Treatment for Fallen Arches (Flat Feet)

The unmistakable fact that our feet form the foundation for the remainder of our body is particularly true when we are talking about the ramifications of having untreated flat feet. If your feet are not properly supported and aligned, the effects can cause alterations to the way you walk that can travel to your knees, hips, and back. You can even get headaches from having flat feet, so be sure to see your foot doctor to avoid these complications.

What causes fallen arches?

It is common for toddlers to have flat feet because their arches are not fully developed and the arch area of the foot is still very flexible. The arches will most often become more pronounced and solid as the child gets older and begins walking. You should always have your child’s feet checked by your foot doctor during early development to make sure things are progressing normally.

Other factors that can cause arches to fall include the loosening and weakening of muscles, tendons and ligaments that occur with age. Injuries such as ankle sprains or stress fractures may also contribute to arch problems.

Treatments for flat feet include the following:

  • Properly-fitted shoes with the correct arch support—Have your foot type determined by your podiatrist and make sure you use the right arch and heel supports. Custom-made orthotic inserts that fit the exact contour of your foot are the most effective.
  • Strength and flexibility therapy— A wide variety of strengthening and flexibility exercises is an excellent way to help stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles.

If you suspect that you are experiencing problems with fallen arches, your podiatrist can provide the best 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.

Ingrown Toenails Can Be Prevented

ingrown toenails

Dealing with an ingrown toenail can be a real pain. When your sharp nail pushes into the tender skin on the edge of your toe, it will cause redness, swelling, and oozing which may be the sign of a fungal toenail infection. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to avoid getting an ingrown toenail in the first place.

Proven ways to help avoid ingrown toenails include:

  • Correct nail cutting method—Cut your nails as straight across as possible, with only a slight curve. Try to make them the same length as your toe tips. Cutting them too short is a major cause of ingrown toenails. Keep your toenail clippers clean with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide before and after each use to avoid bacterial and fungal contamination that could lead to a fungal toenail infection. Never share your foot care products with others for the same reason.
  • Properly fitting footwear—Excess pressure on your toes from shoes that are too tight can push your toes together and increase the chances of developing an ingrown toenail. Wear shoes with a wide toe box to decrease the side pressure on your toes.
  • Foot protection—Another common cause of an ingrown toenail is an injury to the foot. This can happen by dropping a heavy weight on your toes or from stubbing your toe. Keeping your feet protected with sturdy shoes and avoiding walking in bare feet will help to avoid these types of injuries.

Despite your best efforts, you may still experience a painful ingrown toenail and need the expertise of your podiatrist. 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.

6 Causes of Pain in the Ball of the Foot

metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a frequently-occurring foot condition that causes the ball of the foot to become swollen and extremely painful. The ball of your foot is located behind your big toe on the bottom of your foot. Because this area absorbs a huge amount of the pressure from your weight as you walk, stand, or exercise, it is susceptible to injury.

6 common factors that contribute to metatarsalgia include:

  1. Hairline fractures— The metatarsal bones of the toes are susceptible to stress fractures that can radiate pain in the ball of the foot.
  2. Foot deformities—Hammertoes and bunions may adversely affect the metatarsal bones and increase stress on the ball of the foot.
  3. Poorly fitting shoes—High heels and athletic shoes that are severely worn or that don’t provide the correct support and cushioning should be avoided.
  4. Obesity—Carrying too much extra weight puts more stress on the ball of the foot.
  5. Genetics—The foot shapes you were born with, such as high arches or having a second toe that is longer than the big toe, can increase stress in the ball of the foot.
  6. Hard training—Long distance runners and participants in high-impact sports such as tennis and football are more susceptible.

Treatments

Treatments will consist of rest, wearing properly fitted shoes, and using custom orthotic inserts and pads to decrease the pain and discomfort caused by this condition. Surgery may be required in extreme cases.

If you are currently experiencing pain in the ball of your foot, your foot doctor can help. 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.

Foot Warts Can Really Hurt

plantar warts

The heel of the foot has to be one of the most painful locations to develop a foot anomaly like a plantar wart. But unfortunately, this is where a wart-causing virus called the human papillomavirus decides to find a way to get into your skin through cracks and nicks on the edges and soles of your feet and toes.

Human papillomavirus is found wherever there are a lot of people, so it is acquired quite innocently from the gym while using the showers, or from the pool area or the locker rooms. Wearing foot protection in these areas can help minimize your contamination with this virus and other bacterial and fungal infections like fungal toenails.

