Posts for category: Foot Condition
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
March 03, 2021
Tags: Puncture Wound
A puncture wound in the foot occurs when you step on an object that leaves a small hole behind. One of the most common puncture wounds comes from stepping on a nail. Puncture wounds are not simply cuts and will require different treatment and care to prevent infection and other complications from occurring. If you’re dealing with a puncture wound, you probably took a trip to your local emergency room for care. Even if you’ve done this, you should still follow up with a podiatrist to make sure the wound is properly cared for and tended to.
Dealing with a puncture wound? Here are the steps you should take,
- Seek immediate medical attention (head to your local ER)
- You may need a tetanus shot if it’s been more than 10 years since your last shot
- Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist within 24 hours of the injury
- Your podiatrist will provide you with a variety of care instructions to keep it clean and disinfected (make sure to follow all of these instructions)
When you come into the podiatrist’s office the first thing they will do is assess the wound and make sure it is properly cleaned. They will also make sure there is no debris remaining. To clean the wound, a numbing gel may be applied to the area first. Sometimes a round of antibiotics is prescribed to prevent an infection from developing. If your podiatrist suspects that you might still have a piece of an object in the wound or that there might be bone damage, imaging tests may need to be performed.
You must keep off the foot so that it can fully heal. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics, make sure to take the medication until it is finished (if you stop taking it before the medication is finished it won’t be as effective). While your foot heals you must examine it daily and look for any signs of infection. These signs include,
- New or worsening pain
- Skin that’s warm to the touch
It’s important to turn to a podiatrist right away to treat your puncture wound to prevent complications. A foot and ankle specialist can provide you with instructions on how to properly care for your wound to ensure that it doesn’t get infected. Seek treatment right away.
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
January 18, 2021
Whether you took a bad tumble or your child had a rough collision while playing sports, it’s important that you do not just recognize the signs of a broken foot but that you also seek immediate medical attention. Of course, we know that it isn’t always easy to differentiate a break from a sprain. Here are some signs that your foot is broken and need to be seen by a qualified podiatrist,
- Pain that occurs immediately after an injury or accident
- Pain that is directly above a bone
- Pain that is worse with movement
- Bruising and severe swelling
- A cracking sound at the moment of injury
- A visible deformity or bump
- Can’t put weight on the injured foot
If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of a fractured foot or ankle they must turn to a podiatrist for care. We can diagnose, set, and treat all types of fractures; however, if the bone is dislocated or looks severely broken (a visible bump or deformity appears on the foot) it’s a good idea to head to your local ER.
How can I tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
The symptoms of a sprain are far less severe. You can often put weight on the injured foot with a sprain; however, you may notice some slight pain and stiffness. You may also have heard a popping sound at the moment of the injury with a sprain, while a broken bone often produces a cracking sound. The pain associated with a sprain will also be above soft tissue rather than bone. A podiatrist will perform an X-ray to be able to determine if you are dealing with a break or a sprain.
How is a broken bone in the foot treated?
Rest is key to allowing an injury, particularly a fracture, to heal properly. Along with rest, your doctor may also recommend either an over-the-counter or prescription-strength pain reliever, depending on the severity of your fracture. Those with more moderate to severe fractures may require a special boot, brace, or splint. Those with more severe fractures may need to wear a cast and use crutches, so they can avoid putting any weight on the foot.
If you are on the fence about whether or not to see a podiatrist about your injury, why not simply give us a call? We can discuss your symptoms on the phone to determine whether we can take a wait-and-see approach or whether you need to come in right away for care.
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
December 16, 2020
Tags: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and it is characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and damage. RA, like other kinds of arthritis, is progressive, which means that symptoms will gradually get worse over time if left untreated. So, how do you know if you might be developing RA in your feet? While a podiatrist can certainly provide you with a definitive diagnosis, here are some telltale signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
- You experience pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints of the foot, particularly the toes
- You experience aching feet, particularly after activity or long periods of standing
- Some parts of your foot may feel oddly warm to the touch or may emanate heat while the rest of the foot feels normal
- The joints of the toes and ankles may swell
Symptoms are often mild at first and you may not even think that you have arthritis. Those between the ages of 30 to 60 are more likely to develop RA. You may notice intense flare-ups that are characterized by bouts of remission (in which you don’t experience symptoms). Do not take these symptom-free moments to mean that you are fine. It’s important to see a podiatrist right away if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.
What does RA do to the feet and ankles?
Along with painful joints and stiffness, you may also notice other changes to your feet over time. Some of these changes include,
- Hammertoes and claw toes
- Circulation issues (e.g. atherosclerosis; Raynaud’s phenomena)
How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?
