Texas Foot Doctor's Blog
Posts for category: Foot Conditions
Heel pain is one of the most common complaints a podiatrist hears about from patients. If you are dealing with heel pain above the heel bone then you could be dealing with Achilles Tendonitis, a result of overuse. The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body and it serves to connect the muscles of the calf with the lower leg and heel bone.
While Achilles Tendonitis tends to occur most often in runners, this condition can still occur in athletes that play certain sports such as soccer or tennis. Unfortunately, this tendon does weaken as we get older, which makes at an increased risk for developing this overuse injury as we age.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?
The most obvious symptom of Achilles Tendonitis is pain above the heel bone. When the pain first appears it’s usually pretty mild and you may only notice it after running; however, over time you may notice that the pain gets worse after certain exercises. Along with pain you may also experience stiffness or tenderness in the heel, especially in the morning or after long periods of sitting.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If this is the first time that you’ve ever experienced heel pain then it’s a good idea to turn to a foot doctor who can determine whether Achilles Tendonitis is causing your symptoms or whether it’s something else. If you’re experiencing chronic heel pain around the Achilles tendon it’s also a good time to see a doctor. If the pain is severe or you are unable to put weight on your foot it’s possible that you might be dealing with a ruptured tendon, which requires immediate attention.
How do you treat Achilles Tendonitis?
In most cases, Achilles Tendonitis can be treated with simple self-care options. Unless symptoms are severe you may be able to treat your heel pain by:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
- Avoiding high-impact activities or activities that exacerbate symptoms
- Elevating the foot to reduce swelling
- Performing stretching exercises or undergoing physical therapy
- Icing the heel
- Wearing custom orthotics
- Replacing worn-out shoes, especially running shoes
Surgery is only necessary if your symptoms aren’t responding to any other nonsurgical treatment options after several months or if the tendon is torn.
If you think your heel pain could be the result of Achilles Tendonitis then it’s time to turn to a podiatrist as soon as possible. A podiatrist can provide you with a variety of treatment options, from simple lifestyle modifications to custom orthotics.
What is Sesamoiditis?
Sesamoids are small bones that are only connected to tendons or surrounded in muscle. This only appears in a few places in the body, one of which is the foot. Two very tiny sesamoids are found in the underside of the foot near the big toe. One is on the outer side of the foot and the other bone is close to the middle of the foot. This structure provides a smooth surface for the tendons to slide over, which helps the tendons move muscles. They help with weight bearing and also help to elevate the bones of the big toe. So now that you know what sesamoids are, you might be wondering what sesamoiditis is and what its symptoms are.
Just like any other bone, sesamoids can unfortunately fracture. The tendons surrounding the sesamoids may also become irritated or inflamed and this is what sesamoiditis is. Sesamoiditis is also a form of tendonitis and is a common condition among ballerinas, runners, and baseball catchers due to the pressure that is constantly placed on their feet.
Symptoms of Sesamoiditis
Symptoms of Sesamoiditis may include:
- Pain under the big toe or ball of the foot
- Swelling and/or bruising
- Difficulty in bending and straightening the big toe
- Resting and stopping any activity that could be causing pain and inflammation
- Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen and aspirin only after consulting your physician
- Icing the sole of the foot
- Wearing soft-soled and low-heeled shoes
- Cushioning inserts in the shoes
If symptoms persist after treatments, you may need to wear a removable brace for 4-6 weeks to help the bones heal. Call your podiatrist today to ask any questions about sesamoiditis and get on your way to pain-free feet once again!
What Causes Warts?
Got foot warts? Nearly everyone will have a wart at some point in their lives. Warts are typically small, hard skin growths caused by an infection with humanpallilloma virus. Foot warts are treatable. Foot warts are among the most common dermatologic conditions podiatrists treat. Read on to learn about the causes of warts.
An HPV Infection
Common warts are caused by by an HPV infection. Over 100 types of HPV exist. Certain types of HPV infection cause cervical cancer. Some types of HPV infection cause foot warts, while others cause warts that appear on the face, neck, or hands. Of the 100 types of HPV, about 60 cause common warts on areas such as the hands or feet.
Wart viruses are contagious. You can get foot warts from skin-to-skin contact with people who have warts. However, not all HPV strains are highly contagious. You can get the wart virus by touching an object that another person's wart touched, such as clothing, towels, shoes, or exercise equipment.
