Diagnosis and Treatment of the Foot and Ankle
The Alvin Avenue Foot Clinic offers care and treatment for all types of foot conditions, from sprains to flat feet to diabetic foot care and more. Our office can fit you with custom prescription orthotics made from plaster impressions of your feet, as well as offering treatment for common ailments such as hammertoes, plantar warts and ingrown nails. In addition, the Alvin Avenue Foot Clinic offers specialized treatment for more serious conditions, such as
- Custom Orthotics
- Diabetic Foot Care
- Minimal Incision Surgery
- Soft Tissue and Bone Surgery
- Joint Replacement for severe Osteoarthritis
- First MPJ correction, including Joint Implant
- Permanent surgical correction of Corns and Calluses
Some of the conditions treated by the Alvin Avenue Foot Clinic include:
The plantar fascia extends from your heel to the ball of your foot. This ligament-like band pulls on the heel bone with each step and is the cause of the arch on the bottom of a healthy foot. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by poor foot mechanics, which force the plantar fascia to overstretch, producing flat feet, or to become too tight, causing pain when standing or walking. Persons afflicted with plantar fasciitis often experience pain first thing in the morning and, while pain may abate after moving around a bit, it will usually return after a rest or prolonged movement.
Patients can reduce the discomfort of plantar fasciitis by losing excess weight, avoiding running where the ground is very hard or uneven, and wearing shoes that provide sufficient arch support. For advanced cases a podiatric physician may prescribe pills or injections, or the use of custom-made shoe inserts known as orthoses. In some cases it may become necessary to perform surgery on the plantar fascia to relieve pain. The best way to determine the correct course of action is to consult with a professional podiatrist.
Pressure ulcers are caused by friction or pressure upon the bottom of your foot forming a thickening of the skin known as a callus. Without treatment a callus can continue to thicken and will eventually invade healthy tissue, causing pain and evolving into an ulcer and invoking the danger of infection.
If caught early enough, small cracks and sores on the feet can be treated before they become infected, but without treatment they can become infected and develop into ulcers in a very short time. Your podiatrist may suggest that the dead and thickened skin around the ulcer be trimmed away and treated with medicated ointments or creams and a special dressing. Or your doctor may prescribe a custom orthoses, which are custom-made shoe inserts designed to absorb the force of walking and divert pressure from the problem area. Special shoes or temporary casts might also be recommended.
In order to clear up an infected pressure ulcer your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. These drugs should be taken exactly as directed and use should continue until they are all gone. A patient who stops taking antibiotics early runs the risk of the infection returning even stronger.
For cases in which the infection has spread into deep tissues or bone surgery may become necessary. Your doctor will go in and carefully clean away the infected matter while removing as little bone or tissue as possible. To prevent post-surgery infection he will probably prescribe intravenous (IV) antibiotics be administered during your recovery time.
The best way to prevent the development of pressure ulcers is to check your feet daily, wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes, eat right and exercise, and quit smoking.
Warts are caused by a virus, which can invade your skin through small cuts and cracks. In time the wart will develop into a hard, rough patch on the skin surface, usually on the bottom of the foot. Young people and those with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to the wart virus.
Warts can grow to be an inch or more in size, occurring alone or in clusters known as “mosaics”. They can linger for years and, if left untreated, spread to other parts of the body. Warts are usually treated with medication or surgical removal, or both. Freezing and burning can also be used to treat warts. However, even after they have been removed, warts can recur.
Having your child’s feet examined by a podiatrist early in life can prevent foot problems in the future. Your doctor can tell if your child’s bones are growing correctly, that ill-fitting shoes are not causing problems, and the child is walking normally.
You should never hesitate to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your baby’s feet. The size and shape of infant’s feet can change quickly during the first year of life and the earlier a problem is caught, the easier it usually is to resolve.
A child will begin walking when he or she is ready and not before, so don’t try to rush it. When your child decides it’s time and begins walking, check to see if the toe touches down before the heel. Another indication of trouble is a habit of sitting while others are active or playing. If you observe either of these behaviours in your child, talk to your podiatrist. Many toddlers’ feet appear to be flat and/or floppy, and often appear to be “toe in” when standing. This is usually normal and most children outgrow the problem.
Children’s foot structure is usually formed by the age of 7 or 8, but if a growth plate (the area in which bone growth occurs) is injured it may cause the bone to grow oddly. However, early podiatric care can reduce the risk of future problems.
If your child sustains an injury and continues to complain of pain for a long period of time you should have him checked by a doctor. You should also consult a medical professional for any injury that causes serious swelling, localized tenderness, or ongoing night pains.
As any parent knows, children can experience a growth spurt quickly and without warning. To prevent problems you should check your child’s shoe size often to ensure there is enough space between the toes and the end of the shoe. Wearing shoes that are too small, or hand-me-downs that have moulded to someone else’s foot can cause cramping and affect foot function.
A corn or callus is a thickening of the outer layer of skin on your foot, usually caused by friction or pressure against the skin. In some cases, corns and calluses look bad, but are not overtly harmful. If they become infected, however, corns and calluses can destroy healthy tissue an affect foot function.
Corns can range from a barely noticeable thickening of the skin to a painful, hard bump. They often accompany hammer toes, but can develop anytime there is an unnatural pressure or rubbing on the toes. Corns can sometimes be alleviated by simply changing shoes to something with a little more room, or applying soft pads to cushion the toes. In more severe cases your physician may advise medication or surgery. In most cases, such surgery would be an outpatient procedure, but your podiatrist will advise you of the treatment best suited to your needs.
