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Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


August 2020

Monday, 31 August 2020 00:00

Fungal Nails 101

When fungus gets under the toenail, it begins to feed on the keratin that makes up the nail. While an infected nail is easy to treat in the early stages, the infection becomes more and more difficult to manage as it grows. Common risk factors for developing a fungal nail infection may include trauma, poor hygiene, sweating, and walking barefoot in moist environments. Toenails that have been infected by a fungus will become brittle, crumble, and turn yellowish in color. Treatments for infected toenails can include topical medications, oral medications, and laser treatment. If you believe that you are afflicted with a toenail fungus, it is important that you consult with a podiatrist for proper care and treatment.

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, 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.

Symptoms

  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail

Treatment

If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.

Prevention

In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

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 Treating Toenail Fungus
Monday, 31 August 2020 00:00

Treating Toenail Fungus

Fungal infection of the toenail, or onychomycosis, typically appears as a gradual change in a toenail’s texture and color that involves brittleness and darkening.  The fungal infection itself occurs beneath the surface of the nail.  Aside from discoloration, other symptoms include the collection of debris beneath the nail plate, white marks on the nail plate, and a foul odor emanating from the nail.  If ignored, the infection can spread into other nails and the skin; in severe cases, it can hinder one’s ability to work or walk. 

The toenails are particularly vulnerable to contracting infection in moist environments where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as around swimming pools, public showers, and locker rooms.  Fungal infection may also be more likely to occur in nail beds that have been injured, and sufferers of chronic diseases such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immunodeficiency conditions are particularly prone to developing fungal nails. 

Fungal nails can be primarily prevented by practicing proper hygiene and regularly examining the feet and toes.  Carefully washing the feet with soap and water and thoroughly drying the feet afterwards are essential.  Other tips include wearing shower shoes in public areas, changing shoes and socks daily, keeping toenails clipped at a short length, wearing breathable shoes that fit properly, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and disinfecting home pedicure tools and instruments used to cut nails.

Fungal nail treatment may vary between patients and the severity of the condition.  Your podiatrist may suggest a daily routine of cleansing that spans over a period of time to ease mild infections.  Over-the-counter or prescription antifungal agents may also be prescribed, including topical and/or oral medications.  Debridement, or the removal of diseased nail matter and debris, may also be performed.  In more severe cases, surgical treatment may be needed.  In some instances, the temporary removal of the fungal nail allows for the direct application of a topical antifungal to the nail bed.  In other cases, a chronically painful fungal nail that has not responded to other treatments may be permanently removed; this allows the infection to be cured and avoids the growth of a deformed nail.  

Monday, 24 August 2020 00:00

What Is a Brannock Device?

The apparatus that is referred to as a Brannock device is an accurate tool for measuring your foot to determine your correct shoe size. When this is accomplished, the proper size shoes can be purchased. It is important for your shoes to have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. This may be helpful in preventing painful foot conditions from developing, such as bunions and hammertoes. Additionally, it is helpful to ensure that the ball of the foot lines up with the ball of the shoe. Shoes that fit correctly will feel good when they are tried on, and it is generally unnecessary to break them in. If you would like to know more information about how to purchase shoes that fit correctly, please consult with a podiatrist.

It is important to find shoes that fit you properly in order to avoid a variety of different foot problems. For more information about treatment, contact Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Proper Shoe Fitting

Shoes have many different functions. They cushion our body weight, protect our feet, and allow us to safely play sports. You should always make sure that the shoes you wear fit you properly in order to avoid injuries and deformities such as: bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and more. It is important to note that although a certain pair of shoes might be a great fit for someone else, that doesn’t mean they will be a great fit for you. This is why you should always try on shoes before buying them to make sure they are worth the investment. Typically, shoes need to be replaced ever six months to one year of regular use.

Tips for Proper Shoe Fitting

  • Select a shoe that is shaped like your foot
  • Don’t buy shoes that fit too tight, expecting them to stretch to fit
  • Make sure there is enough space (3/8” to ½”) for your longest toe at the end of each shoe when you are standing up
  • Walk in the shoes to make sure they fit and feel right
  • Don’t select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe, but by how the shoe fits your foot

The shoes you buy should always feel as good as they look. Shoes that fit properly will last longer, feel better, and improve your way of life each day.

