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Posts for category: Foot Issues

By Dr. Thomas Vail
October 19, 2018
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Warts  

What Causes Warts?

Got foot warts? Nearly everyone will have a wart at some point in their lives. Warts are typically small, hard skin growths caused by an infection with humanpallilloma virus. Foot warts are treatable. Foot warts are among the most common dermatologic conditions podiatrists treat. Read on to learn about the causes of warts.

An HPV Infection

Common warts are caused by by an HPV infection. Over 100 types of HPV exist. Certain types of HPV infection cause cervical cancer. Some types of HPV infection cause foot warts, while others cause warts that appear on the face, neck, or hands. Of the 100 types of HPV, about 60 cause common warts on areas such as the hands or feet.

Skin-To-Skin Contact

Wart viruses are contagious. You can get foot warts from skin-to-skin contact with people who have warts. However, not all HPV strains are highly contagious. You can get the wart virus by touching an object that another person's wart touched, such as clothing, towels, shoes, or exercise equipment.


Breaks in Your Skin

HPV infects the top layer of skin and usually enters the body in an area of damaged or cut skin. Cuts from shaving can provide an avenue for infection. Getting a scrape can also bring on common warts. Foot warts are very common in swimmers whose feet are scratched by rough pool surfaces.

A Weak Immune System

In most cases, your immune system defeats an HPV infection before it creates a wart. Someone with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable and therefore more likely to develop warts. Immune systems can be weakened by HIV or by immunosuppressant drugs used after organ transplants.


If you want to get rid of foot warts, see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Many types of effective wart treatments are available. They include salicylic acid, cantharidin, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and surgery. Your podiatrist can help you get rid of foot warts once and for all!

By Dr. Thomas Vail
August 14, 2018
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Poor Circulation  

Are you experiencing numbness, tingling, or discolorations in your feet?

Even though poor circulation isn’t a condition, if you are experiencing poor circulation in your feet this is often a symptom of a much larger issue. This is why it’s important to understand the warning signs of poor circulation and when to see a podiatrist, as many of these conditions can be serious or cause further complications to your health.

Causes of Poor Circulation

There are many reasons why someone may have poor circulation. The most common conditions include:

1. Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

This causes poor circulation in the legs due to a narrowing in the arteries and blood vessels. Over time this condition can cause damage to nerves or tissue. While this condition can occur in younger people, particularly smokers, it’s more common for people over 50 years old to develop PAD.

2. Blood Clots

A blood clot causes a block or restriction in blood flow and can develop anywhere in the body. The most common places for a blood clot include the arms or the legs, which can lead to symptoms of poor circulation. In some cases, a blood clot can cause serious complications such as a stroke.

3. Diabetes

While this condition does affect blood sugar levels, it is also known to affect circulation within the body. Those with circulation issues may experience cramping in the legs that may get worse when you are active. Those with diabetic neuropathy may experience nerve damage in the legs and feet, as well as numbness or tingling.

4. Raynaud’s Disease

A less common condition, Raynaud’s disease causes chronic cold fingers and feet due to the narrowing of the arteries in the hands and toes. Since these arteries are narrow it’s more difficult for blood to flow to these areas, leading to poor circulation. Of course, you may experience these symptoms in other parts of the body besides your toes or fingers, such as your nose, ears, or lips.

Warning Signs of Poor Circulation

You may be experiencing poor circulation in your feet if you are experiencing these symptoms:

  • Numbness
  • Pain that may radiate into the limbs
  • Tingling (a “pins and needles” sensation)
  • Muscle cramping

If you are experiencing symptoms of poor circulation that don’t go away it’s best to play it safe rather than sorry and turn to a podiatric specialist who can provide a proper diagnosis and determine the best approach for improving circulation. Don’t ignore this issue.

By Dr. Thomas Vail
February 13, 2018
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Morton's Neuroma  

A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that can develop in various parts of your body. In the foot, the most common occurring neuroma develops at the base of the third and fourth toes. This condition is referred to as Morton's neuroma.

There are typically no physical signs of Morton's neuroma, such as a lump or a knot. Instead, symptoms may include:

  • A sharp, achy or burning pain in the ball of your foot
  • Numbness, tingling, or cramping in the toes or forefoot
  • Feeling as if you're standing on a pebble in your shoe

While the exact cause of Morton's neuroma is unknown, the growth of the neuroma seems to occur in response to injury, pressure or irritation to one of the nerves that lead to the toes. People with foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes and flat feet are at higher risk for developing a neuroma. Women are also more likely to develop this condition, as wearing high-heels or narrow-toed shoes can increase pressure on the toes. Other potential causes are activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running.

