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Posts for category: Foot Care

By Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, P.C.
May 03, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions   Bunion Surgery  

A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.

A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.

The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:

  • Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
  • Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
  • Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
  • Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
  • Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
  • Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
  • Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition

For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.

When should someone consider bunion surgery?

As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:

  • Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
  • Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
  • You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
  • Your bunion is affecting your quality of life

It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.

By Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, P.C.
April 19, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Ingrown Nails  

Swelling, reddened flesh, shooting pain, and pus are just some of the incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of having an ingrown toenail. Although this condition can sometimes be successfully treated through home remedies, ingrown toenails often progress to the point of infection, a point that then requires professional treatment. Read on to learn what causes this problem, when it’s right to seek medical help, and how our podiatrists can help get your foot back to a healthy state!

The Causes and Symptoms

Before we cover how to treat ingrown toenails, let’s first review the core causes and symptoms that hallmark this condition…

Ingrown toenails initially develop due to a few different factors, including:

  • Cutting the toenail too short
  • Rounding the toenail during grooming
  • Wearing improperly fitting shoes
  • Experiencing toe trauma

If the flesh on the side of the toe has become red, swollen, and tender, you likely have an ingrown toenail. If you have caught this problem while it’s still in its early stages, you can try implementing some of the home remedies listed in the next section. However, if your toe is exhibiting some of the following signs of infection, you should seek professional podiatric help:

  • Pervasive shooting or throbbing toe pain
  • Regular bleeding
  • The presence of a pus-filled blister
  • The skin has started growing over the nail

Home Remedies

As mentioned above, if an ingrown toenail is caught before infection sets in, there are a few different methods that you can practice at home in order to clear up the issue. Some of these include:

  • Around 3 to 4 times a day, submerge your foot into warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Regularly doing this should reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
  • Following each soaking, use cotton to separate the ingrown toenail from the flesh that it is starting to grow under. This should allow the nail to grow above the skin again.
  • Avoid snug or constraining shoes.

If these actions fail to clear up the problem in 2 to 3 days, you should pursue professional treatment.

Professional Treatments

In the case of a severe or recurring infection, there are a few different procedures that your podiatrist can perform to make your toe healthy again. Depending on the specifics of your ingrown toenail, one of the following treatments may be recommended:

  • Partial Nail Removal: In the case of a severe ingrown toenail, your doctor can numb your toe before physically removing the ingrown portion of the nail.
  • Nail and Tissue Removal: If the same toe is repeatedly experiencing the same ingrown toenail problem, this procedure can be performed to prevent future recurrences. It entails your podiatrist removing a portion of the underlying nail bed, thus preventing the nail from become ingrown again.

Concerned About Your Toe? Give Us a Call!

If your ingrown toenail needs medical attention, call our podiatric office today!

By Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, P.C.
April 03, 2019
Category: Foot Care
The human foot and ankle contain 33 joints, 26 bones and over 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles. While all of these parts of the foot should work together, there are certain conditions, injuries and diseases that can affect the health and functioning of your foot or ankle. There are many instances in which you should turn to a podiatrist for individualized care that you can trust time and time again.
 
From routine visits to managing long-term conditions to surgery, a podiatrist is equipped to treat just about everything. Here are some foot issues that could benefit from coming in for specialized care:
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Heel pain
  • Ankle sprains and fractures
  • Foot fractures
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Bunions and hammertoes
  • Corns and calluses
  • Diabetic foot care
  • Fungal infections
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Heel spurs
Our number one goal is to provide you with the relief that you need. Whether you are suffering from heel pain or you think your feet could benefit from prescription orthotics, a podiatrist can help determine the best course of action for treating your issues. When you come into our office we will always have a listening ear, so that we understand your questions and concerns. 
 
We also like to provide our patients with the very latest and greatest technologies and techniques. We understand the importance of options and being able to provide laser treatments and other non-surgical therapies to treat conditions is important to our patients. Whether you are an athlete or 9-5er, we treat clients with a host of different needs, lifestyles and issues. Everyone from children to senior citizens can benefit from the unique and customized foot care a podiatrist offers.
 
We are here to help diagnose, treat or manage your foot condition. If you are dealing with foot or ankle problems contact your podiatrist for help.
By Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, P.C.
March 29, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Orthotics  

Wondering whether your feet could benefit from orthotics?

Most people know the importance of wearing supportive shoes, but did you know that orthotics could provide your feet with additional orthoticssupport and cushioning when standing or moving around? They can even prevent strains and structural imbalances, both of which can lead to further problems if left untreated. Find out if you should talk to our Kalispell, UT, podiatrist, Dr. Esther Barnes, about getting orthotics.

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are custom shoe inserts that are made from different materials to accommodate and support different foot problems. While you can get over-the-counter shoe inserts, these may not provide you with the relief you need since they aren’t tailored to your foot structure and the problems you want to address with orthotics. In some cases, over-the-counter shoe inserts can even make issues worse.

That’s why many people, from athletes to restaurant employees, choose to get custom orthotics from a podiatrist who provides their feet with the custom support they need to feel their best.

Who can benefit from orthotics?

Since many people suffer from pronation, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that most people can benefit from getting custom orthotics from our Kalispell, UT, foot doctor. In fact, people dealing with back pain may experience relief once they finally start wearing custom orthotics.

You could benefit from orthotics if you are dealing with,

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Lower back pain
  • Hip or knee pain
  • Arthritis
  • Bunions
  • Achilles tendonitis

Even if you aren’t dealing with any specific problems but want to prevent strain, pain, and imbalances, orthotics might be right for you. Athletes can find orthotics to be particularly helpful when physically active.

What are the different kinds of orthotics?

There are two types of orthotics: functional and accommodative. Functional orthotics are designed to improve how the foot moves as well as to provide support, cushioning, and shock absorption for it. If you are someone who pronates, as so many of us do, then you very well could benefit from this kind of orthotics.

Contrastly, accommodative orthotics are designed to correct functional problems and control certain abnormal foot movements to reduce pain and other symptoms.

Orthotics can be rigid, semi-rigid, or soft, depending on the type of issues you are facing. For example, those with diabetes may require softer orthotics, while those with strains and back pain caused by foot imbalances may require rigid orthotics.

Interested? Call today!

We believe that you should be able to walk through life without pain and discomfort. If your feet are giving you issues or if you want to find out if custom orthotics could improve how you move, it’s time to call Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic in Kalispell, UT, at (406) 755-2818. Schedule a consultation with us today!

By Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, P.C.
March 20, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Injuries  

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.



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