Posts for category: Foot Conditions
What Causes Warts?
Got foot warts? Nearly everyone will have a wart at some point in their lives. Warts are typically small, hard skin growths caused by an infection with humanpallilloma virus. Foot warts are treatable. Foot warts are among the most common dermatologic conditions podiatrists treat. Read on to learn about the causes of warts.
An HPV Infection
Common warts are caused by by an HPV infection. Over 100 types of HPV exist. Certain types of HPV infection cause cervical cancer. Some types of HPV infection cause foot warts, while others cause warts that appear on the face, neck, or hands. Of the 100 types of HPV, about 60 cause common warts on areas such as the hands or feet.
Wart viruses are contagious. You can get foot warts from skin-to-skin contact with people who have warts. However, not all HPV strains are highly contagious. You can get the wart virus by touching an object that another person's wart touched, such as clothing, towels, shoes, or exercise equipment.
Breaks in Your Skin
HPV infects the top layer of skin and usually enters the body in an area of damaged or cut skin. Cuts from shaving can provide an avenue for infection. Getting a scrape can also bring on common warts. Foot warts are very common in swimmers whose feet are scratched by rough pool surfaces.
A Weak Immune System
In most cases, your immune system defeats an HPV infection before it creates a wart. Someone with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable and therefore more likely to develop warts. Immune systems can be weakened by HIV or by immunosuppressant drugs used after organ transplants.
If you want to get rid of foot warts, see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Many types of effective wart treatments are available. They include salicylic acid, cantharidin, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and surgery. Your podiatrist can help you get rid of foot warts once and for all!
Do you experience pain when you are walking or standing? Do you have calluses on the ball or side of your foot or on your heel? Does your ankle feel unstable and tend to turn inwards unexpectedly? At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we often see these symptoms in patients that have a condition known as Cavus Foot, which is characterized by an overly high arch that is visible when standing.
Cases of Cavus Foot generally fall into two categories. In the first, the overly high arch is due to a structural defect that is most likely genetic. The other cause of this condition is a neurologic disorder or medical problem such as Charcot Marie Tooth disease, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, polio or stroke. It’s important to determine the correct cause of the Cavus Foot in order to determine the appropriate treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui and Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will start by conducting a thorough examination of the foot. The foot doctor will want to take a detailed medical history. In searching for the cause of the high arch, the podiatrist may test the muscle strength of your foot, evaluate your walking pattern and possibly order x-rays. If the podiatrist suspects a neurologic cause of the Cavus Foot a consultation with a neurologist may be recommended.
If Cavus Foot is caused by a structural abnormality, it is unlikely to progress. Those cases resulting from a medical condition or neurologic condition usually worsen if left untreated. Fortunately, there are a number of non-surgical treatment options for Cavus Foot, including:
Changing your shoes—choose wider heels to increase balance and stability and high tops to provide ankle support.
Orthotic devices—cushioning and stability can both be gained through the use of orthotic devices.
Bracing—this can help keep the foot and ankle from turning.
If these treatments are not successful, the foot doctor may recommend surgery.
Sometimes patients are hesitant to come to New England Foot & Ankle Specialists with a complaint of muscle spasms. After all, even though they are annoying and mildly painful, spasms don’t seem like a major problem requiring medical attention. However, muscle spasms (known as carpopedal spasms when they occur in the feet and toes) can be a first sign of a more serious medical problem. If you find them happening repeatedly, you should schedule an appointment to see one of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond for an evaluation.
Many Possible Causes
Part of the difficulty in determining what’s behind muscle spasms is that there are many possibilities. Some of them are fairly innocuous. One of the more common reasons is working out or participating in a sport and overdoing it or not stretching properly before or after the activity. Being dehydrated or having an electrolyte imbalance can bring them on. Muscle spasms in the feet are fairly common during the third trimester of pregnancy. They can also be caused by a Vitamin D deficiency or a side effect of taking certain medications. In these cases, the remedies are fairly straightforward.
Muscle spasms in the feet can also be the result of several medical conditions:
Nerve damage to one or a group of nerves
The foot doctor will examine your foot and also get a complete medical history from you. Certain lab tests, such as blood and urine analysis, can provide additional clues to the cause of muscle spasms. Once the podiatrist has traced the cause of your spasms the correct treatment can be prescribed. If the foot doctor suspects one of the neuromuscular or other medical conditions listed above you may be referred to a physician that specializes in that area of medicine.
If the joints in your feet are inflamed, you’ll know it. The pain and stiffness will be evident with every step. August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and here at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we want to give your patients the facts about how this disease can affect your joints. Although most people when they think of psoriasis think of a skin condition (red, scaly dry patches that itch and burn), another condition associated with this autoimmune disease is psoriatic arthritis. Here are some important facts about this condition and your feet:
Psoriatic arthritis usually affects joints closest to you toe and finger nails (distal joints) and that is why it often develops in the feet.
Psoriatic arthritis affects up to 30% of patients that have been diagnosed with psoriasis.
In approximately 85% of cases, psoriatic arthritis shows up after psoriasis but in 15% of the cases the arthritis precedes the skin condition.
The severity of your psoriasis does not correlate with the development of psoriatic arthritis—patients with very few skin lesions can still have their joints affected.
Some symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to other types of joint disease: pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion. There are, however, often additional symptoms that are different: general fatigue, changes in the appearance of your toenails—nails may be pitted or separate from the nail bed and you may also experience redness and pain in your eye.
Psoriatic arthritis may appear slowly over time or come on suddenly with severe symptoms.
Sometimes the arthritis will develop in a joint that has been injured.
Perhaps the most important fact to know is that psoriatic arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage in as little as six months. That’s why early detection and treatment is essential. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, especially if you have already been diagnosed with psoriasis, contact our Reading office for an appointment as soon as possible. Our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. will do a complete examination of your foot and will help determine the cause and appropriate treatment of your joint pain.
Cancer can develop in your feet just as in other parts of the body. Now that summer is here, it’s a good time to remind our patients to apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of their feet with the same frequency that you do the rest of your body when you are out in the sun. This will go a long way toward helping prevent skin cancer on your feet. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, makes up only 1% of skin cancers yet accounts for over 60% of skin cancer deaths. It is curable if caught early but on the feet it often progresses to a late stage because patients don’t spot it early on. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we want to stress the importance of checking your feet regularly and reporting any changes or unusual symptoms to our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, DPM, Brian D. Tedesco, DPM, Carl Conui, DPM, and Kimberly Thurmond, DPM without delay.
Other types of cancers and tumors found in the foot include:
Osteochondromas—these are benign tumors found under the toenail and they make up approximately half of all benign bone tumors found in the foot. Typically, Osteochondromas are not painful and do not need to be removed, although they can deform the nail or cause an ingrown nail. They develop most often in children and young adults.
Neoplastic Disorders—tumors which form from abnormal tissue growth, these can be benign or malignant.
Giant Cell Tumors—although they sound scary, this type of tumor is benign but, because it grows in the tendon sheaths it can be very painful. Giant cell tumors may develop on the top or sides of the foot or on the toes.
Plantar Fibroma—this benign tumor grows deep inside the bottom of the foot on the fibrous band of tissue known as the plantar fascia, which runs from your heel to your toes. Depending on the size of the tumor and amount of discomfort it is causing, it may be treated conservatively with custom orthotics and other measures. If these do not work, the foot doctor may recommend surgically removing the fibroma.
It’s always better to be over cautious when it comes to lumps in your feet or unusual changes in the skin. If you have any concerns about anything you have found on your toes or feet, please contact our Reading office for an appointment.