Stubborn Ingrown Toenails

Occasionally suffering the pain and discomfort of an ingrown toenail is something many of us have experienced. This condition is also called onychocryptosis, and can be a crippling problem when it affects multiple toes repeatedly, creating a constant battle with painful swelling and infections.

Sometimes it is not entirely clear that an inward growing toenail is the cause of your problem. You may be experiencing swelling around the nail, and not be able to see the nail edge. If you notice redness, yellowing, pus, and a warm feeling in the skin around the toe, you may have an infection that needs to be treated right away.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

 

  • Poor nail cutting technique. The number one cause of a nail growing into your skin is from improper cutting. The nail needs to be cut straight across with an appropriate toenail clipper—not scissors—to be sure the nail is cut evenly and spans the entire width.
  • Toe injury. Stubbing or otherwise traumatizing your toe can cause the nail to grow in the wrong direction.
  • Tight fitting shoes. Narrow toe boxes can cause enough pressure on the toes to cause this condition.
  • Toenail fungus. Sometimes this infection can drive a nail to grow in the wrong direction.

 

Treating Ingrown Toenails

Depending upon the severity of the ingrown toenail, treatments can range from conservative to a surgical resection of the nail plate.

A minor ingrown toenail can be treated with warm water soaks and antibacterial ointment. You may be able to insert a small piece of cotton under the edge of the nail to help it grow in the correct direction.

For more chronic and painful ingrown nail conditions, your foot doctor may be able to perform a simple outpatient procedure involving the numbing of the toe and surgical removal of the ingrown segment of nail.

If you are currently experiencing ingrown toenail trouble, the foot specialists at Havertown Podiatry, in Havertown, PA are experts in all aspects of foot and ankle care, and will be happy to help. 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.

Why is the Ball of My Foot Swollen?

Metatarsalgia (sometimes called “stone bruise”), is a common ailment that causes the ball of the foot to become painful, swollen, and inflamed. The ball of your foot absorbs the majority of the pressure from your weight as you move, and is therefore more susceptible to injury, especially at the location where the three middle toes intersect with the mid-foot.

Some of the factors that are involved in the development of metatarsalgia include:

  • Improper footwear. Shoes with a very narrow toe box such as high heels, and athletic shoes that are worn out or that don’t provide good cushioning and support can contribute to this condition.
  • Being overweight. Carrying excess pounds puts additional stress on the ball of the foot.
  • Morton’s neuroma. This is a growth of fibrous tissue that most often occurs between the third and fourth metatarsal bones, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Stress fractures in the toe bones may contribute to symptoms.
  • Genetic predisposition. Some inherited foot shapes, such as having a high arch, or a second toe that is longer than the big toe can shift weight onto the ball of the foot.
  • Rigorous training. Long distance runners, and participants in high impact sports such as tennis and basketball are more prone to this type of injury.
  • Other foot problems such as hammertoes and bunions may adversely affect the metatarsals.
  • Arthritis and gout can also cause metatarsalgia.

Conservative treatment, including rest, properly fitted shoes, inserts and pads are often enough to relieve the pain and discomfort of this condition. If you are still experiencing symptoms after several weeks, you may need further evaluation to rule out other issues such as a hairline fracture.

Untreated, metatarsalgia can create problems in other parts of the body because of the tendency to alter the way you walk due to the foot pain. This altered gait can contribute to lower back and hip pain, so it is important to have your feet evaluated and properly treated by a foot doctor before additional problems arise.

If you are currently experiencing pain in the ball of your foot, 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.

I Broke My Foot!

The bones in the foot tend to get broken quite frequently with reports indicating that more than 10% of all broken bones occur in the foot. There is usually a correlation between the location of a fracture or break and how the injury occurred. For example, a broken heel is often the result of landing wrong after a high jump. Toes will break if you kick something too hard. A break often occurs suddenly and without warning. Stress fractures, which can take some time to develop,

frequently occur in runners, gymnasts, and dancers from all the repeated pounding their bodies endure.

