That Pain in Your Back Could be Linked to Your Feet

Back pain and feet by Foot Health Facts

If your lower back has been hurting, and you don’t remember doing anything to injure it, the source of your pain could be your feet! Foot pain is something that many people try to ignore. After all, doesn’t everyone’s feet hurt now and then? But if foot pain is something that has been with you for quite awhile, it could be causing problems in your ankles, knees, hips and even your back.

That old song, “The leg bone’s connected to the thigh bone…The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone…,” tells the whole story. Our bodies are like a chain, with one link–or bone–connecting at the joint to another link. Think about what would happen if the first link in the chain was out of position. The point at which it meets the next link would eventually overstress that link and adversely affect the entire chain.

That’s what happens when we have foot pain. If the normal way of walking is painful, we instinctively change our walking pattern. Say you have arthritis, and your big toe joint hurts, so you change our gait to avoid bending the joint when you walk. Changing your gait changes the mechanics of your ankle joint, eventually causing ankle pain. This change in your walking pattern can also affect the whole chain of your lower body… from the ankle, to the knee, to the hip, and then to the lower back.

When foot pain or a foot deformity causes you to change the way you walk, it changes the way the bones of all those other joints move with each other. Cartilage in the joints can wear down, ligaments and tendons can be stressed beyond their normal range, and arthritis can set in.

If your feet or ankles aren’t working right, don’t ignore them! Contact a foot and ankle surgeon for an evaluation. Your back (and knees and hips) will thank you!

Tips for Protecting Feet from the Heat

One perk of a beach-bound vacation is knowing that instead of snow soaking through your Choos or having your feet feeling toasty in sweaty Uggs, you can lounge happily with your toes dangling in the warm weather, shoe-free with the sand at your feet. But alas, the dream does come with its own set of tootsie troubles. “Even if you are just lying still on your back soaking up the rays, your feet are still vulnerable,” says American Podiatric Medical Association member Dr. Jane Andersen. “You can seriously sunburn your feet and no matter how upscale your hotel, athlete’s foot can lurk in all public pool areas.”

Wouldn’t you rather spend time collecting sea shells than doctor’s bills? No worries. There are ways to prevent these future foot predicaments so you can go back to your sun-kissed dreams and enjoy a liberated foot experience.

  1. Limit walking barefoot as it exposes feet to sunburn, as well as plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other infections and also increases risk of injury to your feet.
  2. Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, to the beach, in the locker room and even on the carpeting or in the bathroom of your hotel room to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any bacterial infections.
  3. Remember to apply sunscreen all over your feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles, and don’t forget to reapply after you’ve been in the water.
  4. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will not only help with overall health, but will also minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat.
  5. Keep blood flowing with periodic ankle flexes, toe wiggles, and calf stretches.
  6. Some activities at the beach, lake or river may require different types of footwear to be worn so be sure to ask the contact at each activity if specific shoes are needed. To be safe, always pack an extra pair of sneakers or protective water shoes. If your shoes will be getting wet, they should be dried out completely before your next wearing to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing.
  7. If you injure your foot or ankle while on vacation, seek professional medical attention from a podiatric physician. Many often only contact a doctor when something is broken or sprained, but a podiatrist can begin treating your ailment immediately while you’re away from home. Use our Find a Podiatrist tool to get treatment wherever your travels take you!
  8. In case of minor foot problems, be prepared with the following on-the-go foot gear:
    • Flip flops – for the pool, spa, hotel room, and airport security check points
    • Sterile bandages – for covering minor cuts and scrapes
    • Antibiotic cream – to treat any skin injury
    • Emollient-enriched cream – to hydrate feet
    • Blister pads or moleskin – to protect against blisters
    • Motrin or Advil (anti-inflammatory) – to ease tired, swollen feet
    • Toenail clippers – to keep toenails trimmed
    • Emery board – to smooth rough edges or broken nails
    • Pumice stone – to soften callused skin
    • Sunscreen – to protect against the scorching sun
    • Aloe vera or Silvadene cream – to relieve sunburns

Peroneal Tendon Injuries by Foot Health Facts

What Are the Peroneal Tendons?

PeronealA tendon is a band of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone. The two peroneal tendons in the foot run side-by-side behind the outer ankle bone. One peroneal tendon attaches to the outer part of the midfoot, while the other tendon runs under the foot and attaches near the inside of the arch. The main function of the peroneal tendons is to stabilize the foot and ankle and protect them from sprains.

Causes and Symptoms of Peroneal Tendon Injuries
Peroneal tendon injuries may be acute (occurring suddenly) or chronic (developing over a period of time). They most commonly occur in individuals who participate in sports that involve repetitive ankle motion. In addition, people with higher arches are at risk for developing peroneal tendon injuries. Basic types of peroneal tendon injuries are tendonitis, tears, and subluxation.

