Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
July 05, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

A hammertoe is a common foot deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. As a result, this causes the toes to bend downward. Since this bend causes the joint to stick out this can put more pressure on the affected joints when wearing shoes, which can also make the deformity worse over time. As with most foot deformities a hammertoe will start out minor and continue to progress over time if left untreated.

During the earlier stages you may not notice much pain and discomfort. In fact the only way you may be able to tell that you have a hammertoe is by examining the foot and noticing that the small toes bend downward like a claw. Of course, at this stage the deformed joint is still flexible enough to be straightened out.

However, if the deformity progresses this can cause the joint to become rigid, which won’t respond effectively to simple conservative treatments. As you might imagine, the sooner you see a podiatrist to treat your hammertoe the better. Early intervention is key, as a hammertoe will not get better without the proper care.

Hammertoes are often the result of an imbalance in the muscle or tendon of the foot. Over time, this leads to structural changes in the foot. Genetics may also play a role in whether your feet are at risk for this deformity. A hammertoe can also be made worse by wearing shoes that are too tight and put too much pressure on the toes.

Along with the structural changes that occur with hammertoes it’s also common to experience redness, inflammation or the development of a corn or callus on the toe. If you are noticing symptoms of a hammertoe see your podiatrist for an evaluation. A simple physical exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose a hammertoe; however, sometimes an x-ray will be performed in order to determine the extent of the deformity.

If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, more often than not simple nonsurgical treatment options are all that’s needed. Following simple treatment options and care can prevent the hammertoes from becoming rigid or painful. Some nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Wearing the appropriate footwear. This means wearing shoes that aren’t pointy or have high heels, which can put more pressure on the toes.
  • Placing custom orthotics into your shoes, which can ease discomfort and prevent pain resulting in a muscular imbalance.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, which can reduce both pain and inflammation.
  • Splinting the toe or toes to keep them straight, which can also reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain.
  • Applying protective non-medicated padding over the top of the toe to prevent a corn or callus from developing.

If your hammertoe is painful or rigid then you may need to discuss whether surgery is the best option for alleviating your symptom and correcting the deformity. If you are dealing with a hammertoe turn to a foot specialist for help.

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
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.  


Contact Us

New England & Ankle Specialists

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