With the ability to cause nagging discomfort throughout the day and prohibit daily movements as simple as walking, bunions can quickly turn from a barely noticeable bump on your toe, to a painful deformity that detracts from your over wellbeing. Fortunately, if caught early, you can prevent this podiatric issue from developing into a serious problem. Read on to learn if you could be suffering from this condition, and whether you should take a visit to your local podiatrist.
Signs That You May Have a Bunion
Generally forming on the side of your big toe, bunions are hard, bony lumps that are often caused by wearing poorly-fitted shoes (especially high heels), having genetic predispositions, or experiencing a foot injury. If you think that you may have a bunion, be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- A bony protrusion at the base of your toe
- A generally red discoloration
- A feeling of tightness in previously comfortable shoes
The above-listed symptoms describe the beginning stages of a bunion, a point during which your podiatrist will likely recommend a conservative approach to treatment. However, you may require more extensive medical care if you begin to notice these signs:
- Persistent pain and swelling
- Periodic numbness of the foot
- Restricted and slowed movement of the toe/foot
For less serious bunion cases, ones in which there isn’t pain yet and movement is still unrestricted, your podiatrist may recommend:
- Soaking your foot in warm water
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin
- Wearing appropriate shoe inserts
- Avoiding tight-fitting footwear
In severe bunion cases, your podiatrist will likely recommend a more rigorous treatment approach in order to alleviate pain and increase mobility. Some of these options include:
- Custom-made orthotics to maintain toe alignment
- Regular physical therapy and a specialized exercise regiment
- Bunionectomy, a surgery to remove the bunion and realign the foot (this is only necessary in the most extreme of cases)
Concerned? Contact Us
If you feel that bunions are disrupting your life, then take the pro-active approach and schedule an appointment at our office to learn how to regain your health.
While a bunion is a foot deformity most known for affecting the joint of the big toe, a hammertoe is a similar deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. Over time, this problem causes the toes to curl downward, resembling a claw. If left untreated, these affected toes become rigid, and may even require surgery. Accordingly, the goal of our podiatrists, Dr. Sara Bouraee and Dr. Jon Houseworth, is to make sure your hammertoes are detected early on and treated before they become a major issue. Read on to learn more, and call one of our offices in either Williamsburg or Hampton, VA, if you need treatment.
What are the ways to treat a hammertoe?
If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, then you may be able to slow its progression by implementing proper foot care, a task that can entail these simple approaches:
- Only wearing shoes that offer a wide toe box (if toes are scrunched up against each other this is a big no-no)
- Wearing shoes that have a heel no higher than 2 inches
- Applying a non-medicated protective pad over the hammertoe to prevent friction and the formation of a callus
- Massaging the feet to improve blood flow and reduce pain
- Icing the feet or soaking them in warm water to ease discomfort
- Getting custom orthotics from our podiatrists to provide additional foot support
When should I see a doctor?
If you aren’t sure whether you might be dealing with a hammertoe or not, or if you are experiencing pain, stiffness, or other problems in the toes or feet, then it’s time to make an appointment with one of our foot doctors in Williamsburg or Hampton, VA. There, we can easily diagnose hammertoes or other foot deformities through a simple physical exam, and in some cases, with X-ray imaging.
Additionally, if your foot pain, swelling, or other issues aren’t responding to at-home care, it might be time to see your podiatrist. There are foot exercises and other treatment options including cortisone injections that may be more effective at alleviating your persistent and more severe symptoms.
Is surgery the best option for treating my hammertoes?
If a hammertoe is your primary issue, then surgery may be the best option; however, if your hammertoe is due to another condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, then treating the underlying cause may be the best option over surgery. A rigid or inflexible hammertoe that causes significant pain and discomfort can often benefit from surgery to correct and repair the joint.
Need care? Give us a call
If you are noticing any changes in the shape or health of your feet, then it’s important that you don’t ignore the problem. Call Hampton Roads Foot and Ankle Specialists in Williamsburg and Hampton, VA, today at (757) 220-3311.
Metatarsalgia denotes a common foot condition characterized by pain and inflammation of the joints and bones of the ball of the foot - the area just before the toes, also called the metatarsal region.
Symptoms of metatarsalgia can develop suddenly, especially after an increase in exercise or high-impact activities, but normally the problems develop over time. Common symptoms of metatarsalgia include:
- Sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot - the part of the sole just behind the toes
- Pain that intensifies when you stand, walk or run
- Pain that radiates from the balls of the feet into the toes
- Numbness or tingling in the toes
- A feeling in your feet as if you are walking with a pebble in your shoe
- Pain that increases when walking barefoot
Sometimes a single factor can trigger metatarsalgia. More often, multiple factors contribute to the pain, including:
- Over-training or Over-activity. Extensive training and high-impact sports, especially running, places an abnormal amount of stress on the balls of the feet, causing irritation, inflammation and pain.
