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Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


October 2020

Monday, 26 October 2020 00:00

Methods That Can Help to Prevent Falling

Once a person falls, they have an increased risk of falling again. This can be caused by a fear of falling, and may prevent daily activities from being accomplished. Painful foot conditions may develop from falling, and it is beneficial to implement safety techniques in the household. These can include installing grab bars in the shower and toilet areas, and improving lighting in the living environment. Additionally, it is suggested that regular eye an hearing exams be completed yearly. An effective falls prevention technique can also consist of engaging in a routine exercise program, which can help to strengthen the body. If you would like more information about how falling can affect the feet along with successful prevention methods, please consult with a podiatrist.

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. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. 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 Hanover, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Falls Prevention
Monday, 26 October 2020 00:00

Falls Prevention

Elderly Americans are very susceptible to falls as they get older. Everyone experiences decreases in flexibility, balance, strength, and the senses as they age. This correlates to some eye-opening statistics. 1 in 4 Americans aged 65 and older fall each year. An elderly American is being treated for a fall in an emergency room every 11 seconds, and every 19 minutes, an older person dies from falling. In light of these striking statistics, one can see the importance of taking steps to prevent falls.

Finding an exercise program for the elderly is an excellent way to reduce the likelihood of falls. Look for an exercise program that improves strength and balance. Elderly people who live a more sedentary lifestyle, with little physical activity, are at an increased risk of falling. Wearing well-fitted footwear that provides good foot support and cushion will help prevent falls from poorly fitted shoes. Talking to a podiatrist about your susceptibility to falls and about inspecting your prescriptions will help to avoid any medication that could make falls more likely. Due to a decline in the senses among the elderly, having your eyes and hearing checked is recommended.

Around half of all falls occur in the household. Removing tripping hazards in the home and making it more accommodating to older persons can significantly reduce falls. Some notable household changes include increasing lighting around the house, installing grab bars in the shower and bathroom, and making sure the floor is clear of clutter. Other smart options include installing a shower chair, using rubber-bottomed rugs, and placing railings on both sides of stairwells.  

Finally, discuss with a doctor and your family about your fear of falling. This will help to increase awareness among the population on the need for fall prevention. A lack of awareness on the matter, and a downplaying of importance are what increase the risks of falling. Following these tips can help to reduce the risk for yourself and your loved ones.

 

Thursday, 22 October 2020 00:00

Are You Suffering From Ingrown Toenails?

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can lead to more serious concerns, such as an infection. Knowing proper nail care can help in the prevention of an ingrown toenail. Give us a call, and get treated!

Monday, 19 October 2020 00:00

Why Diabetes Make Wounds Heal Slower

Did you know that approximately 30 million people in the United States live with diabetes? One frequent side effect of this condition is the development of wounds on the feet, known as diabetic foot wounds (DFUs). DFUs are slow to heal, do not heal well, and sometimes don’t heal at all. This increases the risk of getting an infection, which can come with a host of serious complications. But what is it about diabetes that makes DFUs heal so poorly? When blood glucose levels are permanently high, as they often are in people with diabetes, the function of white blood cells is impaired. Without the white blood cells working correctly, the body has more trouble closing wounds. Poor circulation, a frequent complication of diabetes, makes blood move more slowly. The blood becomes unable to supply nutrients to the wound efficiently, leading to poorer healing and a loss of feeling in the feet. Because of this, a person might get a cut or sore on their foot and not even be aware of it, delaying treatment and increasing infection risk. If you have diabetes, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist for the appropriate foot care to prevent and treat DFUs.

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a non-diabetic. 

What Is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

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.

Read more about Wound Care
Monday, 19 October 2020 00:00

Wound Care

Diabetics must be wary of all wounds, regardless of depth or size. Diabetes, a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly use glucose the way it normally would, causes various complications that make wounds difficult to heal. Nerve damage or neuropathy will cause diabetics to have trouble feeling the pain of a blister or cut until the condition has significantly worsened or become infected. A diabetic’s weakened immune system can make even the most minor of wounds easily susceptible to infection. Diabetics are also more prone to developing narrow, clogged arteries, and are therefore more likely to develop wounds.

Wounds should be taken care of immediately after discovery, as even the smallest of wounds can become infected if enough bacteria build up within the wound.  To remove dirt, wounds should be first rinsed under running water only. Soap, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine can irritate the injury and should be avoided. To prevent infection, apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover it with a bandage. The bandage should be changed daily. The skin around the wound may be cleaned with soap.

To prevent further exacerbation, see a doctor—especially if you have diabetes. Minor skin conditions can become larger problems if not properly inspected. As the wound heals, make sure to avoid applying pressure to the affected area.

Monday, 12 October 2020 00:00

Ingrown Toenail Care

An ingrown toenail is a nail that has curved downward and grows into the skin.  This typically occurs at the nail borders, or the sides of the nail.  As a result, pain, redness, swelling, and warmth may occur in the toe.  If a break in the skin forms due to the ingrown nail, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area; this is typically characterized by a foul odor and drainage.

Ingrown toenails have multiple reasons for developing.  In many instances, the condition is a result of genetics and is inherited.  The most common cause, however, is improper trimming; cutting the toenails too short forces the skin beside the nail to fold over.  An ingrown toenail can also develop due to trauma, such as stubbing the toe, having an object fall on the toe, or participating in activities that involve repeated kicking or running.  Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short can also cause ingrown toenails.

