Psoriatic Arthritis in Feet and How a Podiatrist Can Help

We find that several patients come to us with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot. However, there is one ailment that often masks itself as plantar fasciitis until we take a closer look at it: psoriatic arthritis.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of joint inflammation that affects those suffering from psoriasis. Apart from pain, swelling, and inflammation, this chronic condition can also cause dactylis, which is the swelling of toes in their entirety. It isn’t unusual for patients to develop dermatological evidence of psoriasis before experiencing arthritic issues.

What are the Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis?

This condition can affect any of the bones and joints in your feet and ankles. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are usually persistent throughout the day and often include the following:

  • Swelling in feet
  • Stiffness in the feet and ankles
  • Pain and difficulty with walking, especially in the morning or following an extended period of rest
  • Inflammation and tenderness in toe joints
  • Heel pain similar to plantar fasciitis
  • Changes in toenails or the surrounding skin.
    • Sometimes nails will thicken and become brittle, which is often mistaken for a fungal infection.

Left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to foot or joint deformities such as claw toe and flatfoot. These changes can then lead to other podiatric issues such as corns, calluses, and more. Psoriatic arthritis can sometimes be severe enough that patients will experience disability.

How is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed?

Your podiatrist will examine your feet for pain, swelling, range of motion, and more. He or she may also order X-rays, ultrasounds, or other imaging tests of the bone and soft tissue to narrow in on a proper diagnosis. You can feel assured knowing that your podiatrist is trained to recognize the signs of psoriatic arthritis in all parts of the foot and ankle!

How is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis; however, there are ways to help slow down its progression and help you feel more comfortable. After making a complete observation and diagnosis, we will treat your symptoms with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescribed suppressive medication to help with pain management. We can also recommend lifestyle changes and proper footwear to ease symptoms. Orthotics may be necessary if a deformity has occurred. And of course, we will only consider surgery for the affected joints and bones if all other alternatives have failed.

How Can I Prevent Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis can affect a wide variety of people and is a condition that cannot be prevented. If you are at risk, however, it’s smart to act quickly if you begin noticing symptoms such as swollen or painful toes. In the meantime, maintain a healthy weight, watch your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise regularly, and wear well-fitting shoes to keep your feet and ankles happy. Remember, though – an early diagnosis is essential in effectively managing this disease! If you have been experiencing heel pain or swelling in your feet or toes, turn to the experienced doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! We can help get you back on your feet in no time. Call us at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment with us!

7 Foot Idioms and Their Interesting Origins

Do you ever think about certain phrases and wonder why we say them or what they even mean? Language is a funny thing, and it’s even more interesting when you dig into the origin of certain idioms and adages. If you’ve ever wondered about particular foot-related phrases, then you’ve come to the right place. Check out these 7 podiatric expressions and their origins:

Achilles Heel

If you know anything about Greek mythology, you probably know that Achilles was the greatest of all the warriors in the Trojan War. He was practically untouchable except for one little weakness – his heel. His mother, Thetis, had dipped him in the River Styx to make him invincible. Unfortunately for Achilles, Thetis held him by his heel, and since the water didn’t reach it, it became his weak spot. In fact, he eventually died when an arrow struck him in the heel. So, one’s Achilles heel is (figuratively) a person’s weakness!

Cold Feet

This phrase, which indicates having doubts or losing nerve regarding a certain situation, has an uncertain etymology. Some claim that it originates from the battlefield when soldiers who had frozen feet couldn’t rush into battle. Others point to a particular scene in a 19th century German novel, of all things. In the scene, a poker player bows out of a game before losing, claiming to have cold feet and being unable to concentrate!

Put a Sock in It

If your parents or teachers ever aimed this phrase at you, they were telling you to be quiet. But why a sock? Back in the late 19th century when people would listen to music on record players or gramophones, they lacked a way to control the volume. The solution to quieting the music lay in stuffing woolen socks down the horns of these devices!

Foot the Bill

Should you be the one to “foot the bill,” then you’re the one who will be covering the expense, which is typically a hefty sum. But where did this idiom come from? In times past, footing the bill simply meant adding up the prices of a variety of items to determine the final cost. This lump sum would appear at bottom of the bill (i.e. the foot).

