All About Bunions

What is a Bunion?

When your big toe pushes against the toe next to it for a long period of time, a deformity in the bones of your foot can form, causing the joint of your big to enlarge and stick out.  This is a bunion. Bunionettes (often called “tailors’ bunions”) are smaller bunions that grow on the joint of your little toe.

What Causes Bunions?

There are many theories about what leads to the development of bunions. Although doctors haven’t conclusively determined any one cause, scientists have identified some risk factors:

  • Congenital foot defects: Some people are born with foot deformities that lead to bunions.
  • Gender: Women are affected more frequently than men.
  • Poorly fitting shoes: When you choose shoes that are tight, narrow or cramped in the toe box, you increase your bunion risk. Because the relationship between high heels and bunions is unclear, recommend that you save those pointy stilettos for special occasions.
  • Heredity: Those born with structural foot defects are at higher risk for bunions.
  • Arthritis: People with inflammatory conditions are more susceptible to bunions.

Do You Have a Bunion?

Bunions can be asymptomatic, but it’s more likely that you’ll notice signs as a bunion develops and grows. Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM urge you to be on the lookout for these 7 symptoms:

  1. Visible, possibly painful changes in your foot shape
  2. Persistent or occasional discomfort
  3. A bulge or bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
  4. Redness, swelling or tenderness around your big toe joint
  5. Decreased movement of your big toe or foot
  6. Corns or calluses developing where the first and second toes overlap
  7. Trouble wearing old shoes and/or difficulty finding a new pair that fit your feet comfortably

Can Bunions Be Treated?

Good news!  Help is available. The first step is scheduling an appointment to a visit a podiatrist like Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein. These experts will examine your feet and determine if your problem is, in fact, a bunion. If so, non-invasive treatment options are available. Icing, over the counter medication such as ibuprofen, and padding or splinting may provide relief. If those don’t help, surgery might be a possibility.

Do you have pain or swelling around your big toe?  Do you wonder if you have a bunion? Every week, Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM see dozens of patients just like you. They can determine the source of your foot pain and work with you to create an individual treatment plan. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here to make a convenient appointment at our Rocky Hill or Hartford offices office today. 

Help! My Feet are Burning!

Most of the time the sensation of burning feet is caused by neuropathy, which is nerve damage that causes tingling and numbness, and varying amounts of burning pain that can range from mild to disabling. By far the most common causes of neuropathy are diabetes and alcohol abuse, but many other conditions can cause a burning sensation in your feet. These include:

 

  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Drug side effects
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels
  • Neuromas
  • Peripheral Artery Disease
  • Athlete’s foot fungus

Most of the time, diagnosing burning feet is relatively straightforward, since an underlying condition, such as diabetes, is implicated. However, additional testing may be necessary, especially if the burning sensation came on suddenly. These tests may include electromyography, nerve conduction studies, and sometimes tests of the urine, blood or spinal fluid may be recommended.

Treatment for diabetic neuropathy involves keeping your blood sugar levels in the proper range with correct diet, and medications, which usually includes insulin injections.

Some of the treatments to address non-diabetic neuropathy and prevent further nerve damage include:

  • Vitamin B injections
  • Dialysis of the kidneys to remove toxins that may be causing burning feet symptoms.
  • Avoiding alcohol prevents ongoing nerve damage and allows damaged nerves to heal.
  • Raising low thyroid levels can dramatically reverse neuropathy and the resultant burning feet sensation.

In some cases of burning feet, such as with neuromas, your foot doctor may suggest cushioned inserts and properly fitted footwear or orthotics to relieve pressure and improve mechanical problems.

If you are currently experiencing burning foot pain, the foot specialists at Havertown Podiatry, in Havertown, PA are experts in all aspects of foot and ankle care. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the latest diagnostic equipment and services. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to make an appointment by calling 610-449-3344.

Plantar Wart Facts

These are warts that usually appear on the heels or balls of the feet and are caused by the human papillomavirus entering the body through cuts and abrasions. Since plantar warts grow in areas that are under the most pressure, the wart may grow inward, with a hard layer of callused skin covering it.

While not a serious health concern, plantar warts can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Often conservative methods of treatment will be sufficient to alleviate the problem, but for severe cases you may need to consult with your foot doctor to have the wart professionally removed.

Plantar wart signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • A small, grainy growth with a rough surface on the bottom of your foot.
  • Hard, callused skin appearing over a “bump,” indicating that a wart has grown inward.
  • Wart seeds are the little black points that appear in the center of a wart. They are actually caused by clotted blood vessels.
  • Pain, discomfort and tenderness when putting weight on your foot.

