Common Foot Problems
The podiatrist is the only medical specialist specifically trained in the treatment of the conditions, diseases and disorders affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Below is information about some of the more common surgical procedures performed by our physicians. Some can easily and safely be performed in the office setting. Others are usually performed in an outpatient surgical facility.
This common condition occurs when a corner of the toenail becomes trapped under the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. Treatment: Soaking the afflicted toe in lukewarm, soapy water or Epsom-salt solution softens the nail and drains the infection. For more serious or persistent problems, the nail edge is removed in the office, under local anesthesia.
A virus causes these growths which can become painful, especially on the bottom of the foot. The virus lives in the outer skin layer and is very resistant to treatment. Treatment: Applying topical wart removers works for smaller growths, but larger warts, particularly on the bottom of the foot, require removal under local anesthesia.
Tight-fitting shoes or other irritations may cause neuromas, one of the most common foot problems. A neuroma is a small mass or gathering of nerve cells and fibrous tissue growing on a nerve. Neuromas, located on the ball of the foot, usually occur between the third and fourth toes. Treatment: Local injections of cortisone and roomier shoes are often helpful. Surgical removal also may be recommended for a neuroma that does not respond to treatment.
A hammertoe is caused when the toe buckles and begins to rub against the top of the shoe. This condition also occurs with very long second toes. The callous that forms on the top of the toe causes pain and discomfort. Treatment: Padding of the toe and roomier shoes will sometimes help. Surgery is indicated for cases which do not respond to conservative treatment.
Strenuous sports activities or even carrying heavy objects can often damage the heel. A heel spur is a bony growth caused by calcium build-up on the damaged area. Pain is the result of the heel spur’s irritation or inflammation of the connective tissues along the bottom of the foot. Treatment: Anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone may reduce pain and swelling. Thick pads or a customized orthotic shoe-insert can reduce the pressure over the heel spur.