Feet

Conditions Treated

Learn more about some of the most common foot conditions our podiatrists treat.

Athlete’s Foot

Up to 70 percent of people will develop Athlete’s foot in their lifetime. The fungus that causes it grows on the warm, damp surfaces around pools, public showers, and locker rooms. Athlete’s foot commonly occurs in people whose feet are sweaty and in tight-fitting shoes. 

Athletes foot

Symptoms may include:

  • Itchy, scaly rash between toes
  • Small, red blisters
  • Ongoing dryness and scaling
  • Ulcers or sores

Your risk increases if you:

  • Wear closed shoes
  • Develop a minor skin or nail injury
  • Keep your feet wet for long periods
  • Sweat profusely

Athlete’s foot is contagious and can easily be passed through direct contact or contact with items such as shoes, stockings, and shower or pool surfaces.

Athlete’s Foot Treatment

Treatment options include topical or oral anti-fungal medications, bacterial or steroidal topical agents, and foot powders. Your podiatrist can teach you how to care for your feet and specific steps you can take to minimize your risk of Athlete’s foot reoccurring.

Athletes foot in shower

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Bunions

A bunion forms when the big toe points toward the second one, which causes a bump to appear. 

Bunions tend to develop over time and are much more common in women and seniors. Typically, a combination of genetics and environmental factors (footwear, injury, etc.) cause bunions.

Bunion

Bunion Symptoms

Other than the bump, symptoms can include swelling, redness, or soreness around the big toe joint. Because the joint at the base of the big toe supports much of your weight when walking, bunions can cause significant and constant pain.

Bunion Treatment

Heating pads or warm foot baths can be used to help ease pain and discomfort. Some people also find relief using ice packs.

Your doctor may prescribe you an over-the-counter pain reliever and medicine to reduce swelling. Treatment options can include:

  • Taping and padding
  • Removal of hard calluses
  • Dry needling
  • Muscle strengthening exercises
  • Orthotics (can help reduce pain and prevent further progression of the bunion)
  • Injection therapy (usually cortisone is used to reduce levels of pain)

Severe bunions usually require surgery to correct alignment. You will want to talk to your doctor about what you can expect and what recovery will be like.

Ice pack on bunions

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Diabetic Foot Care

Problems with the feet and toes are a common complication of diabetes. In fact, diabetes is responsible for over 50 percent of all foot amputations in the United States. Over time, diabetes can lead to nerve damage and lower the amount of blood flow in the foot. Nerve damage makes it difficult to feel irritation, soreness, or infection on the feet. Reduced blood flow can lead to pain, infection, and wounds that heal slowly. 

Diabetic foot

Symptoms

If you have diabetes, contact a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Skin color changes
  • Swelling in the foot or ankle
  • Leg pain
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Ingrown toenails or toenails infected with fungus
  • Open wounds on the feet that are slow to heal
  • Calluses
  • Corns
  • Dry cracks in the skin, particularly around the heel
  • Foot odor that won’t go away

Prevention

Some diabetes foot-related problems can be prevented by:

  • Controlling your blood sugar
  • Not smoking
  • Eating healthy
  • Checking feet daily for wounds or sores
  • Seeking treatment for wounds early
  • Keeping feet clean and dry
  • Protect from injury and extreme temperatures
  • Wearing socks and shoes

Diabetic Foot Treatment

Treatment varies depending on the type of foot problem, but may include:

  • Medications, including antibiotics
  • Custom orthotics, inserts, or splints
  • Wound care and specialized dressings
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
  • Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT®)
  • Radiofrequency therapy
  • Surgical debridement or toe removal
Diabetic foot treatment

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Flat Feet

You have flat feet when the arches are flattened, allowing the entire soles of your feet to touch the floor when you stand. It can be something you’re born with, or they can develop later on in life. As an adult, you can develop flat feet due to:

  • Injury or trauma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Being overweight
  • Chronic diseases, including diabetes

Risk Factors

Flat feet are sometimes linked to overuse issues, such as engaging in strenuous activities, like distance running. Other factors that can increase your risk are:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
Flat foot vs healthy foot

Issues with Flat Feet

Some issues caused by flat feet include:

  • Inflammation of soft tissue
  • Foot, arch, and leg fatigue
  • Heel, foot, and ankle pain
  • Knee, hip, and lower back pain
  • Rolled-in ankles
  • Abnormal walking patterns
  • Shin splints
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoe
  • Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD)

While not generally anything to worry about, for some, flat feet can lead to chronic foot pain and ankle instability.