- Other foot disorders. High arches, hammertoes, bunions, stress fractures and Morton's neuroma can all trigger metatarsalgia symptoms.
- Poor-fitting footwear. High heels, narrow-toed shoes and shoes without adequate padding can all contribute to metatarsal problems.
- Excess weight. Extra weight places excess pressure on your metatarsals.
- Aging. The fat pads on the metatarsals thin out as a person ages, diminishing the ability of the metatarsal bones to protect themselves.
Although generally not serious, metatarsalgia can disrupt your day to day activities, and when left untreated can lead to additional pain in your unaffected foot, back or hips. Treatment to eliminate metatarsalgia symptoms can be as simple as resting, icing the affected area and wearing proper-fitting shoes to significantly reduce swelling and ease pain.
When conservative treatments aren't effective and pain persists, visit our practice for a full exam and a proper diagnosis. In most cases, metatarsalgia can be treated non-surgically. An experienced podiatrist may prescribe specially-designed orthotics or shock-absorbing insoles and arch supports to prevent and minimize future problems with metatarsalgia.
The feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, which means they have the ability to sweat profusely. With your feet encased in your shoes all day and the sweat unable to evaporate, bacteria will begin to grow rapidly. Bacteria then begins to break down the sweat, generating an unpleasant odor. Other factors can contribute to increased perspiration, including anxiety, hormonal changes, medications and various skin conditions.
Foot odor is a common problem, especially among those who perspire excessively, but it can be both embarrassing and physically uncomfortable. If you suffer from foot odor, rest assured that simple lifestyle changes and improved personal hygiene can help reduce and eliminate the smell.
Easy Ways to Eliminate Foot Odor
Since most foot odor is caused from excess sweat and the growth of odor-causing bacteria, it's relatively easy to control and reduce foot odor on your own. Start by taking the following preventative steps:
- Keep your feet clean by washing them with an antibacterial soap on a regular basis to minimize bacteria.
- Keep feet dry as moisture enables the growth of bacteria.
- Alternate shoes and avoid wearing the same pair for multiple days in a row.
- Choose open shoes such as sandals when possible, allowing air onto the feet which evaporates sweat and slows the growth of bacteria.
- Wear cotton socks which wick away moisture and absorb perspiration.
- Apply foot sprays and powders to the feet. Ask your podiatrist for recommended products.
- Disinfect, wash and discard foul smelling shoes as necessary.
The causes of foot odor are typically not harmful to your health, but do create an environment for the growth of fungus and bacteria. It's not unusual for infections such as toenail fungus and athlete's foot to develop as a result.
When improving your foot hygiene doesn't help reduce the smell, you may need to visit your podiatrist, as persistent foot odor can indicate an infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating. In these cases, a prescription ointment may be required to treat the problem. Visit our office, and we'll work with you to determine the cause and most effective treatment for your condition!
Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, can occur anywhere in the skeletal system, and the feet are no exception. Bone spurs are simply overgrowths of bone, which most commonly form where two bones come together. Normally bone spurs in the feet are painless, but when exposed to pressure, they can cause the excess bone to rub against other nerve endings or soft tissues, resulting in pain.
Causes of Bone Spurs in the Feet
When your feet are repeatedly exposed to excessive pressure and stress, a bone spur can form as a result of the body's normal response to repair itself. The following activities and conditions are common causes:
- High-impact activities, such as running
- Excessive weight
- Poor-fitting footwear
- Tightening of the plantar fasciitis due to excessive stress
Because there are no obvious symptoms associated with bone spurs in the feet, diagnosing the disorder can be difficult. Some people experience unbearable pain in particular areas of their foot when exposed to pressure, which prompts them to seek medical care. Other people can go long periods of time without realizing they even have a bone spur. An x-ray can identify a bone spur in your foot, but if it isn't causing you pain, damaging other tissues or restricting your movement, treatment probably won't be necessary.
Identifying the cause of your bone spur, such as poor-fitting shoes or weight gain, is often times enough to reduce the pressure that is causing the pain.
Conservative treatments for bone spurs include:
- Change in footwear
- Weight loss
- Padding or insoles
- Deep tissue massage and stretching
If you're experiencing chronic foot pain, schedule an appointment at our office. We'll carefully examine your feet and evaluate your symptoms to better understand your condition. If you've developed a bone spur, we can work with you to create a treatment plan that best fits your needs and puts an end to your frustrating foot pain.
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