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Uniontown 
Connellsville 
(724) 320-2447

January 2019

Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Pregnancy and Foot Health

Many pregnant women complain about foot pain while they are expecting. Foot pain can primarily be caused by weight gain and hormonal changes taking place in the body. By understanding how pregnancy impacts the health of a woman's feet, a pregnant woman can take action to keep her feet as healthy and comfortable as possible.

Because a woman's weight changes during pregnancy, more pressure is brought to bear on both the legs and the feet. This weight shift can cause two major foot problems: over-pronation, also known as flat feet, as well as edema, which is swelling of the feet. Over-pronation occurs when the arch of the foot flattens, causing the foot to roll inwards when the individual is walking, and can aggravate the plantar fascia tissues located along the bottom of the feet. If these tissues become inflamed, a pregnant woman can experience pain in the heel of the foot as well as severe foot pain while walking or standing. Swelling of the feet, or edema, often occurs in the later stages of pregnancy. It is caused by slow circulation and water retention, and may turn the feet a light purple color.

To keep feet in good health and prevent over-pronation, pregnant women should avoid walking barefoot and be sure they are wearing shoes that offer good arch support. A device known as an orthotic can be added to regular footwear in order to provide additional support for the feet during pregnancy. Any expectant mother whose feet hurt should first check to see if the shoes she is wearing are old, worn out and not offering the proper support necessary for distributing the weight of her body during pregnancy.

To treat edema of the feet, a good start is to wear quality footwear which offers support and good circulation. Keep feet elevated whenever possible by using a foot stool while seated. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water to prevent water retention in the feet. Any swelling that occurs in only one foot should be examined as soon as possible by a doctor.

Good foot health during pregnancy can help expectant mothers avoid foot pain that leads to other health problems. Massaging the feet and doing regular gentle exercise like walking aids foot health by contributing to good circulation. Supportive shoes are also a good investment that will support foot health during pregnancy.

Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Foot Conditions and Pregnancy

When pregnancy occurs, the overall body prepares to accommodate the developing fetus. One of the most common conditions affecting the feet is referred to as flat feet. This may be a result of the additional weight that is placed on the body, and the arch in the foot may temporarily disappear. There may be pain associated with this condition, and research has shown it may be beneficial to wear shoes that may ease any discomfort. Additionally, many women who are pregnant may notice swelling in the feet, which can typically occur in the second or third trimester. This may be a result of increased blood pressure, and comfort may be gained from frequently sitting down, and elevating the feet. It may be helpful to drink plenty of fresh water daily, and this may aid in staying hydrated. If you are pregnant and are experiencing any type of foot pain, it is suggested that you speak to a podiatrist who can properly guide you on helpful preventative measures.

Pregnant women with swollen feet can be treated with a variety of different methods that are readily available. For more information about other cures for swollen feet during pregnancy, consult with Dr. Arnold Tarpley, Jr. from Tarpley Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Tarpley will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What Foot Problems Can Arise During Pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward.  This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy but tends to occur in the later stages. 

How Can I Keep My Feet Healthy During Pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Uniontown, and Connellsville, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Pregnancy and Foot Health
Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is a compression of the posterior tibial nerve. The posterior tibial nerve runs along the inside of the ankle into the foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is named for the tarsal tunnel, which is a thin space along the inside of the ankle beside the ankle bones. This space contains various nerves, arteries, and tendons, and includes the posterior tibial nerve. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome the tibial nerve is compressed, causing tingling or burning, numbness, and pain.

Common causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome involve pressure or an injury. Injuries that produce inflammation and swelling in or around the tunnel may place pressure on the posterior tibial nerve. Direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or trauma to the tibial nerve, can result in tarsal tunnel syndrome. Diseases that damage nerves, such as diabetes or arthritis, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome. Those with flat feet are at risk for developing the condition, as the extra pressure and strain placed on the foot may compress the posterior tibial nerve.

Feeling different sensations in the foot at different times is a common symptom of tarsal tunnel syndrome. An afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg. Symptoms are primarily felt on bottom of the foot and/or the inside of the ankle. Symptoms can appear suddenly and may occur due to overuse of the foot.

To diagnose tarsal tunnel syndrome, your podiatrist may examine the foot and tap the posterior tibial nerve to see if symptoms surface. He or she may also order an MRI to determine if a mass is present.

Treating tarsal tunnel syndrome will depend on the decision of your podiatrist. Multiple options are available, however, and can include rest, ice, immobilization, oral medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), physical therapy, injection therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, braces, and surgery.

