How to Reduce Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

It’s not unusual to notice that your feet are swelling in your second trimester, around week 22 to week 27 of pregnancy. Swelling occurs because your body fluids increase and your blood volume just about doubles. Even though these extra fluids can be uncomfortable, this is exactly what you want to help soften your body and prepare to give birth. Luckily, the swelling will rapidly decrease after the baby is born, and there are several tips you can follow to reduce swollen feet during pregnancy.

Wear Compression Socks

When you wake up in the morning, the swelling is usually minimal because you’ve been lying down. Yet, swelling develops as you sit up and walk around. If you struggle with swelling every day, compression socks will help keep fluid circulating by providing a gentle squeeze to your feet and legs. It’s best to put them on at the start of the day, as they’re better at preventing swelling than making it go away.

Prop Your Feet Up

Elevating your feet for 20 minutes three times a day will do wonders for your swollen feet. Gather throw pillows or accent cushions to prop your feet up slightly above your heart. This way, gravity works in your favor. Oxygen-depleted blood returns to your heart, the blood flow in your legs improves, and you drain excess fluid more effectively.

Reduce Your Sodium Intake

Another way to reduce swelling is to limit your sodium intake. Since salt makes your body retain water, check the nutritional labels of foods to see how much salt they contain. It’s best to avoid canned or processed foods, as they tend to have higher amounts. An easy alternative is using savory herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme to add flavor to your recipes.

Drink Lots of Water

It may sound counterintuitive to drink more water. Yet, when your body is dehydrated, it’ll actually hold onto more fluids. Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day will help your kidneys flush out excess sodium and other waste products. Adding mint leaves, lemon slices, or berries can make drinking lots of water more enjoyable.

Opt For Comfortable Shoes

While your high heels look stunning, you’ll feel your best in shoes that provide much-needed cushioning and support. Opt for comfortable, well-fitting shoes to reduce swelling and even prevent hip and back problems as your weight increases. They should provide good arch support, have a wide toe box, and not be too loose or tight. As the ligaments in your body stretch during pregnancy, you may need to buy new shoes. It’s annoying for sure, but it’s an excellent excuse to splurge on some new favorites.

Go On a Walk

Once your shoes are on, you’re ready for a stroll around the block! Going out for even a 5- or 10-minute walk a couple of times a day can improve your circulation and help reduce swelling. Many women also find it relaxing to swim in the pool. While swimming may not reduce swelling all that much, you’ll at least feel lighter, cooler, and get a little exercise. Light, regular exercise during pregnancy can also help you sleep more soundly.

Sleep on Your Left Side

As you climb into bed at the end of the day, consider sleeping on your left side. Why not the back or your right side, you ask? This particular sleeping position takes the pressure off the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of your body to your heart. You can rest well knowing you’ll wake up feeling refreshed.

Visit The Foot & Ankle Center

For a personalized treatment plan and help managing your pain, visit The Foot & Ankle Center! Our expert podiatrists specialize in a wide range of foot and ankle ailments. We even offer same-day appointments to help keep your mind at ease and get you back to living a full and healthy life. Get started today! Give us a call at 314-487-9300 or request an appointment online.


The Best Supportive Shoes for Fall

Fall is here, which means it’s time to bring out your favorite fall trends like pumpkin spiced lattes, chunky knit sweaters, and even shoes. Yes, shoes. From boots to loafers and anything in between, there’s something for everyone to rock this fall. However, it’s essential to remember that your shoes should be fashionable and comfortable. In this blog, we’ll be discussing the best supportive shoes for fall.

What Makes a Good Supportive Shoe?

These are the characteristics of a good, supportive shoe:

  • It has a thick sole to absorb shock and adequately protect your foot from the elements
  • It has enough room in the toe box to allow your toes to wiggle freely
  • It is deep enough that the section around your heel holds the shoe onto your footwell
  • Its material is stiff enough to provide ankle support
  • It has a sensible pitch that allows the shank to rest in a comfortable position
  • It is the right size

You can always give yourself some extra support and comfort by using a cushioned insert.

