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Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By Family Foot & Ankle Care PC
December 16, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the FeetRheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and it is characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and damage. RA, like other kinds of arthritis, is progressive, which means that symptoms will gradually get worse over time if left untreated. So, how do you know if you might be developing RA in your feet? While a podiatrist can certainly provide you with a definitive diagnosis, here are some telltale signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • You experience pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints of the foot, particularly the toes
  • You experience aching feet, particularly after activity or long periods of standing
  • Some parts of your foot may feel oddly warm to the touch or may emanate heat while the rest of the foot feels normal
  • The joints of the toes and ankles may swell
Symptoms are often mild at first and you may not even think that you have arthritis. Those between the ages of 30 to 60 are more likely to develop RA. You may notice intense flare-ups that are characterized by bouts of remission (in which you don’t experience symptoms). Do not take these symptom-free moments to mean that you are fine. It’s important to see a podiatrist right away if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.

What does RA do to the feet and ankles?

Along with painful joints and stiffness, you may also notice other changes to your feet over time. Some of these changes include,
  • Bunions
  • Corns
  • Hammertoes and claw toes
  • Bursitis
  • Circulation issues (e.g. atherosclerosis; Raynaud’s phenomena)
How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

Since RA is not curable, your podiatrist will focus on crafting a treatment plan that will help to alleviate your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to prevent severe and irreparable joint damage. Prescription medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are biologics that can reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease.

Of course, there are also lifestyle changes you can make along with taking prescription medication that can also ease symptoms,
  • Warm soaks
  • Custom insoles or orthotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Compression
  • Stretching exercises for the feet
  • Bracing
  • Steroid injections (for targeting severe inflammation)
Surgery is only necessary if there is severe joint or cartilage damage, or if inflamed tissue needs to be removed from around the joint.

Most people with RA will eventually develop foot and ankle problems, which is why it’s important to have a podiatrist on your team that can help you manage your RA effectively.
By Family Foot & Ankle Care PC
October 28, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Sesamoiditis  
SesamoiditisA sesamoid is a bone that connects to a tendon or muscle instead of another bone. The most common sesamoids are the patella (kneecap) and two bones found under the forefoot. The sesamoids in the foot help to provide the foot with weight-bearing support. Unfortunately, just like another bone, sesamoids can fracture or become inflamed. An inflamed sesamoid is known as sesamoiditis and it’s most often found in athletes.
 
What are the symptoms of sesamoiditis?
 
So, how do you differentiate pain from sesamoiditis from other causes of pain? You could be dealing with an inflamed sesamoid in the foot if you are experiencing:
  • Pain at the ball of the foot near the big toe
  • Pain when bending or straightening the big toe
  • Swelling
  • Pain that comes up gradually
Pain that comes on suddenly may be a sign of a fractured sesamoid rather than sesamoiditis, which is a form of tendinitis. You may experience pain when putting weight on the foot.

How is sesamoiditis treated?

The good news is that this inflammatory condition can be treated with rest and home care designed to ease the inflamed tendon or muscle. At-home care for sesamoiditis looks like:
  • Avoiding any activities that put pressure on the foot
  • Taking a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
  • Wearing supportive shoes with ample cushioning
  • Applying ice to the foot for 10-15 minutes every few hours
  • Avoiding shoes with pointed toes or high heels
It can take up to six weeks for sesamoiditis pain and inflammation to go away. If you are dealing with severe pain or swelling, or if you have trouble walking, then you must see a podiatrist right away. In more severe cases your doctor may recommend bracing the foot or using steroid injections to target unresponsive and more serious inflammation.

If you are experiencing severe or persistent foot pain, you must seek podiatry care from a qualified foot and ankle specialist. Foot pain should not go ignored. Call your podiatrist today. 
By Family Foot & Ankle Care PC
July 28, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Footwear   Hammertoe  
HammertoesWhile tight, cramped shoes and those towering high heels may not immediately show you the damage that’s being done to your feet, over time you will certainly notice changes in the structure and function of your feet. Along with bunions, a common foot deformity, hammertoes are another deformity that causes the toes to bend downward at the middle joint. If the problem isn’t corrected, this simple and rather uncomfortable deformity can become severe. Here’s how to determine whether you may have hammertoes and what you can do about it now to prevent it from getting worse.

Wear Appropriate Footwear
You need to make sure that any shoes you wear properly fit your feet. While this might sound silly, many people are guilty of wearing shoes that are too narrow and put too much pressure on the toes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your feet enough room to wiggle freely. If your toes are bunched up in any of the shoes you have (particularly high heels or shoes with pointed toes) then you will want to avoid these types of shoes whenever possible.

Consider Shoe Inserts
While it’s important to find shoes that cushion and support your foot structure, sometimes people with hammertoes, bunions, and other foot problems that can cause pain can benefit from prescription shoe inserts (also known as orthotics). Orthotics can be crafted to fit the shape of your feet and also to address the issues you’re having (aka alleviating pressure on the toes when standing or walking).

