Foot and ankle problems can affect you or any member of your family and impact someone’s quality of life, not to mention day-to-day mobility. Our podiatrists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the foot and ankle, ranging from everyday concerns such as athlete’s foot or corns to more complicated issues such as bone and joint issues, diabetic foot care and sports injuries.
Treatment options often start with more conservative therapies such as medications, exercise, and rehabilitative or alternative therapies. If necessary, doctors may also recommend surgical diagnostic and treatment options. In each case, we will work together with you to determine the best treatment.
We treat many conditions including:
ACHILLES TENDON INJURIES
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a hero of the Trojan War. He had one weakness on his body because when his mother dipped him in the River Styx as an infant, she held him by one of his heels. Thus, the term “Achilles Heel” coming to mean a point of weakness on the human body.
In fact, the Achilles tendon is actually a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. When the calf muscles flex, the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel. This movement allows us to stand on our toes and is active when walking, running or jumping.
An Achilles tendon rupture is an injury that affects the back of your lower leg. It mainly occurs in athletes between the ages of 30 to 40 and is up to five times more likely to occur in men than in women. However, it can actually happen to anyone.
If your Achilles tendon ruptures, you might hear a pop, followed by an immediate sharp pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg. Some say it feels like you have been kicked in the calf. Pain and swelling may be present near the heel. Seek the care of a podiatrist immediately especially if you can’t walk properly afterward this type of incident.
Depending upon the level of severity as well as your activity level, this injury may be either treated conservatively or a surgical repair may be recommended. We can help determine the best course of treatment for you.
Athlete’s foot can be quite annoying and occur on almost anyone’s feet. However, it favors men and is simply a fungal infection that impacts the upper layer of skin on your foot. Symptoms can include a red scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning. People with athlete’s foot can also have dry patches and raw, sensitive skin between their toes.
The fungus that causes athlete’s foot especially loves people’s feet who are sweaty and confined in tight-fitting shoes. Damp socks and shoes and warm, humid conditions create a great environment for the fungus to grow. Because of this, it is commonly found on gym or bathroom floors and in clothing. It is also quite contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected person or from contact with those contaminated surfaces.
Treatment can begin with an over-the-counter topical antifungal medication. If you have a rash on your foot that doesn’t improve within two weeks of home treatment, it is time to see a doctor. Also, if you have diabetes, see your doctor immediately if you suspect you have athlete’s foot as the condition can lead to more serious complications such as foot ulcers, cellulitis, and other bacterial infections.
A hammertoe is the progressive contraction or curling of the digits. This condition shows up on the foot as bending or a deformity of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes – sometimes called the “little toes.” The most common digit to develop into a hammertoe is the toe next to the big toe. They usually start out as mild deformity and gets worse over time. The good news is that early treatment can often prevent them from progressing and becominng permanent.
A hammertoe is often caused by wearing shoes with high heels or narrow toe boxes, such as woman's dress shoes or cowboy boots. These fashion-forward but unfortunate shoes crowd your toes into a space in which they can’t lie flat, which disrupts the muscles, tendons or ligaments that hold the toe straight. You can also develop a hammertoe as the result of an injury in which you stub, jam or break a toe and thus make it more likely for that digit to progress to this presentation.
The affected toe(s) may be painful or hard to move and can develop corns or calluses from rubbing against a shoe or another toe. Treatment can include wearing roomier shoes, using pads to help cushion the digit, and using orthotics. Occasionally, surgery might be needed to get relief if the condition has progressed. We can help get your toes in tip-top shape with a personalized treatment plan for a hammertoe.
A sprain can occur when your foot or ankle rolls, twists, or turns in an awkward way. When this happens, the bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold the bones together can tear or stretch. This type of injury often causes swelling, pain and a limited range of motion.
If you can put weight on your foot and walk immediately after having twisted your foot or ankle and if the ligaments have only been slightly stretched, the likelihood for a quick recovery is good. If you take it easy, you can usually return to normal activity again after a few days.
The first line of treatment for a sprained joint is rest, ice and pain relievers. There is no specific time frame for a severe sprain to heal, however if left untreated complications such as arthritis and joint pain my occur. Severe sprains may need further medical evaluation by a podiatrist.
