Answers to Your Top Questions About Foot and Ankle Pain
When you’re in pain, it’s hard to focus on anything else. We understand - we can help you get started towards fast relief with these answers to the most common questions we hear about foot and ankle pain in Carolina and get youback to focusing on what actually matters to you.
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How are ingrown toenails treated?
One of your toenails has grown into the surrounding skin, and it hurts. In fact, it hurts a lot.
So you employ the basic home remedies:
- Repeated soaking of your foot in warm water. If you do this three or four times a day for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, you may be able to reduce the swelling and tenderness.
- Placing cotton or dental floss beneath the toenail. After a soaking session, placing something soft under the edge that is ingrown can help the nail grow in such a way that it does not dig into your skin.
- Ongoing remedies. You are also using antibiotic cream, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and choosing shoes that don’t pinch your feet.
But what if none of that solves the issue? Fortunately, your doctor can take a more aggressive approach.
Getting the Ingrown Toenail Out
If the ingrown toenail is not too serious, your doctor may be able to lift the ingrown edge out of your skin and prop it up with cotton or dental floss just as you would at home.
In some cases, however, that may not be enough to provide relief. When that’s the case, your doctor may recommend removing a part of your toenail. For this procedure, an anesthetic is generally injected into the toe to limit discomfort while the doctor trims or removes the ingrown portion of the nail.
If that still does not fully resolve the problem, the next recommendation may be to remove a portion of the problematic nail and the underlying nail bed tissue. When this is done, it is possible that the affected part of your nail will not grow back (which may well be a blessing). There are a variety of ways your doctor may perform this procedure, including the use of a laser or a chemical to remove the nail and tissue.
We Know the Ins and Outs of Toenail Care
If an ingrown toenail is resisting your best efforts to resolve the problem at home, it is time to see a doctor to get help. The team at InStride Carolina Podiatry Group can determine the best way to address the issue—and if that turns out to include surgery, they have the expertise necessary to provide an excellent result.
Don’t walk around in pain. Make an appointment to see our podiatry team right away.
How can I tell if my foot is broken?
Maybe you have been in a car accident and are experiencing some pain in your foot. Maybe you tripped on an uneven sidewalk, stepped on a child’s toy, or dropped something heavy on your foot. Whatever happened, the reality is simple: your foot hurts—and you’d like it to stop.
But is it broken? And if it is, what can be done about it?
A List of Symptoms
Signs that you may have broken your foot may include:
- Immediate and throbbing pain in your foot
- Trouble walking without pain
- An inability to bear weight on the foot
- A noticeable increase in pain with activity and decrease with rest
- An obvious deformity indicating a bone (or bones) out of place
- Swelling, bruising, and/or tenderness in the foot
When to See a Doctor
We should note that the severity of a break can range from a tiny stress fracture to a compound fracture that breaks through the skin. It probably goes without saying that if you have a severe break, you need to see a doctor right away. In the worst cases, you may require foot and ankle surgery to implant rods, screws, and/or plates to hold the broken bone in the correct position as it heals.
But what if the break is nowhere near that obvious? When is it time to see a doctor? Symptoms that indicate your problem requires medical attention include:
- Ongoing pain and swelling that either does not ease or gets worse over time
- Ongoing difficulty walking
Your podiatrist will be able to make a determination about what sort of treatment will best serve you after you have broken your foot. We have touched on surgery, which is the most extreme option, but there are other options for less severe breaks. These include:
- Resting the foot
- Managing the pain with over-the-counter pain meds
- Keeping weight off the foot—perhaps by using crutches or a wheelchair
- Wearing a special shoe, boot, brace, or cast
- Manual manipulation of the affected bone or bones to put them back in the proper place(s)
Getting Proper Care Can Make or Break Your Recovery
If you suspect you have broken your foot, you should have it looked at right away. The doctors of InStride Carolina Podiatry Group can help make sure you heal properly so you can get back to the activities you love. Contact us for an appointment right away.
Can I have neuropathy if I'm not a diabetic?
Have you noticed a gradual onset of tingling and numbness in your hands or feet, which may spread to your arms or legs? There's a chance you maybe suffering from peripheral neuropathy. Other symptoms you may be experienceing are a burning, sharp or jabbing pain. Some patients also complain of sensitivity to touch, muscle weakness or lack of coordination. Though 60% of diabetics do suffer from neuropathy, you do not have to be a diabetic to have it. There are a number of other different causes of neuropathy. It can come from alcoholism, autoimmune diseases, medications, trauma or even pressure to the nerve.
A variety of treatment options are available. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best chances for controlling symptoms and preventing any further damage. To schedule an appointment with Carolina Podiatry Group at one of our three locations, call us at 803-285-1411.
Can flat feet be caused by anything?
As with many foot conditions, a flat foot or fallen arch can be caused by many different factors, often in combination.
Most young children are naturally flat-footed. Their arches haven’t had time to properly develop, and their bones are still so soft and flexible that the arch collapses under their body weight when they stand. Most grow out of this eventually, but some do not. Genetic factors play a key role.
Flat feet that are acquired later in life are more likely to be caused by external factors. A lifetime of wear and tear causes arches to sag over time, and conditions or activities such as inflammatory arthritis, diabetes, obesity, high-impact sports participation, and more can combine to destabilize and flatten the arch much faster and with more severity.
Regardless of the cause, flat feet that are causing pain for you or a family member should be evaluated by the professionals at Carolina Podiatry Group. Let our expert podiatrists help you figure out what’s wrong and chart the best possible course for treatment. You can request an appointment online or give us a call toll free at 888-569-9559.
