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The Achilles Heel

By: Dr. Kim L. Dao We’ve heard of the mythological definition of the Achilles Heel: The idiomatic weakness or vulnerability that brings about a hero’s downfall. Anatomically, the Achilles tendon is an area that can be prone to injury ranging from tendinitis to a full-blown rupture. The Achilles tendon is a thick cord as the muscles of the calf converge and connect to the back of the calcaneus or heel bone. This particular structure is easily injured in those who are active, especially in high-impact sports such as running and basketball. You may have heard of athletes who have been placed on the injured list due to Achilles tendinitis or rupture (partially or completely). Most notably: Kevin Durant during his ...



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Skin Cancer… on your FEET?

By: Dr. Michelle Vi Nguyen Holy Moly, it’s summer already! May is Skin Cancer Prevention month and now that it’s officially sandal season, it is time to get our feet ready for some fun in the sun. Do you always remember to put sunscreen on your feet? Skin cancers can occur anywhere, so we must be just as diligent in protecting the skin of our feet as everywhere else on our body.   Don’t Be Fooled! Skin cancers are infamous for being great mimickers. For example, Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can be mistaken for warts and blisters. Melanoma can appear as moles and freckles on the feet. If you notice a lesion on your foot that is undergoing ...



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Nervous Nellie over Neuromas

By: Dr. Kim L. Dao A common condition that can affect the feet is a neuroma. What is a neuroma? It is a growth of nerve tissue located at the ball of the foot. Although it can occur between any of the toes, it typically presents in the space between the 3rd and 4th toes. It is common enough that it has its own name: Morton’s neuroma. This condition usually presents as pain, radiating burning or tingling, or at worst, even numbness. These symptoms can be aggravated with walking or any weight bearing activity. The repetitive compression; and therefore, irritation to the nerve causes inflammation, and over time cause thickening of the nerve tissue itself until it becomes a benign ...



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Pandemic Foot Issues

By: Dr. Mark Whitesides This past year has been challenging for oh-so-many reasons. As foot and ankle specialists, we have seen an increased number of lower extremity issues that are related to behavior changes during the pandemic. These include more time being barefoot at home, changing exercise patterns to cope with the pandemic, and common household conditions that can cause trauma to your feet. There are plenty of challenges in the world right now, and we are here to help make sure that foot pain and injuries are not one of your challenges! The most common complaint that has increased during the pandemic is heel pain. There are several factors that can lead to heel pain. One reason many people ...



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Your Heart and Your Feet

By: Dr. Michelle Vi Nguyen February is one of my favorite months of the year! Valentine’s Day is around the corner and it is a great time to think about your heart health. But have you had a chance to think about how your heart health affects your feet? Your heart pumps blood to all your vital organs and to the skin at the very tips of fingers and toes. When your heart is not well, you may not be getting enough blood to your toes. Additionally, if your heart is not pumping blood out steadily, the blood in your legs cannot return to your heart efficiently and you can develop severe swelling in your feet. Sometimes your heart may be ticking ...



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Protecting the Child Athlete’s Foot and Ankle

Playing sports is great for kids! Sports teach kids teamwork, discipline, communication, and the importance of physical fitness. Not to mention, they are just fun!  However, the dark side of playing too many sports at a young age is an increase in musculoskeletal injuries in our young athletes. Adolescent sports have changed over the decades. Playing with the neighborhood kids in the backyard has been replaced by increasingly competitive events – even for the young athlete. What are some of the factors that contribute to foot and ankle injuries in young athletes? Overuse injuries: when children specialize in one sport at a young age, it puts them at risk for repetitive musculoskeletal trauma. Year-round sports: when children aren’t able to ...



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Diabetes: Now What?

By Mark Whitesides, DPM As of 2020, nearly 27 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. If you are one of these people, Southwest Austin Foot & Ankle Clinic can help answer the questions you might have about taking care of your feet. We can also help you avoid many of the serious issues that can occur in your feet as a result of diabetes. First, you will want to make sure that you are following up with your family physician as well as the other specialists that will be involved in your care. This team should include a podiatrist, a cardiologist, an optometrist, and other medical specialists as directed by your primary care physician. All of these ...



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Heel Pain: It’s Not Always Plantar Fasciitis

By Dr. Michelle Vi Nguyen I recall sitting across from my clinical instructor at a circular table for my “Introduction to Podiatric Medicine” class during my second year of podiatry school. We were taking turns individually reviewing clinical vignettes when he locked eyes on me: “Michelle! 53 year-old male, 2 weeks after a total hip replacement starts rehab. He develops heel pain shortly after his first therapy session. Diagnosis?” With my most excited voice, I exclaimed, “PLANTAR FASCIITIS!” Oh boy… I was humbled by the stern lecture that followed. If you type “heel pain” into any search engine, I guarantee at least one link will lead to a page on plantar fasciitis. As podiatrists, we see heel pain patients every ...



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Heel Pain

Heel pain is one of the most common ailments that podiatrists treat in the office. And if you’ve ever gotten out of bed and experienced excruciating pain with your first steps of the day, you know how miserable it can be! Bring up the question of “heel pain” in any online neighborhood forum and you’ll likely receive dozens of recommendations. Treatment options can include stretching, icing, medication, injections, shoe inserts, custom orthotics, and braces, just to name a few! And to further complicate the matter, what works for one person definitely may not work for another. As you’re sorting out your options, we’re here to help. Here is the action plan we recommend for dealing with heel pain: Visit your ...



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Healthy Summer Feet – Tips for Staying Healthy!

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Who doesn’t love the thought of running barefoot in the grass, remembering the carefree days of childhood? Or throwing on cute summer flip-flops and heading to the pool? Summer brings lots of opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure, so we want to prepare you with some tips on how to keep your feet healthy and pain-free all summer long. Cheap, flimsy flip-flops are only appropriate shoes to get to and from the pool or beach, but they are not appropriate for any significant amount of walking! If you must wear flip-flops, be sure to find ones that have arch support and protective cushioning. Substitute your flip-flops for more substantial sandals such as Birkenstocks that will give your foot more support! Supportive sneakers should ...



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