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Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


November 2020

Monday, 30 November 2020 00:00

Sports Related Foot And Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are common among people who participate in sports. Several factors contribute to this. They include failing to stretch or warm up properly, not wearing the proper type of shoe and not taping or providing other types of support for the ankle or foot. The most common foot and ankle injuries suffered by people involved in sports are plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains and Achilles tendon damage or ruptures. If not treated properly, they can lead to permanent disability.

Treating these injuries is relatively simple if they are identified and addressed early. Many athletes dismiss the initial aches and pains associated with injury as just soreness or tired muscles. Their first response is usually to try to work through it. This can lead to serious problems. Many minor injuries are made far more serious when athletes continue to put strain and pressure on them. That attitude can change a mild strain into a serious strain and a minor tear into a rupture. Athletes should have unusual aches and pains evaluated by a skilled medical professional.

Plantar fasciitis is a painful injury. It is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue running from the heel to the base of the toes. If left untreated, it can lead to a degenerative disease called plantar fasciosis. There are several effective treatments for this ailment. Doctors often prescribe rest, massages, stretching, night splints, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroids or surgery, usually in that order. The most effective treatment for plantar fasciitis is orthotics, which offers foot support. Surgery is occasionally used as a last resort, but it comes with the risk of nerve damage and infection and often does not stop the pain.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Running, jumping and walking all impact this tendon. Two common injuries to the Achilles tendon are tendonitis and a rupture of the tendon. Tendonitis is inflammation in the tendon often caused by an increase in the amount of stress placed on it. Non-surgical treatments include rest, ice or anti-inflammatory medication.  A rupture (tear) of the Achilles tendon can be treated by placing the lower leg in a cast for several weeks or with surgery. Many physicians feel surgery is the better option because it lowers the risk of re-ruptures. Both methods require 4 to 6 months of rehabilitation.

Ankle sprains are the most common sports related foot and ankle injury. A sprain occurs when the ligament holding the ankle bones and joint stretches beyond its normal range. It can be treated non-surgically with a combination of rest, ice wrapped around the joint for 30 minutes immediately after injury, compression by a bandage and elevating the ankle above the heart for 48 hours. This combination is referred to as RICE. Severe ankle sprains in which the ligaments are torn may require reconstructive surgery followed by rehabilitation.

Monday, 30 November 2020 00:00

Common Foot and Ankle Injuries in Soccer

Just like most physical activities, there is a risk of a variety of foot and ankle injuries that can occur from playing soccer. While many are acute, overuse injuries can happen as well. One of the most common injuries (and re-injuries) that occurs is an ankle sprain. When the ankle rolls, the ligaments can become damaged or torn. Achilles tendonitis is another form of an overuse injury that causes pain and inflammation to the Achilles tendon in the back of the ankle. Metatarsal stress fractures are also a common overuse injury in soccer. A stress fracture is a hairline crack in the bones that causes gradual worsening pain. If you have been injured or notice moderate to severe pain or swelling, especially while walking, visiting a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment method is highly recommended.

Sports related foot and ankle injuries require proper treatment before players can go back to their regular routines. For more information, 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.

Sports Related Foot and Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are a common occurrence when it comes to athletes of any sport. While many athletes dismiss the initial aches and pains, the truth is that ignoring potential foot and ankle injuries can lead to serious problems. As athletes continue to place pressure and strain the area further, a mild injury can turn into something as serious as a rupture and may lead to a permanent disability. There are many factors that contribute to sports related foot and ankle injuries, which include failure to warm up properly, not providing support or wearing bad footwear. Common injuries and conditions athletes face, including:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Plantar Fasciosis
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Ankle Sprains

Sports related injuries are commonly treated using the RICE method. This includes rest, applying ice to the injured area, compression and elevating the ankle. More serious sprains and injuries may require surgery, which could include arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery. Rehabilitation and therapy may also be required in order to get any recovering athlete to become fully functional again. Any unusual aches and pains an athlete sustains must be evaluated by a licensed, reputable medical professional.

