Posts for: May, 2019
Are you dealing with pain, burning, tingling or numbness between your toes or in the ball of the foot? If you said “yes” then you could be dealing with a neuroma, a pinched nerve or benign tumor of the nerve that is often found between the third and fourth toes.
The classic symptom of a neuroma is pain, particularly when walking—a factor that leads many people to liken the condition to feeling like a pebble is in their shoe. You may find that the pain eases up whenever you aren’t walking or when you rub the pained area with your hands. While neuromas can happen to anyone, they are most commonly found in women.
While the causes of a neuroma are still not clear, there are factors that can increase the likelihood of developing one, such as:
- Extremely high arches
- Flat feet
- Trauma that leads to nerve damage in the feet
- Improper footwear (high heels over two-inches tall; pointed toes)
- Repeated stress placed on the foot
Treating a Neuroma
A neuroma will not go away on its own, so it’s important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing any of the condition's symptoms. The type of treatment or treatments recommended to you will depend on the severity of the neuroma.
Those with minor neuromas may be able to lessen symptoms by wearing shoes that provide ample room for the toes and offer thick soles that provide more support and cushioning for the toes and balls of the feet. Sometimes a podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics to place inside the shoes, as well.
Your podiatrist may also recommend padding or taping the ball of the foot to improve faulty biomechanics and reduce discomfort. While medication will not eliminate the problem, it can temporarily alleviate symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can often briefly reduce pain and swelling, but for those dealing with more severe pain, steroid injections may be necessary to ease symptoms.
Surgery for a Neuroma
Surgery only becomes necessary when conservative treatment options have failed to provide relief, or when the neuroma has progressed enough that conservative care won’t be enough. During surgery, the inflamed nerve is removed through a simple outpatient procedure. Afterward, there is a short recovery period of a couple of weeks before patients are able to move about pain-free once again!
Give us a Call!
If you are dealing with new or worsening foot pain it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist that can help give you the answers you need. Schedule an appointment today.
A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.
A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.
The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:
- Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
- Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
- Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
- Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
- Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
- Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition
For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.
When should someone consider bunion surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:
- Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
- Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
- You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
- Your bunion is affecting your quality of life
It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.
Do your smaller toes look like little hammers or mallets? If so, you may have an acquired deformity of the foot called hammertoes. Luckily, your podiatrists here at Oakton Foot and Ankle Center, Dr. Steven Vetter and Dr. Jugal Dharia, have plenty of experience in treating this condition! Read on to learn how our Fairfax, VA, office can resolve the problem.
How do hammertoes form?
Defined by a characteristic contracture and stiffening of the smaller toes, this condition may arise from blunt force trauma; however, it more often occurs gradually over time. Contributing to the odd shape, pain, corns, calluses, and sores of hammertoes are factors such as:
- Wearing tight, narrow shoes and high heels
- Heredity (the deformity runs in families)
- Poor circulation
- An unusually high arch
- Imbalances in gait (or how you walk)
- Age plays a role as well, particularly if other deformities, such as bunions, exist
How your podiatrist can help
Accurate diagnosis and treatment is key to limiting the progression of hammertoes. During a consultation at our Fairfax office, Dr. Vetter or Dr. Dharia will inspect your foot and how you walk. You will also be asked about your symptoms and what worsens or alleviates them. Finally, he'll take some X-rays to assess the internal structure of your foot.
With a confirmed hammertoe diagnosis, your podiatrist may recommend several remedial strategies. Surgery is an option, too, but only if the hammertoe is very advanced and cannot be addressed by these simpler interventions:
- Wearing low-heeled, comfortable shoes with proper arch support and room in the toes
- Padding the hammertoe (moleskin is a frequent choice)
- Using custom-made shoe orthotics (inserts) to balance muscles, tendons, and ligaments and to correct gait issues such as overpronation
- Removing or padding calluses or corns on the toe
- Corticosteroid injections
- Taking over the counter ibuprofen to lessen pain and relieve inflammation
- Exercising (stretching your feet and toes morning and evening)
- Toe splints
Find out more
If you need relief from your hammertoes, phone our Fairfax office today for a consultation with Dr. Vetter or Dr. Dharia: (703) 352-8888.