Problems and Disorders
“Bunion” is a term describing a painful swelling of the soft tissue overlying the big toe of the foot.. The deformity arises when a progressive dislocation of the joint causes the big toe to drift toward the second toe. Simultaneously, the first metatarsal bone separates or spreads in the opposite direction, creating a bony enlargement on the inside of the foot. The pain and swelling you experience with a bunion are a result of shoe pressure against the bony prominence.
There are two ways to treat bunions: live with the problem and avoid excessive shoe pressure or correct the problem with surgery. Bunion surgery is categorized into three categories depending upon whether the type of bunion is positional,structural or severe structural .
Surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. Most patients will be able to wear comfortable fitting shoes within three weeks, but a return to full activity might take up to three months.
A hammertoe is a term used to describe a crooked, deviated, or contracted toe. Although, the condition usually stems from muscle imbalance, it is often aggravated by poor-fitting shoes or socks that cramp the toes. Over a period of time, the tendons that move the toe up and down begin to pull the toe with unequal tension and the toe begins to buckle or become contracted. Normally hammertoes by themselves are not painful, but in shoes the prominent knuckle of the toe rubs the shoe producing an area of irritation which eventually forms a corn.
Hammertoes can be treated with protective pads, orthotic devices, specially fitted shoes, medication as well as surgically.
There is a ligament along the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia that stretches from the heel to the base of the toes. If the ligament is forced to stretch beyond its limit, it may become inflamed and result in heel pain. This condition is called plantar fasciitis. Patients often complain of discomfort in the heel, the arch of the foot, or back of the leg when walking. The pain is usually worst when getting up after a period sitting or lying .
Bone spurs are a common complication of plantar fasciitis. These bony calcium growths on the bottom of the heel form when the plantar fascia pulls on the heel bone. Spurs don’t usually cause pain themselves, but they are often a good indicator of the severity and age of the underlying problem.
Risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis and heel spurs include overuse during exercise, standing or walking for many hours a day, having naturally tight calf muscles, wearing shoes with high heels, and having flat feet or very high arches.
A fracture (break) of your foot usually occurs as a result of a fall, accident or hard blow. There are different types of fractures that occur, depending upon the severity of the injury. Spiral, hairline, open, crushed bones are names used to describe fractures.
Our doctors are experts in fracture care and will perform x-rays to determine the type of fracture you have. We sometimes need to realign the bones, which is done through a process called reduction. Casting of the fracture, a walking boot, brace or splints are used to hold the bone in place during healing.
If an injury to your ankle doesn’t result in a fracture, then it is likely sprained. An ankle sprain is a common injury, especially during sporting activities, and results in the stretching or tearing of the ligaments in the ankle. Usually all sprains occur on the outside of the ankle joints. Ankle sprains commonly happen from twisting your ankle, but some people are more prone to them due to their bone structure.
Our foot doctors will examine your ankle and x-rays might be taken to see if their might be other injuries or problems with your ankle.
Commonly called a Morton’s neuroma, this problem begins when the outer coating of a nerve in your foot thickens. This condition has a number of different symptoms and side effects. The most common symptoms are:
- Burning and stinging between the toes radiating toward the ball of the foot
- An acute stabbing pain in the foot that comes and goes
- Numbness and tingling of the toes
- Sudden cramps or pain in the forefoot
Some of the side symptoms associated with these neuromas are leg aches, low back pain with muscle spasm, chronic fatigue, a feeling of nervous tension, and cramps in the arch.
Although medication, physical therapy, injections, and arch supports may offer a temporary decrease in symptoms, the only permanent relief is minor outpatient surgery.
Diabetes is a disturbance in the utilization and storage of the dextrose (sugar) molecule by the body. The importance to the feet is this: sensations in the foot can diminish and the circulation can be affected, causing tissues to heal less rapidly. For people with diabetes, a lot of attention is focused on foot care.
If you have diabetes, you must take special care of your feet because they are susceptible to infection, which can lead to serious foot problems, including possible amputation. For those with diabetes, please follow these suggestions:
- Proper washing/drying of feet (blot, not rub), paying particular attention between toes
- Use of an approved powder after bathing
- Proper trimming of the nails
- Application of mild soaps and oils
- Soft comfortable shoes and stockings
- Regular physical check-ups by your primary physician
- Routine visits to our office
Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and swelling of your cartilage and lining of the joints. Since your foot is composed of 33 joints, arthritis tends to start in your feet first. This condition is common in people over the age of 50, but has started at earlier ages.
The type of treatment for arthritis in your feet varies depending upon the severity of the condition. Some treatment options include medication, physical therapy, special shoes and inserts.
Painful corns have probably caused more foot pain and misery than any other single problem. The cause is usually a bone enlargement or a spur. Sometimes the toe will not lie down because of a contracted tendon: this is known as hammertoe. The shoe cannot fit comfortably over the toe and the patient suffers the agony of a viselike squeeze of the skin between a prominent bone and the shoe.
Calluses spread across your foot or along the outer edge of the heel or big toe. Treatment for these two conditions usually requires a change of shoes and/or use of orthotics, which cushion these problems. Surgery is another alternative if corns or calluses become too severe.
Ingrown toenails are quite common in all age groups. It is a result of a nail growing into the skin that surrounds it. The improper trimming of the nails, tight shoes, or injury to the nail can cause ingrown toenails. Often they seem to occur for no reason at all.
If they become infected, you should soak them in warm water and Epsom salts, apply an antibiotic ointment and make an appointment to have them treated. Treatment is simple and painless in most situations. You can resume normal daily activities within a day.
Fungal toenails are toenails that have become infected with one of a group of microorganisms we call fungus. This fungus is similar to the organism that causes athlete’s foot. As the fungus invades the nail and the nail bed, it may go unnoticed for a period of time because it is rarely painful. It usually appears at the nail edge and works its way under the nail, progressing back to the root of the toenail. Once it invades the root it begins to distort the way the nail grows and becomes more difficult to treat.
Treatment if performed early might simply be to clip away the problem portion of the nail and apply an antifungal cream. Once the conditioned has progressed, oral medications may be used with or without nail removal.
The foot doctors at the Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine also treats many other foot problems:
- Athlete’s Foot
- Black-And-Blue Nails
- Thickened Nails
- Plantar Warts
- Pressure Ulcers