Frequently Asked Questions
1.) My heels crack and bleed. Is there anything I can do?
Ans. Skin fissuring is a common problem in our feet, particularly during the winter season and in patients with poor circulation and diabetes. Applications of creams and emollients may help, but an evaluation with a podiatrist regarding circulation and infection is important. If over-the-counter moisturizers fail, prescription strength moisturizers are available.
2.) When I get up in the morning, I feel terrible heel pain. It lasts for a while, and then it seems to go away. What’s happening?
Ans. Morning heel pain is a common symptom of plantar fasciitis and possibly heel spur syndrome. Podiatric evaluation, including X-rays to view the heel bone, is important to rule out other diagnoses, such as a stress fracture. Many treatments are available for this common problem, including stretching, icing, anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, and custom orthoses. Your podiatric surgeon will determine the appropriate course of treatment following your evaluation.
3.) My son has developed heel pain. He’s only 12, but he is very active in sports. What’s going on?
He probably has developed a common condition called Sever’s apophysitis, which is an inflammation of the growth plate of the heel. This should be treated professionally early in its development and usually resolves within six to eight weeks with conservative care.
4.) My son’s coach said he has turf toe. What’s that?
Turf toe is a hyperextension injury of the great toe joint and needs professional care to prevent damage to the cartilage from the injury. This commonly presents with swelling and pain. X-rays need to be taken to rule out a fracture.
5.) What’s the best way to cut your toenails to prevent them from becoming ingrown?
The old adage of cutting your toenails straight across is okay, if they are not incurvated to begin with. If there is nail deformity, no cutting can stop the ingrowing. A minor 10-minute office surgery can treat the problem and reshape the nail to prevent further occurrences. Early treatment is necessary to prevent infection.
6.) I’ve been troubled with ingrown toenails for years. I hear there is a simple, in office procedure that can keep them from coming back.
You’re correct! Ingrown toenails can be addressed with a minimally invasive office procedure to remove the offending nail border. A further step may then be taken to prevent recurrence.
7.) My athletes’ foot infection keeps coming back. What am I doing wrong?
You may not have the typical form of infection. It should be examined, diagnosed, and treated professionally to prevent spreading to other parts of the body including the nails.
8.) My arches have fallen, and my feet get tired. I’ve tried different shoes, but nothing seems to work. Can you give me some help?
Foot fatigue is a common problem, especially with age. Usually the foot begins to widen and weaken beginning in the fifth decade of life—sometimes sooner—if your occupation includes standing on hard surfaces for many hours a day. A specially designed shoe insert, called an orthotic, custom made by your podiatrist, should give you significant relief.
9.) I think I broke my toe, but I was told there is nothing anyone can do about it. Is that true?
Toe fractures may be displaced, leading to abnormal bone healing. This may result in a crooked toe that could develop other problems. It is always best to get an X-ray to see what type of treatment is necessary. Toe fractures can be treated with flexible casting, buddy taping, physical therapy, and rigid shoe immobilization. Early treatment can speed bone healing and reduce the chance of deformity.
10.) What are bunions, and how can they be treated?
Bunions are a subluxation or dislocation of the great toe joint, in which an abnormal, bony bump is formed causing pain. Conservative treatment includes padding and wider shoe gear. Surgery is available to remove the bump and realign the great toe joint so that it functions normally and is able to fit in a shoe more comfortably. This is typically a progressive deformity, and if not currently painful, may become so in the future. Early evaluation by a podiatric surgeon is important to assess the deformity and determine a course of treatment.
11.) My son came home from school with warts. They look ugly, and he’s embarrassed. How can he get rid of them without taking time away from football?
Most warts are caused by a viral infection. It just so happens that the viruses that cause warts like warm, moist places, and what could be better than the shower stalls at your son’s school gym? The key to wart therapy is to kill the virus, and the wart goes away. A chemical debriding agent is applied by our podiatrists for the treatment of simple, non-painful warts, and this is continued with regular home application of a prescription medication. It is not likely that your son will have to give up his sports activities to get rid of a wart by means of conservative treatment. More resistant warts might need laser surgery, and most patients are back to normal activity within one week following the laser treatment.
12.) I began a new job and I’m on my feet all day. My dad had fallen arches, and a podiatrist made him some steel arch supports years ago. Do you think I might need the same?
You probably do. Fallen arches are a common name for a foot that does not work efficiently, thereby causing your pain. Custom orthoses are what our podiatrists will create for you to treat this condition. Today, they are usually made from a heat moldable plastic or carbon fiber, instead of steel, which needed to be adjusted often and was quite rigid. Custom orthoses usually last several years, thus making them a worthwhile investment in foot comfort. These also may prevent further foot problems that may require surgical intervention.