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Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


May 2021

Monday, 24 May 2021 00:00

What are Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body. Its purpose is to connect the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. This tendon is responsible for facilitating all types of movement, like walking and running. This tendon provides an enormous amount of mobility for the body. Any injuries inflicted to this tissue should be immediately brought up with a physician to prevent further damage.

The most common injuries that can trouble the Achilles tendon are tendon ruptures and Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis is the milder of the two injuries. It can be recognized by the following symptoms: inflammation, dull to severe pain, an increased flow of blood to the tendon, thickening of the tendon, and slower movement time. Tendinitis can be treated via several methods and is often diagnosed by an MRI.

An Achilles tendon rupture is trickier to heal, and is by far the most painful injury. It is caused by the tendon ripping or completely snapping. The results are immediate and absolutely devastating, and will render the patient immobile. If a rupture or tear occurs, operative and non-operative methods are available. Once the treatment begins, depending on the severity of the injury, recovery time for these types of issues can take up to a year.
 

Simple preventative measures can be taken as a means to avoid both injuries. Prior to any movement, taking a few minutes to stretch out the tendon is a great way to stimulate the tissue. Calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses are all suggested ways to help strengthen the lower legs and promote Achilles tendon health.

Many problems arise among athletes and people who overexert themselves while exercising. Problems can also happen among those who do not properly warm up before beginning an activity. Proper, comfortable shoes that fit correctly can also decrease tendon injuries. Some professionals also suggest that when exercising, you should make sure that the floor you are on is cushioned or has a mat. This will relieve pressure on the heels. A healthy diet will also increase tendon health.

It is very important to seek out a podiatrist if you believe you have an injury in the Achilles region. Further damage could result in severe complications that would make being mobile difficult, if not impossible.

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.

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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.

Monday, 17 May 2021 00:00

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine who treats the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. If you are having any pain, injuries, or abnormalities in these areas, it is best that you seek help from a podiatrist.

Podiatrists complete four years of training in a podiatric medical school. Their training is like that of other physicians, and they may go on to complete a fellowship training after a residency training. Some podiatrists are board certified meaning they have advanced training, clinical experience, and have taken an exam to prove their skills. Certifying boards for podiatry are the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. Podiatrists may work in private practices, hospitals, clinics, or they may even become professors at colleges of podiatric medicine.

While in college, those who want to be podiatrists often take biology, chemistry, and physics classes in preparation for podiatry school. In podiatry school, students study how the bones, nerves, and muscles work together to help you move around. Additionally, they study injuries and how to properly diagnose and treat them. Admittance into podiatric medical school requires the completion of 90 semester hours of undergraduate study with a good grade point average, and acceptable scores on the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

Podiatrists treat many different conditions such as: aching feet, ankle pain, bunions, corns, hammertoes, fungus, ingrown toenails, plantar fasciitis, sprains and more. Common forms of treatment for these conditions are physical therapy, drugs, or surgery. Podiatrists may also recommend corrective shoe inserts, custom-made shoes, plaster casts, and strappings to correct deformities.

Even if you are someone whose feet are in generally good condition, you should still visit a podiatrist to have your feet properly exfoliated and maintained, or to make sure you are looking after your feet properly.

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.

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Monday, 10 May 2021 00:00

How to Care for Your Child's Feet

It is never normal for a child to experience pain in his or her feet. Foot pain that lasts more than a few days and limits a child’s ability to walk should be examined by a podiatrist. Many adult foot ailments originate in childhood and may be present at birth. Common foot issues that are experienced by children are pediatric flat foot, Sever’s disease, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.

A child’s foot grows rapidly during the first year, allowing it to reach almost half of their adult foot size. Consequently, foot specialists consider the first year to be the most crucial point in the foot development process. There are ways you can help ensure that your child’s foot develops properly. One way is to carefully look at your baby’s feet. If you notice any deformities, you should immediately seek professional care. You should also loosely cover your child’s foot, since tight coverings may prevent movement and inhibit normal development. Another tip is to change the baby’s positioning throughout the day. If your baby lies down in one spot for too long, it may put an excess amount of strain on the feet and legs.

It is best that you try not to force a child to start walking. Children will begin to walk when they are both physically and emotionally capable to do so. You should also avoid comparing your child’s walking progress with other children because the age range for independent walking may range. When your child’s feet begin to develop, you may need to change both their shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for their feet to grow.

Kids are sometimes prone to splinters, cuts, and severe injuries because they tend to walk around barefoot. This also makes them more susceptible to developing plantar warts which is a condition caused by a virus that invades the sole of the foot through breaks in the skin. These ailments can be avoided by making sure your child wears shoes in unsanitary environments. You should also wash any minor cuts or scrapes on your child’s feet. It is a myth that exposure to fresh air will heal injuries; fresh air will only expose your child’s cuts to germs.

As a parent, you should ensure that your child’s feet are developing properly and are being properly maintained. Consequently, it is important that you perform routine inspections on his or her feet to detect any injuries or deformities in their early stages. Early detection and treatment will help to ensure that your child does not develop any serious foot conditions.

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

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a connective tissue in the heel that stretches across the bottom length of your foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue becomes inflamed, causing heel pain and discomfort during physical activity. Although the condition is completely treatable, traditional methods can take up to a year to start becoming effective.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by a number of everyday activities, so understanding the condition is important for managing and treating it. One of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis is excessive running, especially with improper fitting or non-supportive shoes. Too much exercise can lead to the plantar fascia being overworked and overstretched, which can cause tears in the tissue. Along with improper fitting shoes, pronation, the rolling of the feet inward, is a common cause of plantar fasciitis. If not treated properly, the plantar fascia becomes overstretched and starts to tear, causing inflammation.

Despite the common causes of plantar fasciitis, there are many different treatment options. For less severe cases, conservative home remedies include taking anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain, applying ice packs to the bottom of your foot and heel, slowly stretching and exercising your feet to re-strengthen the tissue, and using orthotic devices are all ways to help manage your plantar fasciitis.

For more severe cases, shockwave therapy has become a common solution for plantar fasciitis. Shockwave therapy can effectively break up the tissue on the bottom of your foot which facilitates healing and regeneration. This fights the chronic pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Even if this doesn’t work, surgery is always a final option. Surgery on the tissue itself can be done to permanently correct the issue and stop the inflammation and pain in your heels.

No matter what the case may be, consulting your podiatrist is the first and best step to recovery. Even the slightest amount of heel pain could be the first stage of plantar fasciitis. Untreated symptoms can lead to the tearing and overstretching of tissue. Because the tearing of tissue can be compounded if it remains ignored, it can evolve into a severe case. The solution is early detection and early treatment. Talk to your podiatrist about the possibilities of plantar fasciitis if you’re experiencing heel pain.

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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