Posts for category: Foot Conditions

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!

By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
March 06, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Is heel pain keeping you down? Pain that occurs following an injury or early in an illness may play a protective role, warning us about the damage we have suffered. SoYour Heel Pain Could Be Plantar Fasciitis what causes heel pain?
 
Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition in which a band of tissue in the sole of the foot becomes inflamed, leading to severe heel pain. The pain can be so bad that it hurts to walk, much less exercise or perform daily activities. If one step causes shooting pain in your heel—especially when you first get out of bed in the morning or stand up after sitting for a long period of time—plantar fasciitis may be to blame. Contact your podiatrist immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment of your pain. 
 

Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist

Plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension. This causes the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length, leading to inflammation, pain and possibly the growth of a bone spur where it attaches to the heel bone.
 
Inflammation may become irritated by shoes that lack appropriate support, mainly in the arch area and by the constant irritation associated with an athletic lifestyle. Resting may provide temporary relief, but when you resume walking you may experience a sudden elongation of the fascia band, which stretches and pulls on the heel. As you walk the pain may lessen or even disappear, but that may just be a false sense of relief, as the pain will often return after prolonged rest or extensive walking.  
 
You can take steps now to avoid heel pain, including:
  • Wear shoes that fit well
  • Wear proper shoes for each activity
  • Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
  • Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
  • Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
  • Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
  • Lose excess weight
If pain and other symptoms of inflammation persist, you should limit your normal daily activities and contact your podiatrist immediately.  
By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
February 07, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions

Heel pain is one of the most common complaints a podiatrist hears about from patients. If you are dealing with heel pain above the heel bone then you could be dealing with Achilles Tendonitis, a result of overuse. The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body and it serves to connect the muscles of the calf with the lower leg and heel bone.

While Achilles Tendonitis tends to occur most often in runners, this condition can still occur in athletes that play certain sports such as soccer or tennis. Unfortunately, this tendon does weaken as we get older, which makes at an increased risk for developing this overuse injury as we age.

 

What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?

The most obvious symptom of Achilles Tendonitis is pain above the heel bone. When the pain first appears it’s usually pretty mild and you may only notice it after running; however, over time you may notice that the pain gets worse after certain exercises. Along with pain you may also experience stiffness or tenderness in the heel, especially in the morning or after long periods of sitting.

 

When should I see a podiatrist?

If this is the first time that you’ve ever experienced heel pain then it’s a good idea to turn to a foot doctor who can determine whether Achilles Tendonitis is causing your symptoms or whether it’s something else. If you’re experiencing chronic heel pain around the Achilles tendon it’s also a good time to see a doctor. If the pain is severe or you are unable to put weight on your foot it’s possible that you might be dealing with a ruptured tendon, which requires immediate attention.

 

How do you treat Achilles Tendonitis?

In most cases, Achilles Tendonitis can be treated with simple self-care options. Unless symptoms are severe you may be able to treat your heel pain by:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain medications
  • Avoiding high-impact activities or activities that exacerbate symptoms
  • Elevating the foot to reduce swelling
  • Performing stretching exercises or undergoing physical therapy
  • Icing the heel
  • Wearing custom orthotics
  • Replacing worn-out shoes, especially running shoes

Surgery is only necessary if your symptoms aren’t responding to any other nonsurgical treatment options after several months or if the tendon is torn.

 

If you think your heel pain could be the result of Achilles Tendonitis then it’s time to turn to a podiatrist as soon as possible. A podiatrist can provide you with a variety of treatment options, from simple lifestyle modifications to custom orthotics.

By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
January 15, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: athlete's foot  

Athletes FootAthlete's foot is one of the most common fungal infections of the skin and is frequently seen in our office. Whether you've had it or not, it's important to understand how you can avoid and treat this highly contagious infection if you do contract it.

The fungus that causes athlete's foot thrives in damp, moist environments and often grows in warm, humid climates, such as locker rooms, showers and public pools; hence the name "athlete's foot. " This infection can itch and burn causing the skin on your feet and between your toes to crack and peel.

Tips For avoiding Athlete's Foot:

  • Keep your feet dry, allowing them to air out as much as possible
  • Wear socks that draw moisture away from your feet and change them frequently if you perspire heavily
  • Wear light, well-ventilated shoes
  • Alternate pairs of shoes, allowing time for your shoes to dry each day
  • Always wear waterproof shoes in public areas, such as pools, locker rooms, or communal showers
  • Never borrow shoes due to the risk of spreading a fungal infection

Treatment

A mild case of athlete's foot will generally clear up on its own with over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays. But since re-infection is common due to its contagious nature, many people require prescribed anti-fungal medication to effectively treat the infection. Generally, it's always best to consult with your podiatrist before choosing a treatment.

Mild cases of athlete's foot can turn severe and even cause a serious bacterial infection. If you notice your rash has become increasingly red, swollen and painful or you develop blisters and sores, call our office right away. Athlete's foot left untreated could eventually spread to other body parts and infect other people around you.

With the right treatment, you'll be cured of your athlete's foot in no time, which means the sooner you can enjoy the activities you love without pain and irritation!



Contact Us

New England & Ankle Specialists

(781) 944-4044
30 New Crossing Road Suite 311 Reading, MA 01876