Apply Protective Padding
A hammertoe causes the toe to bend down like a claw. This means that the toe’s joint is sticking out. As you may already know, this causes shoes to rub against the joint, causing a callus to develop. One way to prevent this from happening is to apply a non-medicated pad over the toe joint before putting on shoes.

Practice Pain Management
If your hammertoe starts to ache or hurt, you may want to apply ice to the area throughout the day to help alleviate pain and swelling. If the pain is intense or persistent then you may want to consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, which can help with both pain and swelling; however, if your symptoms are severe, you must see a podiatrist about your hammertoe.

Do I need surgery for a hammertoe?
If the hammertoe is flexible (meaning that you can straighten the toe out) then you won’t need surgery; however, if the hammertoe becomes rigid and causes pain and problems with mobility then surgery is recommended.

If you are dealing with hammertoes or other foot problems, you must have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular and immediate care.
By Family Foot & Ankle Care PC
May 07, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Heel Pain  

Although heel pain may be due to strain, long periods of standing, or ill-fitting shoes, it is sometimes also caused by an underlying condition. This is why you should not ignore it. Dr. Alan J. Discont is your podiatrist here at Family Foot and Ankle Care in Chandler, AZ, and he can help treat your issue.

Common Causes of Heel Pain

  • Achilles Tendonitis: The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the lower calf muscle. This condition causes aching in the heel and pain that runs up the calf when walking or running. If left untreated, it can develop into a severe inflammatory condition.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Common to runners and athletes, plantar fasciitis causes inflammation and soreness of the plantar fascia—the band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes. If you don’t want it to progress, this condition requires immediate treatment.
  • Bursitis: The fluid-filled sacs that surround your heel are called bursa. Their role is to lubricate your ankle joint. When they become inflamed, they cause pain and swelling in the heel and ankle. This condition can also cause a swelling on the back of your heel at the level of the upper rim of your shoe.
  • Stress Fractures: Runners and athletes are prone to stress fractures due to strenuous training and competition. Fractures most commonly occur in the toes and ankles and can cause heel pain.

Chandler residents who suffer from heel problems can talk to Dr. Discont about their symptoms and he will be able to provide appropriate treatment to alleviate their pain.

How to Avoid Heel Pain

You can reduce your risk of heel pain by:

  • Wearing comfortable shoes
  • Avoiding high heels
  • Not standing for long periods of time
  • Stretching your muscles before exercising
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

If you live in or around Chandler, AZ, and you are having difficulty standing or walking due to heel pain, call Dr. Discont at 480-732-0033 to schedule a consultation.

By Family Foot & Ankle Care PC
April 22, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Arch Problems  

The arches of the feet play a role in supporting your body’s weight when standing or in motion. The tarsal and metatarsal bones make up the arches of the feet, also receiving additional support and stability from tendons and ligaments; however, our feet, like the rest of our body, can be affected by infections, disorders, and structural changes that can impact not only the health of our feet but also our mobility. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of arch problems so you know when you need to see a podiatrist.

Arch Pain Causes

If you are dealing with arch pain it is most likely caused by an injury or by structural abnormalities in the foot. For example, those with very high arches as well as those with flat feet may experience arch problems due to these common structural issues.

As a result, there are other factors that could also lead to further arch problems including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Aging
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Cavus foot
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

It’s important to understand a little bit more about these common foot disorders and how they could affect the arches of your feet.

Plantar fasciitis

This condition that causes inflammation and microtears in the plantar fascia is also the most common cause of heel pain. Of course, because the plantar fascia (a ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone) also supports the arches of the feet this can also lead to arch pain. This condition is usually the result of overuse and is seen most often in runners. If you have plantar fasciitis it’s important to avoid physical activities until the fascia has fully healed.

Cavus foot

This condition, which affects the structure of the foot, leads to excessively high arches. People who’ve had a stroke, as well as people with certain conditions such as cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop cavus foot. This problem causes arch pain when standing or walking and can increase the risk for ankle injuries. Your podiatrist may choose to treat cavus foot through custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), bracing, or by recommending specialized and supportive footwear.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

The posterior tibial tendon runs from the calf muscles to the inner portion of the foot. This condition leads to changes in the tendon, which in turn affects its ability to support the arches of the foot. Flat feet can be caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, and this is often the cause of flat feet that develop in adulthood. Like the other conditions above, treatment for PTTD usually involves bracing, orthotics, or providing custom devices that provide additional support to the arches of the feet.

If you are experiencing foot pain, swelling or other problems that affect mobility then it’s time that you turned to a podiatrist for care. Conditions and injuries that don’t respond to rest and at-home care may require more advanced treatments and therapies.