Monday, August 27, 2012

Capsulitis: Take Time Now and Get it Treated

English: Right knee.
Right knee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two bones coming together in the body form a joint. Joints are what allow the body to move. Capsular ligaments surround the joint. They are tough cord like structures that are similar in strength to tough leather. They hold the bones together in alignment and allow the joint to move within its appropriate range. Bones are tougher than ligaments and have strength more in the range of low grade steel. With ligaments holding the joint together, if a traumatic injury occurs, since the ligaments are the weaker of the two structures, they give way first. Faulty biomechanical structure can also cause stress that results in an injury.

Activities done every day may contribute to stress that leads to injury. Some of the day to day activities that you do that may be contributing factors include:
  • Stooping while gardening
  • Squatting down frequently
  • Climbing ladders
  • Working close to the ground or floor
  • Wearing high heels
All of these activities force the body into a position where the toes are excessively bent and a great deal of pressure is placed on the toes. Eventually, this constant overstretching occurs and capsulitis sets in. If the aggravating activity continues the injury becomes more serious and takes longer period of time to heal.

The pain caused by capsulitis is a continual nagging discomfort. At times the pain may closely resemble that of Morton’s neuroma, making it difficult or somewhat confusing to diagnose. A clear history of prior foot injuries, complaints and activities may assist Dr. Boucher with her evaluation, so a patient should be prepared to answer questions. You should contact Dr. Boucher if you suspect you have capsulitis.

Fortunately, there are conservative treatments that should help with the discomfort. These may include:
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • Cortisone injections
  • Topical analgesics
You need to avoid the aggravating activity as much as possible and protect your feet by wearing shoes that have a more durable sole. Avoid flip-flops, high heels, boat shoes, skimmers and flats. These shoes have flimsy soles and will not protect your feet. Call Dr. Boucher at (203) 238-3668 if you suspect you have capsulitis. A delay in treatment will worsen the condition and extend the recovery time.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Contact Dermatitis - Calls for Rash Measures

English: Hand foot and mouth
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you ever experienced a breakout on your feet with inflammation and itching, and not understood what was happening? It was probably contact dermatitis. It’s not serious or life threatening, but it is annoying and may drive you crazy.

Symptoms of this condition may include:
  • Red rash or bumps
  • Itching
  • Dry cracked red patches
  • Blisters
  • Pain and tenderness
Causes of contact dermatitis are varied and may include soaps, chemicals and poisonous plants as well as other substances your skin may be exposed to. Two types of dermatitis are recognized - irritant contact and allergic contact. Irritant contact occurs when a substance damages the outermost layer of skin. In some instances a single exposure can result in an aggravating outbreak. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is exposed to a substance that sensitizes it. Exposure to an allergen may cause an outbreak of red rash, bumps and sometimes blisters. Common offenders are natural rubber, metals such as those found in costume jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes and poison ivy. You may not develop an immediate allergic reaction to the offending substance, but it may build up until you suffer an immune reaction. It may take years, but once you have an allergic reaction, you will always have that allergy.

Although the two categories of dermatitis provide a guideline, there are substances that may cross the line and become both. Some of the known offenders include:  
  • Antibiotics or other medicinal compounds found in ointments that you may apply to your skin
  • Fragrances found in lotions
  • Nickel
  • Shoes and socks
  • Natural rubber
  • Adhesive tapes
Bacterial and fungal skin infections may appear as a complication because of constant scratching. Moist and draining blisters provide a haven for bacteria and fungus. People with diabetes need to be especially aware of the potential risks of contact dermatitis. If you have diabetes and experience an outbreak should contact Dr. Boucher immediately.

If you are able to identify the substance which has caused your reaction, and remove contact, symptoms may resolve within a couple of weeks. Cold compresses and over-the-counter anti-itch medication may help, as well as, foot soaks in mild solutions of salt water, vinegar or betadine. However if you have attempted home treatment and your condition has not improved, contact Dr. Boucher at (203) 238-3668 and let the healing begin.

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