What Do the Numbers on an Ankle-Brachial Index Test Mean?

Posted on November 30, 2021

The Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) test is a non-invasive vascular screening that evaluates a patient’s risk of having peripheral artery disease (PAD), which causes poor circulation in the lower limbs. During this test, the doctor measures your blood pressure in both arms and both ankles and then compares those numbers to come up with a ratio. Each range of ratios is correlated with a level of risk of having PAD. A normal ABI range is from 0.9-1.4. A person with a mild-to-moderate risk of PAD has an ABI between 0.7-0.9. Someone with severe PAD could have an ABI between 0.3-0.5. Critical cases have ABI ratios of 0.3 or less. To learn more about peripheral artery disease or to get tested, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist near you. 

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. Stephen S. Pirotta from Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. 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 Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Understanding Achilles Tendon Injuries

Posted on November 23, 2021

On the back of the ankle, there is a thick band of tissue that connects the calf to the heel bone. This is known as the Achilles tendon. If this tendon becomes inflamed near the heel bone, usually due to overuse, it is known as Achilles tendonitis. Patients who have Achilles tendonitis often experience stiffness in the Achilles area, pain in the back of the heel, and swelling. If left untreated, Achilles tendonitis can cause the tendon to degenerate resulting in Achilles tendinosis. If the fibers in the tendon tear (either partially or completely), it is known as an Achilles tendon rupture, which is one of the most severe injuries that can occur to that area. Patients who have pain or stiffness around their Achilles tendon should have it looked at by a podiatrist who can properly diagnose and treat their condition.        

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta of Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. 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 Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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Signs and Symptoms of Gout

Posted on November 16, 2021

Gout is a type of arthritis that typically attacks the foot, ankle and knee, causing swelling, redness, and pain. It is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. Flare-ups can last three to 10 days before they subside, only to recur sometimes months or years later. The most common symptom of acute gout is extreme pain, especially in the big toe. Medical treatment, along with a number of lifestyle and dietary changes, can help reduce the frequency and severity of gout attacks. If you experience sudden pain and swelling in the big toe or ankle, please consult a podiatrist as soon as possible. When caught and treated early, people with gout can live a relatively normal life.

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta from Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. It often develops in the foot, especially the big toe area, although it can manifest in other parts of the body as well. Gout can make walking and standing very painful and is especially common in diabetics and the obese.

People typically get gout because of a poor diet. Genetic predisposition is also a factor. The children of parents who have had gout frequently have a chance of developing it themselves.

Gout can easily be identified by redness and inflammation of the big toe and the surrounding areas of the foot. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, joint pain, and running high fevers. Sometimes corticosteroid drugs can be prescribed to treat gout, but the best way to combat this disease is to get more exercise and eat a better diet.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Reminder: When Was the Last Time…?

Posted on November 12, 2021

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Plantar Fasciitis and Other Causes of Heel Pain

Posted on November 9, 2021

Most heel pain is caused by a local condition occurring in the foot. The most common type of heel pain is due to plantar fasciitis—an inflammation of the long band of tissue running along the bottom of the foot, connecting the toes with the heel. Anyone can have plantar fasciitis. However, athletes and people who are obese or have diabetes, flat feet, or who wear worn out shoes, are more susceptible to developing this painful condition. Heel spurs may often occur along with plantar fasciitis because the strain on the heel bone which causes plantar fasciitis can also lead to calcium deposits forming on the bone (heel spurs). When the bursa sac at the back of the heel becomes irritated and inflamed, this is known as bursitis. A condition called “pump bump” also affects the back of the heel when pressure from wearing pumps causes a painful, bony growth to develop. Podiatrists are very experienced in treating these forms of heel pain and more, so if you experience any heel discomfort, make an appointment today.

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, contact Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta of Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Stable vs Unstable Ankle Fractures

Posted on November 2, 2021

The ankle joint consists of three bones: the fibula and tibia in the lower leg and the talus in the foot. These bones are bound by a ring of ligaments that support and stabilize the ankle joint. When excessive force causes one or more of these bones to crack, this is known as an ankle fracture. Ankle fractures are a common type of injury. They can range from hairline cracks to complex breaks involving more than one bone or even ligaments. In a stable fracture, the ankle is still positioned correctly and stable, despite a fracture in the bone. This can typically be treated with a cast or walking boot. An unstable fracture is a more serious injury involving bones and ligaments (which may tear or even pull off a small chip of bone where they attach). This more severe trauma to the ankle structure can compromise its stability and require more intensive treatment. If you have suffered an injury and your ankle is painful, swollen, or unable to sustain weight, make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible to get properly diagnosed and treated.