Tendonitis is an inflammation of one or both tendons. The inflammation is caused by activities involving repetitive use of the tendon, overuse of the tendon, or trauma (such as an ankle sprain). Symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmth to the touch

Acute tears are caused by repetitive activity or trauma. Immediate symptoms of acute tears include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness or instability of the foot and ankle

As time goes on, these tears may lead to a change in the shape of the foot, in which the arch may become higher.

Degenerative tears (tendonosis) are usually due to overuse and occur over long periods of time – often years. In degenerative tears, the tendon is like taffy that has been overstretched until it becomes thin and eventually frays. Having high arches also puts you at risk for developing a degenerative tear. The symptoms of degenerative tears may include:

  • Sporadic pain (occurring from time to time) on the outside of the ankle
  • Weakness or instability in the ankle
  • An increase in the height of the arch

Subluxation – one or both tendons have slipped out of their normal position. In some cases, subluxation is due to a condition in which a person is born with a variation in the shape of the bone or muscle. In other cases, subluxation occurs following trauma, such as an ankle sprain. Damage or injury to the tissues that stabilize the tendons (retinaculum) can lead to chronic tendon subluxation. The symptoms of subluxation may include:

  • A snapping feeling of the tendon around the ankle bone
  • Sporadic pain behind the outside ankle bone
  • Ankle instability or weakness

Early treatment of a subluxation is critical, since a tendon that continues to sublux (move out of position) is more likely to tear or rupture. Therefore, if you feel the characteristic snapping, see a foot and ankle surgeon immediately.

Diagnosis
Because peroneal tendon injuries are sometimes misdiagnosed and may worsen without proper treatment, prompt evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is advised. To diagnose a peroneal tendon injury, the surgeon will examine the foot and look for pain, instability, swelling, warmth, and weakness on the outer side of the ankle. In addition, an x-ray or other advanced imaging studies may be needed to fully evaluate the injury. The foot and ankle surgeon will also look for signs of an ankle sprain and other related injuries that sometimes accompany a peroneal tendon injury. Proper diagnosis is important because prolonged discomfort after a simple sprain may be a sign of additional problems.

Non-Surgical Treatment
Treatment depends on the type of peroneal tendon injury. Options include:

  • Immobilization. A cast or splint may be used to keep the foot and ankle from moving and allow the injury to heal.
  • Medications. Oral or injected anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve the pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy. Ice, heat, or ultrasound therapy may be used to reduce swelling and pain. As symptoms improve, exercises can be added to strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion and balance.
  • Bracing. The surgeon may provide a brace to use for a short while or during activities requiring repetitive ankle motion. Bracing may also be an option when a patient is not a candidate for surgery.

When is Surgery Needed?
In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair the tendon or tendons and perhaps the supporting structures of the foot. The foot and ankle surgeon will determine the most appropriate procedure for the patient’s condition and lifestyle. After surgery, physical therapy is an important part of rehabilitation.

For all Appointments and Inquiries, please call: (773) 752 2111

Email: info@footexperts.com
Website: www.footexperts.com

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Surgeons Warn: Skateboarding Tough on Feet, Ankles

BOARD TRICKS, REPEATED FOOT IMPACT CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS INJURY

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Children and young adults love the thrill of skateboarding. They learn to master their skills of “riding the rail” and “catching air.” But according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), such tricks, while fun, can be physically demanding and cause serious foot and ankle injuries.

Foot and ankle surgeons around the country warn they continue to see serious lower-extremity skateboard injuries among their patients. These injuries range from minor bruises to open wounds or cuts to more serious foot and ankle sprains and fractures, which may require surgical repair.

Virginia-based foot and ankle surgeon, Jennifer Purvis, DPM, AACFAS, advises skateboarders to use caution and wear protective gear, including properly supportive shoes, when skateboarding. “Skateboarding can be particularly hard on your feet and ankles because of the impact caused when performing jumps and tricks,” Dr. Purvis explains.  “Skateboarders should be aware that the strain from repetitive, forceful motions can also cause painful foot and heel conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bone spurs and Achilles tendonitis, which may require more intensive, longer-term therapies,” she said.

Even minor cuts or abrasions on your feet can cause serious problems.  Dr. Purvis recently treated a 21-year-old skateboarder for scrapes on his feet and ankles that were not healing. Tests indicated he had contracted MRSA – a very serious and sometimes deadly staph infection, which required surgery and four weeks of antibiotic therapy.

