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Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By Step Alive Foot & Ankle Center
May 12, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunion Pain   Bunion  
Bunion PainBunion pain got you down? Is foot pain making it impossible to do the things you once loved? Perhaps even the thought of putting on shoes and running your errands has you nervous. Bunion pain can do that. The good news is that if your podiatrist tells you that you have a bunion there are ways to easily manage this issue on your own without needing to resort to surgery.
 
First Steps to Treating Bunion Pain

Many people can easily manage their bunion symptoms and slow the progression of this common foot deformity through simple lifestyle changes. There are several approaches you can take to reduce bunion pain including,
  • Maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight, which can take pressure off the feet
  • Wear shoes that don’t put pressure on the bunion, that provide ample support, and that have lots of room for your toes
  • Look for shoes that have a low heel (high heels can make bunions worse)
  • Apply a gel or protective pad to the bunion before putting on shoes
  • Talk to your podiatrist about the benefits of custom orthotics (aka shoe inserts) and how they could take pressure off the bunion when standing or in motion
  • Take pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor
  • Warm or cold therapy such as warm soaks or applying ice can also improve swelling, inflammation, and pain (some people prefer the heat to the cold and vice versa; it’s a matter of preference. Try both and see what works best for you!)
  • Talk with your podiatrist to see if a night splint could ease morning stiffness and pain
There are a lot of products on the market today that are geared toward people with bunions. Do not be tricked into thinking that there is some miracle device out there that will realign the joint and fix this issue. The only way to realign and repair the deformed joint is through surgery; however, if you follow the tips above you may find yourself able to fully control your bunion pain for the rest of your life without ever needing surgery.
 
Reasons to Consider a Bunionectomy

Of course, there are certain scenarios in which a podiatrist may recommend getting surgery to correct the bunion. Here’s when you may want to consider getting surgery,
  • You are in significant and chronic pain
  • Your bunion is severely enlarged, and the big toe is crossing over the other toes
  • Your activities are limited due to your bunion
  • Your bunion pain persists for more than a year
  • Nonsurgical methods aren’t completely controlling your bunion pain
  • You are developing other foot problems such as bursitis or hammertoes due to your bunion
Your podiatrist will always be the first person you should turn to if you have questions or concerns about your bunion. They can also create a treatment plan and help you implement new habits into your daily routine to prevent a bunion from getting worse.
By Step Alive Foot & Ankle Center
April 01, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Pigeon Toes  
Pigeon ToesDo your child’s feet turn inward? If so, it’s fairly easy to tell, particularly when they walk. This condition is known as pigeon toes and it is often genetic (so if you have a family history of pigeon toes chances are more likely that your child will develop this foot problem, too).
 
How are pigeon toes diagnosed?

When you bring your child into the podiatrist’s office, the specialist will examine your child’s walk and gait. They will also observe how your child stands to see if their feet turn inwards or to look at how your child’s hips are positioned. Your podiatrist may also recommend imaging tests to look at the alignment of the bones.

While a pediatrician may be the first person to look at and diagnose your child’s pigeon toes, a pediatric podiatrist is going to be able to provide your little one with the specialized treatment and care they need.
 
How are pigeon toes treated in children?

Most parents are relieved to find out that many children grow out of mild to moderate forms of pigeon toes. While this may take a few years, this is nothing to worry about and children won’t require special treatment or care.

However, if this issue is detected in your infant, they may need to wear a cast on the feet to fix the alignment before your child begins walking. A podiatrist can also show you a series of stretches and massages that can help the bones grow into the proper alignment.

If your child’s pigeon toes are still causing them issues by 10 years old, then you may want to talk with your podiatrist about whether surgery may be necessary to correct these bone alignment issues.
While mild pigeon toes may not be a cause for concern, children with more severe cases may have trouble walking or may not be able to participate in sports. Some children may also deal with teasing due to their condition. It’s important to discuss all of these issues with your child’s podiatrist so they can help you find the right treatment option to meet your child’s needs.
 
If your child has pigeon toes, it’s best to speak with a qualified foot doctor to find out the best way to address this issue to prevent mobility issues in your growing little one. A podiatrist can easily treat pigeon toes and other foot and ankle conditions in children, teens, and adults.
By Step Alive Foot & Ankle Center
March 02, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Puncture Wound  
Puncture WoundA puncture wound in the foot occurs when you step on an object that leaves a small hole behind. One of the most common puncture wounds comes from stepping on a nail. Puncture wounds are not simply cuts and will require different treatment and care to prevent infection and other complications from occurring. If you’re dealing with a puncture wound, you probably took a trip to your local emergency room for care. Even if you’ve done this, you should still follow up with a podiatrist to make sure the wound is properly cared for and tended to.
 