Morton's neuroma can make walking and performing normal activities difficult and painful. Treatment options vary with severity, and identifying the neuroma in its earliest stage of development is important to avoid more invasive treatments or surgical correction. Left untreated, neuromas tend to worsen, so it's always best to visit our office at the first sign of pain.

Early treatments aim to relieve or reduce pressure on the area around the affected toes. Depending on the severity of your neuroma, a podiatrist may recommend:

  • Modifications to footwear. Wide-toed shoes relieve pressure on the neuroma.
  • Shoe inserts or padding to provide support for the arch of the foot, which removes pressure from the nerve.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications can help ease any pain and inflammation. Ask your doctor first.
  • Icing to reduce inflammation.
  • Rest to lessen repetitive pressure on the neuroma.

In the most severe cases, surgery may be recommended for patients who do not respond to conservative treatments. We can help you determine the best approach for your specific condition.

By Dr. Thomas Vail
January 05, 2018
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Ingrown Toenails  

Ingrown ToenailsIngrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, can be annoying and painful. This common condition occurs when the surrounding skin on one or both sides of the nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself penetrates the skin. As the nail digs into the skin, redness, swelling, and pain are often the result.

People develop ingrown toenails for various reasons. Poor nail-trimming is the most common cause, as this encourages the skin to fold over the nail. Other causes include trauma, such as stubbing a toe, or skin conditions, such as fungal infections or nails that are simply too large. In some cases, the condition may even be inherited. Poor fitting shoes generally aggravate the condition, making it worse.

Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by:

  • Wearing well-fitted shoes and socks
  • Protecting feet from trauma when possible
  • Trimming toenails straight across and avoiding repeated trimming of the nail borders
  • Keeping feet clean and dry to prevent infection

If an infection is not suspected of your ingrown, it can usually be safely treated from home by soaking your foot in warm water. Avoid "bathroom surgery" and repeated cutting of the nail as this will only make the condition worse.

When attempts to reduce your symptoms from home fail, or when pain, inflammation, swelling or discharge accompany your ingrown, the toenail is most likely infected and should be treated by a podiatrist at our office. People with diabetes, nerve damage or poor circulation should always seek care immediately if an ingrown nail is detected, regardless of the severity.

A podiatrist can examine the affected toe and determine the best treatment for your condition. For an infection, an antibiotic may be prescribed. Other treatments may involve trimming or removing the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure.

Ingrown toenails may be annoying, but rest assured that they can easily be prevented and treated with the help of your podiatrist. If you think you have an ingrown toenail, visit  our practice for quick and easy treatment.

By Dr. Thomas Vail
September 08, 2017
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Bunions  

BunionsA bunion is an abnormal, bony prominence that develops on the joint at the base of your big toe. As the big toe joint becomes enlarged, it forces the toe to crowd against your other toes, and the pressure exerted on your big toe joint results in inflammation and pain. Early treatment is necessary to decrease the risk of developing joint deformities.

Bunions develop due to prolonged abnormal pressure or motion on your big toe joint, most often caused by inherited structural defects, poor-fitting shoes, foot injuries, or congenital deformities. Women are generally more prone to bunions because of the shoe types typically worn, such as high-heels and narrow-toed shoes.

Bunion pain can range from mild to severe, often making it difficult to wear shoes and perform normal activities. You should contact our office if you notice the following symptoms:

  • An enlarged, visible bulge on your big toe joint
  • Restricted movement of your big toe or foot that prevents you from performing normal activities
  • Irritation, corns or calluses caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
  • Frequent pain, swelling or redness around your big toe joint

Treatment For a Bunion

Treatment for a bunion will vary depending on its severity. Identifying the condition in its early stages is important to avoid surgery, with the main objective of early treatment being to relieve pressure and stop the progression of the deformity. Many times conservative treatments, such as padding, modified footwear or orthotic devices can be highly effective for preventing further growth and reducing the pressure and pain.

We recommend the following for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions:

  • Wear comfortable shoes that don't cramp or irritate your toes and avoid high-heeled shoes
  • Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Our podiatrists can show you how to apply padding to your foot to place it in its normal position and reduce stress on the bunion

When early treatments fail or the persistent pain associated with your bunion is interfering with your daily activities, a surgical procedure may be recommended as a last resort to realign the toe joint and alleviate the pressure. We can advise you on the best treatment options available to relieve pressure on the bunion and slow the progression of the joint deformity.