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Why do you feel heel pain?

One of the most common complaints that our patients have is heel pain. Many conditions, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, can be the cause of your heel pain. Rest, orthotics and stretching can help ease pain over time.
However, If you ignore and don’t treat heel pain, you may develop chronic problems that require a longer recovery. Heel pain may even need surgery!
Initial treatment may consist of rest, ice, elevation, and immobilization, but may also include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, physical therapy, and cortisone injection. Our doctor can best determine the cause of your ankle pain and offer appropriate treatment options.

If you’re experiencing occasional or even daily episodes of heel pain, it could be related to:
∙ Arthritis
∙ Heel spurs
∙ Pump bumps
∙ Plantar fasciitis
∙ Achilles tendinitis
∙ Tarsal tunnel syndrome
∙ Fractures, including stress fractures
∙ Heel pad inflammation due to thin heel pads or heavy footsteps

You may also be experiencing heel pain because of a sports injury. For instance, if you sprained your ankle, pain can radiate down into your heel bone area.

Heel pain

When should I get treatment for heel pain?

Our clinic specialize in innovative heel pain care, so you can expect fast and effective relief. We encourage you to come in for an evaluation if your heel pain is:

∙ Associated with burning, stabbing, or numbing sensations
∙ Making it uncomfortable for you to walk, stand, or run
∙ Getting worse with each passing day
∙ Not improving after several days

Because we can perform in-office X-ray or ultrasound imaging, you can often get your diagnosis immediately, so you can learn about treatment options.

What are the treatment options for heel pain?

The expert podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Premier Specialists personalize your heel-pain treatment plan to your specific condition, as well as your lifestyle. Treating heel pain often involves a combination of the following therapies:

∙ Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
∙ Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT)
∙ Corticosteroid injections
∙ Taping and strapping
∙ Physical therapy
∙ Custom orthotics
∙ Night splints

Surgery for heel pain is reserved for cases where your underlying condition isn’t improving with conservative treatments, or for when you have a complex diagnosis.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Having an ingrown toenail means that instead of growing over your skin, your nail starts growing into your skin and causing irritation and pain. In most cases, poor trimming habits are to blame. You can wind up with an ingrown toenail if you:

∙ Round out your toenail edges
∙ Cut your toenails too short
∙ Tear or rip your toenails

It’s not always bad pedicure habits that are the problem though. You might just be prone to developing this painful condition if you inherited an abnormally curved nail shape. Ingrown toenails even sometimes stem from trauma, including stubbing your toe.

Ingrown nail

Do I need treatment for an ingrown toenail?

Yes. Blood flow is so limited in your toes because they’re so far away from your heart and your circulatory system has to work feverishly against the effects of gravity. Decreased blood supply means a slower healing time, which can increase your risk of a serious infection.

We encourage you to schedule an ingrown toenail evaluation as soon as possible if you’re noticing any of the following issues on one or both sides of your nail:

∙ Oozing
∙ Redness
∙ Tenderness
∙ Inflammation

Usually, ingrown toenails occur on your big toe. But it’s certainly possible for any of your toenails to become ingrown.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

We understand how unbearably painful an ingrown toenail can become. We will examine your toe and find the best possible solution for your specific condition. Your ingrown toenail treatment may include:

∙ Taking regular warm foot soaks
∙ Placing a splint underneath your nail
∙ Taking antibiotics or pain-relieving medications
∙ Numbing your toe and trimming away the ingrown part of your nail

In severe cases, removing the entire toenail may be necessary to treat a serious infection directly. If needed, we can treat the growth center of your nail to prevent regrowth, but only if you continue developing ingrown toenails.

What causes bunions?

Genetic factors play a major role in the formation of bunions. You’re usually predisposed to bone displacement and weak joint structures because of traits you inherited.

Development of bunions is also increased if you wear certain types of shoes, especially if you have underlying issues.

For instance, if you wear shoes with little-to-no wiggle room in the toe box, like high heels or pointy shoes, your big toe can’t stay straight. It gets shoved into your smaller toes and over time, your big toe joint changes shape permanently to accommodate this change.

Your risk of developing bunions further increases due to foot trauma or injury, as well as arthritic conditions, especially rheumatoid arthritis.

Bunion image

Why should I see a podiatrist for bunions?

We understand how unsightly and embarrassing (as well as how painful) bunions can become. They encourage you to come in as soon as possible if your bunions are causing any of the following symptoms:

∙ Corns or calluses
∙ Redness, tenderness, or inflammation
∙ Stiffened toe that doesn’t bend or flex easily

Bunions are progressive. Even if your bunions seem like a minor inconvenience now, they’re likely going to worsen if you don’t get the proper treatment early on. In any case, we can help, no matter how minor or how complex your bunions may be.

What are my options for treating my bunions?

Your bunion treatment plan is entirely personalized to target your underlying condition and symptoms. Conservative (nonsurgical) bunion treatments include:

∙ Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
∙ Padding, taping, and strapping
∙ Footwear modifications
∙ Custom orthotics
∙ Physical therapy

For more rigid or painful bunions, we may advise you to consider a surgical correction.

In addition to offering traditional bunionectomies, We are proud to offer the latest in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) as an option to treating your bunions. Schedule your evaluation today to discuss the best treatment option for you.

What causes foot warts?