Get off on the Wrong Foot

This phrase, which means to begin a project or relationship badly, has two possible origins! One lends itself toward the military and soldiers marching in step. The other is steeped in superstition. The “wrong foot” to many people long ago in several cultures was the left foot, mostly because the left was seen as “evil” (in Latin, “sinistral” means left-handed or left-footed). So to get off on the “wrong foot” would be to invite misfortune into your life. Sorry to all you lefties out there!

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Picture this: you’re living in a New York apartment building in the late 19th century. The neighbor above you has just come home, and, as always, you hear him taking off his shoes. The “thunk,” followed shortly by another identical “thunk” of the remaining shoe, reverberates off the ceiling. When you’re “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” you are waiting for something inevitable to happen. Think of it in today’s terms like waiting for the bass to drop, and you can kind of feel that anxious anticipation that New Yorkers experienced centuries ago!

Foot in the Door

If you’ve got your foot in the door, it means you have a chance to do something that could lead to future opportunities such as a new job. This handy phrase originates from a description of someone literally sticking their foot past the threshold of a home or property, impeding the door from closing so the conversation can continue. Fortunately, this is now used in a figurative sense. If it were used literally, we’d have a lot more hurt feet on our hands! Speaking of foot injuries, be sure to come see the experienced doctors at The Foot And Ankle Center if you’re suffering from heel pain, bunions, or other podiatric conditions. We’re happy to treat you at one of our six locations! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment with us!

Does Your Child Have Heel Pain? It Could be Sever’s Disease

Has your child been complaining about heel pain? Have you noticed him or her limping, favoring a foot, or even walking more on their tiptoes lately? If so, your child may be experiencing Sever’s disease, one of the most common sources of heel pain for young people.

What is Sever’s Disease?

Also known as calcaneal apophysitis, which is a fancy way of saying “painful inflammation of the heel,” Sever’s disease is a source of pain that occurs in growing children and adolescents. More specifically, it is the inflammation of the heel’s growth plate.

What Causes Sever’s Disease?

Two major factors are to blame, usually: repetitive stress to the heel from sports and activities, and growth spurts during puberty. At this crucial point in a child’s life, the muscles, bones, and tendons in the feet are growing and changing rapidly. Sometimes the muscles and tendons will become tight and will pull on the heel’s growth plate, leading to Sever’s disease.

Who is Affected by Sever’s Disease?

This affliction only troubles children and adolescents. They may be at an increased risk of experiencing Sever’s disease if they participate in sports or if they tend to wear very flat shoes.

What are the Symptoms of Sever’s Disease?

Usually, the symptoms of Sever’s disease include heel pain, tenderness, and swelling at the heel. Sometimes children may experience stiffness in their feet or heels upon waking. Your child may experience these symptoms in one or both heels.

How is Sever’s Disease Treated?

Fortunately, this type of heel pain can be treated with a few simple measures. Your podiatrist will focus on reducing the pain and swelling in your child’s heels. That means over-the-counter pain relievers to decrease the swelling and limiting exercise and sports activities until the pain is gone. This period of rest may sometimes last for several months. Your child may also need to undergo strength conditioning, do certain stretching exercises for their Achilles, and wear heel pads in their sports shoes. Orthotics can also help your child heal from Sever’s disease.

Will Sever’s Disease Come Back?

While it isn’t unusual for this heel pain to recur, it will not return once your child is fully grown and the growth plates have matured into solid bone. In order to prevent Sever’s disease from recurring, your child should wear well-fitting shoes with padded soles, stretch before and after physical activity, and ice their heels after engaging in sports.

The Experts at The Foot & Ankle Center Can Heal Sever’s Disease If your child is experiencing heel pain, don’t wait. Make an appointment with your friends at The Foot & Ankle Center by calling (314) 487-9300. We can determine if your child has Sever’s disease or a completely different foot problem and get them on the road to recovery!

Get Your Feet Moving in the Lou

When you think of St. Louis, you may think about the hustle and bustle of a big city. The Foot & Ankle Center, however, thinks of how often we can all get out and just walk around. Consider the many sights there are to see here like the Arch, Forest Park, and City Museum – just to name a few. In case you haven’t been out much with the summer heat, let us remind you where you can get your feet moving in the Lou.

Gateway Arch

Of course, we have to start with the Gateway Arch. Find a meter on Market Street or a parking lot off Broadway to get your steps in for the day. Then, check the sidewalks for arrows pointing you to your destination. Don’t forget to pass through Citygarden – as the walkway is breathtaking this time a year. Choose to either walk around the Old Courthouse or through it to find yourself at the brand new entrance of the Gateway Arch Museum. It’s only a few more steps to the top from there.

