Posts for: May, 2015
What is that "lump" on the joint at the base of your big toe? It may well be a bunion, a bothersome and sometimes painful malformation of the foot. Causing a twisting of the big toe inward toward, and sometimes over, the second and third toe, bunions comprise one of the most common reasons people see a foot doctor at the Reston, Manassas and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers.
Symptoms of Bunions
The Mayo Clinic says bunions exhibit symptoms such as:
- big toe malformation (specified above)
- redness and swelling of the joint at the base of the big toe
- soreness related to friction between the foot and shoe
- corns and calluses
- arthritis and bursitis
- foot pain extending up the legs to the knees, hips and back
Treatment of Bunions
One of the podiatrists at the Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers can evaluate your feet and determine the best course of treatment for bunions. While he or she cannot change the heredity that may contribute to bunions, the foot doctor can help your feet function and feel better.
Many times, simple rest and icing help tremendously, as do pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen and various bunion pads and splints. Wearing wider and more supportive shoe and losing weight to take pressure off the foot helps too. Custom orthotics and supportive shoe inserts can be helpful in slowing down the progression bunions.
Additionally, surgery, called a bunionectomy , may be needed to remove the bunion and help straighten the toe. There are various bunionectomy procedures that may involve cutting and repositioning of bone, removal of part of the first metatarsal joint, fusing the joints of the toe and/or removing excess soft tissue or bone.
But the best treatment option for bunions in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Virginia may be prevention.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons maintains that while a full 50 percent of women in the U.S. suffer from bunions of one level of severity or other, men have this podiatric issue, too. Many of these bunions can be avoided or made less painful and debilitating if pointy-toed shoes and high heels were avoided. As fashion trends change, males are also wearing shoes with narrower toe boxes to the detriment of the big toe joint.
So, people need to wear shoes that are:
- made of quality, supportive materials
- have good arch supports and ample room for toes, especially the tip of the big toe
- have heels no higher than two inches
Beyond that, store bought over-the-counter shoe inserts can provide some cushioning and support for walking, athletic activities and occupations where people stand or walk for a good portion of the day. Quality orthotics, custom-fitted and fabricated by a podiatrist, are the best choice for correcting a walking pattern that may encourage bunion formation and for providing adequate support for the flat arches that are related to bunions.
Don't be in pain! Call Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers. If you think you have a bunion, don't wait to seek treatment. Your Reston, Manasses and Leesburg area podiatrists, Steven A. Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, Shaun C. Hafner, DPM, FACFAS, Nancy M. Han, DPM, AACFAS, Lisa G. Beckinella, DPM will examine your foot, listen to your symptoms and individualize your treatment plan. Call Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers today for a consultation!
Flip-flops tied to surge in teenage heel pain
Many of us are welcoming the warmer weather sporting flip-flop sandals; however, their popularity among teens and young adults is responsible for a growing epidemic of heel pain in this population, according to Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
“We’re seeing more heel pain than ever in patients 15 to 25 years old, a group that usually doesn’t have this problem,” says Dr. Gordon. “A major contributor is wearing flip-flop sandals with paper-thin soles every day to school. Flip-flops have no arch support and can accentuate any abnormal biomechanics in foot motion, and this eventually brings pain and inflammation.”
Dr. Gordon recommends wearing sandals with reasonably strong soles and arch support.
“Especially for girls and young women, thicker soled sandals with supportive arches might not be considered stylish, but if you want to wear sandals most of the time, you’ll avoid heel pain if you choose sturdier, perhaps less fashionable styles,” he says.
It is estimated that 15 percent of all adult foot complaints involve plantar fasciitis, the type of heel pain caused by chronic inflammation of the connective tissue extending from the heel bone to the toes. Being overweight and wearing inappropriate footwear are common contributing factors.
The pain is most noticeable after getting out of bed in the morning, and it tends to decrease after a few minutes and returns during the day as time on the feet increases. Not all heel pain, however, is caused by plantar fasciitis. It also can occur from inflammation of the Achilles tendon, bursitis, arthritis, gout, stress fractures, or irritation of one or more of the nerves in the region. Therefore, diagnosis by a foot and ankle surgeon to rule out other causes is advised.
Initial treatment options for heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis should include anti-inflammatory medications, padding and strapping of the foot and physical therapy. Patients also should stretch their calf muscles regularly, avoid wearing flat shoes and walking barefoot, use over-the-counter arch supports and heel cushions, and limit the frequency of extended physical activities.
Most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment within six weeks. However, surgery is sometimes necessary to relieve severe, persistent pain.
For further information about heel pain, contact Dr. Gordon at (7030 368-7166, or visit ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org.
Taking a vacation? Make it easy on your feet
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 5/22/15) Although rest and relaxation are the goals for most vacations, they usually involve a lot of walking and a lot of walking usually involves sore feet.