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 How to Get a Proper Shoe Fit
Monday, 24 August 2020 00:00

How to Get a Proper Shoe Fit

Many people suffer from foot problems because their shoes are poorly fitted. When shopping for a new pair of shoes, fashion usually triumphs over comfortability. A pair of well fitted shoes is essential in preventing foot problems and potential injuries.

Poorly fitted shoes can cause foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and foot pain. Shoes such as high heels and sandals may cause problems for your feet. These shoes put the foot in an unnatural position for long periods and fail to provide good foot support. It is recommended to not wear either one for an extended period.

When you are trying on shoes, make sure they have enough space for your toes to move around. Shoes shouldn’t be cramped but also shouldn’t have too much room that your foot moves around in them. A snug shoe is a good choice. They should also provide good arch support and cushioning. Athletic shoes tend to offer both good support and cushioning. A degree of flexibility is necessary so they aren’t too stiff or too unsupportive.

If you can wear your shoes for a long period of time without experiencing any discomfort, this is a sign that your shoes fit properly. Do not be too dismayed if the shoe isn’t a perfect fit at first; many shoes take a few days to weeks to properly break in. However don’t expect an uncomfortable shoe to become fitted to your foot.

For those with foot conditions such as flat feet or pronation, orthotics may be helpful or even necessary to prevent foot pain. Orthotics are inserts that are placed in the shoe and provide support and cushioning for the foot. While there are many types of orthotics out there, custom-made orthotics may be necessary depending upon your foot and foot conditions.

Feet change in size over time. It is important to check your foot size over time so that you can make sure you have the perfect fit for your feet. A podiatrist can provide more information on proper shoe fitting and foot orthotics.

Sunday, 23 August 2020 00:00

Do Your Child's Feet Hurt?

Have your child's feet been examined lately? Healthy feet are happy feet. If your child is complaining of foot pain, it may be a sign of underlying problems.

Monday, 17 August 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, 17 August 2020 00:00

Debridement May Help Foot Ulcers Heal

Diabetic patients are prone to getting cuts, bruises, and wounds on their feet, which can be difficult to heal. This is a result of elevated glucose levels that can cause the feet to lose sensation. Minor cuts, if left unnoticed and untreated can develop into foot ulcers. Untreated wounds may also lead to possible amputation, and research has indicated that this is responsible for two hundred amputations per day. Proper wound treatment can begin with a process that is referred to as debridement. This is typically effective in removing dead skin from the feet. This procedure provides clean edges surrounding the foot ulcer, and healthy tissue can grow, which may accelerate the healing process. If you have developed wounds on the feet, it is strongly recommended that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can help you to manage diabetic foot conditions.

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, 10 August 2020 00:00

The Severity Levels of Sprained Ankles

Sprained ankles are an extremely common injury among athletes and are a result of ligaments in the ankle being overstretched or torn during activity. Sprains can be mild, moderate, or severe. A mild sprain, sometimes referred to as a Grade 1 sprain, is characterized by overstretched ligaments and possible microscopic tears which can cause mild pain, swelling, and light bruising. A moderate sprain, called a Grade 2 sprain, is characterized by partial tearing in the ligaments and abnormal looseness of the joint, moderate pain, noticeable swelling, moderate bruising, and joint instability during weight-bearing activities. The most severe type of sprain, a Grade 3, is characterized by a complete tear of the ligaments, causing intense pain, significant swelling, severe bruising, and major joint instability. If you have sprained your ankle, it is strongly recommended that you seek out a podiatrist for treatment.

Ankle and foot injuries are common among athletes and in many sports. They can be caused by several problems and may be potentially serious. If you are feeling pain or think you were injured in a sporting event or when exercising, 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.

Common Injuries

The most common injuries that occur in sporting activities include:

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Broken Foot
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Stress Fractures
  • Turf Toe

Symptoms

Symptoms vary depending upon the injury and in some cases, there may be no symptoms at all. However, in most cases, some form of symptom is experienced. Pain, aching, burning, bruising, tenderness, tightness or stiffness, sensation loss, difficulty moving, and swelling are the most common symptoms.