Treatment for an ingrown toenail varies between patients and the severity of the condition.  Milder cases that don’t involve infection or other medical conditions can benefit from soaking the feet in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail.  In most cases, however, it is best to see your podiatrist for thorough and proper treatment.  After examining your toe, your podiatrist may prescribe oral antibiotics to clear the infection if one is present.  Surgical removal of either a portion of the nail or the entire nail may also be considered.  In some cases, complete removal or destruction of the nail root may be required.  Most patients who undergo nail surgery experience minimal pain afterward and can return to normal activity the following day.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented with proper nail trimming and by avoiding improper-fitting shoes.  When cutting the toenails, be sure that you are cutting in a straight line and avoid cutting them too short.  Shoes should not be too short or tight in the toe box.

An ingrown toenail is a condition in which the corner of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin. It occurs most frequently on the big toe, and can affect both children and adults. This condition can be very painful, and may also cause redness, swelling, and tenderness around the affected nail. There are several things you can do to care for your child’s ingrown toenail at home, including soaking the affected toe in warm water and elevating the corner of the nail. However, if home care methods are ineffective, or if your child gets ingrown toenails frequently, then you should take them to a podiatrist for treatment.  

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, 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.

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 Hanover, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
Monday, 05 October 2020 00:00

Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a condition in which the nerves in the body become damaged from a number of different illnesses. Nerves from any part of the body, including the foot, can be damaged. There are several forms of neuropathy including peripheral neuropathy, cranial neuropathy, focal neuropathy, and autonomic neuropathy. Furthermore there is also mononeuropathy and polyneuropathy. Mononeuropathies affect one nerve while polyneuropathies affect several nerves. Causes of neuropathy include physical injury, diseases, cancers, infections, diabetes, toxic substances, and disorders. It is peripheral neuropathy that affects the feet.

The symptoms of neuropathy vary greatly and can be minor such as numbness, sensation loss, prickling, and tingling sensations. More painful symptoms include throbbing, burning, freezing, and sharp pains. The most severe symptoms can be muscle weakness/paralysis, problems with coordination, and falling.

Podiatrists rely upon a full medical history and a neurological examination to diagnose peripheral neuropathy in the foot. More tests that may be used include nerve function tests to test nerve damage, blood tests to detect diabetes or vitamin deficiencies. Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, might be used to look for abnormalities, and finally nerve or skin biopsies could also be taken.

Treatment depends upon the causes of neuropathy. If the neuropathy was caused by vitamin deficiency, diabetes, infection, or toxic substances, addressing those conditions can lead to the nerve healing and sensation returning to the area. However if the nerve has died, then sensation may never come back to the area. Pain medication may be prescribed for less serious symptoms. Topical creams may also be tried to bring back sensation. Electrical nerve stimulation may be used for a period of time to stimulate nerves. Physical therapy can strengthen muscle and improve movement. Finally surgery might be necessary if pressure on the nerve is causing the neuropathy.

If you are experiencing sensation loss, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in your feet, you may be experiencing neuropathy. Be sure to talk to a podiatrist to be diagnosed right away.

Monday, 05 October 2020 00:00

Different Forms of Neuropathy

Research has indicated that many patients who have neuropathy may be diabetic. Peripheral neuropathy is defined as nerve damage that can affect the feet, and can happen from elevated glucose levels in the blood. It can cause the inability to feel sensation, and there may be muscle weakness and slowed reflexes. Patients who have autonomic neuropathy may experience difficulty in swallowing, or have abnormal blood pressures and heart rates. Damage that is inflicted on the hips, thighs, or legs may be indicative of radiculoplexus neuropathy, and this may be linked to diabetes. An additional form of neuropathy is referred to as mononeuropathy, and this may cause difficulty in focusing the eyes. If you are experiencing weakness or a lack of sensation in your feet, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist.

Neuropathy

Neuropathy can be a potentially serious condition, especially if it is left undiagnosed. If you have any concerns that you may be experiencing nerve loss in your feet, consult with Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment for neuropathy.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a condition that leads to damage to the nerves in the body. Peripheral neuropathy, or neuropathy that affects your peripheral nervous system, usually occurs in the feet. Neuropathy can be triggered by a number of different causes. Such causes include diabetes, infections, cancers, disorders, and toxic substances.

Symptoms of Neuropathy Include:

  • Numbness
  • Sensation loss
  • Prickling and tingling sensations
  • Throbbing, freezing, burning pains
  • Muscle weakness

Those with diabetes are at serious risk due to being unable to feel an ulcer on their feet. Diabetics usually also suffer from poor blood circulation. This can lead to the wound not healing, infections occurring, and the limb may have to be amputated.

Treatment

To treat neuropathy in the foot, podiatrists will first diagnose the cause of the neuropathy. Figuring out the underlying cause of the neuropathy will allow the podiatrist to prescribe the best treatment, whether it be caused by diabetes, toxic substance exposure, infection, etc. If the nerve has not died, then it’s possible that sensation may be able to return to the foot.

Pain medication may be issued for pain. Electrical nerve stimulation can be used to stimulate nerves. If the neuropathy is caused from pressure on the nerves, then surgery may be necessary.

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.

Read more about Neuropathy
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