Forest Park

This attraction is sure to give those toes of yours a good workout. Start by finding a free parking spot along the winding roads of Forest Park and make your way to the famous fountains. You then have an option to go paddle boating or chill out in the nearby café. There’s also the Jewel Box, Art Museum, Muny, and St. Louis Zoo all within walking distance. Speaking of the zoo, is there a better way to exercise for free than hanging out with the animals? We doubt it.

City Museum

If you’re more into climbing like the goats at the zoo, then this is the place for you. Explore the City Museum like that of any other St. Louisan looking for a fun night out. The twisty caves and coils are sure to challenge your abilities and skills. The folks who grew up on this massive jungle gym may find that the next generation loves this place almost as much as they did.

Science Center

Maybe you just want to learn more about how the world works. The Science Center is sure to give you a direct pathway to knowledge. Start from the Forest Park entrance and experience the space exhibit. You will have to cross Interstate 64 to get to the main attractions, but you’ll be safe on their hard-to-miss Skybridge. If you’re brave enough to move on, you will be welcomed into the prehistoric era, have a chance to watch a movie on IMAX, and so much more.

Brewery Tours

Last but not least, the heart of St. Louis is its breweries. With multiple choices throughout the region, you can visit them all with a St. Louis beer map on hand. Ask for a tour when you enter and don’t be surprised if you find the large horses greeting you at our most famous location downtown. If you’re over the age of 21, you’ll even get to try some of their beer for free.

Feeling the Burn?

You don’t have to be a visitor to enjoy everything that downtown St. Louis has to offer. But you do have to be one to get checked out at The Foot & Ankle Center. If you are experiencing pain in your feet from walking, running, or anything else, reach out for help. Don’t hesitate, schedule an appointment with our experts today by calling (314) 487-9300.

6 Essential Back-to-School Shoe Shopping Tips

Summer is nearing its end, and countless students are heading back to school in just a few short weeks. While you’re probably preparing yourself to buy new clothes, backpacks, and plenty of school supplies for your child, we don’t want you to forget about another important item on your list: shoes! Before you head out to brave the crowds, we have a few pointers to help you along the way. Here’s how you can help your child have a more successful school year with the right pair of shoes:

Make Sure the Shoes Fit

A child’s foot size changes pretty frequently, especially when they’re younger, so you’ll want to measure them before buying shoes. While you’ll need to account for growth, you’ll also want to avoid buying shoes that are too big as they can cause injury. Of course, on the other hand, too-tight shoes can bring about blisters, calluses, ingrown toenails, and more. When you’re shopping, you’ll want a pair that has about a finger’s width of room from the end of the shoe to the tip of the big toe.

Bring Your Child with You

As tempting as it might be to go solo and snag shoes in the “right” size for your child, it’s best to go shopping together. You’ll make
sure that the shoe fits him or her correctly first-hand, which will save you time, money, and a headache. Besides, your child can find a shoe that looks and feels great, which will make them more likely to wear them.

Good Support Matters

It’s not just enough for a shoe to look cool and fit – they need to provide your child with the proper support as well. As you shop for the right pair, check to see that the toe box flexes easily and that the middle of the sole is sturdy. We suggest choosing a smart athletic shoe – these types of shoes often provide critical support for a growing child’s feet.

Grab an Extra Pair

Consider purchasing an extra pair of shoes before you leave the store! Think about it: shoes really go through a lot of wear and tear during the school year. They’re usually worn for 40 hours a week and endure a variety of activities. Having a second pair on hand can keep you from needing to go the store as often.

Shop in the Afternoon

When it comes to shoe shopping, the time of day is actually really important! Shoot for an excursion in the afternoon – that’s when feet tend to be at their largest. Buy shoes that will accommodate your child’s feet near the end of the day to help prevent future foot, ankle, and heel pain!

Buy New, Not Used

There’s no doubt that reusing clothing and items is smart and sustainable, but there are a few items that you should never buy used. Shoes fall under this category. Used shoes not only have lost most of their padding and cushioning, but they also may contain bacteria and fungi. Buy new pairs of shoes for your child and the rest of your family, always!

It’s also a good idea to bring your child in to see a podiatrist before the school year starts. After all, foot and ankle pain,
ingrown toenails, and bunions can make the new school year more difficult than it needs to be. Schedule an appointment with the experts at The Foot & Ankle Center today by calling (314) 487-9300!