Foot and ankle sprains and fractures are common skateboarding injuries. Karl Collins, DPM, FACFAS, who practices in St. Louis, stresses the importance of seeing a foot and ankle surgeon to ensure proper diagnosis and course of treatment for these injuries. Until you can be seen by a doctor, it is best to take a break from activities and use R.I.C.E. therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), which helps to reduce pain and control swelling around the injury.

“A common misconception about foot and ankle fractures is that if you can walk on the foot, there isn’t a fracture,” Dr. Collins said. “That’s not always the case, and only a proper diagnosis can rule out a serious injury requiring an advanced treatment plan.”

For all Appointments and Inquiries, please call: (773) 752 2111

Email: info@footexperts.com
Website: www.footexperts.com

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Toe and Metatarsal Fractures (Broken toes)

Repost from http://www.foothealthfacts.org/

The structure of the foot is complex, consisting of bones, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Of the 26 bones in the foot, 19 are toe bones (phalanges) and metatarsal bones (the long bones in the midfoot). Fractures of the toe and metatarsal bones are common and require evaluation by a specialist. A foot and ankle surgeon should be seen for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if initial treatment has been received in an emergency room.

What Is a Fracture?
A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures can be divided into two categories: traumatic fractures and stress fractures.

Toe FractureTraumatic fractures (also called acute fractures) are caused by a direct blow or impact, such as seriously stubbing your toe. Traumatic fractures can bedisplaced or non-displaced. If the fracture is displaced, the bone is broken in such a way that it has changed in position (dislocated).

Signs and symptoms of a traumatic fracture include:

  • You may hear a sound at the time of the break.
  • “Pinpoint pain” (pain at the place of impact) at the time the fracture occurs and perhaps for a few hours later, but often the pain goes away after several hours.
  • Crooked or abnormal appearance of the toe.
  • Bruising and swelling the next day.
  • It is not true that “if you can walk on it, it’s not broken.” Evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is always recommended.

Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks that are usually caused by repetitive stress. Stress fractures often afflict athletes who, for example, too rapidly increase their running mileage. They can also be caused by an abnormal foot structure, deformities, or osteoporosis. Improper footwear may also lead to stress fractures. Stress fractures should not be ignored. They require proper medical attention to heal correctly.

Symptoms of stress fractures include:

  • Pain with or after normal activity
  • Pain that goes away when resting and then returns when standing or during activity
  • “Pinpoint pain” (pain at the site of the fracture) when touched
  • Swelling, but no bruising

Consequences of Improper Treatment
Some people say that “the doctor can’t do anything for a broken bone in the foot.” This is usually not true. In fact, if a fractured toe or metatarsal bone is not treated correctly, serious complications may develop. For example:

  • A deformity in the bony architecture which may limit the ability to move the foot or cause difficulty in fitting shoes
  • Arthritis, which may be caused by a fracture in a joint (the juncture where two bones meet), or may be a result of angular deformities that develop when a displaced fracture is severe or hasn’t been properly corrected
  • Chronic pain and deformity
  • Non-union, or failure to heal, can lead to subsequent surgery or chronic pain.

Treatment of Toe Fractures
Fractures of the toe bones are almost always traumatic fractures. Treatment for traumatic fractures depends on the break itself and may include these options:

  • Rest. Sometimes rest is all that is needed to treat a traumatic fracture of the toe.
  • Splinting. The toe may be fitted with a splint to keep it in a fixed position.
  • Rigid or stiff-soled shoe. Wearing a stiff-soled shoe protects the toe and helps keep it properly positioned.
  • “Buddy taping” the fractured toe to another toe is sometimes appropriate, but in other cases it may be harmful.
  • Surgery. If the break is badly displaced or if the joint is affected, surgery may be necessary. Surgery often involves the use of fixation devices, such as pins.

Treatment of Metatarsal Fractures
Breaks in the metatarsal bones may be either stress or traumatic fractures. Certain kinds of fractures of the metatarsal bones present unique challenges.

For example, sometimes a fracture of the first metatarsal bone (behind the big toe) can lead to arthritis. Since the big toe is used so frequently and bears more weight than other toes, arthritis in that area can make it painful to walk, bend, or even stand.

Another type of break, called a Jones fracture, occurs at the base of the fifth metatarsal bone (behind the little toe). It is often misdiagnosed as an ankle sprain, and misdiagnosis can have serious consequences since sprains and fractures require different treatments. Your foot and ankle surgeon is an expert in correctly identifying these conditions as well as other problems of the foot.

