Category Archives: Foot Care

Plantar Fasciitis – Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition involving inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of connective tissue at the bottom of your feet. Because it runs along the heel to the toes, the plantar fascia absorbs shocks and helps maintain balance by supporting the arch of the foot. The inflammation is often caused by intense or prolonged movements or shocks to the tissue, but more than 2 million treatments annually suggest plantar fasciitis may be caused by a variety of issues.

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain at the bottom of the foot; often one or two inches away from the heel.
  • Two thirds of patients report pain in only one foot, but both feet can be affected.
  • The pain level is initially low and gradually increases over time in the absence of proper treatment.
  • Pain is often more severe after exercising or lifting heavy goods.
  • Pain is also often more elevated after waking up or resting for a couple of hours.
  • Many patients report “stabbing pain.”
  • Gentle exercises after waking up may reduce pain throughout the day, which may make it difficult to diagnose plantar fasciitis.
  • Other cases cause limping because individuals rebalance their weight to reduce one-sided pain

Symptoms vary by individuals’ age, profession, fitness and underlying conditions. Plantar fasciitis can vaguely be compared to “tennis elbow” which is another tissue-related condition. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions about plantar fasciitis symptoms and stay tuned for the next blog where we address common risk factors. We collected a couple of reliable sources with more information for the meantime.

Proper Toenail Care for Your Children

Every child has a favorite pair of shoes they will wear over anything. Have they ever worn that pair until they were too tight and squeezing their toes? Likely! Has this behavior increased the risk of ingrown toenails? Likely as well!

Properly fitting shoes are imperative to maintaining healthy and happy feet, especially during the main growth phases, but there are other factors to consider. Addressing these factors early on is key for prevention. We recommend parents adhere to the following actions:  

  • Trim the toenail straight across.
  • Do not cut the toenail too short.
  • Do not curve the nails or round off the nail.
  • Do not pick or tear the nail.
  • Avoid tight narrow shoes or poor fitting shoes.

We recommend regularly inspecting your child’s feet, especially when they begin trimming their own toenails. If your child experiences pain when walking, redness or anything resembling a blister near the toenail, we recommend considering medical attention. Depending on the severity of the case, your podiatrist may recommend potential home remedies to ease the pain:

  • Soaking their foot in warm soap water for 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Gently rubbing around the swollen cuticle and angle the nail upwards while soaking.
  • Over-the-counter cream, gel or toe protectors.
  • Wearing open-toed shoes.
  • Place a thin piece of gauze around the toenail if closed toed shoes are required.

More severe cases may cause infections and require minor surgical procedures or medication. In any case, we want your child to rock their favorite pair of shoes at any time, so stock up with larger sizes whenever possible to guarantee that perfect fit!

Ingrown Toenails: Treatment

We have previously talked about causes, identification and prevention of ingrown toenails, but in this blog we would like to address the treatment of ingrown toenails.

There are several treatment options ranging from home remedies to surgical procedures. Mild cases may be remedied at home by soaking your toes in warm water and applying antibiotic ointment. We do recommend coming in for an appointment if symptoms like pain, redness and swelling do not disappear within 48 hours.

Prolonged symptoms or drainage from the side of the toenail indicates a level of severity that requires professional treatment. Waiting for symptoms to disappear will only increases the risk of infection which comes with a range of additional complications, especially when diabetics are affected.

Professional treatments include, but are not limited to:

  • Lifting the toenail with cotton to ease pressure
  • Wrapping the nail in silk to protect infected areas
  • Trimming the edge of the affected toenail
  • Removal of specific areas of the toenail as preventative measure
  • Prescription of oral antibiotics
  • Removal of the entire infected nail and tissue in serious cases
  • Chemical treatment to permanently prevent ingrown toenails

The final treatment plan depends on a variety of factors, which is why it is crucial to be open and transparent with your podiatrist. Let them know about:

  • The length of time you have suffered from your condition and the pain level over this span of time
  • Your history of ingrown toenails or any other foot-related conditions
  • Home treatments you used or consider using
  • Permanent health conditions like diabetes or being a bleeder
  • Allergies or sensitivities against treatment materials or prescriptions
  • Relevant footwear habits affecting the toes (heels, steel-toe boots, etc.)
  • Hobbies and professions requiring mobility and balance (athletics, roofing, etc.)

Do not wait for the pain to get worse and for the infection to set in. Contact Dr. Smith’s office for an appointment.

How Contagious is Toenail Fungus?

While toenail fungus can be treated, it can also spread to your friends, family and other people in your community.  Here is a look at how toenail fungus is transmitted and how you can be prepared:

Direct Contact

Toenail fungus spreads through physical contact. So, be sure to prevent direct foot-to-foot contact with your partner and/or family.  Underlying conditions like diabetes can make people especially receptive to fungus. Fortunately, toenail fungus is usually restricted to your feet, so careful hugs will not be an issue. Washing your hands regularly and putting on socks before your pants will reduce any risk of direct transmission.

Indirect Contact

Toenail fungus can also be transmitted through supplies like hygiene products. Avoid using someone else’s nail polish or clippers and make sure others are not using your toiletries. The same applies to getting a pedicure. Do not share your comfy house shoes or beach towels until the treatment is finished. If possible, wash your socks separately from other clothes. Studies show washing your feet at 60ºC/140ºF will eliminate most spores.

Because toenail fungus can be spread through wet and dry surfaces like your kitchen floor, we recommend wearing breathable socks and shoes inside your home. Wipe and disinfect surfaces that come into contact with your feet.

The best way to minimize contagion is a thorough hygiene routine, so encouraging family members to trim their nails and to keep their feet clean and dry will go a long way. Temporarily applying anti-fungal powder is another strategy. Here is more information:

As always, please give us a call with any other questions on this topic or any foot related issue!

Getting Back on Your Feet

Many of us are adapting to different daily routines. Some work more than ever, others found a new work-life balance allowing them to better focus more on their personal well-being. Creating new workout routines to stay active has become a common trend not only for people working out on a regular basis. We want you to know we are still available if you have any questions on how to get back on your feet – literally.

Are you new to running and started to experience a burning sensation or numbness? This may be caused by incorrectly sized shoes or shoes that are not made for running. Inform yourself about appropriate gear prior to starting a new workout to genuinely enjoy your new hobby. The same applies to any other sport, so don’t overcommit to too many new activities since each requires specialized, and potentially expensive, equipment.

If any of your new workout routines still cause any foot pain, we recommend to first check for ingrown toenails.  These are often caused by injuries, infections, improper trimming, or excessive pressure on the toes. We provide quick evaluations and treatments ranging from chemical to surgical.

Even if you are not making any changes to your daily routine, now may be a good time to assess your fitness goals and to address any foot concerns that didn’t seem relevant just a couple of months ago. A quick treatment may save you much trouble down the road when damage cannot be reversed that easily anymore. Check out the links below for more information on some common foot issues:

Keep in mind that healthy feet will also help with daily activities. They allow you to spend time at the lake, wear your favorite high heels, get your weekly grocery shopping done, and be active with your friends and family.