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By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
February 28, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: sprained ankle  

You misstep when out for your morning walk. Your foot twists and while you don't fall, your ankle bears the stress of that sudden motion. ankle spainYou're in pain, and you think you may have sprained your ankle. At Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle, your Waldorf, MD, podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer know how to evaluate, treat and prevent ankle sprains so you stay active.

Signs of an ankle sprain

Nearly two million Americans experience ankle sprains yearly, says research appearing in American Family Physician. They happen when quick twisting motion tears or stretches the supporting ligaments on the outer aspect of the ankle.

Typical signs of this common, but potentially serious injury, include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Inability to bear weight on the affected limb
  • Gait instability

Usually, ankle sprains occur during walking or running, particularly on uneven surfaces, if the person is wearing worn shoes, if the individual is sedentary or if an athlete fails to stretch before strenuous activity. Whatever the circumstance, you should contact your Waldorf, MD, podiatrist immediately for advice and a same day appointment if necessary.

Treating an ankle sprain

Attend to your injury immediately with the RICE protocol:

  • Rest
  • Ice (20 minutes on the affected area and 20 minutes off)
  • Compression (with an elastic bandage)
  • Elevation above the level of the heart

These strategies reduce pain and swelling and protect the ankle from further harm.

At Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle, your podiatrist will inspect your ankle and take digital X-rays to explore the extent of the injury. Most ankle sprains respond to the RICE protocol.

Sometimes, the doctor recommends a semi-rigid ankle support to add protection, and within a few days, he will ask the patient to begin stretching and strengthening exercises. While most sprains do well without invasive treatment, some are severe enough to require stabilization surgery. Whatever the case, active treatment prevents further injury and the extended immobility which could result.

Preventing an ankle sprain

Your Waldorf, MD, podiatrist recommends these strategies to keep your ankles strong and functional:

  1. Stay as active as you can. A sedentary lifestyle weakens everything--your heart, bones and supportive tissues, too.
  2. If you engage in strenuous exercise, stretch 10 to 15 minutes before your workout or run. This applies to individuals of all ages.
  3. Wear good shoes. Whether you walk, run, play ball or something else, your feet and ankles benefit from the protection and support of well-fitting footwear.
  4. If you're over 40, get a routine podiatric exam annually. If you're diabetic, see Dr. Pointer or Dr. Hotchkiss as often as they recommend to watch for injuries, sores and poor circulation.

Keep on your feet

Know the signs of ankle sprains. For more information, contact the nearest office of Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle. For the Waldorf office, phone (301) 843-9581. For the Clinton location, call (301) 868-3899.

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
December 20, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: podiatrist  

Diagnosing and treating foot problems in children can help them avoid lifelong foot and ankle issues. Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer foot careof Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle in Waldorf and Clinton, MD, explain how you can tell when your child may benefit from a visit to the foot doctor.

You've noticed that things don't look quite right when your child walks

Toddlers don't have particularly smooth gaits when they first learn to walk. They may walk on their toes, or you may notice that their toes point in or out when they walk. These issues will usually go away as your son or daughter becomes more experienced at walking. If they don't, it's a good idea to schedule a visit without our Waldorf or Clinton office. Correcting foot issues is much easier when your child is young and his or her feet are still fairly flexible. Solutions are often very simple and may involve temporarily wearing splints, night braces or special shoes.

You think your child may have flatfoot

Flatfoot, a condition that's also called "fallen arches," can be inherited. If your child has flatfoot, he or she may complain of pain in the feet, legs, knees, hips and lower back, have an awkward gait or become tired easily when playing. You may also notice uneven wear in the heels of shoes. Wearing shoes that adequately support and cushion the arch can increase your child's comfort. Orthotics, shoe inserts that are custom-designed to address your child's condition, can be very helpful, as can physical therapy and stretching exercises.

Your child's heels hurt

Heel pain in children can be caused by Sever's disease. The condition causes a painful inflammation in growth plate in the heel and typically affects pre-teens and teens who are growing rapidly. Children who are active in sports are most likely to be affected. Symptoms of Sever's disease include pain and tenderness at the back of the heel that worsens with activity, limping, tight calf muscles or swelling at the back of the heel. Rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medications can be helpful. Your child may also benefit from orthotics, heel cushions, stretching exercises or physical therapy.

Are you concerned about an issue with your child's feet? Schedule an appointment with podiatrists Dr. Hotchkiss and Dr. Pointer of Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle by calling (301) 843-9581 for the Waldorf, MD, office or (301) 868-3899 for the Clinton, MD, office.

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
October 26, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: diabetic foot care  

People who suffer from diabetes know a thing or two about daily routines with having to monitor their blood sugar, administer insulin, or diabetic foot careother diabetes-related tasks. However, what many diabetics often overlook is their daily foot care routine. But why is this care important and what is the proper way to care for your feet? Find out with Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer at Southern Maryland Foot and Ankle with offices in Waldorf and Clinton, MD.

