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November 2020

Monday, 30 November 2020 00:00

What Should I Do for My Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown toenails can occur in two different ways. Either the edge of the toenail grows into the skin, or the skin grows over the toenail. When the toenail ultimately digs into the skin, it can cause pain, redness, and swelling. If left untreated, it may cause a bacterial infection to develop. Common ways to prevent ingrown toenails can include wearing properly fitting shoes and cutting the toenail straight across, but not too short. While soaking the toenail in warm salt water usually helps ingrown toenails, more severe cases, particularly infected nails, will need to be examined by a podiatrist. In these severe cases a podiatrist may need to remove the toenail border via surgery. If you become afflicted with an ingrown toenail or would like to know more, please be sure to consult with a podiatrist today.

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Dennis Berger of South Austin Foot Associates, PC. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.

Causes

  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.

Treatment

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

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

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
Monday, 30 November 2020 00:00

Ingrown Toenail Care

An ingrown toenail is a nail that has curved downward and grows into the skin.  This typically occurs at the nail borders, or the sides of the nail.  As a result, pain, redness, swelling, and warmth may occur in the toe.  If a break in the skin forms due to the ingrown nail, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area; this is typically characterized by a foul odor and drainage.

Ingrown toenails have multiple reasons for developing.  In many instances, the condition is a result of genetics and is inherited.  The most common cause, however, is improper trimming; cutting the toenails too short forces the skin beside the nail to fold over.  An ingrown toenail can also develop due to trauma, such as stubbing the toe, having an object fall on the toe, or participating in activities that involve repeated kicking or running.  Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short can also cause ingrown toenails.

Treatment for an ingrown toenail varies between patients and the severity of the condition.  Milder cases that don’t involve infection or other medical conditions can benefit from soaking the feet in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail.  In most cases, however, it is best to see your podiatrist for thorough and proper treatment.  After examining your toe, your podiatrist may prescribe oral antibiotics to clear the infection if one is present.  Surgical removal of either a portion of the nail or the entire nail may also be considered.  In some cases, complete removal or destruction of the nail root may be required.  Most patients who undergo nail surgery experience minimal pain afterward and can return to normal activity the following day.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented with proper nail trimming and by avoiding improper-fitting shoes.  When cutting the toenails, be sure that you are cutting in a straight line and avoid cutting them too short.  Shoes should not be too short or tight in the toe box.

Orthotics are defined as insoles that are worn inside shoes. Custom-made orthotics may be helpful in alleviating foot pain that comes from having flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or specific ankle conditions. They may be able to provide healthy muscle activity which can make the feet feel better. Additionally, orthotics can offer adequate shock absorption, and may be able to give an arch to patients that have flat feet. Orthotics can be beneficial in helping patients successfully accomplish daily activities. If you would like additional information about the benefits of wearing orthotics, it is suggested that you speak to a podiatrist who can determine if they are right for you.

If you are having discomfort in your feet and would like to try orthotics, contact Dr. Dennis Berger from South Austin Foot Associates, PC. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.

Over-the-Counter Inserts

Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct overarched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.

Prescription Orthotics

If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you or if you have a more severe foot concern, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high-quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and severe forms of heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.

If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist about the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain-free.

If you have any questions please contact our office located in West Lake Hills, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Foot Orthotics
Monday, 23 November 2020 00:00

Foot Orthotics

Orthotics are shoe inserts that are meant to correct an irregular walking gait or provide cushioning to the feet.  Orthotics come in a variety of different models and sizes, including over-the-counter and customizable variants. Customizable orthotics can be shaped and contoured to fit inside a specific shoe and are typically prescribed through a podiatrist who specializes in customized footwear and orthotics design and management.

Orthotics are beneficial because they can help prevent injuries from occurring and provide cushioning to keep pain levels down to a minimum. They also allow for the correct positioning of the feet. Orthotics can act as shock absorbers to help remove pressure from the foot and ankle. Therefore, orthotics can make bodily movements, such as walking and running, become more comfortable as well as help prevent the development of certain foot conditions.

Orthotics alleviate pain and make the foot more comfortable by slightly altering the angle at which the foot strikes the ground surface, therefore controlling the movement of the foot and ankle. Orthotics come in different variants and can be made of various materials. To determine what type of orthotic is most suited to your feet and your needs, it is best to consult your podiatrist. He or she will be able to recommend a type of orthotic that can help improve your foot function or prescribe a custom orthotic to best fit your feet.  

