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By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
September 14, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Pain   Custom Orthotics  

Custom orthotics are removable shoe inserts that provide greater arch support and stability to the feet and ankles. There are different types of orthotics available depending on the issue and level of support that is needed. Basic orthotics are sold over the counter, but a custom pair designed specifically for your foot will provide optimal support and comfort.

When are Custom Orthotics Necessary?

Podiatrists typically recommend custom orthotics for people with flat feet, or very high arches. One of the most common signs that you may benefit from a pair of orthotics is heel pain (although you may also experience pain and swelling in other parts of the foot). You may also experience pain and swelling after normal and relatively low impact activities like standing or walking.

A good way to figure out if you are having pronation issues is to examine the soles of your shoes and sneakers. If the soles and insoles tend to become visibly more worn on one side, it may be a sign that your alignment is off and you are over or under pronating. A podiatrist may ask you to walk in your bare feet to observe your stride and gait (known as a gait analysis). If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or stiffness, especially after exercise or after long periods of rest, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.

Types of Custom Orthotics

There are a few different types of custom orthotics designs available depending on your needs.

Functional (also known as rigid) orthotics are made of harder materials and are usually prescribed for pronation problems or joint issues like arthritis.

Accommodative orthotics are designed to provide more cushioning and support and are typically prescribed for problems like plantar fasciitis and bunions.

In addition to improving your gait and foot and ankle alignment, custom orthotics can help to prevent related strains and injuries and relieve back, joint, and knee pain if it is caused by issues with your arches and pronation.

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
August 31, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Arthritis  

Arthritis is a joint condition that affects roughly 54 million American adults according to the Arthritis Foundation. It can show up in joints all around the body, including the feet and toes. When the joints of the feet are affected by inflammation, it affects a patient’s ability to move their toes, bend their feet up or down, and turn on a dime when participating in athletic activities. Learn the steps that you can take to care for arthritic feet and improve your overall foot health.

Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritic joint pain, which is usually caused by an inflammatory reaction, is most commonly felt in the big toe, ankle, and the middle part of the foot. There are many different types of arthritis conditions that could affect the feet, including psoriatic, reactive, and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form—it is caused by the bones rubbing together, making the joints feel stiff and painful. Patients who are overweight are more likely to struggle with arthritic feet, as are seniors. Some people have had arthritis since childhood (juvenile arthritis or JA), making them more likely to develop foot deformities like bunions and struggle with swollen joints.

Arthritis Treatments
Though arthritis isn’t a curable condition, the symptoms can be eased with treatment so that you can continue to walk, jog, exercise, and work without debilitating pain. These are some of the ways your podiatrist may treat arthritis in the feet:

  • An X-ray or other imaging test to examine the condition of the joints.
  • Physical therapy exercises to make the joints more flexible.
  • Orthotic device or shoe for better foot support.
  • Joint injections (corticosteroids).
  • NSAID drugs (anti-inflammatories).
  • Surgery to remove inflamed tissue around the joints (Arthroscopic debridement) or fuse the bones (arthrodesis).

Caring for Your Feet
Seeing a foot doctor is an important part of caring for arthritic feet. But there are also some actions you can take at home to keep your feet and joints in good condition:

  • Get rid of shoes that put too much pressure on your joints, like high heels or sneakers that don’t support the ankles.
  • Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt and massage your feet when relaxing.
  • Commit to doing the toe and foot exercises suggested by your podiatrist.

Treating Arthritic Feet
Arthritic feet shouldn't prevent you from carrying on with normal life and physical activities. Get help from a podiatrist as soon as you start to experience symptoms and take extra steps to care for your feet.

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
August 15, 2018
Category: toenail conditions
Tags: nail fungus  

Nail fungal infections are common. It is caused by the fungus attacking the nails. The early signs of nail fungus include thickening of the nails, discoloration, foul odor, brittle, ragged, and crumbly nail edges. Both fingernails and toenails are vulnerable to infection. However, they are more common in toenails.

fungal nail

Do you suffer from nail fungal infections? Are you embarrassed to show off your feet in public during the summers? Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid serious complications.

Here are some key preventive measures that can help your feet get rid of these infections for good.

