Podiatrist Blog

Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By Providence Foot Health Center
September 01, 2022
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Broken Toe  

Do you suspect that you might have broken your toe? You could very well be dealing with a broken toe if you notice pain, stiffness or swelling, or if you suddenly have trouble walking. Something as simple as stubbing your toe has the ability to fracture it. You may have broken your toe if you are experiencing any of these symptoms,

  • Swelling around the toe
  • Discolorations such as bruising
  • Changes in the shape or alignment of the toe
  • Pain when moving the toe
  • Pain when walking or putting weight on the toe
  • Pain that intensifies hours after injury

While a broken toe can certainly be painful it’s often not considered an urgent matter. A broken toe will only require urgent medical attention if,

  • You are dealing with severe pain
  • The toe is sticking out at an angle
  • Your child has sustained an injury to the toe
  • There is a loss of sensation in the toe
  • You heard a snap or popping sound at the moment of injury
  • You think you’ve broken your big toe

If you are dealing with any of these problems, then it’s important to call your podiatrist right away for proper treatment. In some cases, our podiatry team may need to reset the broken bone. If you aren’t dealing with any of these issues, you can often manage your condition on your own with ample rest and home care. Ways to treat your broken toe include,

  • Keeping the injured foot elevated above your heart to reduce swelling
  • Staying off your feet and resting as much as possible
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications
  • Wear properly fitted, supportive shoes with no heel and a wide toe box
  • Taping your broken toe together with the adjacent toe for more support

Most broken toes will recover fully in about 4-6 weeks; however, you should start to see symptoms improving after only a few days. You should call your podiatrist if you don’t see a reduction in pain and swelling after 2-3 days of home care, or if you are still experiencing pain or difficulty walking after six weeks.

If you are concerned about a broken toe or other foot problems that are causing you pain or affecting your ability to walk, it’s important to see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Call your podiatrist today.

By Providence Foot Health Center
August 19, 2022
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunions  

If you have a bunion, you probably want to know more about this condition. Below are the most frequently asked questions that Dr. James Mintzer and his team get about bunions at Providence Foot Health Center in Washington, DC. Bunions are a frequent cause of foot pain that we care for and can help guide you on the best treatment strategy.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion starts with the dislocation of your big toe joint. In most cases, this causes the appearance of a bump, or protrusion, on your big toe joint. This protrusion is generally located at the base of the big tie on the inside of your foot. The dislocation of the joint causes the big toe to point toward the smaller toes. A severe case can develop a condition known as crossover toe where the big toe displaces enough that it lays on top of the second toe.

What Causes Bunions?

The dislocation of the big toe joint is the result of poor foot mechanics, anatomically deformed or misshapen feet. Barring congenital defects in the feet, generally, the dislocation comes from years of excessive stress placed on the feet and toes. Many people mistakenly think that ill-fitting shoes are to blame. Wearing shoes that don't fit well can lead to the worsening of a bunion, but it's not the cause of bunion developing initially. 

What Are the Symptoms?

The physical deformity of a bony protrusion, or bump, that develops inside your foot is not the only symptom of a bunion. Other symptoms can accompany a bunion, such as:

  • Corns and callouses
  • Pain when straightening the toe
  • Inability to wear regular shoes
  • Numbness in the big toe

How Is It Treated?

The most commonly recommended treatment strategy is surgery to remove the bunion. This procedure is called bunionectomy and will correct the anatomy of the foot. While surgical intervention will likely be needed for your bunion in Washington, DC, there are conservative, non-surgical steps that you and your podiatrist can take to manage bunions.

Can I Do Anything To Delay the Need for Surgery?

The list below may stop or slow down the progression of a bunion. Some suggestions from our podiatrist are:

  • Always wear shoes that are roomy in the toe area. 
  • Go shoe shopping in the evening, as our feet slightly swell in the later hours of the day. 
  • Have your feet measured every time you buy new shoes. Our feet flatten with age and this may require buying a larger-sized shoe.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Wear custom orthotics in your shoes.
  • Both prescription and OTC anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication

Contact Us

If you have a question that wasn't answered above, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mintzer at Providence Foot Health Center. We will answer any further questions you have about bunions in Washington, DC. You can reach us by calling (202) 269-4062.

By Providence Foot Health Center
August 17, 2022
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

Discover more about this foot deformity and why it happens.

Bunions always seem to get the spotlight when talking about foot deformities; however, it’s also essential to shed light on hammertoes. This common deformity affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. When this joint is impacted, it causes the toes to bend downward. Wondering if you may be at risk for hammertoes? Here’s what you should know,

What Can Lead to a Hammertoe?

It’s important to figure out what can cause a hammertoe to develop so you can do your best to avoid certain habits or practices that could increase your risk. Some risk factors for hammertoes include,

  • A family history of hammertoes
  • Wearing tight or pointed shoes
  • Wearing shoes that are too small
  • Dealing with bunions, corns and calluses
  • Arthritis
  • Injury or trauma to a toe

One of the easiest ways to avoid developing a hammertoe is to wear the proper shoes. This means avoiding shoes that are too small, which forces toes to curl under or bunch up. Wearing poorly fitted shoes can also make bunions, blisters and other foot problems more likely to occur, making developing hammertoes more likely.

