If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right. Switch to Accessible Site
We are OPEN and following all CDC Guidelines

Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


November 2021

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

Systemic Diseases of the Foot

There are several systemic diseases, or diseases that affect the whole body, that either display symptoms in the feet or affect the health of the feet. Common systemic diseases that affect the overall health of the feet, and the patient’s ability to walk comfortably, include gout, diabetes mellitus, neurological disorders, and arthritis, among others.

In gout, which is caused by an excessive buildup of uric acid in the body, the most common symptoms of pain, inflammation, and redness occur at the metatarsal/phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe. Any excess levels of uric acid crystallize and are deposited in tendons, joints, and surrounding bone and muscle tissue. Gout is commonly treated with NSAIDs to relieve pain and inflammation and other drugs to lower uric acid levels in the body. Gout most commonly affects those who are overweight, have low protein diets and lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Diabetes mellitus is an increase in the level of blood sugar in which the body cannot counteract with naturally occurring insulin in the body. The three types of diabetes, Type I, Type II and Gestational Diabetes, are all signs the body is either not producing enough insulin or is not efficiently using the insulin that is produced. Gestational diabetes only affects women who are pregnant and have never, prior to pregnancy, exhibited symptoms of the disease.

There are two main issues that affect the feet that are commonly caused by diabetes. They include diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. Diabetic neuropathy can lead to damaged nerves and affect the feet through numbness and loss of sensation. Peripheral vascular disease restricts the flow of blood to the foot and can, in extreme cases, lead to the necessity of amputating the foot. Peripheral issues that are caused by diabetes and can affect the foot include athlete’s foot, nail infections, corns, blisters, bunions, severe dry skin, plantar warts and ingrown toenails. These can all be attributed to the decrease of blood flow to the foot.

Neurological disorders and rheumatoid arthritis can also have severe impact on the health of the feet. Neurological disorders can affect the nerves in the main structure of the foot and cause loss of sensation and possible decreased muscle response. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the bones and joint structures of the foot, making it impossible to walk normally without serious pain.

All systemic diseases that affect the foot can effectively be treated to minimize joint and muscle damage if they are diagnosed early and treated with medication and lifestyle therapy. Diabetes patients must monitor their blood sugar levels and work with their physician to keep their levels as close to normal as possible. Rheumatoid arthritis patients should work with their physician to ensure the proper medications are being taken to reduce the amount of damage to the joints of the body.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

Painful Feet May Indicate Erythromelalgia

If your feet are swollen, red, and extremely painful, you may have a condition known as Erythromelalgia. These symptoms may begin in childhood or wait until later in life, but they are progressive and can eventually extend from the foot to the entire leg. Episodes may be caused by a variety of factors, including drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods, and wearing warm socks or tight shoes. Pain can become so great that it affects the ability to stand or walk, sometimes preventing a person from going to school or work. If you experience symptoms of Erythromelalgia, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist to find out more. 

When dealing with systemic disease of the feet, it is extremely important to check the affected areas routinely so that any additional problems are caught quickly.  If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles contact Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will assist you with all of your podiatric needs.

Systemic Diseases of the Feet

Systemic diseases affect the whole body, and symptoms usually are displayed in the feet. This condition can make a patient’s ability to walk unbearable.  Systemic diseases include gout, diabetes mellitus, neurological disorders, and arthritis.

Gout – is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. Common symptoms include pain, inflammation, and redness at the metatarsal/phalangeal joint of the base big toe. Gout can be treated by NSAIDs to relieve pain and inflammation, and other drugs that lower the acid levels in the body.

Diabetes mellitus – is an increase in the level of blood sugar that the body cannot counteract with its own insulin. Failure to produce enough insulin is a factor in Diabetes.

Diabetes of the Feet

Diabetic Neuropathy – may lead to damaged nerves and affect the feet through numbness and loss of sensation.

Peripheral Vascular Disease – can restrict the blood flow to the feet, and often times lead to amputation of the feet. 

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 Systemic Diseases of the Foot

If you work on your feet all day, you may want to look into how you can lessen the impact this can have on your health. You may even be able to reduce pain, swelling, and other complications that working on your feet may be causing. The first order of business is to get yourself a good pair (or two) of leather shoes with quality construction, non-slip soles, cushioned inner lining, wide heels and support in the back for your ankles. Alternate those shoes daily. Take every break you are entitled to and sit down while elevating your feet. Try strengthening your body through fitness training, stretching, and building up your endurance. Soak your legs in a hot tub at night to relieve muscles. A podiatrist can also create custom orthotics to distribute weight more evenly and provide extra cushioning and structure. If your feet are in pain after working all day, seek the counsel of a podiatrist to explore all possible treatment options. 