Like corns, calluses are a thickening of the skin caused by friction or pressure. Some calluses press up into healthy tissue within the foot rather than spreading on the outer surface. This can cause infection and destroy healthy tissue, affecting foot function. If a callus is causing you pain or discomfort, consult a podiatrist as soon as possible.
A fungus is a common mould that thrives in dark, moist areas and sometimes infects the toes and feet. Fungal problems most often manifest themselves as athlete’s foot and fungal nails. Fungal problems are usually caused by environmental factors, such as socks, shoes, heat and humidity, or a weakened immunity system from diseases such as diabetes. Fungal problems can be an indication of other medical problems. Your doctor can advise you after examining your feet and evaluating your condition.
Athlete’s foot is commonly contracted in places where people go barefoot, such as communal showers and locker rooms. Symptoms range from mild scaling and itching to painful inflammation and blistering. Athlete’s foot can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication and self-care, but talk to your physician if the condition doesn’t improve or worsens.
As a fungal infection progresses, it can infect one or more nails, turning them an unsightly yellow, green, or black. Besides being unattractive, fungal nail infections can cause nail thickening, inflammation and sensitivity. Fungal nails are commonly more resistant to treatment than athlete’s foot, requiring prescription medication or, in some cases, permanent nail removal.
Preventing Fungal Infection
To avoid the possibility of fungal infection, alternate the shoes you wear each day so they have a chance to dry out. Shoes made of breathable materials, such as leather or canvas, are also helpful. Dry your feet carefully after bathing or showering and be sure to get between the toes. Change your socks often, especially if you are physically active, and wear socks made from a natural fibre, such as cotton. And finally, always wear flip-flops or sandals in public areas such as pools, showers and locker rooms.
Hammer toes are a buckling of the toe joints, usually caused by a muscle imbalance or tight tendons. Hammer toes can vary in severity, as well as the number of digits involved. Hammer toes can be manifested as flexible joint or rigid joint conditions. As the name implies, a flexible joint hammer toe can be manipulated with the fingers, while a rigid hammer toe cannot be moved. Flexible hammer toes can be alleviated by cutting and repositioning a too-tight tendon, while rigid joints might require the removal of a small piece of bone in order to allow the toe to straighten. Recovery from either surgery may require the insertion of a pin to hold the remaining bone in place during healing.
Neuromas, sometimes called “Morton’s neuroma”, is a thickening of a nerve in the foot, usually caused by irritation at a point where two bones rub against each other. This is often a result of ill-fitting shoes, or abnormal bone development. Nerve problems caused by diabetes or alcoholism can also cause neuroma-like symptoms.
Neuromas can be quite painful, causing burning, tingling, cramping or numbness. Symptoms usually arise after walking or standing for a period of time. In some cases the pain radiates the length of the foot, from the toe tips to the ankle. Depending on the severity, neuromas can be treated non-surgically through the use of shoe changes, medication, ultra-sound therapy, or custom orthotics. However, in some cases surgery may be necessary to remove the neuroma. If you suspect you are suffering from a neuroma, consult a podiatrist.
Ankle sprains are the result of overstretching or tearing the ligaments connecting the foot and ankle bones. Sprains are often caused a misstep that causes your foot to land off balance, forcing the ankle to move too far. Depending on the severity of the sprain, swelling or bruising may spread from your ankle into your foot. Proper care will allow the sprain to heal correctly and avoid the risk of re-injury.
Unless a sprain is particularly severe it can usually be treated with Rest, Ice, a Compress and Elevation (RICE). Try to stay off your feet for at least 24 – 48 hours, and apply ice packs every twenty minutes or so, making sure to protect your skin by using a pad or thin towel between the ice and your body, and waiting 20 minutes between ice applications. Wrap your ankle in an elastic bandage and keep it elevated above the level of your heart. More severe sprains may need to be immobilized with a cast or splint. In some cases surgery may be needed to reattach a torn ligament.
Bunions are misaligned toe joints and can be caused by arthritis, injury, incorrect foot mechanics or congenital reasons. They are most often found at the base of the big toe. Not only are bunions painful, but they can also change the shape of the foot, making it harder to find shoes that fit and further aggravating your foot problems.
Depending upon the severity of a bunion a change of shoes or the addition of custom shoe inserts known as orthoses may provide relief. For severe bunions surgery is usually the best option and is normally performed on an out-patient basis. The best way to determine the severity and cause of your bunions is to be examined by a competent podiatrist who can explain your treatment options.
Most nail problems can be prevented by wearing shoes that provide enough support and room for your feet, keeping your feet clean and dry, and properly trimming the nails. The most common nail problems include ingrown nails, thickened nails and black & blue nails.
Ingrown nails can occur on both the hands and feet, but they most commonly affect the toenails. An ingrown nail is a painful condition that occurs when the nail begins to grow into the skin surrounding it. This can lead to inflammation, discomfort and the possibility of infection and can be very serious for people who suffer from poor circulation and diabetes.
Thickened nails can be caused by injury, shoe pressure, fungal infection and conditions such as diabetes and vascular disease. In addition to thickening, a nail may become brittle, ridged or change color to a yellowish or greenish tinge. Treatment for thickened nails can vary according to what caused the outbreak, as well as how far it has developed. Your podiatrist can advise you as to the best treatment for your case.
Black & Blue Nails
Usually caused by a sudden or repetitive injury to the toe, a black & blue nail can be unsightly and painful. It should be examined by your podiatrist to determine if infection is present and to decide on the best course of treatment, which can range from rest, ice and elevation to drilling a hole in the nail to relieve pressure, or in severe cases the surgical removal of the nail. Diabetics and persons suffering from poor circulation should always consult their podiatrist before performing any type of foot self-care.
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|Tuesday:||8:00 AM - 4:30 PM|
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