Posts for category: Foot Issues
Are you struggling with an ingrown toenail? At Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic in Kalispell, MT, Dr. Esther Sue Barnes treats ingrown toenails, as well as a wide variety of other podiatric health conditions. Read below to learn how she can help that toe of yours feel better and look normal once again!
Symptoms of ingrown toenails
Typically occurring on the big toe, an ingrown toenail invades the skin surrounding the nail. Symptoms include:
- Pus (if infected)
- Trouble walking
- Changes in the shape of the nail
Causes of ingrown toenails
How do ingrown toenails happen? Experts at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons say that ingrown toenails, also called onychocryptosis, stem from a variety of factors, including:
- Heredity (some toenails are simply too large for the size of the big toes)
- Pressure from shoes that are shaped incorrectly or are too tight
- Mechanical trauma (stubbing the toe or dropping something heavy on it)
- Clipping the corners of the toenail at an angle instead of straight across
This last factor causes most cases of ingrown toenails which Dr. Barnes sees in her Kalispell clinic. So, she cautions all her patients to trim their nails correctly--straight across the toe--with a clean, sharp clippers.
Treating ingrown toenails
Simple, at-home remedies sometimes take care of ingrown toenails which are just starting to show symptoms. Soak your foot three to four times a day in warm water to soothe soreness and soften the skin around the nail. Gently lift the nail out of the skin using dental floss. Change the floss every day. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.
More advanced cases of onychomycosis may need in-office surgery at Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic. During this procedure, Dr. Barnes removes the affected side of the toenail from top to bottom (under locally-injected anesthetic, of course). This procedure is called partial nail avulsion and allows the nail to grow back straight and not embedded into the skin around the nail. Regrowth takes a few months.
Ingrown toenails can be very sore, and have the possibility to disrupt your day-to-day activities. People with diabetes should additionally be careful, as onychomycosis is especially dangerous for those with the condition. If you need treatment, please call Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic's Kalispell office for an appointment with Dr. Barnes. Phone (406) 755-2818 today!
Are you dealing with pain, burning, tingling or numbness between your toes or in the ball of the foot? If you said “yes” then you could be dealing with a neuroma, a pinched nerve or benign tumor of the nerve that is often found between the third and fourth toes.
The classic symptom of a neuroma is pain, particularly when walking—a factor that leads many people to liken the condition to feeling like a pebble is in their shoe. You may find that the pain eases up whenever you aren’t walking or when you rub the pained area with your hands. While neuromas can happen to anyone, they are most commonly found in women.
While the causes of a neuroma are still not clear, there are factors that can increase the likelihood of developing one, such as:
- Extremely high arches
- Flat feet
- Trauma that leads to nerve damage in the feet
- Improper footwear (high heels over two-inches tall; pointed toes)
- Repeated stress placed on the foot
Treating a Neuroma
A neuroma will not go away on its own, so it’s important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing any of the condition's symptoms. The type of treatment or treatments recommended to you will depend on the severity of the neuroma.
Those with minor neuromas may be able to lessen symptoms by wearing shoes that provide ample room for the toes and offer thick soles that provide more support and cushioning for the toes and balls of the feet. Sometimes a podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics to place inside the shoes, as well.
Your podiatrist may also recommend padding or taping the ball of the foot to improve faulty biomechanics and reduce discomfort. While medication will not eliminate the problem, it can temporarily alleviate symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can often briefly reduce pain and swelling, but for those dealing with more severe pain, steroid injections may be necessary to ease symptoms.
Surgery for a Neuroma
Surgery only becomes necessary when conservative treatment options have failed to provide relief, or when the neuroma has progressed enough that conservative care won’t be enough. During surgery, the inflamed nerve is removed through a simple outpatient procedure. Afterward, there is a short recovery period of a couple of weeks before patients are able to move about pain-free once again!
Give us a Call!
If you are dealing with new or worsening foot pain it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist that can help give you the answers you need. Schedule an appointment today.
What Causes Warts?
Got foot warts? Nearly everyone will have a wart at some point in their lives. Warts are typically small, hard skin growths caused by an infection with humanpallilloma virus. Foot warts are treatable. Foot warts are among the most common dermatologic conditions podiatrists treat. Read on to learn about the causes of warts.
An HPV Infection
Common warts are caused by by an HPV infection. Over 100 types of HPV exist. Certain types of HPV infection cause cervical cancer. Some types of HPV infection cause foot warts, while others cause warts that appear on the face, neck, or hands. Of the 100 types of HPV, about 60 cause common warts on areas such as the hands or feet.
