Posts for category: Foot Conditions
Are you dealing with a nasty case of plantar fasciitis?
Heel pain is a frustrating little problem, especially if you are someone who values their morning run or daily exercise routine. Even if you aren’t what you’d call an avid exerciser, you may still find that your heel pain makes moving around and going about your day more complicated than you would like. A podiatrist is the best medical specialist to turn to when heel pain becomes an issue.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes inflammation within the thick band of tissue known as the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia runs the length of the foot along the soles from the toes to the heels and provides the arches of your feet with support and shock absorption. Unfortunately, microtears within the tissue can occur gradually over time (common in runners), leading to irritation and inflammation.
What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
Those with plantar fasciitis may notice that their heel pain is at its worst first thing in the morning or after long periods of sitting or standing. The tricky thing is that the pain often subsides throughout the day, making you think you can get in your run or regular workout routine after all. The only problem with that is that the heel pain often comes back with a vengeance after exercising. Along with heel pain, you may also notice painful or aching arches.
When Should I See a Podiatrist About My Heel Pain?
We know that no one wants to make an unnecessary trip to see their podiatrist unless the situation warrants it. Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or nerve damage in your feet and you are experiencing heel pain or any symptoms, it is important that you always seek immediate medical care to prevent the issue from getting worse.
While most healthy individuals will be able to handle their heel pain on their own, it’s also important to know when you need proper and more comprehensive care from a podiatrist. It’s important to turn to a podiatrist right away if you have severe pain, pain that makes it impossible to walk or put weight on the foot, numbness or tingling in the heel or foot, or heel pain caused by an injury.
If at-home care isn’t easing your heel pain after five days, then you should also give us a call so that we can create a more effective treatment plan for you.
Don’t let heel pain drag you down. If you are having trouble managing your symptoms and they are impacting your everyday activities and quality of life, it’s time to schedule an evaluation with a podiatrist.
Do you want to know more about ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails are annoying and painful little problems. Whether you’ve had them before or you’re currently dealing with an ingrown toenail, chances are good that you may have questions for our Washington, DC, podiatrist Dr. James Mintzer about why they happen and how to treat them. Here are answers to some of the top questions regarding ingrown toenails.
What are the signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail happens when the edge of a toenail, often the nail of the big toe, grows into the skin. This can cause redness, swelling, tenderness and even pain in the skin around the nail. If you notice any of these symptoms and you can see the corner of the nail is piercing the skin then you could very well be dealing with an ingrown toenail.
What causes ingrown toenails?
You may be more likely to deal with ingrown toenails if,
- You trim your nails too short or you curve the edge of the nail when trimming
- You wear shoes that are too tight and put pressure on your toenails
- You sustained an injury to the nail (common in athletes)
How are ingrown toenails treated?
If you are a healthy individual who doesn’t have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet then you may be able to treat your ingrown toenail yourself with simple home care. You may be able to gently lift the edge of the nail away from the skin and place a pick of a cotton ball under there to help the nail grow out properly.
You may also choose to soak your feet in warm Epsom salt water a couple of times a day to reduce pain and swelling. Most people should see an improvement in their ingrown toenails within 2-3 days. If you don’t, it’s time to call our Washington DC podiatrist.
When should I turn to a doctor for treatment?
Apart from turning to us when home care just isn’t enough to treat your ingrown toenail, you should turn to us as soon as possible if you have diabetes or nerve damage and you develop an ingrown toenail. You should also turn to us if your ingrown toenail shows signs of an infection (e.g. pus or drainage; skin that’s severely red or hard to the touch).
Are you dealing with a severe or recurring ingrown toenail? If so, you may want to schedule an evaluation with our Washington, DC, foot doctor Dr. Mintzer. To schedule an appointment, call Providence Foot Health Center at (202) 269-4062.
Conservative Treatment Options
If a bunion is caught during the early stages, then you’re in luck. Most people can get away with at-home care and more conservative ways to manage their bunions. Most podiatrists will recommend conservative measures first to see if they ease bunion stiffness, pain and swelling. It’s when symptoms aren’t managed through these lifestyle changes that a podiatrist steps in to provide relief. Some conservative ways to treat bunions include,
- Icing the bunion for 15-20 minutes at a time to ease pain and swelling. This can be done 3-4 times a day, every day, as needed.
- Taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen that can reduce inflammation and pain (while medication only provides temporary relief, when you are in pain, this medication can certainly help)
- Stretching out the foot with special mobility exercises for the feet and ankles (ask your podiatrist or simply search online for some of the best foot stretches to ease bunion stiffness)
- Wearing proper footwear that provides the ideal cushioning, fit, and support
- Avoiding high heels, shoes that put pressure on the bunion, and shoes with a pointed toe
- Getting custom orthotics from a podiatrist (these custom-made shoe inserts can provide additional support for the deformed joint)
So, you’ve been trying to manage your bunion symptoms on your own but nothing seems to be working. Does this sound like you? If so, it’s time to employ the help of your trusty podiatrist. After all, that’s what they are there for. A podiatrist can provide you with the treatment plan you need when home care fails to provide you with the results you’re looking for. Your podiatrist may recommend splinting, padding or tapping, or may prescribe a stronger pain reliever. They can also suggest specialty footwear that can provide ample support. They can also determine if it’s time to get corrective bunion surgery.
If you adopt these simple solutions you may find that it drastically slows the growth of your bunions and may even keep you from needing surgery in the future. Of course, if your bunion is causing you severe pain, it’s always best to speak with a foot and ankle specialist to find out what you can do to better manage your symptoms.
What is Raynaud’s disease?
This rare disorder temporarily narrows or restricts blood flow to the blood vessels of the extremities. Raynaud’s disease is characterized by an attack and is often the result of cold weather exposure. There are two types of Raynaud’s disease: primary and secondary. Primary Raynaud’s disease occurs on its own without a cause while secondary Raynaud’s disease is the result of an underlying health problem.
What causes it?
Sometimes Raynaud’s disease has no known cause (as is the case with primary Raynaud’s disease); however, certain autoimmune diseases, extreme stress, or cold weather exposure are typically the main causes. Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of primary Raynaud’s disease include:
- Being a woman
- Being under 30 years old (symptoms offer appear during the teen years)
- A family history of Raynaud’s disease
- Thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, and other chronic diseases
- Certain medications
- Exposure to certain chemicals, cold weather, or vibrating machines
What are the signs and symptoms?
When an attack occurs, skin on the toes and hands often turns white or pale. You may notice a loss of feeling in the extremities, as well. The area may also turn blue. Then once circulation returns, the area will warm and the skin will turn red. You may also notice burning, tingling, or throbbing as the sensation returns. Raynaud’s attack can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours.
How is Raynaud’s disease treated?
If a certain medication or underlying health problem is causing these attacks, your doctor may recommend switching medications or can help you better manage these chronic health problems to reduce your risks for an attack. If your primary Raynaud’s attacks are the result of cold exposure, avoiding cold temperatures is the best way to prevent attacks. Ensure that you are also properly bundled and wearing warm socks and gloves if you have to go outdoors on cold days.
Numbness and color changes in the feet can also be signs of diabetes and nerve damage, so it’s important that you see your podiatrist right away to rule out more serious health concerns.
Wear the Proper Shoes
Whether you’re hiking, running, or simply walking to work, it’s important that you are wearing the appropriate shoes for the job. Shoes that don’t provide your feet with enough cushion and support, especially when pounding the pavement, can leave you dealing with blisters, calluses, and other foot injuries. Make sure that you are also getting shoes that provide the ideal fit. Shoes that are too tight or loose can rub against the skin and result in blisters.
There are blister pads on the market for a reason! Even if you are wearing properly fitted footwear, you may still find that you need a little added protection for your feet. A blister pad can be used to protect a blister that you have or it can be used in places that are prone to blisters.
Wear the Right Socks
The socks that you wear are just as important for maintaining healthy feet as the shoes that you wear. Choose socks that wick away moisture and consider doubling up on socks if you are getting ready to participate in an activity that increases your chances of developing a blister. The added layer can provide more protection for your feet. If your socks become wet or moist, it’s important that you change your socks right away.
Use a Lubricant Before Exercise
Shoes and socks that rub against the feet can lead to blisters, so it’s important to reduce this type of friction by keeping feet lubricated. This is particularly important for runners or hikers. Apply petroleum jelly to the feet so that they are more likely to slide rather than rub against shoes and socks.
A podiatrist can recommend the appropriate footwear for you, provide custom orthotics and ensure that you provide your feet with the support and cushioning they need for all of your activities to prevent blisters from happening to you. If blisters are a common problem, talk with your podiatrist about how you can prevent this from happening.