Common Conditions
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Common Conditions

What are the Common Conditions?

Your Absolute Footcare Podiatrist is able to diagnose and treat any complications which affect the lower limb, including sports and musculoskeletal injuries, skin and nail disorders, corns, calluses and ingrown toenails.

Common Conditions treated by your Absolute Footcare Podiatrist include:

Achilles Tendinopathy

What is it?
A painful condition affecting either the attachment or midportion of the Achilles tendon. It is caused by continual, repetitive stress which leads to micro trauma of the tendon and results in degeneration, inflammation, and sometimes rupture. It is important to treat this condition in the early stages (acute) as late stages (chronic) permanent damage and/or rupture.

Risk factors:
• Rolling in of the feet (Pronation)
• Inappropriate footwear
• Excessive training or large increase in training
• Tight calf muscles
• Age

Signs and symptoms:
• Pain at the back of heel or along the tendon
• Pain worse in the morning, at the start of exercise and after activity
• Sometimes swelling of the area

Ankle Sprains

What is it?
Ankle Sprains are one of the most common sporting injuries. A sprain is a tearing of the ligament/s that connects the ankle bones together which help to stabilise the joint. Following a sprain, the ankle joint may become unstable and take a long time to recover. Severe sprains may take as long as 12 weeks to recover if not offloaded and rested efficiently.

Risk factors:
• Previous or existing ankle injury if poorly rehabilitated (biggest risk factor)
• Lack of strength and stability of the ankle
• Sports requiring jumping, turning and twisting movements eg. Netball
• Lack of or extreme flexibility
• Poor balance
• Sudden change in direction
• Inappropriate footwear
• Inadequate warm up or playing surface

Signs and symptoms:
• Swelling of ankle
• May be audible popping noise
• Pain
• Discoloration
• Feeling of instability

Bunions

What are they?
A bunion is an abnormal enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe. The deformity occurs when the outside muscle (Adductor Hallucis) over powers the inside muscle (Abductor Hallucis). A build up of bone occurs on the joint due to excessive pressure.

Risk factors:
• Genetics
• Foot structure eg flat foot, over pronation
• Gender: more common in women
• Poor fitting footwear (long term)
• Trauma

Signs and symptoms:
• Build up of bone on the big toe joint
• Inflammation
• Pain
• Deviation of the big toe outwards

Children's Feet

With your child’s foot containing more than ¼ of the bones in their body it is essential that from the time they start to walk they are well supported.
Children’s feet are different from adults as the developing foot contains growth plates and soft cartilage which don’t completely form until 13 to 16 years of age. It is within this time that the feet experience their most significant change and it is therefore prudent to monitor and maintain the healthy growth of your child’s feet.

What signs to look for:
It is important to remember that each child is unique and will move through stages of development differently.
Early signs to look for include:
• Flat Feet
• In-toeing/Pigeon Toed
• Out-toeing Toe
• Walking Excessive
• Shoe Wear Severs (heel pain)
• Os good Schlatters (knee pain)

In many cases these differences improve with time but early detection and prevention from your Podiatrist can not only improve your child’s walking but also the alignment of growing knees, hips and back.

Flat feet are a common problem treated in children and in most cases are genetic. Your child’s arch usually develops to reach its mature height between 6-8 years of age so any problems can be detected by this time.

Your Podiatrist will perform a thorough examination of your child’s feet and lower limbs to determine the treatment options based on their individual needs. In most cases it is as simple as wearing 3D Laser Orthotics in their shoes, doing a few stretches or just wearing the correct shoes.

Diabetic Care

Diabetes is the new epidemic of the western world. Although it may seem harmless in the early stages, if neglected, it can lead to permanent damage within the lower limb. Diabetes is the second largest cause of lower limb amputation in Australia and most cases can easily be prevented with regular checks with your Podiatrist. At Absolute Footcare we offer thorough neurological, vascular, dermatological and footwear assessments for our patients to achieve optimal foot health.

When to see your Podiatrist:
• Corns/callouses
• Long/ingrown toenails
• Footwear advice/fitting
• Painful lower limb
• Tingling or numbness

Why see a Podiatrist:
Baseline Vascular and Nerve Testing: Clinical assessment of sensation and blood flow can help to detect early warning signs.
Footwear and Orthotics: To accommodate pressure and foot position.
Education: Self care, prevention and early detection are important factors in maintaining and managing your foot health.
Palliative Care: Management of skin and nail issues can help prevent discomfort, skin break down and ulceration.
Preventative Care: Calf Stretches – Lean against a wall with your back leg straight and your front knee slightly bent. Keeping your heels on the floor slowly lean forward until you feel the pull in your calf muscle. These help to prevent forefoot ulceration.

