Foot pain and discomfort can be debilitating. No matter the severity of the pain, it can affect the way you walk, the activities you chose to participate in and your overall quality of life.
At Southeastern Idaho Surgical Group, it’s our job to get you back on your feet!
Our expertise in conditions of the foot and ankle allow us to help identify the source of your pain. Then, we can recommend a treatment plan to help ensure the best possible outcome.
The conditions we treat include:
Bunions & Hammertoes
Corns, Calluses & Warts
Children’s Foot Disorders
Diabetic Ulcer & Wound Care
Foot & Ankle Injuries
Heel & Arch Pain
Ingrown & Fungus Nails
Orthotics & Sports Medicine
What is a bunion?
When the joint at the base and side of the big toe enlarges, it can create a bone deformity called a bunion. Bunions can rub against your shoe, causing discomfort and pressure. Eventually, if left untreated, the bunion can affect the angle of the big toe, causing it to actually overlap other toes and create further discomfort. There are an estimated 3 million cases per year.
What causes bunions?
Most often, bunions are caused by people wearing shoes that are too tight. Bunions may also be caused by a person’s foot structure, other foot injuries or disorders (such as flat feet or pronated feet) and neuromuscular problems.
What are the symptoms?
Because bunions are caused by rubbing on the inside of the shoe, the first sign is usually red and tender skin on the toe. The skin over the toe becomes red and tender. As you continue to walk on it, the bunion will get bigger leading to more discomfort.
Can bunions lead to other issues?
Yes. The most common are Hallux Valgus (the big toe overlaps the third toe), Hallus Abducto Valgus (big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists) and hammertoe (the contracture of joints in the toes).
How do you treat bunions?
It is important to remember bunions will not just go away. When they become uncomfortable, they must addressed. Minor bunions can be treated with conservative measures aimed at relieving the pressure, such as protective padding, removal of corns and calluses, devices or shoes aimed at stabilizing the foot, exercises, and nighttime splints. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be required. A bunionectomy removes the bunion and realigns the toe.
What is an ankle sprain?
Most everyone has experienced an ankle sprain, whether it’s a quick, minor twinge of pain when step wrong or a debilitating injury that will not allow any weight to be placed on the ankle. Ankle sprains occur when the twisting of the ankle bones cause the ligaments of the ankle to stretch or tear. They symptoms of the sprain can include bruising, swelling and varying levels of pain.
What treatment options are there for sprained ankles?
The easiest treatment is to rest and elevate the injured ankle. If there is minor swelling, apply ice. For more severe sprains, immobilization through braces or splints may be necessary. Some of the most severe cases may require surgery to repair damaged ligaments.
How can I prevent sprained ankles?
Be careful when walking, especially on uneven pavement or rough terrain. In addition, wearing the properly-fitted shoes and performing exercises targeting ankle and foot flexibility will also help prevent ankle sprains.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis, also known as heel spur syndrome, is the inflammation of the plantar fasica – the connective tissue between runs the length of the foot across the arch. The common symptoms are heel and arch pain.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
When you walk, the arches of your foot naturally roll inward or downward. When this rolling becomes excessive, also called flat feet, extra stress is put on the plantar fascia. Eventually, this stress can lead to plantar fasciitis.
What are the treatment options?
We prefer a conservative approach to treating plantar fasciitis. This can involve medication, orthotic devices, physical therapy and other alternatives. In cases that don’t respond to the conservative treatments, we may utilize Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT).
A black (or darkened) toenail is literally a bruised toenail. They can be caused by multiple issues, including impact and crush injuries. These can be especially concerning for diabetic patients, as the added pressure under the toenail can cause a wound under the toenail. These wounds are susceptible to infection. Treatment options range from trimming the nail to application of an antifungal and/or antibiotic ointment.
Ingrown toenails are usually the result of the nail being cut too short, causing the corner of the nail to dig in to the skin. This often result in inflammation and infection, and the symptoms can be exacerbated by shoe pressure, other injuries, fungal infection and poor foot structure.
Treatment of ingrown toenails may involve physical extraction of the embedded nail, but often these injuries can be alleviated by simply soaking the foot in warm, soapy water several times a day. If there is an infection, you may be prescribed an antibiotic.
You can prevent ingrown toenails by making sure your toenails are trimmed straight across, you don’t wear socks that are too tight, and your feet are kept clean.
Has one of your toenails ever changed color? You may have a nail fungus. In addition to discoloration, the fungus may the nail to crumble, loosen or thicken. These infections under the surface of the nail are very common, but often left untreated because people don’t realize they are infected. They are not experiencing pain or discomfort, so they think the discoloration is not a big deal. In the short term, it may not be. However, in the long term, the fungus can cause severe issues, including other types of infection.
Treatments can include topical or oral medications, debridement of the diseased nail area, and/or removal of the nail – depending on the severity of your infection.
Prevention of fungal infections begins with good personal hygiene and keeping your pedicure tools clean. In addition, avoid wearing tight hosiery or socks, use a good foot powder and, if you use a public shower facility, wear shower shoes whenever possible.
People who suffer from diabetes often have foot problems because of the peripheral neuropathy associated with their disease. The neuropathy causes nerve damage that can cause people to not feel injuries to their feet, even if they suffer a severe wound. This can lead to additional complications and extensive health problems.
Therefore, it is important to have your feet regularly checked for health, as well as maintaining proper blood sugar levels and a healthy immune system. It is recommended you visit a podiatrist annually for an intensive foot check-up.
Maintaining foot health begins at home. You should wash your feet daily, concentrating extra attention on the area between the toes. Then, dry your feet as thoroughly as possible. It may also be beneficial to use a moisturizer to maintain skin health. You should avoid ingrown toenails. Don’t smoke. Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t walk around barefoot.
Flat feet is often associated with the natural flex and leaning of the ankle. Children are born with flat feet, but most will generate arches by adulthood. While flat feet usually does not generate pain, conditions such as painful progressive flatfoot can. Painful progressive flatfoot is the result of the inflammation of the tendon of the tibialis posterior. It often can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, icing, physical therapy, supportive taping, bracing, and orthotics, as recommended by your podiatrist. The most severe cases may be treated with surgery.
Hammertoes affect the second, third, or fourth digits, causing them (individually) to bend at the middle joint, which resembles a hammer. Often, the person has corns or calluses on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe. Conservative treatment for the condition can include shoes that accommodate the toes, toe exercises, and/or the use cushions or nonmedicated corn pads. Without treatment or if the conservative treatments are ineffective, the bend can become inflexible and require surgery to alleviate.
The importance of properly fitted shoes is most evident in the prevention of corns. Tight or ill-fitting shoes can cause the bones of the foot to create pressure points on the skin, which result in the outer layer of skin thickening. Corns fall into two categories: Hard – which are most often located on top of the toe or the side of the small toe, and Soft – which look like sores between the toes. If you develop a corn, soak your feet and file the area with a pumice stone. You can also wear foam pads to alleviate the pressure. More substantial corns may require the use of a scalpel to shave off.
A foot that is dry, itchy, scaling or inflamed may be a sign of Athlete’s Foot, which is caused by a fungus often found between the toes. Left untreated, Athlete’s Foot can infect the toenails and spread to other parts of the body.
To prevent the growth of the fungus, it’s important to keep the foot clean and dry, especially when you are wearing shoes or in places that are warm and moist, such as locker rooms.
Athlete’s Foot is often easily treated with an over-the-counter ointment, but may require a prescription topical or oral antifungal drug.