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Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By Dr. Thomas Vail
May 15, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Neuroma  

Are you dealing with pain, burning, tingling or numbness between your toes or in the ball of the foot? If you said “yes” then you could be dealing with a neuroma, a pinched nerve or benign tumor of the nerve that is often found between the third and fourth toes.

The classic symptom of a neuroma is pain, particularly when walking—a factor that leads many people to liken the condition to feeling like a pebble is in their shoe. You may find that the pain eases up whenever you aren’t walking or when you rub the pained area with your hands. While neuromas can happen to anyone, they are most commonly found in women.

Neuroma Causes

While the causes of a neuroma are still not clear, there are factors that can increase the likelihood of developing one, such as:

  • Extremely high arches
  • Flat feet
  • Trauma that leads to nerve damage in the feet
  • Improper footwear (high heels over two-inches tall; pointed toes)
  • Repeated stress placed on the foot

Treating a Neuroma

A neuroma will not go away on its own, so it’s important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing any of the condition's symptoms. The type of treatment or treatments recommended to you will depend on the severity of the neuroma.

Those with minor neuromas may be able to lessen symptoms by wearing shoes that provide ample room for the toes and offer thick soles that provide more support and cushioning for the toes and balls of the feet. Sometimes a podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics to place inside the shoes, as well.

Your podiatrist may also recommend padding or taping the ball of the foot to improve faulty biomechanics and reduce discomfort. While medication will not eliminate the problem, it can temporarily alleviate symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can often briefly reduce pain and swelling, but for those dealing with more severe pain, steroid injections may be necessary to ease symptoms.

Surgery for a Neuroma

Surgery only becomes necessary when conservative treatment options have failed to provide relief, or when the neuroma has progressed enough that conservative care won’t be enough. During surgery, the inflamed nerve is removed through a simple outpatient procedure. Afterward, there is a short recovery period of a couple of weeks before patients are able to move about pain-free once again!

Give us a Call!

If you are dealing with new or worsening foot pain it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist that can help give you the answers you need. Schedule an appointment today.

By Dr. Thomas Vail
April 19, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Ingrown Nails  

Swelling, reddened flesh, shooting pain, and pus are just some of the incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of having an ingrown toenail. Although this condition can sometimes be successfully treated through home remedies, ingrown toenails often progress to the point of infection, a point that then requires professional treatment. Read on to learn what causes this problem, when it’s right to seek medical help, and how our podiatrists can help get your foot back to a healthy state!

The Causes and Symptoms

Before we cover how to treat ingrown toenails, let’s first review the core causes and symptoms that hallmark this condition…

Ingrown toenails initially develop due to a few different factors, including:

  • Cutting the toenail too short
  • Rounding the toenail during grooming
  • Wearing improperly fitting shoes
  • Experiencing toe trauma

If the flesh on the side of the toe has become red, swollen, and tender, you likely have an ingrown toenail. If you have caught this problem while it’s still in its early stages, you can try implementing some of the home remedies listed in the next section. However, if your toe is exhibiting some of the following signs of infection, you should seek professional podiatric help:

  • Pervasive shooting or throbbing toe pain
  • Regular bleeding
  • The presence of a pus-filled blister
  • The skin has started growing over the nail

Home Remedies

As mentioned above, if an ingrown toenail is caught before infection sets in, there are a few different methods that you can practice at home in order to clear up the issue. Some of these include:

  • Around 3 to 4 times a day, submerge your foot into warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Regularly doing this should reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
  • Following each soaking, use cotton to separate the ingrown toenail from the flesh that it is starting to grow under. This should allow the nail to grow above the skin again.
  • Avoid snug or constraining shoes.

If these actions fail to clear up the problem in 2 to 3 days, you should pursue professional treatment.

Professional Treatments

In the case of a severe or recurring infection, there are a few different procedures that your podiatrist can perform to make your toe healthy again. Depending on the specifics of your ingrown toenail, one of the following treatments may be recommended:

  • Partial Nail Removal: In the case of a severe ingrown toenail, your doctor can numb your toe before physically removing the ingrown portion of the nail.
  • Nail and Tissue Removal: If the same toe is repeatedly experiencing the same ingrown toenail problem, this procedure can be performed to prevent future recurrences. It entails your podiatrist removing a portion of the underlying nail bed, thus preventing the nail from become ingrown again.

Concerned About Your Toe? Give Us a Call!

If your ingrown toenail needs medical attention, call our podiatric office today!

