We have all made the painful mistake of trimming our nails too short at some point in our lives. Sometimes, this can really affect our foot health by causing ingrown toenails.
This happens when the nail grows downward into the skin instead of straight out, usually causing an infection. Ingrown toenails are most common on the sides of the big toe. It can also be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, poor foot structure, etc.
Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and trimming nails in a straight line (rather than rounded) are ways to treat and prevent painful ingrown toenails. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. They can develop from an inherited structural defect, excess stress on your foot, or can result from an existing medical condition.
For the most part, bunions require no medical treatment. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the following, a podiatrist can help alleviate your symptoms.
Diabetic Foot Care
Daily preventative care can help you decrease your risk of developing these other serious conditions like ulcers and infections. Inspecting your feet at the end of the day to look for any abnormalities, maintaining proper hygiene, keeping your feet warm in cold weather, encouraging blood flow in the feet, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can discourage other conditions from developing.
Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis
Heel spurs occur in at least 50% of people who have plantar fasciitis. Past treatments for heel spurs, a bony growth that begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot, included surgery to remove the growth. Nowadays, surgery is rarely a treatment option and more plans for physical therapy, ice, and pain medications are used to treat heel spurs.
Flat foot is a condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened which causes the sole of the foot to touch the floor when standing upright. It is likely for flat feet to be caused by the arches not fully developing during childhood and is considered a very common and painless condition. On the other hand, flat feet can occur after an injury or from the normal aging process.
While it is common not to experience any pain or symptoms of flat feet, some people do tend to sense pain in the heel or arch area. Physical activity can irritate the area and inflame the foot along the inside of the ankle. This can be caused by the tendon that is supporting the arch being stretched as it is depreciating.
Geriatric Foot Care
As we age, foot problems are almost inevitable and completely normal. However, there are important steps to take to make sure you stay on your feet.
Health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory issues may cause problems that present themselves in the feet. It is very important to monitor your foot health and seek medical attention whenever you notice a problem. Below are some daily tips and tricks to keep your feet healthy.
Fungal infections in the toe or fingernails can appear as thickened, discolored, or disfigured. While it may seem like the condition is just an aesthetic concern, fungal infections can lead to worsened symptoms and pain. Diabetes, a weakened immune system, and the normal aging process are all causes associated with fungal infections. It is more likely for senior citizens and adults to develop a fungal infection as opposed to children.
Since nearly one-fourth of the bones in our body are in our feet, fractures of the foot are common and rarely debilitating. There are two types of fractures. A stress fracture typically occurs in the space between the toes and middle of the foot, usually as a result of a physical activity gone awry. These fractures are only on the surface of the bone. General bone fractures extend through the bone. These injuries are usually caused by trauma to the foot.
Depending on the fracture and placement, different treatments will be discussed. Foot fractures typically heal on their own, although more serious cases may require surgery.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect your foot is fractured so treatment can begin right away.request an appointment
Often we associate arthritis with older patients who have lived an active lifestyle. Gout, on the other hand, can affect anyone. Gout is a common form of arthritis that is known for its sudden attacks of pain and joint tenderness. Joints that are affected by gout are often hot to the touch, swollen, and very tender. While symptoms are not chronic, it is essential to take preventative measures to manage gout as its side effects can be debilitating and intolerable.
- Stay hydrated. By drinking plenty of fluids and limiting sugary drinks, you can help prevent future gout attacks.
- Maintain a healthy weight as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Some types of alcohol are more likely to increase the likelihood of a gout attack.
- Consider adding low-fat dairy products to your diet. These foods are proven to help protect against gout and are excellent sources of protein.
Pediatric Foot Conditions
Pediatric foot conditions often go unnoticed and are often misdiagnosed. Most doctors dismiss any pediatric foot issues as being a part of normal structural development that children will eventually outgrow. However, foot problems are often prevalent in children due to their high levels of physical activity. Children are resilient, meaning that any potential foot issues may be overlooked.
Initial treatment options for pediatric foot pain, deformities, or injuries include minimally invasive techniques, activity modification, custom orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medications. If these conservative treatment options aren’t helping your child, surgery may be required.
During your child’s appointment, we will conduct a thorough examination to pinpoint the problem, while educating both you and your child on future preventative measures. Our goal is for your child to grow up with happy, healthy, and perfectly functioning feet.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the cartilage and lining of the joints. Although it can present itself at any age, arthritis is primarily found in those over 50.
Each foot has 33 joints, making them easy targets for arthritis. In some cases, arthritis can be extremely painful and debilitating.
Symptoms include stiffness of joints (especially in the morning), limitation of joint movement, pain, tenderness, redness, rashes, and/or swelling in the joints.
With early treatment, the symptoms of arthritis can be lessened and managed. Treatments include limiting movement, physical therapy, exercise, anti-inflammatory medications and/or steroid injections, and orthotics.
Sports Injuries and Sprains
Below are some of the most common sports and sports-related injuries we see in our office.
- Martial Arts and Kickboxing: Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, sesamoiditis, and ankle sprains. Proper stretching is vital to injury prevention, specifically, a minimum of 15 minutes before beginning exercise.
- Aerobics: With impact forces reaching up to six times the force of gravity and 26 bones in the foot, proper shoes are extremely important when participating in aerobics. Shoes must provide shock absorption and proper cushioning, as well as stability.
- Team Sports: Baseball, basketball, soccer, football, field hockey, and lacrosse often lead to foot and ankle injuries. Artificial surfaces, improper footwear, and inadequate stretching are recipes for disaster.
Make sure to wear proper shoes and stretch for at least 15 minutes before playing sports.request an appointment
Wounds and Open Sores
Ulcers on the foot may not always come with pain, but they are serious conditions that should be evaluated by a medical professional. The symptoms of ulcers may include drainage, or red, inflamed tissue. To properly diagnose and develop a treatment plan x-rays may be ordered.
Here at Foot & Ankle Health Centers we offer services to help those patients who struggle with heel pain. Heel pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, and it is our goal to help determine and treat the cause of your pain rather than simply masking your symptoms.
Whether you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture, tendonitis, or even a cyst, we are here to help. Once your heel pain has a proper diagnosis, we can work with you to establish a customized care plan for your treatment.
For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, contact us today at (678) 871-0876.