Patient Feet Problems

We address these feet problems as well as many others.

 
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Foot Care Center of Guntersville's Foot Problems

Athlete's Feet

 

Athlete's feet is a common skin condition that is caused by a fungus (commonly called Tinea Pedis) which thrives in dark, damp places. Tinea Pedis is found on gym floors, swimming pools, jacuzzis, nail salons, socks, clothing, shoes, etc.

 

Athlete's feet have varying degrees of symptoms such as redness, itching and burning in the feet, peeling skin, cracking skin, fissures, and pain and bleeding. It can cause redness, blisters, dry patches, and may even appear as a rash.

 

When treating Athlete's feet it is important to determine:

1) Cause of the infection.

2) Source of the infection.

 

Many times, toe nail involvement can be the source of recurrent infections as well as the underlying cause of Tinea Pedis. Onochomycosis is the nail involvement with the yeast infection causing fungus. Important facts to consider when treating Athlete's feet are:

1) Is the source of the infection the skin or the nail

2) Is there evidence of cracking around the heels that worsens when wearing closed-toed shoes

3) Is itching progressively worsening

 

Our treatment method includes consistent, topical treatment of the affected nails and areas with the latest medication that the fungus has not been previously exposed to and immune. When the source of the infection is controlled, the skin condition is treated to dry up the skin and remove the moisture. We then draw out and rehydrate the skin and debride the fissures (both painful and non-painful). Typically treatment lasts for two to three months to ensure reoccurrence does not occur.

 

   
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Bone Spurs

 

A bone spur is an abnormal build up of bone caused most commonly by trauma, pressure, or even stress of ligaments or tendons. This growth can result in pain or restriction of joint motion.

 

Conservative treatment consists of finding the underlying cause and treating it with orthotics, injections, or physical therapy.

 

A spur under a toe nail can cause pain and incurvation of the nail plate.

 

A joint spur can cause limitation of the normal range of motion and pain which increases the more the joint is utilized.

 

Heel spurs can be caused from excessive stretching of the plantar fascial band resulting in pulling the bone away from the calcaneous.

 

Improper weight distribution, shoes, surfaces walked on, etc. can contribute to bone spurs. Treatment can vary from proper shoes, orthotics, injections, surgical intervention, etc.

 
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Bunions

Bunion

A Bunion is an enlargement of the bone and soft tissue associated with the big toe. Surgical intervention is not indicated unless they become painful and non-responsive to conservative treatment. Bunions are usually inherited and pain from bunions can onset at any stage of your life.

 

Conservative treatment for bunions can range from wearing proper shoes to orthotics (see Custom Orthotics on this site). When pain is persistent surgical intervention is a viable alternative and we are very attentive to improving function after the surgery and ensuring joint integrity is preserved. There is a wide range of procedures available depending on the severity of the deformity and general health of the patient.

 

 

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Burning Feet

 

Burning feet is a progressing problem ranging from mild symptoms to 24/7 unrelenting, debilitating pain. Burning feet can originate from lack of fresh oxygen to satisfy the requirements of the nerve endings. If left untreated, cramping can occur from the lack of oxygen. Burning can be a result of nerve sheath pathology caused by chemicals, systemic diseases, trauma, etc.

 

Some common causes of burning feet are being overweight, vascular problems, alcoholism, mercury poisoning, vitamin deficiency, and vascular problems such as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Additionally, causes resulting after some type of trauma such as surgery, post-traumatic reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), nerve entrapment in healing bone calluses, minor edema, foot strain such as Athlete's feet and various micro traumas can cause burning in the feet.

 

Treatment can range from simple topical medications, contrast baths, oral medications, gait training and orthotics, nerve releases, injections, excision of nerve mass, etc.

 

Over the last 40 years, it is my experience that if we begin treatment within the first two years the symptoms occur, then we can greatly improve the symptoms. If symptoms occur more than two years, the symptoms can be stopped, but not cured. However, if left untreated for greater than four years, the progression can be slowed, but not stopped.

 

 
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Calluses

 

Calluses are usually a painful evidence of an underlying problem that usually manifests itself in painful, thick tissue under metatarsal heads. The proximate cause can be anything from an inherited tendency, trauma, improper weight transfer through the feet causing too much pressure in one or two spots as opposed to distribution of the weight stresses equally throughout all of the metatarsal heads.

 

Many times calluses indicate an inherited problem that manifests itself over time. Usually gait training and orthotics can control calluses caused by heredity. In rare instances, surgical intervention is required followed up by gait training and orthotics to prevent reoccurrence and further manifestations of the underlying problem.

