Understanding Bunions

bunions10Up to 60 percent of older adults are affected by a foot disorder, including bunions. Known as one of the more common foot disorders, bunions form as a bony bump on the side of your foot, near the base of the big toe. Bunions can be caused by genes or by wearing ill-fitting tight shoes for long periods of time. Preventing the progression of your bunions involves wearing properly-fitting shoes that accommodate your toes, are not too high in heels, and have good arch support.

Bunions can be very troublesome if they are not treated correctly. If you are having problems with your bunions contact one of our podiatrists from ETL Podiatry. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs by the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why do Bunions Form?

  • Genetics – susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary
  • Stress on the feet – poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can cause bunions to form

How are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Melville and Briarwood, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Bunions

Bunions

A bunion is an enlargement of the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot, often formed from a bony growth or a patch of swollen tissues. It is caused by the shifting of the big toe bone inward towards the other toes. This shift can cause a serious amount of pain and discomfort. The area around the big toe can become inflamed, red, and painful.

Bunions are most commonly formed in people who are already genetically predisposed to them or other kinds of bone displacements. However, even if you do not have a history of this in your family, you can still develop bunions if you are wearing improperly fitting shoes. This can happen as you try to cram your feet into high heels, or by running or walking in a way that causes too much stress on the feet. High heels are another major culprit in the formation of bunions. Not only do they push the big toe inward, but your body weight and center of gravity is shifted towards the edge of your feet and your toes, which can cause bone displacement.

Bunions are quickly and easily diagnosed by podiatrists. However, because of their nature, they can appear similar to arthritic conditions or gout. A blood test is sometimes required to fully diagnose a bunion. A full radiological or x-ray exam could also be done by a podiatrist to examine the bone structure of your feet. One thing that is looked for specifically is an enlargement of that base joint or evidence of the big toe bone being pushed inward.

One of the first things to do if you have bunions is to get a larger, wider shoe that can remove pressure from your toes. This usually means that high heels should be eliminated from use for a period of time to allow the bunion to heal. Eliminating the pressure placed on a bunion is often enough to eliminate the pain involved with them. However, pain can persist in some instances and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed. If the pain is too severe, steroid injections near the bunion or even surgery may be required. Orthotics for shoes may also be prescribed which can alleviate the pain of bunions by removing pressure from them. However, these methods simply stop the pain of bunions but do not correct the problem at its source.

As previously mentioned, surgery may be an option to completely eliminate your bunions. Surgery is done to reposition the toe bones so that they no longer face inward. This can be done by removing a section of bone or by rearranging the ligaments and tendons in the toe to help them align properly. Even after the surgery, it may be necessary to wear protective shoes for a while to ensure that the bunions do not return.

Foot and Knee Injuries Affect Overall Health

foot-pain4Understanding your body is crucial toward treatment and prevention of knee and foot injuries. Knee and foot injuries can occur as a result of any physical activity, such as running or even just walking. The knee joint in particular is a complex joint, surrounded by ligaments, allowing us to walk and run. Knee injuries can become especially severe if left untreated, potentially leading to a loss of muscle strength and mobility over time. It’s recommended to seek the advice of your podiatrist and possibly follow up with physical therapy treatment. Surgery is also a potential treatment option, depending on the severity of the injury.

Regardless of season or weather, everyday foot care should be practiced year round. For more information about everyday foot care, contact one of our podiatrists from ETL Podiatry. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Everyday Foot Care

Often, people take care of their bodies, face and hair more so than they do for their feet. But the feet are a very important aspect of our bodies, and one that we should pay more attention to. After all, without our feet, we would not be able to perform most daily tasks. It is best to check your feet regularly to make sure there are no new bruises or cuts that you may not have noticed before, for example.

For dry feet, moisturizer can easily be a remedy and can be applied as often as necessary to the affected areas. Wearing shoes that fit well can also help you maintain good foot health, as well as making it easier to walk and do daily activities without the stress or pain of ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or even flip flops.

