Posts for category: Foot Care
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection of the feet that is typically characterized by itchy, burning patches of skin between the toes that may also crack or bleed. Since untreated athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails, it’s particularly important that you treat this problem as soon as you notice it. Athlete’s foot won’t typically clear up by itself; however, home remedies and treatments may be all you need to eliminate the fungal infection.
Treating Athlete’s Foot
If you are an otherwise healthy individual who is just dealing with an unfortunate bout of athlete’s foot chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to treat the problem on your own. There are a variety of over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments that can be applied directly to the skin. Make sure to read and follow all instructions to ensure that the medication gets rid of the infection.
Along with properly treating your athlete’s foot it’s also important to keep feet as dry as possible. After all, fungus thrives best in warm, damp environments. By keeping feet dry you make it a less hospitable environment for this infection. This means wearing clean socks and shoes every day. Opt for socks with natural fibers, which are breathable and can wick away sweat. If your feet are particularly sweaty you can also apply an antifungal powder throughout the day.
When to See a Podiatrist
If you find that cracked, painful feet are making it difficult to stand or move around then this means it’s time to see a podiatrist for treatment; however, if the fungal infection isn’t impacting mobility then you may be able to treat the problem on your own with over-the-counter medications.
If you notice signs of an infection such as a swollen foot, pus draining from the foot, increased redness, or open sores it’s also important that you see a doctor right away. Antibiotics will be necessary in order to treat the infection.
If you are dealing with diabetes, nerve damage in your feet or other problems that impact the health of your feet it’s even more important that you see a podiatrist right away if you notice symptoms of athlete’s foot or other problems. Do not try to treat the infection on your own, as this could lead to more serious complications.
If you are dealing with persistent or recurring athlete’s foot it’s important that you also have a podiatrist that you can turn to for answers. While this condition may seem harmless it’s important that you don’t leave it untreated. A podiatrist can provide you with the treatment you’re looking for.
Did you know that the metatarsals, or bones in the foot, are the most commonly broken bones in the human body? These long bones run the length of the foot and a fractured metatarsal means that there is a break in at least one of these five bones (the fifth metatarsal is the most commonly fractured metatarsal bone). If you suspect that you’ve broken a bone in your foot it’s important that you see a podiatrist right away.
Broken metatarsals most commonly occur as a result of a sports injury; however, this fracture can also occur over time due to overuse and wear (this is commonly known as a stress fracture). Dropping a heavy item on the foot or experiencing a bad fall can also cause broken metatarsals. Signs and symptoms of a broken toe caused by trauma to the foot include:
- Hearing a snapping or popping sound at the moment of injury
- Severe and sudden pain in the toe immediately after impact or trauma
- Bruising or swelling of the toe (this may not appear until the day after the injury)
- Changes in the alignment or appearance of your toe
Symptoms of a stress fracture will be a bit different from traumatic fractures. Since stress fractures occur over time as a result of overuse you may start to notice foot pain with your routine activities or pain that goes away with rest but is exacerbated by physical activity. A metatarsal that has sustained a stress fracture may also be tender to the touch.
Some people assume that if they can walk on their foot then they must not be dealing with a broken metatarsal, but this is simply not true. This is why it’s always best to play it safe and to schedule an immediate evaluation with a foot and ankle specialist if you have experienced a traumatic foot injury that you suspect has led to one or more broken metatarsals. Not treating the broken bone could lead to certain deformities, which can greatly impact mobility. You may also experience chronic pain or be at an increased risk for arthritis.
Treating Broken Metatarsals
Common ways to treat a traumatic fracture include rest, splinting, or tapping toe affected toe, custom-made shoe inserts and wearing rigid footwear such as a special boot or shoe that provides the foot with protection, support, and cushioning.
If the break is severe enough your podiatrist may recommend surgery, but surgery is rarely necessary for treating broken toes. Those with stress fractures will want to avoid any activity that causes repetitive stress on the foot, to prevent the stress fracture from getting worse.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a broken bone after a fall, accident or injury then it’s time to schedule an immediate appointment with a podiatrist. The sooner you seek treatment the sooner you can begin your road to recovery.