Thursday, 19 November 2020 00:00

See If You're Eligible for Orthotics or More

If you've met your deductible for the year, you may be eligible for your first or an extra pair of orthotics, bunion surgery, ingrown toenail surgery, or more.

Please contact our office for more information.

Monday, 16 November 2020 00:00

What Are the Sesamoids?

Sesamoids are bones that are connected only to tendons or are embedded in muscle. Each of your feet contains two very small sesamoid bones that are roughly the size of a corn kernel. They are found on the underside of the front of the foot, near the big toe. When the tendons around these bones become injured or inflamed, a condition called sesamoiditis develops. Sesamoiditis is common among certain athletes, such as ballet dancers, runners, and baseball players. Symptoms of sesamoiditis include pain under the big toe or under the ball of the foot, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bending and straightening the toe. If you have these symptoms, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Sesamoiditis is an unpleasant foot condition characterized by pain in the balls of the feet. If you think you’re struggling with sesamoiditis, contact Dr. Dennis Berger of South Austin Foot Associates, PC. Our doctor will treat your condition thoroughly and effectively.

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition of the foot that affects the ball of the foot. It is more common in younger people than it is in older people. It can also occur with people who have begun a new exercise program, since their bodies are adjusting to the new physical regimen. Pain may also be caused by the inflammation of tendons surrounding the bones. It is important to seek treatment in its early stages because if you ignore the pain, this condition can lead to more serious problems such as severe irritation and bone fractures.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

  • Sudden increase in activity
  • Increase in physically strenuous movement without a proper warm up or build up
  • Foot structure: those who have smaller, bonier feet or those with a high arch may be more susceptible

Treatment for sesamoiditis is non-invasive and simple. Doctors may recommend a strict rest period where the patient forgoes most physical activity. This will help give the patient time to heal their feet through limited activity. For serious cases, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine a treatment option that will help your specific needs.

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

Read more about Sesamoiditis
Monday, 16 November 2020 00:00

Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition in which the sesamoid bones in the forefoot become inflamed from physical activity. Sesamoid bones are bones that are not connected to other bones but are located in tendons or muscle. Two of these sesamoid bones are very small and located on the underside of the foot near the big toe. Athletes such as runners, baseball and football players, and dancers are likely to experience sesamoiditis. Those with high arched feet, flat feet, or runners who run on the ball of their foot are also prone to suffer from sesamoiditis.

Symptoms include pain or throbbing on the ball of the foot near the big toe. The pain generally starts with a mild throbbing but gradually builds up to shooting pain. Bruising, swelling, and redness are possible, but in most cases, these symptoms are not present. However, moving the big toe can result in pain and difficulty.

To conduct a diagnosis, the podiatrist will examine the ball of the foot and big toe. They will look for any outliers and check the movement of the toe. X-rays will be taken to rule out any other conditions and ensure that it is sesamoiditis.

Treatment for sesamoiditis is generally mild and includes rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and ice treatments to deal with the swelling and pain. Orthotics may be needed with people who have flat or high arched feet to relieve pressure off the bones. In some cases the toe will be taped and immobilized to allow healing. The podiatrist may also decide to use a steroid injection to help with swelling as well. If you have sesamoiditis, you shouldn’t engage in any intensive activity, as it may inflame the area and worsen your pain. If the sesamoid bone has fractured, surgery may be required to remove the sesamoid bone.

If you are suffering from sesamoiditis or are experiencing symptoms similar to sesamoiditis, you should stop all physical activity that puts strain on the area. Furthermore you should see a podiatrist for a diagnosis to see if you have sesamoiditis.

Monday, 09 November 2020 00:00

Things You Can Do to Care for Your Feet

If you are an older adult, you may have experienced foot problems. Unfortunately, foot problems are a common occurrence as we age. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to care for your feet and potentially prevent certain conditions from developing. One thing that you can do is perform a weekly foot check, in which you examine your feet for any problems, such as redness, swelling, cuts, sores, or punctures. Wearing comfortable, properly-fitted shoes is very important for maintaining good foot health. Improving your overall circulation, and thus improving circulation to your lower limbs, can help you stay on your feet. You can stretch, walk, or do other lower impact exercises. Regularly wash and dry your feet to maintain good hygiene, and moisturize your feet regularly to avoid dry skin. For more information about how to care for the feet as you age, please consult with a podiatrist. 

