The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Patient FAQs

Does foot surgery require hospitalization?

Not usually. Surgical procedures may be performed in the office or in an outpatient setting. Your podiatric surgeon is well qualified to discuss the needs of your particular case. Surgery may be performed under local anesthesia or with light sedation administered by a trained anesthesia specialist. Your surgeon will advise you on the best possible postoperative care, so that your recovery will be rapid and as comfortable as possible.

 

What is worn on the foot following surgery?

Each surgical procedure requires a different type of foot immobilization such as a bandage, splint, surgical shoe, cast, or open sandal. Good post-operative results require proper foot support to prevent future problems. Early use of leg and foot muscles hastens recovery. After sufficient healing time, most patients can resume wearing their usual footwear.

 

Is special treatment needed after surgery?

Many patients require postoperative care, such as physiotherapy, orthotic devices ( foot supports), and special footwear. This care helps ensure that the results of the operation are long lasting.

 

How can I have a quick recovery after surgery?

The type of foot surgery performed determines the length and kind of aftercare required to assure that your recovery from surgery is rapid and uneventful. The basics of all postoperative care involve to some degree each of the following: rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). The “RICE” method promotes healing, decreases pain, and reduces swelling around the area. Bandages, splints, surgical shoes, casts, crutches, or canes may be necessary to improve and insure a safe recovery after foot surgery. A satisfactory recovery can be hastened by carefully following instructions from your podiatric surgeon.

 

What causes my heel pain?

The most common cause of heel pain is incorrect foot movement during walking or running. This can place to much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. An example of incorrect foot movement is excessive pronation – leaning inward as each step is completed. What causes incorrect foot movement? Muscle and bone problems can be inherited, but external causes such as heel injury or bruising, poorly fitted or worn-out shoes, and excessive weight also play a role.

 

How do you treat heel pain?

Treatment of heel pain varies depending on the type, cause, and severity of the condition. Your podiatrist may advise you to cut back on activities that put stress on your foot and/or recommend the use of orthotic devices.Other treatments include:

  • insoles – available at drugstores
  • oral or injected anti-inflammatory medication
  • physical therapy
  • foot taping
  • foot exercises – for muscle strengthening and stretching

 

Why do I have tendonitis?

When you use a set of muscles too much, you’re likely to strain the tendons (soft tissues) that connect those muscles to your bones. At first, pain or swelling may come and go quickly. But if you do too much too soon, your muscles may overtire again. The strain may cause a tendon’s outer covering to swell or small fibers in a tendon to pull apart. If you keep pushing your muscles, damage to the tendons adds up and tendonitis develops. Over time, pain and swelling may limit your activities. But with your doctor’s help, tendonitis can be controlled. Both your symptoms and your risk of future problems can be reduced.

 

What is the treatment for an intermetatarsal neuroma?

The goal of treatment is to reduce or eliminate symptoms, so that you can maintain your normal lifestyle. Although some patients may not receive complete relief, it is expected that the vast majority will gain significant improvement from therapy. Treatment may be surgical or non-surgical. Non-surgical treatment is often attempted before surgical intervention. Your podiatric surgeon will decide the appropriate method of therapy for you. Conservative treatment for an intermetatarsal neuroma usually includes modifying shoes, ultrasound therapy, medication, or orthotics (arch supports). These conservative therapies may provide complete, partial or no relief of symptoms. The decision to surgically intervene is based on your symptoms, the judgment of your podiatric surgeon and your preference. A neurectomy or surgical removal of a neuroma is performed when conservative treatment proves ineffective.
Back to Top

What causes corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are your body’s response to friction or pressure against the skin. If your foot rubs inside your shoe, the affected area of skin thickens. Or if a bone is not in the normal position, skin caught between bone and shoe or bone and ground builds up. In either case, the outer layer of skin thickens to protect the foot from unusual pressure. In many cases, corns and calluses look bad but are not harmful. However, more severe corns and calluses may become infected, destroy healthy tissue, or affect foot movement. But with your doctor’s help, corns and calluses can be controlled.

 

How are corns and calluses treated?

If your corns and calluses are mild, reducing friction may help. Different shoes, moleskin patches, or soft pads may be all the treatment you need. In more severe cases, treating tissue buildup may require your doctor’s care. Sometimes orthoses (custom-made shoe inserts) are prescribed to reduce friction and pressure.

