Monthly Archives: December 2020

When to See A Podiatrist for Hammertoe, Bunions, or Toenail Fungus

When to See A Podiatrist for Hammertoe, Bunions, or Toenail Fungus
Hammertoe, bunions, and toenail fungus are just a few of the foot problems we treat here at The Schottenstein Center. By contacting our office at the onset of symptoms, we can make an early diagnosis and, hopefully, treat the condition right away before it becomes more of a significant issue.

You should see a podiatrist immediately for most foot problems such as hammertoe, bunions, and toenail fungus. If left untreated, these conditions could cause further complications and the need for major surgical intervention down the road.

In the following sections, we will give you a basic understanding of each condition. We’ll also tell you how to recognize the symptoms of each one. Finally, we will list some of the possible treatment options to discuss with your doctor.

Hammertoe

A Hammertoe is a deformity that causes the toe to pull back in the shape of a hammer and stay fixed in that position. It usually affects the second through the fifth toe. However, the big toe (great toe) can also become deformed in the same way.

The condition is usually caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow and force the toes to crowd together. Genetic factors may also play a role in who gets it and who doesn’t.

Women often present with the condition more than men, although it is not clear why. Most medical professionals assume that since women usually wear tight-fitting, high-heal shoes, that is probably the reason. However, more studies are needed to verify those conclusions.

Symptoms

Here are four of the more usual symptoms of hammer toe:

  • Abnormal bending of one or more of the toes
  • Friction and rubbing on the top of the affected toes
  • Inflammation and discomfort
  • Painful corns and calluses on the tops of the toes

Treatment

There are several treatment options for hammer toe. They are mostly non-invasive and include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Wide shoes
  • Toe pads and spacers
  • Surgery in extreme cases

Bunion

Also known as hallux valgus, a bunion is a deformity of the joint connecting the big toe to the foot. This condition is typically characterized by an abnormal bending of the big toe toward the other toes. The result is a large mound that develops outside the foot at the first metatarsal bone.

Women are more likely to have bunions than men. It is probably for the same reason as hammertoes: improper shoe selection. If left untreated, it could lead to bursitis and arthritis.

No one knows what causes bunions. Aside from wearing tight shoes, other causes may include:

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of bunions include:

  • Abnormal bending of the large toe inward toward the other toes
  • Irritation of the skin around the large toe
  • Blisters
  • Severe discomfort, especially when walking

Treatment

The most widely-used treatments for bunions are:

  • Padding to help relieve pressure on the affected area
  • Orthotic insoles
  • Specially designed shoes
  • Pain medications
  • Surgery, when a permanent solution is needed

Toe nail fungus

The clinical name for toe nail fungus is Onychomycosis. It is a fungal infection that attacks above and below the surface of the toenail and is often comprised of molds, fungus, and yeast. It is prevalent mostly in men.

As with any fungal infection, dark, moist places are perfect breeding grounds. That is why the feet are so susceptible. By reducing the factors that improve the environment for toenail fungus, it has less of a chance to spread.

Keeping the feet dry by changing socks regularly is a good first step. Also, reducing sugar in the diet and practicing proper foot hygiene will go a long way to preventing the disease.

Symptoms

The main symptoms are:

  • The toenail is thicker than normal
  • Discoloration: yellow, green, white, black
  • The toenail becomes brittle and prone to breaking
  • Pain and inflammation in later stages
  • Foul smell

Besides the unpleasantness of having the condition, if left untreated, it could lead to severe infection and progress to areas outside the toenail.

Risk factors

There are certain risk factors for toenail fungus. They are:

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Psoriasis

Treatment

Here are some of the treatment options for toenail fungus:

  • A healthy, low-sugar diet
  • Foot baths and soaks
  • Wearing breathable footwear
  • Changing socks often
  • Topical antifungal creams
  • Oral medications prescribed by a docto

A final thought

You should see your podiatrist as soon as you notice symptoms. Pain is a reliable indicator that something is wrong. Please don’t wait until it becomes unmanageable.

You should schedule an appointment soon, especially if your symptoms are getting worse over time or you experience problems walking.

Call our Miami office at 305-912-6646.
Or in Hollywood at 954-998-6646.

You may also schedule an appointment using the convenient contact form provided. Thank you.

When To See A Podiatrist For Foot, Ankle, And Leg Care

When To See A Podiatrist For Foot, Ankle, And Leg Care in Miami

Overall health depends on the level of care given to every organ in your body. A problem with any body part can quickly diminish a person’s quality of life; this includes the lower legs. A podiatrist is a specialist that solves any medical problems of the lower legs and feet. Podiatrists deal with several complications involving the feet, toes, ankles, or knees.

