Posts for category: Foot Care
An unexpected fall or twist can result in an injury of the foot or ankle, such as a sprain or strain. Immediate first aid can help prevent complications, reduce pain and improve recovery.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation--commonly referred to as R.I.C.E.--is the first and best treatment for minor injuries. The following tips can aid in the early treatment of common foot and ankle injuries to help reduce swelling and control the inflammatory process during the initial phase of injury.
Rest: Whether you have a strain or a sprain, rest from any physical activity is essential to protecting your injured ligaments, tendons or muscles from further damage while your body starts the repair process. Avoid putting weight on the injured foot or ankle as much as possible. In some cases, complete immobilization may be required.
Ice: Gently ice your foot or ankle with ice wrapped in a towel in a 20-minute-on, 40-minute-off cycle for the first few days post-injury. Ice is excellent at reducing inflammation and pain.
Compression: Applying some type of compressive wrap or bandage to an injured area can greatly reduce the amount of initial swelling.
Elevation: Prop your foot up while lying down or sitting so that it is higher than or equal to the level of the heart.
After a few days of R.I.C.E., many acute injuries will begin to heal. If pain or swelling does not subside after a few days, or if you are unsure of the severity of your injury, make an appointment with your podiatrist. A skilled podiatrist can properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment.
Heel pain is one of the most common complaints a podiatrist hears about from patients. If you are dealing with heel pain above the heel bone then you could be dealing with Achilles Tendonitis, a result of overuse. The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body and it serves to connect the muscles of the calf with the lower leg and heel bone.
While Achilles Tendonitis tends to occur most often in runners, this condition can still occur in athletes that play certain sports such as soccer or tennis. Unfortunately, this tendon does weaken as we get older, which makes at an increased risk for developing this overuse injury as we age.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?
The most obvious symptom of Achilles Tendonitis is pain above the heel bone. When the pain first appears it’s usually pretty mild and you may only notice it after running; however, over time you may notice that the pain gets worse after certain exercises. Along with pain you may also experience stiffness or tenderness in the heel, especially in the morning or after long periods of sitting.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If this is the first time that you’ve ever experienced heel pain then it’s a good idea to turn to a foot doctor who can determine whether Achilles Tendonitis is causing your symptoms or whether it’s something else. If you’re experiencing chronic heel pain around the Achilles tendon it’s also a good time to see a doctor. If the pain is severe or you are unable to put weight on your foot it’s possible that you might be dealing with a ruptured tendon, which requires immediate attention.
How do you treat Achilles Tendonitis?
In most cases, Achilles Tendonitis can be treated with simple self-care options. Unless symptoms are severe you may be able to treat your heel pain by:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
- Avoiding high-impact activities or activities that exacerbate symptoms
- Elevating the foot to reduce swelling
- Performing stretching exercises or undergoing physical therapy
- Icing the heel
- Wearing custom orthotics
- Replacing worn-out shoes, especially running shoes
Surgery is only necessary if your symptoms aren’t responding to any other nonsurgical treatment options after several months or if the tendon is torn.
If you think your heel pain could be the result of Achilles Tendonitis then it’s time to turn to a podiatrist as soon as possible. A podiatrist can provide you with a variety of treatment options, from simple lifestyle modifications to custom orthotics.
An ankle sprain occurs when the foot rolls or twists to the point where a ligament inside stretches beyond its normal capacity. Ankle sprains are extremely common, with an estimated 25,000 sprains happening in the United States every day. Athletes and people who work outdoors or on uneven surfaces are at a higher risk for spraining their ankle. Regular wear of high-heeled shoes is also a risk factor.
Sprained ankles are diagnosed by degree; that is, the severity of the sprain and the symptoms it produces. Grade 1 sprains are the mildest, with minimal swelling and tenderness due to a slight ligament tear. Usually, Grade 1 sprains still allow for weight to be put on the ankle. Grade 2 sprains have a more significant injury to the ligament and, while walking may still be possible, it is painful. Grade 3 sprains are diagnosed when the affected ligament has sustained a complete tear and the ankle cannot bear weight. Grade 3 sprains typically display obvious bruising and swelling around the ankle.
