Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Diabetic Foot Care

Approximately one fifth of diabetic Americans are hospitalized for foot-related problems at some point in their lives. Many symptoms of diabetes contribute to the risk of foot infection. Diabetics often experience thick calluses which can break and develop into ulcers. Another possible symptom of diabetes is poor circulation which - in turn - impairs the body’s ability to heal, repair and fend off infection. Diabetes can also lead to neuropathy, severe nerve damage that limits sensation in extremities. Because of nerve damage, a diabetic may not even feel the pain of an injury or infection, allowing wounds to go unnoticed and thus worsen. When a wound is left untreated for too long, it can become infected. Medical treatment can include antibiotics, hospitalization, and – in extreme circumstances - amputation. The feet are particularly vulnerable as they are often out of sight and difficult to inspect. For these many reasons, it is vitally importance that diabetics practice thoughtful, rigorous foot care.

The following are recommended tips for keeping your feet happy and healthy!

  • Always wear appropriate diabetic shoes or slippers and NEVER walk around barefoot. Choosing the right footwear is critical to foot health as the majority of diabetic foot injuries are the result of poor fitting shoes. Shoes for diabetics should not be too tight or narrow. They should be constructed from comfortable, breathable material and feature mesh vents to ventilate the shoes, decreasing moisture, which tends to bred bacteria. Pair a high quality pair of diabetic shoes with seamless socks or compression stockings.

  • Regularly check your feet for any sign of calluses, blisters, sores, or injuries. Make it a daily ritual, perhaps something you complete right after brushing your teeth and before bed. Use a hand mirror to inspect those hard-to-see places. If that doesn’t work, have a family member check your feet for you.

  • Wash your feet every day and after rigorous exercise or activity. Use soap and warm water – test the temperature with your elbow if you have difficulty discerning the temperature. Do NOT soak feet. Prolonged soaking can lead to dry, cracked skin.

  • After washing your feet, use an emery board carefully file down calluses. Do not over-file as that can lead to sores and bleeding – which is exactly what you are trying to avoid.

  • Use a light coat of lotion after you wash and file. Be careful not to slather on lotion or allow it to trap between the toes as this creates an excellent environment for bacteria to breed. Massage in the lotion until it is completely absorbed.

  • Trim your nails as needed. Most people find once a week or every other week works best. Shape the nail to the contour of your toes and be careful to not trim them too short. File the edges to prevent snagging nails that can tear.

  • Never ignore foot issues of any kind. If you discover a cut, treat it immediately. If you notice as of the following, contain your physician immediately: swelling, cracks around the heel, calluses that bleed, nail issues, open sores, changes in color of the skin, pain in your legs, or changes in skin temperature.

  • Visit your doctor for an annual foot check-up. Ask if they have any concerns or can recommend any products for improving your foot care regimen.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or be taken as medical advice. For more information related to your unique situation, please speak with your personal physician.
About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of high quality medical products including a wide selection of diabetic shoes, cold therapy systems and medical orthopedic braces, including arthritis knee braces. To find quality medical shoulder, knee, back braces and more, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ACL Tear Treatments - ACL Surgery

The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is one of four key knee ligaments. The ACL attaches the tibia to the femur, keeping the shin bone in place, and is critically important to knee movement and stability. An ACL strain or tear is one of the most common knee injuries and individuals who have suffered an ACL injury often complain that their knee “gives out” or buckles as the joint's overall stability has been compromised.

While there are many, many ways to tears one’s ACL, the most common is high impact sports where the knee is forced to make sharp movements. High probability sports include football, skiing, rugby, and soccer. 80% of ACL tears occur in a non-contact situation where the knee is simply pushed beyond its capabilities. The other 20% result when there is a direct impact from another player or players. Research has also shown that women involved in sports are far more likely to sustain ACL tears than men. This is likely due to weight distribution and how the female hips situate the knees.

How Can I Tell if I Have Injured My ACL?

ACL injury’s result is pain, swelling and knee instability. A physician or sports doctor can either conduct special tests or an MRI to decide the degree to which the ACL is injured and if other ligaments where torn as well. It is quite common for multiple ligaments to be injured simultaneously. An ACL injury can lead to significant long-term knee instability and for this reason, many seriously injured individuals opt for surgery. ACL Surgery is certainly not required, however. Torn ligaments, including the ACL, can heal on their own and some individuals prefer physical rehab rather than undergoing the knife.

Should I Have Surgery for My ACL Injury?

If you have a complete tear, it is very likely that surgery is your best option, but if you have a partial tear, you will need to evaluate your situation and decide whether or not surgery is right for you.

There are several things to consider when evaluating ACL surgery, including:

  • What is the extent of your injury? Is it a small tear or something more substantial? The more extensive the injury, the longer non-surgical rehabilitation will take.

  • How important is a healthy ACL to your lifestyle? Do you play high impact sports? Are there certain activities that are critical to your quality of life that you are not willing to give up, such as skiing or soccer?

  • After several weeks of recuperation, does your knee feel "normal" or do you experience knee instability? Does it cause you pain or significant anxiety? Does it impede your ability to do important activities?

What to Expect with ACL Reconstruction

The surgery for an ACL tear is called ACL reconstruction. It is a procedure done under general anesthesia, meaning the patient is "asleep" for the operation. The surgery replaces the damaged ACL with healthy tissue from elsewhere in your body (autograpgh) or a donor (allograft), usually using tissue from the knee cap or hamstring tendons . The procedure is executed with a tiny knee arthoscopy camera which the surgeon will use to observe and treat the affected area. The new tissue is usually attached with screws or similar devices. After the surgery is complete, the patient will need to wear a post-surgical knee brace to support and stabilize the knee during rehabilitation.

ACL reconstruction surgery is fairly common and usually quite successful (90+%). There are, however, risks associated with any major medical operation. For ACL reconstruction the risks include infection, stiffness, the continuance of instability or pain, and difficulty performing certain tasks.

After surgery, the patient will undergo a rigorous rehabilitation period. Rehabilitation focuses on returning range of motion and building of muscles to support the knee and prevent future injury. It is recommended that the patient continue to strengthen their leg muscles as it will provide the best long-term knee stability. Many patients also choose to wear an ACL brace when they engage in at-risk activities –especial sports. Finding the right medical knee brace can increase confidence and performance.

About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of high quality medical products including a wide selection of medical orthopedic braces and supports, including ACL braces, patella stabilizers, and hinged knee braces. To find quality medical shoulder, knee, back braces and more, please visit MMAR Medical online.