All posts by Foot & Ankle Center

What Causes Cracked Heels?

If you stand for extended periods of time you may experience a condition that is referred to as cracked heels. Certain skin conditions that may include psoriasis and eczema may also play a significant role in the development of this condition. The formation of deep cracks, which are also known as fissures, may result in pain and discomfort, and walking may become difficult. The skin on the heels will typically become dry and is usually a result of obesity, wearing shoes that have an open back, and cold winter weather, which may aid in producing dry skin. An effective remedy includes washing and drying the feet thoroughly, followed by utilizing a good moisturizer that will help the skin become soft. It’s advised to consult with a podiatrist if you are afflicted with severely cracked heels, to learn about proper treatment options that are correct for you.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How do you get them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Solutions for Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can make life very frustrating and embarrassing when displaying the bare feet. Aside from being unpleasing to the eye, they can also tear stockings and socks and wear out shoes at a faster rate. When severe, cracked heels may cause pain or infection.

Cracked heels are a problem for those who are athletic, those who may walk a lot, and those who have especially dry skin. Those who use medication that dry the skin, those who swim often, wearing certain types of shoes, and those who are diabetic may have trouble with cracked heels. Seniors whose skin produces less oil may also have trouble with cracked feet. There is no one way to develop cracked feet, and there is no cure.

Today, the market consists of numerous products that have a variety of ingredients to promote healing. Some of these are over-the-counter. Others are prescribed by a doctor, especially for those who have chronic dry feet and heels.

Some doctors recommend wearing socks at night for those with rough skin. This helps further healing, and helps creams stay on longer and better absorb into the skin.

One way to alleviate dryness that causes cracked heels is by using moisturizers both day and night. Another way is to make sure the skin is clean and dry at all times. Using a pumice stone to buff away dead skin before putting on moisturizer can also help. Cracked heels will not respond to the cream unless the outer layer of skin is first removed through exfoliation. After exfoliation, lotion or ointment will be absorbed by the skin more easily.

Foods that produce healing and balance can also help the skin from within. Everything that is put into the body can either help it or hurt it. Taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc can also be very beneficial.

Nevertheless, not all products are guaranteed to help treat cracked feet. Seeing a professional is best if other treatments options were unsuccessful. A podiatrist should be able to give the best advice to help with this problem.

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How Can I Find Relief From My Arthritic Feet?

If you are afflicted with arthritic feet, you may find it difficult to perform certain activities, including walking. There is typically a moderate level of inflammation that surrounds the joints of the foot, which may produce considerable pain and discomfort. There are several different forms of arthritis which may affect the feet. If the cartilage begins to decay at the base of the toe, you may have what is referred to as osteoarthritis. This may contribute to other foot conditions such as bunions. Preventive measures may include choosing to wear wider shoes that do not put pressure on the bunion. Additionally, if the joints on the ball of the foot become inflamed, you may have rheumatoid arthritis. This may cause the bone to rub and push against the skin on the sole of the foot, which can often produce severe pain. A possible treatment option that may temporarily provide moderate relief involves attaching a long strip of leather to the bottom of the shoe behind the arch. This may aid in reducing a portion of the pressure that is often associated with this type of arthritis. It’s suggested to consult with a podiatrist to discuss further relief remedies and treatment protocols.

Arthritis can be a difficult condition to live with. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Arthritic Foot Care  

Arthritis is a joint disorder that involves the inflammation of different joints in your body, such as those in your feet. Arthritis is often caused by a degenerative joint disease and causes mild to severe pain in all affected areas. In addition to this, swelling and stiffness in the affected joints can also be a common symptom of arthritis.

In many cases, wearing ill-fitting shoes can worsen the effects and pain of arthritis. Wearing shoes that have a lower heel and extra room can help your feet feel more comfortable. In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the arch in your foot may become problematic. Buying shoes with proper arch support that contour to your feet can help immensely.

Alleviating Arthritic Pain

  • Exercises that stretch the foot can prevent further pain and injury and increase mobility
  • Most of the pain can be alleviated with anti-inflammatory drugs, heat, and topical medications
  • Massages can help temporarily alleviate pain.

It is best to see your doctor for the treatment that is right for your needs and symptoms. Conditions vary, and a podiatrist can help you determine the right method of care for your feet.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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Arthritic Foot Care

During your lifetime, you will probably walk about 75,000 miles, which is quite a lot of stress to put on your feet. As you get older, the 26 bones and 30 joints in each of your feet will lose flexibility and elasticity. Your foot’s natural shock absorbers will wear down as well. Having arthritis added to this mix only makes matters worse. Your joints will become distorted and inflamed, which is why arthritic foot care needs to be something to think about every day.

When dealing with arthritis, having additional foot complications, such as bunions, hammertoes, or neuroma, can be a serious detriment. To avoid these, buy well-fitting shoes with a lower heel and good support. Arthritis causes you to lose your arch, so having shoes with good arch support is also highly recommended.