Also, wearing clean socks with closed shoes is important to ensure that sweat and bacteria do not accumulate within the shoe. Clean socks help to prevent athlete’s foot, fungi problems, bad odors, and can absorb sweat.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Melville and Briarwood, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Everyday Foot Care

Every Day Foot Care

Our feet are important in our everyday lives. The problem is that we tend to neglect them. When this becomes a habit, it can cause significant trouble. Ignoring foot problems can mean pain, limited mobility, and expensive doctor’s visits. On the other hand, if feet are cared for and looked after regularly, they will perform without pain or complication.

Routine hygiene is the most basic way to care for the feet. Wash and dry them thoroughly daily. Remember to get between the toes and keep the toenails trimmed and short. If the feet feel dry or there are signs of dryness or cracking, use a moisturizer designed for the feet.

When using moisturizer on the feet, try to avoid applying between the toes. If cream or lotion sits too long, they can cause fungal and bacterial growth. When moisturizer is used between the toes, it can also cause the skin to soften too much.

Shoes are also an important aspect of foot care. When one is picking out shoes, make sure they are the correct size. Shoes need to be snug, but not too tight. On the other hand, if shoes are too loose they can cause foot problems as well. It is highly recommended that shopping for new shoes be done later in the day. The reason for this is that the feet will have settled and swelled to their full size by then. To keep your feet at their most healthy, avoid wearing high heels or flip flops too often. Instead, choose shoes that are good for your feet. Good shoes pad the soles of your feet and support the arches and ankles.

Socks should also be worn daily with closed-toe shoes. They may feel hot during the summer months, but they absorb sweat and moisture off the feet. Without socks, the build-up of sweat in a closed-toe shoe can cause fungal problems and athlete’s foot.

The best thing to remember in every day foot care is that shoes do make a difference. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, make sure that your shoes show no signs of wear. Shoes should offer ample support for the arches and the overall foot. Additionally, try to make foot cleaning and maintenance a daily habit. If you keep these things in mind, your feet will stay healthy and safe.

Ingrown Toenails: Causes and Preventions

ingrown-toenailIngrown toenails can occur when too much pressure is exerted on the toenails, typically on the big toenail. Ingrown toenails, if left untreated, are painful and can potentially lead to infection. Understanding your daily routine is vital to prevention. If you exercise often or wear high heels, take heed of your shoes. Improperly-fitting shoes and socks can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails. Make sure to take proper care of your toenails, keep your cuticles intact and cut your toenails straight across.

Ingrown toenails can be an easy fix if treated properly. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, contact one of our podiatrists from ETL Podiatry. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Melville and Briarwood, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read More about Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown Toenail Care

An ingrown toenail is a toenail that grows sideways into the nail bed, causing pain and swelling. Ingrown toenails can worsen and cause drainage, turning into a serious infection.

Several factors affect whether a person is at risk from an ingrown toenail. The many causes include being overweight, diabetes, participating in sports, having a fungal infection of the toe, and cutting your nails too short. Ingrown toenails also have a genetic predisposition, causing some people to be more prone to receive the condition than others. Other causes include improperly fitting shoes and shoes that keep the feet damp.

Ingrown toenails can be preventable with certain measures. For starters, allowing your toe nails to grow slightly longer in length will help prevent them from becoming ingrown. If you have already developed an ingrown toenail, soak the affected toe in warm water. This will alleviate the pain and help prevent an infection from forming. Antibiotic soap or Epsom salts may be added to further help the relieving process and avoid infection. Placing cotton beneath the affected area is also suggested, as this may help the toenail grow upwards and not into the nail bed. Swelling and redness can be reduced by resting with your feet elevated.

A podiatrist should be seen if the pain becomes so serious that it prevents you from doing your everyday activities. If a red streak running up your leg appears or if you suspect your infection has spread, contact a podiatrist immediately. Fast treatments can be undertaken to lessen your pain and have you walking comfortably.

