Posts for category: Foot Care
A healthy body starts with healthy, happy feet. After all, your feet have to do a lot of heavy lifting, providing your body with a sturdy foundation and support to walk, run, and climb stairs. Of course, many people will deal with biomechanical problems in their feet due to flat feet, high arches, or other structural abnormalities. The good news is that something as simple as custom orthotics can provide your feet with the support they need to both prevent and manage foot and leg pain and other problems.
What are orthotics?
These specialized shoe inserts are a little different from the ones you can find at your local drugstore. Orthotics are special, custom-made shoe inserts designed and fabricated by your podiatrist to specifically fit your foot and its unique needs. There are many reasons why a podiatrist may recommend orthotics.
Sometimes orthotics are used to alleviate symptoms and improve common foot, leg, or even back problems, while other times your podiatrist may recommend them to improve the support and health of your feet to prevent problems in the first place.
Do I need orthotics?
Orthotics is just one way to treat foot and leg problems and your doctor may recommend orthotics if you are dealing with,
Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Leg, hip, or back pain
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Plantar fasciitis
- Certain injuries to the foot or ankle
While orthotics are typically not the sole treatment option, your podiatrist may prescribe orthotics along with other treatment options including stretching, pain-relieving medication, ice or heat therapy, and bracing or compression.
Orthotics can help people of all ages and backgrounds, from athletic kids and adults to those who are overweight and seniors. Feet continue to change as we get older, and as aches and pains set in, custom orthotics could be what you need to help make getting around as easy as it once was.
Types of Orthotics
There are many different kinds of materials that can be used to create orthotics. The type of condition you are dealing with will most likely help your podiatrist determine which material to use.
Orthotics range from soft and flexible to hard and rigid. Those with plantar fasciitis or diabetic feet are more likely to benefit from the cushioning and additional support of soft orthotics while athletes and those who often wear dress shoes are more likely to benefit from rigid orthotics.
If you are interested in orthotics and how they could help you, talk with your podiatrist to learn more.
By Northside Podiatry
July 24, 2020
While tight, cramped shoes and those towering high heels may not immediately show you the damage that’s being done to your feet, over time you will certainly notice changes in the structure and function of your feet. Along with bunions, a common foot deformity, hammertoes are another deformity that causes the toes to bend downward at the middle joint. If the problem isn’t corrected, this simple and rather uncomfortable deformity can become severe. Here’s how to determine whether you may have hammertoes and what you can do about it now to prevent it from getting worse.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
You need to make sure that any shoes you wear properly fit your feet. While this might sound silly, many people are guilty of wearing shoes that are too narrow and put too much pressure on the toes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your feet enough room to wiggle freely. If your toes are bunched up in any of the shoes you have (particularly high heels or shoes with pointed toes) then you will want to avoid these types of shoes whenever possible.
Consider Shoe Inserts
While it’s important to find shoes that cushion and support your foot structure, sometimes people with hammertoes, bunions, and other foot problems that can cause pain can benefit from prescription shoe inserts (also known as orthotics). Orthotics can be crafted to fit the shape of your feet and also to address the issues you’re having (aka alleviating pressure on the toes when standing or walking).
Apply Protective Padding
A hammertoe causes the toe to bend down like a claw. This means that the toe’s joint is sticking out. As you may already know, this causes shoes to rub against the joint, causing a callus to develop. One way to prevent this from happening is to apply a non-medicated pad over the toe joint before putting on shoes.
Practice Pain Management
If your hammertoe starts to ache or hurt, you may want to apply ice to the area throughout the day to help alleviate pain and swelling. If the pain is intense or persistent then you may want to consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, which can help with both pain and swelling; however, if your symptoms are severe, you must see a podiatrist about your hammertoe.
Do I need surgery for a hammertoe?
If the hammertoe is flexible (meaning that you can straighten the toe out) then you won’t need surgery; however, if the hammertoe becomes rigid and causes pain and problems with mobility then surgery is recommended.
If you are dealing with hammertoes or other foot problems, you must have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular and immediate care.
If you’re dealing with a bunion then you know that this pain is no joke. If you’re dealing with a throbbing, aching pain at the base of your big toe then you could very well be dealing with a bunion. This problem, a common complaint among women, usually develops gradually over many years so many people don’t even realize that they have a bunion until symptoms start to appear. While a bunion will not go away without surgery, the good news is that a podiatrist is usually all you need to manage your symptoms without resorting to surgery. Here are some ways to effectively manage your bunions:
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to help with pain and swelling
- Ice the bunion for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day to also alleviate pain and swelling (conversely, you may choose to soak your bunion in warm water to ease symptoms)
- Consider getting prescription orthotics (shoe inserts) to place within your shoes to take the pressure off the deformed joint and to reduce pain with walking or standing
- Wear a night splint, which will straighten out the big toe while you sleep to reduce morning pain and stiffness
- Only wear shoes that have a wide toe box that doesn’t put pressure on the bunion. Avoid high heels and shoes with pointed toes.
