Posts for: April, 2016
A Neuroma is an enlargement or thickening of nerve tissue. This benign condition can develop in many parts of the body, including the foot. The most frequent form of Neuroma that we treat at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists is Morton’s Neuroma which occurs between the third and fourth toes on the ball of the foot.
What Causes Neuromas?
Neuromas occur when nerves get irritated due to the friction of tissue rubbing up against them or from excess pressure. One of the most common sources of this nerve irritation is the pressure from shoes that have a tight toe box or high heels (which force the toes into the front of the shoe). Other possible causes include:
Overuse from activities that deliver repeated pounding to the ball of the foot, such as basketball or running
An injury or trauma to the foot
Oftentimes the symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma start gradually. Patients may feel pain or the sensation that there is a rock in their shoe or something under the ball of the foot. Other signs include tingling, burning or numbness in the affected area of the foot. Although symptoms may be alleviated temporarily with rest or massaging the painful area, they will only get worse over time. Left untreated, Neuromas will result in permanent nerve damage.
If these symptoms sound familiar, make an appointment to see one of 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. A complete physical exam, medical history and the use of imaging studies will help the foot doctor confirm a diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma.
There are several non-surgical treatment options available, including orthotics and cortisone shots. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended. If you believe you may have a Neuroma in your foot, contact our Reading office as soon as possible and put yourself on the road to relief.
Flatfoot—partial or total collapse of the arch of the foot-- is a complicated condition that has varying degrees of severity. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, 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 take a complete medical history and then examine your foot and ankle to check the extent of the arch collapse and also try to determine the cause. X-rays may also be ordered to get a better look at the arch. Here are some common questions about flatfoot:
My toddler appears to have flatfeet; should I be concerned?
It’s normal for babies and very young children to have flatfeet before they begin to walk. Once your child starts to walk, the arch should begin to develop. If an older child develops flatfeet, an examination by the podiatrist is in order, especially if your child is experiencing any pain in the foot or arch.
When I am standing it doesn’t appear that I have an arch but when I am sitting, I do. Is this normal?
This is called flexible flatfoot and it is one of the most prevalent types of the disorder. It is a progressive condition and as time goes on the ligaments and tendons in the arch can tear and become inflamed, causing pain in the heel, arch, ankle or shins.
I have flatfeet but am not experiencing any pain. Do I need to see the foot doctor?
Yes, even if you are not in pain you should make an appointment to have your feet evaluated in either our Reading office. The podiatrist can determine the cause of your flatfeet and may recommend certain treatments to help slow the progression of the disorder.
What treatments are available for flatfeet?
There are a number of treatment options that your foot doctor may choose to help relieve pain and fatigue caused by flatfeet. Custom orthotics or other modifications to your footwear may be able to provide additional arch support. Physical therapy and exercises can also help. In some cases, modifying activities so that you do less prolonged walking and standing may be suggested.
As with many foot and ankle conditions, getting treatment early on can prevent flatfeet from becoming disabling and interfering with your lifestyle. If you think you may have flatfeet or have other questions about this condition, contact us. Keeping your feet healthy is our goal!
Many times at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we hear patients say, “I wish I had come in sooner.” Sometimes people feel their symptoms are not serious enough or they just keep putting off making an appointment for a foot problem due to a busy schedule. The truth is that many foot and ankle conditions are best and most easily treated in their early stages. Here are 5 indicators that it’s time to call the podiatrist:
Pain—pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. In your toes, feet or ankles pain can indicate an injury, disease or nerve problem. If pain is persistent, even if it comes and goes, a foot doctor visit is in order. Patients have been known to continue walking on a sprained ankle or fractured foot because the pain “wasn’t that bad.” To properly diagnose the source of your pain, our foot doctors, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M will want to know when the pain started and whether or not it is worse with activity.
Nail Changes—a toenail changing color can be a sign of an infection or injury. Other indicators of nail problems include thickening of the nail, crumbling or peeling and redness or swelling around the nail bed.
Skin Changes—bruising or swelling with or without pain can also indicate a sprain or nerve issue in the foot or ankle. Dry, itchy, flaking skin or a rash or cracks in the skin of the foot can signal a number of different foot disorders including psoriasis, dermatitis or athlete’s foot. Blisters, corns or calluses can point to bone problem or improperly fitted footwear.
Abnormal Appearance—changes in the shape or size of the foot are causes for concern. Several toe deformities, such as bunions, hallux limitus and hammertoes can all be observed visibly.
Infection—if an area of your foot becomes very red, tender and warm to the touch you need to be concerned about infection. Other signs include red streaks coming from the affected area as well as any pus or drainage. If you have these types of symptoms and particularly if they are accompanied by a fever, you should call our Reading office at: (781) 944-4044 immediately. For patients with diabetes or peripheral artery disease, an infection carries an increased medical risk.
If you’re still in doubt about whether you need to see the foot doctor, contact our practice. We will be happy to help you find answers to your foot and ankle questions.
Although it may sound like a folksy term, early settlers would use this to describe some cold weather ailment. Chilblains actually refer to a real skin condition that occurs due to an abnormal reaction to cold and one that we treat at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists. Chilblains most commonly occur on the extremities of the body—those areas furthest from the heart and therefore the coldest—fingers, nose, ear lobes and, in your feet, the toes. People with circulation problems in their feet have an increased risk for chilblains.
Chilblains appear as small, swollen red spots on the skin, which are usually itchy and painful. The chilblains will swell and then dry up, creating cracks in the skin. If you have a bunion or other toe issue that is caused by excessive pressure or squeezing of the toes, that area is more susceptible to developing chilblains.
Are Chilblains Dangerous?
The biggest medical threat presented by chilblains is infection. The cuts and cracks in the skin create open sores and ulcers and provide an entry point for bacteria. Once an infection develops, the toe can become swollen, hot to the touch and there may be drainage of pus or fluid. This is particularly dangerous if you are a patient with diabetes because poor circulation and decreased immunity can result in an open wound that is difficult to heal. Diabetic patients should contact our Reading office immediately if you notice chilblains (or any sores or blisters on your feet or toes). 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 want to examine your feet and treat any sores as quickly as possible to head off the possibility of infection.
Fortunately, the uncomfortable symptoms of itching and burning can usually be relieved with calamine lotion. If an ulcer has formed, the foot doctor may want to apply an antiseptic dressing to the wound. Wearing extra warm socks and limiting time outside when temperatures drop is recommended for patients that have developed chilblains in the past.
If you have a rash or blisters on your foot and you are unsure what the cause is, make an appointment at one of our Middlesex County offices by calling: (781) 944-4044. We’re here to address your concerns.