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Foot Care

General Tips

  • Don't ignore foot pain. It's not normal. If the pain persists, contact our office.
  • Inspect your feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in color and temperature. Look for thick or discolored nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet could indicate athlete's foot. Any growth on the foot is not considered normal.
  • Wash your feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them completely.
  • Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. Be careful not to cut nails in corners or on the sides; it can lead to ingrown toenails. Persons with diabetes, poor circulation or heart problems should not treat their own feet because they are more prone to infection.
  • Make sure that your shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest and replace wornout shoes as soon as possible.
  • Select and wear the right shoe for the activity that you are engaged in (e.g. running shoes for running).
  • Alternate shoes - don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.
  • Avoid walking barefooted. Your feet will be more prone to injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals always use sun block on your feet as the rest of your body.
  • Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments. Self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one.
  • If you are a diabetic, contact our office at least once a year for a check-up.



When To Call A Doctor

Please call to schedule an appointment if:.

  • You have persistent pain in your feet or ankles.
  • You have noticeable change to your nails or skin.
  • Your feet are severely cracking, scaling or peeling.
  • There are blisters on your feet.
  • There are signs of bacterial infection, such as:
    1. Increased pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or heat.
    2. Red streaks extending from the affected area.
    3. Discharge of pus.
    4. Fever of 100°F (37.78°C) or higher with no other cause.
    5. Symptoms that do not improve after two weeks of treatment with a non-prescription product.
    6. Spreading of the infection to other areas, such as the nail bed or skin under the nail, the nail itself, or the surrounding skin.
    7. Your toenail is getting thicker and causing you discomfort.
    8. You have heel pain accompanied by a fever, redness (sometimes warmth) or numbness or tingling in your heel, or persistent pain without putting any weight or pressure on your heel, or pain not alleviated by ice or aspirin (or ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
    9. You have diabetes or certain diseases associated with poor circulation and you develop athlete's foot. People with diabetes are at increased risk for a severe bacterial infection of the foot and leg if they develop athlete's foot.

 

General Statistics

Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:
  • Those acquired from improper footwear, physical stress or small mechanical changes within the foot.
  • Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joints.
  • Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth and are generally inherited.
  • Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
  • Neoplastic disorders, usually called tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of tissue and may be benign or malignant.
  • Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries.

The top foot problems are:

  • Bunions - misaligned big toe joints that can become swollen and tender, causing the first joint of the big toe to slant outward and the second joint to angle toward the other toes. Bunions tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot and toe. Surgery is frequently performed to correct the problem.
  • Hammertoe - a condition usually stemming from muscle imbalance, in which the toe is bent in a claw-like position. It occurs most frequently with the second toe, often when a bunion slants the big toe toward and under it, but any of the other three smaller toes can be affected. Selecting shoes and socks that do not cramp the toes will alleviate aggravation.
  • Heel spurs - growths of bone on the underside, forepart of the heel bone. Heel spurs occur when the plantar tendon pulls at its attachment to the heel bone. This area of the heel can later calcify to form a spur. With proper warm-up and the use of appropriate athletic shoes, strain to the ligament can be reduced.
  • Ingrown nails - toenails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the skin. Ingrown toenails are frequently caused by improper nail trimming, but also by shoe pressure, injury, fungus infection, heredity and poor foot structure. Women are much more likely to have ingrown toenails than men. Ingrown nails can be prevented by trimming toenails straight across, selecting proper shoe style and size ( not too tapered or shallow) and paying special attention to foot pain.
  • Neuromas - enlarged benign growths of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth toe caused by tissue rubbing against and irritating the nerves. Pressure from ill-fitting shoes or abnormal bone structure can also lead to this condition. Treatments include orthoses (shoe inserts) and/or cortisone injections, but surgical removal of the growth is sometimes necessary.
  • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain) - usually caused by an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Our practice can evaluate arch pain and may prescribe customized shoe inserts called "orthoses" to help alleviate the pain.
  • Sesamoiditis - inflammation or rupture of the two small bones (sesamoids) under the first metatarsal bones. Proper shoe selection and orthoses can help.
  • Shin splints - pain to either side of the leg bone, caused by muscle or tendon inflammation. This condition is commonly related to excessive foot pronation (collapsing arch), but may be related to a muscle imbalance between opposing muscle groups in the leg. Proper stretching and corrective orthoses (shoe inserts) for pronation can help prevent shin splints.
  • Stress fractures - incomplete cracks in bone caused by overuse. With complete rest, stress fractures heal quickly. Extra padding in shoes helps prevent the condition. Stress fractures left untreated may become complete fractures, which require casting and immobilization.

It's no surprise that our feet often hurt, considering that an average day of walking exerts a force on the feet equal to several hundred tons. All that rushing around makes our feet more prone to injury than any other part of the body.

Your feet mirror your general health. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet so foot ailments can be the first sign of more serious medical problems.

Studies show that 3 out of 4 Americans experience serious foot problems in their lifetime. Despite the millions of aching feet out there, many of us don't seek the medical attention we need for relief. Foot pain is never normal, and you shouldn't be resigned to teetering around on sore feet. Call today to make an appointment for relief!

 



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