"Walking is great exercise and one of the most reliable forms of transportation," says Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg. "But if your feet aren’t in the best shape or you don’t have the right shoes, too much walking can cause foot problems."
According to Dr. Gordon, good foot care is essential if you plan to subject your feet to long periods of walking. Some simple foot care tips include:
- Wear thick, absorbent socks (acrylic instead of cotton).
- Dry feet thoroughly after bathing, making sure to dry between toes. Use powder before putting on shoes.
- Nails should be cut regularly, straight across the toe.
- Bunions, hammertoes or any other serious foot problems should be evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon.
"The right shoe is also important to healthy walking," say Gordon. "The ideal walking shoe should be stable from side to side, and well-cushioned, and it should enable you to walk smoothly. Many running shoes will fit the bill."
He adds there are also shoes made especially for walking. Walking shoes tend to be slightly less cushioned, yet not as bulky, and lighter than running shoes. Whether a walking or running shoe, the shoes need to feel stable and comfortable.
Warming up exercises to help alleviate any muscle stiffness or pulled muscles are also advised before walking. Loosening up the heel cords (Achilles and calf) and thigh muscles before a walk is especially effective.
"If you’re not accustomed to long walks, start slowly and rest if your feet start hurting," says Dr. Gordon. "And above all, have fun."
Contact Dr. Steven Gordon's Reston Office at 703-437-6333, Manassas Office at 703-368-7166, and Leesburg Office at 703-777-2101 for more information. Dr. Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). Their consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, provides reliable information on foot and ankle conditions.
As millions of Americans hit the beach this summer, Steven A. Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon in Reston, Virginia, shares these safety tips from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
Puncture wounds and cuts: Wear shoes to protect your feet from puncture wounds and cuts caused by sea shells, broken glass and other sharp objects. Don’t go in the water if your skin gets cut – bacteria in oceans and lakes can cause infection. To avoid complications from a puncture wound, see a foot and ankle surgeon for treatment within 24 hours.
Jellyfish stings: Remember that a jellyfish washed up on the beach can still sting if you step on it. If their tentacles stick to the foot or ankle, remove them, but protect your hands from getting stung too. Vinegar, meat tenderizer or baking soda reduces pain and swelling. Most jellyfish stings heal within days, but if they don’t, medical treatment is required.
Sunburns: Feet get sunburn too. Rare but deadly skin cancers can occur on the foot. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet.
Burns: Sand, sidewalks and paved surfaces get hot in the summer sun. Wear shoes to protect your soles from getting burned, especially if you have diabetes.
Ankle injuries, arch and heel pain: Walking, jogging and playing sports on soft, uneven surfaces like sand frequently leads to arch pain, heel pain, ankle sprains and other injuries. Athletic shoes provide the heel cushioning and arch support that flip-flops and sandals lack. If injuries occur, use rest, ice, compression and elevation to ease pain and swelling. Any injury that does not resolve within a few days should be examined by a foot and ankle surgeon.
Diabetes risks: The 20 million Americans with diabetes face serious foot safety risks at the beach. The disease causes poor blood circulation and numbness in the feet. A diabetic may not feel pain from a cut, puncture wound or burn. Any type of skin break on a diabetic foot has the potential to get infected and ulcerate if it isn’t noticed right away. Diabetics should always wear shoes to the beach, and remove them regularly to check for foreign objects like sand and shells that can cause sores, ulcers and infections.
For treatment of beach-related foot injuries, contact Dr. Gordon at (703) 437-6333.
Are fallen arches a real foot problem?
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 5/6/15) Are fallen arches a real foot problem, or just a label for chronically sore feet?
Northern Virginia foot and ankle surgeon Shaun Hafner, DPM, FACFAS, says fallen arches --or flat feet-- are a legitimate medical condition affecting five percent of Americans.
“Flat feet can be present at birth, or develop over decades of walking, running and overall time spent on the feet, especially on hard surfaces in the workplace,” says Hafner.
There are several types of flatfoot conditions that occur in adults. The most common type is adult-acquired flatfoot. It is caused by overstretching a tendon that supports the arch. Another common type is flexible flatfoot, in which the foot is flat when standing, but returns to a normal arch in non-weight-bearing positions.
“Flat feet can be very painful and make people avoid walking, running and exercise," says Dr. Hafner, "But if you seek medical attention early, a foot and ankle surgeon may be able to prevent it from becoming a more serious foot problem."
Dr. Shaun Hafner says treatments may include modifying of limiting activities, stretching exercises, custom shoe inserts and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. If those techniques don't work, he says a variety of surgical procedures may be considered to relieve pain and improve foot function.
To contact Dr. Hafner about flatfoot treatment or other painful foot conditions, call his office in Reston at (703)437-6333, Manassas at (703)368-7166, and Leesburg at (703)777-2101.