Have you ever had an ingrown toenail? If you answer yes, then you know the pain resulting from this common foot condition. Dr. James Mintzer, your podiatrist at Providence Foot Health Center in Washington, treats ingrown toenails and helps patients from having them in first place. Learn more here.
What is an ingrown toenail?
Also called onychocryptosis, an ingrown toenail occurs when a toenail, typically the one on the big toe, grows into the surrounding skin. Pain, redness, inflammation and even infection results.
How does an ingrown toenail happen? Genetics and tight shoes play a large role in its formation, reports the American Podiatric Medical Association. So can foot trauma.
However, your Washington podiatrist often finds that incorrect pedicure techniques cause this problem. In other words, if you cut your toenails poorly, shaping and rounding the corners, rather than trimming straight across, onychocryptosis is sure to happen.
Treating ingrown toenails
Sometimes home remedies work well for mild cases. Just soak your foot in warm water two to three times a day, and wear open toed shoes to avoid friction and pressure.
However, for more severely ingrown and painful nails, seeing Dr. Mintzer at Providence Foot Health Center is the best course of action. He will examine your foot and prescribe antibiotics if infection has set in.
Additionally, he often performs an in-office procedure called a partial nail avulsion. This procedure cuts away the nail from the nail plate and applies a chemical to keep it from growing back. Dr. Mintzer ensures complete patient comfort during the procedure and advises rest, elevation and over the counter analgesics at home afterwards.
The strategy for keeping nails healthy is simple:
- Wear clean, well-fitting socks every day
- Make sure your shoes fit properly (not too tight or narrow in the toe box)
- Trim your nails straight across using a clean, sharp clippers
Healthy nails and healthy feet
The two definitely go together. For a personalized consultation on your feet and nails, please contact your podiatrist, Dr. James Mintzer at Providence Foot Health Center. The office, located in Washington DC, is open Monday through Friday at 7:30 am. Phone (202) 269-4062.
While there are many people with flat feet, often times they won’t even know it; however, there are others with flat feet that regularly experience pain, soreness, and other problems. While flat feet is rarely considered a serious issue, if you are dealing with problems as a result of your flat feet it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist who can offer up ways to prevent problems.
How to tell if you have flat feet
If the arches of your feet touch the floor when you stand then you have flat feet. The arches of our feet don’t actually develop until around the age of six; however, sometimes flat feet develop due to injury or repeated stress on the feet.
Symptoms of flat feet
The most common symptom of flat feet is foot pain that originates in the heels and arches. You may find that the pain gets worse when standing or moving for long periods of time. Those who are physically active may experience pain more regularly. Sometime swelling on the inside of the foot or ankle may also occur.
Potential complications of flat feet
Since flat feet can be responsible for misalignments, this can lead to ankle and knee problems. If you are noticing foot, ankle, knee, hip, or lower back pain then you will want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to find out what’s going on.
Treating flat feet
If you aren’t experiencing pain or other issues then you won’t require any treatment for your flat feet. While we can’t fix flat feet our podiatrist can provide you with simple solutions to reduce pain and discomfort associated with faulty biomechanics within the feet. Common ways to prevent flat foot-related pain include:
- Using arch supports in your shoes, which can take pressure off the arches and provide cushioning and support when standing or moving.
- Performing certain stretching exercises prescribed by a podiatrist. There are specific exercises designed to stretch the Achilles tendon to alleviate and prevent foot pain.
- Wearing the appropriate footwear that provides further arch support. Shoes that are old and worn, as well as certain styles such as sandals or flip-flops won’t provide your feet with the proper support they need.
- Undergoing physical therapy if you are dealing with foot pain due to overuse injuries, which is common among athletes. Physical therapy can help strengthen certain ligaments, tendons and muscles of the feet and ankles to prevent excessive wear and tear, as well as pain and soreness in the arches and heels.
If you are dealing with pain due to flat feet and can’t seem to get your discomfort under control then you will want to talk with a podiatrist who can recommend certain exercises, proper footwear, and custom orthotics to improve the health of your feet. Talk to a podiatrist today.
Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.