 

Ankle pain can have many different causes and the pain may potentially be serious. If you have ankle pain, consult with Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta from Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Ankle pain is any condition that causes pain in the ankle. Due to the fact that the ankle consists of tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments, ankle pain can come from a number of different conditions.

Causes

The most common causes of ankle pain include:

  • Types of arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and gout)
  • Ankle sprains
  • Broken ankles
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Stress fractures
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis

Symptoms

Symptoms of ankle injury vary based upon the condition. Pain may include general pain and discomfort, swelling, aching, redness, bruising, burning or stabbing sensations, and/or loss of sensation.

Diagnosis

Due to the wide variety of potential causes of ankle pain, podiatrists will utilize a number of different methods to properly diagnose ankle pain. This can include asking for personal and family medical histories and of any recent injuries. Further diagnosis may include sensation tests, a physical examination, and potentially x-rays or other imaging tests.

Treatment

Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are rest, ice packs, keeping pressure off the foot, orthotics and braces, medication for inflammation and pain, and surgery.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

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Should I Get Treatment for My Bunions?

Posted on October 26, 2021

A bunion is a bony foot deformity found along the outside of the big toe, at the base of the big toe joint. Besides the characteristic bony bump, bunions are also recognized by the way that they push the big toe so that it is pointing towards the smaller toes instead of straight out. Bunions can range from mildly unpleasant to very painful, with symptoms such as redness, swelling, and calluses on the big toe. If left untreated, bunions tend to progressively worsen. Over time, they may lead to arthritis forming in the big toe joint. Bunions can also push your other toes out of alignment. If you have bunions that are bothering you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a podiatrist near you. 

If you are suffering from bunion pain, contact Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta of Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.

Causes

  • Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
  • Inflammatory Conditions – rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development

Symptoms

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Callus or corns on the bump
  • Restricted motion in the big toe

In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Why Do I Feel Electrical Shocks in My Feet?

Posted on October 19, 2021

Inside the ankle, located next to the ankle bones, is a narrow structure protected by ligaments called the tarsal tunnel. There are several things that go through this tunnel including veins, arteries, tendons, and the posterior tibial nerve. When this narrow tarsal tunnel becomes compressed, the posterior tibial nerve can get squeezed or compressed as well resulting in what is known as Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. This compressed nerve can produce tingling, burning, numbness, pain or even give the sensation of an electrical shock anywhere throughout the foot and ankle, and even the calf. Symptoms can occur at once, or gradually. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome can be brought on by injuries that cause inflammation near the tunnel, flat feet, enlarged or abnormal veins or cysts in the tunnel, or diseases which cause swelling, such as arthritis and diabetes. If you experience any symptoms described here, see a podiatrist in order to receive proper care, and to avoid permanent nerve damage.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta of Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. Our doctor 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 our office located in Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Why Live with Pain and Numbness in Your Feet?

Posted on October 13, 2021

Suffering from this type of pain? You may have the foot condition known as Morton's neuroma. Morton's neuroma may develop as a result of ill-fitting footwear and existing foot deformities. We can help.

Arthroscopy for the Ankle

Posted on October 12, 2021

Arthroscopy is a “keyhole” or minimally invasive surgical procedure podiatric surgeons use for viewing and making repairs inside the ankle joint without making large incisions or performing open surgery. An arthroscope (a long, flexible tube with a light and tiny video camera attached) is inserted through a small incision into the ankle joint. The images from the video camera are projected onto a large screen, giving the surgeon a view inside the ankle to assess damage and make a diagnosis. Surgery can be performed with tiny surgical instruments that have been inserted through other small incisions. Arthroscopic surgery reduces the risk of infection, and typically involves shorter hospital stays and reduced recovery times. Make an appointment with a podiatrist to see if arthroscopy might be helpful to diagnose or treat your ankle issue

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to treat a foot ailment. To learn more, contact Dr. Stephen S. Pirotta of Advanced Foot & Ankle Clinics. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to alleviate the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary include:

  • Removing foot deformities like bunions and bone spurs
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Bentonville, AR . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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