 
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Cold Feet

 

Warm feet are generally a sign of adequate circulation. However, cold feet can indicate inadequate circulation. There are also a number of other factors that can lead to cold feet such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, and Raynaud's disease. Cold feet can be caused by muscle imbalance that causes muscles in the feet to overwork and can tighten up causing restricted circulation. This can easily be addressed by gait training and orthotics.

 

Preventing heat loss by wearing natural fiber socks is recommended. Additionally, wearing leather foot wear has a natural tendency to insulate and keep feet warmer.

 

More persistent vascular and neurological problems can result in chronic cold feet that are addressed according to the cause and might respond to oral medications, injections, etc. Sometimes addressing the vascular system can be done to increase circulation to the feet.

 

 

   
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Corns

 

A corn is a normal response to pressure which causes a thickening of the dermal layers. Corns are most commonly formed on toes, but can occur anywhere on the feet. Corns develop to protect the affected point from excessive pressure. They visually appear in a cone shape with the apex toward the inside. When left untreated, corns cause pressure from underneath the skin which results in pain.

 

The etiology of corns can be anything from shoes, toe deformities (hammer toes, claw toes, etc.), bony prominence, gait abnormalities, etc.

 

Corns left untreated cause the body to treat it as a foreign body ultimately resulting in an ulcer or abscess developing. This is especially true in diabetic patients or patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and serious consequences can result when left untreated.

 

Our treatment method is to first discover the underlying cause of the problem and treat the underlying cause so it does not recur or continue progressing. This treatment regime can be from simply wearing proper shoes to removing the exostosis (underlying bump on the bone). If surgical intervention is required, recovery time is very short and there is minimal discomfort or disability.

 

In our opinion, corn plasters should never be used because of possible complications of which the most severe is amputation.

 
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Cysts

 

Cysts can be caused by joint fluid loss into soft tissue (ganglionic cyst), plugged sweat glands (porokeratoma), the infectious process (abscess), trauma (bone cyst), etc.

 

Treatment of cysts range from incision and drainage, surgical removal, antibiotics, schlerosing injections to surgical currettement

   
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Foot Numbness

 

Peripheral neuropathy (foot numbness) has many possible causes:

alcohol abuse, autoimmune diseases (Aids, lupus, RA), cancer (cancer treatment), diabetes, heredity, shingles, toxin exposure, vascular problems, vitamin deficiencies, etc. Basically, anything that can affect the health of a nerve or neuro transmissions can create numbness; these can range from back problems causing pressure on a nerve to lack of oxygen to the nerve endings to vasoconstriction to heart problems, etc.

 

The best way to treat foot numbness is to determine the underlying cause and treat is as soon as possible as this is a progressive issue that can get to a nonreversible state when left untreated. Usually foot numbness begins with tingling, numbness and it progresses to severe, burning, continuous, debilitating pain 24/7. Treatment consists of a wide range of regimes, depending on the cause, and can be as simple as taking aspirin, B-12, vitamins, prescription drugs, physical therapy, etc.

 

It is extremely important that foot numbness be treated as early as possible.

   
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Foot Pain

 

Foot pain can be caused by numerous problems such as trauma, circulation issues, nerves, scaring, growth strains, sprains, improper foot gear, improper supports, ingrown toenails, corns, calluses, etc.

 

   
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Fractures

  A good indication that you have a foot fracture is sever bruising after a traumatic event. The sooner a foot fracture is treated, the less likely surgical intervention will be required.
   
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Fungus Nails

Fungus

Many times, toe nail involvement can be the source of recurrent infections as well as the underlying cause of Tinea Pedis. Onochomycosis is the nail involvement with the yeast infection causing fungus. Important facts to consider when treating Athlete's feet are:

1) Is the source of the infection the skin or the nail

2) Is there evidence of cracking around the heels that worsens when wearing closed-toed shoes

3) Is itching progressively worsening

 

Our treatment method includes consistent, topical treatment of the affect nails and areas with the latest medication that the fungus has not been previously exposed to and immune. When the source of the infection is controlled the skin condition is treated to dry up the skin and remove the moisture. We then draw out and rehydrate the skin and debride the scaliness and fissures (both painful and non-painful). Typically treatment lasts for two to three months to ensure reoccurrence does not occur.