Breaks in Your Skin
HPV infects the top layer of skin and usually enters the body in an area of damaged or cut skin. Cuts from shaving can provide an avenue for infection. Getting a scrape can also bring on common warts. Foot warts are very common in swimmers whose feet are scratched by rough pool surfaces.
A Weak Immune System
In most cases, your immune system defeats an HPV infection before it creates a wart. Someone with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable and therefore more likely to develop warts. Immune systems can be weakened by HIV or by immunosuppressant drugs used after organ transplants.
If you want to get rid of foot warts, see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Many types of effective wart treatments are available. They include salicylic acid, cantharidin, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and surgery. Your podiatrist can help you get rid of foot warts once and for all!
Are you experiencing numbness, tingling, or discolorations in your feet?
Even though poor circulation isn’t a condition, if you are experiencing poor circulation in your feet this is often a symptom of a much larger issue. This is why it’s important to understand the warning signs of poor circulation and when to see a podiatrist, as many of these conditions can be serious or cause further complications to your health.
Causes of Poor Circulation
There are many reasons why someone may have poor circulation. The most common conditions include:
1. Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
This causes poor circulation in the legs due to a narrowing in the arteries and blood vessels. Over time this condition can cause damage to nerves or tissue. While this condition can occur in younger people, particularly smokers, it’s more common for people over 50 years old to develop PAD.
2. Blood Clots
A blood clot causes a block or restriction in blood flow and can develop anywhere in the body. The most common places for a blood clot include the arms or the legs, which can lead to symptoms of poor circulation. In some cases, a blood clot can cause serious complications such as a stroke.
While this condition does affect blood sugar levels, it is also known to affect circulation within the body. Those with circulation issues may experience cramping in the legs that may get worse when you are active. Those with diabetic neuropathy may experience nerve damage in the legs and feet, as well as numbness or tingling.
4. Raynaud’s Disease
A less common condition, Raynaud’s disease causes chronic cold fingers and feet due to the narrowing of the arteries in the hands and toes. Since these arteries are narrow it’s more difficult for blood to flow to these areas, leading to poor circulation. Of course, you may experience these symptoms in other parts of the body besides your toes or fingers, such as your nose, ears, or lips.
Warning Signs of Poor Circulation
You may be experiencing poor circulation in your feet if you are experiencing these symptoms:
- Pain that may radiate into the limbs
- Tingling (a “pins and needles” sensation)
- Muscle cramping
If you are experiencing symptoms of poor circulation that don’t go away it’s best to play it safe rather than sorry and turn to a podiatric specialist who can provide a proper diagnosis and determine the best approach for improving circulation. Don’t ignore this issue.
Varicose veins are very easy to spot, which is why patients usually want them to disappear. They're a cosmetic issue but also a potentially painful podiatric issue that can be treated by a foot doctor. Learn what causes varicose veins and how you may be able to reduce their appearance with a podiatrist's help.
About Varicose Veins
When the veins appear to pop out of the skin on your legs, thighs and feet, they are called varicose veins. They often look blue or dark in appearance and can cause pain in the legs. This is because the veins are swelling from too much blood. It’s a problem that’s related to poor circulation and vascular health. Because the legs and feet are furthest from the heart, it’s more difficult for blood to flow back up through the body. It’s a condition that occurs most often in older women.
What Causes Them?
The Chicago Vein Institute says that about half of people over the age of 50 have varicose veins. They can develop for a number of reasons:
- Obesity (the extra weight affects your circulation and puts stress on your legs when walking)
- Pregnancy (again, due to the added weight)
- Standing for long periods of times at a job
- Heredity (patients who have two parents with varicose veins are more likely to get them)
Reducing the Appearance of Varicose Veins
Consider making your podiatrist your first line of defense when trying to treat varicose veins. Here are a few possible ways your foot doctor can help reduce the appearance of dark, swollen veins:
- Taking an ultrasound of the legs to check the flow of blood (ensure there are no blockages)
- Physical therapy and exercises to get the blood circulating properly
- Prescribing orthotic device to relieve pressure on your feet when standing or walking
- Compression stocks to reduce swelling and stimulate circulation
- Leg massage therapy
- Surgery in certain cases (sclerotherapy, laser and endoscopic vein surgeries are options)
Get Help from a Podiatrist
Relief from unsightly varicose veins can be found at your podiatrist’s office. Contact a foot doctor in your area to discuss treatments that will help you feel more confident in the appearance and function of the veins in your legs and feet.