By Dr. Thomas Vail
March 20, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Foot Injuries  

An unexpected fall or twist can result in an injury of the foot or ankle, such as a sprain or strain. Immediate first aid can help prevent complications, reduce pain and improve recovery.

Rest, ice, compression and elevation--commonly referred to as R.I.C.E.--is the first and best treatment for minor injuries. The following tips can aid in the early treatment of common foot and ankle injuries to help reduce swelling and control the inflammatory process during the initial phase of injury.

Rest: Whether you have a strain or a sprain, rest from any physical activity is essential to protecting your injured ligaments, tendons or muscles from further damage while your body starts the repair process.  Avoid putting weight on the injured foot or ankle as much as possible. In some cases, complete immobilization may be required.

Ice: Gently ice your foot or ankle with ice wrapped in a towel in a 20-minute-on, 40-minute-off cycle for the first few days post-injury. Ice is excellent at reducing inflammation and pain. 

Compression: Applying some type of compressive wrap or bandage to an injured area can greatly reduce the amount of initial swelling.

Elevation: Prop your foot up while lying down or sitting so that it is higher than or equal to the level of the heart.

After a few days of R.I.C.E., many acute injuries will begin to heal. If pain or swelling does not subside after a few days, or if you are unsure of the severity of your injury, make an appointment with your podiatrist. A skilled podiatrist can properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment.

By Dr. Thomas Vail
March 06, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Is heel pain keeping you down? Pain that occurs following an injury or early in an illness may play a protective role, warning us about the damage we have suffered. SoYour Heel Pain Could Be Plantar Fasciitis what causes heel pain?
 
Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition in which a band of tissue in the sole of the foot becomes inflamed, leading to severe heel pain. The pain can be so bad that it hurts to walk, much less exercise or perform daily activities. If one step causes shooting pain in your heel—especially when you first get out of bed in the morning or stand up after sitting for a long period of time—plantar fasciitis may be to blame. Contact your podiatrist immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment of your pain. 
 

Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist

Plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension. This causes the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length, leading to inflammation, pain and possibly the growth of a bone spur where it attaches to the heel bone.
 
Inflammation may become irritated by shoes that lack appropriate support, mainly in the arch area and by the constant irritation associated with an athletic lifestyle. Resting may provide temporary relief, but when you resume walking you may experience a sudden elongation of the fascia band, which stretches and pulls on the heel. As you walk the pain may lessen or even disappear, but that may just be a false sense of relief, as the pain will often return after prolonged rest or extensive walking.  
 
You can take steps now to avoid heel pain, including:
  • Wear shoes that fit well
  • Wear proper shoes for each activity
  • Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
  • Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
  • Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
  • Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
  • Lose excess weight
If pain and other symptoms of inflammation persist, you should limit your normal daily activities and contact your podiatrist immediately.  
By Dr. Thomas Vail
February 19, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Corns  

Many people think corns and calluses are the same thing, but there are differences. A corn is smaller than a callus, and has a hard center which is surrounded by inflamed tissue. Unlike calluses, corns can be painful and make it difficult to wear shoes. The good news is, your podiatrist can help get rid of corns and get you back on your feet.

Corns typically develop to protect your feet and toes from friction and pressure. They can be found in both weight bearing and non-weight bearing areas including between your toes, and on the tops and sides of your toes.

According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs and symptoms of a corn include:

  • A thick, rough area of skin
  • A hardened, raised bump
  • Tenderness or pain under the skin

Since corns are caused by friction and pressure, you can do a lot to prevent corn development. Remember to:

  • Wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes
  • Use padding or bandages in your shoes
  • Soak your feet in warm water to soften corns
  • After soaking, rub the corn with a pumice stone to remove hardened skin
  • Moisturize your feet every day to keep your skin soft

If you have diabetes and you develop a corn or other foot problem, you need the help of an expert, your podiatrist. Self-treating foot issues when you are diabetic can lead to injuries that don’t heal and could get worse, resulting in a serious infection.

Fortunately, your podiatrist can recommend several treatment options to get rid of corns, including:

  • Trimming away excess skin to reduce friction
  • Corn-removing medication containing salicylic acid
  • Custom-fit inserts or orthotics
  • Surgery if the corn is caused from friction due to poor bone alignment

You don’t have to deal with painful corns by yourself. Get some relief from the pain by visiting your podiatrist. Your feet are important, so seek out the best care possible to protect your feet.