If you have pain that is located on the inside of the ankle and foot, you may be experiencing an uncomfortable foot condition that is known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. This condition occurs when the nerves in this area of the foot become damaged and will typically cause severe inflammation. It may develop as a result of walking, running or standing for extended periods of time, or possibly from a serious injury that the foot endures. There may be effective treatment options that may provide partial relief, including performing gentle stretching exercises, resting and elevating the foot, or minimizing any foot pressure that is present. This may often include wearing shoes that are fit looser, which may aid in reducing any tightness around the foot. It is strongly suggested to speak with a podiatrist if you are experiencing this type of foot pain who can aid in properly treating this painful foot condition.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. Arnold Tarpley, Jr. of Tarpley Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Tarpley can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
  • Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
  • The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
  • If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Uniontown, and Connellsville, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Monday, 14 January 2019 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, 14 January 2019 00:00

Is Toenail Fungus Contagious?

If you notice your toenails becoming thick and turning a yellowish shade, you may have what is referred to as toenail fungus. Research has shown this fungus may attack nails that have incurred damage, which may have been the result of a weakened immune system, in addition to patients who have diabetes or poor circulation. The symptoms in severe cases of toenails fungus may include pain that is felt in the nail area when shoes are worn, extreme cracks in the skin or an itching feeling in the area surrounding the toenail. This type of fungus is contagious, and it thrives in warm and moist areas that typically include public pools, communal showers, or locker rooms. If you are frequently in these types of places, it is suggested to wear appropriate shoes, which may aid in the prevention of toenail fungus. If you feel you may have this unsightly condition, it is advised to consult with a podiatrist who can offer proper treatment options.

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. Arnold Tarpley, Jr. of Tarpley Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Tarpley 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 one of our offices located in Uniontown, and Connellsville, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus

Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is often caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is usually the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis, can be the result of excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This restricts how much blood can flow through arteries. Reduced blood flow to a certain area of the body severely limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients that part of the body receives. This leads to degeneration in the muscles and other tissues. Sometimes, poor blood circulation in the feet and legs can be caused by other conditions, such as the damaging or inflammation of blood vessels, known as vasculitis.

The lack of oxygen and nutrients caused by poor blood circulation can restrict muscle growth and development, as well as cause muscle pain and cramps, weakness, and stiffness. Other common symptoms include numbness in the legs and feet, skin discoloration in the affected limbs, slower nail and hair growth, and erectile dysfunction in men. In more severe cases of PAD, pain can be present even when a person isn't exercising, and may range from mildly uncomfortable to completely debilitating.

Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is more common in those who are overweight or obese, have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, who smoke, or who have a family history of PAD or related conditions such as a heart attack, stroke, etc. Diabetes and smoking place a person at greatest risk for developing poor blood circulation, although advanced age, over 50, can also increase risk.

If you are experiencing poor blood circulation in the feet and legs caused by PAD, it is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke caused by this condition. If you smoke, quit completely. This will increase the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. Exercising and reducing the saturated fats in your diet. Saturated fats come from fatty meats, fried foods, whole milk, etc., can make a difference in improving blood circulation in feet. It is also important to avoid developing influenza and to carefully control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.

Your doctor may recommend combining lifestyle changes with a prescription medication regimen to improve blood circulation. The most commonly-used medications for PAD are called statins and work by blocking the amount of enzymes in your body that produce cholesterol. They are known by the brand names Zocor, Lipitor, Crestor, and others.

Monday, 07 January 2019 00:00

Symptoms of Poor Circulation

There are many symptoms that are associated with the condition that is referred to as poor circulation. These uncomfortable signs may include a tingling sensation in the feet, painful cramps in the joints and muscles, in addition to the feet and ankles becoming swollen. Additionally, some patients experience digestive problems or changes in skin color. These symptoms may be indicative of serious medical conditions that may be present in the body, including possible heart issues or memory loss. One of the most common reasons for poor circulation developing is known as atherosclerosis which consists of excess plaque that builds up in the arteries, and this may possibly slow down blood flow movement in the body. Research has shown that being obese and cigarette smoking may increase the chances of developing poor circulation. If you notice your feet are cold and numb most of the time, it is advised to seek the counsel of a podiatrist as quickly as possible who can determine the cause and begin the correct treatment.

Poor circulation is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention. If you have any concerns with poor circulation in your feet contact Dr. Arnold Tarpley, Jr. of Tarpley Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Tarpley will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Poor Circulation in the Feet

Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is can be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries.

Plaque buildup or atherosclerosis results from excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This can restrict the amount of blood which can flow through the arteries. Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs are sometimes caused by inflammation in the blood vessels, known as vasculitis.