Retro Sneakers

The trendy “ugly dad sneakers” have been “in.” However, this season designers are pulling inspiration from their older, more classic designs. These sneakers are stylish and give you much-needed support. There are models made for everyone, whether you have flat, neutral, or high foot arches. These shoes are also very breathable, meaning they allow air to circulate, giving your feet a chance to breathe. This will help prevent foot odor and infection. Be fashionable and comfortable with the perfect pair of retro sneakers.

The Modern Chelsea Boot

Chelsea boots have been a popular fall choice for decades and continue to be this season’s most popular trend. However, designers have reimagined the modern Chelsea boot with different materials, colors, and lengths (knee-high to ankle booties). Just like with any Chelsea boot, you’ll want a snug fit around the ankle for optimal support. Just like with any pair of boots, your Chelsea boots should have a nice, rigid sole that isn’t easily bendable in the arch, but you should still be able to point or flex your foot. The higher the boot goes around the ankle, the more ankle support you will have, which provides more stability in icy or muddy conditions. The elastic at the ankle of the Chelsea boot will ensure a perfect fit.

Sturdy Loafers

Similar to Chelsea boots, loafers have been a staple of many different types of wardrobes for years. However, new styles have gained the attention of younger crowds and those who would otherwise look elsewhere to make a statement with their shoes. This year, leather loafers have been reinvented with chunkier soles for an edgy look and added walkability. These structured shoes are perfect for a long day of standing or walking. They’re especially great for those with lower back problems and can’t bend down easily to put shoes on. Keep this classic in your closet because it won’t be going out of style anytime soon.

Lace-Up, Combat-Style Boots

These are arguably the best type of walking boots. Combat boots toe the line between chic and comfortable. Find a pair with an air-cushioned sole and with anti-slip properties. The plus of these guys is that they’re incredibly durable, versatile, and offer unlimited support due to the lace-up ankle. Go for an edgy look by dressing up some leather trousers, feminize them by pairing them with a dress, or keep it casual with a pair of jeans.

Kitten Heals

Kitten heels are right on trend, with recurring trends bouncing back from the eighties and nineties. If you are going to wear any kind of heel, we recommend a kitten heel (one inch or smaller). These might even help your posture and temporarily take pressure off the Achilles. You may also try wedges, as these distribute weight evenly on the sole foot instead of a heel that puts pressure only on the heel and ball of your foot. If you must go for a heel instead of a wedge, perhaps consider a block heel instead of a stiletto.

The Foot & Ankle Center

Do you need a professional’s opinion? Request an appointment with The Foot & Ankle Center today. Their team of experts can treat anything from tendon injuries to arthritis. Know that you’ll be receiving top-quality care and advice from doctors who care about your recovery and prolonged health. Visit our website today to learn more about what we have to offer!


How to Treat a Swollen Ankle

The first step to treating a swollen ankle is to identify the cause behind it. There are many different reasons, from lifestyle decisions like not eating enough magnesium to underlying conditions like having blood clots. In this blog, we will be discussing how to identify the cause of a swollen ankle and how you can treat it.

Edema

The medical term for swelling of the ankles, feet, or legs is edema. In most cases, a swollen ankle is temporary and will go away on its own. Common causes of edema are related to lifestyle. If you carry around excess weight, are restricted in movement, or overeat salt, you could be at risk for developing edema.

People at risk of developing edema stand or walk for long periods, are obese, pregnant, or suffer from a disease that targets the heart, kidneys, liver, and veins.

Vascular Diseases

Vascular diseases can cause a more severe form of swelling. In vascular diseases, such as deep venous disease, superficial venous insufficiency, and deep vein thrombosis, damaged veins result in complications. They can lead to the pooling of blood in the leg area. If you think your swollen ankles result from vascular disease, infection, or lymphedema, you must contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Increasing risk factors for vascular disease are age, pregnancy, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, smoking, blood clotting problems, illness, injury, standing for a long time, and sitting for a long time.