Why is diabetic foot care important? 
Diabetes cause decreased circulation in the feet, which can lead to reduced sensation in the feet and toes. In this case, the pain or discomfort from a simple scratch or ingrown toenail can go unnoticed, never alerting the patient to their existence. This means these seemingly insignificant injuries can go unnoticed and untreated long enough to become infected, causing much bigger problems than a simple scrape should. Diabetic foot care involves examining your feet daily, ensuring you notice and treat these injuries quickly and effectively before they become something much more sinister.

How should I properly care for my feet? 
First and foremost, keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them at least once a day and be sure to dry them completely afterward. Wear fresh socks daily and change socks if you participate in something which causes perspiration, such as exercise. Cut the toenails straight across and do not round the sides. Wear moisture-wicking socks to keep the feet dry throughout the day. Always wear shower shoes in damp, public places like pools or locker rooms.

Regular Diabetic Foot Examinations in Waldorf and Clinton 
Seeing your podiatrist for routine foot examinations can help you spot and treat issues early before they become larger problems. For more information on diabetic foot care, please contact Dr. Hotchkiss and Dr. Pointer at Southern Maryland Foot and Ankle with offices in Waldorf and Clinton, MD. Call (301) 868-3899 to schedule an appointment in Clinton and (301) 843-9581 to schedule an appointment in Waldorf today!

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
August 17, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: bunions  

Don’t let bunion pain affect your daily activities. Find out how to manage your symptoms.bunions

While most people will go about their daily lives without even noticing that they have a bunion, there are some who face such terrible pain that day-to-day activities are often challenging. If your bunion pain is getting the better of you, our Clinton and Waldorf, MD, podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer have some simple self-care solutions that could help ease your angry bunion.


If you find that your feet often become stiff then it’s time you performed some daily stretching exercises. These exercises can be performed throughout the day at your convenience. The great thing is that you can also perform them anywhere.

By placing a strap over your big toe, lightly pulling on the toe and holding that stretch for 30 seconds you can help to reduce tightness and joint stiffness. Talk to our Waldorf, MD, foot doctors about other foot stretches you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Supportive Shoes

A lot of people find that their bunion symptoms get worse if they don’t have shoes that offer the support and stability that they need. In fact, high heels, shoes with pointed toes and tight-fitted shoes can put too much pressure on the joint and make bunion symptoms worse. If this is happening to you then it’s time you chose shoes that give your toes room to wiggle and move around.


If you find that even purchasing bunion-friendly footwear isn’t enough then you may want to talk to us about whether custom orthotics could provide even more support for your tired, sore feet. Custom orthotics are specially crafted shoe inserts that are designed to improve structural imbalances and provide your feet with what they need to relieve pain and other symptoms.

If bunion pain is affecting your quality of life then it’s time you turned to Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle in Waldorf and Clinton, MD. We can help create a treatment plan that will cater to your needs and reduce your symptoms. Schedule an appointment today.

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
June 23, 2017
Category: Foot Care

You can still enjoy all the wonderful parts of summer without the unpleasant fungal infection.Foot Care

Once the warm weather hits, it can be an exciting time full of days spent hanging at the local swimming pool. Whether you are taking the kids for a cooling dip or you just want to enjoy a little R&R over the weekend, our Clinton and Waldorf, MD, podiatrists - Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer - are here to provide some information on how to protect your feet from that dreaded fungal infection this summer.

Keep Your Feet Clean

Regardless of your day’s schedule, if you wore shoes for a good portion of the day then it’s time to give your feet a good cleaning. You should be cleaning your feet everyday with soap and water. Standing in the shower and letting the water and soap run over your feet isn’t enough. Really make sure you clean every surface of your feet, even between the toes. Just because you can’t see bacteria doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Use Antifungal Powders

Are you prone to fungal infections? If you are reading this then chances are you’ve already had a few issues with fungal problems in the past. If this is the case, a good preventive measure you can take is to apply an antifungal powder or spray in your shoes before you wear them and then reapply it once you take them off. Also, remember not to wear the same shoes twice in a row (give them time to thoroughly air out before wearing them again).

Wash Those Soaked Socks

Did you get stuck in a sudden downpour? Have particularly sweaty feet? These issues happen, but it’s how you handle it that could determine whether you also face a fungal infection in the near future. Make sure you remove those wet socks as soon as possible and toss them in the wash immediately. Just like shoes, you never want to wear socks more than once.

Wear Protective Footwear

Whether you love frequenting the local pool or you consider yourself an avid gym goer, these are locations that just breed fungus. Hot, moist environments are where fungus thrives. Play it safe and remember to wear sandals and “shower shoes” in communal areas.

Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle in Clinton and Waldorf, MD, is here for you whenever you need foot care. Whether you are dealing with chronic heel pain or you do end up experiencing a fungal infection, turn to our foot care experts for the care you need.

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