Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
Find out when you should turn to a podiatrist for bunion treatment.
While some people may have bunions and never need treatment or experience discomfort, there are quite a few people out there dealing with very painful bunions. This bone deformity causes the joint at the base of the big toe to grow larger, which can also affect the alignment of your feet over time. Unfortunately, while bunions won’t go away there are simple things you can do to manage your symptoms on your own before turning to our Howell, NJ, podiatrist Dr. Richard Lesser.
Conservative Treatment for Bunions
The goal of treatment isn’t just to prevent and get rid of pain and swelling but also to keep the deformity from growing larger. Here are some ways in which to improve the health of your feet and to get your bunion symptoms under control:
- Wear protective non-medicated padding on the bunion, which can reduce the pressure and friction placed on that area when wearing shoes. You can easily find different kinds of bunion pads at your local drugstore.
- Talk to your Howell, NJ, foot doctor about getting custom orthotics, a specialized shoe insert that can help support, stabilize and cushion the joints of the foot while improving alignment when walking or standing.
- Wear a bunion splint at night while you sleep, which can realign the joints and toes to reduce pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or ice the bunion when you experience pain and swelling.
- Wear the appropriate footwear for your feet. This means getting rid of any shoes with high heels or pointed toes, as well as shoes that are too old or don’t fit properly. Shoes that rub against your bunion will only make the problem worse.
When to See a Doctor
If you find that despite all your best efforts that your bunion pain is still a nuisance then it’s time to see a podiatrist who can offer up more effective treatment options. For instance, you may benefit from routine physical therapy, which can improve joint mobility and range of motion while reducing stiffness, pain and inflammation.
You should also see a podiatrist if you are experiencing severe pain, redness, burning, or numbness in the big toe, or you find that walking causes you pain. Treating your bunion in the early stages can also prevent further complications such as hammertoes, bursitis, and Metatarsalgia.
What a Podiatrist Can Do
Along with providing physical therapy and other pain management options we can also determine whether or not you could benefit from bunion surgery to correct the deformity. In some severe cases, repairing the joint is the only way to provide relief.
Are you living with bunion pain in Howell, NJ? Are you having trouble getting your pain under control? If so, then turn to the foot experts at Family Foot Health Center to find out how we can help.
A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.
A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.
The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:
- Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
- Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
- Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
- Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
- Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
- Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition
For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.
When should someone consider bunion surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:
- Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
- Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
- You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
- Your bunion is affecting your quality of life
It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Heel pain
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Foot fractures
- Sports-related injuries
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot care
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
Onychomycosis--that's the medical term for toenail fungus, a stubborn and common foot infection. At Family Foot Health Center in Howell, NJ, your podiatrist, Dr. Richard Lesser treats numerous cases of toenail fungus, helping people of all ages have clearer, and better shaped nails. Are you struggling with toenail fungus?
What is toenail fungus?
Organisms called dermatophytes actually thrive on toenail debris, the cells your nails naturally shed all the time. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society says that a full 20 percent of the American population has thick, discolored, and even smelly nails due to:
- Blunt force injury to the nail bed
- Constant friction between the nail and inside of the shoe
- The warm, dark, moist environment of closed toe shoes, especially athletic footwear
- Shared towels and nail clippers
- Dirty, sweaty socks
- Treading on wet locker room and gym floors (a common breeding ground for athlete's foot fungus, too)
Additionally, individuals with weak immune systems, diabetes, and circulatory problems tend to get toenail fungus, and the infection may spread to other areas of the body, including fingernails.
How your podiatrist in Howell, NJ, can help
If you have persistent onychomycosis, come to the Family Foot Health Center in Howell, NJ, where Dr. Lesser will examine your nails and surrounding skin. He may prescribe a topical ointment or cream or an oral anti-fungal medication to rid your toes of the problem for good. Extreme cases may require toenail removal.
Also, Dr. Lesser may suggest some simple strategies to keep your feet and nails fungus-free for good. These practices include:
- Wearing well-ventilated shoes in warm weather
- Changing shoes often, particularly athletic shoes
- Wearing clean, moisture-wicking (not cotton or wool) socks daily
- Washing your feet daily with soap and water and drying them thoroughly
- Using clean nail clippers and not sharing pedicure/manicure tools with others
- Trimming toenails straight across
- Wearing flip-flops at the pool or in the gym locker room
We can help
At Family Foot Health Center, Dr. Lesser treats numerous foot and ankle conditions, including stubborn toenail fungus. Let him help you achieve great podiatric health by calling the Howell, NJ, office today for a consultation: (732) 370-1100.
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