  • Wash your feet with mild soap and water every day. Make sure to dry them thoroughly especially between the toes. Once they are completely dry, only then put on a fresh pair of socks or the necessary footwear.
  • Always remember to cut your nails straight across. Do not cut them too short or at an angle to avoid ingrown toenails.
  • Inspect your feet daily for anything unusual such as fungal infections, cuts or bruises. Use a mirror if necessary.
  • Choice of footwear is important. Wear fitted shoes and avoid shoes with narrow toe boxes. Wearing proper footwear can make a great difference in avoiding many toe and nail disorders.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks which absorb moisture and wick it away.
  • Avoid going barefoot to public places such as a gym, swimming pool, showers, or locker rooms as they are breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus.
  • For someone who is getting a pedicure, make sure it’s a reputable salon that properly sterilizes its tools.
  • Use antifungal powder or sprays on your footwear. Fungus thrives in warm, dark and moist settings, three things that your footwear provides.
  • Avoid sharing shoes and socks.
  • Avoid sharing nail clippers.

If you are experiencing worrisome nail symptoms, you might want to go see a podiatrist before the infection gets any worse as it can very quickly spread to other parts of the body.

If you suspect that you have developed symptoms of nail fungus, visit Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. Our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Andrew H. Cohen and his team of professionals can help you to always be a step ahead of nail fungus. You can schedule an appointment online or call our office at 989-790-8009.

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
August 15, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Poor Circulation  

Are you experiencing numbness, tingling, or discolorations in your feet?


Even though poor circulation isn’t a condition, if you are experiencing poor circulation in your feet this is often a symptom of a much larger issue. This is why it’s important to understand the warning signs of poor circulation and when to see a podiatrist, as many of these conditions can be serious or cause further complications to your health.

Causes of Poor Circulation

There are many reasons why someone may have poor circulation. The most common conditions include:

1. Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

This causes poor circulation in the legs due to a narrowing in the arteries and blood vessels. Over time this condition can cause damage to nerves or tissue. While this condition can occur in younger people, particularly smokers, it’s more common for people over 50 years old to develop PAD.

2. Blood Clots

A blood clot causes a block or restriction in blood flow and can develop anywhere in the body. The most common places for a blood clot include the arms or the legs, which can lead to symptoms of poor circulation. In some cases, a blood clot can cause serious complications such as a stroke.

3. Diabetes

While this condition does affect blood sugar levels, it is also known to affect circulation within the body. Those with circulation issues may experience cramping in the legs that may get worse when you are active. Those with diabetic neuropathy may experience nerve damage in the legs and feet, as well as numbness or tingling.

4. Raynaud’s Disease

A less common condition, Raynaud’s disease causes chronic cold fingers and feet due to the narrowing of the arteries in the hands and toes. Since these arteries are narrow it’s more difficult for blood to flow to these areas, leading to poor circulation. Of course, you may experience these symptoms in other parts of the body besides your toes or fingers, such as your nose, ears, or lips.

Warning Signs of Poor Circulation

You may be experiencing poor circulation in your feet if you are experiencing these symptoms:

  • Numbness
  • Pain that may radiate into the limbs
  • Tingling (a “pins and needles” sensation)
  • Muscle cramping

If you are experiencing symptoms of poor circulation that don’t go away it’s best to play it safe rather than sorry and turn to a podiatric specialist who can provide a proper diagnosis and determine the best approach for improving circulation. Don’t ignore this issue.

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
August 09, 2018
Category: Toe Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

If you’ve noticed that your toes have become strangely rigid or curled, you may have a foot deformity called hammertoes.

A hammertoe gets its name from the way the bent toe resembles the shape of a hammer. Corns or calluses may appear in response to pressure and friction from repetitive actions, such as the toes rubbing against footwear.

In many people, the tendency for hammertoes is hereditary which may worsen by wearing ill-fitted shoes. Conditions such as trauma and arthritis can also worsen this condition. Hammertoes are more flexible at the beginning which is why early treatment can help yield better results.

Hammertoes seldom improve on their own, thus it is necessary to visit a foot doctor for proper diagnoses and treatment.

Here are some of the early hammertoe treatments that a podiatrist may suggest:

  • Stretching and strengthening.  Proper stretching and strengthening exercises can help you reverse the muscle imbalance that causes a hammertoe.
  • Splinting. Toes can be realigned with the help of splints or tape to avoid further bending.
  • Orthotic shoe inserts. Inserts can help reposition the foot and toe while wearing shoes.
  • Padding. Corns and calluses that may appear on the top of hammertoes can be isolated by using pads which help to reduce pressure and stress and lessen pain.
  • Footwear. Choice of proper footwear is important. Tight shoes and high heels should be avoided.

If you are suffering from hammertoes or any other foot and ankle condition, then it is time to call a podiatrist. Call our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Andrew H. Cohen, of Mid- Michigan Foot & Ankle Center, located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. Dr. Cohen and his team of highly qualified professionals can be your go-to team in helping you get rid of hammertoes and put an end to all your foot and ankle problems. You can reach our office at 989-790-8009 or make an appointment online today. 

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