Treatment of metatarsal fractures depends on the type and extent of the fracture, and may include:

  • Rest. Sometimes rest is the only treatment needed to promote healing of a stress or traumatic fracture of a metatarsal bone.
  • Avoid the offending activity. Because stress fractures result from repetitive stress, it is important to avoid the activity that led to the fracture. Crutches or a wheelchair are sometimes required to offload weight from the foot to give it time to heal.
  • Immobilization, casting, or rigid shoe. A stiff-soled shoe or other form of immobilization may be used to protect the fractured bone while it is healing.
  • Surgery. Some traumatic fractures of the metatarsal bones require surgery, especially if the break is badly displaced.
  • Follow-up care. Your foot and ankle surgeon will provide instructions for care following surgical or non-surgical treatment. Physical therapy, exercises and rehabilitation may be included in a schedule for return to normal activities.

For all Appointments and Inquiries, please call: (773) 752 2111

We are happy to hear from you. Please contact us using the information below:

Chicagoland and Evanston Podiatry Locations in Illinois:

Hyde Park Beverly
1644 East 53rd Street
Chicago, IL 60615Tel: (773) 752 2111
Fax: (773) 752 6703Click here for driving
directions and location
map.
9333 S. Western Avenue
Suite 102
Chicago, IL 60643Tel: (773) 445 8700
Fax: (773) 445 4646Click here for driving directions and location map
Gold Coast Orland Park
30 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60610Tel: (312) 280 7886
Fax: (312) 280 9547Click here for driving,
directions and location
map.
9501 W. 144th Place
Suite #106
Orland Park, IL 60462by Lagrange road (Rt.45) and 144th PLTel: (708) 403 3668
Fax: (708) 403 3684Click here for driving directions and location map.
9501 W. 144th Place
Evanston Lakeview/ Lincoln Park
1605 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201Tel: (847) 424 9888
Fax: (847) 424 9649Click here for driving
directions and location
map.
(Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center)
3000 N. Halsted Street
Suite 621
Chicago, IL 60657
Tel: (773) 871 2250
Fax: (773) 697 0134Click here for driving directions and location map.
(Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center)

Northwest Indiana Podiatry Locations:

East Chicago Highland
(St. Catherine Hospital)
Professional Building
4320 Fir Street
Suite 216
East Chicago, IN 46312Tel: (219) 398 0100
Fax: (219) 398 4192Click here for driving directions and location map.
4320 Fir Street, Suite 216, East Chicago, IN 46312
3100 45th Avenue
Highland, IN 46322Tel: (219) 922 0510
Fax: (219) 972 6968Click here for driving directions and location map.
3100 45th Avenue, Highland, IN 46322
Munster
9134 Columbia Avenue
Suite B
Munster, IN 46321Tel: (219) 836 3112
Fax: (219) 836 3109Click here for driving directions and location map.
9134 Columbia Avenue, Suite B, Munster, IN 46321

Email: info@footexperts.com
Website: www.footexperts.com

Foot & Ankle Clinics of America FACA on Facebook, click here for more info.

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What Is an Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown Toenail

When a toenail is ingrown, it is curved and grows into the skin, usually at the nail borders (the sides of the nail). This “digging in” of the nail irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe.

If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if the toe isn’t painful, red, swollen, or warm, a nail that curves downward into the skin can progress to an infection.

Ingrown1

Causes
Causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Heredity. In many people, the tendency for ingrown toenails is inherited.
  • Trauma. Sometimes an ingrown toenail is the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe, or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running.
  • Improper trimming. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting your nails too short. This encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail.
  • Improperly sized footwear. Ingrown toenails can result from wearing socks and shoes that are tight or short.
  • Nail Conditions. Ingrown toenails can be caused by nail problems, such as fungal infections or losing a nail due to trauma.

Ingrown2Treatment
Sometimes initial treatment for ingrown toenails can be safely performed at home. However, home treatment is strongly discouraged if an infection is suspected, or for those who have medical conditions that put feet at high risk, such as diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation.

Home care:
If you don’t have an infection or any of the above medical conditions, you can soak your foot in room-temperature water (adding Epsom’s salt may be recommended by your doctor), and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help reduce the inflammation.

Avoid attempting “bathroom surgery.” Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. If your symptoms fail to improve, it’s time to see a foot and ankle surgeon.

Physician care:
After examining the toe, the foot and ankle surgeon will select the treatment best suited for you. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.

Sometimes a minor surgical procedure, often performed in the office, will ease the pain and remove the offending nail. After applying a local anesthetic, the doctor removes part of the nail’s side border. Some nails may become ingrown again, requiring removal of the nail root.

