Common Foot Problems

Caring for Your Every Step!

Foot problems affect your every step. We strive to alleviate the cause to help you get back to a normal lifestyle.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disabling and occasionally crippling disease; it afflicts almost 40 million Americans. In some forms, it appears to have hereditary tendencies. While the prevalence of arthritis increases with age, all people from infancy to middle age are potential victims. People over 50 are the primary targets.

Arthritis is inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints. Arthritis has multiple causes and can be associated with many different illnesses. The feet may be more susceptible to arthritis than other parts of the body, because each foot has 33 joints that can be afflicted, and there is no way to avoid the pain of the tremendous weight-bearing load on the feet. Arthritis in the feet can result in loss of mobility and independence, but that may be avoided with early diagnosis and proper medical care

Some Causes

Arthritis may be caused by various factors.

  • Research shows that hereditary may play a role in arthritis.
  • Injuries to any joints in the body can lead to development of arthritis in those joints.
  • Various bacterial and viral organisms.
  • Certain bowl disorders such as Colitis and Ileitis can result in arthritic conditions in the joints of the foot and ankle.
  • The use of certain drugs, both prescription and illegal, can cause arthritis.

Symptoms

Because arthritis can affect the structure and function of the feet it is important to see us if any of the following symptoms occur in the feet:

  • Swelling in one or more joints
  • Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint
  • Redness or heat in a joint
  • Limitation in motion of joint
  • Early morning stiffness
  • Skin changes, including rashes and growths

Some Forms of Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. It is often referred to as the “wear and tear” arthritis or “degenerative joint disease”. It generally occurs gradually through ageing, which causes break down of cartilage within the joints. It can also occur suddenly in cases of trauma to a specific joint. The pain gets progressively worse and only relived with rest. As it progresses, it can become disabling and/or crippling.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This is the most serious and disabling of all forms of arthritis. It is a chronic inflammatory disease which often affects multiple small joints in the hands and feet. It is manifested by morning stiffness, fatigue and weight loss. It has periods of remission, during which the symptoms disappear, and periods when the inflammation, stiffness, and pain return. It also affects other systems of the body including the eyes, lungs, heart, and the nerves. It is more common in women then men.
  • Gout: Is a form of arthritis that is caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the blood stream which tends to crystallize in the joints. Uric acid is a normal byproduct of various food products we consume. It often affects a single joint. The big toe and the ankle are two of the most common joints that are affected. Gout can be extremely painful. It is characterized by sudden severe pain in a single joint with associated swelling, heat, and redness. It is more common in men then women. Certain foods associated with Gout include red meat, shellfish, nuts, and beans.

Treatment

The goal in treatment of arthritis is to control the inflammation and preserve joint function and integrity. Because the foot and ankle are the most frequent targets of arthritis, it is important to see us when sign and symptoms of arthritis arise.

There are various treatment options for patients with arthritis. Often, exercise, physical therapy, and pain medications may be enough to relive the symptoms. Other options include shoe inserts (orthotics) or a specially prescribed shoes if there is any deformity present. As last resort, there is always the option of surgical intervention including artificial joint implants.

If you suffer from arthritis, don’t let it affect your life. Call us today and schedule an appointment for evaluation.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a skin infection that is caused by a fungus. It is more common on bottom of the feet and between the toes. Fungus grows in warm, dark, and humid environments. Thus, it is very common in places such as swimming pool, showers, gyms, and any place where people tend to walk barefooted. Like any other infection, fungus can be transmitted from one person to another.

Symptoms

The symptoms of athlete’s foot include dry skin, itching, burning, scaling, inflammation, and blisters. The dry skin can often lead to cracking of the skin exposing raw and tender tissue. If left untreated, the infection can spread and worsen the symptoms.

Athlete’s foot can spread to rest of the feet and toe nails. It can also spread by contact to other parts of the body including the groin and underarms. It may also be transmitted to other family members through contaminated bed sheets and clothing.

Prevention

Athlete’s foot can be prevented by practicing good foot hygiene. This includes washing your feet daily with soap and water and drying feet carefully specially between the toes. You should also change your shoes and socks regularly and avoid wearing the same shoes everyday. Also helpful is the use of foot powder daily to help reduce moisture and excessive sweating.

Treatment

Over the counter antifungal medications generally don’t work well. In mild cases of athlete’s foot, keep your feet dry with foot powder and wash your feet daily and dry thoroughly.

