We have all made the painful mistake of trimming our nails too short at some point in our lives. Sometimes, this can really affect our foot health by causing ingrown toenails.
This happens when the nail grows downward into the skin instead of straight out, usually causing an infection. Ingrown toenails are most common on the sides of the big toe. It can also be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, poor foot structure, etc.
Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and trimming nails in a straight line (rather than rounded) are ways to treat and prevent painful ingrown toenails. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. They can develop from an inherited structural defect, excess stress on your foot, or can result from an existing medical condition.
For the most part, bunions require no medical treatment. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the following, a podiatrist can help alleviate your symptoms.
Plantar warts are caused by the HPV virus and cause tiny cuts and breaks on the bottom of your feet.
While most plantar warts are not a major health concern, it is advised you see a doctor to have the warts examined and removed. Some symptoms include small, rough lesions on the base of the foot, calluses in one spot, and tenderness when walking or standing for long periods of time.
Flat foot is a condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened which causes the sole of the foot to touch the floor when standing upright. It is likely for flat feet to be caused by the arches not fully developing during childhood and is considered a very common and painless condition. On the other hand, flat feet can occur after an injury or from the normal aging process.
While it is common not to experience any pain or symptoms of flat feet, some people do tend to sense pain in the heel or arch area. Physical activity can irritate the area and inflame the foot along the inside of the ankle. This can be caused by the tendon that is supporting the arch being stretched as it is depreciating.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by overuse of the band of tissues that connects the lower region of your calf muscle to your heel bone, also known as your Achilles tendon. Those at a higher risk for Achilles tendinitis are runners engaging in intense training or middle-aged people who participate in sports on occasion.
Hammertoe is a deformity where one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes begin to bend outside of their normal alignment. Pressure can begin to weigh heavy on the toes as you wear shoes which is where pain and other symptoms develop.
Hammertoes typically begin with small symptoms and deformities and continue to worsen with time. In its beginning stages, hammertoes are often impressionable which means they can be controlled using minimal treatment. It is important to know the signs of hammertoes to get them evaluated early. If left untreated, hammertoes can become more firm and difficult to manipulate, requiring surgery.
Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis
Heel spurs occur in at least 50% of people who have plantar fasciitis. Past treatments for heel spurs, a bony growth that begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot, included surgery to remove the growth. Nowadays, surgery is rarely a treatment option and more plans for physical therapy, ice, and pain medications are used to treat heel spurs.
Haglund’s deformity is a common foot condition where a bony bump begins to form at the back of the heel bone where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel.
The bony protrusion can cause severe pain while walking or wearing shoes as the bone rubs against the shoe.
If you are experiencing severe heel pain, please seek medical attention as this condition can worsen if left untreated. For more information on Haglund’s deformity or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today.
Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain in the ball of the foot—the area between your arch and toes. The area under your toes can be a common source of pain because it supports your weight when standing, walking, or running. Metatarsalgia is described as painful swelling that occurs in the ball of the foot. The pain can feel like a tingling or numbness, or sharp shooting or burning pain. You may feel pain in a small area under your toes, or it can be felt across the whole width of the foot. Symptoms should be caught early since the condition worsens over time.
A neuroma can occur in many areas of the body when nerve tissue thickens. Morton’s neuroma is the most typical neuroma that occurs in the foot and it occurs between the third and fourth toes. Also known as an intermetatarsal neuroma, the name describes its location in the ball of the foot.
Compression and irritation typically cause the nerve tissue to thicken. This pressure creates inflammation of the nerve, ultimately causing untreatable damage to the nerves in the foot.
If you have a neuroma, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Tingling, burning or numbness
- A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot
- A feeling that there is something in the shoe or a sock is bunched up
After a careful evaluation of the neuroma, Ankle and Foot Specialists of Marion will begin forming your treatment plan. Treatment plans vary depending on the severity of the neuroma.
Sesamoiditis is a form of tendonitis and causes pain to occur at the ball of your foot, near the big toe joint. This condition is caused by inflamed, injured, or irritated tendons attached to two small sesamoid bones near the big toe joint.