- Perform stretching exercises every day to alleviate stiffness and to improve mobility and range of motion within the feet
- Apply a non-medicated pad over the bunion before putting on shoes to prevent friction and the formation of a callus
Conservative treatment is typically the first course of action when treating a bunion. A patient will go through this home care plan to see if it alleviates their symptoms; however, if symptoms persist or get worse then it’s time to see your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to examine the bunion to determine the severity and to create a treatment plan that will help you manage your pain.
Should I consider bunion surgery?
Most patients won’t require bunion surgery to manage their symptoms; however, if your bunion pain is severe, the deformity is large, or if conservative and nonsurgical care isn’t helping you manage your symptoms then it may be time to talk with your podiatrist about whether or not you should get bunion surgery.
Worried that you might be dealing with a bunion? Experiencing regular bunion pain? If so, a foot and ankle professional can assess the problem and provide you with a customized treatment plan to help you get your bunion pain under control.
By Northside Podiatry
June 25, 2020
Are you wondering whether you should be turning to a podiatrist for care?
We don’t often think about the health of our feet until they start to cause us problems. Once foot pain, swelling and other problems set in, it is most likely a good time to visit a podiatrist to find out what’s going on. While minor pain and swelling may be alleviated through rest and home care, you should visit a podiatrist if you are dealing with:
- Ingrown toenails
- Chronic heel pain
- A broken foot or ankle
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in the feet
- Severe pain
- Difficulty bearing weight on a foot or ankle
- A visible foot deformity
- Signs of infection (e.g. redness; swelling; fever)
- An ulcer or open wound
Need to come in for an evaluation? If so, here’s what to expect when you come into our podiatrist’s office for care,
We’ll go through your medical history
It’s important to understand your current health status as well as any conditions that could cause further problems for your feet and ankles. For example, patients with diabetes are more at risk for foot-related complications; therefore, it’s important to know all the details of your medical history so we can provide you with more effective care.
We will examine your foot
Next, we will perform a thorough physical examination of the affected foot and ankle. We will look for everything from visible deformities such as bunion and hammertoes, to issues with blood flow or changes in the color of your skin. A physical exam of your feet and ankles can tell us a lot about what might be going on.
We will determine if imaging tests are needing
Sometimes a physical examination is all that’s needed to be able to determine what’s going on. This is often the case with outward problems such as ingrown toenails or fungal infections; however, problems that affect the bones, ligaments and muscles of the foot may require imaging tests such as MRIs or X-rays to make a proper diagnosis.
We will map out a treatment plan
Once we’ve determined the cause of your symptoms, we can create your individualized treatment plan. The treatment options we recommend will depend on the type and severity of your condition. Acute and minor conditions will heal with rest and proper home care while more severe or chronic conditions may require long-term maintenance, therapies and medication. This is something that our podiatrist can discuss with you at length during your appointment.
If you are looking for someone to provide you with specialized foot and ankle care then a podiatrist is the right doctor for you.
By Northside Podiatry
June 12, 2020
Tags: Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body uses and processes blood sugar. One of the main symptoms of diabetes is nerve pain, creating numbness in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy). If you have diabetes, it’s important that you regularly see a podiatrist. The nerve damage prevents blood from reaching your feet, making it hard to notice when you have a foot injury. A podiatrist can help treat any injuries and foot conditions while also providing you with preventive care.
Keep Track of Your Levels
Monitoring your blood sugar levels keeps both your feet and body healthy. High levels increase your risk of nerve damage. Besides taking your medication, try following a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Losing excess weight makes your diabetes easier to manage.
Pay Attention to Your Feet
Your podiatrist recommends checking your feet every day for injuries or other issues. Be on the lookout for blisters, cuts, swelling, redness, or nail problems. These indicate a bigger issue at hand. Things like blisters or dry skin put you at risk of infection. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, see your podiatrist right away.
Wear Shoes and Socks Daily
People with diabetes need to protect their feet at all costs. This means that they should never go barefoot. Always wear socks and preferably shoes. Choose cotton or wool socks that aren’t too tight. For shoes, you want a pair that fits properly, is insulated, and protects you from injuries.
Your podiatrist suggests keeping your toenails trimmed and cleaned when you have diabetes. This prevents dangerous infections from ingrown toenails. When you do cut your nails, do so straight across. Don’t try curbing them or cutting the corners and cuticles. Have a loved one help you with your nails if you can’t reach them yourself.
Washing Your Feet
Be extra cautious when washing your feet. Always wash them with lukewarm water, taking care to dry them carefully after. Use a soft washcloth or sponge to avoid injury. You should moisture them after they are dry, just avoid applying lotion between the toes.
Talk to Your Podiatrist
It’s important to stay in contact with your podiatrist with regular appointments. They work with you to manage your diabetic symptoms in your feet. Remember to practice foot care every day to stay safe.