Posts for: January, 2018
A bunion is an abnormal, bony prominence that develops on the joint at the base of your big toe. As the big toe joint becomes enlarged, it forces the toe to crowd against your other toes, and the pressure exerted on your big toe joint results in inflammation and pain. Early treatment is necessary to decrease the risk of developing joint deformities.
Bunions develop due to prolonged abnormal pressure or motion on your big toe joint, most often caused by inherited structural defects, poor-fitting shoes, foot injuries, or congenital deformities. Women are generally more prone to bunions because of the shoe types typically worn, such as high-heels and narrow-toed shoes.
Bunion pain can range from mild to severe, often making it difficult to wear shoes and perform normal activities. You should contact our office if you notice the following symptoms:
- An enlarged, visible bulge on your big toe joint
- Restricted movement of your big toe or foot that prevents you from performing normal activities
- Irritation, corns or calluses caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
- Frequent pain, swelling or redness around your big toe joint
Treatment For a Bunion
Treatment for a bunion will vary depending on its severity. Identifying the condition in its early stages is important to avoid surgery, with the main objective of early treatment being to relieve pressure and stop the progression of the deformity. Many times conservative treatments, such as padding, modified footwear or orthotic devices can be highly effective for preventing further growth and reducing the pressure and pain.
We recommend the following for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions:
- Wear comfortable shoes that don't cramp or irritate your toes and avoid high-heeled shoes
- Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain
- Our podiatrists can show you how to apply padding to your foot to place it in its normal position and reduce stress on the bunion
When early treatments fail or the persistent pain associated with your bunion is interfering with your daily activities, a surgical procedure may be recommended as a last resort to realign the toe joint and alleviate the pressure. We can advise you on the best treatment options available to relieve pressure on the bunion and slow the progression of the joint deformity.
Flat feet, sometimes called “fallen arches,” is a foot condition that affects up to 12 percent of American adults. It’s not unusual for patients who have flat feet to eventually experience problems with heel and foot pain. If you’re struggling with the effects of flat feet, help is available from a podiatrist at Reston Foot and Ankle Center in Reston, Manassas and Leesburg, VA.
Do You Have Flat Feet?
It’s relatively easy to tell if you have flat feet by doing a visual check. A normally shaped foot has a natural inside arch. If you look at the inside of your foot when standing and it is flush with the floor, that is a sign of flat feet.
Effects of Flat Feet
Many people live with flat feet for much of their lives and don’t think much of it. It often develops in childhood or the foot condition is present at birth. Though it’s not one of the most pressing podiatric problems, some people can begin to experience foot pain due to flat feet. Fallen arches are often related to a condition called plantar fasciitis. In some cases, a diagnosis of flat feet can prevent you from playing certain sports or working certain jobs. Painful progressive flatfoot can lead to a disability.
Flat Feet Treatments
Flat feet (or fallen arches) are caused by weak tendons and ligaments in the arches of the feet. There are ways to strengthen those ligaments and improve the structure of your foot. Here are a few common flat feet treatments offered by your Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA podiatrist:
- Foot wrapping, taping, and bracing.
- Orthotic inserts to lift the inner arch.
- Physical therapy to exercise and heal damaged tissue.
- Anti-inflammatory medications.
- Foot surgery in debilitating cases.
Relieve Your Symptoms
A podiatrist at Reston Foot and Ankle Center in Reston, Manassas and Leesburg, VA can help you get relief from the effects of flat feet. Call 703-437-6333 (Reston), 703-368-7166 (Manassas), or 703-777-2101 (Leesburg) to schedule a consultation appointment.
Rare diabetes foot complication becoming more common
Few people with diabetes know about the limb-threatening foot condition, or its warning signs
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA 1/19/18 As diabetes rates soar nationwide, a Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon says he’s seeing more patients with a rare diabetic foot complication.
The condition is called Charcot foot (pronounced SHAR-co). Foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, says it involves a sudden softening of the foot’s bones. This can trigger an avalanche of problems, including joint loss, fractures, collapse of the arch, massive deformity, ulcers, amputation, and even death.
“As the foot’s structure collapses, the bottom of the foot can become convex, bulging like the hull of a ship,” says Gordon. “But diabetes patients frequently won’t feel any pain because they have severe nerve damage in their lower extremities.”
Gordon says every person with diabetes should know the Charcot foot warning signs: a red, hot, swollen foot or ankle. Several other dangerous conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis and acute infections, share these symptoms. A red, hot, swollen foot or ankle requires emergency medical care.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) estimates less than one percent of people with diabetes develop Charcot foot. But nationwide, the College’s 6,800 members say they’re noticing more Charcot cases as more Americans develop diabetes.
Charcot cannot be reversed, but its destructive effects can be stopped if the condition is detected early. People with diabetes play a vital role in preventing Charcot foot and its complications. Diabetes patients should keep blood sugar levels under control. This has been shown to reduce the progression of nerve damage in the feet. People with diabetes should also inspect both of their feet every day, and get regular check-ups from a foot and ankle surgeon.
For more information on Charcot foot and other diabetic foot conditions, visit the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org or contact Gordon’s office at 703-437-6333 or FootVA.com
Icy conditions cause falls and broken ankles
With the hectic pace of the holidays, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. A Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon says falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures, and it’s critical to seek prompt treatment to prevent further damage that can prolong recovery.
Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS says the ankle joint is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice.
“Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma because the foot can go in any direction after slipping," He says.
Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, he adds that in cases of less severe fractures and sprains, it’s possible to walk and mistakenly believe the injury doesn’t require medical treatment.
“Never assume the ability to walk means your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained," he says. "Putting weight on the injured joint can worsen the problem and lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis later in life."
Some people may fracture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture.
“It’s best to have an injured ankle evaluated as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment,” says Gordon. “If you can’t see a foot and ankle surgeon or visit the emergency room right away, follow the RICE technique – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until medical care is available.”
According to the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, even though symptoms of ankle sprains and fractures are similar, fractures are associated with:
- Pain at the site of the fracture that can extend from the foot to the knee
- Significant swelling
- Blisters over the fracture site
- Bruising soon after the injury
- Bone protruding through the skin—a compound fracture, which requires immediate attention!
Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint to foster union and healing. However, surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant malalignment to unite bone fragments and realign them properly.
Gordon said newly designed surgical plates and screws allow repair of these injuries with less surgical trauma.
“With newer bone-fixation methods, there are smaller incisions to minimize tissue damage and bleeding and accelerate the healing process,” He says.
Gordon recommends scheduling an appointment with his office if you have injured your ankle in any way.
“If you fall on an icy spot and hurt your ankle, the best advice is to seek medical attention immediately," He says. "This aids in early diagnosis and proper treatment of the ankle injury and reduces the risk of further damage.”
For further information about ankle fractures and sprains or other foot and ankle problems, contact Gordon at (703) 368-7166 or (703) 437-6333.