Posts for category: Foot Problem
Gritting your teeth through the pain doesn't always make you stronger, despite common wisdom. Although uncomfortable twinges often go away quickly if you've suffered a minor heel injury, ignoring severe or lingering pain may lead to chronic pain, arthritis, and other problems, in some cases. Your podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center offer a variety of heel pain treatments at our offices in Fairfax/Burke, Ashburn/Leesburg, McLean/Great Falls, or Reston/Herndon, VA.
What causes heel pain?
Heel pain can occur due to:
- Fractures: Pain that occurs after you fall or jump may be a sign that you have a fracture, particularly if you can't put any weight on your heel. Stress fractures can also occur if you're an athlete and have begun training harder or longer than usual.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis, a common cause of heel pain, occurs when the long band of connective tissue called the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. The fascia runs along the bottom of your foot and connects your toes to your heels. The condition is more likely to occur if you're a runner or dancer, spend long hours on your feet, are overweight, or have high arches or flat feet. Pain is often felt first thing in the morning and when you rise after standing or sitting.
- Achilles Tendinitis: Pain in your heel may also be caused by inflammation of the large tendon that connects your calf muscles to your heels. You may feel an aching or burning sensation in your heel and notice that it's red and feels warm.
- Retrocalcaneal Bursitis: Your Achilles tendon glides over your heel smoothly thanks to the presence of the retrocalcaneal bursa. The bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac on the back of your heel. Walking and running can trigger heel pain if you have retrocalcaneal bursitis, as can moving your foot up and down.
How can a visit to my podiatrist help?
If your pain lasts more than a week or two or is severe or disabling, it's a good idea to visit our foot doctors. After performing a thorough examination, we can offer treatments that will ease your pain and help you avoid long-lasting complications.
Is it about time you did something about your heel pain? Schedule an appointment with the podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center by calling (703) 273-9818 for the Fairfax/Burke, VA, office, (703) 723-9267 for the Ashburn/Leesburg office, (703) 556-8637 for the McLean/Great Falls office, or (703) 723-2719 for the Reston/Herndon office.
When most people think about foot deformities they most often think about bunions; however, hammertoes are just as common. This unassuming deformity comes about gradually, so you may not even notice it until it’s too late. “What is a hammertoe?” You might be wondering. A hammertoe affects the middle joint of a toe (often the smaller toes), causing the toe to bend downward. In severe cases, a hammertoe will look almost claw-like.
There are two kinds of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. As you might imagine, a flexible hammertoe is one in which you can still straighten the toe out. If you aren’t able to straighten the affected toe then this is a rigid hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe isn’t as serious as a rigid one; however, it’s important that you take care of your hammertoe to make sure that it doesn’t get worse.
While there is no way to cure a hammertoe there are simple measures you can take to prevent it from progressing. First and foremost, you need to take a look at the shoes you are wearing and make sure that they aren’t too tight. When you slip your feet into your shoes, does it cause your toes to bunch up against one another? If so then this could make your hammertoe worse.
Instead, opt for shoes with an ample toe box, which will allow your toes to wiggle and move around freely. If you have a structural imbalance within the foot this can leave you prone to foot problems such as hammertoes and bunions. To correct this imbalance, talk to your foot doctor about getting custom orthotics (shoe inserts), which can be placed into your shoes to help provide cushioning, support, and shock absorption for your feet.
If pain or stiffness does rear its ugly head you can choose to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, which can tackle both pain and inflammation in one fell swoop, or you can place a towel-wrapped ice pack (never put ice directly on the skin, as it can cause severe burns) over the area for several minutes.
Just as you can buy pads to cover a bunion or callus, you can also buy a non-medicated protective pad to cover over a hammertoe. Since the deformed toe joint juts out this can leave the toe prone to calluses, which can cause pain when wearing shoes. To prevent a callus from forming, you can apply a protective pad over the deformed toe joint before putting on shoes.
Of course, if you are dealing with significant or frequent pain, or if the hammertoe is rigid, then you will want to turn to a podiatric specialist. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the disfigured joint.
Athlete’s foot is a harmless fungal infection that happens to countless people every year. If you are someone who doesn’t wear your shower shoes at your local gym’s locker room or the community pool then you may find yourself prone to developing athlete’s foot. If athlete’s foot does happen to you, it’s important that you not only treat the issue but also know how to treat it so that it fully goes away. Here’s what to do if you find yourself faced with this fungal problem.
If you already know you have athlete’s foot then the next step is to treat it. More often than not this issue can be treated with over-the-counter medications. This means that you can easily go to your local pharmacy and find an anti-fungal medication that could clear up your athlete’s foot over time. Of course, if you are someone who gets athlete’s foot regularly, has severe athlete’s foot symptoms or you also have diabetes then you’ll want to see your podiatrist right away.