While working on the feet, it is important to take the proper care of them. For more information about working on your feet, contact Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Working on Your Feet

Standing on your feet for long periods of time can cause stress and pain in your feet. Your whole body may experience change in terms of posture, back pain, bunions, callouses and or plantar warts. There are ways to avoid these conditions with proper foot care, smart choices and correct posture.

Positive Changes

Negative heeled shoe – Choosing this shoe type places the heel slightly lower than the ball of the foot. These are great for overall foot health. Find shoes that fit you correctly.

Go barefoot – Our feet were not designed to be enclosed for all hours of the day. Try to periodically expose your feet to air.

Eliminate Pain

Foot Exercises – Performing simple exercises, incorporating yoga and doing stretches are beneficial. This will allow increased blood flow to the area and muscles of the foot.

Achilles tendon – Stretching the foot out flat on the floor will relax the calf muscles and tendon. These exercises can be performed almost anywhere. Make sure you add these exercises to your daily regimen. 

With a little bit of this information and knowing more about foot health, you will notice changes. Foot stretches and proper footwear will help with pain and prevent further issues.

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 Working on Your Feet
Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

Working on Your Feet

Foot care is important regardless of your profession, but those who work on their feet must pay special attention. Bunions, calluses, blisters, and plantar warts are just a few of the many conditions that can arise after standing all day. While painful at their worst, these conditions can easily be avoided with the right foot care. This includes both appropriate footwear and proper posture—important elements that affect the health of your feet.

Choosing appropriate footwear means choosing a shoe that has a negative heel. This means that the heel is slightly lower than the ball of your foot, which places less of a strain. If you have a profession that requires you to be on your feet all day, investing in a pair of high-quality shoes is pertinent. High-quality shoes can be purchased from a respected manufacturer that emphasizes foot care and foot health.

Despite the regularity of wearing shoes, the feet are naturally not designed to be enclosed. Regular “barefoot” time for your feet can be beneficial for foot health. Among other methods, allowing your feet to breathe can help alleviate the pain and pressure your feet may be experiencing from being on your feet all day.

Simple foot exercises and yoga positions can help improve both the health and function of your feet. Active foot exercises that create movement will stimulate your foot’s blood flow and circulation, and yoga positions that place your feet flat onto the floor will stretch out their muscles. Yoga is particularly beneficial for your Achilles tendon and calf muscles, which are areas that can become especially problematic if not taken care of. Foot exercises and yoga positions can be easily performed every day at virtually any location and any time; whether it is at the office, at the gym, or at home right before you go to bed. Simple stretching can increase your foot health by miles.

The foot pain you experience after lengthy hours working on your feet may seem inevitable and unavoidable; in reality, however, that is not the case. Wearing proper footwear and performing simple foot exercises and stretches can help ease foot pain and allow you to truly avoid frustrating foot problems.

Your feet can easily be kept healthy with some education and a little effort. Pain that begins at the feet can eventually affect the whole body. Begin taking care of your feet now!

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

Gout Pain Can Be Managed

Gout is a painful, inflammatory form of arthritis. Those affected will typically feel an intense stiffness in the joints of their feet, particularly in the big toe. Schedule a visit to learn about how gout can be managed and treated.

In Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), a handheld device sends a series of acoustic pulses through the surface of the skin to an area of damaged tissue. This intense energy creates a microtrauma in the injured tissue, causing the body to respond by increasing blood circulation and metabolism. This accelerates the body’s natural healing response, helps the body to produce new cells, and reduces pain. Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment with minimal side effects. The treatments only take a couple of minutes and are usually administered once a week for 3-4 weeks or more, depending on the level of damage/pain and how long it has been present. Shockwave therapy can be very effective in the treatment of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, and more. Contact your podiatrist to see if your condition may be treated with ESWT.

Shockwave therapy is a treatment commonly used to treat various injuries and conditions, particularly plantar fasciitis in the feet. To learn more, consult with 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.

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is a new treatment option designed to treat bone conditions such as tennis elbow, shoulder pain, and others. Shockwave therapy uses high intensity sound waves that are directed to the affected tissues of the body with pinpoint accuracy. The effects are very beneficial, leading to a production of collagen fibers, eliminating inflammation.

Who Benefits from Shockwave?

Shockwave is recommended for patients suffering from heel pain and associated problems. Heel pain is a common condition which can be caused by obesity, overexertion, and spending a substantial amount of time on hard floors with your feet exposed and unsupported.

Fast and Easy

The therapy is actually a simple process that can leave patients feeling better the very next day. Shockwave therapy is not as dramatic as it sounds. It enables more blood flow to effected areas, addressing the source of the problem and allowing treatment to last for a long time.

Treatment & Recovery Time

Shockwave treatment will enable your feet to recover quickly. This is especially important since surgery is not required. It is cost effective and does not require the use of anesthesia. This treatment is a better option to surgery, since it is proven safe.

