My Blog
By Oakton Foot
May 20, 2020
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Neuroma   Morton's Neuroma  
Morton's NeuromaA podiatrist can help you with a variety of conditions that affect the feet, including Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma is the thickening of nerve tissue in the body, with Morton's neuroma specifically happening in the ball of the foot. It’s caused by an irritation in the nerve between the third and fourth toes. Patients experience pain while walking, with a burning, tingling, or numbness. 
Developing Morton’s Neuroma
There isn’t any known cause for Morton’s neuroma. There are a few factors that can increase your risk though. These include: 
  • Trauma or injury to the foot, damaging the nerve and resulting in swelling.
  • Improper footwear, like shoes that squeeze the foot together. High heels also increase pressure on the vulnerable areas.
  • Recurring stress to the feet through repeated physical activities or exercise. This is common with patients who are constantly on their feet due to their job. 
  • Deformities of the foot, like a high arch or flat foot. These lead to instability throughout the foot. 
The most important thing that your podiatrist recommends is wearing comfortable shoes. You don’t want anything that squeezes or hurts. Always wear athletic shoes when engaging in any physical activity. 
How to Treat Morton’s Neuroma at Home
Start by finding shoes that give your toes lots of room and are easily adjustable. The soles need to be shock-absorbent and thick. This keeps the pressure off the feet. You should also invest in shoe inserts or soles recommended by your podiatrist. Lastly, pay attention to your feet and their pain levels. When your Morton’s neuroma starts to act up, take a minute to rest. Take off your shoe and massage the area. An ice pack brings down the swelling too. 
Talking to Your Podiatrist
You should schedule an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as you experience foot problems. Morton’s neuroma gets worse without treatment. Identifying the neuroma early on can prevent needing aggressive treatment options like surgery. 
For early forms of Morton’s neuroma, changing your shoes is enough to relieve your symptoms. Your podiatrist’s goal for early treatment is to relieve pressure from the affected area. After going through a physical examination and having X-rays done, your podiatrist creates a treatment plan that works for you. 
There are a few different options that can work for you:
  • Taping and padding: This is a special type of tape and bandages that you place on the bottom of the foot. This helps with your symptoms. 
  • Orthotics: These are the custom shoes that your podiatrist can create for you. 
  • Medication: Cortisone injections reduce the pain and inflammation in the foot. Anti-inflammatory drugs also reduce your swelling. 
  • Surgery is the last resort for treatment. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The injured nerve is removed and recovery takes a few weeks.
By Oakton Foot
April 29, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Shoes   Injuries  
The Right ShoesExercise is an important aspect of keeping our bodies healthy and happy. That’s why it’s so important to wear the correct shoes for certain activities. Whether you’re an athlete, workout buff, or enjoy walking and hiking, you need the proper footwear. It makes the difference between enjoying your favorite activities and sitting out with an avoidable injury. Talk to your podiatrist to have your feet evaluated for your future workout needs.
Essential Equipment
All exercise involves your feet, ankles, and knees. Placing pressure on them puts you at risk for strains, sprains, and wear-and-tear injuries. Find shoes made specifically for the activity you engage in while also providing a good fit. They should accommodate your body and activity level. 
Pay attention to the wear on your older shoes. The soles show where you need more support in the future. The right shoe also feels good from the start. Don’t believe the sentiment that a shoe needs to be broken in. This is not true and creates ongoing problems. 
Matching Your Shoe to Your Sport
Different types of exercise affect your feet in different ways. Your shoes need to support the high-risk areas. 
  • Running requires shoes with shock absorption. Your feet take on a lot of pressure and friction. Cushioning your shoes in the correct areas keeps you from feeling the pain. 
  • Traction is important in sports that need quick changes in direction and sprinting, like basketball. Traction should never be too high or low. The right shoes keep you from slipping on the floor while letting you move and pivot.
  • Ankle support is a must. It limits the side-to-side movement that knocks your ankle out of alignment. This kind of support keeps ankle sprains at bay. For sports like basketball, hockey, skiing, and skating, make sure that your shoes aren’t too high. Otherwise, they will dig into your Achilles tendon. You can also wear soft ankle braces.
  • Arch support varies for everyone. Your podiatrist can test your foot to determine your gait. Depending on the results, your podiatrist can recommend orthotics or special shoe inserts.
Remember to Replace Your Old Shoes
Pay attention to the state of your shoes to understand when to replace them. When the condition starts to decline, especially the arch support and sole, it’s time to go shopping. Start looking for a replacement when they become uncomfortable and wear differently. You don’t have to wear shoes for a long time for them to wear out either. If you are participating in sports or activity on an almost daily basis, your shoes are bound to wear out quickly. 
By Oakton Foot
April 20, 2020
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Arch Problems  

The arches of the feet play a role in supporting your body’s weight when standing or in motion. The tarsal and metatarsal bones make up the arches of the feet, also receiving additional support and stability from tendons and ligaments; however, our feet, like the rest of our body, can be affected by infections, disorders, and structural changes that can impact not only the health of our feet but also our mobility. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of arch problems so you know when you to see a podiatrist.