The grade of an ankle sprain will determine the treatment. The tried-and-true RICE method - rest, ice, compression, and elevation - is usually sufficient for Grade 1 sprains. Refraining from walking, keeping the ankle elevated for the first two days, stabilizing the ankle with a compression dressing, and applying ice to reduce swelling helps the sprain resolve within 2 to 4 weeks. Grade 2 sprains also respond well to RICE treatment, although healing typically takes longer and a firmer immobilization device, like a splint, is typically recommended. Grade 3 sprains often require similar treatment used for ankle fractures; a cast or brace may be needed and surgery may be considered for some patients.
To ensure proper healing, it is important to follow the recommendations of your podiatrist. Attempting to return to normal activity too soon could result in a repeat injury or permanent ankle instability.
What is Sesamoiditis?
Sesamoids are small bones that are only connected to tendons or surrounded in muscle. This only appears in a few places in the body, one of which is the foot. Two very tiny sesamoids are found in the underside of the foot near the big toe. One is on the outer side of the foot and the other bone is close to the middle of the foot. This structure provides a smooth surface for the tendons to slide over, which helps the tendons move muscles. They help with weight bearing and also help to elevate the bones of the big toe. So now that you know what sesamoids are, you might be wondering what sesamoiditis is and what its symptoms are.
Just like any other bone, sesamoids can unfortunately fracture. The tendons surrounding the sesamoids may also become irritated or inflamed and this is what sesamoiditis is. Sesamoiditis is also a form of tendonitis and is a common condition among ballerinas, runners, and baseball catchers due to the pressure that is constantly placed on their feet.
Symptoms of Sesamoiditis
Symptoms of Sesamoiditis may include:
- Pain under the big toe or ball of the foot
- Swelling and/or bruising
- Difficulty in bending and straightening the big toe
- Resting and stopping any activity that could be causing pain and inflammation
- Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen and aspirin only after consulting your physician
- Icing the sole of the foot
- Wearing soft-soled and low-heeled shoes
- Cushioning inserts in the shoes
If symptoms persist after treatments, you may need to wear a removable brace for 4-6 weeks to help the bones heal. Call your podiatrist today to ask any questions about sesamoiditis and get on your way to pain-free feet once again!
Ingrown toenails may begin mildly but can quickly go from bad to worse. This frustrating and painful condition can affect anyone and cause significant issues. Unlike other foot-related conditions, which are often due to genetics or underlying conditions, ingrown toenails are almost always preventable and often come from lifestyle choices like the type of shoes you wear or the way you trim your toenails.
Do I have an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The nail begins to grow inward, curling in on one or both sides of the toenail and digging into the skin. An ingrown nail may begin with mild pain and discomfort and end up advancing quickly, producing symptoms like severe pain, difficulty walking, or even infection — which produces its own set of symptoms such as pus drainage or fever.
How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?
Preventing an ingrown toenail often boils down to the way you trim your nails and care for your feet. Always cut the nail straight across the top and never round off the corners to ensure that the nail grows straight. Wearing too-tight or narrow shoes which place pressure onto the toe can also contribute an ingrown toenail. Additionally, always keep your feet dry and clean and wear fresh socks daily.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
There are home remedies that may help stop the pain caused by ingrown toenails, such as soaking the foot in a warm foot bath and wearing better fitting footwear. Your podiatrist may be able to prescribe antibiotics to help avoid infection. In some cases, surgery by your podiatrist may be necessary. It's important to consult your doctor to see which method is best for you.
If you think you have an ingrown toenail or need help learning to better prevent them, a podiatrist can help you determine the best plan to healthier feet. Consulting with your foot doctor at regular foot examinations can help ensure that your feet stay healthy and pain-free for years to come.