Foot or Ankle Injury

People who strain or sprain their ankle will most likely experience painful swelling. Ankle sprains are one of the most common causes of ankle swelling. Some treatment for this includes:

  • Following the R.I.C.E. method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  • Visiting a doctor if at-home treatments do not cure the pain and swelling. It could be signs of a fracture or more severe soft tissue damage.

Cellulitis

The bacterial infection of cellulitis is most familiar with those who have a weakened immune system. Diabetes, leukemia, H.I.V., and AIDS leaves you more prone to infections. Cellulitis makes the skin red, swollen, and warm to the touch. If you do not treat the condition promptly, it can spread to the bloodstream and become life-threatening. Generally speaking, doctors will prescribe antibiotics in this situation.

Medication Side Effects

People taking anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, diabetic medication, antidepressants, and calcium channel blockers are at risk of developing swollen ankles and feet. For treatment, talk to your doctor, who will most likely prescribe a diuretic or provide methods of reducing uncomfortable swelling.

Pregnancy

As mentioned, pregnancy can cause edema or swollen ankles. Some swelling is completely normal during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. However, sudden swelling of the hands and face could be a sign of a condition called preeclampsia.

Those who experience mild swelling during pregnancy can usually treat it with at-home remedies. These include eating potassium-rich food, reducing salt intake, avoiding caffeine, wearing comfortable shoes and supportive stockings, avoiding standing for long periods, elevating their feet, applying a cold compress, and wearing loose-fitting clothes.

Edema Treatment

You can take specific steps to ease the pain and discomfort associated with a swollen ankle or foot.

  • Compression socks- offer a gentle squeeze that aids in blood circulation and prevents fluid from collecting in your ankles or feet, minimizing swelling and pain. Put them on in the morning and wear them as long as you’re comfortable.
  • Elevation- you should elevate your legs above your heart. Elevation will help drain built-up fluid from your legs. Let gravity give your circulatory system a boost.
  • Epsom salt bath- soak your feet and ankles in a tub with Epsom salt for 15 to 20 minutes. Many doctors promote this because it’s easy and affordable.
  • Magnesium-rich foods/supplements- low magnesium can cause your body to swell and retain water. Try eating nuts and seeds, legumes, fiber-rich grains, low-fat dairy products, greens, and dark chocolate. Daily supplements also work. After talking to your doctor, try taking 200mg to 400mg of magnesium a day.
  • Hydrate – when you are dehydrated, your body’s natural response is to hold onto as much fluid as possible. This excess water weight can lead to bloating and swelling. By simply drinking more water, you can help your body to flush out extra sodium and other toxins from your system.

Contact The Foot & Ankle Center Today!

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from edema, contact The Foot & Ankle Center. We can help manage pain, symptoms and provide treatment plans to help get you back on your feet as soon as possible. We’re here to help you. Trust our dynamic staff to provide the information and services you need to live a full, healthy life. So, what are you waiting for? Request an appointment today!


Can Feet Get Smaller?

The short answer to this question is no, not really. You see, your foot length always stays the same. However, a reduction of up to one and a half shoe sizes is not unusual due to an overall decrease in the circumference of the foot. But how can the circumference of your foot change so drastically? Well, in this blog, that’s precisely what you’ll find out.

Weight Loss

Significant weight loss is probably the most common reason some people may feel some extra space in their shoes. People underestimated how packing on the pounds can affect their feet. Excess weight stretches out the connective tissues in our feet, which puts extra strain on our foot muscles. It can also wear down the natural fat pads, which cushion your feet and absorb the shock when you take steps or stand for long periods.

