What are the signs and symptoms of arthritic feet?
Wondering if you could be dealing with arthritis in your feet? Some warning signs include,
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint warmth and tenderness to the touch
- Pain with movement
- Increased pain and swelling after rest
There are several different treatment options that we have available to handle your arthritis symptoms:
Medication: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain. While those with more minor bouts of arthritis can often find relief from these medications, some patients may need a prescription-strength pain reliever to manage more severe symptoms.
If these conservative treatments don’t do much to help your condition, then we may need to discuss the possibility of surgery. There are different kinds of surgery that we can perform and a lot will depend on the severity and cause of your arthritis. Those with advanced forms of arthritis may have to consider a total ankle replacement.
What is a corn?
A corn is a buildup of skin that occurs when there is repeated friction or pressure placed on the skin. This buildup of skin helps to protect the skin underneath. Corns most commonly develop on the side or tops of the toes and can be either hard or soft. Soft corns often appear between the toes while hard corns typically form on the tops of the toes. While both corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin, calluses are often larger and typically develop on the bottoms of the feet.
Who is more at risk for developing corns?
Certain factors can make someone prone to corns and calluses. These include:
- Wearing shoes that are too tight or too narrow
- Having certain foot conditions that alter its structural alignments such as arthritis, bunions, or hammertoes
- Wearing shoes without socks
- Being a smoker
If you are a healthy individual, then simple lifestyle changes and home care can help to improve your corn. Soak the area for 5-10 minutes to soften the area. You may use a pumice stone to gently remove some of the thickened layers of skin. Make sure not to be too aggressive or to remove too much, as this can lead to bleeding and even infection. After pumicing the area, make sure to apply a moisturizer to your feet. If you have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet, do not try the pumice or remove the corn yourself. A podiatrist can provide you with the proper treatment.
Make sure you are wearing properly fitted shoes at all times. This can cut down on the number of corns or calluses you’ll deal with. Keep nails properly trimmed so they don’t rub against toes and cause corns. If certain areas of your feet are prone to corns, you may wish to apply protective adhesive padding to the area either to protect the corn or to prevent a new one from forming.
If you notice any changes to a corn, including signs of infection, it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist right away for care. While most corns will go away if you avoid any shoes that cause pressure or friction to the area, you should turn to a foot doctor if you have concerns.
What are orthotics?
Sometimes known as arch support, custom orthotics give people the freedom to stand and move easier and more comfortably. Some people might opt for over-the-counter orthotics because of convenience; however, over-the-counter orthotics are not crafted uniquely to your feet, which often means that they won’t provide the relief you’re looking for from foot pain and other issues, and may even make problems worse. Instead, consider getting custom orthotics that are designed to correct your specific foot problems, ease symptoms, and make it easier for you to get back to your life.
Here are the types of custom orthotics that podiatrists often provide:
Rigid orthotics are often made from harder materials such as plastic or carbon fiber and are used to control function. They also help to control motion in the joints of the foot. They are most often used with walking shoes or dress shoes as they help with strains, aches and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back.
Just like the name states, soft orthotics are made out of more cushioned materials so they can act as shock absorbers, help with balance, and relieve pressure. They also cradle the soles of the foot and support everything from the heel and balls of your feet to the toes. Since soft orthotics help to absorb shock, they can be a good option for athletes and those with active lifestyles.
Semi-rigid orthotics can also be a great option for sports players as they provide a good balance. As the name implies, semi-rigid orthotics are made with layers of soft material that are backed by a rigid material. While this type is great for avid walkers and the like, semi-rigid orthotics are also prescribed to treat flatfoot and other foot disorders in children. If you’re planning on running a marathon this year and you’re experiencing foot pain, semi-rigid orthotics might help relieve some of the discomforts you’re feeling while training.
Are you interested in custom orthotics? If so, your podiatrist can chat more about orthotics and how they could benefit your feet based on your foot health, age, activities, and lifestyle.
Your Sweaty Feet Could be Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. Plantar hyperhidrosis is when people experience excessive sweating of the feet. Men are often more likely than women to develop this issue. The good news is that if your podiatrist determines that you have plantar hyperhidrosis there are ways to several ways to treat it.
Your Hyperhidrosis May Be Secondary
Okay, so what does this mean exactly? This means that you may have an underlying condition that could have brought about hyperhidrosis. So by finding and treating the underlying cause we can often alleviate hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis may be caused by:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Intense stress
- Certain prescription medications such as antidepressants
- Tuberculosis and other infections
As is the way for treating most health conditions, your podiatrist will often recommend certain lifestyle changes and simple treatment options first to see if these are effective enough against excessive sweatiness. Only if these treatment options don’t work will your podiatrist turn to more aggressive options. Conservative options include:
- Applying deodorant or antiperspirant to your feet
- Applying antifungal powder to the feet
- Making sure not to wear the same shoes two days in a row
- Choosing breathable shoes (shoes made from leather or canvas)
- Wearing moisture-wicking socks
While a podiatrist can recommend a variety of options to help you manage your sweaty feet, there are instances where you may need to turn to a foot and ankle specialist for more aggressive treatment. One way that a podiatrist treats sweaty feet is with iontophoresis, a painless device that passes mild electrical currents through the feet to temporarily stop sweat glands from producing sweat. Along with iontophoresis, a podiatrist may also recommend Botox injections, which can also temporarily stop excessive sweating for anywhere from 6-9 months.
If you are dealing with sweaty feet and it’s impacting your daily routine or making you uncomfortable, a podiatrist can evaluate your issue and figure out how to get your sweating under control.
Why Splinters Need to be Removed
Regardless of whether the splinter is wood, glass, or even a plant thorn, you must remove it from the foot as soon as possible. Why? Because these foreign objects also contain germs, which can lead to an infection if the splinter isn’t promptly and fully removed.
How to Remove a Splinter Yourself
You probably have all the tools you need at home to remove a splinter safely. Of course, it’s important to go over the basics of safe splinter removal. Here are tips for safely removing the splinter:
- Soak the foot in warm water for a few minutes to soften the skin
- Wash your hands thoroughly before removing the splinter
- Once the skin has softened in the water, see if you can squeeze the splinter out by simply applying pressure to both sides (like you would a pimple)
- If squeezing doesn’t work, you can use tweezers or a sewing needle to remove the foreign object (just make sure to disinfect these tools first with rubbing alcohol)
- If the splinter cannot be grabbed with tweezers, use the needle to create a small opening around the splinter to make it easier to grab
- Be gentle and careful when removing the splinter to avoid breaking it
While a splinter often isn’t a big deal there will be situations in which turning to a podiatric physician will be the best option. You should turn to one if:
- You aren’t able to remove the splinter or foreign object yourself
- The area becomes red, tender, swollen, or contains pus (signs of infection)
- You feel like there’s a splinter but you can’t see it
- You have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet (do not try to remove a splinter yourself)
- The splinter is too deep or too painful
- Your child is too squeamish or won’t sit still so you can remove the splinter
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