By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
June 03, 2019
Category: Diabetic Foot Care
Tags: diabetic feet  

Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.

Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation

Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.

Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.

Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.

What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?

  1. Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
  2. Wash and dry your feet daily.
  3. Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
  4. Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
  5. Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
  6. Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
  7. Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
  8. Avoid all forms of tobacco.
  9. Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
  10. See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.

Healthy feet and a healthy you

Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.

By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
May 10, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Neuroma  

Are you dealing with pain, burning, tingling or numbness between your toes or in the ball of the foot? If you said “yes” then you could be dealing with a neuroma, Neuromaa pinched nerve or benign tumor of the nerve that is often found between the third and fourth toes.

The classic symptom of a neuroma is pain, particularly when walking—a factor that leads many people to liken the condition to feeling like a pebble is in their shoe. You may find that the pain eases up whenever you aren’t walking or when you rub the pained area with your hands. While neuromas can happen to anyone, they are most commonly found in women.

Neuroma Causes

While the causes of a neuroma are still not clear, there are factors that can increase the likelihood of developing one, such as:

  • Extremely high arches
  • Flat feet
  • Trauma that leads to nerve damage in the feet
  • Improper footwear (high heels over two-inches tall; pointed toes)
  • Repeated stress placed on the foot

Treating a Neuroma

A neuroma will not go away on its own, so it’s important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing any of the condition's symptoms. The type of treatment or treatments recommended to you will depend on the severity of the neuroma.

Those with minor neuromas may be able to lessen symptoms by wearing shoes that provide ample room for the toes and offer thick soles that provide more support and cushioning for the toes and balls of the feet. Sometimes a podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics to place inside the shoes, as well.

Your podiatrist may also recommend padding or taping the ball of the foot to improve faulty biomechanics and reduce discomfort. While medication will not eliminate the problem, it can temporarily alleviate symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can often briefly reduce pain and swelling, but for those dealing with more severe pain, steroid injections may be necessary to ease symptoms.

Surgery for a Neuroma

Surgery only becomes necessary when conservative treatment options have failed to provide relief, or when the neuroma has progressed enough that conservative care won’t be enough. During surgery, the inflamed nerve is removed through a simple outpatient procedure. Afterward, there is a short recovery period of a couple of weeks before patients are able to move about pain-free once again!

Give us a Call!

If you are dealing with new or worsening foot pain it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist that can help give you the answers you need. Schedule an appointment today.

By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
May 03, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions   Bunion Surgery  

A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.

A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.

The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:

  • Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
  • Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
  • Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
  • Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
  • Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
  • Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
  • Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition

For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.

When should someone consider bunion surgery?

As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:

  • Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
  • Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
  • You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
  • Your bunion is affecting your quality of life

It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.

By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
April 19, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Ingrown Nails  

Swelling, reddened flesh, shooting pain, and pus are just some of the incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of having an ingrown toenail. Although this condition can sometimes be successfully treated through home remedies, ingrown toenails often progress to the point of infection, a point that then requires professional treatment. Read on to learn what causes this problem, when it’s right to seek medical help, and how our podiatrists can help get your foot back to a healthy state!

The Causes and Symptoms

Before we cover how to treat ingrown toenails, let’s first review the core causes and symptoms that hallmark this condition…

Ingrown toenails initially develop due to a few different factors, including:

  • Cutting the toenail too short
  • Rounding the toenail during grooming
  • Wearing improperly fitting shoes
  • Experiencing toe trauma

If the flesh on the side of the toe has become red, swollen, and tender, you likely have an ingrown toenail. If you have caught this problem while it’s still in its early stages, you can try implementing some of the home remedies listed in the next section. However, if your toe is exhibiting some of the following signs of infection, you should seek professional podiatric help:

  • Pervasive shooting or throbbing toe pain
  • Regular bleeding
  • The presence of a pus-filled blister
  • The skin has started growing over the nail

Home Remedies

As mentioned above, if an ingrown toenail is caught before infection sets in, there are a few different methods that you can practice at home in order to clear up the issue. Some of these include:

  • Around 3 to 4 times a day, submerge your foot into warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Regularly doing this should reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
  • Following each soaking, use cotton to separate the ingrown toenail from the flesh that it is starting to grow under. This should allow the nail to grow above the skin again.
  • Avoid snug or constraining shoes.

If these actions fail to clear up the problem in 2 to 3 days, you should pursue professional treatment.

Professional Treatments

In the case of a severe or recurring infection, there are a few different procedures that your podiatrist can perform to make your toe healthy again. Depending on the specifics of your ingrown toenail, one of the following treatments may be recommended:

  • Partial Nail Removal: In the case of a severe ingrown toenail, your doctor can numb your toe before physically removing the ingrown portion of the nail.
  • Nail and Tissue Removal: If the same toe is repeatedly experiencing the same ingrown toenail problem, this procedure can be performed to prevent future recurrences. It entails your podiatrist removing a portion of the underlying nail bed, thus preventing the nail from become ingrown again.

Concerned About Your Toe? Give Us a Call!

If your ingrown toenail needs medical attention, call our podiatric office today!

By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
April 19, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunions  

Learn about some of the most effective ways to get your bunion pain under control.

Has one of the podiatrists at our Reading, MA, office recently told you that the foot pain you’re experiencing is due to a bunion? A bunion is bunion a common deformity that often affects the joint at the base of the big toe, causing it to protrude. Here’s what you can do to manage your bunion symptoms!

 

How can I treat my bunion?

Caring for your bunion is actually quite simple. In fact, unless you are dealing with severe pain and discomfort, minor and occasional bunion symptoms can often be addressed and reduced with simple at-home care. Common lifestyle modifications and at-home care include,

  • Wearing supportive and properly fitted shoes that don’t put pressure on the bunions or bunch up the toes (also avoid high heels and shoes with a pointed toe)
  • Placing a non-medicated bunion pad over the bunion prior to wearing shoes to prevent a callus from forming
  • Wearing custom orthotics in your shoes to redistribute the weight evenly on the foot, thus reducing pressure from being placed on the deformed joint
  • Icing the bunion for 10-15 minutes at a time to reduce pain and swelling
  • Taking over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen to temporarily alleviate inflammation and discomfort
  • Performing stretches and foot exercises that could help strengthen the ligaments, muscles, and tissues around the joint
  • Wearing a brace or splint at night to realign the joint to reduce morning pain and stiffness

If you don’t notice any changes in your symptoms after at-home care, then it’s time to visit our Reading office to speak with an expert. Sometimes prescription medications, steroid injections, and other treatment options may be recommended to manage your bunion symptoms.

 

When is it time to consider bunion surgery?

Bunion surgery is usually the very last resort and only recommended when all other treatment options and lifestyle changes have not been successful. Surgery is usually not the first treatment option to consider, as most people are able to get their symptoms under control with non-surgical options. Of course, if your bunion pain is persistent, severe, and doesn’t respond to other treatments then it’s time to consider getting bunion surgery to correct the deformity.

 

Need relief? Give us a call!

Here at our Reading office, we are always here to address your foot and ankle concerns. If you suspect that you might have a bunion, call us today at (781) 944-4044 for an evaluation!





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New England & Ankle Specialists

(781) 944-4044
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