Aside from getting good arch support, the shoes need to fit comfortably and properly as well. A good place to start is by leaving a finger width between the back of the shoe and your foot to gauge proper size. It is also helpful to have a square or rounded toe box in the front to provide even more comfort. Another thing to look for is a rubber sole that can provide a cushion and absorb shock as you walk. This adds flexibility to the ball of your foot when you push off your heel to walk.

Exercise is another key aspect of arthritic foot care. Exercise not only strengthens and stretches your muscles and joints, but helps to prevent further injury and pain as well. Stretching the Achilles tendon, the tendon located in the back of your heel, will give you added mobility and reduce pain due to stress. Another thing you can do is massage your feet, kneading the ball of your foot as well as your toes from top to bottom.

Stretching the Achilles tendon is a simple exercise that you can do at home anytime. Lean against the wall with your palms flat against the surface while placing one foot forward, towards the wall, and one foot behind you. Bend your forward knee towards the wall while keeping your back knee locked straight, and make sure both your heels are completely touching the ground at all times. This will stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles as well. You will feel the stretch almost immediately. You can also stretch your toes in a couple ways. One involves taking a rubber band and wrapping it around both your big toes while your heels remain together. Then, pull them apart to stretch your big toe. You can also place a rubber band around all the toes of one of your feet. Then, try to separate each individual toe, stretching them all.

A final step you can take to help your arthritis is taking non-steroid, non-inflammatory drugs or topical medicines with capsaicin. Unfortunately, there is no complete way to remove all of your arthritic pain. However, following some of this advice can go a long way in staying as pain-free as possible.

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What Does Hammertoe Look Like?

A deformity of the toes that resemble a claw-like shape may be referred to as hammertoe. If the toes do not have adequate room to move about, they may have to bend to fit into the shoe. Additionally, if tight socks are worn, the toes may have to squeeze together, which may cause them to overlap. This condition can produce discomfort and pain, and may possibly cause corns and calluses to develop. Preventive measures may include choosing to wear shoes that fit correctly, while making sure there is ample room in the top of the shoe. Patients who have high arches or bunions may be more susceptible in developing hammertoe, and research has shown that permanent removal of a hammertoe affliction means surgery. It’s suggested to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist who can recommend temporary relief options, which may include custom-made protective pads over the affected area.

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<!–><!––><!––>Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • <!––><!––>Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • <!––>Swelling
  • <!––>Joint stiffness
  • <!––><!––>Calluses/Corns
  • <!––>Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • <!––>Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • <!––>Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • <!––>Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • <!––><!––>Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes are painful deformities that frequently form on the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is often caused by an issue in foot mechanics. This can be caused by the person’s specific gait or the manner in which they walk, or by shoes that do not comfortably fit the deformity.  Hammertoes can be formed after wearing shoes that are too narrow or short for the foot or have excessively high heels. Shoes that are not properly sized will force the toes into a bent position for long periods of time. This can cause the muscles to shorten and toes to bend into the deformity of a hammertoe.

Hammertoe can also be caused by complications from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trauma to the foot, heredity, or a cerebral vascular accident. Pain and difficult mobility of the toes, deformities, calluses, and corns are all symptoms of a hammertoe.

Someone who suspects they have the symptoms of a hammertoe should consult with a physician—particularly a podiatrist. Podiatrists diagnose and treat complications of the foot and ankle. If the podiatrist discovers that the affected toes are still flexible, treatment for the hammertoe may simply involve exercise, physical therapy, and better-fitting shoes. Treatment for hammertoes typically involves controlling foot mechanics, such as walking, through the use of customized orthotics.

For more serious cases in which the toes have become inflexible and rigid, surgery may be suggested. During the operation, the toe would receive an incision to relieve pressure on the tendons. A re-alignment of the tendons may then be performed by removing small pieces of bone to straighten the toe. In some cases, the insertion of pins is needed to keep the bones in the proper position as the toe heals. The patient is usually allowed to return home on the same day as the surgery.

If surgery is performed to repair a hammertoe, following the postoperative directions of your doctor is essential. Directions may include several stretches, picking up marbles with your toes, or attempting to crumple a towel placed flat against your feet. Wear shoes that have low heels and a wide amount of toe space to maintain comfort. Closed-toe shoes and high heels should be avoided. Shoes with laces allow the wearer to adjust how fitted he or she may want the shoes to be and also allow for greater comfort. To provide adequate space for your toes, select shoes that have a minimum of one-half inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside of the shoe. This will also relieve pressure on your toes and prevent future hammertoes from forming.

Other preventative measures that can be taken include going shopping for new shoes in the middle of the day. Your feet are its smallest in the morning and swell as the day progresses. Trying on and purchasing new shoes midday will give you the most reliable size. Be sure to check that the shoes you purchase are both the same size. If possible, ask the store to stretch out the shoes at its painful points to allow for optimum comfort.  

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Does Age Encourage the Formation of Heel Spurs?

