Flat Feet

If the entire sole of your foot touches the ground when you stand, then you probably have Flat Feet. Flat Feet are characterized by underdeveloped arches that prevent the typical gap between the sole and the ground from forming. This condition usually develops during childhood and throughout old age, but it can also be caused by accidents or diseases severally impacting bones or tendons forming the arch. Typical consequences include:

  • Foot, hip, knee, and back pain caused by an uneven distribution of body weight
  • Misalignment of your legs
  • Numb and/or stiff feet
  • Swollen ankles
  • Prematurely worn out shoes

Individuals experiencing Flat Feet might not experience any of these symptoms; however, if you are plagued by pain and/or restrictions in body movements on a regular basis it is advised to contact a professional. Potential treatments include:

  • Stretching exercises for your lower legs to prevent feet from rolling over
  • Orthotics to align your feet and to balance weight more evenly
  • Switching to different kind of shoes
  • Pain remediation

Surgery is an option in extreme cases like abnormal bone development in your feet and can usually be prevented. Read more about Flat Feet here and don’t hesitate to contact your podiatrist if you have any questions:

Ingrown Toenails

Millions of Americans are affected by Ingrown Toenails every year. Although the big toe is the typical culprit, every toenail can grow into the surrounding skin and cause pain, swelling, and redness.

Ingrown toenails may be caused by:

  • Incorrectly cutting toenails
  • Wearing inappropriate shoes
  • Injuries to the toe
  • Having naturally curved toenails

If home remedies such as soaking your toes in warm soapy water or applying antibiotic ointments won’t help and redness and pain are spreading, please contact your local podiatrist. Although most cases can be treated easily, severe cases of ingrown toenails might lead to infections, poor blood circulation, and tissues damage. This especially applies to diabetics.

A Podiatrist might consider placing cotton under the edge of the nail to lift it above the surrounding skin in certain cases or (partially) removing the nail and affected tissue in more advanced stages. Removal of parts of the nail may also be a preventative measure for individuals suffering under this condition on a regular basis.

Please have a look at the following sources if you have further questions and don’t hesitate to call your local podiatrist:

Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is a common condition that occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, on, or under the nail. You can usually detect it from a visible discoloration on the nail, a brittle or thickened part of the nail, or an abnormal odor coming from the infected nail. If you notice any of these signs, you might want to seek a professional for treatment.

Fungi thrive and grow in wet, moist environments such as gyms, swimming pools, showers, or humid weather conditions. However, the growth of fungus is not limited to these circumstances as they can spread in dry conditions as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails because your toes are usually confined to your shoes, where they’re in a warm, moist environment. There are ways to actively prevent fungal infections, though:

  • Keep your nails well-trimmed
  • Frequently wash your hands and feet
  • Dry your feet thoroughly after showing, swimming, etc.
  • Wear breathable socks and shoes that minimize moisture
  • Avoid being barefoot in public places
  • Discard old, dirty shoes and socks
  • Use antifungal sprays or powders

Toenail fungus does not go away by itself. If you show any signs of a fungal infection, please see a doctor! Follow the above tips to actively prevent toenail fungus-and avoid the risk of spreading it around further.

For more information on toenail fungus:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/basics/definition/con-20019319

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/nail-fungus

 

Heel Pain

Heel pain, though rarely indicative of a serious problem, can be a real irritant, because it typically affects the underside or back of your heel and can make regular activities like walking and exercise difficult.

The human foot is made up of over two dozen bones, which absorb the impact of nearly three times our body weight when running, so our feet are very susceptible to the damage that causes heel pain. Typically, this pain is not caused by a single injury, but repeated stress to the bottom of the foot or heel from ill-fitting footwear, stretching of the plantar fascia or bone spurs. Individuals with excessively flat or high-arched feet are much more likely to develop heel and foot problems without properly supportive shoes or sole inserts.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes and occurs when the soft tissue on the bottom of the foot is stretched too far and becomes inflamed, typically near the back of the heel where it is anchored. Patients with this condition also often experience calf and foot cramps. Heel bursitis is another common cause of heel pain caused by the pressure from your shoes, often high heels. This will cause deep pain that feels like it is in inside or at the back of the heel and can even cause the Achilles tendon to swell. Over time, pain increases, especially at the end of the day for individuals who are often on their feet.

Patients can seek a wide variety of treatments for heel pain, depending on the severity of the pain.  Simple remedies usually include icing the affected area, avoid walking around barefoot, and modifications to your shoes to offer better support. For more serious cases, taping your heal or wearing night splints can help restore the foot to its natural state and reduce excessive stretching or further inflammation. In very severe cases that are cause long term permanent damage, you may require treatment through surgery or prescriptions.  However, this is not common and you should seek medical advice before considering the options listed above. For more information on heel pain and how to prevent or treat it see the following articles;

Summer Activities

Summer brings fun and relaxation for a lot of us; whether it’s jogging along the Mississippi, exploring a new hiking trail, or catching some rays at the swimming pool. Whatever our adventure, our feet are with us through it all, but unfortunately may endure too much walking, scrapes, or sunburn. To avoid these outcomes, here are a few tips to ensure your feet get the proper summer care they deserve:

  • Pack the Right Shoes: Different activities require different shoes, so be mindful of what foot wear you should pack. The wrong shoe can make your feet uncomfortable and that can result in cramping, blisters and other developments. If you know your shoes will be getting wet, wait until they have dried out completely before their next wearing to avoid bacteria growth.
  • Avoid Walking Barefoot: As nice as it may feel, walking barefoot exposes your feet to several potential infections and risks (i.e. plantar warts, athlete’s foot and sunburn). Especially be careful around areas like public pools or locker rooms, where injuries and bacterial infections are common.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water! Besides its obvious effects for our health, drinking water helps to minimize any foot swelling that results from summer heat.
  • Use Sunscreen: Sunburn is painful anywhere on your body and your feet are no exception. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your whole foot, especially around the ankles.

Find more information here and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about keeping you or your loved one’s feet safe and comfortable during the summer. Have a great time!