Losing excess weight can cause fat loss and reduce inflammation in your feet. So, if you lose some weight and you have to change your shoe size, your foot has gotten smaller, kind of. The overall structure of your foot hasn’t changed, but as mentioned, you’ve lost fat and reduced inflammation.

Neuropathic Joint Disease

Neuropathic joint disease, also known as Charcot foot, can cause bones to disintegrate due to nerve damage. In general, Charcot foot is an inflammatory process that affects the soft tissues, bones, and joints in the foot or ankle. This condition can result from complete or near-complete numbness in one or both feet and ankles. The bones in the front become weak, making them prone to fractures and dislocations. If left untreated, it can lead to severe deformity, disability, or amputation.

Charcot Foot Causes

Charcot foot occurs in people who have numbness in their feet and legs because of a type of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is associated with several conditions:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Drug use
  • HIV
  • Infection, trauma, or damage in the peripheral nerves
  • Inflammatory conditions (sarcoidosis or psoriasis)
  • Leprosy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polio
  • Syphilis
  • Syringomyelia

There are three stages of Charcot foot that outline what someone who suffers from it can expect.

Stage 1—Fragmentation & Destruction

You can identify the first stage by redness and significant swelling of the foot and ankle. Said areas might also be warm or hot to the touch. First, soft tissue swelling and bone fractures occur, which results in the destruction of the joints and surrounding bone. This causes the joints to lose stability, resulting in dislocation. Bones may even “jellify,” softening completely. The bottom of the foot may take on a flat appearance, and bony protrusions may also appear on the bottom of the foot. If left untreated, this stage can last up to a year.

Stage 2—Coalescence

It’s at this stage that the body attempts to heal itself. The destruction of the bones and joints slows down, which reduces swelling, redness, and warmth. Fragments of bone will attempt to fuse themselves together. Your doctor will most likely suggest a type of cast or brace to keep the area still and to relieve pressure from the damaged tissue.

Stage 3—Reconstruction

Here, joints and bones of the foot heal. However, they do not go back to their original condition or shape on their own. It’s unfortunate, but even though there’s no more damage to the foot, it can still be left in a deformed and unstable state. At this stage, the foot may also be more prone to sores and ulcers, leading to further deformities and even amputation.

Charcot Foot Treatment

If caught early, treatment centers around reducing swelling and heat in the affected areas. You’ll also want to stabilize the foot by keeping it immobile. It’s essential to eliminate any weight or pressure on the foot to stop additional damage from being done. This is called “off-loading.”

There are also several low-tech, nonsurgical treatments for Charcot foot that may help stop the progression of Charcot foot:

  • Wearing a protective splint, walking brace, or customized walking boot
  • Minimizing or eliminating all weight on the affected foot by using a wheelchair, crutches, or a walking scooter
  • Using an orthopedic brace to correct alignment of the foot
  • Wearing a contact cast explicitly fitted to your leg and foot

Once your foot or feet heal enough, you may be fit for a therapeutic shoe to reduce your chances of getting Charcot foot again.

The Foot & Ankle Center

If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles or have noticed a difference in their shape or function, please contact The Foot & Ankle Center today. We can help you live a better life by addressing your foot and ankle issues right there on the spot. Don’t wait and let these health problems get out of hand. Call us today at 314-487-9300 or request an appointment online with us!


How to Relieve Foot Arthritis Pain

When talking about foot arthritis pain, it’s important to mention that arthritis is a general term that refers to more than 100 different illnesses. However, these illnesses all seem to have one thing in common, inflammation in and around the joints and the nearby soft tissue. With many kinds of arthritis, the smooth cartilage between your joints wears down over time, causing the bones on either side of the joint to meet and wear against each other. This, coupled with inflammation, can cause severe pain.

Before we get to how we must address the what. First, we must explain the different types of foot arthritis to explain what you can do for pain relief.  

Different Types of Foot Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear- arthritis, is the most common form of arthritis in older populations. Doctors refer to it as a degenerative joint disease, as it causes changes over many years. Foot and ankle joints are the most common locations for individuals to develop osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in that an individual’s immune system attacks their joints. This usually happens to the same joint on both sides of the body.