Treatment

Just as symptoms vary depending upon the injury, so do treatment options. A common treatment method is known as the RICE method. This method involves rest, applying ice, compression and elevating the afflicted foot or ankle. If the injury appears to be more serious, surgery might be required, such as arthroscopic or reconstructive surgery. Lastly, rehabilitation or therapy might be needed to gain full functionality in the afflicted area. Any discomfort experienced by an athlete 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 care needs.

Read more about Sports Related Foot and Ankle Injuries
Monday, 10 August 2020 00:00

Sports Related Foot and Ankle Injuries

Sports Related Foot and Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are common among athletes and those who exercise frequently. Most of these injuries are non-life-threatening and can heal in weeks with proper treatment and care. Serious injuries, however, require urgent medical treatment.

Common minor injuries include ankle sprains, ankle strains, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and turf toe. An ankle sprain is when the ligaments in the ankle have either become stretched or torn. When the muscle or tendon is stretched or torn, it is an ankle strain. When the big toe is sprained, it is known as turf toe. Achilles tendonitis is the overuse and inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia and generally occurs from overuse in athletics. Stress fractures are also caused from overuse and are small cracks in the bone.

Achilles tendon ruptures are common, but more serious. This injury occurs when the Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the body, ruptures. In most cases, this causes severe pain and difficulty walking; some who have experienced this injury have reported, however, no signs or symptoms. A laceration is a deep cut that can occur anywhere on the body. Lacerations on the foot are rarer, but can occur from things like metal cleats landing on the foot.   

Treatment options cover a wide range of methods based upon the injury and its severity. Conditions like plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis, turf toe and ankle sprains/ strains can heal on their own without immediate medical care, but seeing a podiatrist to monitor the injury is always recommended. Following the RICE (Rest, Icing, Compression, and Elevation) protocol is generally enough to treat minor injuries. This means resting the foot by either keeping pressure off the foot or not walking at all. Icing the injury will help reduce swelling and pain. Compressing the wound with a wrap will immobilize and help promote healing. Finally, keeping the wound elevated will also reduce swelling and also help the healing process.

It is important to note that even minor injuries can vary in severity, with grade one being a minor injury and grade three requiring urgent care by a podiatrist. Achilles tendon ruptures and lacerations on the foot generally require urgent medical care and treatment options that need a podiatrist. These could include imaging tests, stitches for cuts, rehabilitation, and casts or braces. Every case is different, however, so it is always recommended to see a podiatrist when pain in the foot does not disappear.

Monday, 03 August 2020 00:00

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes can cause two problems that can potentially affect the feet: Diabetic neuropathy and Peripheral Vascular Disease. Diabetic neuropathy occurs when nerves in your legs and feet become damaged, which prevents you from feeling heat, cold, or pain. The problem with diabetic neuropathy is that a cut or sore on the foot may go unnoticed and the cut may eventually become infected. This condition is also a main cause of foot ulcers. Additionally, Peripheral vascular disease also affects blood flow in the body. Poor blood flow will cause sores and cuts to take longer to heal. Infections that don’t heal do to poor blood flow can potentially cause ulcers or gangrene.

There are certain foot problems that are more commonly found in people with diabetes such as Athlete’s foot, calluses, corns, blisters, bunions, foot ulcers, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts. These conditions can lead to infection and serious complications such as amputation. Fortunately, proper foot care can help prevent these foot problems before they progress into more serious complications.       

Each day you should wash your feet in warm water with a mild soap. When you finish washing your feet, dry them carefully especially between your toes. You should also perform daily foot inspections to ensure you don’t have any redness, blisters, or calluses. Furthermore, if you are diabetic, you should always wear closed-toed shoes or slippers to protect your feet. Practicing these tips will help ensure that your feet are kept healthy and away from infection.

If you have diabetes, contact your podiatrist if you have any of the following symptoms on your feet: changes in skin color, corns or calluses, open sores that are slow to heal, unusual and persistent odor, or changes in skin temperature. Your podiatrist will do a thorough examination of your feet to help treat these problematic conditions.

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