Posts for: April, 2016

One of the most common reasons patients visit a foot and ankle doctor is for treatment of a bunion, which is a painful condition characterized by swelling of the joint on the big toe. Realignment of this joint causes a bony deformation at the base of the big toe. Fortunately, bunion pain can often be relieved with conservative treatment, but surgery is an option for more advanced cases.


Bunion Causes

The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but certain genetic factors may predispose patients to developing bunions. For example, people born with “flat feet” may be more likely to develop bunions as a result of their abnormal foot functioning. Other potential causes of the deformity include foot trauma, neuromuscular disorders, and limb-length discrepancies, a condition in which patients have one leg that’s longer than the other. Some people mistakenly believe that shoes can cause bunions; while this isn’t the case, uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes can make bunion pain worse.


Bunion Treatment

Not every patient experiences bunion pain, but it can be debilitating for many. Except in severe cases, most doctors will take a conservative approach to bunion treatment by prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs and icing the joint. Some patients may be administered cortisone injections to relieve inflammation. Doctors may also suggest that patients rest frequently and wear wide shoes with supportive soles. Some patients may benefit from wearing custom orthotic braces that slow the progression of bunions while addressing underlying issues with foot functioning.


Surgery as a Treatment Option

If all of the above bunion treatments fail to address the pain, surgery may be recommended to correct the deformity. A bunionectomy procedure involves removing the bony growth and realigning the joint. For many people, the surgery successfully relieves pain and improves foot function. But as with any medical procedure, there are risks, and some people still experience pain after the surgery.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to learn what bunion treatment option is best for you.


Photo Of A Woman Standing On Her Toes - Donna Barrese, DPM East Windsor Lawrenceville Foot & AnkleOne of the most common problems podiatrists see in patients is ingrown toenails. An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail curves and grows downward into the toe. People of all ages and backgrounds develop ingrown toenails, and while they sometimes resolve themselves, many patients will experience pain, inflammation, and infection in the toes. In these cases, patients should contact their physician to find out about ingrown toenail removal and treatment options.


What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

There are a number of potential causes of the condition. It appears that some people’s tendency to develop ingrown nails may be inherited from their parents. Others may experience trauma to the foot that leads to ingrown nails. Still others develop the condition by cutting their toenails too short or wearing shoes that are too tight. People with certain medical conditions such as diabetes may have an elevated risk of developing an ingrown toenail because of poor circulation in the feet. Anyone experiencing pain, swelling, or other symptoms in the toe should contact their podiatrist about ingrown toenail treatment right away or risk developing infection or other complications.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

Some patients are prone to ingrown toenails, experiencing multiple over the course of their lives. These may be preventable by adopting some simple nail care procedures, like trimming the nails straight across instead of at an angle to keep nails from growing into the skin. Additionally, wearing comfortable and properly fitting shoes and socks can help prevent the problem.

Ingrown Toenail Treatment Options

Sometimes ingrown nails will resolve themselves. If the area is red and swollen, patients can try soaking their feet in warm water with Epsom salt to fight infection. If the problem doesn’t disappear, it’s imperative to see a doctor for ingrown toenail treatment options. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to clear up any infection in the nail or surrounding skin. In the worst cases, the podiatrist may recommend an ingrown toenail removal procedure, a quick surgery that provides pain relief by removing the nail.

Ingrown toenails can lead to severe complications for people with existing medical conditions, so it’s extremely important that anyone who suspects that they have this condition contact their doctor right away for a quick, effective ingrown toenail treatment.


Photo Of A Woman Rubbing Her Leg - Donna Barrese, DPM East Windsor Lawrenceville Foot & AnkleAnyone who has ever experienced heel pain knows how debilitating it can be. Fortunately, plantar fasciitis, known to be one of the most common causes of heel pain, is usually treatable with a few visits to the podiatrist. Patients with this condition experience pain when standing or putting pressure on the feet. The condition is most common in older and middle-aged adults as well as young people who spend a significant amount of time on their feet.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is caused by irritation of the plantar fascia ligament, which is the band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Repeated strain on this ligament can cause it to tear, leading to pain and swelling. It’s unclear exactly what causes the condition, but certain people are more prone to developing it, especially those who are overweight, have high arches or flat feet, or are constantly on their feet. People who wear ill-fitting or worn out shoes may also experience heel pain. Sometimes, the natural aging process leads patients to develop plantar fasciitis.

Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

There are a few simple steps patients can take to reduce heel pain. Relaxing tension in the lower legs can reduce stress on the feet. This is an excellent habit for people of all ages to adopt. Making changes to walking form can also provide relief. When walking, make sure to land on the middle of the foot rather than the heel and lead with the upper body rather than the legs. Patients should always speak to their podiatrist before beginning an at-home plantar fasciitis treatment program.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Many people benefit from conservation treatment for plantar fasciitis, but patients should work with their podiatrist to find the best treatment for their situation. Some respond well to pain relieving or anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Other patients may need to undergo physical therapy to stretch and strengthen muscles or wear splints or orthotics to support the foot and heel. Patients who don’t respond to conservative treatment may need more advanced plantar fasciitis treatment, including steroid injections or, in the worst cases, surgery to detach the plantar fascia from the heel.

Anyone who experiences chronic heel pain should contact their podiatrist to find out which type of treatment for plantar fasciitis is best for them.