The most common symptom of sesamoiditis is pain around the great toe and ball of the foot, this can occur gradually if due to inflammation and overuse. If a fracture occurs, the pain will be immediate.
Other symptoms may include bruising, redness, and swelling. It may also be difficult to put weight on the toe, bend or straighten the toe, or walk comfortably.
In mild cases, sesamoiditis heals within a few days after conservation treatment but recovery will vary depending on the severity of the condition and type of treatment.
For more information on sesamoiditis and our treatment options or to schedule an appointment, contact our office at (740)383-5115.
Tailor’s bunion, also known as a bunionette, is a bump that forms along the side of the 5th metatarsal bone, the bone at the bottom of your little toe. Though not as common as bunions, which occur on the inside of the foot along the big toe, tailor bunions are similar in causes and symptoms.
The most common cause of a tailor’s bunion is direct pressure to the metatarsal bone. This pressure can stem from improper footwear that is too narrow or tight or may be due to an abnormal shape or position of the metatarsal bone. Patients may also inherit a misalignment within the bone structure of their feet that makes them prone to developing a tailor’s bunion. Other causes may include loose ligaments within the foot, tight calf muscles, or feet that lean outward.
Tailor’s bunions progress gradually and generally start with a small bump over the side of the 5th metatarsal bone or near the base of your pinkie toe. If left untreated, this bump will increase in size over time due to inflammation and cause great pain.
Chronic rubbing of the bump against the inside of your shoe may cause the skin to become irritated and red, in some cases a bursa, or small fluid-filled sac may also form and develop into bursitis due to constant pressure and inflammation. The area of the skin may also harden and form a callus.
If your condition is severe and does not respond well to conservative treatment options, surgery may be considered. Surgical procedures designed to treat a tailor’s bunion include shaving the bump down or repositioning the fifth metatarsal bone into an ideal position and securing it with screws or plates.
The length of your recovery will vary depending on the procedure performed. Generally, patients can expect a few months of keeping weight off the foot and using a walker, crutch, or boot to help protect the foot as it heals. Physical therapy may also be needed to help strengthen your foot muscles.
For more information on tailor’s bunions or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today at (740)383-5115.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space that is within the ankle and is formed by your ankle bones and ligaments. Many of the blood vessels, nerves, and tendons that allow you to move your foot pass through the tarsal tunnel. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome refers to a condition in which the nerves within the tunnel become compressed leading to pain, inflammation, and irritation.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be caused by any condition that compresses the tibial nerve or strains it. Common causes can include flat feet, sprains, or certain medical conditions such as arthritis, bone spurs, or diabetes.
If the condition is severe, your doctor may recommend surgical intervention. A common procedure performed for tarsal tunnel syndrome is tarsal tunnel release. During this procedure, an opening is made at the arch of the foot to allow access to the ligaments so that the surgeon can divide them to relieve pressure. Surgery should only be considered once all other options have been exhausted.
For more information on tarsal tunnel syndrome or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today at (740)383-5115.
Hallux rigidus is the most common form of arthritis diagnosed within the foot and is a condition that affects the big toe. Hallux refers to the big toe, while rigidus implies that the toe is rigid and cannot move as it should.
Hallux rigidus is commonly caused by structural abnormalities of the foot that lead to osteoarthritis. It can be the result of excessive pronation of the ankles or flat feet. Hallux rigidus can also be the result of inheriting a foot abnormality that makes the patient prone to developing this condition. Patients who constantly place stress on the big toe may also increase their risk for developing hallux rigidus.
Common symptoms include pain in the joint, swelling, a bunion or callus, and stiffness in the toe. As the condition progresses, it may become difficult to bend or straighten the toe properly. This may be increased when walking, standing, or placing pressure on the big toe. Untreated, this pain can begin to extend up the leg, to the knees, and hip and affect the way you walk or distribute weight.
