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Jun 18

10 Reasons To Call A Podiatrist

As a podiatrist in Orange County, I find that many people suffer from foot pain, yet are hesitant to contact a doctor and remediate the issue. However, issues with feet, toes and ankles can be fixed and if you find that foot pain is keeping you from fully enjoying life, it’s time to give us a call, especially if you are suffering from the following common issues.

1. Hallux Rigidus

You probably read that and thought, “what does that mean?” Hallux rigidus is a disorder that affects the joint at the base of your big toe, or hallux. The big toe has to bear a great deal of weight and stress every time you take a step. Sometimes the big toe becomes very rigid and difficult to move. Not only does this making walking difficult, but it also can be quite painful.

If you notice any
stiffness in your big toe, swelling or pain, give us a call. Hallux rigidus is
a progressive condition, and early treatment can prevent the need for possible
surgery to correct the problem. Physical therapy, injection therapy, orthotic
devices and shoe modifications often can be used to alleviate this issue, but
as it progresses, surgery often is the only way to reduce the pain associated
with hallux rigidus.

2. Plantar Fasciitis

Again, these technical terms can be confusing, but plantar fasciitis is a common problem that causes heel pain, often very severe heel pain. If you are noticing pain on the bottom of the heel, particularly pain that hurts worse upon waking up, this may be due to plantar fasciitis. 

There are actually many reasons why you may be experiencing heel pain. While plantar fasciitis is quite common, patients also might be suffering from a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis or a nerve issue. In some cases, there might even be a cyst in the heel area. The issue also might be related to your Achilles tendon, which can be very painful. No matter what is causing your heel pain, a podiatrist can provide you with treatments that can remediate these issues, and most of these treatments are non-surgical.

3. Ingrown Toe Nails

You probably are thinking, “I am not going to a doctor for an ingrown toenail,” but you really should. Ingrown toenails become infected easily, and any time you have an ingrown toenail and are experiencing any level of discomfort, it’s best to call a podiatrist and let them take a look. Even if the ingrown nail is not causing you any pain, we can provide you with some home treatment recommendations that can alleviate the issue before pain or infection occur.

4. Hammertoes

As a podiatrist, I see problems every day that could be avoided with proper footwear. Shoes that are too tight or constrictive or simply don’t support the feet can be a huge contributor to foot pain. Hammertoes are foot deformities that often occur when people wear footwear that is simply too tight, such as high heels. Our toes need to be able to lie flat in a shoe, and many types of footwear prevent proper toe alignment.

Hammertoes also
can be caused by an injury, such as a broken toe that doesn’t heal correctly.
We can help remediate this problem, but we also recommend that you purchase
shoes that are truly comfortable. Also, it’s worth noting that our foot size
can change as we age, so it is important that you re-measure your feet from
time to time. We also have one foot that is bigger than the other, so purchase
shoes that comfortably fit that larger foot. It’s also smart to consider
shopping for shoes at the end of the day as feet do swell during the day and
you will want to purchase shoes that fit well when feet are more swollen.    

5. Corns & Calluses

Ill-fitting footwear also can cause other issues, such as large calluses and corns. While not dangerous, these both can be quite painful. Calluses and corns in early stages often can be treated at home, but when these become very painful or a corn becomes inflamed, it is smart to call your podiatrist.

Corns and calluses
often can accompany other foot issues, such as hammertoes or foot deformities
or even gait abnormalities. Usually, corns and calluses are easy to treat,
although in some cases we might need to use orthotics or possibly surgery to
correct underlying conditions that lead to frequent corns and calluses.

6. Bunions

Bunions are a common and often painful condition that occurs when the bones in your foot move out of their correct place, and you end up with a painful bony bump protruding out from the big toe. Often, this is a hereditary condition, so if your parent had bunions, you may develop these, as well. Tight shoes and even arthritis also can cause bunions to form.

While wearing
shoes that fit well can help alleviate the issue and reduce pain, you might
need to consider injection therapy or orthotic shoe inserts, and these can be
provided by your podiatrist. In some cases, surgery will be necessary to
correct this condition.

7. Gout

We often think of gout as something people suffered from in the “olden days,” but it is still quite common and can be very painful. Gout is a type of arthritis and it occurs because there is a buildup of uric acid in the body. It most often affects the joints in the big toe and is common with people who have diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney issues.

If you notice a sudden
onset of pain or if you notice that your big toe joint is red, hot or inflamed,
call us as soon as possible and we will schedule an appointment as soon as
possible. Stay off your feet if you can and treat the area with a hot pad or ice
pack.

When you come into
the office, we will evaluate your foot to check for gout or any other issues
that might be present and we will do a blood draw to check if you have an
infection and to measure the amount of uric acid in your blood. If gout is confirmed,
we can prescribe medication that usually relieves the pain quickly. We also can
recommend some lifestyle and dietary changes that may help prevent flare-ups of
gout in the future.

8. Ankle Sprains

Did you know that
a podiatrist can help with ankle pain? If you have sprained your ankle, you
should seek treatment as soon as possible. In some cases, it’s possible that
you also may have a bone fracture as well as possible injury to your foot. Even
if you aren’t suffering from pain after an ankle sprain, but find that your
ankle feels weak, wobbly or unsteady, it’s smart to give us a call and let us
take a look.

With sprains, early
treatment is important, but rehabilitation can be just as important. We can
help you with treatment, as well as with physical therapy and, if necessary, we
can provide you with surgical treatment if the injury is severe. It might seem
like it’s “just a sprained ankle,” but without proper treatment, you are far
more likely to suffer from ankle injuries in the future. We need to assess your
ankle and foot and ensure that you have the treatment and therapy you need to
keep your ankle strong and healthy.

9. Diabetic Foot Care

Because diabetes
affects your blood circulation, foot pain and foot issues are common issues. Diabetes
also can cause nerve damage in your foot, as well as affecting your joints. If
you have any foot issues, especially if anything looks red or inflamed, call us
as soon as possible. People with diabetes are much more prone to infection than
others, and their bodies have a harder time fighting off infections.

If you have
diabetes and are suffering from any kind of foot issue, please contact a
podiatrist before attempting any home remedies. We can ensure that issues are
treated correctly and eliminate the risk of infection. If you have diabetes and
notice anything issues with your feet or toes (swelling, redness, ulcers,
etc.), please give us a call, even if you aren’t in pain. Diabetic nerve damage
can numb the feet, and while you might not feel any pain, a serious infection
could be present and this can affect the health of your feet as well as your
entire body.

10. General Foot Pain & Discomfort

While this article
details many common foot, toe and ankle issues, there could be other reasons
why you are experiencing foot pain. The good news is that virtually all of
these conditions can be remediated, and often without surgery. If you are
experiencing foot or toe pain that just won’t go away, it’s definitely time to
call a podiatrist.

We find that some people don’t call the podiatrist because they are fearful about treatment or perhaps embarrassed by their condition. Some people also don’t think that foot issues are important enough for treatment, but our feet must carry our weight every day. Foot pain can keep you from truly enjoying life, and a podiatrist can help!

If you are in pain, don’t wait another day to make an appointment to visit the podiatrist today. We have offices in Costa Mesa and Rancho Santa Margarita for your convenience. We are taking precautions above CDC guidelines to protect patients and staff, so if you are having foot issues, give us a call and we will have your feet feeling better as quickly as possible.