Posts for category: Foot Care
Find out how to treat heel pain yourself and when to see a podiatrist.
Whether you are an avid runner or just someone who likes going to the gym occasionally, it can be challenging to do these everyday activities when faced with heel pain. Did you take that run just a little too far yesterday? Did you suddenly intensify your exercise regime? Then your heels might be screaming out for sweet relief. Here’s how to tackle heel pain before seeing a podiatrist.
What causes heel pain?
Plantar fasciitis is typically the cause of most heel pain. While the name might seem a bit intimidating, don’t worry! Symptoms can often be managed through simple at-home remedies such as,
- Performing specific foot stretches and exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve function.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication to soothe pain and inflammation temporarily.
- Avoid high-impact activities, which will often only exacerbate the condition and lead to further inflammation.
- Splint the foot or wear shoe inserts (orthotics) to provide arch support.
- Consider corticosteroid injections and extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which may also be helpful for those dealing with more severe or stubborn pain.
When should I call my podiatrist?
While you may not want to immediately rush to call your podiatrist at the first bout of pain, you mustn’t ignore a potentially serious issue. You should turn to a podiatrist if,
- You have severe heel pain or swelling
- You can’t point your foot downward or stand up on your tiptoes
- You also notice numbness or a tingling sensation in the heel accompanied by pain
- You experience sudden pain that occurs right after an injury
- You have diabetes or have neuropathy in your feet
- You have been trying at-home treatment options for a week, and there are no changes to your symptoms
If rest and home care haven’t been enough to manage your heel pain, it’s time to turn to a foot and ankle specialist who can help.
When should you turn to a podiatrist for care?
There are many reasons why people turn to podiatrists. After all, our feet and ankles deserve the same lovin’ care that you provide to the rest of your body. Wondering if it’s time to see a podiatrist (chances are good you could benefit from a visit)? You may want to turn to one for,
You turn to your dentist for routine checkups to prevent cavities and gum disease from happening so why wouldn’t you do the same thing with a podiatrist? By coming in once a year for a comprehensive evaluation, a podiatrist can examine your feet, discuss your lifestyle and determine if there are additional measures you should be taking to prevent injuries and other foot problems. A podiatrist can be as much preventive as they can be a great source for treatment. Athletes and active individuals can particularly benefit from undergoing preventive care with a podiatrist.
Bunions are common foot deformities that can continue to enlarge and impact the structure and function of your feet. A podiatrist wants to prevent individuals from needing surgery in the future, which means coming in the minute you suspect that you have a bunion so that they can provide simple lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of the deformity. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way to improving bunion symptoms.
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Dealing with an injury? If so, you definitely want to turn to a foot and ankle specialist who can diagnose and treat the injury. While you may be able to treat minor injuries on your own with rest and home care, it’s often best to play it safe and turn to an expert who can figure out the extent of the injury so you can get the customized care you deserve.
Persistent Joint Pain
Dealing with painful, stiff or inflamed joints in your foot or ankle that won’t go away? This could be a sign of arthritis, a progressive chronic condition that can cause permanent joint damage if you don’t take the necessary steps to manage it. A podiatrist can craft the perfect treatment plan to improve your symptoms, which may include medications to slow the progression of the disease. A podiatrist is going to be the best medical professional to have on your treatment plan if you have arthritis.
When in doubt, call your local podiatrist to find out if the issues or concerns you’re facing require a professional opinion. A podiatrist can answer your questions, diagnose your issues and provide you with the treatment you need.
Your feet must be optimally healthy to support your body when walking, running or performing any other activity that requires you to be on your feet for extended periods. Ingrown toenails can significantly disrupt these activities. The good news is that ingrown toenails are generally easily treated and preventable. Dr. James Mintzer from Providence Foot Health Center is skilled at treating an ingrown toenail in Washington, DC.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails occur when your toenail is digging into the skin of your toe. They can occur on one toe or multiple toes at the same time. They generally appear at the sides and corners of your toenail. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that do not fit well. Some other causes are:
- Improperly clipping your toenails
- Trauma to the foot, such as if something were to fall on your foot or stubbing the toe
- Tear of a toenail
- Congenital conditions may predispose you to develop ingrown toenails. This could involve something such as a deformity of the foot. Also, you may have been born with nails that grow to larger sizes than the toe is capable of accommodating.
What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?
Mostly, they will cause pain. You may experience a hard and swollen area around the deviant toenail at first which can lead to infection if not promptly treated. Some accompanying symptoms to look out for are:
- Pus seeping from the area
- Redness of the toe or other discoloration
- Warmth and swelling of the toe
What are treatments for ingrown toenails?