If the infection does not respond to proper foot hygiene within two weeks, then call us for a professional consultation. We will evaluate the problem to determine if it is indeed caused by a fungus. If it is, then We will prescribe an antifungal medication which may be applied topically or taken orally. If the infection is found to be caused by bacteria, then an antibiotic may be prescribed. It is very important to see Us early because if ignored too long, it may become difficult to treat

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a painful enlargement of the joint in the base of the big toe which results from the abnormal shift of the big toe out of place. This causes the big toe to bend towards the smaller toes which produces a painful bump on the inside of the foot. Bunions can be extremely painful. The joint in the big toe can become sore and stiff and eventually making wearing shoes difficult. Bunions are result of abnormal foot mechanics. However, certain types of shoes can contribute to the development of bunions. That is why bunions are more common in women then men. Bunions can often be associated with arthritis. Bunions can also occur on the outside of the foot near the little toe. This is called a “bunionette” or “Tailor’s “.

Symptoms

  • Large painful bump on the side of the foot near the base of the big toe.
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the big toe joint.
  • Often painful corns or calluses can be developed near the big toe.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe.
  • Unable to wear appropriate shoe gear.

What You Can Do For Pain Relief?

  • Apply an over the counter non medicated pad around the bony prominence.
  • Wear wider shoes.
  • Apply ice packs several times a day to reduce swelling.
  • Avoid wearing shoes with heels over 2 inches high.
  • See us if the pain persists.

Conservative Treatment for Bunion Pain

Treatment options for bunion vary depending on the type of bunion and the severity. If treated in its early stage, surgery can be avoided. That is why it is important to see us at the first pain or discomfort. If bunions are left untreated, they will become larger and more painful, which makes conservative treatment less effective.

The primary goal in conservative treatment of bunions is to relieve pain and to stop the progression of the deformity. Conservative treatments of bunions include all of the following.

  • Padding and Strapping to keep the foot in correct position and to reduce pressure and pain.
  • Anti inflammatory medications are often prescribed to ease the pain and inflammation.
  • Cortisone injection may be given to help reduce the inflammation in the joint.
  • Physical therapy is used to reduce pain and inflammation and to keep joints from becoming stiff and rigid.
  • Orthotics are often prescribed to help control foot function and prevent worsening of the deformity and symptoms.

When conservative treatment fails or the bunions progresses to the point where conservative treatment is no longer a viable option, surgical intervention may be needed to correct the deformity.

Surgical Options

There are several different procedures for correction of a bunion. The surgery can be as simple as removal of the bump to more extensive procedure requiring cutting through bone to align the joint. The surgery will restore normal alignment and relive the pain. If you suffer from bunion deformity, call us today to make an appointment and see what is the best treatment option for you.

What is a Fungal Nail?

It is an infection of the nail caused by various types of fungi. A group of fungi known as Dermatophytes are the most common cause of nail fungal infection. Once the nail is infected by the organism, the effected nails become thick, discolored. If left untreated, the nail becomes brittle, thicker, and can spread to other nails or skin structures.

Fungi are opportunistic organisms. They are more prominent in individuals with compromised immune systems such as the elderly, and those who suffer from diabetes, circulatory disorders, or immune deficiency disorders. Fungal tend to thrive in dark and moist environments such as swimming pools, showers, locker rooms and anywhere else that people tend to walk barefooted. Most common place for fungal nail infections are nail salons. In these establishments, improper cleaning of the instruments can lead to spread of fungus from one person to the other.

Prevention

Fungus are everywhere including on our skin. They often may be present for months before they find the right opportunity to strike. The best prevention for preventing fungal nail infections is proper foot hygiene. Feet should be washed with soap and water daily and dried properly specially between the toes. Proper foot wear must be worn when ever in public areas. Shoes and socks should be changed daily. Nails should be clipped straight across and not extend beyond the tip of the toe. If you visit nail salons regularly, it is wise to invest a few dollars and buying your own instruments and take them with you during your visits. After each visit, make sure to clean your instruments to prepare them for your next visit.

Treatment

The treatment of fungi depends on the nature and severity of the infection. Over the counter antifungal medications may be used for mild cases of fungal infection. However, even the best antifungal medication may not prevent the fungal infection from reoccurring. If no improvements are noted within 2 to 3 months, it is time to call us for your personal consultation.

We can detect fungal infections by appropriate culture and biopsy and determine a suitable treatment plan. Treatment plan for fungal infections include debridement of the nail and debris underneath the nail and prescription of appropriate antifungal medication. Currently, there are two forms of medications for fungal infections, topical medications and oral medications.

Newer oral antifungal medications may be the most effective treatment options. They require shorter treatment time and better effectiveness. However, not everyone is a good candidate for oral antifungal. We will help you determine which treatment option is best for you. Treatment for fungus may take 3 to 12 months, and often the results may not appear for up to 18 months.

We now offer state of the art Laser treatment as a treatment option. Call us today to find out more about it.

What is Heel Pain?

There are many causes of heel pain. Heel pain is generally the result of abnormal biomechanics of the foot which places a tremendous amount of pressure on the heel bone and its surrounding soft tissue attachments. These stresses can also occur as a result of injury or continuous micro trauma that can occur while walking, running, or jumping. Poor footwear and obesity can also lead to heel pain. Often various disease processes can accompany heel pain.