In more severe cases, surgery can be performed to reduce pain. There are several types of surgery your doctor may recommend. A cheilectomy will remove bone spurs as well as a portion of the bone to allow your toe more room to bend and function properly. Arthrodesis may also be performed to fuse bones together if the damage is severe. Plates, pins, and screws can be used to fix the joint into a permanent position allowing the bones to fuse. This will prevent you from bending the toe but can be an effective way to reduce pain.
Recovery after surgery will depend on the type performed. For minor procedures, a hard sandal will be worn for several weeks while you avoid putting any weight on the foot. With bone fusion surgeries, a cast may need to be worn for 8 weeks and you will also have to limit the weight you place on your foot for several months until you heal properly.
For more information on hallux rigidus and how we can help or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today at (740)383-5115.
Onychomycosis, also known as nail fungus, is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by tiny, microscopic organisms such as fungi or yeast.
Injury to the nail bed can also increase the risk of fungal infections. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, poor circulation, or immune deficiencies can also make a person more prone to developing fungal infections. Another common cause of fungal infections is a failure to keep your feet or fingers clean and dry. If you wear sweaty socks or the same pair of shoes often without letting them dry, you may be at a higher risk of developing a fungal infection.
Common symptoms of onychomycosis can include partial or full discoloration of the nail (white, brown, yellow, or green. You may notice debris buildup underneath the nail, the nail may begin to lift from the nail bed so that it is no longer firmly attached, or you may notice changes in the texture of your nail such as the surface of the nail can become soft, dry, and powdery. The nail may become thick, brittle, split, and give off a foul odor.
In more severe cases or cases where chronic infections are developing, surgical treatment may be required. In this form of treatment, the removal of the whole infected nail or partial nail removal can allow for direct application of treatment.
In terms of prevention, proper hygiene and regular inspection of nails are the first lines of defense. Wash your feet and hands with soap and water. Remember to dry them thoroughly. Remember to wear shower shoes or footwear in public areas such as locker rooms, gyms, spas, pools, and showers. If you have sweaty feet, be sure to change your socks throughout the day if needed. Allow your shoes to dry for 24 hours before wearing them again. Use antifungal spray or powder on your feet and shoes.
For more information on onychomycosis and how we can help or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today at (740)383-5115.
Brachymetatarsia is a condition in which the bones of one of your metatarsals, or toes, is significantly shorter than the others. This condition can affect both feet and any of the toes, but most commonly affects the fourth metatarsal or toe.
This condition occurs when the affected metatarsal bone fails to fully develop, or its growth plate is closed prematurely during the early stages of growth. This condition may also be congenital, meaning an inherited structural abnormality.
Common symptoms associated with brachymetatarsia include pain that can affect how a person walks or performs certain activities impacting the patient’s gait and posture. If the short toe rises above the others, it can cause friction when wearing shoes leading to blisters and calluses.
Surgical treatment can also be performed if recommended or necessary. A bone graft can be performed to lengthen the toe through acute lengthening. During this procedure, the bone is lengthened by creating a space between the bone endings of the toe and filling the gap with a bone graft so the toe can be lengthened. Afterward, a cast is worn for several weeks, and the recovery can take a few months for the patient to heal fully.
Another surgical option is gradual lengthening in which an external fixator is used to gradually pull and stretch the bones and associated soft tissues over time until the desired length is achieved. It can take several months to complete followed by a few weeks of recovery in which the patient needs to avoid placing significant weight on your foot.
For more information on brachymetatarsia and how we can help or to schedule an appointment, contact our office at (740)383-5115.
Corns tend to be smaller than calluses and are the hard center is surrounded by irritated skin. While corns can be found on the bottom of the foot where pressure is usually applied, it is more common that you find corns on the tops and sides of your toes and even between your toes. When pressure is applied, corns can cause significant pain and discomfort.
Calluses, on the other hand, don’t usually cause pain. They usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knees. Calluses vary in size and shape and are often larger than corns.
Diabetic Foot Care
Daily preventative care can help you decrease your risk of developing these other serious conditions like ulcers and infections. Inspecting your feet at the end of the day to look for any abnormalities, maintaining proper hygiene, keeping your feet warm in cold weather, encouraging blood flow in the feet, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can discourage other conditions from developing.