In some cases, over-the-counter medications aren’t enough to get rid of the infection. If this is the case then a foot doctor will be able to prescribe a much stronger antifungal cream or topical medication. It can take a couple weeks for symptoms to clear up. Make sure that you continue to use the medication until it is finished otherwise you could risk a reinfection.
In the meantime, there are ways to care for your feet either during an infection or after the infection has been treated to prevent another one in the future. This means keeping feet dry at all times, whether you are stepping out of the shower or the pool. Whenever feet get wet, thoroughly dry them off to prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for fungus to grow.
Look for footwear and socks that have breathable materials. If you are prone to sweaty feet, apply an antifungal powder to your feet or your shoes before putting on footwear. When you take your shoes off make sure to give them a full day to air out before wearing them again. You can also apply more talcum powder in the shoes to eat up the moisture while they air dry.
You’ll also want to protect your feet in public areas where fungus thrives. Local swimming pools, gym showers, and locker rooms are breeding grounds for fungus. Always wear protective sandals whenever you are in these environments.
Whether you are dealing with a nasty bout of athlete’s foot or you just have questions about ways to properly care for your feet, it’s the perfect time to turn to a podiatrist who has all the answers.
While warts can appear anywhere on the body, if you notice one on the bottom of your feet then you have what’s called a verruca (also known as a plantar wart). Most people will get a wart at some point during their lifetime, so it isn’t something you should be worried about. Warts are the result of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Sure, having a plantar wart on the sole of your foot may be annoying but it will typically go away all on its own.
What does a verruca look like?
You may not even notice that you have a verruca, a thick, slightly raised growth or lump that looks a bit like a callus; however, since they do develop on the soles of the feet you may find that they are rather uncomfortable or even painful sometimes, especially when wearing shoes or during physical activity.
How long will it take for this wart to go away?
While warts can often be left alone to run their course, it can take several years for the verruca to completely go away. In the meantime, you may find that the verruca has become more painful and too annoying to put up with or to wait for it to go away. If this is the case, then it’s time to visit a podiatrist.
What can a podiatrist do?
There are several treatment options that a foot doctor may recommend for removing your verruca. There are certain creams and medications that contain active ingredients like salicylic acid, which can remove the outer layers of the wart to help shed it faster. While you can find some of these products over-the-counter, if you want to weigh your treatment options then talking to a podiatrist is always a good option. If you have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet you’ll want to immediately turn to a foot care specialist if you have a verruca and want to have it removed.
Another way to treat a verruca is through cryotherapy, in which we will freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen. While this might not be the best option for children, as freezing the wart can be uncomfortable, it only takes a few seconds to treat the wart. Once the wart has undergone cryotherapy it will scab over before falling off. Sometimes one cryotherapy session is all that’s needed while others may require several treatments to fully treat the wart. If in doubt, turn to your foot care specialist to treat your verruca properly.
You can get a callus on just about any surface of your body, but it most frequently occurs in places where there is a lot of friction to the skin. Your feet are most susceptible to calluses because you wear tight shoes around them for the better part of your day. In many cases, a callus is merely an annoyance, but there are cases when it can become a problem.
What Is a Callus?
A callus is a buildup of toughened skin that happens when an area of the foot continually comes in contact into a rough surface. The friction causes layers of dead skin to form until a noticeable bump develops—it’s a natural reaction of the body to protect itself from injury, but unfortunately can lead to other problems. Podiatrists often find calluses on the bottom of the feet or on the toes.
Why Do Calluses Form?
Foot calluses almost always form because of pressure from the shoes that you wear as well as walking very often. Athletes usually develop calluses because of their high levels of activity—they frequently run, jump and make sudden motions while wearing tennis shoes that aren’t always ideal for their needs. Women often develop calluses on their toes and the sides of their feet from wearing pumps to work that constantly rub up against their skin. Some are soft and caused by too much sweat and moisture in the shoes (another issue that affects athletes).
When a Callus Becomes Problematic...
A callus is usually considered a minor cosmetic annoyance to the feet, but there are cases when it can become problematic. Without proper treatment, they can become inflamed, ulcerated or infected over time. Calluses that become ulcers can put the foot or toes at serious risk if it isn’t cleaned and disinfected properly. Allowing calluses to grow to a certain size can also make it impossible to wear or walk in everyday shoes.
When foot or toe calluses become a problem, treatments should be explored with a podiatrist. Common solutions include removing the callus with a scalpel and administering what is called a salicyclic acid patch to heal the skin. Your podiatrist may also prescribe orthotic shoes or inserts to stop the progression of calluses and prevent them from coming back. If you have callused toes or feet, call your doctor to discuss a custom treatment plan.