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By Lake Ridge Foot & Ankle Center
December 02, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Toenail Fungus  

Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.

What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?

A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.

Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.

Treating Toenail Fungus

The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.

There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.

A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.

Other treatment options include:

  • Medicated nail polish
  • Laser fungal treatment
  • Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)

If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.

By Lake Ridge Foot & Ankle Center
November 14, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Plantar Fasciitis  

While heel pain is a common problem this doesn’t mean that it should just be brushed aside or considered a small matter. Untreated heel pain can lead to long-term pain and other problems. While there are many causes of heel pain the most common cause is plantar fasciitis. This condition causes irritation and inflammation within the thick band of tissue (known as the plantar fascia) that runs along the soles of the feet from the toes to the heel.

The telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is that the heel pain occurs under the heel beneath the heel bone. The pain may radiate to the arches of the feet because the plantar fascia provides support to the arches, as well. Heel pain may be worse first thing in the morning or after long bouts of inactivity. You may notice that your heel pain gets better with movement and exercise but gets worse immediately after.

Many people can treat plantar fasciitis effectively with at-home care; however, if your symptoms are severe, become worse or aren’t responding to conservative home treatments after five days then it’s time to see your podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to provide you with answers as to what is causing your heel pain and how to best treat it.

Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Simple, conservative measures are usually all that’s needed to treat heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. This includes:

  • Resting and avoiding exercise and high-impact activities that will make symptoms worse
  • Icing the heel and arches of the feet up to 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
  • Wearing supportive shoes with a low heel
  • Placing custom orthotics within shoes for additional support
  • Performing specific foot stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and swelling
  • Wearing a night splint to reduce morning pain and stiffness

Your foot doctor can show you a variety of exercises to perform that can alleviate heel pain and stiffness associated with plantar fasciitis. A podiatrist can also make prescription shoe inserts to provide your feet with the proper cushioning and structural support they need to reduce pressure points and improve the biomechanics of your feet.

Those with severe and persistent heel pain may require more aggressive treatment options such as ultrasound, steroid injections or shockwave therapy. Chronic plantar fasciitis may even require surgery to get rid of inflammation and tension within the plantar fascia. Surgery is rare but may be necessary when other treatment options have failed to properly manage and treat symptoms.

If you are dealing with heel pain for the first time it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist who can determine the cause of your pain and provide you with a customized treatment plan to get your heel pain under control.

By Lake Ridge Foot & Ankle Center
November 13, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Heel Pain  

Are you living with heel pain in Lake Ridge, VA?

Heel pain is a common problem. In fact, it’s one of the most common complaints that our Lake Ridge, VA, podiatrists hear from patients. Heel-PainPatients of all ages can face heel pain, from young athletes to adults who are on their feet most of the day for work. If you are dealing with heel pain it’s important to find out what’s going on so you know how to best treat it.
 

What causes heel pain?

Heel pain is not usually the result of a one-time injury such as a fall but rather a result of repeated stress. That’s why you might not even notice your pain right away. The pain is often subtle at first but gradually gets worse over time. The two most common causes of heel pain are,

Plantar fasciitis: This condition occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs the length of the feet from the toes to the heel bone. Those with flat feet, those who are overweight and runners who suddenly increase the intensity or duration of their runs are particularly prone to developing plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Heel pain under the foot
  • Stabbing pain that is worse in the morning
  • Heel stiffness
  • Stiffness and pain that radiates to the arches of the feet

Achilles tendonitis: This condition leads to inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the largest and strongest tendon in the body that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle; however, even this tendon can be prone to overuse injuries. This condition is common in runners.

Symptoms of achilles tendonitis include:

  • Aching pain at the back of the heel above the heel bone
  • Tenderness and stiffness that eases up with movement
  • Pain that is worse in the morning

Persistent pain of the Achilles tendon requires immediate medical attention, as this could be the sign of a torn Achilles tendon.
 

When should I see a podiatrist about heel pain?

While mild heel pain can often be treated with rest, icing, compression, pain relievers, and simple stretches it’s important that you see a doctor if:

  • Your symptoms persist despite five days of at-home care
  • There is severe pain and swelling of the heel
  • Your heel pain is accompanied by numbness or tingling
  • You have difficulty bending your foot or walking normally

Don’t let heel pain affect your routine. Call Associated Foot & Ankle Centers in Lake Ridge, VA, and get the care you need.

By Lake Ridge Foot & Ankle Center
November 05, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: foot care   Baby Feet  

A child's feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half of their adult foot size. This is why podiatrists consider the first year to be the most important in the development of the feet. Proper care at a young age is essential for healthy development.  Since many adult foot ailments develop in childhood, periodic visits to your child’s podiatrist and basic foot care can help minimize these problems later in life.

A child’s feet are formed from soft, pliable cartilage which makes them more susceptible to deformities. A young child can be affected by foot conditions such as:

  • Intoeing
  • Out-toeing
  • Flat feet
  • Warts
  • Heel pain

Tips for Parents

Parents can help promote normal, healthy foot development for their baby.

  • Examine your baby’s feet regularly. If you detect anything unusual, contact your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist right away.
  • Encourage exercise.  Lying uncovered allows the baby to kick and move feet and toes freely so not to inhibit normal development.
  • Cover feet loosely. Tight clothing or covers restrict movement.
  • Alternate your baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in one spot may place unnecessary strain on the feet and legs.

Growing Up

As your baby continues to grow and develop, so will the feet. It may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months, as tight-fitting footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. After your child takes their first steps, you should also carefully observe walking patterns. Intoeing, out-toeing, and gait abnormalities can be corrected when they are detected early.

A baby’s feet will carry them throughout life, so it’s important to begin good foot care at a young age. Neglecting your child’s foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the back and legs. Whether you have questions about your child’s foot health or suspect a problem with the development of your child’s feet, please contact our office. We want every step your child makes toward adulthood to be pain-free and easy!

By Lake Ridge Foot & Ankle Center
October 17, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Blisters  

While the appearance of blisters may be embarrassing, the pain accompanying them is often much worse and more of a concern for people who have them. Although blisters are a common foot problem experienced by many, have you ever wondered what the cause of those pesky blisters could be? Or, better yet, how they can be treated?

Blisters:

Blisters appear on a swollen part of the foot and consist of fluid, typically clear, though, depending on the blister, the fluid may also have blood. Blisters are usually caused by repeated friction or rubbing on a specific part of your foot. Here are some examples of things that can produce that constant friction:

  • The type of footwear and how properly your shoes fit

  • Your skin type and foot type (high, low or medium arch)

  • The moisture found around your feet

  • Heavy objects you may be carrying around, like a bag pack 

Symptoms:

While blisters are rarely filled with pus, pus can form if the blister is infected. In that case, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you have any of the following symptoms, it’s preferable to talk to your doctor:

  • Foot Pain
  • Soreness
  • Redness
  • Swelling

While the symptoms may seem common, any persistent pain needs medical attention. Individuals with diabetes need to be especially careful. If left untreated, the blister may turn into an ulcer, leaving you susceptible to an amputation.

Preventive Care Treatments:

There are several precautions you can take to prevent blisters. Here are a few preventative care options:

1.      Make sure to wear proper fitting shoes

2.      Wear moisture-wicking socks

3.      Cushioned insoles are a good idea

4.      Double-socks will provide extra cushion

5.      Wear orthotics recommended by your podiatrist

6.      Use antiperspirants, powders, and lubricants to reduce moisture and friction.

The key to healthy feet is preventative care and referring to your foot doctor whenever you have questions or concerns. 





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