Regular doctors lack the additional training that podiatrists receive in podiatry school, so they are incompetent in caring for the lower legs. After graduating from medical school, podiatrists get further education and knowledge on how structures in the lower legs help the overall function of the legs, the conditions that can affect the area, and how to treat them. The training takes four years, making podiatrists the right doctors to see for any problems of the lower legs.

Podiatrists are not to be confused with orthopedics. This is because orthopedic doctors specialize in dealing with internal problems that affect the bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments in the whole body. On the other hand, podiatrists are only specialized in problems of the lower legs.

When to see a podiatrist.

We usually advise people to see podiatrists whenever they have any problem affecting any part of the lower legs. There are hundreds of conditions that affect this region that podiatrists can solve. However, there are general symptoms of the lower legs that indicate it is time to see one. They include:

1. An open wound.
2. Persistent pain.
3. Tingling sensation or numbness of the lower leg.
4. An infection of the lower legs that causes redness or swelling.

These symptoms can persist for two or more days and reduce movement of the lower legs. When this happens, we suggest you visit a podiatry clinic for a checkup. Patients that often walk into such clinics are those with conditions like gout, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases that limit blood flow to the extremities.

Conditions affecting the feet.

We recommend most patients to visit a podiatry clinic when they have feet issues like:

1. Diabetic foot.
This occurs when nerves innervating the feet get damaged, causing the loss of sensation to heat or cold and poor blood circulation. Proper care of this condition involves regulating diet to avoid steep rises in blood sugar levels and exercising.

2. Wounds.
Wounds of the feet are common in patients of every category because they can occur when someone slips while walking, playing, or running. Lack of proper care of the wounds can cause secondary infections leading to general body symptoms like fever.

3. Infections.
The feet are prone to infections like athlete’s feet, plantar fasciitis, and warts. Warts are small bumps caused by the human papilloma virus. Fungi cause athlete’s feet. The condition causes dry, itchy, and scaly skin between the toes and the soles. The plantar fascia is a thick weblike band that runs across the length of the foot. When it becomes inflamed, the condition is known as plantar fasciitis.

4. Flat foot.
This is a congenital deformity in which a patient’s feet lack the arch present between the back and front of the feet. This makes a patient easily get tired from walking.

5. Sprains.
Sprains of the ligament on the feet are common in patients who play contact sports. They can cause swelling and limit movement.

6. Corns, bunions, blisters, and calluses.
These are painful, swollen, and raised bumps on the skin of the feet. Depending on the type, they can burst to form an open ulcer if proper care is not given.

Conditions affecting the legs.

The problems that affect the legs that need podiatry care are:

1. Fractures and sprains
These commonly affect people who play sports. Contact sports like soccer and American football are known to cause frequent sprains and fractures. Fractures involve the breaking of bones, while sprains involve a tear or stretch of the ligaments.

2. Diabetes
This is a risk factor for many problems affecting the lower legs. It can cause ulcers, tingling sensation, and make walking painful due to damage to the nerves innervating the region. Diabetes also causes slow healing of wounds. It can, therefore, cause wounds on the legs to persist. This is because it restricts the flow of blood to the legs, which deprives wounds of nutrients and oxygen needed for healing.

Conditions affecting the ankle.

1. Gout
Gout attacks also affect the ankle since it is a joint. It presents like arthritis, causing pain, redness, and swelling of the area. Gout restricts movement and interferes with the ability of the patient to carry out daily activities.

2. Arthritis
Arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints like the ankles. It causes redness, swelling, and pain in the joint that can be chronic when the patient fails to seek medical attention in due time.

3. Ankle instability
This gradually occurs over time after repeated sprains and injuries of the area. When they fail to heal appropriately, the ligaments supporting the region weaken with every sprain or injury, leading to overall instability. The condition is common in athletes that play sports like American football, soccer, and running.

Conditions affecting the toe.

1. Toenail ingrowth
This is a common problem of the big toe. It happens when the corners of the toenails poke the soft tissue located at the nails’ groove. This causes inflammation and irritation of the groove. It can also cause an infection of the nail groove if the nails are dirty.

2. Infections
A common infection of the toes is fungal infections. The infections can affect the toenails or nail bed. They can cause the toenail to darken in color or the nails to come off. Lack of proper care of these infections can also lead to a secondary bacterial infection.

Our podiatry clinics are located in Miami and Hollywood. We tend to any problems of the lower legs to improve the quality of life of our patients. Our podiatrist is highly qualified with years of training and experience to give our patients the results they seek.