2 Common Toenail Problems

toe nails

It may not seem important until you develop a painful toenail condition, but noticing changes to the color and texture of your toenails can give you an early warning of an impending painful problem. Early detection can help decrease the duration and severity of conditions like ingrown and fungal toenails.

2 of the most common toenail problems include:

  1. Fungal toenailsIf you see that your toenails are becoming thicker and more brittle at the edges, and if the nail appears to be more yellow or darker than normal, you may have a fungal toenail infection.  Another major symptom of toenail fungus is the unpleasant smell that is created by the fungi as they spread. When a fungal toenail infection has really gotten out of control, complete removal of the damaged nail may be necessary to treat the underlying problem.
  2. Ingrown toenailsWhen a poorly-cut toenail digs into the tender skin on the edge of your toe, it can be very painful and make it hard to wear shoes due to the pressure on your toe from your footwear.  Improper cutting technique is a major contributor to the formation of ingrown toenails. Be careful to cut them straight across and not too short to help avoid the problem in the first place.

If you need assistance with painful ingrown toenails or a fungal toenail infection, see your foot doctor for the proper care. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631)-549-8637 and Briarwood, NY (718)-657-8921.

Overpronation Causes Foot, Knee, and Back Problems

The correct way for your foot to operate when you walk or run is for the outer part of the heel to make contact first followed by the middle and ball of the foot. If your foot rolls excessively inward during this rotation it creates a condition called overpronation. The misalignment can cause arch and heel pain and also create problems with your knees, hips, and back.

Having untreated flat feet or fallen arches is usually the cause of overpronation. You can tell if you have flat feet by wetting your feet and then standing on a flat surface. If your foot leaves a full imprint without a gap in the middle, then you probably have flat feet.

Symptoms that you may be having overpronation problems include the following:

  • Observe the wear patterns on your shoes—The pattern of wear on the bottom of your shoes is a telltale sign of possible gait abnormalities. An even wear pattern is normal. However, if the inner side of your shoes and the ball area show signs of excessive wear, then you have a pronation problem.
  • Heel discomfort—Heel pain is often a sign that you are experiencing overpronation. The condition called plantar fasciitis that affects the arch can be a major cause of heel pain.
  • Developing toe deformities—People who have untreated flat feet are also more susceptible to developing toe deformities like bunions and hammertoes.

If you are experiencing foot pain from untreated flat feet, see your foot doctor to help correct the problem. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors, Geoffrey C. Epstein, D.P.M. Matthew J. Tavroff, D.P.M.Stuart B. Leon, D.P.M. Robert J. Leon, D.P.M. dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631)-549-8637 and Briarwood, NY (718)-657-8921.

Haglund’s Deformity Causes Heel Pain

heel

Haglund’s deformity is sometimes called the “pump bump” since it tends to affect people who frequently wear tight-fitting shoes like high heels. The bony protrusion that is the telltale sign of this condition forms near the Achilles tendon.

It isn’t always painful in the beginning, but the condition can lead to a complication called bursitis which may cause the tendon to pull away from the bone. Bursitis can also increase the development of calcification causing the bump to become larger and more problematic.

Some of the conservative treatments for Haglund’s deformity include:

  1. Wear softer shoes—Backless sandals or very soft canvas footwear will help by removing the pressure on the heel.
  2. Pain medications—Ibuprofen can reduce pain and inflammation.
  3. Resting and icing—Rest your foot and decrease inflammation by applying ice wrapped in a towel to the area for ten or fifteen minutes several times a day.
  4. Physical therapy exercises—Stretching and strengthening therapy exercises will increase muscle strength and flexibility and decrease pressure on the heel.
  5. Orthotic shoe inserts—Heel lifts placed inside the shoe will minimize movement of the foot and provide relief of pain and discomfort.

Some of the above methods will also treat bursitis that is often seen in conjunction with a Haglund’s deformity. In more severe cases, surgical removal of the bone may be required to provide pain relief and allow normal shoe wearing to occur.

If you are experiencing a painful Haglund’s deformity, see your podiatrist for the proper treatment. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631)-549-8637 and Briarwood, NY (718)-657-8921.

How To Avoid Fungal Toenail Infections

When the fungi that cause a fungal toenail infection get underneath your toenail, the nasty little microbes can cause the nail to become yellow, thick, and brittle with a terrible odor in many cases. Fungal toenails can be hard to fix once the infection has become advanced, so see your podiatrist if this is the case. Preventing contact with the microbes in the first place is the best way to avoid a fungal infection.