Wart viruses are contagious. You can get foot warts from skin-to-skin contact with people who have warts. However, not all HPV strains are highly contagious. You can get the wart virus by touching an object that another person's wart touched, such as clothing, towels, shoes, or exercise equipment.
Breaks in Your Skin
HPV infects the top layer of skin and usually enters the body in an area of damaged or cut skin. Cuts from shaving can provide an avenue for infection. Getting a scrape can also bring on common warts. Foot warts are very common in swimmers whose feet are scratched by rough pool surfaces.
A Weak Immune System
In most cases, your immune system defeats an HPV infection before it creates a wart. Someone with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable and therefore more likely to develop warts. Immune systems can be weakened by HIV or by immunosuppressant drugs used after organ transplants.
If you want to get rid of foot warts, see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Many types of effective wart treatments are available. They include salicylic acid, cantharidin, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and surgery. Your podiatrist can help you get rid of foot warts once and for all!
Are you experiencing numbness, tingling, or discolorations in your feet?
Even though poor circulation isn’t a condition, if you are experiencing poor circulation in your feet this is often a symptom of a much larger issue. This is why it’s important to understand the warning signs of poor circulation and when to see a podiatrist, as many of these conditions can be serious or cause further complications to your health.
Causes of Poor Circulation
There are many reasons why someone may have poor circulation. The most common conditions include:
1. Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
This causes poor circulation in the legs due to a narrowing in the arteries and blood vessels. Over time this condition can cause damage to nerves or tissue. While this condition can occur in younger people, particularly smokers, it’s more common for people over 50 years old to develop PAD.
2. Blood Clots
A blood clot causes a block or restriction in blood flow and can develop anywhere in the body. The most common places for a blood clot include the arms or the legs, which can lead to symptoms of poor circulation. In some cases, a blood clot can cause serious complications such as a stroke.
While this condition does affect blood sugar levels, it is also known to affect circulation within the body. Those with circulation issues may experience cramping in the legs that may get worse when you are active. Those with diabetic neuropathy may experience nerve damage in the legs and feet, as well as numbness or tingling.
4. Raynaud’s Disease
A less common condition, Raynaud’s disease causes chronic cold fingers and feet due to the narrowing of the arteries in the hands and toes. Since these arteries are narrow it’s more difficult for blood to flow to these areas, leading to poor circulation. Of course, you may experience these symptoms in other parts of the body besides your toes or fingers, such as your nose, ears, or lips.
Warning Signs of Poor Circulation
You may be experiencing poor circulation in your feet if you are experiencing these symptoms:
- Pain that may radiate into the limbs
- Tingling (a “pins and needles” sensation)
- Muscle cramping
If you are experiencing symptoms of poor circulation that don’t go away it’s best to play it safe rather than sorry and turn to a podiatric specialist who can provide a proper diagnosis and determine the best approach for improving circulation. Don’t ignore this issue.
Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, can occur anywhere in the skeletal system, and the feet are no exception. Bone spurs are simply overgrowths of bone, which most commonly form where two bones come together. Normally bone spurs in the feet are painless, but when exposed to pressure, they can cause the excess bone to rub against other nerve endings or soft tissues, resulting in pain.
Causes of Bone Spurs in the Feet
When your feet are repeatedly exposed to excessive pressure and stress, a bone spur can form as a result of the body's normal response to repair itself. The following activities and conditions are common causes:
- High-impact activities, such as running
- Excessive weight
- Poor-fitting footwear
- Tightening of the plantar fasciitis due to excessive stress
Because there are no obvious symptoms associated with bone spurs in the feet, diagnosing the disorder can be difficult. Some people experience unbearable pain in particular areas of their foot when exposed to pressure, which prompts them to seek medical care. Other people can go long periods of time without realizing they even have a bone spur. An x-ray can identify a bone spur in your foot, but if it isn't causing you pain, damaging other tissues or restricting your movement, treatment probably won't be necessary.
Identifying the cause of your bone spur, such as poor-fitting shoes or weight gain, is often times enough to reduce the pressure that is causing the pain.
Conservative treatments for bone spurs include:
- Change in footwear
- Weight loss
- Padding or insoles
- Deep tissue massage and stretching
If you're experiencing chronic foot pain, schedule an appointment at our office. We'll carefully examine your feet and evaluate your symptoms to better understand your condition. If you've developed a bone spur, we can work with you to create a treatment plan that best fits your needs and puts an end to your frustrating foot pain.
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