What Are the Symptoms of a Hammertoe?

Those with more mild symptoms may only notice the presence of a corn or callus, and the toe will be bent down. You may notice some pain when walking or trying to move the affected toe. Those with more severe symptoms may have trouble walking or may not be able to move their toes. The affected toes will also look claw-like in nature.

How Is a Hammertoe Treated?

If you suffer from only mild hammertoe symptoms, then the number one recommendation your podiatrist may make is to change your footwear. Avoid shoes with high arms, pointed toes, or shoes that are too tight and push toes into a bunched position. You can also opt for shoe inserts and orthotics to take pressure off certain parts of your foot while walking. This can also reduce pain and discomfort while moving.

Also, talk to your podiatrist about stretching exercises you can do from the comfort of your home daily to reduce hammertoe-related symptoms. This can also help to reposition the toe over time.

If you have more severe symptoms and other treatments aren’t improving your condition, you may need surgery to help realign the toe. Surgery for hammertoes is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.

By Providence Foot Health Center
August 01, 2022
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunions  

Find out how to get your bunion pain under control and when to see a podiatrist.

A bunion is a painful foot deformity that warrants turning to a podiatrist to learn how to manage your pain and slow the deformity’s progression. If you suspect you might have a bunion, but you’ve never actually found out, it’s time to turn to a podiatrist to learn more. In the meantime, here’s what you should know about bunion pain and ways to manage it.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is a deformity of the big toe’s joint that causes a large, bony bump to stick out at the edge of the foot at the base of the toe. The bump may become swollen, red or painful, especially when wearing certain shoes.

What Are Some Ways That I Can Manage My Symptoms?

There are ways to slow a bunion’s progress enough that you may never need surgery. If your symptoms are minor, changing your shoes will make a world of difference. Opt for shoes with a wide toe box, don’t put pressure on the bunion, and have a low heel.

Shoes should also provide proper support, and remember—shoes don’t last forever. We know it’s tough to part with them, but if your shoes are worn out, they aren’t giving your feet the stability they need.

Other ways to reduce bunion pain and take pressure off the deformed joint is to,

  • Maintain a healthy weight (or lose excess weight)
  • Apply a non-medicated bunion pad over the joint before wearing shoes
  • Consider using custom orthotics or night splints (talk with your podiatrist first)
  • Take NSAID pain relievers when necessary to ease bouts of achiness and throbbing pain
  • Apply ice packs to the area or take warm soaks to ease symptoms
  • Consider getting regular massages to help boost blood flow

Can I Get Rid of a Bunion?

The simple answer is “yes”. You can get rid of a bunion but only through surgery. Of course, while surgery is usually the last treatment option to consider, this doesn’t necessarily mean that surgery isn’t the right choice for you. You may be a good candidate for bunion surgery if,

  • Your bunion doesn’t respond to home treatment
  • Bunion pain is severe and chronic
  • Your bunion affects your daily routine and quality of life

Don’t let bunion pain impact your life and daily routine. A podiatrist can map out a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and activities to help you better control your pain and get back to what you love doing.

By Providence Foot Health Center
July 18, 2022
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Ingrown Toenail  

Are you dealing with a painful toenail? It could be an ingrown toenail.

Any ingrown toenail happens when the edge of a toenail, typically the big toenail, grows into the skin. As you might imagine, it can be pretty painful (but if you have one, we certainly don’t have to tell you). If you suspect you might have an ingrown toenail but are unsure, here’s what you should know, including telltale signs of one.

Why Do Ingrown Toenails Happen?

There are many reasons why you could be dealing with an ingrown toenail. Of course, one of the most common causes is not trimming your toenail correctly. Didn’t realize there was a right and wrong way to keep your toe? Well, there is! If you trim your nails too short or cut them at a curve (rather than straight), you may be prone to developing an ingrown toenail.

Ingrown toenails can also happen if you’ve recently injured the toe (even stubbing your toe counts) or if your shoes are just a little too tight.

What Are the Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail?

If you have an ingrown toenail, the first symptom you may experience is foot pain around the affected nail. The area may also be red, swollen or tender to the touch.

When Should I Call My Foot Doctor?

While soaking the toe and allowing it time to heal (you better stop wearing those tight-fitted shoes during this time!) can often be all that’s needed to manage your symptoms until the nail is healthy again, some circumstances warrant visiting us for care including,

  • When at-home measures haven’t improved your symptoms within three days
  • When the pain gets worse (this could be a sign of infection)
  • When the toe becomes severely swollen, is warm to the touch or begins to drain pus
  • If you have nerve damage in your feet, diabetes or circulation problems

If in doubt about whether you may be dealing with an ingrown toenail, call your podiatrist to find out if your symptoms warrant coming in for a consultation. If you develop increased redness and pain, fever or skin that’s warm to the touch, these are signs of an infection, and it’s important that you turn to your foot doctor immediately.



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