Dealing with a puncture wound? Here are the steps you should take,
  • Seek immediate medical attention (head to your local ER)
  • You may need a tetanus shot if it’s been more than 10 years since your last shot
  • Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist within 24 hours of the injury
  • Your podiatrist will provide you with a variety of care instructions to keep it clean and disinfected (make sure to follow all of these instructions)
When you come into the podiatrist’s office the first thing they will do is assess the wound and make sure it is properly cleaned. They will also make sure there is no debris remaining. To clean the wound, a numbing gel may be applied to the area first. Sometimes a round of antibiotics is prescribed to prevent an infection from developing. If your podiatrist suspects that you might still have a piece of an object in the wound or that there might be bone damage, imaging tests may need to be performed.
 
You must keep off the foot so that it can fully heal. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics, make sure to take the medication until it is finished (if you stop taking it before the medication is finished it won’t be as effective). While your foot heals you must examine it daily and look for any signs of infection. These signs include,
  • Fever
  • New or worsening pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Drainage
  • Skin that’s warm to the touch
It’s important to turn to a podiatrist right away to treat your puncture wound to prevent complications. A foot and ankle specialist can provide you with instructions on how to properly care for your wound to ensure that it doesn’t get infected. Seek treatment right away.
By Step Alive Foot & Ankle Center
January 15, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Sprain   Fractured Foot   Broken Bone  
Did I Break My FootWhether you took a bad tumble or your child had a rough collision while playing sports, it’s important that you do not just recognize the signs of a broken foot but that you also seek immediate medical attention. Of course, we know that it isn’t always easy to differentiate a break from a sprain. Here are some signs that your foot is broken and need to be seen by a qualified podiatrist,
  • Pain that occurs immediately after an injury or accident
  • Pain that is directly above a bone
  • Pain that is worse with movement
  • Bruising and severe swelling
  • A cracking sound at the moment of injury
  • A visible deformity or bump
  • Can’t put weight on the injured foot
If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of a fractured foot or ankle they must turn to a podiatrist for care. We can diagnose, set, and treat all types of fractures; however, if the bone is dislocated or looks severely broken (a visible bump or deformity appears on the foot) it’s a good idea to head to your local ER.
 
How can I tell the difference between a break and a sprain?

The symptoms of a sprain are far less severe. You can often put weight on the injured foot with a sprain; however, you may notice some slight pain and stiffness. You may also have heard a popping sound at the moment of the injury with a sprain, while a broken bone often produces a cracking sound. The pain associated with a sprain will also be above soft tissue rather than bone. A podiatrist will perform an X-ray to be able to determine if you are dealing with a break or a sprain.
 
How is a broken bone in the foot treated?

Rest is key to allowing an injury, particularly a fracture, to heal properly. Along with rest, your doctor may also recommend either an over-the-counter or prescription-strength pain reliever, depending on the severity of your fracture. Those with more moderate to severe fractures may require a special boot, brace, or splint. Those with more severe fractures may need to wear a cast and use crutches, so they can avoid putting any weight on the foot.
 
If you are on the fence about whether or not to see a podiatrist about your injury, why not simply give us a call? We can discuss your symptoms on the phone to determine whether we can take a wait-and-see approach or whether you need to come in right away for care.
By Step Alive Foot & Ankle Center
December 15, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the FeetRheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and it is characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and damage. RA, like other kinds of arthritis, is progressive, which means that symptoms will gradually get worse over time if left untreated. So, how do you know if you might be developing RA in your feet? While a podiatrist can certainly provide you with a definitive diagnosis, here are some telltale signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • You experience pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints of the foot, particularly the toes
  • You experience aching feet, particularly after activity or long periods of standing
  • Some parts of your foot may feel oddly warm to the touch or may emanate heat while the rest of the foot feels normal
  • The joints of the toes and ankles may swell
Symptoms are often mild at first and you may not even think that you have arthritis. Those between the ages of 30 to 60 are more likely to develop RA. You may notice intense flare-ups that are characterized by bouts of remission (in which you don’t experience symptoms). Do not take these symptom-free moments to mean that you are fine. It’s important to see a podiatrist right away if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.

What does RA do to the feet and ankles?

Along with painful joints and stiffness, you may also notice other changes to your feet over time. Some of these changes include,
  • Bunions
  • Corns
  • Hammertoes and claw toes
  • Bursitis
  • Circulation issues (e.g. atherosclerosis; Raynaud’s phenomena)
How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

Since RA is not curable, your podiatrist will focus on crafting a treatment plan that will help to alleviate your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to prevent severe and irreparable joint damage. Prescription medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are biologics that can reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease.

Of course, there are also lifestyle changes you can make along with taking prescription medication that can also ease symptoms,
  • Warm soaks
  • Custom insoles or orthotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Compression
  • Stretching exercises for the feet
  • Bracing
  • Steroid injections (for targeting severe inflammation)
Surgery is only necessary if there is severe joint or cartilage damage, or if inflamed tissue needs to be removed from around the joint.

Most people with RA will eventually develop foot and ankle problems, which is why it’s important to have a podiatrist on your team that can help you manage your RA effectively.