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 Sports Related Foot And Ankle Injuries
Monday, 23 November 2020 00:00

Achilles Tendon Ruptures

The Achilles tendon is a tough band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. An Achilles tendon rupture is an injury in which this tendon tears. This often happens during a sudden, forceful movement of the foot downward against resistance, for example, when an athlete pushes off the foot forcefully to jump. The symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture is a sudden, sharp snap and intense pain in the back of the leg, an inability to point the foot downward, and difficulty walking. Swelling may also occur. If you suspect that you have ruptured your Achilles tendon, it is suggested that you 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 Achilles Tendon Injuries
Monday, 23 November 2020 00:00

Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body; it is a tough band of fibrous tissue that stretches from the bones of the heel to the calf muscles. This tendon is what allows us to stand on our toes while running, walking, or jumping, it is common for this tendon to become injured. In severe cases, the Achilles tendon may become partially torn or completely ruptured. However, this tendon is susceptible to injury because of its limited blood supply and the high tensions it endures.

The people who are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries are athletes who partake in activities that require them to speed up, slow down, or pivot. Consequently, athletes who engage in running, gymnastics, dance, football, baseball, basketball, or tennis are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries. Additionally, there are other factors that may make you more prone to this injury. People who wear high heels, have flat feet, have tight leg muscles or tendons, or take medicines called glucocorticoids are more likely to have Achilles tendon injuries.

A common symptom of an Achilles tendon injury is pain above the heel that is felt when you stand on your toes. However, if the tendon is ruptured, the pain will be severe, and the area may become swollen and stiff. Other symptoms may be reduced strength in the lower ankle or leg area, and reduced range of motion in the ankle. When the Achilles tendon tears, there is usually a popping sound that occurs along with it. People who have acute tears or ruptures may find walking and standing to be difficult.

If you suspect you have injured your Achilles tendon, you should see your podiatrist to have a physical examination. Your podiatrist will likely conduct a series of tests to diagnose your injury including a “calf-squeeze” test. Calf squeeze tests are performed by first squeezing the calf muscle on the healthy leg. This will pull on the tendon and consequently cause the foot to move. Afterward, the same test will be performed on the injured leg. If the tendon is torn, the foot won’t move because the calf muscle won’t be connected to the foot.

Saturday, 21 November 2020 00:00

Are Bunions Affecting Your Everyday Life?

Have you noticed a bony protrusion on the side of your big toe? If so, you may have developed the foot condition known as a bunion. Don't let bunions interfere with your daily activities.

Monday, 16 November 2020 00:00

What Can Cause Cracked Heels?

A common foot condition that can affect many patients is known as cracked heels. Cracked heels may develop as a result of standing on hard surfaces for the majority of the day or from wearing shoes that have an open back. The body’s natural defense of protecting damaged skin is thickening the skin, which often precedes cracked heels. Deep and painful cracks are referred to as fissures and can develop if this condition is left untreated. Mild relief can be found when the feet are soaked in warm water, followed by applying a good moisturizer to the affected area. If you have developed cracked heels, please consult with a podiatrist who can effectively treat this ailment.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, 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.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How Do You Get Them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

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 Solutions for Cracked Heels
Monday, 16 November 2020 00:00

Solutions for Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can make life very frustrating and embarrassing when displaying the bare feet. Aside from being unpleasing to the eye, they can also tear stockings and socks and wear out shoes at a faster rate. When severe, cracked heels may cause pain or infection.

Cracked heels are a problem for those who are athletic, those who may walk a lot, and those who have especially dry skin. Those who use medication that dry the skin, those who swim often, wearing certain types of shoes, and those who are diabetic may have trouble with cracked heels. Seniors whose skin produces less oil may also have trouble with cracked feet. There is no one way to develop cracked feet, and there is no cure.

Today, the market consists of numerous products that have a variety of ingredients to promote healing. Some of these are over-the-counter. Others are prescribed by a doctor, especially for those who have chronic dry feet and heels.

Some doctors recommend wearing socks at night for those with rough skin. This helps further healing, and helps creams stay on longer and better absorb into the skin.

One way to alleviate dryness that causes cracked heels is by using moisturizers both day and night. Another way is to make sure the skin is clean and dry at all times. Using a pumice stone to buff away dead skin before putting on moisturizer can also help. Cracked heels will not respond to the cream unless the outer layer of skin is first removed through exfoliation. After exfoliation, lotion or ointment will be absorbed by the skin more easily.