Plantar warts (foot warts) are caused by a viral infection known as human papillomavirus (HPV). This wart-causing virus often enters the skin on your feet through a weak spot, like a cut or wound. As the viral invader, which thrives in warm, moist, dark areas, makes inroads, warts begin surfacing.

You may have a single foot wart, or clusters of them (mosaic warts). In any case, your immune system response is what determines your risk of developing warts and the severity of those warts. If you have a weakened immune system due to chronic disease, your risk of developing warts rises.

Foot warts are also common in children and teens, as well as athletes who may spend time walking around barefoot in damp communal gym locker rooms or showers (ideal conditions for HPV).

Foot warts

Do I need to see a podiatrist for warts?

Yes. The issue with plantar warts is that they can be incredibly stubborn. If you don’t have warts properly treated, not only can they worsen and become painful, but they can even spread to other areas of your body.

We encourage you to come in for a wart evaluation soon if you notice any of the following issues:

∙ Small growths that have black pinpoints (signs of clotted vessels)
∙ Shooting pains or tenderness while walking or running
∙ Thickened calluses over warts

During your wart evaluation, we do not just treat your warts, we also talk with you about preventive measures you can take to decrease your risk of recurrence. For instance, it’s essential always to wear shower shoes in gym locker rooms or even near swimming pools.

What are my options for treating my foot warts?

Treating plantar warts depends on the severity of your condition, as well as whether or not your warts have spread. We may recommend any of the following wart treatments:

∙ Wart removal with an electric needle (electrodesiccation and curettage)
∙ Prescription-strength salicylic or trichloroacetic acid solutions
∙ Freezing medicine, also known as “cryotherapy”
∙ Pulsed-dye laser treatments

We tailor your wart treatment plan to fit your condition and symptoms, so you can expect relief from the most stubborn of warts.

What causes fungal nails?

Nail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis, that cause fungal nails thrive in dark, moist, and warm areas. Walking around barefoot in these types of locations — gym locker rooms, communal showers, or pool decks — can expose you to fungal invaders.

Nail fungus can affect anyone of any age, but it’s more common among adults over age 60. Your risk of struggling with fungal nails is increased due to:

∙ Poor circulation
∙ History of athlete’s foot
∙ Weakened immune system
∙ Chronic disease, like diabetes
∙ Certain skin conditions, including psoriasis

You’re also more likely to develop fungal nails if you have sweaty feet, especially if you don’t allow your gym shoes to air out overnight, or don’t clean and dry your feet each day.

Fungal nail

When should I see a podiatrist for nail fungus?

Nail fungus isn’t anything you should try to treat on your own, especially if you have a chronic disease, nor should you ignore it. If left untreated, nail fungus can become so severe, your nails can start to fall off.

We encourage you to come in for an evaluation if you’re experiencing any of the following nail issues:

∙ Brittleness, crumbling, or thickening
∙ Distorted or misshapen shapes
∙ Dark, yellow, or brown colors
∙ Foul odor

It’s even possible to spread toenail fungus to your fingernails if you pick at your toenails. Since toenail fungus can worsen and spread without proper treatment, it’s important to visit our office at the first sign of nail issues.

Which nail fungus treatment is most effective?

Treating toenail fungus depends on the severity of your infection and any related nail loss. We may recommend any of the following fungal nail treatments:

∙ Over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments
∙ Prescription-strength nail cream or nail polish
∙ Professional nail trimming
∙ Oral antifungal drugs
∙ Laser treatments

For more severe cases of nail fungus, we could recommend removing infected nails entirely and treating your underlying nail bed directly. This way, you can regrow healthy, clear nails over time.

How does diabetes affect foot health?

Over 30 million adults in the United States have diabetes, with many experiencing related foot problems due to nerve damage. Diabetes can affect many aspects of your health, including the health of your feet. This chronic condition affects how your body uses the sugar it gets from your diet to generate energy.

In Type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make the insulin hormone necessary to keep blood sugar levels well-controlled. In Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin properly.

Both conditions can result in chronically high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health issues, including heart disease.

Concerning your foot health, uncontrolled diabetes can cause nerve damage, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy.

Neuropathy leads to chronic pain and tingling, eventually resulting in the loss of feeling in your feet. Because you can no longer feel sensations, your feet are susceptible to severe infections, blisters, and sores.

Diabetes can also reduce blood circulation in your feet, leading to slow-healing sores. If these sores become infected and aren’t properly treated, gangrene, or tissue death, can result. Once the damage is this extensive, you may need an amputation of your toes or your entire foot.

Diabetic nails

What diabetic foot care services are available?

To reduce your risk for serious complications, we offer in-office diabetic foot care services. We inspect the condition of your feet during routine appointments, looking for cuts or sores and signs of infection.At the first sign of a problem, we can treat the wound properly to prevent long-term complications.

We also offer appointments or follow-ups at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing at St. Catherine of Siena for more complicated wounds

Do I need diabetic shoes?

If you suffer nerve damage as a result of diabetes, you may also experience changes in the shape of your feet, including deformities, that make it difficult to wear shoes comfortably.

To prevent pain and blisters or other open wounds, we can suggest diabetic shoes that protect your feet.

Shoes may be custom-made to fit the exact shape of your foot, especially if you already have a deformity. Therapeutic shoes can also be wider than regular shoes to prevent other foot issues, like bunions and corns.