Flat Feet Treatment

Treating flat feet usually starts with conservative measures. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the treatment plan can include:

  • Medications, including antibiotics
  • Medications for pain relief and inflammation
  • Custom-molded orthotics
  • Ankle or foot braces
  • Shoe modifications
  • Physical therapy
  • Fracture boot

Surgery may be needed to correct flat feet if your condition has progressed into a stiff, rigid, or arthritic state. This type of reconstructive foot surgery can repair tendons and restore foot function. 

Flat foot brace

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Foot Fracture

There are 26 bones in the foot. They support our weight and allow us to walk and run. Certain activities or injuries can cause a fracture, or crack, in one or more of these bones. 

Pain, redness, swelling, and bruising are signs of a possible fracture. 

Foot fractures, foot bones

Foot Fracture Risk Factors

Women are much more likely to suffer from fractures than men. In fact, one in two women over 50 will have a fracture in her lifetime.

Other factors that increase your risk of a fracture include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Steroids
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes

Rest, ice, and immobilization are often the treatments. However, surgery is sometimes needed to repair the fracture.

Foot Ulcers

A foot ulcer is an open sore on the foot. More than any other group, people with diabetes have a particularly high risk of developing foot ulcers. This is because the long-term complications of diabetes often include neuropathy and circulatory problems. In addition to diabetes, Atherosclerosis and Raynaud’s phenomenon increase the risk of foot ulcers.

Foot ulcer

Foot Ulcer Symptoms

Signs of a foot ulcer include:

  • Swelling, discoloration, and warmth around the wound.
  • Foul-smelling discharge seeping from the wound.
  • Pain and firmness when the wound is touched.
  • Callused or thickened skin surrounding the ulcer.
  • Fever and chills in advanced stages of foot ulcers

Without prompt and proper treatment, a foot ulcer can develop into:

  • An abscess (a pocket of pus)
  • A spreading infection of the skin and underlying fat (cellulitis)
  • A bone infection (osteomyelitis)
  • Gangrene. Gangrene is an area of dead, darkened body tissue caused by poor blood flow

Foot Ulcer Treatment

Patients will typically be asked to care for their ulcers at home by:

  • Keeping the wound clean and dry
  • Changing the dressing as directed
  • Taking prescribed medications as directed
  • Drinking plenty of fluid
  • Following a healthy diet, as recommended, including plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly, as directed by a physician
  • Wearing appropriate shoes
  • Wearing compression wraps, if appropriate, as directed

In some case, your doctor will recommend removing the ulcer with a debridement, the removal of dead skin, foreign objects, or infections that may have caused the ulcer. Surgery may be needed to alleviate pressure around the ulcer by shaving down the bone or removing foot deformities such as bunions or hammertoes.

Foot ulcer treatment eat healthy fruits veggies

Foot Ulcer Prevention

You can help prevent ulcers by:

  • Quit smoking
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Control your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels by making dietary changes and taking medications as prescribed
  • Limit your intake of sodium
  • Manage your diabetes and other health conditions, if applicable
  • Exercise—start a walking program after speaking with your doctor
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Ask your doctor about aspirin therapy to prevent blood clots
Foot ulcer prevention watch blood pressure

Other Conditions

Additional conditions our podiatrists treat include:

  • Nerve Pain
  • Neuromas
  • Neuropathy
  • Orthotics
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Warts
  • Wound Care

Visit our blog for upcoming articles with useful information and tips about these conditions or find a podiatrist who specializes in these conditions and can help you with treatment.

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