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact Dr. Dennis Berger from South Austin Foot Associates, PC. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

The Elderly and Their Feet

As we age we start to notice many changes in our body, but the elder population may not notice them right away. Medical conditions may prevent the elderly to take notice of their foot health right away. Poor vision is a lead contributor to not taking action for the elderly.

Common Conditions 

  • Neuropathy – can reduce feeling in the feet and can hide many life-threatening medical conditions.
  • Reduced flexibility – prevents the ability of proper toenail trimming, and foot cleaning. If left untreated, it may lead to further medical issues.
  • Foot sores – amongst the older population can be serious before they are discovered. Some of the problematic conditions they may face are:
  • Gouging toenails affecting nearby toe
  • Shoes that don’t fit properly
  • Pressure sores
  • Loss of circulation in legs & feet
  • Edema & swelling of feet and ankles

Susceptible Infections

Diabetes and poor circulation can cause general loss of sensitivity over the years, turning a simple cut into a serious issue.

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

Read more about Taking Care of Elderly Feet
Monday, 09 November 2020 00:00

Taking Care of Elderly Feet

Many foot diseases and conditions become more serious and common among the elderly. Some of these conditions include diabetic ulcers, ingrown toenails, fungus, arthritis, corns, and calluses. Unfortunately, it may be harder for older adults to take care of their own feet, but there are some precautions they can take in order to avoid any serious conditions.

Dry, cracked heels tend to be a common problem for older people. In order to avoid this, you should always keep your feet clean and well moisturized. Special feet moisturizers should be used as average lotions might not provide enough moisture for dry and cracked heels. Daily foot inspections are crucial for the elderly to detect any irregularities in their earliest stages. During the aging process, blood circulation tends to slow down causing older people to not feel their feet as well as they used to. This often results in foot problems going unnoticed.

Fungal and bacterial conditions thrive on elderly feet because older adults are less likely to keep their feet clean and dry; this makes it easier for bacteria to take hold in their dry, cracked skin. Elderly people should be sure to thoroughly dry their feet, especially in between the toes, after bathing. This will help them avoid developing any fungal infections. Additionally, clean cotton socks should be worn after the feet are dried.

Cutting toenails straight across will help prevent ingrown toenails. When toenails are cut too lose, the nail might break through the skin resulting in an ingrown nail. Clippers should be used to cut the nails in order to make the cut even.

Elderly people who have diabetes are at risk of developing serious foot problems that may lead to amputation. Ulcers that are left untreated can lead to gangrene. Dry and cracked feet, fungus, and untended cuts under the nails may also lead to infections.

Fortunately, Medicare covers many different types of services for foot care. Elderly people with any of these foot conditions should seek the help of a podiatrist and perform daily foot inspections in order to ensure that they have healthy feet.

Monday, 02 November 2020 00:00

Blisters

Blisters are small pockets of fluid that occur on the top layers of the skin for several reasons. Friction, burns, and diseases are all known causes of blisters.  Smaller blisters are known as vesicles, while larger blisters are referred to as bulla. The fluid inside the bubble can be blood, pus, or serum; which is a clear liquid that protects the skin. In most cases, blisters are not a major health issue, but they can be an indicator of a more serious condition.  

Causes of blisters vary. Blisters are commonly caused by wearing poorly fitted shoes that rub against the foot. However, there are many other causes besides from friction; including burns, sunburn, insect bites, frostbite, poison ivy/oak, chemical exposure, impetigo, eczema, viral infections, and more.

Most blisters heal by themselves and do not require immediate medical care. If you have a blister, do not pop it since this may cause infection; it is advised to put a bandage over the blister to protect it. If the blister is large, causes pain, or if you have a fever, it is recommended that you see a doctor who can provide proper care. Blisters are easy to diagnose, and if considered prudent by the doctor, can easily be drained of fluid with a sterile needle as well.

To prevent blisters on the feet, wear shoes that fit properly and don’t cause rubbing. Socks can help prevent friction and it is recommended that you wear them if you are wearing shoes. Hand blisters can be avoided by wearing gloves during activities that cause friction against the hand. If you have a blister that pops, do not remove the dead skin, wash the area, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover with a bandage. It is okay in most cases to not seek immediate medical care for a blister if it was just caused by friction. However, if the blister causes pain or does not go away, it is suggested that you see a doctor for a diagnosis.

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