An ingrown toenail can be easily treated with a Band-Aid. Simply wrap the affected toe with a Band-Aid to prevent infection and keep the nail from growing out at a painful angle.

In more serious cases, your podiatrist may decide to make a small incision to remove a portion of your toenail. To prevent the nail from growing back, medication will be placed directly into the nail bed. This procedure would be performed under local anesthesia and is a faster method to alleviate discomfort from an ingrown toenail. Post-procedure directions will have you stay off the affected foot for a day. Afterwards, normal activities can be resumed.

Morton’s Neuroma Painful, but Treatable

mortons-neuroma2Morton’s neuroma affects about 30 percent of people, and exists as a condition in which the foot’s second toe may be larger than the big toe. Because of this irregularity, this can lead to overpronation as we do everyday activity, resulting in inflammation of the nerve between the second and third metatarsals. This is known as Morton’s neuroma. Treating your Morton’s neuroma involves seeing your doctor, wearing prescribed orthotics and possibly injections or surgery as a last option.

Morton’s neuroma can be a difficult condition to contend with. If you are experiencing symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma, contact one of our podiatrists from ETL Podiatry. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Morton’s Neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is a painful foot condition that commonly affects the areas between the third and fourth toe and the ball of the foot, although other areas of the foot are also susceptible to this condition. Morton’s neuroma is caused by an inflamed nerve in the foot that is being squeezed and aggravated by surrounding bones.  Women are more likely than men to have an occurrence of this foot condition.

What Increases the Chances of having Morton’s Neuroma?
-Ill-fitting high heels or shoes that add pressure to the toe or foot area.
-Jogging, running and any sports that involve constant impact to the foot area.
-Flat feet, bunions, and any other foot deformity may put you at a higher risk for developing Morton’s neuroma.

If you suspect that you may have this condition, you should visit your podiatrist. A podiatrist will first conduct a thorough physical examination to check for palpable masses between the bones of the foot.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Melville and Briarwood, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more on Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma, also called Intermetatarsal Neuroma or Plantar Neuroma, is a condition that affects the nerves of the feet, usually the area between the third and fourth toe. Neuroma refers to a benign growth that can occur in different parts of the body. Morton’s Neuroma strictly affects the feet. This condition causes the tissue around the nerves that lead to the toes becoming thick, causing pain in the ball of the foot.

This condition can be caused by injury, pressure or irritation. Normally no lump will be felt, but instead burning pain in the ball of the foot will be experienced. Numbness and tingling may also occur. With the onset of this condition, a person may feel pain when tight or narrow shoes are worn. As the condition worsens, the pain may persist for days, or even weeks.

Persistent foot pain should always be a concern. The foot should be examined by a podiatrist if pain persists longer than a few days with no relief from changing shoes. The earlier the foot is examined and treated, the less chance there will be for surgical treatment.

There are some factors that can play a role in the development of Morton’s Neuroma. These include wearing ill-fitting shoes that cause pressure to the toes, such as high heels. Also, high impact exercise may contribute to the cause of this condition. Morton’s Neuroma may also develop if the foot sustains an injury. Another cause includes walking abnormally due to bunions or flat feet. This causes excessive pressure and irritates the tissue. At times, people are affected for no determinable reason.

Podiatrists can alleviate the effects of this condition using a treatment plan to help decrease the pain and heal the foot tissue. Depending upon the severity of the Morton’s Neuroma, the treatment plan can vary. For cases that are mild to moderate, treatments may include applying padding to the arch to relieve pressure from the nerve and reduce compression while walking. Ice packs can also help reduce swelling. The podiatrist may also create a custom orthotic device to support the foot and reduce compression and pressure on the affected nerve. The doctor will probably advise against partaking in activities that cause constant pressure on the affected area. They may provide wider shoes to ease the pressure from the toes. If these treatments do not relieve the symptoms of this condition, the doctor may use injection therapy.