Plantar warts can improve on their own, but when a wart grows underneath the skin on the heels or balls of the feet, the pressure causes the wart to grow inward beneath the hardened skin. This causes pain and discomfort whenever you try to put weight on it. Plantar warts can be particularly painful and difficult to treat, which makes it essential that you seek the services of your podiatrist for safe and complete removal of the wart without further complications.

Some Signs of Plantar Warts

  • Pain and discomfort—A painful bump that you can feel, usually under thick skin on the ball or heel of the foot.
  • Warty-looking bumps—These will often have little black center points that are actually clotted blood vessels.

Conservative Treatment for Plantar Warts

  • Padding—Moleskin pads can help to isolate the wart and can make it easier to walk on an embedded wart, but removal will provide the best relief.
  • Foot soaks—Soaking your foot in a warm bath and applying salicylic acid is often effective at slowly removing layers of an exposed wart.
  • Sanding and filing—This can be accomplished with a pumice stone or file to remove dead skin tissue.

If you do not see improvement in one or two weeks with home care remedies, it may be necessary to see your foot care professional for more aggressive treatment such as cryotherapy, cauterization, or laser surgery. 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.

3 Treatments for Fungal Toenail Infections

fungal toenails

Fungal toenail infections can be very hard to eliminate because the infection lies underneath the nail, making severe infections difficult to access and properly treat. While a severe fungal toenail infection may require removing the toenail, non-invasive treatments can be effective in the earlier stages of this infection.

3 treatments for fungal toenail infections include:

  1. Systemic antifungal medications—Medicines taken internally tend to be the most effective at completely removing the fungi from the body. The downside is that the side effects can range from severely dry and cracked skin to possible liver damage.
  2. Topical creams and lotions—Topical products are definitely preferable for individuals with health conditions that are less tolerant to oral medications. These products are spread on the toes after soaking the feet in a warm water foot bath. Be sure to completely dry your feet before applying. Nail polishes that are formulated with an antifungal medication are also effective and can be applied daily for several months or up to a year. These methods work better when the nails are thinned out first with mild acid applications to help with penetration into the nail bed.
  3. Surgical removal of the nail—When the above methods are ineffective at stopping the infection, surgical removal of the nail may be required. When the nail is removed, the infection can be targeted directly and rapidly eliminated with antifungal medications. A new, disease-free toenail will eventually grow in over a period of months.

If you are experiencing fungal toenail problems, your foot care professional can provide the most effective 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.

Plantar Fibroma Is a Hidden Cause of Arch Pain

If you have nagging, recurring pain in the arch of your foot that is making it progressively harder to stand, walk, and run, then you may have a plantar fibroma. This growth forms on the plantar fascia which is the wide band of connective tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot. When this tissue begins to thicken with the growth of cords and nodules along the plantar fascia, it may cause toe stiffness and walking will become increasingly painful and difficult. The nodules that cause this disease grow slowly initially and can even be dormant for years before starting up again.

Causes of Plantar Fibroma

Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing a plantar fibroma. They can also be aggravated by injuries, or from wearing tight-fitting footwear such as pumps. Additionally, certain medications may have the side effect of causing the growth of the nodules.

Treatments for Plantar Fibroma

A consultation with your podiatrist is the best way to rule out other causes of your arch pain including nerve tumors, cysts, or tendon injuries. X-rays or MRI studies will help to identify the fibroma in the surrounding tissue. Specially designed orthotics will redistribute the weight and remove some of the stress from the area. Wearing shoes with more toe room is essential.

In more serious cases, freezing the nodules with liquid nitrogen may be necessary. This procedure is nearly painless and has a minimum of postoperative complications.

If you have continuing pain in the arch of your foot, see your foot specialist for the correct 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.

Treatments for Overlapping and Underlapping Toes

The pressure on your toes, especially if you often wear tight-fitting shoes like pumps, is enormous. With every step you take, the forces on your feet can contribute to the formation of painful toe conditions including underlapping and overlapping toes. These toe problems can become very painful since your toes are forced into an unnatural position. Excessive rubbing on the inside of your footwear can contribute to the formation of corns and calluses and blisters.

Underlapping Toes

This is the most common form of this condition, affecting both adults and children. It usually involves the fourth and fifth toes and is probably caused by a tendon and muscle imbalance that pulls one toe over the top of the other. Poorly-fitting shoes can make the problem worse, but the actual cause is still under investigation. Specially-made toe caps and other types of orthotics will provide some improvement, but if the pain worsens or causes you to change your walking gait, it may be necessary for your podiatrist to surgically release the tendon, or to remove a small piece of bone in order to straighten out the toe.

