My Blog

Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
July 19, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Ingrown Toenail   Podiatrist  
Ingrown NailWhile minor aches and pains in your feet probably won’t have you rushing to the podiatrist’s office for care, certain seemingly innocuous foot problems might require a professional’s touch. Take ingrown toenails, for example. While you may be able to soothe and ease the pain on your own, it’s also important to recognize when an ingrown toenail may require treatment from a podiatrist.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.

When should I see a podiatrist?

If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
  • Increased pain, swelling, or redness
  • Skin that’s hard to the touch
  • Odor
  • Pus or drainage coming from the nail
If the ingrown toenail hasn’t gotten better in a couple of days this also warrants seeing a podiatrist. People with compromised immune systems, diabetes, or nerve damage in their feet should come in right away for care (and should not try to simply treat the problem themselves). Ignoring these issues when they occur could lead to more dangerous infections or complications.

Can you prevent ingrown toenails?

There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
  • Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
  • Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
  • Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
  • Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
If you are experiencing symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail, or if you have never dealt with an ingrown toenail before, turn to your podiatrist for a proper evaluation and treatment plan. No problem is too small for a foot and ankle specialist to tackle.
By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
June 03, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Thyroid Disease  
Thyroid Disease and FeetThe thyroid gland releases and regulates hormones and is responsible for everything from heart rate to peripheral nervous system functions. So, you may be surprised to discover that this same disorder that may make you feel tired and brain foggy can also cause changes in your feet. In fact, your feet may be trying to alert you that something might be wrong with your thyroid.
 
You have dry, cracked feet

While we know that there are a lot of reasons why someone might have dry, cracked feet including being on your feet all day, long-distance running or winter weather, your thyroid might also be playing a role. Many people with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, complain of dry, cracked skin on the soles of their feet, particularly the heels. You may also notice that you get deep, painful fissures or that your skin seems almost leathery in thickness and appearance. This could be a sign to have your thyroid checked.
 
Your feet (and hands) always seem cold

Since your thyroid is responsible for your metabolism it’s not too surprising that an underactive thyroid slows the metabolism, which in turn causes the body’s temperature to drop. This is why you notice that your feet and hands always seem to be cold to the touch. You may notice that this problem is made worse during cold weather. Some people with hypothyroidism deal with a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the feet and hands are so cold that they go numb and turn blue or white.
 
Your feet are swollen

Again, there are a lot of things that can lead to swollen feet; however, if you notice swelling in your feet and ankles rather regularly then you may want to have your thyroid checked. Since people with hypothyroidism are also prone to developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated, you must have a podiatrist you can turn to for regular care if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.
 
If you notice any changes in your feet and you’d like to take a closer look, your podiatrist will be the best specialist to turn to. Should they suspect that a thyroid disease might be at play you can also speak with a primary care doctor for blood work.
By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
May 12, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunion Pain   Bunion  
Bunion PainBunion pain got you down? Is foot pain making it impossible to do the things you once loved? Perhaps even the thought of putting on shoes and running your errands has you nervous. Bunion pain can do that. The good news is that if your podiatrist tells you that you have a bunion there are ways to easily manage this issue on your own without needing to resort to surgery.
 
First Steps to Treating Bunion Pain

Many people can easily manage their bunion symptoms and slow the progression of this common foot deformity through simple lifestyle changes. There are several approaches you can take to reduce bunion pain including,
  • Maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight, which can take pressure off the feet
  • Wear shoes that don’t put pressure on the bunion, that provide ample support, and that have lots of room for your toes
  • Look for shoes that have a low heel (high heels can make bunions worse)
  • Apply a gel or protective pad to the bunion before putting on shoes
  • Talk to your podiatrist about the benefits of custom orthotics (aka shoe inserts) and how they could take pressure off the bunion when standing or in motion
  • Take pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor
  • Warm or cold therapy such as warm soaks or applying ice can also improve swelling, inflammation, and pain (some people prefer the heat to the cold and vice versa; it’s a matter of preference. Try both and see what works best for you!)
  • Talk with your podiatrist to see if a night splint could ease morning stiffness and pain
There are a lot of products on the market today that are geared toward people with bunions. Do not be tricked into thinking that there is some miracle device out there that will realign the joint and fix this issue. The only way to realign and repair the deformed joint is through surgery; however, if you follow the tips above you may find yourself able to fully control your bunion pain for the rest of your life without ever needing surgery.
 