Treatment methods for plantar warts:

Plantar warts usually go away on their own after a year or two. If they are causing you pain and discomfort, or if they are spreading, you may want to talk to your doctor about other treatments including:

  • Prescription strength peeling solution. You can apply this acid yourself at home to gradually peel away layers of the wart.
  • Stronger acids may be applied by your doctor if necessary.
  • Cryotherapy. This method of freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen is frequently combined with peeling therapy for a more effective result. These methods may also stimulate your immune system to fight the virus that causes plantar warts.
  • Vaccine therapy. HPV vaccine may be effective at killing the virus that causes warts.

You can lower your risk of developing plantar warts by taking common sense steps to avoid coming in contact with the virus that causes them. These steps include: practicing good hygiene by washing and drying your feet daily; wearing shower shoes or sandals in public pools, showers and locker rooms; and not sharing your socks or shoes with other people.

If you are currently experiencing pain from plantar warts, the foot specialists at Havertown Podiatry, in Havertown, PA are experts in all aspects of foot and ankle care and will be happy to assist you. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the latest diagnostic equipment and techniques. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to make an appointment by calling 610-449-3344.

Flexible Feet Facts

While being flexible is usually considered to be a desirable trait, when it comes to your feet having flexible arches can lead to a basketful of other problems over time. Your feet are considered to be flexible if your arches disappear upon weight bearing, and return when you pick your feet up. Due to the wide variation in the severity of this condition, it is important to have a foot specialist perform a thorough examination. Progression of this deformity can lead to other problems including bunions, hammertoes, and tightening of the Achilles tendon and calf muscle which can lead to even further problems.

Symptoms commonly associated with flexible flatfeet include:

  • Moderate to severe pain in the arch, heel, and ankle, or on the outside edge of the foot
  • Shin splints
  • Rolling your ankle over when you walk
  • Overall sense of aching and tiredness in your foot and leg
  • Lower back, hip, or knee pain

A comprehensive physical exam including imaging studies will be performed to assess the severity level of your flat feet problems.

Treatment options may include:

  • Ibuprofen or other NSAIDS to treat pain and inflammation
  • Losing weight to relieve pressure on the arch
  • Changing your activity level to avoid repetitive strain on the arches
  • The use of arch supports or other orthotic devices
  • Physical therapy
  • Immobilization with a boot
  • Surgery may be necessary in extreme cases

If you are currently experiencing flat feet problems, the foot specialists at Havertown Podiatry, in Havertown, PA are experts in all aspects of foot and ankle care and will be happy to assist you. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the latest diagnostic equipment and services. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to make an appointment by calling 610-449-3344.

Walking + Texting = Foot Danger!

Everyone knows about the dangers of texting while driving, but texting while walking is also a serious hazard, especially when it comes to accidents involving your feet. The number of pedestrians involved in fatal accidents due to walking while distracted has increased dramatically over the last decade, with an obvious correlation to the rapid rise in smart-phone addictions.

Of the 60,000 or so other injuries that occur to pedestrians every year in the US, both minor and major, many involve injuries to the legs and feet. Although engaging in distracted walking while talking or listening to music is worrisome, studies at intersections indicate that the people who are texting-while-walking are the least engaged with their surrounding environment. They tend to ignore traffic signals, cross at the wrong time, and not look both ways.

Some of the most common and embarrassing texting-while-walking incidents that can lead to injuries of the feet and ankles include:

  • Falling into manholes
  • Tripping down steps or over a curb
  • Walking into lampposts
  • Tumbling into fountains
  • Walking into cars or cyclists

Obviously, to avoid these types of injuries merely requires the use of a little common sense with your cell phone. To avoid the temptation of checking your phone while walking, always carry your phone in your purse, briefcase, or backpack and wait until you arrive at your destination to check your messages.

However, despite your best efforts, should you suffer an embarrassing phone related accident resulting in an injury to your feet or ankles, be sure to contact your podiatrist for a compassionate, judgment-free evaluation!

If you are currently experiencing foot pain from a trip and fall accident, the foot specialists at Havertown Podiatry, in Havertown, PA are experts in all aspects of foot and ankle care and will be happy to assist you. Our team of doctors is dedicated to helping you with all of the newest diagnostic equipment and services. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to make an appointment by calling 610-449-3344.

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