Heel Spurs

A heel spur is a small bony growth on the heel bone that can sometimes cause heel pain. A spur can occur on the bottom or the back of the heel bone. It is generally visible on X-ray as a protrusion on the heel bone. They can be as small as a few millimeters to as large as half an inch.

The heel bone has a long ligament (called plantar fascia) that attaches from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. The continuous strain on the ligament causes the formation of bony growth on the heel bone.

Plantar Fasciitis

Both heel pain and heel spur are frequently associated with the inflammation of the plantar fascia. This inflammation is called plantar fasciitis. It occurs when the plantar fascia is strained beyond its normal extension causing the fibers to tear or stretch along its length. This trauma leads to inflammation of the fascia.

The pain can be aggravated by shoes that lack proper support especially in the arch of the feet. Rest only provides temporary relief but when you resume walking the pain comes back. As you walk, the pain may go away or get better, but it often returns with prolonged rest or excessive walking.

Disease and Heel Pain

Some general health conditions can also bring about heel pain.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis, including gout, which usually manifests itself in the big toe joint, can cause heel discomfort in some cases.
  • Heel pain may also be the result of an inflamed bursa (bursitis), a small, irritated sack of fluid; a neuroma (a nerve growth); or other soft-tissue growth. Such heel pain may be associated with a heel spur, or may mimic the pain of a heel spur.
  • Haglund’s deformity (“pump bump”) is a bone enlargement at the back of the heel bone, in the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone. This sometimes painful deformity generally is the result of bursitis caused by pressure against the shoe, and can be aggravated by the height or stitching of a heel counter of a particular shoe.
  • Pain at the back of the heel is associated with inflammation of the achilles tendon as it runs behind the ankle and inserts on the back surface of the heel bone. The inflammation is called achilles tendonitis. It is common among people who run and walk a lot and have tight tendons. The condition occurs when the tendon is strained over time, causing the fibers to tear or stretch along its length, or at its insertion on to the heel bone. This leads to inflammation, pain, and the possible growth of a bone spur on the back of the heel bone. The inflammation is aggravated by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an active lifestyle and certain activities that strain an already tight tendon.
  • Bone bruises are common heel injuries. A bone bruise or contusion is an inflammation of the tissues that cover the heel bone. A bone bruise is a sharply painful injury caused by the direct impact of a hard object or surface on the foot.
  • Stress fractures of the heel bone also can occur, but these are less frequent.

Children’s Heel Pain

Heel pain can also occur in children, most commonly between ages 8 and 13, as they become increasingly active in sports activity in and out of school. This physical activity, particularly jumping, inflames the growth centers of the heels; the more active the child, the more likely the condition will occur. When the bones mature, the problems disappear and are not likely to recur. If heel pain occurs in this age group, podiatric care is necessary to protect the growing bone and to provide pain relief. Other good news is that heel spurs do not often develop in children.

Prevention

A variety of steps can be taken to avoid heel pain and accompanying afflictions:

  • Wear shoes that fit well — front, back, and sides — and have shock-absorbent soles, rigid shanks, and supportive heel counters.
  • Wear the proper shoes for each activity.
  • Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles.
  • Prepare properly before exercising. Warm up and do stretching exercises before and after running.
  • Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities.
  • Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition.
  • If obese, lose weight.

Treatment Options

If pain and other symptoms of inflammation-redness, swelling, heat-persist, you should limit normal daily activities and contact us for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment option. We will examine the area and may perform diagnostic X- rays to rule out problems of the bone.

Early treatment might involve oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medication, exercise and shoe recommendations, taping or strapping, or use of shoe inserts or orthotic devices. Taping or strapping supports the foot, placing stressed muscles and tendons in a physiologically restful state. Physical therapy may be used in conjunction with such treatments.

A functional orthotic device may be prescribed for correcting biomechanical imbalance, controlling excessive pronation, and supporting of the ligaments and tendons attaching to the heel bone. It will effectively treat the majority of heel and arch pain without the need for surgery.

Only a relatively few cases of heel pain require more advanced treatments or surgery. If surgery is necessary, it may involve the release of the plantar fascia, removal of a spur, removal of a bursa, or removal of a neuroma or other soft-tissue growth.

If you are thinking about surgery or have heel pain that is not responding to any treatment options, see us NOW. We have state of the art new in office treatment option which has helped thousands avoid surgery and find relieve. Call us today for your personalized and confidential consultation.

We now offer state of the art Laser therapy as a treatment option. Call us today to find out more about it.

What is a Hammertoe?

