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Keep Your Feet Healthy So You Can Stay Active

Have your feet inspected by a professional before starting a new sport or physical activity. Taking charge of your foot health will keep you in good physical condition and can help you avoid a potential injury, such as a fracture or sprained ankle.

Prevent injuries and see a foot specialist.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) are a common foot ailment and it is very unpleasant to experience. The condition is caused by an increase in pressure from the ingrowth of the nail edge into the skin of the toe. Ingrown toenails commonly cause pain in those who experience them. In some cases, the skin surrounding the ingrown toenail may break which may lead bacteria to enter through and cause an infection. Common symptoms of this ailment include pain, redness, swelling, and warmth around the toe.

An imbalance between the size of the nail and the enlargement of the nail skin edge causes ingrown toenails. This condition is often caused by improperly trimming the toenails. If you are trying you cut your nails, you should always try to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. Ingrown toenails can also be an inherited condition and they may also be caused by improper shoe fitting.

Another common cause of the condition is wearing shoes that are either too small or too large. Other causes include poor foot hygiene, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, edema, and fungal infections. There are many risk factors that may make a person more likely to develop an ingrown toenail. Athletes who play “stop and start” sports such as tennis, soccer, and basketball are most likely to have ingrown toenails.

People who have diabetes, a compromised immune system, or poor circulation should immediately seek care from a podiatrist if they have an ingrown toenail. It is also recommended to seek professional assistance if at-home remedies are not successful within a week or if there is persistent pain.

Addressing Ingrown Toenails Promptly

Ingrown toenails can result in a painful and debilitating condition if not addressed promptly. Treatment options for an ingrown toenail vary. Nonsurgical methods, suitable for mild to moderate cases, include wearing appropriate footwear, managing fungal infections, and soaking the afflicted foot. A podiatrist may also suggest applying steroid creams and may use cotton or dental floss to lift the nail edge. Other specialized treatment includes applying tape to pull the nail fold away, employing gutter splints, or creating cotton nail casts. Surgical options become necessary for more severe cases. In these cases, a podiatrist may perform a partial nail avulsion, wedge excision or total nail avulsion. Each method aims to alleviate pressure on the nail fold, thus reducing trauma and preventing recurrence. If you have an ingrown toenail, it  is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who can perform the treatment method that is right for you.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact one of our doctors of New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Sports Related Foot And Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are common among people who participate in sports. Several factors contribute to this. They include failing to stretch or warm up properly, not wearing the proper type of shoe and not taping or providing other types of support for the ankle or foot. The most common foot and ankle injuries suffered by people involved in sports are plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains and Achilles tendon damage or ruptures. If not treated properly, they can lead to permanent disability.

Treating these injuries is relatively simple if they are identified and addressed early. Many athletes dismiss the initial aches and pains associated with injury as just soreness or tired muscles. Their first response is usually to try to work through it. This can lead to serious problems. Many minor injuries are made far more serious when athletes continue to put strain and pressure on them. That attitude can change a mild strain into a serious strain and a minor tear into a rupture. Athletes should have unusual aches and pains evaluated by a skilled medical professional.

Plantar fasciitis is a painful injury. It is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue running from the heel to the base of the toes. If left untreated, it can lead to a degenerative disease called plantar fasciosis. There are several effective treatments for this ailment. Doctors often prescribe rest, massages, stretching, night splints, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroids or surgery, usually in that order. The most effective treatment for plantar fasciitis is orthotics, which offers foot support. Surgery is occasionally used as a last resort, but it comes with the risk of nerve damage and infection and often does not stop the pain.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Running, jumping and walking all impact this tendon. Two common injuries to the Achilles tendon are tendonitis and a rupture of the tendon. Tendonitis is inflammation in the tendon often caused by an increase in the amount of stress placed on it. Non-surgical treatments include rest, ice or anti-inflammatory medication.  A rupture (tear) of the Achilles tendon can be treated by placing the lower leg in a cast for several weeks or with surgery. Many physicians feel surgery is the better option because it lowers the risk of re-ruptures. Both methods require 4 to 6 months of rehabilitation.

Ankle sprains are the most common sports related foot and ankle injury. A sprain occurs when the ligament holding the ankle bones and joint stretches beyond its normal range. It can be treated non-surgically with a combination of rest, ice wrapped around the joint for 30 minutes immediately after injury, compression by a bandage and elevating the ankle above the heart for 48 hours. This combination is referred to as RICE. Severe ankle sprains in which the ligaments are torn may require reconstructive surgery followed by rehabilitation.