Arch Pain Causes

If you are dealing with arch pain it is most likely caused by an injury or by structural abnormalities in the foot. For example, those with very high arches as well as those with flat feet may experience arch problems due to these common structural issues.

As a result, there are other factors that could also lead to further arch problems including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Aging
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Cavus foot
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

It’s important to understand a little bit more about these common foot disorders and how they could affect the arches of your feet.

Plantar fasciitis

This condition that causes inflammation and microtears in the plantar fascia is also the most common cause of heel pain. Of course, because the plantar fascia (a ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone) also supports the arches of the feet this can also lead to arch pain. This condition is usually the result of overuse and is seen most often in runners. If you have plantar fasciitis it’s important to avoid physical activities until the fascia has fully healed.

Cavus foot

This condition, which affects the structure of the foot, leads to excessively high arches. People who’ve had a stroke, as well as people with certain conditions such as cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop cavus foot. This problem causes arch pain when standing or walking and can increase the risk for ankle injuries. Your podiatrist may choose to treat cavus foot through custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), bracing, or by recommending specialized and supportive footwear.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

The posterior tibial tendon runs from the calf muscles to the inner portion of the foot. This condition leads to changes in the tendon, which in turn affects its ability to support the arches of the foot. Flat feet can be caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, and this is often the cause of flat feet that develop in adulthood. Like the other conditions above, treatment for PTTD usually involves bracing, orthotics, or providing custom devices that provide additional support to the arches of the feet.

If you are experiencing foot pain, swelling or other problems that affect mobility then it’s time that you turned to a podiatrist for care. Conditions and injuries that don’t respond to rest and at-home care may require more advanced treatments and therapies.

By Oakton Foot
April 13, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Orthotics  

How Custom Orthotics Can Improve Your Life

Many of us experience foot pain after long hours of standing at work or pounding the pavement during a daily run. You may have tried soaking or massaging your aching feet, or even purchased drugstore insoles or pads for your shoes. But if your feet are causing you constant discomfort, custom orthotics could be the key to lasting relief.

Dr. Steven Vetter and Dr. Jugal Dharia of Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax can fit you with custom orthotics so you can stand and stroll in comfort.

What foot conditions can benefit from orthotics?

If you have one or more of the following, orthotics can help:

  • foot or toe deformities
  • plantar fasciitis
  • shin splints
  • bursitis
  • bunions
  • back pain
  • hammer toes
  • flat feet
  • high arches
  • arthritis

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are insoles for your shoes that help keep your foot properly aligned. At our Fairfax office, your podiatrist will help you customize your insoles by selecting specific materials that accommodate your needs. Your orthotics will be sized to fit the shoes you wear on a daily basis, whether your work loafers or your athletic sneakers. By providing support and cushioning, your orthotics will help you participated in physical activities with less risk of injury while alleviating discomfort.

Why are custom orthotics a good investment?

If you have tried drugstore shoe inserts, you've likely found them to be flimsy, quick to wear out and poorly fitted to your shoes. The custom orthotics from our Fairfax office are crafted to last, made durably and designed to target the exact areas of your foot that experience pain when walking or standing.

With comfortable, quality orthotics, you can get through your work day and your exercise routine in comfort.

Call Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, today at (703) 352-8888 to learn more about custom orthotics.

By Oakton Foot
April 09, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Hammertoes  

Hammertoe is a type of foot deformity that arises due to an imbalance in the ligaments, tendons, or muscles that usually hold the toe straight. It causes the affected toe to bend upwards, resembling a hammer. This deformity can be caused by injury to the foot, your choice of footwear, and the structure of your foot. Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dharia are your Fairfax podiatrists who specializes in the treatment of hammertoe.

Two Types of Hammertoes

  • Flexible hammertoe: In the early stages of this condition, it can be treated by wearing flat shoes that are at least a half-inch longer than your longest toe. Foot exercises, such as picking up small objects with your toes, may help to increase the flexibility of the affected toe. Hot and cold treatment may help with swelling and pain. You may also find comfort in placing a pad over the toe to prevent shoes from rubbing the skin.
  • Rigid hammertoe: In the second stage of the condition, the toe joint becomes inflexible. In this case, the home treatments suggested above may only offer a brief respite from symptoms. Your podiatrist may suggest making a customized orthotic device. If this does not work, surgery may be an option.

Symptoms of Hammertoe

Hammertoe causes an abnormal bend in the middle joint a toe. It can occur in any toe, though typically the second, third or fourth toes are affected. The deformity is clearly visible. Symptoms include:

  • Movement causes pain in the affected toe
  • Callouses and corns may develop in the affected joint
  • A burning sensation may be felt
  • Visible swelling and redness
  • A burning sensation around the affected joint

Surgery for Hammertoe

Types of surgery for hammertoe include:

  • Tendon transfer: In this type of surgery, the tendon is pulled across the top of the joint of the affected toe. This realigns the toe and improves its appearance. It also minimizes pain.
  • Fusion: A portion of the joint is removed to allow the bone in the toe to grow together. This type of surgery straightens the toe and minimizes pain.

If you’re looking for a podiatrist in Fairfax, VA, call Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dharia today on (703) 352-8888 to make an appointment at Oakton Foot and Ankle Center.

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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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