For more information please visit diabetesaustralia.com.au

 

Flat Feet (Pes Planus)

What is it?
Flat Feet (pes planus) describes a lowering or collapsing of the arch in your feet. This very common condition increases your body’s amount of pronation (rolling in of the feet) which can cause your ankles, knees, hips and lower back to twist/rotate out of alignment. This twisting / rotation of your joints is like the tyres on your car being out of alignment, they are ok for a while but over time can lead to excessive wear and tear.

Flat feet are most often genetic but other causes include tight calf muscles, muscle weakness, hypermobility (loose joints) or neuromuscular disorders. Arch development will tend to reach its mature height between 6-8 years of age, though if flat feet run in the family it is advised they are assessed before this time. Young children with flat feet may suffer from tripping, tiredness, uneven shoe wear, or pain of the heels and knees.

Many children and athletes wear 3D Laser Orthotics for flat feet but it is never too late to start. We are seeing an increasing number of people who have had knee or hip replacements and are now looking to correct the underlying alignment problems. The correction not only supports the new joints but also reduces the load on the surrounding joints and muscles. This increase in stability also reduces the need for the body to compensate which highlights how orthotics can also play an important role in recovery from these operations.

What should I do about it?
The question most often asked is “When is the best time to treat flat feet?” and the simple answer is NOW. You would always get a wheel alignment before your tyres are worn out, so why would you wait any longer when it’s your body that may be out of alignment? Early detection and prevention is much easier and better than ever before. Take advantage of the new computer scanning and 3D Laser Orthotics technology now.

Common symptoms of Flat Feet:
• Lower Arch
• Uneven Shoe Wear
• Bunions
• Shin Splints
• Heel Pain (plantar Fasciitis)
• Foot Pain
• Leg Pain
• Knee Pain
• Hip Pain
• Lower Back Pain

Footwear Advice

A good shoe should contain 4 main factors to support the foot and prevent injury. This will also increase the effect of an orthotic and give it a higher rate of success.

Firm Heel Counter: the heel counter or back of shoe should not be compressible.
Slight Heel Pitch: a slight pitch at the back aids the body in efficient walking and cushioning. The key is not too flat and not too high. Between 10-20mm is ideal.
Bending at the toe joints not in the middle: Bending in the middle of the shoe will create instability and overuse pathologies. A stiff midfoot with a flexible forefoot promotes the natural motion of the foot.
Laces: Provides the foot with more stability, support and a customised fit.

Ingrown Toenails + Nail Surgery

What is it?
An ingrown toenail is a very common problem which results from abnormal nail growth or trauma to the nail bed. As a consequence, when the nail grows it is forced into your skin causing pressure, discomfort and if untreated can lead to a very painful infected toe.

What can I do about it?
In most cases the offending nail piece can simply be removed and this will relieve the pain almost instantly. With the new tools we have removing this nail piece is often painless and the whole process is over and done with very quickly.

For re-occurring persistent ingrown toenails the most effective form of permanent treatment is nail surgery. It is a very simple and gentle procedure that takes approximately 20minutes and is done under a local anaesthetic which is used to numb the affected toe.

There are two types of surgery:
Partial nail avulsion (PNA) is where a small section of nail is taken off from the side causing the problem. This procedure is preferred mainly for aesthetic reasons and usually results in the nail looking perfectly normal after it heals up.

Total nail avulsion (TNA) is where the whole nail is removed and never grows back. This was a preferred procedure many years ago but is not very common these days due to cosmetic reasons.

To prevent re-growth a chemical (phenol) is applied to the area where the nail was removed and this stops the nail from growing back and causing the problem again.

Moretons Neuroma (Plantar digital nerve entrapment)

What is it?
An enlargement of the nerve sheath between the metatarsals at the base of the toes. It is characterised by numbness, burning or tingling in the ball of the foot and sometimes extends into the toes. It can occur between any toe, with the third and fourth toe interspace being the most common. The pain is worse when walking with enclosed footwear and is relieved by rest or removing the shoe.

Risk Factors:
• Flat Feet
• Poor Biomechanics
• Tight Shoes
• Excessive increase in activity

Signs and symptoms:
• Tingling, numbness, burning or shooting pain into the toes
• Pain mostly evident on standing or weight bearing activities
• May have a clicking feeling
• Swelling may be noted
• Pain worse with squeezing the forefoot together

New Pact - Fungal Nail Treatment

Fungal nail infections are very common in our warm climate and affect around 1.6 million Australians. One day your toenails are great and the next you start noticing small white or yellow spots growing. Before you know it you have thick, discoloured and crumbling toenails.