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 Treating Heel Pain with Shockwave Therapy
Tuesday, 09 November 2021 00:00

Treating Heel Pain with Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is one treatment option for plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes heel and foot inflammation and pain. This type of injury is often caused by overworking the feet. Heel pain is most common in people that exercise often, individuals who are overweight, and people whose profession require them to stand for long periods of time.

Heel pain can be caused by a number of problems including ill-fitting shoes, strenuous exercise routines or work hazards. Simple treatment options involve buying new shoes, taking ibuprofen, doing heel and foot exercises, and resting your feet. For severe cases, shockwave therapy can be considered a more viable form of treatment.

Shockwave therapy should be considered for patients that have had unsuccessful treatment or whose heel pain has lasted for more than six months. In shockwave therapy, a device delivers shockwaves to the patient’s body, which jumpstart the body’s repair mechanisms. These mechanisms then begin working more effectively to repair damage done to the heel area.

Shockwave therapy also helps eliminate pain in the heel area. When the body’s natural repair mechanisms are triggered, tissue healing in the body is sped up. This leads to pain reduction after pain transmission nerves are stimulated.

Shockwave therapy eliminates the risk factors associated with surgery, such as the use of anesthetics, and is less invasive. Since this technique also helps improve the body’s natural healing techniques, recovery time should be shorter than surgical procedures.

Discomfort issues can also be a side effect of treatment. Short-term issues normally include skin bruising, minor pain during and after treatment, swelling of the heel, and discolored tissue. However, these side effects of shockwave therapy usually disappear after a few days. The fast recovery time of shockwave therapy makes it easy for patients to return to their daily routines.

Like most types of treatments, surgeries, and medications, shockwave therapy is not for everyone. Potential patients with heart conditions and people with pacemakers should not be considered for this technique. People on certain types of medications, usually medications affecting blood clotting, would be ineligible for shockwave therapy. Children and pregnant women should avoid this treatment option as well.

Overall, shockwave therapy could be a great option for heel pain. It is less invasive than surgery, helps trigger natural healing mechanisms, and should be considered by people who have had long bouts of heel pain or tried conventional treatment options that were unsuccessful.

Tuesday, 02 November 2021 00:00

Vascular Testing in Podiatry

In foot care, vascular testing may be required in the diagnosing and treatment of certain podiatric conditions. Vascular testing is particularly relevant for patients with high-risk diabetes, poor circulation, peripheral artery disease (PAD), and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Procedures typically involve the examination of blood vessels throughout the body for blockages or buildup.

Vascular testing is very important for the diagnosis of various conditions, including peripheral artery disease and chronic venous insufficiency, as these conditions can greatly affect one’s quality of life and cause pain in the lower limbs. Circulatory problems in the feet and ankles can reflect issues throughout the body, making testing of the blood vessels pertinent.

Testing methods vary between practitioners and can be specific to certain foot and ankle problems. Modern technology has brought about the ability to perform vascular testing using non-invasive methods, such as the cuff-based PADnet testing device. This device records the Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)/Toe-Brachial Index (TBI) values and Pulse Volume Recording (PVR) waveforms. Contact your podiatrist to determine what vascular testing is available for your needs.

Tuesday, 02 November 2021 00:00

Understanding and Diagnosing Vascular Disease

Vascular diseases affect the circulatory system and can involve blood disorders or abnormalities in the arteries, veins, or lymph vessels. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a type of vascular disease which causes a narrowing or blockage in the arteries that prevents their capacity to carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the legs and feet. PAD can cause leg pain when walking (claudication), numbness, tingling, coldness, or an inability for wounds to heal in the legs or feet. Left untreated, PAD may also be a precursor to life-threatening issues such as a heart attack or stroke. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in your legs or feet, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who can help diagnose and treat PAD. They will perform a physical examination and may even suggest that tests be performed to help assess the presence and severity of vascular disease, such as a Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA). CTA uses a type of X-ray scan, while MRA uses radio wave technology. Both tests produce 3D imaging and typically involve inserting a contrasting material (dye) in the blood vessels which makes them easier to visualize.

Vascular testing plays an important part in diagnosing disease like peripheral artery disease. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, or diabetes, 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 Vascular Testing?

Vascular testing checks for how well blood circulation is in the veins and arteries. This is most often done to determine and treat a patient for peripheral artery disease (PAD), stroke, and aneurysms. Podiatrists utilize vascular testing when a patient has symptoms of PAD or if they believe they might. If a patient has diabetes, a podiatrist may determine a vascular test to be prudent to check for poor blood circulation.

How Is it Conducted?

Most forms of vascular testing are non-invasive. Podiatrists will first conduct a visual inspection for any wounds, discoloration, and any abnormal signs prior to a vascular test.

 The most common tests include:

  • Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) examination
  • Doppler examination
  • Pedal pulses

These tests are safe, painless, and easy to do. Once finished, the podiatrist can then provide a diagnosis and the best course for treatment.

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 Vascular Testing in Podiatry
Connect with us