Surgical treatment may be recommended by the podiatrist if all other treatments fail to provide relief. Normally, the podiatric surgeon will decide on either a surgical procedure that involves removal of the affected nerve or will choose surgery to release the nerve. After examination, the surgeon will decide on the best approach to treat the problem.

Recovery varies according to the type of surgical procedure. The patient will also be instructed on the best shoe wear to prevent the return of this condition, along with changes to workout routines, if this was a cause. Preventative measures are important in ensuring the condition does not return.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Diabetic Feet

diabetic-foot-care4Taking care of your diabetic feet is of utmost importance in making sure that you stay healthy. Avoid going barefoot and always wear shoes. Walking barefoot as a diabetic patient can lead to an increased risk of injury. Routine foot exams should be conducted daily to check for any wounds, small or large, as if they are left untreated they can lead to further complications. When choosing footwear, make sure that your shoes are comfortable and properly-fitting. Avoid tight-fitting or point shoes such as high heels. Do not use hot or cold packs on any foot injury as this can increase your risk of skin injury or infection. Avoid sitting cross-legged for long periods of time as this can impair blood flow in the legs. Maintain proper foot hygiene by cleaning and your feet daily, making sure to dry thoroughly. Trim your toenails straight across so as to avoid infection.

Diabetics must pay special attention to their feet to help prevent any complications. If you believe you are having problems with your diabetic feet, contact one of our podiatrists from ETL Podiatry. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. Diabetes can damage blood vessels in many parts of the body, including the feet. Because of this, taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes, and having a podiatrist help monitor your foot health is highly recommended.

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

  • Routinely inspect your feet for bruises or sores.
  • Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels because blood sugar levels play such a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised.

It is always best to inform your healthcare professional of any concerns you may have regarding your feet, especially for diabetic patients. Early treatment and routine foot examinations are keys to maintaining proper health, especially because severe complications can arise if proper treatment is not applied.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Melville and Briarwood, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care

Millions of people are affected by diabetes each year. Diabetes damages blood vessels in all parts of the body, especially the feet. The legs and feet may develop slow blood flow, which causes neuropathy, or nerve damage. Once a diabetic patient develops neuropathy, it is important that the feet are well taken care of. Otherwise, the lower limbs may have to be amputated. This only happens in drastic cases, but it shows how seriously diabetic foot care should be taken.

It is very important to always wash and dry the feet thoroughly, especially in between the toes, if you’re a diabetic. Secondly, examining your feet and toes for redness or sores must be done, even if you do not feel pain.  You may also want to examine your feet from the bottom. Try to avoid wearing colored socks to prevent infections that may occur from the dye. Well-fitting socks are also highly recommended.

A diabetic’s physician should always monitor their blood levels to test how well blood sugars are being maintained. In addition to giving advice about everyday eating habits and foot care, a physician may prescribe medicine to help with the diabetic patient’s neuropathy. It is also advised to see a podiatrist if experiencing any feet conditions. Toenails may also need to be taken care of by a podiatrist. This prevents patients from cutting too deeply around their cuticles, which can lead to infection.

A person can take care of their feet at home by following the instructions of their physician. Using creams on one’s feet is also an effective way to heal dryness. Proceed with caution when using tools to remove calluses, as severe diabetics may not be able to feel pain on their feet. If any complications arise do not hesitate to contact a podiatrist.

On a daily basis, diabetic feet must be checked. If you are ever concerned about something, contact your health care professional. You never want to wait until a wound becomes too severe to treat. If left untreated, gangrene may develop. Gangrene is a serious infection that can lead to sepsis or amputation. It is also important for diabetics to be on the lookout for ulcers. Ulcers are sores that develop from tissue loss on the skin. They can be quite painful and require intensive treatment. Early treatment and everyday inspection are imperative to staying healthy.