You should see a physician if you are unable to walk more than a few steps without severe pain or if the area is not improving after a few days. Chronically sprained ankles left untreated leave the ligaments stretched or torn and can lead to future instability of the ankle. Not treating these injuries correctly can also lead to long term damage.
BUNIONS, CALLUSES AND CORNS
Bunions are painful, bony bumps that develop on the big toe joint. They develop slowly and as they do the pressure on the joint causes the toe to lean toward the second toe. Tight or ill-fitting shoes and arthritis are among some of the causes. In fact, continuing to wear the wrong shoes can make bunions worse.
Treatments include changing shoes, padding the foot and taking pain medications. Painful bunions can be removed surgically. If you have are experiencing a decreased movement of your foot or toe and are in pain, it is time to see a podiatrist to explore your treatment options.
Corns and calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that can develop on your feet. Corns most often develop on the tops and sides of feet and between the toes. They are pretty benign but can be painful when pressed. Calluses rarely hurt, but if it does become painful see your doctor.
The team of podiatrists at Minor & James Surgical Specialists can help you with any of your bunion, callus or corn concerns. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, see your doctor before self-treating a corn, callus or bunion as a minor injury to your feet can easily escalate.
PLANTAR FASCITIS AND HEEL SPURS
Do you walk, run, hike, jump – or simply stand a lot through your day, especially on concrete, pavement, and other hard surfaces? Do you have pain in your heel, and possibly reaching forward into your arch? Do you find it most noticeable when you start your day, or when you rise after you’ve been sitting for a while? The most common cause is plantar fasciitis, a common repetitive stress injury.
Symptoms start slowly, with mild aches or twinges. But they can develop over time and become more severe, stabbing pains making exercise or even walking painful. If you over-pronate – that is, if your ankle turns inward and downward as you walk – that can affect it, too. It is also known to become more common with age, usually affecting those between 40 and 60.
In fact, about 80% of all heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis. Sometimes more severe causes are involved, but odds are good that your painful foot and arch will respond to some simple treatments.
On the other hand, a heel spur won’t necessarily cause you pain unless it’s prominent beneath your foot. Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can occur alone or be related to another issue. Treatments for heel spurs can include exercise, orthotics, medications, and cortisone injections. Heel spurs are permanent unless treated and if conservative treatments fail, surgery may be necessary.
If you’re not seeing significant improvement, call on us to keep you on your feet. Our doctors have the experience you need to treat your plantar fasciitis or heel spur with a treatment that is tailor-fit to your personal needs so that you can get your life back on track.
ARTHRITIC FEET AND ANKLES
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Many of these can affect the foot and ankle. This may make it difficult for you to walk and continue activities that you enjoy on a daily basis. Having a podiatrist as part of your care team can be key to managing the disease.
All types of arthritis cause inflammation in your joints, which can result in swelling. Your toes may turn red and feel warm to the touch. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, affects the feet of one in six people over the age of 50. With rheumatoid arthritis, more than 90 percent of patients develop symptoms in the foot and ankle over the course of the disease.
We are experts in caring for those with arthritis. The goal is always to help you live your best life and get you back on your feet again.
DIABETIC FOOT CARE
High blood sugar levels over time can cause nerve damage and circulation problems in those living with diabetes. This can contribute to a variety of potential issues with their feet. For example, if untreated, sores, ingrown toenails, and other wounds can lead to infection and even further complications. Add to that poor circulation and then the healing of an infection could be difficult.
Diabetics should inspect their own feet every day and have their physician check the feet thoroughly at least once a year. Many primary care doctors also will recommend having a skilled podiatrist as part of a diabetic’s health care team.
Regular checkups and preventative care are vital to good feet health. However, it is also crucial for a diabetic to promptly seek help if they have a wound or cuts in the skin on their feet, or have an ingrown nail. For these as well as uncomfortable corns or calluses, a skilled podiatrist is the best option to treat them. A referral is often not necessary to seek treatment with a podiatrist.
There are many things one can do to keep their feet healthy. Having a doctor who monitors ones diabetes is an important first step. Having a podiatrist on speed dial is also incredibly handy because people with diabetes are more prone to foot problems, a foot care specialist could be an important asset to your health