Can orthotics help correct high arches?
Orthotics are often an ideal treatment option for people with high arches. In some cases, simple over-the-counter padded insoles may bring pain relief, although you’ll usually get the best results with a custom orthotic device.
Custom orthotics are created from a mold of your foot and are specially designed to address your unique foot concerns and problems. For a person with high arches, the right orthotic can provide extra support for your arches, additional stability for your ankles, and the extra cushioning you’ll need to distribute impact forces and minimize pain. They can even help you correct or accommodate for associated gait abnormalities or mechanical flaws that may lead to pain or injury while running or playing sports.
If your high arches are causing you pain or contributed to an injury, please visit the experts at Carolina Podiatry Group for evaluation and treatment. With experience in a wide variety of both conservative and surgical treatment options, they’ll help craft the best possible approach for your situation. Request an appointment online, or call 888-285-1411.
How is heel bursitis treated?
Heel bursitis—a painful condition in which the fluid-filled sac that cushions your Achilles tendon and heel bone near your ankle becomes inflamed—is usually treated conservatively through a combination of home care and, if necessary, professional treatment.
At home, we suggest that you avoid strenuous activities that cause pain (such as running or playing sports) and use ice and/or OTC anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen to help manage pain and swelling. Make sure you’re wearing supportive, comfortable shoes; heel wedges may also work for you.
We will typically also provide instructions for a gradually increasing stretching and physical therapy program to loosen your Achilles tendon, reducing the stress on the bursa. We may also employ other treatment strategies such as ultrasound therapy, custom orthotics, or corticosteroid shots.
If your heels are hurting from bursitis, call Carolina Podiatry Group for an evaluation. Our experts will draw up the best treatment plan for your situation. To schedule an appointment, dial 888-569-9559.
What can I do to improve my circulation?
Slowed circulation, particularly to the legs and feet, is a common consequence of a host of medical conditions, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Your body needs blood to provide oxygen and nutrition, and reduced blood flow can lead to pain and cramping and make it harder for your body to heal itself after injuries, so it’s best to do what you can to get it pumping again.
Good strategies include:
- If you’re a smoker, quit.
- Maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy diet low in calories and saturated fats.
- Exercise regularly—try starting with 30 minutes of walking 3 times per week, and increase as you are able.
- If you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar.
- Use medications if necessary to manage high blood pressure or cholesterol.
For help dealing with a painful or problematic circulatory condition affecting your feet or legs, call the experts at Carolina Podiatry Group for an evaluation and treatment options. You can request an appointment online, or call 888-569-9559.
What kinds of conditions do orthotics help?
Your legs, ankles and feet function effectively when they are aligned vertically. Any deviation from that line can cause pain in feet and ankles. Some of the most common conditions are plantar fasciitis (chronic heel pain), metatarsalgia (forefoot pain), and arch pain from flat feet or high arches. These foot issues can also cause pain further up, contributing to shin splints, knee and IT band issues, even hip and lower back pain.
Custom orthotics give support where your foot needs it and realign your foot and ankle into a more neutral line. These functional supports help prevent pain by keeping motion of bones, tendons and ligaments within their normal range of motion.
Accommodative orthotics cushion and protect diabetic foot sores. Heel supports help with Achilles tendon problems, while orthotic braces help stabilize joints of those with rheumatoid arthritis. Even the cushioning pads used for bunions, corns, and in the forefoot for metatarsalgia can be defined as foot orthoses.
If you have foot pain and are wondering if some sort of foot support might benefit you, give Carolina Podiatry Group a call at (803) 285-1411 in Lancaster or (803) 548-FEET (3338) in Fort Mill, SC and we’ll help you find out.
How can I get rid of a black toenail?
If you already have a black toenail from injury (either repetitive impacts or a single crush), your toenail will probably show itself out after a couple of days. After that, a new toenail will slowly grow out and into its place. Some black toenails do not need any additional medical treatment, although if you’re concerned or if you notice any signs of pain, infection (fever, chills, odor, discharge, etc.), or failure to improve, you should seek assistance from a podiatrist.
If you’ve struggled with black toenails in the past and are sick of dealing with them, the best thing you can do is keep your toenails trimmed and make sure you wear good fitting running or athletic shoes that give toes space to move but are snug enough in the midfoot and heel to prevent your feet from sliding around.
For help evaluating or treating a black toenail, contact the experts at Carolina Podiatry Group. Request an appointment online, or give us a call at 888-569-9559.
Why does it feel like I’m stepping on a stone?
Have you checked your shoe to see if there’s actually a stone in there?
Assuming there’s no foreign object actually lodged underfoot, and the pain is located toward the front of your foot (often between second a third or third and fourth toes), there’s a good chance you might be suffering from a condition known as Morton’s neuroma. In this condition, repeated irritation or pressure on one of the nerves leading to your toes causes surrounding tissues to thicken. Although this may not create a visible bump you can feel with your fingers, it’s enough to create painful sensations when pressed.
Women are about 10 times more likely than men to develop the condition, suggesting that footwear (particularly high heels) may play an important role in either causing or at least aggravating the problem. Certain activities (like high-impact sports) and foot problems (like bunions) are also associated with increased risk.
A variety of treatment options are available, and most cases do not require surgery if help is sought early. To schedule an appointment with Carolina Podiatry Group, call us toll free at 888-569-9559.