 

Why are pressure ulcers dangerous?

Pressure ulcers are sores that occur when pressure cots off the blood supply to the skin. Stress caused by the body’s weight and the impact of striking the ground place the ball of the foot, the big toe, and the heel at greatest risk. Left untreated, an ulcer may allow infection to enter your body. If infection reaches the bloodstream or bone, your life or limb may be at risk. But with your doctor’s help, your health can be protected. Pressure ulcers can be controlled and even prevented.

 

Why do I have a bunion?

A bunion is most often a symptom of faulty mechanics of the foot. The deformity does run in families; however, it is the foot type that is hereditary, not the bunion. People with flat feet or low arches seem more prone to develop the problem than those with higher arches.A fracture or break into the joint may lead to arthritic changes and the development of bunion deformities with limited range of motion.

Bunions may also be associated with various forms of arthritis. The arthritis can cause the joint’s protective covering of cartilage to deteriorate leaving the joint damaged with a decreased range of motion.

 

What are the options for early treatment of a bunion?

The main goal of early treatment is to relieve pressure on the bunion and smaller toes, and to diminish the progression of joint deformities.Some of the options are:

  • Padding the bunion to ease painful pressure and friction
  • Wearing roomy and comfortable shoes
  • Orthoses (shoe inserts) which can be useful in controlling abnormal foot movement
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications such as corticosteroid injections and pain relievers for temporary relief of symptoms

 

What should I expect after bunion surgery?

After surgery to correct a bunion, the foot may become narrower – but not always. Also for a period of time, the joint may remain slightly stiff and not be as flexible as before the surgery.Gradual return to normal activity will be recommended by the podiatric surgeon as healing progresses.

 

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe deformity is a contracture of the toe(s), frequently caused by the imbalance in the tendon or joints of the toes. It is often aggravated by poor-fitting shoes or socks that cramp the toes.Those with rheumatoid arthritis, high arches or a tendency to rotate their feet inward when walking are especially susceptible. Corns and calluses usually form over time as a hammertoe becomes more rigid, making it difficult to wear shoes.

Back to Top

Can I get arthritis in my feet?

Did you know that signs of arthritis – the symptoms include joint swelling, pain, tenderness, heat, redness, and/or limitation of motion, plus early morning stiffness, and skin rashes – often show up first in the feet? Since arthritis attacks the joints – and each of your feet has 33 joints – it is easy to understand how arthritis can seriously affect foot function. Fortunately, there is much you can do offset these effects on your feet and stay as active as you want to be.

 

Is it true that diabetics have to take special care of their feet?

All of us are likely to have problems with our feet, but diabetics may develop serious problems more quickly and have more complications, especially when circulation or nerves are impaired.The key for the diabetic is to view all foot problems as potentially dangerous and to prevent them or seek podiatric medical care as soon as they occur. Proper foot care can significantly reduce the risk of limb loss in diabetic patients.

 

How can I prevent nail problems?

Many nail problems can be prevented by wearing the right shoes and trimming your nails properly. To help avoid infections, keep your feet clean and dry. If you have diabetes, talk with your podiatrist before doing any foot self-care.

 

How can I avoid getting athlete’s foot?

You can help prevent athlete’s foot by keeping your feet – and your bath or shower area – clean and dry. Avoid walking barefoot in community areas. Always wear clean socks and don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row, they need time to dry out.

 

Would orthotics help me?

People, whose feet or legs are not in perfect alignment, often experience pain in other parts of their body. Your feet are your foundation. Orthotics correct the movement of the foot, and that relieves the problems in the legs and hips.Wearing orthotic devices, also known as orthoses, inside your shoes can help your feet function better as you stand, walk, and run. Your podiatrist can prescribe orthotic devices, based on a specific diagnosis of your foot problem, and then have them individually manufactured from a mold of your feet. Feet are relieved of the chronic stress that results from abnormal movement and are usually relieved of pain, too.

 

Should my child go to a podiatrist?

Having strong, healthy feet allows your child to walk, run, and play. If your child’s feet form correctly, certain types of back and leg pain can be avoided later in life. Exams of the feet and ankles ensure that your child’s bones are growing correctly. Your doctor can also make sure that your child is walking properly. This helps prevent some future foot problems. And if a problem does arise, it can be handled early – when it is easiest to treat.