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Posts for: November, 2021

By Oakton Foot
November 04, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions  

Bunions range in severity from a mild nuisance to a very painful condition. Read on to learn the anatomy of bunions and how best to care for them. Dr. Steven Vetter and Dr. Jugal Dharia at the Oakton Foot and Ankle Center often treat bunions in Fairfax, VA.

What is a bunion?

Bunions are bony protrusions that develop on the inner side of your foot where your big toe joins the rest of your foot. As a bunion progresses, it may cause your big toe to be misaligned and point inward, sometimes resting on top of the next toe.  

What causes bunions?

Research on the etiology of bunions is inconclusive, therefore a definitive cause of them is not known. Rubbing and excessive friction in the toe area is the main cause of concern regarding the formation and worsening of a bunion.  Several known risk factors may lead to the formation of a bunion later in your life, such as:

  • Genetics. You may be genetically inclined to develop a bunion.
  • An injury to a foot, minor or major. This can include excessive stress placed on the foot.
  • Wearing tight shoes or commonly wearing pointy-toed shoes and/or high heels.
  • Other conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis

How is a bunion diagnosed?

Bunions are generally easy to diagnose because of the physical deformity that this condition causes. However, your doctor may still advise you to have an X-ray or other imaging of the foot to make an accurate diagnosis. Imaging may be recommended to ensure the integrity of your toes and feet is intact, and there are no fractures or soft tissue injuries.

Below is a list of symptoms that you should discuss with our podiatrists in Fairfax, VA that bunions may cause:

  • The frequent formation of callouses both in the area of your big toe and the rest of your foot
  • Swelling around the big toe
  • Decreased range of motion
  • The appearance of a bump on the inside of the foot

How are bunions treated?

There are several steps you can take to prevent a bunion from forming or stop a current bunion from worsening.

  • Be aware of any changes to the shape of your feet.
  • Make sure that your shoes fit properly, especially in the toe area.  Avoid high heels and pointy-toed shoes
  • Buy a pair of new shoes in the evening as your feet will be slightly larger and swollen in the evening hours.
  • Get custom orthotics for your shoes to help distribute weight evenly across your feet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Treat your feet! Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom Salts.
  • A foot massage and elevation of your feet will aid circulation to and from your feet.

If conservative measures do not help the pain, surgery may be necessary.  Schedule a consultation with Dr. Vetter or Dr. Dharia at the Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA to discuss bunion treatment by calling (703) 352-8888.

By Oakton Foot
November 01, 2021
Category: Foot Injury
Tags: Splinters  
SplintersGetting splinters in the feet is fairly common. Of course, some people wonder if they can simply leave a splinter in their foot and let it work itself out. Others may not know how to safely remove a splinter, which can cause more harm than good. A podiatrist can help you remove splinters from your feet, particularly in children who may be squeamish about having parents remove them.

Why Splinters Need to be Removed

Regardless of whether the splinter is wood, glass, or even a plant thorn, you must remove it from the foot as soon as possible. Why? Because these foreign objects also contain germs, which can lead to an infection if the splinter isn’t promptly and fully removed.

How to Remove a Splinter Yourself

You probably have all the tools you need at home to remove a splinter safely. Of course, it’s important to go over the basics of safe splinter removal. Here are tips for safely removing the splinter:
  • Soak the foot in warm water for a few minutes to soften the skin
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before removing the splinter
  • Once the skin has softened in the water, see if you can squeeze the splinter out by simply applying pressure to both sides (like you would a pimple)
  • If squeezing doesn’t work, you can use tweezers or a sewing needle to remove the foreign object (just make sure to disinfect these tools first with rubbing alcohol)
  • If the splinter cannot be grabbed with tweezers, use the needle to create a small opening around the splinter to make it easier to grab
  • Be gentle and careful when removing the splinter to avoid breaking it
When To See a Podiatrist

While a splinter often isn’t a big deal there will be situations in which turning to a podiatric physician will be the best option. You should turn to one if:
  • You aren’t able to remove the splinter or foreign object yourself
  • The area becomes red, tender, swollen, or contains pus (signs of infection)
  • You feel like there’s a splinter but you can’t see it
  • You have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet (do not try to remove a splinter yourself)
  • The splinter is too deep or too painful
  • Your child is too squeamish or won’t sit still so you can remove the splinter
If there is a foreign body in your foot or your child’s foot, or if there are symptoms of an infection present, it’s important that you turn to your podiatrist right away to have the splinter removed and the area properly treated.

Contact us 

Oakton Foot & Ankle Center, PLLC

Fairfax, VA Podiatrist
Oakton Foot and Ankle Center
10721 Main St., Suite #3500
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 352-8888
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