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Keep Your Feet Safe at the Gym in the New Year

Don’t let foot injuries keep you from your fitness resolutions

 

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Virginia --In the New Year, don’t forget to keep your feet in tip-top shape while following through with your resolutions to get fit. Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon DPM, AACFAS, offers tips for foot safety while at the gym.  

 

Start new workouts gradually— Increase your stamina and the length of your workouts gradually to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures or tendon strains and sprains. Stretching your muscles before and after workouts also helps prevent these types of injuries. “If you do feel you’ve sprained your ankle, be sure to seek treatment right away,” Dr. Gordon, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons explains. “Untreated or repeated ankle sprains may lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition that causes persistent pain and a ‘giving way’ of the ankle.”

 

Wear the right shoe and sock—Wear well-fitting athletic shoes designed for the exercise or sport. According to Dr. Gordon, shoes that don’t support the arch of the foot and provide cushion for the heel can cause heel pain (plantar fasciitis). Shoes that are too small can also cause a neuroma or a thickening of the nerve tissue, in the foot and may require injections, medication or physical therapy. Wearing cotton or non-slip socks are also key to help avoid painful blisters, which can become infected and cause more serious issues.

 

Use good technique— Improper exercise techniques can result in injury to the tendons or ligaments in your feet and ankles. “Incorrect posture or misuse of exercise equipment can cause decreased stabilization in the foot and ankle, leading to joint sprains and muscle strains,” Dr. Gordon says.

 

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Gym Safety

 

Protect yourself from bacteria—Sweaty shoes, public showers, exercise equipment and the pool deck at the gym are breeding grounds for fungus, viruses and bacteria, including drug-resistant strains like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which has become increasingly more common. Never go barefoot while in public areas; water shoes can provide a great barrier between your feet and the wet surfaces. “It’s also best to cover cuts and cracks in the skin or ingrown toenails since these minor tears in the skin’s surface can act as entry points for bacteria. If you have a cut or scrape that becomes red or swollen and is not healing in a timely manner, don’t hesitate to see a foot and ankle surgeon for an examination,” Dr. Gordon says.

 

Above all, it’s important to listen to your body. If you experience an injury or pain, call Dr. Gordon’s office at 703-437-6333 for an evaluation. To learn more about foot and ankle health topics, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ website, FootHealthFacts.org. 

Rare diabetes foot complication becoming more common

Few people with diabetes know about the limb-threatening foot condition, or its warning signs

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA 1/19/18 As diabetes rates soar nationwide, a Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon says he’s seeing more patients with a rare diabetic foot complication.

The condition is called Charcot foot (pronounced SHAR-co). Foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon, DPM,  FACFAS, says it involves a sudden softening of the foot’s bones. This can trigger an avalanche of problems, including joint loss, fractures, collapse of the arch, massive deformity, ulcers, amputation, and even death.

“As the foot’s structure collapses, the bottom of the foot can become convex, bulging like the hull of a ship,” says Gordon. “But diabetes patients frequently won’t feel any pain because they have severe nerve damage in their lower extremities.”

Gordon says every person with diabetes should know the Charcot foot warning signs: a red, hot, swollen foot or ankle. Several other dangerous conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis and acute infections, share these symptoms. A red, hot, swollen foot or ankle requires emergency medical care.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) estimates less than one percent of people with diabetes develop Charcot foot. But nationwide, the College’s 6,800 members say they’re noticing more Charcot cases as more Americans develop diabetes.

Charcot cannot be reversed, but its destructive effects can be stopped if the condition is detected early. People with diabetes play a vital role in preventing Charcot foot and its complications. Diabetes patients should keep blood sugar levels under control. This has been shown to reduce the progression of nerve damage in the feet. People with diabetes should also inspect both of their feet every day, and get regular check-ups from a foot and ankle surgeon.

For more information on Charcot foot and other diabetic foot conditions, visit the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org or contact Gordon’s office at 703-437-6333 or FootVA.com

Icy conditions cause falls and broken ankles

 With the hectic pace of the holidays, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. A Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon says falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures, and it’s critical to seek prompt treatment to prevent further damage that can prolong recovery.

Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS says the ankle joint is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice.

“Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma because the foot can go in any direction after slipping," He says.

Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, he adds that in cases of less severe fractures and sprains, it’s possible to walk and mistakenly believe the injury doesn’t require medical treatment.

“Never assume the ability to walk means your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained," he says. "Putting weight on the injured joint can worsen the problem and lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis later in life."

