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Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


May 2021

The Achilles tendon is a strong band of fibrous tissue that runs along the back of the leg, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. An Achilles tendon rupture can occur when this tendon is injured and fully torn. Achilles tendon ruptures have become increasingly common in recent years, and are seen particularly often as a sports-related injury. It is most common in men in their 40s and 50s due to the wear and tear on the tendon that occurs naturally with age. As we age, blood flow to the Achilles tendon decreases and stiffness increases, thereby raising the risk of injury. Participating in strenuous running, jumping, and agility activities can lead to an Achilles tendon rupture if preventive measures such as wearing the appropriate footwear and increasing intensity and duration of physical activity slowly are not taken. If you notice sudden pain and swelling in the back of your leg and have difficulty walking, you may have sustained an Achilles tendon injury and should seek the care of a podiatrist.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Jim Maxka of South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. 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 Hanover, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What are Achilles Tendon Injuries
Thursday, 20 May 2021 00:00

It's Time for Beautiful Feet

You don't need an excuse to have beautiful nails. Step outside without worrying about the appearance of your feet.

The proper name for a doctor who specializes in foot and ankle disorders is known as a podiatrist. The technical term is a doctor of podiatric medicine, and the letters “DPM” follow the doctor’s name. The education that is needed to pursue this form of medicine consists of four years of medical school after obtaining a bachelor's degree. Residency training will take approximately three years, and this is accomplished in hospitals and clinics. Some of the specialties podiatrists are qualified for can include wound care, treating diabetic foot conditions, and performing foot surgery. Common foot conditions many patients seek the expertise of a podiatrist can consist of bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, and various foot infections. If pursuing a career in podiatry is of interest, it is suggested that you speak with a podiatrist who can address any questions you may have.

If you are experiencing pain in the feet or ankles, don’t join the stubborn majority refusing treatment. Feel free to contact Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Podiatrist?

Someone would seek the care of a podiatrist if they have suffered a foot injury or have common foot ailments such as heal spurs, bunions, arch problems, deformities, ingrown toenails, corns, foot and ankle problems, etc.

Podiatric Treatment

A podiatrist will treat the problematic areas of the feet, ankle or lower leg by prescribing the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Drugs
  • Orthotic inserts or soles
  • Surgery on lower extremity fractures

A common podiatric procedure a podiatrist will use is a scanner or force plate which will allow the podiatrist to know the designs of orthotics. Patients are then told to follow a series of tasks to complete the treatment. The computer will scan the foot a see which areas show weight distribution and pressure points. The podiatrist will read the analysis and then determine which treatment plans are available.

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

Read more about What is a Podiatrist?
Monday, 10 May 2021 00:00

How Do Feet Develop Overtime?

When children are born, they generally have flat feet. Additionally, the toes appear to be the same length, and are encased in soft fat. This is typically evident up to eighteen months, and bones will begin to form up to twenty-four months. Research has indicated the arch will start to form between two and four years, and the bones will merge together as the child grows. It is beneficial to have your child walk barefoot while indoors, and this is helpful in keeping the feet strong. When it is time to walk outdoors, the proper shoes need to be purchased. Ideally, they should be constructed with breathable materials, and it is important to make sure there is adequate room for the toes to move freely in. If you would like additional information about your child’s foot development, and the type of shoes to buy, please consult with a podiatrist.

The health of a child’s feet is vital to their overall well-being. If you have any questions regarding foot health, contact Dr. Jim Maxka of South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tips for Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

  • Make sure their shoes fit properly
  • Look for any signs of in-toeing or out-toeing
  • Check to see if they have Clubfoot (condition that affects your child’s foot and ankle, twisting the heel and toes inward) which is one of the most common nonmajor birth defects.
  • Lightly cover your baby’s feet (Tight covers may keep your baby from moving their feet freely, and could prevent normal development)
  • Allow your toddler to go shoeless (Shoes can be restricting for a young child’s foot)
  • Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails
  • Keep your child’s foot clean and dry
  • Cover cuts and scrapes. Wash any scratches with soap and water and cover them with a bandage until they’ve healed.

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

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Monday, 03 May 2021 00:00

A Stabbing Heel Pain

The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, often due to repetitive overuse. When the plantar fascia is injured, it causes heel pain. The pain is often described as “stabbing pain” and is usually worse when taking the first few steps following a period of rest, such as when you first wake up and step out of bed in the morning. Treatments for this condition are typically conservative and involve stretching the feet, wearing orthotics, and rest. If you have heel pain, it is suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist. 

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful and inconvenient. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis, contact Dr. Jim Maxka  from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. 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 Hanover, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Plantar Fasciitis
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