Reasons to Consider a Bunionectomy

Of course, there are certain scenarios in which a podiatrist may recommend getting surgery to correct the bunion. Here’s when you may want to consider getting surgery,
  • You are in significant and chronic pain
  • Your bunion is severely enlarged, and the big toe is crossing over the other toes
  • Your activities are limited due to your bunion
  • Your bunion pain persists for more than a year
  • Nonsurgical methods aren’t completely controlling your bunion pain
  • You are developing other foot problems such as bursitis or hammertoes due to your bunion
Your podiatrist will always be the first person you should turn to if you have questions or concerns about your bunion. They can also create a treatment plan and help you implement new habits into your daily routine to prevent a bunion from getting worse.
By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
March 31, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Pigeon Toes  
Pigeon ToesDo your child’s feet turn inward? If so, it’s fairly easy to tell, particularly when they walk. This condition is known as pigeon toes and it is often genetic (so if you have a family history of pigeon toes chances are more likely that your child will develop this foot problem, too).
 
How are pigeon toes diagnosed?

When you bring your child into the podiatrist’s office, the specialist will examine your child’s walk and gait. They will also observe how your child stands to see if their feet turn inwards or to look at how your child’s hips are positioned. Your podiatrist may also recommend imaging tests to look at the alignment of the bones.

While a pediatrician may be the first person to look at and diagnose your child’s pigeon toes, a pediatric podiatrist is going to be able to provide your little one with the specialized treatment and care they need.
 
How are pigeon toes treated in children?

Most parents are relieved to find out that many children grow out of mild to moderate forms of pigeon toes. While this may take a few years, this is nothing to worry about and children won’t require special treatment or care.

However, if this issue is detected in your infant, they may need to wear a cast on the feet to fix the alignment before your child begins walking. A podiatrist can also show you a series of stretches and massages that can help the bones grow into the proper alignment.

If your child’s pigeon toes are still causing them issues by 10 years old, then you may want to talk with your podiatrist about whether surgery may be necessary to correct these bone alignment issues.
While mild pigeon toes may not be a cause for concern, children with more severe cases may have trouble walking or may not be able to participate in sports. Some children may also deal with teasing due to their condition. It’s important to discuss all of these issues with your child’s podiatrist so they can help you find the right treatment option to meet your child’s needs.
 
If your child has pigeon toes, it’s best to speak with a qualified foot doctor to find out the best way to address this issue to prevent mobility issues in your growing little one. A podiatrist can easily treat pigeon toes and other foot and ankle conditions in children, teens, and adults.
By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
March 02, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Puncture Wound  
Puncture WoundA puncture wound in the foot occurs when you step on an object that leaves a small hole behind. One of the most common puncture wounds comes from stepping on a nail. Puncture wounds are not simply cuts and will require different treatment and care to prevent infection and other complications from occurring. If you’re dealing with a puncture wound, you probably took a trip to your local emergency room for care. Even if you’ve done this, you should still follow up with a podiatrist to make sure the wound is properly cared for and tended to.
 
Dealing with a puncture wound? Here are the steps you should take,
  • Seek immediate medical attention (head to your local ER)
  • You may need a tetanus shot if it’s been more than 10 years since your last shot
  • Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist within 24 hours of the injury
  • Your podiatrist will provide you with a variety of care instructions to keep it clean and disinfected (make sure to follow all of these instructions)
When you come into the podiatrist’s office the first thing they will do is assess the wound and make sure it is properly cleaned. They will also make sure there is no debris remaining. To clean the wound, a numbing gel may be applied to the area first. Sometimes a round of antibiotics is prescribed to prevent an infection from developing. If your podiatrist suspects that you might still have a piece of an object in the wound or that there might be bone damage, imaging tests may need to be performed.
 
You must keep off the foot so that it can fully heal. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics, make sure to take the medication until it is finished (if you stop taking it before the medication is finished it won’t be as effective). While your foot heals you must examine it daily and look for any signs of infection. These signs include,
  • Fever
  • New or worsening pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Drainage
  • Skin that’s warm to the touch
It’s important to turn to a podiatrist right away to treat your puncture wound to prevent complications. A foot and ankle specialist can provide you with instructions on how to properly care for your wound to ensure that it doesn’t get infected. Seek treatment right away.