Every November the health care community at large educates the public on diabetes. In the United States the month of November is Diabetes Awareness month. According to the 2017 report from the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – there are 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population - have diabetes. Another 84.1 million Americans have prediabetes a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.
Diabetes can be accompanied by a handful of secondary complications that can range from mild to severe. The most common areas that can be affected by diabetes are the feet, the eyes, kidneys and skin. Diabetic patients can experience decreased sensation – neuropathy – in their feet. This can lead to a decrease in the ability to recognize injury and can lead to infections, ulcers and possibly amputation. Each year over half of all amputations in the United States, most of which involve the lower extremity, are caused by complications due to diabetes. Thankfully, diabetes linked amputations have been on the decline.
If you have a family history of diabetes or any of the following risk factors, take the opportunity this month to be tested. Diabetes is diagnosed by a fasting blood glucose level. The test is simple and pain-free. Risk factors for diabetes include the following: family history of diabetes, obesity, inactivity, increased age, history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
While we focus on those who currently suffer from this disease, there is good news for the 84.1 million who are prediabetic. There are ways to prevent diabetes that include healthy lifestyle modifications. Proper diet, exercise and weight loss can bring a person on the verge of a diabetes diagnosis back to a good bill of health.
The best outcome for handing diabetes is working as a team with your providers. Diabetic patients are encouraged to visit a podiatrist once a year for an annual foot examination. If any other secondary complications develop such and peripheral neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease, the visits will be more frequent.
To learn more about diabetes or find free screenings in your area go to www.diabetes.org.
If your doctor has diagnosed you having diabetes and need a podiatrist to be on your team, please call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale Arizona.
Did you know, according to the National Institute of Health, there are about 20 million people in the United States who have peripheral neuropathy? When hearing the words “peripheral neuropathy”, diabetes is often the first word that comes to mind. However, there are many other potential causes for peripheral neuropathy, several of which can be treated.
About Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is when nerves become damaged in the arms and legs and do not function as they should be and can present differently depending on the nerves involved. There are three different types of peripheral neuropathy named for the types of nerves affected and include:
- Sensory Neuropathy – involves nerves that allow people to feel temperature, pain, light touch, and vibration. When these nerves are affected, a burning, tingling pain (or numbness) can occur, and disrupt a person’s quality of life.
- Motor Neuropathy – involves nerves that allow muscle movements. When these nerves are affected, people often experience weakness and atrophy of their muscles.
- Autonomic Neuropathy – involves nerves that control sweat glands, bladder function, and blood vessel contraction. When these nerves are affected, the skin can become dry due to lack of sweating, there is decreased bladder control, as well as the ability for the blood vessels to help regulate blood pressure.
Non-Diabetes Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Even though type-2 diabetes is the number one cause for peripheral neuropathy, there are many other conditions that can cause it, and include, but not limited to:
- Trauma – Injuries from various traumas can cause partial or permanent damage to nerves, including surgery.
- Infections – There are many bacteria and viruses that can cause neuropathy such as Shingles, Lyme disease, HIV, and hepatitis C.
- Nutrition Deficiencies – Having decreased intake of certain vitamins can lead to neuropathy, such as B Vitamins (especially B1, B6, and B12). If proper nutrition is maintained, this can be easily prevented.
- Medications – There are numerous medications that have cause neuropathy as a side-effect. Some of the most common meds are cancer chemotherapy, HIV drugs, and Isoniazid for people with tuberculosis.
- Alcohol Consumption – Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to neuropathy by causing nutritional deficiencies in the B vitamins (especially B1 and B12).
- Autoimmune Conditions – In autoimmune diseases, the body attacks itself, and can cause damage to nerves. These conditions include, but are not limited to: Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Others – Kidney diseases, cancers/tumors, small vessel disease
If you have been experiencing numbness, burning, tingling sensations, or weakness in your legs and feet, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment options to available to you to help protect and improve your foot health this upcoming summer.
When it comes to arthritis of the feet, it can be very painful, and difficult to get around without being in discomfort. Since the foot is responsible for supporting the entire weight of the body, it is involved with natural wear and tear, and highly susceptible to arthritis. You may have been prescribed medications for flare-ups and pain management, or even special bracing to help minimize the joint motion. However, did you know one thing that is important for people with arthritis is regular, proper exercise? While this does not sound ideal for a foot in pain, the appropriate amount of exercise is actually vital for your overall health, even with arthritis.
Benefits of Exercising with Arthritis
Arthritis can stiffen joints and make it painful to move. However, there are numerous reasons why exercising with arthritis can help improve the symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Exercise reduces joint stiffness and pain – When people do not exercise as often as they should, the supporting muscles of the joint eventually weaken, and make it difficult for the joints to move. Exercising will help maintain the muscle strength and eventually help relieve the pain felt when trying to move the joints.
- Exercise can improve balance and stability – Arthritis can cause imbalance and lack of stability due to the pain often experienced when putting pressure on the affected joints; this leads to decrease in muscle strength. When this happens, people tend to place weight on areas of their feet that are not normally done when standing. Since the body weight is not properly distributed on the foot, it leads to improper balance, and ultimately leads to an increase in fall risk. Exercising increases the strength of the foot and ankle muscles and contributes to improved balance and stability, thereby minimizing your risk of fall injuries.
- Exercising promotes your mental well-being – In patients without arthritis, exercising is often a means of relieving stress. This does not have to change if you are experiencing arthritis. Exercise can greatly reduce anxiety, stress, restlessness, and can put patients in a better mood.
