Posts for category: Foot Conditions
Is foot pain disrupting your life? Seventy-seven percent of Americans have experienced foot pain, according to the American Podiatric Medicine Association, yet only a third have considering visiting a foot doctor. Your Clinton and Waldorf, MD, podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer offer effective treatment for foot pain and foot injuries.
What causes foot pain?
Injuries are a common cause of pain. You may step on a hard object and bruise the fat pad under your heel or fall and break a bone in your foot. Other types of injuries include:
- Stress Fractures: Stress fractures, small cracks that develop in the bones, can cause foot pain. If you ignore the pain and continue your usual activities, the cracks can turn into actual fractures.
- Sprains: Sprains occur when the ligaments that hold the bones of your foot together are stretched or torn. The injury can occur after a fall or if you've been in a car accident.
- Overuse Injuries: Working out too hard or too long or suddenly increasing the intensity of your workout can cause a variety of foot conditions, including plantar fasciitis, retrocalcaneal bursitis and Achille's tendinitis. You may be at increased risk of developing these painful conditions if you wear worn out or poorly fitting shoes.
How can my foot doctor help me?
Pain from minor injuries may ease in just a few days as long as you stay off your feet, apply ice packs and take anti-inflammatories to decrease swelling and pain. If your pain is severe or lingers longer than a week or two, it's time to call your Clinton or Waldorf foot doctor.
If you have a sprain or fracture, your podiatrist may recommend a walking boot, cast or crutches to relieve pressure on your foot while it heals. Prescription shoe inserts called orthotics improve the alignment of your foot and also cushion it. Depending on your condition, your foot doctor may recommend pain medication, corticosteroid injections for pain or even surgery if your condition doesn't respond to conservative treatment options.
Physical therapy may also be helpful if you have a foot injury. During sessions, you'll learn stretching exercises that will strengthen muscles that support the bones and joints of your foot and loosen tight muscles.
Don't let pain from foot injuries keep you from enjoying your life. Schedule an appointment with podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer by calling (301) 868-3899 for the Clinton, MD, office or (301) 843-9581 for the Waldorf office.
Here’s a foot fact you may initially find surprising: at Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle once temperatures turn cooler and fall arrives, we see an increase in two conditions in our women patients, bunions and Haglund’s Deformity. Why? Autumn brings back closed toe and back shoes and that’s when these two problems become especially noticeable.
Bunions—this bone deformity occurs when the big toe begins to move out of place and causes the joint at the base of the big toe to enlarge and protrude. Closed toe shoes or high heels that force toes into the front of the shoe irritate the bunion as the shoe rubs over the bump. As the condition worsens, the skin becomes more irritated and tender and corns or calluses may also form making it increasingly painful to walk.
Haglund’s Deformity—this condition is also known as “pump bump” or retrocalcaneal bursitis. It is an enlargement that forms on the back of the heel bone—right about at the point where the back of a pump hits your foot, hence the name “pump bump.”
For both of these conditions, our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss will want to examine your foot and take a medical history; there are hereditary components to both bunions and Haglund’s Deformity. In some cases an x-ray may be necessary to completely assess the progression of the condition. Once a diagnosis is confirmed the foot doctor will recommend the right treatment for you. One simple way to relieve the pain of both of these problems is by changing the type of shoes you are wearing or using padding to protect the painful area. Other treatment methods aimed at pain relief may include anti-inflammatory medications and icing.
If autumn has brought you to the point where you no longer want to put up with the pain of a bunion or Haglund’s Deformity, contact our Waldorf or Clinton office for an appointment and learn how to get rid of the pain and make walking a pleasure again.
Most of us recognize a callus—that hard, thick area of skin that forms usually on the heel or ball of the foot or on the outside of the big toe. Calluses can be present for a long time without causing pain or discomfort. This is partly what makes them not appear to be a major medical issue. However, a callus is more than what you see on the surface. At Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle we want our patients to be informed about the significance of calluses and why you shouldn’t ignore them.
What’s Going On Below the Surface?