Causes of Foot and Ankle Injuries in Skaters

Skating is a beloved activity for many, but foot and ankle injuries can hinder both enjoyment and performance. Improperly fitted skates often lead to corns, calluses, bunions, and bunionettes, causing discomfort and negatively affecting skating ability. Additionally, ankle pain and weakness are prevalent among skaters, making them  susceptible to sprains and overuse injuries like Achilles tendonitis. Skaters with biomechanical imbalances, such as flat feet or high arches, are at further risk of developing plantar fasciitis and heel pain. One way to avoid these issues involves wearing properly fitting footwear and attentive foot care. Investing in well-fitted skates and footwear tailored to individual foot needs is essential. Plus, seeking prompt treatment for persistent foot pain from a podiatrist ensures optimal skating performance and long-term foot health. By taking proactive measures to prevent injury, skaters can continue enjoying their favorite activity without discomfort or limitations. If you have skating-related foot or ankle pain, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.

Sports related foot and ankle injuries require proper treatment before players can go back to their regular routines. For more information, contact one of our doctors of New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Sports Related Foot and Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are a common occurrence when it comes to athletes of any sport. While many athletes dismiss the initial aches and pains, the truth is that ignoring potential foot and ankle injuries can lead to serious problems. As athletes continue to place pressure and strain the area further, a mild injury can turn into something as serious as a rupture and may lead to a permanent disability. There are many factors that contribute to sports related foot and ankle injuries, which include failure to warm up properly, not providing support or wearing bad footwear. Common injuries and conditions athletes face, including:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Plantar Fasciosis
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Ankle Sprains

Sports related injuries are commonly treated using the RICE method. This includes rest, applying ice to the injured area, compression and elevating the ankle. More serious sprains and injuries may require surgery, which could include arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery. Rehabilitation and therapy may also be required in order to get any recovering athlete to become fully functional again. Any unusual aches and pains an athlete sustains must be evaluated by a licensed, reputable medical professional.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Bunions

A bunion is an enlargement of the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot, often formed from a bony growth or a patch of swollen tissues. It is caused by the inward shifting of the bones in the big toe, toward the other toes of the foot. This shift can cause a serious amount of pain and discomfort. The area around the big toe can become inflamed, red, and painful.

Bunions are most commonly formed in people who are already genetically predisposed to them or other kinds of bone displacements. Existing bunions can be worsened by wearing improperly fitting shoes. Trying to cram your feet into high heels or running or walking in a way that causes too much stress on the feet can exacerbate bunion development. High heels not only push the big toe inward, but shift one's body weight and center of gravity towards the edge of the feet and toes, expediting bone displacement.

A podiatrist knowledgeable in foot structure and biomechanics will be able to quickly diagnose bunions. Bunions must be distinguished from gout or arthritic conditions, so blood tests may be necessary. The podiatrist may order a radiological exam to provide an image of the bone structure. If the x-ray demonstrates an enlargement of the joint near the base of the toe and a shifting toward the smaller toes, this is indicative of a bunion.

Wearing wider shoes can reduce pressure on the bunion and minimize pain, and high heeled shoes should be eliminated for a period of time. This may be enough to eliminate the pain associated with bunions; however, if pain persists, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed. Severe pain may require an injection of steroids near the bunion. Orthotics for shoes may be prescribed which, by altering the pressure on the foot, can be helpful in reducing pain. These do not correct the problem; but by eliminating the pain, they can provide relief.

For cases that do not respond to these methods of treatment, surgery can be done to reposition the toe. A surgeon may do this by taking out a section of bone or by rearranging the ligaments and tendons in the toe to help keep it properly aligned. It may be necessary even after surgery to wear more comfortable shoes that avoid placing pressure on the toe, as the big toe may move back to its former orientation toward the smaller toes.

Recognizing Bunions as They Develop

Bunions, also known as hallux valgus, may be noticed as they form through various early signs. These signs encompass redness, swelling, thickened skin, and tenderness surrounding the big toe joint, often accompanied by a bony lump or prominence. Additionally, calluses and corns may develop due to increased pressure on the affected area. Early stages of bunion formation can cause discomfort, especially during activities such as walking or wearing tight shoes, and may lead to limited movement and stiffness in the big toe joint. As the bunion progresses, stiffness and decreased mobility of the big toe joint may occur. This can affect your ability to move the toe freely and may lead to further complications if left untreated. Recognizing these signs allows for proactive measures to slow the progression. If left untreated, bunions may lead to chronic pain, difficulty in walking, and other complications such as hammer toe deformities or arthritis of the big toe. Consultation with a podiatrist is suggested for a proper evaluation and treatment plan. 

If you are suffering from bunions, contact one of our doctors of New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why Do Bunions Form?

Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary

Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How Are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Bunions

Morton's Neuroma

A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue and can develop throughout the body.  In the foot, the most common neuroma is a Morton’s neuroma; this typically forms between the third and fourth toes.  The thickening of the nerve is typically caused by compression and irritation of the nerve; this thickening can in turn cause enlargement and, in some cases, nerve damage.

Neuromas can be caused by anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerve.  A common cause is wearing shoes with tapered toe boxes or high heels that force the toes into the toe boxes.  Physical activities that involve repeated pressure to the foot, such as running or basketball, can also create neuromas.  Those with foot deformities, such as bunions, hammertoes, or flatfeet, are more likely to develop the condition.

Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma include tingling, burning, numbness, pain, and the feeling that either something is inside the ball of the foot or that something in one’s shoe or sock is bunched up.  Symptoms typically begin gradually and can even go away temporarily by removing one’s shoes or massaging the foot.  An increase in the intensity of symptoms correlates with the increasing growth of the neuroma.

Treatment for Morton’s neuroma can vary between patients and the severity of the condition.  For mild to moderate cases, padding, icing, orthotics, activity modifications, shoe modifications, medications, and injection therapy may be suggested or prescribed.  Patients who have not responded successfully to less invasive treatments may require surgery to properly treat their condition.  The severity of your condition will determine the procedure performed and the length of recovery afterwards.

Essential Insights Into Morton's Neuroma

Morton's neuroma, a nerve disorder affecting the feet, is a condition that demands attention and understanding. This ailment is characterized by the thickening of tissues around the nerves that lead to the toes, and it often occurs between the third and fourth toes. Contrary to common belief, it is not a true neuroma, but rather a perineural fibrosis. The primary cause is the compression and irritation of the nerve, resulting in pain, tingling, and a sensation of a lump or pebble in the shoe. High-heeled shoes and tight footwear are frequently implicated in triggering or exacerbating Morton's neuroma. Understanding the symptoms, such as sharp, burning pain in the ball of the foot, is vital for early identification. Proper footwear, foot pads, and orthotics can offer relief, while severe cases may require medical intervention. By grasping the essential facts surrounding Morton's neuroma, individuals can take informed steps towards managing this foot condition. If you have pain between your toes or on the ball of your foot, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist for a diagnosis and correct treatment methods.

Morton’s neuroma is a very uncomfortable condition to live with. If you think you have Morton’s neuroma, contact one of our doctors of New England Foot & Ankle . Our doctors will attend to all of your foot care needs and answer any of your related questions.  

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a painful foot condition that commonly affects the areas between the second and third or third and fourth toe, although other areas of the foot are also susceptible. Morton’s neuroma is caused by an inflamed nerve in the foot that is being squeezed and aggravated by surrounding bones.

What Increases the Chances of Having Morton’s Neuroma?

  • Ill-fitting high heels or shoes that add pressure to the toe or foot
  • Jogging, running or any sport that involves constant impact to the foot
  • Flat feet, bunions, and any other foot deformities

Morton’s neuroma is a very treatable condition. Orthotics and shoe inserts can often be used to alleviate the pain on the forefront of the feet. In more severe cases, corticosteroids can also be prescribed. In order to figure out the best treatment for your neuroma, it’s recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition and provide different treatment options.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Wakefield, MA, Nashua and Derry, NH . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Morton's Neuroma

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. This considered to be one of the most frequently recorded medical illnesses throughout history. Gout occurrences in the US have risen within the past twenty years and the condition now affects 8.3 million people which is 4% of all Americans. Researchers have found that gout affects men more than women and African-American men more than white men. 

Symptoms of gout are warmth, swelling, discoloration, and tenderness in the affected joint area. The small joint on the big toe is the most common place for a gout attack to occur.

People who are obese, gain weight excessively, drink alcohol heavily, have high blood pressure, or have abnormal kidney function are more likely to develop gout. Furthermore, certain drugs and diseases are likely to increase levels of uric acid in the joints which eventually leads to gout. You are also more likely to develop gout if you eat a lot of meat and fish.

Many who experience gout attacks will experience repeated attacks over the years. Some people who have gout symptoms, may never have them again, but others may experience them several times a year. If you have gout symptoms throughout the year, you may have recurrent gout. Those who have gout should also be careful about their urate crystals collecting in their urinary tract, because this may lead to kidney stones.

Diagnosis for gout is done by checking the level of uric acid in the joints and blood. Your podiatrist may also prescribe medicine to reduce uric acid buildup in the blood, which will help prevent any gout attacks.

To treat gout, your podiatrist may also prescribe you Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) which will relieve the pain and swelling of a gout episode and it can also shorten a gout attack. Maintaining a healthy diet is also a proven method to prevent gout attacks. 

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