Gout is the buildup of uric acid in the body caused by dietary choices. It is most common to experience gout in the big toe, as it is the farthest away from the heart.

Psoriatic arthritis can happen in one or more joints. This includes the ankle and the ends of your toes. It may also cause your foot to swell.

Post-traumatic arthritis occurs after a severe injury such as joint dislocation or bone fracture. In cases of post-traumatic arthritis, an individual who suffers may not experience problems until years after the initial injury.

Symptoms of Foot Arthritis

There are many different types of symptoms that accompany foot arthritis. Here are some of the most common:

  • Tenderness when you touch the joint
  • Pain when you move the joint
  • Trouble moving, walking, or putting weight on the affected limb
  • Joint stiffness, warmth, or swelling
  • More pain and swelling after resting (e.g., sitting and sleeping)

Foot Arthritis Treatment

The treatment of foot arthritis is as wide-ranging as the condition is. There are many different steps you can take to help reduce pain and protect your joints. Here are few things you can do to fight back against your arthritis.

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections are great for addressing pain. However, it’s important to remember that they only mask the symptom, they don’t cure the underlying condition. You also have to be careful how often you use them. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing, and you risk weakening bones, ligaments, and tendons in the affected area.

NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin, are great for controlling swelling. These types of drugs help block a group of chemicals called prostaglandins. These chemicals play a role in pain and inflammation. While these can be helpful, make sure to speak with your doctor before long or short-term use, as the side effects of the medicines include cardiovascular and GI issues. Your doctor may opt for a topical anti-inflammatory instead, which will carry fewer sides effects.

Shoe Inserts

Shoe inserts that support your foot and ankle also referred to as orthotics, are great ways to help heal arthritis and manage pain. Orthotics are excellent because they’re custom-made. So, they can be customized to change the mechanics of an individual’s foot. They can also be more accommodating to someone’s feet by providing more cushioning.

Custom-Fitted Shoes or a More High-End Shoe

Custom-fitted shoes or a more high-end shoe that offers enough support and toe room is key for those who suffer from arthritis. You’ll want to avoid going barefoot as much as possible, so it’s important that the shoe you pick is comfortable for long periods of time. Avoid heels, flats, or any other shoes with a thin sole. It’s also important to remember to replace your shoes regularly. High-end athletic shoes with soft orthotic soles have a set number of miles built into them. Wear them past that number and the shoe will fail to give you the proper support that your foot needs.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is critical in easing pain and preventing damage done by arthritis. There are many different methods that help with symptoms, such as massage, whirlpool, cold packs, ultrasound, and lasers. After the inflammation has been reduced, the physical therapist can then create a program to help their patient build strength, gain more flexibility in the joint, and restore balance, all to reduce the amount of stress put on the affected joint.

Lose Weight

As mentioned above, it’s important to reduce the amount of stress put on the affected joint. One way you can do this is to lose weight. Even if it’s five to ten pounds, that’s enough to help relieve stress from your joints. You can also wear toe caps. To caps are small sleeves made of gel or compression fabric. While they won’t cure arthritis, they can help to relieve pressure and reduce pain during flare-ups.

Surgery

Some people have no choice but to get surgery to help relieve the pain they feel from their arthritis. While surgery is generally reserved for severe cases, the following procedures are considered quite common:

  1. Fusion Surgery- fusing the bones that comprise a joint with rods, pins, screws, or plates. After the surgery site heals, the bones remained joined
  2. Joint Replacement Surgery-also known as an arthroplasty; a doctor will take out the damaged bone and cartilage and replace it with metal or plastic.

Make an Appointment with The Foot & Ankle Center

We help heal everything. From the orthotics to the pain management, trust The Foot & Ankle Center to fix your feet. For more information or to book an appointment, click here.