Types of Exercises
While exercising has numerous health benefits, there are also ideal ways to exercise, especially when people have arthritis. The number one cause of injury to the foot and ankle when exercising is overuse or doing too much, too soon, and too fast. The following are examples of basic exercises to perform with arthritis:
- Joint Stretches – performing simple and gentle stretching of your foot and ankle is a great way to help increase the range of motion and relieving stiff joints. This can help increase your joint mobility and help minimize pain when performing daily tasks.
- Cardio – high-impact cardio exercising has great health benefits. However, high-impact exercising such as running or high-impact sports can increase the risk of further joint destruction and should not be the primary exercise performed. Therefore, low-impact cardio exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga can provide pain relief by increasing joint mobility and overall exercise tolerance.
If you have concerns about your foot arthritis and want to get a handle on it, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment and exercise options to available to you to help improve your foot health and properly handle your foot arthritis.
Arizona is known for having intensely hot days in the summer and people look for ways to cool down. Most often, they choose to head out to their local swimming pool to spend quality relaxing time with the family and enjoy their summer days. This can be a great idea for you and your family’s health due to the many positive health benefits swimming brings, including foot health. However, there are also several health concerns to be aware about and prevent.
Health Benefits of Swimming
Moving about and being active is one of the best things a person can do to for their body. However, it is understandable that sometimes being on your feet all day and walking from place to place can lead to unbearable foot and leg pain; this makes it difficult to engage in many activities. Going for a swim is a great alternative due to many health benefits it employs, especially if it is difficult to participate in other activities. The following are some of the health benefits to swimming:
- Relieving foot and leg aches – when compared to hiking or running, people place much less weight on their feet when casually swimming in water. This can provide pain relief to the foot and leg and help minimize inflammation.
- Improving blood circulation – being active promotes blood circulation and can sometimes be difficult. However, swimming promotes blood circulation by the working of your muscles as you tread through the water, efficiently providing blood flow back to your heart. This is very beneficial in individuals with reduced circulation, such as people with diabetes, or heart disease.
Health Concerns of Swimming
While swimming has its health benefits, there are also a few things to watch out for when deciding to go for a relaxing swim or are an avid, athletic swimmer. The following are some concerns and guides on how to take care of them:
- Excessive moisture in the skin – when people are in the water too long, excessive moisture (especially between the toes) occurs, and can lead to cracking and peeling of the skin; this makes it easy for bacterial and fungal infections to occur. To help minimize this, make sure to take breaks from the water if you spend larges amount of time there, and carefully dry your feet each time you get out.
- Muscle cramps and tendonitis – while this is not as much of a concern in casual swimming, it can occur in individuals who swim athletically, or competitively. Individuals who swim athletically often complain of cramps in their feet due to excessing pointing of their toes as they swim laps. Tendonitis can also occur due to the amount of kicking done as they swim. To help minimize this, proper stretching of the Achilles tendon, toes, and relaxation of the feet before actively engaging in swimming should be performed. Also, drinking water before and after swimming will help minimize cramps; being in water for long periods of time does not provide the hydration need compared to when you are drinking water.
If you have concerns about your foot health this summer, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment options to available to you to help improve your foot health this upcoming summer.
It can be distressing when the legs and feet swell. Swelling can occur in both the arms and the legs and be caused by numerous factors. This swelling is often a result of excessive fluid buildup, inflammation, or damaged joints and tissues. When this occurs in the arms and the legs, it is generally known as peripheral edema or lymphedema if it is caused by damage to the lymphatic system.
Causes of Edema
The swelling can be common after injuries and often goes away over time. However, edema that does not resolve can be an indication of more serious conditions, such as heart, kidney, or lymphatic disorders. The following are several causes for peripheral edema:
- Lymphatic damage – this is known as lymphedema and generally occurs after cancer treatments or damage during a surgical procedure. Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema due to damaged vessels, and inability to properly drain the fluid.
- Trauma or injury – This is a very common occurrence due an inflammatory response, especially after spraining an ankle, or after having surgery for bunions and hammertoes.
- Infections – This is commonly seen in cellulitis infections caused by staph or another bacterium.
- Insufficient Veins or venous blood clots – When veins have damaged valves, poor drainage back to the heart can result in fluid leaking into the tissues, and cause swelling. You may see varicosed veins on the legs before seeing swelling. If your leg is swollen, painful, and you are having difficulty breathing, this is a medical emergency, and you should see a doctor right away.
- Medications – there are numerous types of medications that can cause swelling in the legs and arms. These include, but are not limited to: diabetes medications, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure and heart disease, some anti-depressants, hormones in replacement therapy, and steroidal medications.
- Heart Disease/Congestive Heart Failure – If an individual has coronary artery disease, history of heart attacks, or high blood pressure, edema can occur because of decreased heart function.
- Diabetes – Individuals with diabetes often have edema because of the high blood sugar levels, combined with medications they might be taking for it, as well as blood pressure.
- Kidney Disease – If the kidneys are not functioning properly, they can cause proteins to be lost from the body. Proteins help draw in fluid from the tissues and prevent edema from occurring.
Treatments for Peripheral and Lymphedema
Depending on the cause of the edema, it can be treated, or even cured. For most cases, the swelling is not permanent, and can be alleviated. Elevating the feet is one of the best starting treatments since this will help use gravity to pull fluid away from the legs. Compression socks are another great way to help relieve edema and work by applying pressure to the leg and squeezing the fluid back into the lymph vessels for recirculation. Your doctor may also temporarily prescribe diuretic medications to help the body relieve excess fluid.
Peripheral edema can be stressful, painful to deal with, and be an indicator of additional underlying health problem. If you have concerns about your swelling, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment options to available to you to help improve your health, function, and overall quality of life.
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