Since RA is not curable, your podiatrist will focus on crafting a treatment plan that will help to alleviate your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to prevent severe and irreparable joint damage. Prescription medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are biologics that can reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease.
Of course, there are also lifestyle changes you can make along with taking prescription medication that can also ease symptoms,
- Warm soaks
- Custom insoles or orthotics
- Pain relievers
- Stretching exercises for the feet
- Steroid injections (for targeting severe inflammation)
Surgery is only necessary if there is severe joint or cartilage damage, or if inflamed tissue needs to be removed from around the joint.
Most people with RA will eventually develop foot and ankle problems, which is why it’s important to have a podiatrist on your team that can help you manage your RA effectively.
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
October 27, 2020
A sesamoid is a bone that connects to a tendon or muscle instead of another bone. The most common sesamoids are the patella (kneecap) and two bones found under the forefoot. The sesamoids in the foot help to provide the foot with weight-bearing support. Unfortunately, just like another bone, sesamoids can fracture or become inflamed. An inflamed sesamoid is known as sesamoiditis and it’s most often found in athletes.
What are the symptoms of sesamoiditis?
So, how do you differentiate pain from sesamoiditis from other causes of pain? You could be dealing with an inflamed sesamoid in the foot if you are experiencing:
- Pain at the ball of the foot near the big toe
- Pain when bending or straightening the big toe
- Pain that comes up gradually
Pain that comes on suddenly may be a sign of a fractured sesamoid rather than sesamoiditis, which is a form of tendinitis. You may experience pain when putting weight on the foot.
How is sesamoiditis treated?
The good news is that this inflammatory condition can be treated with rest and home care designed to ease the inflamed tendon or muscle. At-home care for sesamoiditis looks like:
- Avoiding any activities that put pressure on the foot
- Taking a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
- Wearing supportive shoes with ample cushioning
- Applying ice to the foot for 10-15 minutes every few hours
- Avoiding shoes with pointed toes or high heels
It can take up to six weeks for sesamoiditis pain and inflammation to go away. If you are dealing with severe pain or swelling, or if you have trouble walking, then you must see a podiatrist right away. In more severe cases your doctor may recommend bracing the foot or using steroid injections to target unresponsive and more serious inflammation.
If you are experiencing severe or persistent foot pain, you must seek podiatry care from a qualified foot and ankle specialist. Foot pain should not go ignored. Call your podiatrist today.
By Grand Rapids Podiatry
July 28, 2020
While tight, cramped shoes and those towering high heels may not immediately show you the damage that’s being done to your feet, over time you will certainly notice changes in the structure and function of your feet. Along with bunions, a common foot deformity, hammertoes are another deformity that causes the toes to bend downward at the middle joint. If the problem isn’t corrected, this simple and rather uncomfortable deformity can become severe. Here’s how to determine whether you may have hammertoes and what you can do about it now to prevent it from getting worse.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
You need to make sure that any shoes you wear properly fit your feet. While this might sound silly, many people are guilty of wearing shoes that are too narrow and put too much pressure on the toes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your feet enough room to wiggle freely. If your toes are bunched up in any of the shoes you have (particularly high heels or shoes with pointed toes) then you will want to avoid these types of shoes whenever possible.
Consider Shoe Inserts
While it’s important to find shoes that cushion and support your foot structure, sometimes people with hammertoes, bunions, and other foot problems that can cause pain can benefit from prescription shoe inserts (also known as orthotics). Orthotics can be crafted to fit the shape of your feet and also to address the issues you’re having (aka alleviating pressure on the toes when standing or walking).
Apply Protective Padding
A hammertoe causes the toe to bend down like a claw. This means that the toe’s joint is sticking out. As you may already know, this causes shoes to rub against the joint, causing a callus to develop. One way to prevent this from happening is to apply a non-medicated pad over the toe joint before putting on shoes.
Practice Pain Management
If your hammertoe starts to ache or hurt, you may want to apply ice to the area throughout the day to help alleviate pain and swelling. If the pain is intense or persistent then you may want to consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, which can help with both pain and swelling; however, if your symptoms are severe, you must see a podiatrist about your hammertoe.
Do I need surgery for a hammertoe?
If the hammertoe is flexible (meaning that you can straighten the toe out) then you won’t need surgery; however, if the hammertoe becomes rigid and causes pain and problems with mobility then surgery is recommended.
If you are dealing with hammertoes or other foot problems, you must have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular and immediate care.