Posts for category: Foot Conditions
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness
- Skin that’s hard to the touch
- Pus or drainage coming from the nail
Can you prevent ingrown toenails?
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
- Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
- Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
- Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
- Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
Heel pain is a pretty common foot complaint and sometimes, it doesn't go away after handling it with conservative treatments at home. How do you know that it's time to seek your podiatrists' care at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, MA, for heel pain? Let's find out.
Causes of Heel Pain
Most heel pain cases are due to plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a connective tissue band on the sole of your feet. Repeat use and stress are often the cause of this foot problem. Therefore, it's not uncommon for people who spend lots of time on their feet such as teachers or nurses to experience plantar fasciitis. The pain is usually worse in the morning as you take your first steps.
However, plantar fasciitis isn't the only possible cause of heel pain. That's why you need to consult your podiatrist to pinpoint the cause of your heel pain so that you can get the treatment you need.
Other causes of heel pain include:
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Arthritis of sub-talar joint
- Stress fracture
- Haglund's deformity
When to See Your Podiatrist in Reading, MA, for Heel Pain
When your heel pain limits your physical activity or holds you back from enjoying the best parts of your day, it might be time to seek your podiatrists' help. Here are some signs that you should see your podiatrist:
- Heel pain persists for a few days even after rest
- Heel pain that comes while resting
- Problem standing on your tiptoes
- Sharp pain in the morning or after a rest period
- Swelling around your heel
- Numbness or tingling in your heel
- Difficulty walking
- Open sores on your heel that fail to heal
Your podiatrist will examine your feet and diagnose your condition. They'll proceed with conservative treatments that help decrease your discomfort and improve your condition. However, in some cases, your podiatrist might need to perform surgery.
If your heel pain won't go away, it's time to get help. Call (781) 944-4044 to schedule your consultation with your podiatrists at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, MA, for heel pain treatment.
Flat feet are when a person's entire sole touches the floor when standing. This can be problematic for many individuals, just ask Dr. George Abboud of New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, MA.
What are the symptoms of flat feet?
Flat feet aren't usually painful unless you're playing a sport or doing any sort of walking activity, but there are several other symptoms to note:
- Discomfort because shoes feel uneven
- Feet tire easily
- Painful in arches, heels, and back
Symptoms of flat feet manifest during late childhood. If a toddler or young child experiences foot pain, you may need to visit your Reading podiatrist.
What causes flat feet?
Flat feet may be a result of many things:
- A congenital defect
- Damaged, inflamed, stretched, or torn tendons
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Health conditions: obesity, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve problems
How are flat feet diagnosed?
Podiatrists use several tools and tests during your physical examination, like x-rays and MRIs.
What are treatment options?
There are several treatment options, some invasive and others conservative.
Conservative methods include:
- Orthotic arch support
- Physical therapy
- Foot exercises
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Injected medications
- Braces or casts
Invasive methods come down to surgery. If painful flat feet don't respond to non-operative measures, speak with your podiatrist about surgery, like:
- Fusing bones together
- Removing bones or growths
- Changing the shape of the bone
- Using tendons from other parts of your body to help form an arch
- Grafting bone
Need a consultation?
Flat feet are painful and you don't need to live with that sort of discomfort. If you have any questions or concerns about flat feet, you should contact your Reading, MA, podiatrist, Dr. George Abboud. He can help examine, diagnose, and treat you or a loved one's foot problems. For more information or to schedule an appointment at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, call (781) 944-4044.
While we know that there are a lot of reasons why someone might have dry, cracked feet including being on your feet all day, long-distance running or winter weather, your thyroid might also be playing a role. Many people with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, complain of dry, cracked skin on the soles of their feet, particularly the heels. You may also notice that you get deep, painful fissures or that your skin seems almost leathery in thickness and appearance. This could be a sign to have your thyroid checked.
Since your thyroid is responsible for your metabolism it’s not too surprising that an underactive thyroid slows the metabolism, which in turn causes the body’s temperature to drop. This is why you notice that your feet and hands always seem to be cold to the touch. You may notice that this problem is made worse during cold weather. Some people with hypothyroidism deal with a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the feet and hands are so cold that they go numb and turn blue or white.
Again, there are a lot of things that can lead to swollen feet; however, if you notice swelling in your feet and ankles rather regularly then you may want to have your thyroid checked. Since people with hypothyroidism are also prone to developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated, you must have a podiatrist you can turn to for regular care if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.
Many people can easily manage their bunion symptoms and slow the progression of this common foot deformity through simple lifestyle changes. There are several approaches you can take to reduce bunion pain including,
- Maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight, which can take pressure off the feet
- Wear shoes that don’t put pressure on the bunion, that provide ample support, and that have lots of room for your toes
- Look for shoes that have a low heel (high heels can make bunions worse)
- Apply a gel or protective pad to the bunion before putting on shoes
- Talk to your podiatrist about the benefits of custom orthotics (aka shoe inserts) and how they could take pressure off the bunion when standing or in motion
- Take pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor
- Warm or cold therapy such as warm soaks or applying ice can also improve swelling, inflammation, and pain (some people prefer the heat to the cold and vice versa; it’s a matter of preference. Try both and see what works best for you!)
- Talk with your podiatrist to see if a night splint could ease morning stiffness and pain
Of course, there are certain scenarios in which a podiatrist may recommend getting surgery to correct the bunion. Here’s when you may want to consider getting surgery,
- You are in significant and chronic pain
- Your bunion is severely enlarged, and the big toe is crossing over the other toes
- Your activities are limited due to your bunion
- Your bunion pain persists for more than a year
- Nonsurgical methods aren’t completely controlling your bunion pain
- You are developing other foot problems such as bursitis or hammertoes due to your bunion