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
Are you interested in finding the best methods for managing your bunion symptoms?
Yikes! Bunion pain! Is there anything worse? Anything that makes it difficult to walk around without discomfort is sure to affect your day-to-day life. The goal of our Manassas, Leesburg and Reston, VA, podiatrists is to make sure that you have the knowledge that you need to manage your bunion symptoms effectively. If you aren’t sure how to handle this issue, we are here to help!
Wear the Right Footwear
If you have shoes that put too much pressure on your bunion or that bunch up your toes then you have to know that this will only make things worse. These shoes need to be tossed out and replaced with shoes that have little to no heel and offer a large, spacious area for your toes. If toes can wiggle around freely then this is a good sign that these shoes will also be good for your bunion.
Wear Custom Orthotics
Even if you find properly fitted footwear, sometimes you still need a little bit more support than what your shoes can offer. If this is the case then you may want to consider getting custom orthotics (shoe inserts) from our Manassas, Leesburg and Reston foot doctors. Custom orthotics are specially designed to fit your foot and its specific structural issues, which means that when you place them into your shoes they will distribute weight evenly so your bunion won’t take the brunt of walking around.
Do you have questions about handling your bunion symptoms? Is your bunion pain getting worse? If so, it might be time to turn to Reston Foot and Ankle Center. We offer three convenient locations in Reston, Manassas and Leesburg, VA, to serve you better.
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.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.