A hammertoe is the bending of the toe at the joint. This can affect any toe, but it is mostly common in second through fifth toes. They are more common in women then men. There are two types of hammer toes, Rigid and flexible. Flexible are less serious and can be diagnosed and treated in its early developmental stage. They are called flexible because they can still move at the effected joint. Rigid is more serious and at a more developed stage. They occur in patients with severe arthritis or when left too long before getting treatment. At this stage, the tendons have become more rigid and the joint has become stiff and possibly fused.

Symptoms

  • Pain upon pressure at the top of the bent toe from footwear.
  • The formation of corns on the top of the joint.
  • Redness and swelling at the joint contracture.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint.
  • Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.

How do you get a Hammertoe?

A hammertoe is formed when there is an abnormal balance in the muscles of the toes. This abnormal balance leads to increased pressure on the tendon and joints of the toes leading to the bending of the toes. Other factors that cause hammertoes include trauma, hereditary, and arthritis. Wearing shoes that are too tight or cause the toes to squeeze together can also cause hammertoes to form.

What Can You Do for Relief?

  • Wear wider shoes with deep toe box to help reduce pressure on the toes.
  • You may use non medicated pads to help cushion the toe from pressure.
  • Apply ice to the area to bring down the inflammation.
  • Avoid heels more than two inches tall.

Treatment Options

All of the above suggestions are only a temporary relief from the pain and pressure of the hammertoes. It is important to call us and make an appointment as soon as possible for a complete personal consultation and treatment options.

The treatment options for hammertoes vary depending on the severity of the deformity. It is important to seek treatment at the early development of the hammertoe because once the deformity becomes rigid, then non surgical options become less of an option.

As part of the treatment plan, your Podiatrist will take an X-ray to evaluate the degree of involvement and to recommend a treatment plan specific to your needs. Non surgical treatment options include padding and strapping, anti inflammatory medications, and custom made orthotics. When all conservative treatments fail or if the deformity is too rigid, then the only other option is surgical intervention.

There are several surgical procedures available for correction of hammertoes. Less severe deformities require simple removal of bony prominence while more severe deformities require more complex intervention. The ultimate goal for any procedure is restore normal alignment and relieve pain.

What is a Neuroma?

A neuroma is a painful condition caused by enlargement of a nerve in the foot. It is a benign growth on the nerve that frequently occurs between the 3rd and 4th toes. It is commonly described as pain, burning, tingling, or numbness between the toes and ball of the foot. The pain is mostly while walking and relieved by stopping and rubbing the effected area. Some patients describe the pain as “walking on rocks”. Neuromas are more common in women then men.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the ball of the foot and between the toes.
  • Tingling and numbness in the toes or ball of the foot.
  • Swelling between the toes.

How Do You Get a Neuroma?

The exact cause of neuromas is unknown. There are some factors that contribute to the formation of neuromas.

  • High-arched foot or a flat foot, can lead to the formation of a neuroma. These foot types bring on instability around the toe joints, leading to the development of the condition.
  • Trauma can cause damage to the nerve, resulting in inflammation or swelling of the nerve.
  • Wearing shoes that cause the toes to squeeze together can cause the nerve to be irritated. Shoes with heels higher then two inches can cause pressure in the ball of the foot which can also irritate the nerve.
  • Repeated stress, common to many occupations, can create or aggravate a neuroma.

What Can You Do for Relief?

  • Wear shoes with plenty of room for the toes to move, low heels, and laces or buckles that allow for width adjustment.
  • Wear shoes with thick, shock-absorbent soles and proper insoles that are designed to keep excessive pressure off of the foot.
  • High heels should be avoided whenever possible because they place undo strain on the ball of the foot and can contribute to a number of foot problems.
  • Resting the foot and massaging the affected area can temporarily alleviate neuroma pain. Use an ice pack to help to dull the pain and improve comfort.
  • Use over-the-counter shoe pads. These pads can relieve pressure around the affected area.

Treatment Options

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the neuroma. The earlier a neuroma is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis. If left untreated, neuromas just become worse and less responsive to non surgical treatment.

You should contact our office at the first sign of pain in the foot. We will examine your foot and possibly take an x-ray. We will personalize an appropriate treatment plan for you. Some of the most common non surgical treatment options include, Padding and strapping, Anti inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, and custom made orthotics. The goal of treatment is to reduce pressure in the area and bring down the inflammation. Often the neuroma is non responsive to the non surgical treatment or has passed the threshold for such treatments. When this occurs, we will discuss surgical options with you. The surgical intervention involves removal of the inflamed and enlarged nerve, which is done on outpatient basis. However, we have a brand new state of the art treatment option which is less invasive with quicker recovery time. If you are thinking about having surgery or have pain that is not responding to any treatment options, call us NOW. We will perform a comprehensive foot and ankle evaluation to determine if this procedure is right for you.

We now offer state of the art Laser therapy as a treatment option. Call us today to find out more about it.