Is Your Foot Pain a Sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and if you ask anyone living with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), they will tell you that it’s a devastating diagnosis to receive because it is an incurable disease that can cause joint deformity and severe pain. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is delving deeper into a painful condition.

The good news is that today the treatment options available are the most advanced they have ever been, and they are actually allowing many people with arthritis to live full and active lives.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet

With arthritis, the immune system assaults the body’s joint tissues, causing inflammation, which can result in gradual damage to affected joints. The immune system attacks the fluid within the joints as well as the joint lining, which then becomes acutely inflamed, causing a swollen and warm joint.

If left untreated, continued inflammation eventually causes bone and cartilage to erode, which leads to deformed joints and diminished range of motion. Additionally, the muscles, ligaments and tendons that surround and stabilize the joints may weaken.

Parts of the Foot Affected by Arthritis

When it comes to the feet, RA typically affects the toe joints, causing a gradual outward shift in the toes and bunions to develop. It may also cause the forefoot to shift, resulting in a loss of stability, which leads to conditions such as hammertoes.

These changes in toe-joint flexibility often cause calluses and pain under the ball of the foot and make finding comfortable shoes more difficult, resulting in the need for custom orthotics.

Other Foot Conditions Associated with Arthritis

Heel pain: This is a common problem for people with arthritis that can strike at the back of the heel resulting in plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or bursitis.

Nerve entrapment: When the joint lining becomes inflamed, the swelling can cause symptoms of a pinched nerve, also referred to as nerve entrapment.

Rheumatoid nodules: This typically appears as a bump located beneath the skin, usually over a bony lump or tendon. It can grow over the Achilles tendon or on the side of the big toe if a bunion is present.

Skin rash: The inflammation associated with RA can cause wounds or rashes on the lower legs.

A close relationship with Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists – who will work to stop joint damage, alleviate pain and inflammation, and improve your sense of well-being – will ensure the best possible outcome throughout the course of your disease. Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your next visit or schedule an appointment online so we can discuss your treatment options.

Protect Your Children from Sports Injuries With These 3 Top Tips

As parents, we always want to protect our children, so when it comes to them taking part in sports, it can be challenging to just sit by and not concentrate on the possible problems that could happen. Luckily you don’t have to spend the season worrying or covering your eyes whenever your child is put into the game!

Relax and enjoy the game with these tips from Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists 
  1. Put them in the proper gear. Ensure that they have all the protective equipment they need for the sport, including the proper shoes. Inspect the gear on a regular basis to make sure that it fits properly and is in good condition. And make sure your child is wearing their equipment the right way.
  2. Motivate them to practice. Practicing the required skills and working on proper form is vital to staying safe in sports. Properly warming up and stretching prior to any activity and progressively building up one’s fitness level can also help to avoid injuries in younger athletes.
  3. Monitor and prepare for the weather. Ensure that your child is prepared for the weather conditions to avoid overheating or tightened muscles in the colder temperatures. Layers are recommended so children can remove or put on what they need. It’s also a great idea to keep gloves, hats and extra clothes and socks in your child’s game bag – and don’t forget the water!

While it might be less stressful for you if your children stuck to non-impact sports like competitive reading or chess, our kids do tend to love sports. And let’s face it, parents enjoy watching their kids participate, even if an injury is a possibility.

Hopefully, by following these tips to protect your young athlete, you can watch with a little less concern! Of course, nothing is foolproof, so if your child is injured, get in touch with Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists.  Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your visit or schedule an appointment online so your child can get back in the game.

How To Clip Your Nails Properly To Avoid Ingrown Nails

An ingrown toenail may not seem like a big deal, but they can be quite painful! And when inflamed, they can make it exceptionally difficult to walk and usually a surgical procedure to remove the nail to avoid further damage. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is sharing some important tips to help avoid ingrown toenails.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

In many cases, an ingrown toenail is caused by the way the toenails are cut. If they’re trimmed too short or the edges are cut too far back, the skin can grow over the nail and dig into the skin. But while this is a common cause, it’s not the only reason why people develop ingrown toenails.

If you frequently wear tight socks, stockings, tights, or shoes, you’re putting more pressure on the skin surrounding the toenail and probably pushing it against the sharp edges of your nails.

Many people develop an ingrown nail following an injury to the toe. For instance, if you unintentionally drop something on your toe, stub it, or join in activities where the toes are subject to continuous pressure, the nail will probably be impacted.

Dampness in the feet can also soften the skin around the nails so the skin can grow over them. If you spend a substantial amount of time in the water or experience sweaty feet, it provides for the perfect environment for a nail to grow into the skin.

How Can Ingrown Toenails Be Treated?

It’s important to try to avoid infection whenever possible, but sometimes, the nail has to be removed in order to relieve the irritation. This can be accomplished in two different ways.

Doctors will either remove part of the nail or the whole nail. Podiatrists typically prescribe antibiotics to help clear an infection after the nail has been removed, but there are still things you can do to relieve the painful symptoms before seeking professional help.

Always try to cut toenails straight, and wear shoes that let your feet breathe.

If you regularly suffer from ingrown nails but are nervous about having the nail removed, it may be worth consulting with Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists.  Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your visit or schedule an appointment online.