   
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Hammer Toes

 

Hammer toes are a contracture deformity of the toes. The position of the tendons can be inherited causing the deformity. However, the deformity is usually caused by muscle imbalance that can eventually cause the toe to become rigidly deformed and painful due to corns or shoe pressure.

 

A flexible hammer toe can be treated by lengthening the tendon mechanically or surgically.

 

A rigid hammer toe requires surgical intervention. The recovery time from surgical intervention usually consists of post-operative splinting care for three weeks, and usually the patient can return to a normal shoe within four weeks. Additionally, surgical intervention usually requires two days of being off of your feet with gradual increase in weight distribution until healed.

 

It is important to determine the underlying cause and once the toe is healed from surgery, treat that cause to prevent recurrence of the hammer toe.

 
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Heel Spurs

  This page is under construction and should be complete by 11/1/2009.
 
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Ingrown Toenails

 

 

 

 

Ingrown Toenail

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail is curved downward and grows into the skin, usually at the side of the nail plate. This pressure irritates the skin and creates pain, swelling, and warmth to the touch. If the nail plate penetrates the skin, a bacterial infection can occur and cause drainage and a foul odor.

 

What causes an ingrown toenail?

In many cases, the tendency is inherited, but trauma, stubbing the toe, dropping an object on the toe, or even shoe pressure can cause an ingrown toenail.

 

How do you treat an ingrown toenail?

Treatment options vary with the general health risk factors, but may include counseling on proper nail care, soaking, antibiotics, removal of the offending portion of the nail plate, or permanent removal of the root at the side of the nail plate to prevent recurrence.

Many people do not realize that an ingrown toe nail can be permanently corrected in just a few minutes with little discomfort and minimal disability.

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Some common MYTHS about ingrown toenails are:

- cutting a V in the nail

- repeatedly trimming the nail borders

- placing cotton under the side of the offending nail

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Keratotic Lesions

  This page is under construction and should be complete by 11/1/2009.
   
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Neuromas

 

A neuroma is most commonly found between the third and fourth toes and represents a benign fibrous enlargement around the nerve as a result of trauma, muscle imbalance, or abnormal bone structure.

 

Symptoms associates with a neuroma are burning, tingling, and shooting pain or pressure radiating toward the toes from the ball of the foot.

 

When treating a neuroma, conservative steps can be taken such as wearing proper shoes, ceasing extensive exercise walking, removing the shoe to relieve pain, rubbing the area to relieve pain, injection therapy, raising one of the opposing metatarsal heads, or custom orthotics.

 

If a neuroma is allowed to go untreated for a period of time, surgical intervention may be necessary. This is usually the case when the fibrous mass enlarges to the point that it pushes the metatarsal heads apart and places constant pressure on the nerve. The normal recovery time of a neuroma surgery is two to three weeks, but immediate relief of the pain occurs when surgical intervention is indicated.

   
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Peripheral Vascular Disease

 

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a group of conditions that cause poor circulation in the feet and legs. The most common os these conditions is arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which causes the walls of the arteries to harden.

 

PVD symptoms depend on the degree and severity of the particular artery involved, but can include cramping pain in calf muscles after walking that is relieved by resting, numbness or tingling in the foot or toes, skin color changes from red, blue, pale coloration, and cooler to cold feet, etc.

 

Diabetes can greatly affect risks and delay healing.

   
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Tailor's Bunion

 

A Tailor's Bunion (Bunion) consists of a protuberance of bone outside the foot just before the little toe. Trauma, faulty weight distribution, heredity, or even wearing improper shoes for an extended period of time causing micro trauma can cause the fifth metatarsal head (little toe) to become enlarged.

 

Conservative care consists of periodically trimming, wearing proper shoes, or gait training and orthotics to control weight stress on the foot.

 

Surgery is indicated when left untreated long enough to cause a bone deformity large enough to require reduction to eliminate intense pressure on the nerves which make it very painful.

   
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Tendon Pain

  This page is under construction and should be complete by 11/1/2009.
   
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Toe Deformities

  This page is under construction and should be complete by 11/1/2009.
   
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Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic Injuries
Traumatic injuries to your feet can occur from normal day-to-day activity by dropping something on your foot, stumping your toe, stepping on something sharp, tearing off a nail. There are two types of foot trauma, micro and macro. Micro-trauma occurs when
   
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Ulcers

Ulcer This page is under construction and should be complete by 11/1/2009.
 
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Warts

  This page is under construction and should be complete by 11/1/2009.
 
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Wound Care

  This page is under construction and should be complete by 11/1/2009.
 
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