Causes

Lack of oxygen and oxygen from poor blood circulation restricts muscle growth and development. It can also cause:

  • Muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness   
  • Numbness or cramping in the legs 
  • Skin discoloration
  • Slower nail & hair growth
  • Erectile dysfunction

Those who have diabetes or smoke are at greatest risk for poor circulation, as are those who are over 50. If you have poor circulation in the feet and legs it may be caused by PAD and is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve conditions.

As always, see a podiatrist as he or she will assist in finding a regimen that suits you. A podiatrist can also prescribe you any needed medication. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Uniontown, and Connellsville, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Poor Blood Circulation in the Feet
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 00:00

Preventing Running Injuries

Over half of all runners encounter at least one injury per year. The reason for this is because many runners do not train properly. Injuries are almost inevitable due to the physical stress that running causes. While our bodies are great at adapting to the stress, it can only handle it in small doses. Injuries occur when the stress is applied too quickly for the body to handle, causing something within it to break down. With each step you take, your leg is absorbing two or three times your body’s weight.

Some of the most popular running injuries are shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and stress fractures. Shin splints cause pain along the inside or outside of the shins, and this pain is usually felt at the beginning of a run. The condition itself is defined as an inflammation of the muscles or tendons located around the shinbone. To treat shin splints, it is advised that you ice the shin area and stretch the calf muscles. To prevent this injury, you should slowly increase the distance you plan on running, instead of jumping into a more strenuous routine.

Achilles tendinitis is another common injury and it feels like pain along the back of the leg, toward the heel. This condition is defined as an inflammation of the Achilles which is the largest tendon in the body. The Achilles is responsible for connecting your calf muscles to the heel bone and it is caused by tight calf muscles. If you want to treat this injury, you should take a break from running to cross train with a low-impact activity.

There are a lot of common mistakes runners make that are causing them to experience injury. One mistake is stretching too much prior to warming up. If you plan to go on a run, you should warm up with a gentle 3-5-minute walk followed by a 5-minute run-walk.  Another common mistake is jumping into a routine too quickly. Consequently, you should incorporate cross-training into your routine. If you are looking to get active, you should slowly weave running into an activity you are currently participating in. For example, you can try bike riding for 40 minutes followed by a 10-minute run.

Another way to prevent running injuries is to choose shoes that are appropriate for running. There are certain things you should look for when buying a new pair of running shoes. An important factor in these sneakers is flexibility. Running shoes should be capable of bending and flexing at the forefoot. However, you should not be able to bend the entire shoe in half with ease because this is a sign that the shoe does not have enough structure. Additionally, you should look for the fit of the running shoes you want to purchase. It is best to visit a specialty running shoe store to have your feet properly sized. Choosing shoes that fit properly can prevent many foot ailments.

If you are suffering from any pain from running injuries, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist to discover the underlying cause of your pain. He or she will be able to help treat your condition in the best way possible.

Wednesday, 02 January 2019 00:00

Warming Up the Muscles Before Running

Research has shown the injuries that many runners experience can originate from training incorrectly or from following training techniques that are not conducive for properly warming up the muscles. The feet may endure added stress when running is performed for extended periods of time, and it is essential to practice an optimum stretching routine before embarking on this specific sport or hobby. There may be several factors that can determine the occurrence of running injuries, including the number of miles that are run per week, if a previous injury has happened, or if you are new to the sport of running. Injuries may be avoided by increasing the mileage and speed gradually, warming up the muscles correctly, and decreasing the intensity of the run a few days per week. If you would like additional information about how to prevent uncomfortable running injuries, please consult with a podiatrist.

All runners should take extra precaution when trying to avoid injury. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. Arnold Tarpley, Jr. of Tarpley Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Tarpley will treat your foot and ankle needs.

How to Prevent Running Injuries

There are a lot of mistakes a runner can make prior to a workout that can induce injury. A lot of athletes tend to overstretch before running, instead of saving those workouts for a post-run routine. Deep lunges and hand-to-toe hamstring pulls should be performed after a workout instead of during a warmup. Another common mistake is jumping into an intense routine before your body is physically prepared for it. You should try to ease your way into long-distance running instead of forcing yourself to rush into it.

More Tips for Preventing Injury

  • Incorporate Strength Training into Workouts - This will help improve the body’s overall athleticism
  • Improve and Maintain Your Flexibility – Stretching everyday will help improve overall performance
  • “Warm Up” Before Running and “Cool Down” Afterward – A warm up of 5-10 minutes helps get rid of lactic acid in the muscles and prevents delayed muscle soreness
  • Cross-Training is Crucial
  • Wear Proper Running Shoes
  • Have a Formal Gait Analysis – Poor biomechanics can easily cause injury

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Uniontown, and Connellsville, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Preventing Running Injuries
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