Some people may fracture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture.

“It’s best to have an injured ankle evaluated as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment,” says Gordon. “If you can’t see a foot and ankle surgeon or visit the emergency room right away, follow the RICE technique – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until medical care is available.”

According to the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, even though symptoms of ankle sprains and fractures are similar, fractures are associated with:

  • Pain at the site of the fracture that can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Significant swelling
  • Blisters over the fracture site
  • Bruising soon after the injury
  • Bone protruding through the skin—a compound fracture, which requires immediate attention!

Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint to foster union and healing. However, surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant malalignment to unite bone fragments and realign them properly.

Gordon said newly designed surgical plates and screws allow repair of these injuries with less surgical trauma.

“With newer bone-fixation methods, there are smaller incisions to minimize tissue damage and bleeding and accelerate the healing process,” He says.

Gordon recommends scheduling an appointment with his office if you have injured your ankle in any way.

“If you fall on an icy spot and hurt your ankle, the best advice is to seek medical attention immediately," He  says. "This aids in early diagnosis and proper treatment of the ankle injury and reduces the risk of further damage.”

For further information about ankle fractures and sprains or other foot and ankle problems, contact Gordon at (703) 368-7166 or (703) 437-6333.

Got gout? Holiday season triggers painful toes in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg December 21, 2017 Got gout? If so, a Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon has a recommendation for surviving the holidays: Watch what you eat and drink.

Changes in diet, including overindulging in certain foods and beverages, can cause gout attacks this time of year, says Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS. Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg

Gout attacks are extremely painful. They are caused when uric acid accumulates in the tissues or a joint and crystallizes. This most commonly occurs in the big toe joint. Gordon explains this is because the toe is the coolest part of the body and uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes.

He says foods that are high in purines contribute to uric acid build-up. He recommends that people prone to gout attacks avoid purine-rich items such as shellfish (shrimp, crab, etc.), organ meats (kidney, liver, etc.), red meat, red wine and beer.

Gout can be treated with medications, diet changes, increasing consumption of appropriate fluids, and immobilizing the foot. In some cases surgery is required to remove the uric acid crystals and repair the joint. For more information on gout, visit the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, or contact Gordon’s office at 703-368-7166/ 703-437-6333 or Footva.com

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg December 7, 2017 Parents and families can prevent cuts, puncture wounds and other injuries from going barefoot by following some simple recommendations from one Manassas, Reston and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon.

 

            "Shoes are the best way to protect your family's feet from injuries," says Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS. "But if your summer just wouldn't be the same without kicking off your shoes or sandals, you can still make it a safe season."

 

            Dr. Gordon has offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg. He offers these tips for a safer barefoot summer:

 

--See a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours for a puncture wound.

 

Why: These injuries can embed unsterile foreign objects deep inside the foot. A puncture wound must be cleaned properly and monitored throughout the healing process. This will help to avoid complications, such as tissue and bone infections or damage to tendons and muscles in the foot. Foot and ankle surgeons are trained to properly care for these injuries.

 

--Make sure you've been vaccinated against tetanus. Experts recommend teens and adults get a booster shot every 10 years.

 

Why: Cuts and puncture wounds from sharp objects can lead to infections and illnesses such as tetanus.

 

--Apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet.

 

Why: Feet get sunburn too. According to FootHealthFacts.org, rare but deadly skin cancers can develop on the feet.

 

--Inspect your feet and your children's feet on a routine basis for skin problems such as warts, calluses, ingrown toenails and suspicious moles, spots or freckles.

 

Why: The earlier a skin condition is detected, the easier it is for your foot and ankle surgeon to treat it.

 

--Wear flip-flops or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms and beaches.

 

Why: To avoid cuts and abrasions from rough anti-slip surfaces and sharp objects hidden beneath sandy beaches, and to prevent contact with bacteria and viruses that can cause athlete's foot, plantar warts, and other problems.

 

--Use common sense.

 

Why: Every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. Others suffer serious burns from accidentally stepping on stray campfire coals or fireworks. Murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater. People with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not "feel" an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin.

 

Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). He is board Certified in podiatric surgery He earned his podiatric medical degree from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine and has been practicing in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg since1995. Gordon can be contacted at 703-367-7166 or 703-437-6333

 

            For more information on puncture wounds, plantar warts, diabetic foot care and other topics, visit the ACFAS Web site, FootHealthFacts.org.