In most patients’ minds a callus is a skin issue, but in reality a callus forms as a result of a bone problem. Unlike blisters, which are caused by excessive friction or pressure on the outside of the skin, calluses develop due to internal pressure. Most often this pressure is from a metatarsal bone that is too long or too low that becomes irritated because it is being subject to more pressure and shock than the other bones. Over time, a callus builds up to keep the soft tissue layers from being damaged. In some instances—when a bursa sac or nerve is between the protruding bone and the callus—a patient may experience sharp pains or soreness from the irritation this causes, making it difficult to walk or be on your feet for long periods of time.
The first step in properly dealing with a callus is finding out what’s causing it. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer, will examine your foot and also take your medical history to help find out why the callus has formed. Once the underlying problem has been diagnosed, treatment can begin. Depending on how large and painful the callus is, the doctor may recommend one or more of the following:
Switch to different shoes that do not put pressure on the affected area.
Use an orthotic device in the shoe to relieve pressure on the point where the callus has formed.
Callus removal: this can be done in the doctor’s office or at home by soaking your foot in warm soapy water and gently sloughing off the dead skin of the callus with an emery board or pumice stone. Over-the-counter products are also available but usually involve a strong acid to peel away the skin which can cause damage if misused.
Padding to cover and protect the callus until it is healed.
Wearing extra thick socks to cushion the callus.
Be sure to inform your foot doctor of anything unusual going on with your feet when you have a podiatric checkup. Sometimes minor issues still need to be addressed to prevent long term pain and disability. Schedule an appointment at our Clinton or Waldorf office if you have foot concerns that need to be addressed.
Itchy, red feet that are scaly and even blistering can be the symptoms of several conditions including athlete’s foot, a fungal infection or a skin allergy. Another possibility, however, which is more serious than these other conditions, is psoriasis. August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and so we at Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle want to share some important information about this disease.
What’s Different About Psoriasis?
There are a number of elements about psoriasis that distinguish it from more common skin conditions. These include:
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect your entire body. In addition to making your skin itchy and red, it can affect your joints and lead to painful arthritis.
Psoriasis is not contagious.
Psoriasis on your skin will usually be characterized by a silvery-white or grayish scale on top of the irritation, although there are several different types of psoriasis with different appearances.
Your nails may also be affected by psoriasis and can look discolored and pitted.
Flare ups of psoriasis may be triggered by stress, certain medications, injury or infection.
Unlike more mundane skin irritations, psoriasis has a genetic component.
Psoriasis is often associated with other serious medical conditions, including heart disease, depression and diabetes.
If you have a persistent skin condition on your feet that isn’t going away or psoriasis runs in your family and you have questions, contact our Waldorf or Clinton office for an appointment. There are a number of treatment options available, as well as strategies for managing psoriasis. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss, can evaluate your condition and help determine the cause and best treatment for whatever is causing your foot discomfort. Contact us at (301) 868-3899 or (301) 843-9581.
Cavus foot is the fancy medical name for an overly high arch in your foot. At Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle we have found this condition to be challenging for patients to recognize because the symptoms and causes can be so varied.
Signs and Symptoms
A high arch results in excess pressure on the ball and heel of the foot. This can lead to instability and increased incidence of the foot “giving way” and ankle sprains. You may also experience pain when standing or walking and calluses on the heel, ball or side of your foot. In some cases, the abnormal position of the foot will result in toe deformities such as hammertoes or claw toes.
Cavus foot can occur at any age and develop in just one or both feet. What’s tricky about diagnosing and treating this condition is that it can be caused by many different things and the treatment, in part, will be dictated by the cause. Some causes of cavus foot include:
Diseases and medical conditions such as spina bifida, polio, cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, stroke and muscular dystrophy
Structural defect in the foot which may be genetic
The cause of cavus foot can also be an indicator of whether or not the condition is likely to worsen or remain stable.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although an overly high arch is visible when the patient is standing, diagnosing this cavus foot is much more complicated. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss, will want to get a complete family medical history. During his examination he will be looking not only at the arch but also at the rest of the foot for signs of calluses and toe deformities. Muscle strength and coordination of the patient will most likely be tested and x-rays may also be ordered to provide additional information. In some cases, the podiatrist may refer the patient to a neurologist.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed and cause of the cavus foot determined, the foot doctor will determine the proper treatment. Both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options are available and the podiatrist will guide you to the best choice based on the cause and severity of your condition. If you are experiencing pain in your arch, heel or ball of your foot, contact our Waldorf or Clinton office by calling: (301) 868-3899 or (301) 843-9581 today.