A heel spur is known to be an uncomfortable and painful condition which develops in the heel of the foot and will typically affect the surrounding area. It is a small bony protrusion that grows in between the heel and the arch, and is often referred to as “heel spur syndrome.” If you are afflicted with this condition, there may be strong symptoms indicating its existence, including a sharp pain in the heel, which may be especially prominent in the morning, severe tenderness, or a consistent ache that may often be felt throughout the day. Research has shown that age may play a significant role in the formation of heel spurs and the pads in the heels may wear down as a result of this. This may cause diminished shock absorption in the heel which may cause this ailment to develop. If you would like additional information about heel spurs, a podiatrist can help you with a proper diagnosis and suggest correct treatment options.

Heel spurs can be incredibly painful and sometimes may make you unable to participate in physical activities. To get medical care for your heel spurs, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will do everything possible to treat your condition.

Heels Spurs

Heel spurs are formed by calcium deposits on the back of the foot where the heel is. This can also be caused by small fragments of bone breaking off one section of the foot, attaching onto the back of the foot. Heel spurs can also be bone growth on the back of the foot and may grow in the direction of the arch of the foot.

Older individuals usually suffer from heel spurs and pain sometimes intensifies with age. One of the main conditions spurs are related to is plantar fasciitis.

Pain

The pain associated with spurs is often because of weight placed on the feet. When someone is walking, their entire weight is concentrated on the feet. Bone spurs then have the tendency to affect other bones and tissues around the foot. As the pain continues, the feet will become tender and sensitive over time.

Treatments

There are many ways to treat heel spurs. If one is suffering from heel spurs in conjunction with pain, there are several methods for healing. Medication, surgery, and herbal care are some options.

If you have any questions feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to meet your needs.

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Heel Spurs

Heel spurs most commonly result when calcium deposits on the back of the foot where the heel is. They may also be the result of small fragments of bone breaking off of one section of the foot and attaching to the back of the foot. Heel spurs can also be bone growth on the back of the foot. When this is the case, the bone growth tends to grow in the direction of the arch of the foot.

Heel spurs are most commonly diagnosed in older individuals. Younger individuals also suffer from heel spurs, but the pain associated with the condition usually intensifies in aging. Heel spurs have the tendency to inflict a great deal of pain. The heel spur itself, however, is not always the cause of the pain. Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis.

The pain that is associated with heel spurs can be traced to the placing of weight on the feet. As the individual stands or walks, their weight is placed on the feet, causing the heel spur to press on and poke the other bones and tissues in the feet. This may result in severe pain. As the condition continues to persist the tissues in the feet will become tender and overly sensitive.

If you or someone you know is suffering from heel spurs and their related pain, there are a number of treatments to look to. These treatments range from medicines, surgery, and herbal treatments. One of the simplest ways to ease the pain and discomfort of heel pain is to use special foot supports. These insoles are placed directly in the individual's shoes. They relieve the pain and tension that is placed on the foot by offering a soft gel pad for the weight to be evenly distributed without causing pain.

There are also a number of exercises that some believe may relieve or actually reverse heel spur growth and stop the pain. One exercise has the ball of the foot against the wall while balance is maintained on the heel of the foot. The individual then shifts their weight towards the wall, causing a rubbing of the heel spur. Other exercises and stretches may also be performed that can help loosen and relax muscles and tendons in the feet, relieving pain. Applying ice packs and taking anti-inflammatory medication may also help. Night splints may be worn while sleeping to keep the foot stretched out, which may make the foot less painful in the morning.

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Causes of Flat Feet

Fallen arches, or flat feet, is a condition in which the arch is absent from the foot. It’s typically noticeable while standing, and the feet may roll inward as a result of the non-existent arch. People with this condition may find that their shoes wear unevenly, and this may be more prevalent on one side. Pain in the arch of the foot or inner side of the ankle may often be felt with flat feet, and in more severe cases, swelling may occur. The purpose of the arch is to distribute body weight across the feet, and having fallen arches may prevent this from occurring. There are several causes of this condition, including family history, incurring a foot or ankle injury, or arthritis. If severe pain and discomfort are hindering your daily activities, it’s suggested to consult with a podiatrist to allow for proper diagnosis and effective treatment.

Flatfoot is a condition many people suffer from. If you have flat feet, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What are Flat Feet?

Flatfoot is a condition in which the arch of the foot is depressed and the sole of the foot is almost completely in contact with the ground. About 20-30% of the population generally has flat feet because their arches never formed during growth.

Conditions & Problems:

Having flat feet makes it difficult to run or walk because of the stress placed on the ankles.

Alignment – The general alignment of your legs can be disrupted, because the ankles move inward which can cause major discomfort.

Knees – If you have complications with your knees, flat feet can be a contributor to arthritis in that area.  

Symptoms:

  • Pain around the heel or arch area
  • Trouble standing on the tip toe
  • Swelling around the inside of the ankle
  • Flat look to one or both feet
  • Having your shoes feel uneven when worn

Treatment:

If you are experiencing pain and stress on the foot you may weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs around the inside of the ankle. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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