An estimated 20 million people in the United States suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the normal activity of the nerves that connect the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — to the rest of the body.

Peripheral neuropathy can involve various different nerve types, including motor, sensory, and autonomic nerves. It can also be categorized by the size of the nerve fibers involved, large or small.

In the world of podiatry, most cases of peripheral neuropathy are found in the feet and develop from nerve damage caused by diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can occur in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce the insulin necessary to convert glucose into the energy that the body needs. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body is unable to use insulin properly. It has been estimated that between 60 to 70 percent of diabetics will deal with some form of neuropathy in their lifetime, compared to only a 25 to 30 percent chance for non-diabetics.

The condition can also manifest itself in the feet as a side effect from certain medications, neurological disorders, arthritis or as a result from a traumatic injury. As of today, more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified, each with its own symptoms and prognosis, and are classified according to the type of damage to the nerves have sustained.

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Continue reading to learn more about Morton's Neuroma treatment.
Continue reading to learn more about Morton’s Neuroma treatment.

Morton’s neuroma is inflammation, thickening, or enlargement of the nerve between the bones of the toes. It is sometimes referred to as an intermetatarsal neuroma due to its location in the ball of the foot between the metatarsal bones.

The condition occurs when the medial plantar nerve near the bones of those toes becomes compressed or irritated, possibly because the metatarsal bones press against the nerve in the narrow gap between the toes.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon, is used to dealing with this problem as numerous patients visit his offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach seeking relief from pain caused by Morton’s neuroma.

“It’s one of the most common things we see in podiatry,” said Dr. Goldbaum.

Morton’s neuroma can cause a sharp, burning, or shooting pain that can get progressively worse over time. The pain becomes worse when a person walks or stands on the ball of the foot.

Other symptoms include:

– Tingling, burning, or numbness

– A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot

– A feeling that there’s something in the shoe or a sock is bunched up

During his diagnosis, Dr. Goldbaum also notes that there is often an audible symptom to this condition.

“You can actually sometimes hear a clicking,” he said. “That’s called a ‘Morton’s click.’”

The exact cause of Morton’s neuroma is not known, but the choice of footwear is generally believed to be a factor. High heels and shoes with pointed toes place your feet in an unnatural position that can cause damage to the area. In fact, anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerves in your feet can lead to the development of a neuroma.

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Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to good diabetic care than healthy eating and maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Regular foot checks are an increasingly essential part of diabetes management as nerve damage and reduced circulation caused by diabetes can lead to reduced awareness of pain (neuropathy) and slower healing of the foot, which increases the risk of infection and foot ulcers.

Foot problems are one of the most common complications associated with diabetes and it’s important to check your feet daily for signs of damage in order to avoid future problems. In severe cases, poor foot care may lead to amputation of a foot or leg. In fact, even something as minimal as a blister or a sore could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound.

“Patients with diabetes have a decrease in sensation to their lower extremities,” said Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience. “Because of this, they can’t feel things that a person would normally feel.”

While there are many preventative measures that diabetics can be taken reduce the risk of a foot infection, Dr. Golbaum insists that his patients not only check their feet twice a day — once in the morning and again at night — but also moisturize their feet daily to combat dryness.

“Diabetics have a dryness, which can cause cracking on their feet,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “This cracking makes them more vulnerable to infections that can enter through those openings and cause problems.

“The moisturizing and massaging process increases circulation through movement and also supplies moisture that diabetes takes away from the skin. It really acts as a protective barrier for your skin.”

When examining your feet at home, look out for any general signs of damage that include:

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It’s important to watch what you eat if you hope to keep your feet healthy over the holidays.

Often referred to as the “Disease of Kings” for its ties to famous monarchs such as Henry VIII, gout is an illness that can cause a royal amount of pain for those unfortunate enough to be afflicted.

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when needle-shaped urate crystals accumulate in joints, causing inflammation, redness, swelling and intense pain. These urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.

Uric acid is a substance that results from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue and are found in many common foods. Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. When your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid, however, the buildup of acid can form crystals.

The more purines you ingest, the more uric acid your body creates, increasing the risk of gout. These purine-rich foods can trigger a gout flare-up relatively quickly — often within two days of eating higher amounts of them, a study in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found.

If you hope to safeguard yourself against a gout flare-up, then considering ingesting the following foods in the moderation:

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If you follow professional sports, then you’ve probably heard the term “turf toe” at least once while listening to an injury report or perhaps seen it traveling across the bottom ticker on ESPN.

Although the name itself can evoke visions of a fungal infection, turf toe actually occurs when the joint just below the big toe — also known as the first metarsophalangeal joint — suffers a sprain. These injuries can also include damage to the ligaments as well as the joint capsule and often cause immense pain whenever the afflicted athlete attempts to walk, jog, jump, or run.

How do you get turf toe? Keep reading to find out!
How do you get turf toe? Keep reading to find out!

So why is it called “turf toe”?

Well, the name “turf toe” comes from the fact that this injury appears most often in athletes — both professional and amateur — who play on artificial turf. When playing sports on artificial turf, the foot can stick to the hard surface, resulting in jamming of the big toe joint. Although this injury is most commonly reported in football and soccer players, it is not uncommon to see the injury occur in other sports such as basketball, wrestling and gymnastics.

And while most turf toe injuries do occur on artificial turf, in reality this hyperextension injury can occur anytime the toe hits a hard, unyielding surface that forces the toe beyond its normal range of motion.

The effects of turf toe can range from a mild injury with only minor ligament damage to a chronic injury involving inflammation of the joint capsule and progressive cartilage formation and calcification of the head of the first metatarsal.

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