Posts for: October, 2016
With Halloween right around the corner, things are starting to look pretty spooky, with witches on brooms, black cats and ghoulishly grinning jack-o-lanterns perched on every front porch. Footcare, however, should not be frightening! At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we recognize that medical jargon can make a condition sound more alarming than it actually is. Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, Dr. Kimberly Thurmond and Dr. Dennis Tuck will always try to explain your foot issues in a way that is easy to understand. If you have questions, just ask. Below are three conditions whose names make them sound a lot more serious than they actually are:
Xerosis—is the medical term for very dry skin. Common causes are showering more than once a day, using very hot water when bath or using laundry detergents or soaps that contain ingredients that dry the skin. Using a rich moisturizer a few times a day will usually eliminate the problem.
Tinea Pedis—you know this condition as Athlete’s foot. Symptoms include itchy, red, dry skin, especially between the toes. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the feet and even cause oozing blisters to form. The best way to prevent this irritating disorder is to not go barefoot in public places since the fungal infection is spread by direct contact.
Onychomycosis—is more commonly known as a fungal toenail infection. Typically, the nail will get thick and brittle and even start to crumble at the edges. It also will turn a darker color. Like athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections are the result of coming directly into contact with the fungus—sharing footwear, walking barefoot in a public place or using a footbath at a nail salon that has not been properly sanitized are all possible ways the infection could be spread.
What’s important to remember is that anytime you notice something unusual or uncomfortable with your toes, feet or ankles it’s best to make an appointment at our Reading office to get it evaluated. Little problems can grow into bigger problems if not treated promptly.
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.
Injuries to the sesamoids—those two little bones on the underside of your foot near the base of the big toe—can cause pain and disability that ranges from mild to severe. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we find risk factors that make patients more likely to injure the sesamoids include:
Participating in sports and activities that put significant pressure or impact on the big toe and forefoot, such as ballet, football, running, basketball and tennis
Having high arches
Frequently wearing high heeled shoes
There are several types of injuries that can occur to the sesamoids and the bones and tendons surround them including fractures, inflammation (sesamoiditis) and Turf Toe.
Evaluation and Relief
Patients should not put off coming into our Reading office for treatment of pain in this area of the foot because there are several non-surgical options available to help relieve the suffering. One of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will first examine the big toe and the ball of your foot to determine exactly what injury to the sesamoids you have sustained and also the severity of the condition. Watching you walk and examining the wear patter of your shoes may provide clues to the podiatrist. X-rays or other imaging studies may also be ordered. Once the exact nature of the injury has been determined, the foot doctor may use one or more of the following treatment options:
Immobilizing the foot in a cast or walking cast. The podiatrist may want you to use crutches to prevent putting weight on the injured foot
Steroid injections to reduce joint pain and inflammation
Using padding inside your shoe to cushion and protect the sesamoids
Strapping or taping the big toe to the next toe to shift the pressure off the injured area
Orthotic devices for your shoes to spread out the pressure on the ball of your foot
Physical therapy to increase strength and range of motion
To learn more about how to relieve pain and discomfort in the ball of your foot, contact us for an appointment by calling: (781) 944-4044.
Children are famous for finding reasons for not wanting to go to school, especially after the lazy days of summer but if your child is using foot pain as an excuse, there may be some truth to it. Many children wear flip flops for the entire summer. Although easy to wear and cheap to buy, New England Foot & Ankle wants parents to know that flip flops worn daily can have some distinct podiatric disadvantages.
The Trouble with Flip Flops
Flip flops lack support and cushioning. In children ages 8-14 bone growth is still occurring. That leaves the growth plate at the back of the heel vulnerable to injury. Constant pounding on the heel with normal walking and running and no cushioning can cause an inflammation to the area known as Sever’s Disease. Other foot conditions and injuries linked to excessive flip flop use include:
Broken or sprained toes
Getting Back on Track
Most of these problems are easily treated. If your child is complaining of foot or ankle pain, make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond. The foot doctor will do a complete examination of your child’s foot and ankle and will also ask questions about footwear and activities. A number of treatment methods may be used depending on the podiatrist’s findings. These include: ice and anti-inflammatory medications for pain, stretching exercises, physical therapy and orthotics.
It’s important to deal with foot pain or discomfort in your child promptly, especially if they plan to participate in any Fall sports or other activities that will put increased pressure on feet. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s feet or footwear, don’t hesitate to contact our Reading office by calling: (781) 944-4044.