Overlapping Toes

When toes overlap, the second toe usually overlaps the big toe, but any of your toes can overlap an adjacent toe. Toe abnormalities such as bunions can cause the toes to overlap, and tightly fitting shoes without enough room in the toe box can make the problem worse. Properly fitted shoes and orthotic inserts such as toe straighteners can be very effective. If these methods don’t bring relief, surgery may be necessary to ease the pressure on the tendons and allow for toe straightening.

If you are having problems with under or overlapping toes, see your podiatrist for the best 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.

How to Treat a Cracked Heel

Cracked heels or heel fissures can become very painful and difficult to treat. They occur due to a variety of circumstances. Standing and walking on hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt for hours at a time in your employment can be a major contributor due to the fact that the pressure on your feet causes a stress response in your skin that prompts layers of dry skin to build up. Carrying extra weight also increases the stress and pressure on your heels and can contribute to cracking problems.

If you have a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema, you are more susceptible to developing cracked and dry skin, especially on the heels and balls of the feet. Always try to treat any heel cracking as early as possible to help avoid the development of deeper fissures that can bleed and possibly lead to infection.

How to treat and prevent cracked heels:

  • Protect your feet—Choose properly-fitted and supportive shoes and always wear breathable socks to help prevent rubbing against your footwear. Heel cushions and custom orthotic inserts can be utilized to shift stress and pressure.
  • Dry skin removal—As layers of dead skin develop, remove the excess dead skin with a pumice stone or file after softening the skin by soaking in a warm foot bath. Don’t wear sandals and keep your heels covered and protected from the elements to help prevent further irritation and drying out.
  • Skin hydration—Moisturize your cracked heels two or three times per day, especially after washing. You can apply extra cream at night and cover your feet with socks so the cream can soak in over a period of many hours.

If you would like professional help in treating your cracked heels, contact your podiatrist for the best 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.

What Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition causing nerve compression that affects the feet. It is similar to the more widely known carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the wrists and hands. The posterior tibial nerve is located in the tarsal tunnel which is located on the inside of the ankle bone. The many tendons nerves, veins, and arteries in this tunnel area are protected by a thick ligament and by the tissues and surrounding bone structure. When the posterior tibial nerve is irritated, it causes considerable pain and discomfort.

Tarsal tunnel nerve compression can occur in a variety of ways:

  • Systemic diseases—Inflammatory diseases like arthritis and diabetes can create swelling and pressure in the tarsal tunnel that impinges on the nerve. Be sure to get the help of your foot care professional for the proper diagnosis and to ensure the most efficacious treatment.
  • Gait abnormalities—If you roll your ankles outward when you walk, a condition called overpronation, the strain on your arches can increase pressure on the tunnel and on the posterior tibial nerve. Overpronation can be easily treated with custom orthotic inserts.
  • Ganglion cyst—There are many structures that can push their way in and press on the posterior tibial nerve including bone spurs and ganglion cysts.
  • Ankle sprainTwisting your ankle creates trauma to the area and may instigate a tarsal tunnel nerve compression. Immediate treatment and intervention by your foot care professional can help avoid any lasting damage.

If you are experiencing symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome, see 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.

5 Foot Care Tips When You Have Diabetes

Though it is especially important for patients with diabetes, taking good care of your feet is something we can all aspire to be better at. But due to all the potentially dangerous foot problems that can arise with inadequate treatment and prevention of cuts and infections, patients with diabetes need to be more careful than other individuals.

Here are 5 excellent tips to help you maintain happy and healthy feet:

  1. Careful daily foot inspection—Inspect your feet daily for any cuts, scrapes, bruises or blisters, since these can lead to infection and possible amputation. If you have trouble seeing the bottom of your feet, use a mirror to inspect them. Pay attention to any changes in nail color and texture since these could indicate a fungal nail infection. It’s always best to bring any abnormalities to the attention of your foot doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.
  2. Cleanliness—Clean your feet daily with mild soap and warm water. Dry carefully, especially between the toes. Moisturizing lotion should be spread on dry areas but not between your toes since that may be the location of potentially unnoticed wounds and infections that need to be kept dry. Always change your shoes or socks when they become wet or damp to keep the conditions in your shoes more foot-healthy.
  3. Elevate your feet—Try to remember to raise your feet above your heart while you are resting to improve blood flow and help promote the healing of cuts and wounds.
  4. Daily exercise—Aerobic exercise is essential to improving your circulation and helping to lower your blood sugar levels.
  5. Properly fitted footwear—Comfortable and supportive shoes with a wide toe box and room for orthotic inserts are very helpful.

If you need help with diabetic foot care, we highly recommend that you consult our board certified podiatrists. 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.