 To avoid toenail fungus infections, adopt the following practices:

  • Clean and dry your feet regularly—Wash and dry your feet once or preferably twice a day. Let your shoes dry out between wearings to help eliminate the moisture that fungi love.
  • Use antifungal sprays—on your feet and in your shoes to kill any lingering fungi.
  • Cut your toenails properly—to avoid painful ingrown toenails that often lead to a fungal toenail infection. The nail can break the skin and allow the microbes to get in.
  • Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe—Wear lightweight, breathable socks that wick away moisture. Choose shoes that are lined with Gore-Tex or other breathable fibers.
  • Keep your feet protected—Remember to wear shower shoes or sandals in public locker rooms, pool, and shower areas to decrease your contact with the microbes.

If you are experiencing the pain and discomfort of a fungal toenail infection, see your foot doctor for the proper care. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631)-549-8637 and Briarwood, NY (718)-657-8921.

4 Ways To Treat and Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot between the metatarsal bones that form your toes and the heel bone. When this tough yet delicate tissue is overly stressed, or if tiny tears develop, the pain and debilitation can be severe. The pain often radiates to other parts of the foot including the heel area in a condition called plantar fasciitis.

Since plantar fasciitis symptoms are very similar to those experienced with a peroneal tendon injury, you should see your podiatrist for proper diagnosis because the treatments for these injuries are quite different.

4 great exercises to treat and prevent plantar fasciitis include the following:

  • Arch stretches—From a seated position, place one foot over your lap and pull the toes back to stretch out the arch. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat five times. Switch leg positions and repeat with the other foot.
  • Calf stretches—While facing a wall with one leg forward and one leg back, bend the knee of the forward leg and stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat ten times with each calf.
  • Step stretches—While standing on the edge of a step slowly lower your heels to produce a stretch in the Achilles tendons and calves. Then raise your heels up and repeat this exercise ten times.
  • Calf strengthening exercises—While standing, raise your heels to stretch out your calf muscles. Lower and repeat twenty times.

If you have pain in your heel or arch, contact your foot doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631)-549-8637 and Briarwood, NY (718)-657-8921.

2 Causes of Cancer on Your Feet

You don’t usually think of skin cancer as something that affects the feet. Skin cancer has such a strong correlation with sunlight exposure, and your feet don’t usually get a lot of sun. While exposing lightly-colored and freckled skin to the sun is a risk factor for developing skin cancer, other factors not related to UV exposure are also involved.

2 factors that may raise your chances of developing skin cancer on your feet are:

  1. Immune system impairment—Viral infections such as HIV or HPV (human papillomavirus) can cause your immune system to become weakened. This weakening can make it harder for your body to defend against cancerous growths and to escort deformed cells out of the body.
  • Chemical exposure—Exposure to toxic chemicals that cause stinging and burning to the skin can contribute to cell damage. These chemical pollutants can come from power generating plants and are in many of the products we use in our homes. Always protect your skin when using any harsh chemical products.

Melanoma is a very common and unfortunately often deadly disease that can be difficult to detect since it can look like other skin abnormalities and doesn’t usually cause any pain. The tumor grows inward where it can reach blood vessels and lymph nodes and spread to other areas. Always have any suspicious skin lesions checked by your podiatrist to avoid potentially fatal complications.

Skin cancers can also have the same appearance as plantar warts, wounds and blisters, so be sure to see your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631)-549-8637 and Briarwood, NY (718)-657-8921.

You don’t usually think of skin cancer as something that affects the feet. Skin cancer has such a strong correlation with sunlight exposure, and your feet don’t usually get a lot of sun. While exposing lightly-colored and freckled skin to the sun is a risk factor for developing skin cancer, other factors not related to UV exposure are also involved.

2 factors that may raise your chances of developing skin cancer on your feet are:

  1. Immune system impairment—Viral infections such as HIV or HPV (human papillomavirus) can cause your immune system to become weakened. This weakening can make it harder for your body to defend against cancerous growths and to escort deformed cells out of the body.
  • Chemical exposure—Exposure to toxic chemicals that cause stinging and burning to the skin can contribute to cell damage. These chemical pollutants can come from power generating plants and are in many of the products we use in our homes. Always protect your skin when using any harsh chemical products.

Melanoma is a very common and unfortunately often deadly disease that can be difficult to detect since it can look like other skin abnormalities and doesn’t usually cause any pain. The tumor grows inward where it can reach blood vessels and lymph nodes and spread to other areas. Always have any suspicious skin lesions checked by your podiatrist to avoid potentially fatal complications.

Skin cancers can also have the same appearance as plantar warts, wounds and blisters, so be sure to see your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631)-549-8637 and Briarwood, NY (718)-657-8921.

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.