Foods that produce healing and balance can also help the skin from within. Everything that is put into the body can either help it or hurt it. Taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc can also be very beneficial.

Nevertheless, not all products are guaranteed to help treat cracked feet. Seeing a professional is best if other treatments options were unsuccessful. A podiatrist should be able to give the best advice to help with this problem.

Monday, 09 November 2020 00:00

Things You Can Do to Care for Your Feet

If you are an older adult, you may have experienced foot problems. Unfortunately, foot problems are a common occurrence as we age. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to care for your feet and potentially prevent certain conditions from developing. One thing that you can do is perform a weekly foot check, in which you examine your feet for any problems, such as redness, swelling, cuts, sores, or punctures. Wearing comfortable, properly-fitted shoes is very important for maintaining good foot health. Improving your overall circulation, and thus improving circulation to your lower limbs, can help you stay on your feet. You can stretch, walk, or do other lower impact exercises. Regularly wash and dry your feet to maintain good hygiene, and moisturize your feet regularly to avoid dry skin. For more information about how to care for the feet as you age, please consult with a podiatrist. 

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, 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.

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

Read more about Taking Care of Elderly Feet
Monday, 09 November 2020 00:00

Taking Care of Elderly Feet

Many foot diseases and conditions become more serious and common among the elderly. Some of these conditions include diabetic ulcers, ingrown toenails, fungus, arthritis, corns, and calluses. Unfortunately, it may be harder for older adults to take care of their own feet, but there are some precautions they can take in order to avoid any serious conditions.

Dry, cracked heels tend to be a common problem for older people. In order to avoid this, you should always keep your feet clean and well moisturized. Special feet moisturizers should be used as average lotions might not provide enough moisture for dry and cracked heels. Daily foot inspections are crucial for the elderly to detect any irregularities in their earliest stages. During the aging process, blood circulation tends to slow down causing older people to not feel their feet as well as they used to. This often results in foot problems going unnoticed.

Fungal and bacterial conditions thrive on elderly feet because older adults are less likely to keep their feet clean and dry; this makes it easier for bacteria to take hold in their dry, cracked skin. Elderly people should be sure to thoroughly dry their feet, especially in between the toes, after bathing. This will help them avoid developing any fungal infections. Additionally, clean cotton socks should be worn after the feet are dried.

Cutting toenails straight across will help prevent ingrown toenails. When toenails are cut too lose, the nail might break through the skin resulting in an ingrown nail. Clippers should be used to cut the nails in order to make the cut even.

Elderly people who have diabetes are at risk of developing serious foot problems that may lead to amputation. Ulcers that are left untreated can lead to gangrene. Dry and cracked feet, fungus, and untended cuts under the nails may also lead to infections.

Fortunately, Medicare covers many different types of services for foot care. Elderly people with any of these foot conditions should seek the help of a podiatrist and perform daily foot inspections in order to ensure that they have healthy feet.

Monday, 02 November 2020 00:00

Flat Feet

Flatfoot is a condition that occurs when the arches on the foot are flattened, which allows the soles of the feet to touch the floor. Flatfoot is a common condition and it is usually painless.

Throughout childhood, most people begin to develop arches in their feet, however, some do not. Those who do not develop arches are left with flatfoot. The pain associated with flat feet is usually at its worse when engaging in activity. Another symptom that may occur with those who have this condition is swelling along the inside of the ankle.

It is also possible to have flexible flatfoot. Flexible flatfoot occurs when the arch is visible while sitting or standing on the tiptoes, but it disappears when standing. People who have flexible flatfoot are often children and most outgrow it without any problems.

There are some risk factors that may make you more likely to develop flatfoot. Those who have diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of flatfoot development. Other factors include aging and obesity.

Diagnosis for flat feet is usually done by a series of tests by your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will typically try an x-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI on the feet. Treatment is usually not necessary for flat foot unless it causes pain. However, therapy is often used for those who experience pain in their flat feet. Some other suggested treatment options are arch supports, stretching exercises, and supportive shoes. 

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