Following the nail procedure, a light bandage will be applied. Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day. If your surgeon has prescribed an oral antibiotic, be sure to take all the medication, even if your symptoms have improved.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by:

  • Proper trimming. Cut toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short. You should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.
  • Well-fitted shoes and socks. Don’t wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe area. Avoid shoes that are loose, because they too cause pressure on the toes, especially when running or walking briskly.

 

What You Should Know About Home Treatment 

  • Don’t cut a notch in the nail. Contrary to what some people believe, this does not reduce the tendency for the nail to curve downward.
  • Don’t repeatedly trim nail borders. Repeated trimming does not change the way the nail grows, and can make the condition worse.
  • Don’t place cotton under the nail. Not only does this not relieve the pain, it provides a place for harmful bacteria to grow, resulting in infection.
  • Over-the-counter medications are ineffective. Topical medications may mask the pain, but they don’t correct the underlying problem.

 

For all Appointments and Inquiries, please call: (773) 752 2111

We are happy to hear from you. Please contact us using the information below:

Chicagoland and Evanston Podiatry Locations in Illinois:

Hyde Park Beverly
1644 East 53rd Street
Chicago, IL 60615Tel: (773) 752 2111
Fax: (773) 752 6703Click here for driving
directions and location
map.
9333 S. Western Avenue
Suite 102
Chicago, IL 60643Tel: (773) 445 8700
Fax: (773) 445 4646Click here for driving directions and location map
Gold Coast Orland Park
30 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60610Tel: (312) 280 7886
Fax: (312) 280 9547Click here for driving,
directions and location
map.
9501 W. 144th Place
Suite #106
Orland Park, IL 60462by Lagrange road (Rt.45) and 144th PLTel: (708) 403 3668
Fax: (708) 403 3684Click here for driving directions and location map.
9501 W. 144th Place
Evanston Lakeview/ Lincoln Park
1605 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201Tel: (847) 424 9888
Fax: (847) 424 9649Click here for driving
directions and location
map.
(Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center)
3000 N. Halsted Street
Suite 621
Chicago, IL 60657
Tel: (773) 871 2250
Fax: (773) 697 0134Click here for driving directions and location map.
(Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center)

Northwest Indiana Podiatry Locations:

East Chicago Highland
(St. Catherine Hospital)
Professional Building
4320 Fir Street
Suite 216
East Chicago, IN 46312Tel: (219) 398 0100
Fax: (219) 398 4192Click here for driving directions and location map.
4320 Fir Street, Suite 216, East Chicago, IN 46312
3100 45th Avenue
Highland, IN 46322Tel: (219) 922 0510
Fax: (219) 972 6968Click here for driving directions and location map.
3100 45th Avenue, Highland, IN 46322

 

Munster
9134 Columbia Avenue
Suite B
Munster, IN 46321Tel: (219) 836 3112
Fax: (219) 836 3109Click here for driving directions and location map.
 

Advancing Tissue Healing Without Surgery by Foot Health Facts

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from a new procedure called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.

Used in Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and Major League pitcher Takashi Saito, the technique also is being used to treat foot and ankle conditions in “weekend warriors” and to heal wounds in diabetics. It can even help those suffering from arthritis, according to Sean T. Grambart, DPM, FACFAS, an Illinois foot and ankle surgeon.

PRP is a growth factor found in blood platelets that can promote the healing of bones, cartilage, blood vessels, tendons and tissue. A small vial of the patient’s blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate out the PRP, which then is injected at the injury site.

According to Grambart, he has used PRP for almost three years now and has experienced successful responses with it in his patients. “I have seen positive outcomes with chronic Achilles tendon pain, bone healing for non-unions and acute ligament injuries in athletes. I also have seen it work well in patients with chronic pain syndromes.”

For example, Dr. Grambart uses PRP when conservative measures such as medication, splints and physical therapy have failed in patients with chronic Achilles tendon pain. “Instead of performing a surgical procedure that involves opening the Achilles tendon, removing the scar tissue and requiring the patient to have about a six-month recovery, we can inject PRP into the tendon to bring the growth factors directly to the tendon, which can stimulate healing.”

The biggest advantage, he said, is the recovery is easier for the patient. After the procedure, the patient wears a protective boot for about two to five days and then can start to advance activities. “Patients usually notice improvement within four to six weeks and if needed, additional injections can be given as well to maximize the benefit.”

PRP therapy, however, is not a cure-all. As with most treatments, it may not work for everyone, but research to find the full effectiveness of PRP in the treatment of foot and ankle conditions continues, Dr. Grambart acknowledged.

Dr. Grambart is optimistic about the potential uses of PRP. “I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg with how PRP affects the different tissues within the body and how it can be used to advance healing,” he said.

 

For all of your foot care questions and needs visit us online at http://www.FootExperts.com.