Nail fungus is a tiny living bug that thrives in warm, moist areas, making your foot and toenails the ideal place for an infection. With the Gold Coast being such a great place to wear open shoes or barefeet, combined with our love for the outdoors, it makes the infection very easy to catch.

The most common causes are sharing public showers, swimming pools, skin infections and nail trauma, although the reality is they are so common and so easy to catch. The infection is usually painless so it is easy to ignore the problem and then it becomes much more difficult to treat.
The options currently available are limited and offer poor results.

Traditionally the most common treatment is anti-fungal drops which people often have to use for over a year. Absolute Footcare is now proud to be the only Podiatry clinic on the Gold Coast to offer the new state of the art PACT® system (Photodynamic Antimicrobial Therapy) from Germany.

This method of treatment is pain free as it uses light to safely and gently kill bacteria, viruses and fungus on both nail and skin surfaces. We apply a special gel on your affected nail for 10 minutes. This gel selectively targets the fungal nail cells making them sensitive to light. We then expose your nail to the PACT light system which results in a chemical reaction that kills targeted fungal cells without damaging any healthy tissue.

Occupational Podiatry

Some occupations are more prone than others to foot and lower limb problems which can arise as the result of standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time. Professions such as nurses, hairdressers, retail and hospitality staff, military personnel, factory workers and tradesmen are examples of those likely to develop long term problems unless preventative measures are taken.

Podiatrists seek to address some of the issues responsible for foot problems and can advise on occupational foot health and safety. This can sometimes involve the prescription of orthotics, footwear advice, strengthening or surgical advice. Other areas of interest are post injury rehabilitation that may be a result of a work place accident.

Overuse/Sports Injury

An active lifestyle is a part of most Australian’s lives. From walking the dog to playing competitive sport many of us at some point will experience some sort of injury that will affect your daily living. At Absolute Footcare we can diagnose, treat and provide prevention advice on many lower limb sports injuries.

Some of which include:
• Shin Splints
• Achilles Tendinopathy
• Plantar Fasciitis (heel spur)
• Ankle Sprains
• Ball of foot pain
• Arch pain
• Calf pain
• Lower back pain
• Knee pain

Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Spurs)

What is it?
A common foot condition that causes pain under the heel of the foot. It is often worse first thing in the morning or as soon as you stand up after resting. It is caused by inflammation and / or micro tears of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a long band of fibrous tissue through the arch of your foot that extends from the heel to the bases of the toes. The fascia stretches when you stand so early diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Risk Factors:
• Flat feet or high arched feet
• Common in people who stand or walk for long periods for their job
• Sudden change of lifestyle or exercise involving increases in standing or walking
• Tight calf muscles or fascia
• Inappropriate footwear eg. thongs
• Hard surfaces/bare feet walking

Signs and Symptoms:
• Heel or arch pain
• Pain with weight bearing
• First step morning pain / after rest pain

Sever's Disease

What is it?
An irritation and inflammation of the growth plate (apophysis) at the back of the calcaneus (heel bone), where the achilles tendon inserts. In a child, the bones grow from areas called growth plates. The growth plate is made up of cartilage cells, which are softer and more vulnerable to injury than mature bone.

Risk Factors:
• Age between 8-15
• Tight calf muscles
• Pronated foot
• Flat feet
• Growth spurts
• Active children
• Inappropriate footwear

Signs and Symptoms:
• Pain in heels
• Occurs between 8-15 years of age
• Increase in pain during or after activity

Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Traction Periostitis)

What is it?
This condition is characterised by pain in the lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle. Shin injuries are caused by repetitive trauma/overloading of the connective muscle tissue surrounding the inside leg bone (tibia). Ignoring this injury may result in a more serious condition such as a stress fracture of the bones.

Risk Factors:
• Rolling in of feet (pronation)
• Genetics
• Tight calf muscles
• Training surfaces e.g. uneven
• Incorrect footwear
• Not warming up, or cooling down
• Excessive training or large increases in training
• Leg length difference
• Decrease in bone mineral density

Signs and Symptoms:
• Pain on the inside of the leg
• Pain with exercise
• Mild bruising around leg bones

Skin and Nail Conditions

Your feet are in contact with the ground more than any other part of your body. When you consider this fact along with the forces of body weight and gravity, it is no wonder many skin and nail problems develop. The team of Podiatrists at Absolute Footcare are highly trained to assess, diagnose and treat your skin and nail conditions.

Some examples include:
• Fungal nails
• Ingrown nails
• Callouses
• Corns
• Ulcers
• Plantar warts
• Tinea (athletes foot)
• Cracked heels etc.

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