please consult with a podiatrist.

Making sure that your children maintain good foot health is very important as they grow. If you have any questions, 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.

Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

Having healthy feet during childhood can help prevent medical problems later in life, namely in the back and legs. As children grow, their feet require different types of care. Here are some things to consider...

Although babies do not walk yet, it is still very important to take care of their feet.

Avoid putting tight shoes or socks on his or her feet.

Allow the baby to stretch and kick his or her feet to feel comfortable.

As a toddler, kids are now on the move and begin to develop differently. At this age, toddlers are getting a feel for walking, so don’t be alarmed if your toddler is unsteady or ‘walks funny’. 

As your child gets older, it is important to teach them how to take care of their feet.

Show them proper hygiene to prevent infections such as fungus.

Be watchful for any pain or injury.

Have all injuries checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Comfortable, protective shoes should always be worn, especially at play.

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 and ankle needs.

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Thursday, 12 March 2020 00:00

Do your Child's Feet Hurt?

Have your child's feet been examined lately?

Monday, 09 March 2020 00:00

Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Our bones are important aspects of our body and they are constantly changing. The heavier the workload for a bone, the more likely it is that calcium will be placed in it. When a bone isn’t used often, there won’t be much calcium within it. When stress from repetitive loads prevent the bone from being able to repair itself, cracks will start to form. Stress fractures are defined as cracks in a bone that result from repetitive force, such as overuse.

The most common cause of stress fractures is a sudden increase in intensity and duration of physical activity. For example, if you begin to run long distances without working your way into doing so, you will be more likely to develop a stress fracture.

Common symptoms of stress fractures are pain and swelling near the weight bearing area on the injured bone. When initial x-rays are performed, it is possible that the fracture will not show up. However, once the stress on the area continues, the damage will increase, and the fracture will be severe enough to show up on an x-ray. Certain parts of the foot are more likely to develop stress fractures than others. Areas that typically have these fractures are: the metatarsals, the navicular bone, the calcaneus, tibia, and fibula.

Since women are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, they are twice as likely as men to sustain a stress fracture. Additionally, old age causes a decrease in bone mineral density which is why elderly people are also likely to develop these fractures.

It is important for you to be professionally diagnosed by a podiatrist if you suspect you have a stress fracture, because there are other injuries that can easily be mistaken for a fracture.  Sprains, strains, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Morton’s neuroma can all easily be mistaken for stress fractures in the foot. Your podiatrist will likely ask you a series of questions to determine what type of pain you are experiencing. These questions will help your doctor identify whether you have a stress fracture.

The best method of treatment for a stress fracture is rest. Additionally, a walking boot, cast, or crutches, will help rest the area that is injured. The typical healing time for stress fractures is 4-12 weeks, however this depends on which bone is involved.

Monday, 09 March 2020 00:00

Possible Causes of Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are defined as a small break in one or more bones in the feet. They can occur as a result of frequently running for extended periods of time, or from participating in jumping activities. Additionally, they may happen if there is a change in the style of jogging you’re used to, or a change in the running surface. A common symptom that is associated with stress fractures can include pain during physical activity. This pain may also return after resting. Typically, effective treatment generally means the activity must be ceased that caused the fracture, and a boot or cast may be recommended for the healing process. If you have pain in your foot and think you may have a stress fracture, it is strongly advised that you speak to a podiatrist who can help you to manage this condition.

Stress fractures occur when there is a tiny crack within a bone. To learn more, contact Dr. Kevin F. Gallagher from Gallagher Podiatry. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain free and on your feet.

How Are They Caused?

Stress fractures are the result of repetitive force being placed on the bone. Since the lower leg and feet often carry most of the body’s weight, stress fractures are likely to occur in these areas. If you rush into a new exercise, you are more likely to develop a stress fracture since you are starting too much, too soon.  Pain resulting from stress fractures may go unnoticed at first, however it may start to worsen over time.

Risk Factors

  • Gender – They are more commonly found in women compared to men.
  • Foot Problems – People with unusual arches in their feet are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Certain Sports – Dancers, gymnasts, tennis players, runners, and basketball players are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Lack of Nutrients – A lack of vitamin D and calcium may weaken the bones and make you more prone to stress fractures
  • Weak Bones – Osteoporosis can weaken the bones therefore resulting in stress fractures

Stress fractures do not always heal properly, so it is important that you seek help from a podiatrist if you suspect you may have one. Ignoring your stress fracture may cause it to worsen, and you may develop chronic pain as well as additional fractures.

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, 04 March 2020 00:00

Who Does Sever’s Disease Affect?

The medical condition that is known as Sever’s disease can generally affect adolescents who participate in running and jumping activities. This ailment impacts the growth plate, and may occur as a result of the heel bone and surrounding muscles growing at different rates. There may be existing medical conditions that precede the onset of Sever’s disease. These can include flat feet, high arches, obesity, or having one leg that is shorter than the other. Some of the symptoms that are associated with this condition can consist of red skin around the affected area, swelling, and difficulty walking. Mild relief may be found when supportive shoes are worn, and gentle exercises are performed that may strengthen the foot. If you think your child may have Sever’s disease, it is strongly advised that you consult with a podiatrist for professional care and treatment.

Sever's disease often occurs in children and teens. If your child is experiencing foot or ankle pain, see Dr. Kevin F. Gallagher from Gallagher Podiatry. Our doctor can treat your child’s foot and ankle needs.

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is also known as calcaneal apophysitis, which is a medical condition that causes heel pain I none or both feet. The disease is known to affect children between the ages of 8 and 14.

Sever’s disease occurs when part of the child’s heel known as the growth plate (calcaneal epiphysis) is attached to the Achilles tendon. This area can suffer injury when the muscles and tendons of the growing foot do not keep pace with bone growth. Therefore, the constant pain which one experiences at the back of the heel will make the child unable to put any weight on the heel. The child is then forced to walk on their toes.

Symptoms

Acute pain – Pain associated with Sever’s disease is usually felt in the heel when the child engages in physical activity such as walking, jumping and or running.

Highly active – Children who are very active are among the most susceptible in experiencing Sever’s disease, because of the stress and tension placed on their feet.

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 and ankle injuries.

Read more about Sever's Disease
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