Your podiatrist will recommend treatment for an ingrown toenail in Washington, DC depending on its severity and if an infection is present. Usually, ingrown toenails caught early can be treated at home. More severe cases may require minor surgical intervention to remove a part of the nail.
However, ingrown toenails will rarely progress to this severity, because once the toenail begins to dig into the surrounding skin you will feel pain, hopefully prompting you to take action. Please be aware that if you have diabetes or other conditions that may cause nerve damage or affect circulation, you need to see a podiatrist immediately. If you have a condition that disrupts pain signals from the nerves, be sure to check your feet regularly for any changes or abnormalities. Some conservative measures to help ingrown toenails are:
- Wearing shoes roomy in the toe area.
- Soak your feet in warm water a few times a day, especially before clipping your toenails.
- Clean your nail clipper before using it.
- Taking NSAIDs like Ibuprofen to help with pain and swelling
- If you have diabetes, practice proper foot care recommended by your doctor.
- Call your doctor if symptoms don't go away in several days.
Dr. Mintzer from Providence Foot Health Center wants to get your feet back to maximal health as quickly as possible. Schedule a consultation to treat your ingrown toenail in Washington, DC by calling (202) 269-4062.
Choose the Right Shoes for the Job
There’s a reason there are shoes just for runners, shoes for weightlifters, and shoes for soccer players. Every sport requires its own shoes that provide just the right cushioning, stability, and support for the feet and ankles. Wearing the right shoes for your chosen sport is imperative to providing your feet with exactly what they need whether it’s ankle stability for those quick side-to-side movements or added cushioning for power jumps.
Rotate Socks and Shoes Regularly
As you work out it’s natural for your feet to sweat; however, the last thing you want to do is leave your feet in sweaty shoes and socks. That’s why it’s always best to carry at least another pair of socks with you and to swap them out after exercise to prevent blisters or a nasty fungal infection. Always choose moisture-wicking socks to help wick away some of the sweat.
Know When to Get Rid of Your Shoes
No shoes are designed to last forever. While you may simply love your sneakers you have to recognize when to part ways and get a new pair. After all, shoes wear down over time and they are less likely to cushion or absorb shock, which can leave you prone to injuries. Shoes are only designed to last about 300-500 miles. If you see that the treads are wearing out this is a clear sign that it’s time to invest in a new pair of sneakers.
Train and Condition Regularly
It’s important that you condition your body and train even off-season so that your body is primed and ready once the season begins. Conditioning the body including the feet and ankles gets them prepared for activity, and it also means that you can increase intensity and duration gradually to reduce your risk for injury. Make sure that you are training throughout the season, even off-season.
Even if you aren’t dealing with foot or ankle problems, if you are physically active or an athlete, having a podiatrist that you turn to regularly for care and advice can go a long way to preventing injuries and other problems.
Find out the best times to visit a podiatrist for care.
Our podiatrist Dr. James Mintzer has been providing high-quality foot and ankle care to the Washington, DC, area for more than 30 years. Dr. Mintzer specializes in diagnosing, treating, managing and preventing foot and ankle disorders, injuries and other problems. Wondering if it’s time to visit our podiatrist? You may want to schedule an appointment with us if,
You’re Experiencing Foot Pain
Most people will deal with foot pain at some point during their lifetime and while minor pain will often go away on its own, there are times when foot pain is caused by a larger issue such as a bunion, hammertoe, ulcer or sprain. You should schedule an appointment with our Washington, DC, podiatrist if pain is,
- Accompanied by fever, numbness, weakness or tingling
- Doesn’t get better with at-home care
- Gets worse despite rest
You Have Diabetes
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes one of the most important doctors that you can add to your team is a podiatrist. Our foot and ankle specialist Dr. Mintzer can provide you with comprehensive checkups and care to prevent complications such as ulcers and nerve damage. If you do notice any changes in the appearance or health of your feet, it’s particularly important that you have a foot doctor that you can turn to right away.
An Infected Ingrown Toenail
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail (usually the big toenail) grows into the skin. This results in pain and swelling around the affected toenail. While the problem will often clear up on its own it’s important to be able to recognize these warning signs of an ingrown toenail,
- Severe pain and swelling
- Pus draining around the nail
- Intense pressure on the toe
You Have a Bunion
If you notice a bulging lump sticking out at the base of the big toe this could be a sign of a bunion, a common foot deformity that can cause intense pain and problems over time if left untreated. Any changes to the overall shape, structure or appearance of your feet should be evaluated by a foot care professional.
You Notice Numbness or Tingling
If you experience weakness, numbness, tingling or burning in the foot, this could be a sign of nerve damage or diabetes. Any of these symptoms warrant immediate medical attention.
Need to schedule an appointment with our renowned Washington, DC, podiatrist Dr. Mintzer? If so, call Providence Foot Health Center at (202) 269-4062 to get on the books.