What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness
- Skin that’s hard to the touch
- Pus or drainage coming from the nail
Can you prevent ingrown toenails?
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
- Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
- Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
- Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
- Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
Heel pain is a pretty common foot complaint and sometimes, it doesn't go away after handling it with conservative treatments at home. How do you know that it's time to seek your podiatrists' care at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, MA, for heel pain? Let's find out.
Causes of Heel Pain
Most heel pain cases are due to plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a connective tissue band on the sole of your feet. Repeat use and stress are often the cause of this foot problem. Therefore, it's not uncommon for people who spend lots of time on their feet such as teachers or nurses to experience plantar fasciitis. The pain is usually worse in the morning as you take your first steps.
However, plantar fasciitis isn't the only possible cause of heel pain. That's why you need to consult your podiatrist to pinpoint the cause of your heel pain so that you can get the treatment you need.
Other causes of heel pain include:
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Arthritis of sub-talar joint
- Stress fracture
- Haglund's deformity
When to See Your Podiatrist in Reading, MA, for Heel Pain
When your heel pain limits your physical activity or holds you back from enjoying the best parts of your day, it might be time to seek your podiatrists' help. Here are some signs that you should see your podiatrist:
- Heel pain persists for a few days even after rest
- Heel pain that comes while resting
- Problem standing on your tiptoes
- Sharp pain in the morning or after a rest period
- Swelling around your heel
- Numbness or tingling in your heel
- Difficulty walking
- Open sores on your heel that fail to heal
Your podiatrist will examine your feet and diagnose your condition. They'll proceed with conservative treatments that help decrease your discomfort and improve your condition. However, in some cases, your podiatrist might need to perform surgery.
If your heel pain won't go away, it's time to get help. Call (781) 944-4044 to schedule your consultation with your podiatrists at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, MA, for heel pain treatment.
How to Treat Sprained Ankles
Most minor sprains can be properly managed through simple at-home treatment and care. Conservative treatment is typically the first line of defense against minor ankle and foot problems, including minor sprains. While more moderate to severe sprains will require more aggressive attention and treatment options, the RICE method is ideal for most ankle sprains. Here’s what RICE stands for:
No matter the severity of your sprain, your podiatrist will be the first to tell you to stay off the ankle and to rest as much as possible to give the ankle time to heal. If the sprain is more moderate or severe, your podiatrist may recommend wearing a protective boot or using crutches to help stabilize the foot and ankle and take pressure off the ankle while standing or walking.
Especially for the first 72 hours after an ankle injury, it’s a good idea to use ice as much as possible to reduce swelling and pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the ankle for up to 20 minutes at a time. You can continue to do this every few hours throughout the day.
Your podiatrist can also show you the proper way to wrap and bandage your ankle, which not only promotes proper circulation and blood flow to the area to aid in healing but also can provide additional support and stabilization for the ankle. It’s important to know how to properly wrap your ankle to make sure it’s providing the very best support and your podiatrist can easily show you how.
Whenever you at resting (which should be most of the day!), it’s a good idea to prop your injured ankle up above your heart to reduce inflammation and bruising. You should elevate your ankle for at least a couple of hours each day!
If you are in pain, over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers can be great for reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. For more severe sprains, your podiatrist may prescribe something stronger. Patients with more moderate-to-severe sprains may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to help rebuild and strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the ankle.
Knowing you have a proper treatment plan in place can provide you with the peace of mind you need to know that your ankle will heal properly. Don’t ignore any foot or ankle injuries. Turn to your podiatrist right away for sprained ankles, or any other problems you may be facing.
This might sound obvious but it’s important to find socks that offer the perfect amount of snugness for your feet. There shouldn’t be added material that can bunch up, as this can cause friction and blistering; however, socks shouldn’t be so tight that they put too much pressure on your feet. The seams of the socks should not rub against your feet or irritate.
Flat feet are when a person's entire sole touches the floor when standing. This can be problematic for many individuals, just ask Dr. George Abboud of New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, MA.
What are the symptoms of flat feet?
Flat feet aren't usually painful unless you're playing a sport or doing any sort of walking activity, but there are several other symptoms to note:
- Discomfort because shoes feel uneven
- Feet tire easily
- Painful in arches, heels, and back
Symptoms of flat feet manifest during late childhood. If a toddler or young child experiences foot pain, you may need to visit your Reading podiatrist.
What causes flat feet?
Flat feet may be a result of many things:
- A congenital defect
- Damaged, inflamed, stretched, or torn tendons
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Health conditions: obesity, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve problems
How are flat feet diagnosed?
Podiatrists use several tools and tests during your physical examination, like x-rays and MRIs.
What are treatment options?
There are several treatment options, some invasive and others conservative.
Conservative methods include:
- Orthotic arch support
- Physical therapy
- Foot exercises
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Injected medications
- Braces or casts
Invasive methods come down to surgery. If painful flat feet don't respond to non-operative measures, speak with your podiatrist about surgery, like:
- Fusing bones together
- Removing bones or growths
- Changing the shape of the bone
- Using tendons from other parts of your body to help form an arch
- Grafting bone
Need a consultation?
Flat feet are painful and you don't need to live with that sort of discomfort. If you have any questions or concerns about flat feet, you should contact your Reading, MA, podiatrist, Dr. George Abboud. He can help examine, diagnose, and treat you or a loved one's foot problems. For more information or to schedule an appointment at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, call (781) 944-4044.
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