Caring for Your Feet

Caring for Your Feet

Your feet do a lot for you. Make sure you do right by them.

You depend on your feet to take you everywhere you need to go. It’s no surprise, then, that they may need some maintenance to feel their best.

Dr. Tim Ford“Some of the problems we see, such as bunions and hammertoes, develop due to hereditary factors and the shoes you wear,” said Tim Ford, DPM, FCFAS, podiatric surgeon and director of KentuckyOne Health’s Podiatric Residency Program. “Others, such as diabetes-related wounds, can be prevented with proper medical care and watchfulness. We can help diagnose foot problems and guide patients to relief.”

Some of the most common problems Dr. Ford and his colleagues address include:

  • Bunion — A large bump on the side of the big toe that occurs in certain foot types. Symptoms include pain, redness, inflammation and numbness.
  • Hammertoe — Typically starts out as mild bending of one or both joints in your toes (not the big toe). Hammertoe is often aggravated by poorly fitting shoes.
  • Plantar fasciitis — Inflammation of the band connecting your heel to the base of your toes that often causes heel pain. According to Dr. Ford, people with a high arch or flat foot are especially prone to plantar fasciitis.

Dr. Ford and the podiatry team also help patients with traumatic foot and ankle injuries, which include broken bones, lacerations and even injuries sustained from lawn mowers or other equipment. Treatments provided by the practice range from medication, bracing and other conservative therapies to surgical procedures for bunions and even total ankle replacement.

Wound care management for foot and the lower leg/ankle is an integral part of podiatry care at the new Wound Care Center at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health.

Knowledge Is Prevention

 

It’s important to stay familiar with your feet. Inspect them regularly. That way, you’ll notice quickly if something is wrong.

This is particularly important for individuals with diabetes, who, due to diabetic nerve damage, may not feel pain from slow-healing wounds. Don’t wait to see your doctor if you have any concerns. Podiatrists can help with discomfort and possibly even save your feet.

High Heel How-to

 

High heels are stylish, professional and just plain fun — but if you wear them too often, they could damage your feet. Their instability makes it easier to turn your ankle, which could cause a sprain or fracture.

“If you stay in high heels too long, you also develop a tight (shortened) Achilles tendon, and it becomes difficult to get your foot flat to the ground,” said Dr. Ford. “Swap heels periodically for flat-soled shoes, and you should be OK.”

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Are you experiencing foot pain? Don’t wait to get help. View our Provider Directory to find a podiatrist near you. 

When Wounds Won’t Go Away

When Wounds Won't Go Away

When Wounds Won't Go Away

Diabetes and poor blood flow can turn minor cuts and sores into major problems. KentuckyOne Health wound care centers have the expertise and advanced treatments to heal them.

Chronic wounds can occur anywhere on the body, but two of the most common locations are the legs and feet.

“Venous or arterial insufficiency can lead to blood flow or swelling complications, and in turn, cause ulcers on the legs or feet,” said Tina Hasty, BSN, CWCA, clinical program director at Saint Joseph Hospital Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Center, part of KentuckyOne Health. “Individuals who have diabetes may not notice a small wound on the bottom of the foot because the disease can cause nerve damage. Over time, these wounds may grow bigger without their knowledge, unless they check their feet regularly.”

Approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes develop foot ulcers (open sores or wounds). This happens because healing is typically slower for those with diabetes.

“High levels of blood glucose can negatively impact one’s blood circulation and nervous system, which ultimately affects the body’s ability to heal,” said Timothy Ford, DPM, podiatric physician and surgeon. “It is very important for patients with diabetes to take care of their feet and look for any wounds. If not treated properly, wounds could lead to amputation.”

A Two-pronged Approach

If you have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days, you should visit a wound care center, where specially trained physicians and nurses can treat the wound and ensure you receive care for its underlying causes. KentuckyOne Health has three wound care centers, which are located in Bardstown, Louisville and Lexington.

“Our wound care team develops treatment plans for patients and as indicated, refers them to specialists, including vascular surgeons, infectious disease specialists and podiatrists,” Hasty said. “We have a variety of treatments we can use to heal wounds, including advanced dressings, compression therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Educating patients about their wounds is also an important part of our work.”

Have a wound that won’t heal? Learn more about treatments and find the wound care center nearest you.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.