The symptoms of a broken foot include:

  • The onset of immediate, throbbing pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Blueness, numbness, tenderness
  • Deformities, cuts, bleeding
  • Can’t put weight on your foot
  • Can’t get your shoe on or off easily

While the symptoms of a broken toe may not be extremely painful, a broken heel bone is particularly debilitating. If you are experiencing severe pain that makes it impossible to walk, you need to see a medical professional immediately and have the injury evaluated and an x-ray taken to determine the extent of the damage.

Prior to making an appointment with your foot specialist, you should do everything possible to limit pain and swelling and also immobilize the foot with a makeshift splint if necessary. Keep the foot elevated and stabilized, and apply ice to reduce pain and swelling. Ibuprofen can be taken for pain.

If you are currently experiencing severe 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.

Diabetic Foot Care

Proper care of your feet is extremely important when you are a diabetic patient. Because diabetes causes nerve damage, you lose the feeling in your feet and may not know when you cut yourself. There’s often reduced blood flow as well which can inhibit your immune system and make it more difficult for injuries to heal. If you develop a sore or a blister that is left untreated it could lead to serious infection or even a wound that won’t heal, often leading to an amputation of a toe, foot or even a leg.

Use the following guidelines when caring for your diabetic feet to help avoid major problems:

  • Check your feet daily. Look for any cuts, blisters, swelling or redness. Look between your toes. Be sure to check the bottom of your feet with a hand mirror.
  • Wash your feet regularly. Be sure the water is not too hot. Using a soft washcloth, gently clean your feet. Pat dry and be certain to dry between your toes.
  • Be careful when cutting your nails. To avoid ingrown toenails, cut them straight across.
  • Treating corns and calluses should be done by your podiatrist to avoid cutting yourself.
  • Treat dry skin with moisturizing lotion, but do not use between your toes to avoid a possible fungal infection.
  • Always change your socks. Wear clean, dry socks every day. Consider wearing special socks that wick away moisture.
  • Specially designed diabetic footwear is an excellent way to keep your feet in good health, and is covered by Medicare.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking causes restriction of blood flow to your extremities.
  • Have your feet examined on a regular basis by your podiatrist for proper evaluation and to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for the ongoing care of your feet.

The foot specialists at Havertown Podiatry, in Havertown, PA are experts in all aspects of foot and ankle care and would be delighted to assist you with your diabetic foot needs. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the latest equipment and technologies. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to make an appointment by calling 610-449-3344.

Ankle Sprains

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Twisting your ankle is one of the most common injuries. It can occur just crossing the street and stepping awkwardly on the curb, and frequently happens to those participating in sporting activities involving running, jumping, and pivoting, such as tennis and basketball. Those who have had previous injuries to the ankle are more prone to additional sprains. One of the major complications of repeatedly spraining your ankle and not seeking proper treatment is that the joint can become chronically unstable, possibly requiring surgery to repair the damage.

It is a good idea to see a doctor if you have a severe ankle sprain to determine if imaging scans are necessary for proper evaluation of the bones and soft tissue in order to rule out a broken bone, tendon, or ligament damage. X-rays or CT scans are excellent at showing any bone abnormalities, and an MRI may be required to reveal any damage to the softer tissues.

Treatment for ankle sprains:

  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
  • The use of over the counter pain relievers
  • Crutches may be required to take the weight off the foot
  • A walking boot or cast to immobilize the ankle joint
  • Physical therapy exercises to restore strength, stability, and range of motion

Preventing an ankle injury from occurring involves some common sense solutions including warming up prior to exercise, wearing shoes that are appropriate for the activity, and maintaining your strength, flexibility, and balance.

If you are currently experiencing a sprain to one of your ankles, 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 equipment and techniques. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to make an appointment by calling 610-449-3344.

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