Foot & Ankle Conditions:

 

Heel pain is one of the most common and debilitating foot ailments. The most frequent cause of heel pain is a condition known as “plantar fasciitis”.  Pain is generally located at the bottom of the heel where the fascia, a strong band of fibrous connective tissue, anchors onto the calcaneus (heel bone).  Strain to the fascia can occur from everyday activities but is generally exacerbated by chronic overuse, poor shoe gear, a sudden increase in activity, weight gain or faulty foot alignment.
Treatment centers around providing support to the weakened and injured tissue as well as decreasing the surrounding inflammation.  Achilles tendon stretches, fascial stretches, night splints, arch supports (orthotics), physical therapy, icing, better shoe gear, medications, and sometimes injection therapy are utilized to resolve the pain.  85-90% of patients heal with variations of the above treatments.

Fungus Toenails
Otherwise known as “onychomycosis”, fungus toenails can be both painful and unsightly.  Even more, they often lead to toenail infections due to the thick, deformed nail plate.  Frequently, patients with fungus toenails have an ongoing fungal skin infection they are not aware of.  An infection in one nail often spreads to all 10 toenails if left untreated.
Feet First Podiatry offers a test with 99% accuracy for fungal nail testing.  If a fungal infection is confirmed, typical therapy includes an oral anti-fungal medication for 3-6 months depending on the severity.  Trimming, or nail debridement, is recommended on a regular basis to remove the contaminated nail outgrowth.  For those in whom it may be unsafe or contra-indicated to take the medication, other alternatives are available such as topical nail polishes, permanent nail removal and/or regular toenail trimming to stay pain free.  New products including fungal nail polish are available - come check it out!

Neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves in the body.  Warning signs of possible nerve damage can be the sensation of “tingling” or “pins &needles”.  If the conditions progresses, total numbness or anesthesia can develop.  A common type of this disorder is peripheral neuropathy which affects the extremities: the feet and sometimes the hands.  The most common causes of peripheral neuropathy are diseases such as diabetes, alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, trauma and certain drugs.  With diabetes, the nerves become damaged due to elevated sugar levels in the body.  Controlling one’s sugar levels is the best way to prevent neuropathy.
Neuropathy can be treated with multiple medications and other therapy.  Often, the pain level is reduced to a tolerable level but the symptoms can be difficult to control.  Our doctors are trained in simple screening tests that help detect early signs of neuropathy.  We also perform specialized epidermal nerve fiber density testing ( a small circle of skin is sent to a lab for evaluation) that is the gold standard for neuropathy testing and prediction of future disease.


Bunions are the “bump” found on the inside of your great toe.  Bunions typically cause pain in certain shoes caused by an irritated nerve that is stretched along the course of the bunion.  Joint pain and associated arthritis can also lead to symptoms.  Bunions have many different causes and consequently many different treatments.  The underlying problem must be addressed (flat feet, hereditary influences, laxity of tissues, poor shoe gear, etc.) in order to correct the bunion.  Nonsurgical treatments include padding, shoe gear changes, joint injections, arch supports and anti-inflammatory medications.  Xrays are taken to evaluate the joint and related bone angular measurements.  Surgery is often indicated for patients with painful joints and for patients whose pain does not improve with the above measures.  Your podiatrist can explain all the different options with you during your visit.


Gout is a disorder involving elevated levels of food byproduct called uric acid.  Crystals from uric acid in the blood stream settle in joints (often the great toe joint or the ankle) causing extreme pain and inflammation.  A gout attack can last several days and the affected joint becomes red, swollen and very painful.  Men in their 40’s and 50’s suffer from gout 7-8 times more often than women.  There may be a genetic link with gout as well.  Patients taking diuretics or “water pills” are susceptible to gout attacks.  
Gout is treated by both reducing the pain from the attack and taking preventative measures to minimize future attacks.  Recommended treatment to reduce the joint pain includes: anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid joint injections, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol, rest and elevation.  The patient’s family doctor is consulted to adjust medications that be triggers for gout attacks.

Orthotics
Foot orthotics are supportive devices designed specifically to improve one’s postural stability, reduce shock impact, and improve weight distribution.  Orthotics devices are called “functional” because they improve a person’s biomechanical performance during gait.  These arch supports assist in restoring supportive comfort by bringing the ground surface up to the foot.  A special 3 dimensional impression is made of the foot while held in the ideal corrected position and a prescription is made individualized to each person.  The prescription is based on the patient’s weight, activity level and type of shoe gear they generally wear.

 

If you are experiencing any of these problems or discomfort in your feet, call our office at 859-745-7890. We will be glad to schedule you an appoinment.

 

 

 

 

 

Avoid Flip-flop Fiascos with These Simple Tips
It’s an unwelcome fact that warm weather lovers don’t want to hear: your favorite pair of flip-flops is bad for your health. The health of your feet, that is.
A survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) found that 50 percent of Americans have experienced foot pain or discomfort at some point. Improper footwear is often a chief cause of this pain, and many types of flip-flops can directly cause foot problems due to lack of support and other factors.
“During the warmer months of the year, many podiatrists treat a greater number of foot problems that can be traced back to wearing flip-flops,” said Michael King, DPM, president of APMA. “However, people don’t have to give up wearing this type of footwear altogether. There are certain types of flip-flops that offer a superior amount of stability and support than others.”
Looking to avoid a flip-flop fiasco? View the video below for a list of helpful flip-flop tips: