Seeking treatment for your foot pain can be overwhelming, and you may have many questions for us about your particular ailment and treatment options. Here, we share answers for the questions we are asked most about medical care for ankles, feet, and lower legs.
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How can a podiatrist treat an ingrown toenail?
Sometimes it’s easy to shrug off certain foot and ankle problems. Having an ingrown toenail is a great example of this – you may think that the situation will resolve itself given time, or that an ingrown toenail is just not that big of a deal.
And for the most part, you’re right! Most people are able to get rid of ingrown toenails by simply letting the problem take its course. But the truth is, in other cases, a simple ingrown toenail can keep you from being active, and may even present serious health risks.
In fact, there are three typical situations when seeking the help of a podiatrists to treat ingrown toenails is an absolute must:
- When you have tried self-care measures at home, but the problem persists or keeps returning.
- When you have a condition like diabetes, a compromised immune system, or poor blood flow that slows down healing.
- If you suspect you’ve developed an infection.
Diabetic patients should always stay ahead of the game when it comes to the health of their lower limbs. Ignoring a “harmless” ingrown toenail could result in painful ulcers, infections, and even the need for amputation. So it’s imperative that any and all concerning lower limb symptoms be addressed right away in order to avoid catastrophic complications.
And the good news is getting rid of ingrown toenails and preventing them from returning doesn’t have to be hard! From changes in footwear to practicing good nail trimming habits, most conservative treatments are enough to find the relief patients need.
Though medical care often involves some level of minor surgery, this is done as an outpatient procedure and recovery is extremely comfortable – in fact, most patients usually experience relief right away!
Surgery for ingrown toenails entail a temporary removal of the corner of the nail or the edge that is ingrown, or removal of a whole section of the nail. For a severe and recurring problem, we may apply a solution to the root (matrix) to prevent the nail from growing back again. (We will administer a local anesthetic before starting, so there’s no need to worry about pain or discomfort during the procedure.)
Once we are done, we will bandage the toe and you can walk right out the door. It’s that easy!So don’t keep living with painful ingrown toenails, especially if you have diabetes. Call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona to find the relief you need and deserve. You can reach us in Chandler, AZ at (480) 963-9000 or in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800, or set up your appointment online.
How does diabetes affect the feet?
Diabetes, especially when it isn’t managed well, can affect the health of your feet in numerous ways. The most important are nerve health and blood flow.
Uncontrolled blog sugar levels are toxic for nerves in the feet, and can slowly take away your ability to sense heat, cold, touch, or pain. Without these sensations, you may not realize it when you stub a toe, suffer a cut or blister, or even break a bone or sustain a serious burn.
Slow blood flow complicates matters. Without a steady stream of nutrients and oxygen, injuries are slower to heal and more likely to get infected, especially if you don’t even realize they’re there for hours or possibly days.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to check your feet regularly for signs of injury. If you do develop a wound that won’t heal, see the experts at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists of Arizona immediately. Our doctors are wound care experts on staff at the Chandler Wound Healing Center and can provide comprehensive care using state-of-the-art techniques and technology. Set an appointment by calling (480) 963-9000 today.
How do I perform a diabetic foot exam?
Daily foot self-exams are a critical component of a healthy lifestyle for those with diabetes. Checking your feet every day will help you identify problems quickly, allowing you the time to seek professional care. This could quite possibly prevent an amputation that could substantially and permanently reduce quality of life.
How to perform a diabetic foot exam:
- While seated in a well-lit room, visually inspect your entire foot, including the soles and between the toes. Use a mirror (or a caregiver) if you need help seeing those hard-to-reach spots. Note anything that looks potentially troublesome—blisters, corns, redness, swelling, scratches, bruises, cracked heels, or other breakdowns.
- Use your hands to feel the tops and bottoms of your feet, checking for bumps or temperature changes. Squeeze your toes gently and check whether color returns in 5 seconds or less.
- Check toes carefully for signs of redness or swelling along a toenail edge, or any discoloration, thickening, or deformation in the nail.
- Keep a written or visual record of your exam so you can compare day-to-day findings.
If you notice new problems emerging or old problems struggling to get better, don’t take any unnecessary risks—set an appointment with diabetic foot and wound care experts at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists of Arizona by calling (480) 963-9000.
What are my treatment options for bunions?
When it comes to bunions, there are two broad treatment options: conservative or surgical.
Conservative treatments are geared toward symptom management and preventing the bunion from growing worse. Although they won’t get rid of your bunion, they could very well relieve your pain and allow you to return to active, pain-free living. Conservative treatment options include footwear modifications, custom orthotics, pads to relieve pressure and prevent corns, night splints, and more.
Surgical intervention is typically only recommended in cases with significant pain, and when conservative treatment proves ineffective. Depending on the severity of the bunion and your personal goals, we’ll select an appropriate surgical procedure.
Early detection and treatment increases the likelihood that conservative care will be effective, so don’t wait! Make your appointment with the team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona by dialing (480) 963-9000 (Chandler office) or (480) 981-1800 (Gilbert office) today.
Are custom orthotics really worth it compared to store insoles?
Are custom orthotics really worth it? In most cases, the answer to this question is an emphatic yes!
While store-bought insoles can provide some pain relief by adding a bit of cushioning and support, they’re not designed to treat specific medical conditions and, because they’re mass produced, they won’t fit your feet as well as a custom orthotic.
Custom orthotics, by contrast, are specially made just for you from a mold or 3D scan of your feet, under the supervision of a trained podiatrist. Because of this, they can offer much better support and/or cushioning than a mass-produced piece, and can be used to treat specific conditions such as ulcers, overpronation, neuromas, bunions, heel pain, arthritis, and much more. Although they’re more expensive than store insoles, they can do a much better job, and they’ll also last a lot longer, too.
When you’re suffering from foot pain that just won’t go away, custom orthotics might be the answer you’re looking for. They can even help correct alignment problems causing pain throughout the legs and back. Call our experts at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800 or in Chandler at (480) 963-9000 and get help today.
How can I improve my balance?
Like any other physical skill, balance can be improved through practice. We can also provide some technological help, too. Strategies include:
- Balance exercises. Standing on one foot, walking heel to toe, and other balance exercises help you improve your stability. Adjust the difficulty to your current needs by grabbing a chair for support, which makes it easier. To increase the difficulty, close your eyes or use a wobble board. You may also enjoy trying yoga or tai chi!
- Strength-building exercises for your lower body. Exercises that focus on the lower body, such as squats, provide greater strength and stability for your legs, which in turn improves balance.
- Sleep well. Older adults who are tired are more likely to lose their balance and fall than those who are well rested, all other things being equal.
- Consider bracing. Our office provides fittings for balance braces. You wear them like a boot under your clothes, and the extra stability they provide can help you greatly lower your fall risk.
If you’re feeling wobbly, don’t wait until you fall to get assistance. Be proactive and make an appointment with Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona today. You can reach our office toll free at 877-866-2417, or request an appointment via our online contact form.
How can I minimize my fall risk?
Reducing your fall risk (or the risk of a loved one) can be as easy as taking a few simple steps to improve one’s environment. Look around the home carefully and eliminate potential tripping or slipping hazards you may find. This can include power cords, throw rugs, plants, boxes piling up in hallways, and shoes in front of the door. Railings, bars, and no-slip mats installed in the bathroom and stairwells can prove to be a big help in maintaining stability in riskier areas. Improving lighting in high-traffic areas and installing night lights can also reduce the risk of falling over unseen obstacles and improve the general confidence of someone traversing when it’s dark.
Another great way to reduce fall risk? Talk to us about getting fit for a balance brace. These sleek devices fit under your shoes and clothes and help keep you on your feet.
For more help with reducing fall risks, please call us at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona. You can reach our metro Phoenix area offices at (480) 963-9000 for Chandler or (480) 981-1800 for Gilbert.
How do AmnioFix Injections Work?
AmnioFix injections uses the same amniotic membrane used to provide covering and a healing foundation for diabetic ulcers and other wounds. In this case, however, the membrane is reduced into an injectable form instead of covering an open area. An AmnioFix injection treatment into soft tissues is theorized to aid in internal healing as well. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis, and certain tendon injuries may see great benefits in recovery and reduction of pain. Clinical studies as to the effectiveness of the injections are ongoing, but promise is being shown.
For more information on AmnioFix and other forms of treatment available at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona, please call either of our offices in the Metro Phoenix area: (480) 963-9000 for Chandler or (480) 981-1800 for Gilbert. We have conservative and surgical options for a variety of different conditions, plus the guidance to determine the best courses of action for our patients.
How are foot burns treated?
Burns damage varying levels of skin and are graded as first-degree through fourth-degree depending on the severity. Knowing how serious they are helps us determine how foot burns are treated.
First-degree burns affect only the surface layer and usually just need to be kept clean and soothed with a lotion like aloe vera to heal. They can be treated at home in most cases.
Dead skin and tissue may need to be removed (debrided) from second-degree burns, and antibiotic cream and dressings will be applied and reapplied, which usually involves trips to our office or a treatment center.
Don’t hesitate to get help for third or fourth-degree burns. Cover with a clean dry cloth and seek medical attention immediately. They should not be washed in water as it may chill the under-layers of tissue and cause even more damage or hypothermia. Without medical attention, the skin will not heal or grow back on its own, so they may require grafts and reconstructive surgery.
For help with foot burns or other accidents or sports injuries, please contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800 or in Chandler at (480) 963-9000 and get the expert care you need.
How does PRP therapy work?
The theory behind PRP therapy is that it provides extra of what your body needs at the site of an injury to repair cells or help grow new ones. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is your own blood that is processed aseptically to concentrate the number of platelets in a small amount of plasma. These platelets contain proteins and growth factors that stimulate your natural healing process when they are injected into damaged tissues.
PRP is often used for heel pain from Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis, but the improvement doesn’t happen immediately. The therapy may jump-start healing, but damaged tissues still need time to repair and grow. Over the next weeks and months, you should see a marked improvement in pain levels and gradually regain function in your feet and ankles. If you want to learn more about this therapy and whether it may be the answer for your chronic heel pain, call our foot experts at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona. Reach our office in Chandler at Chandler, AZ (480) 963-9000 and in Gilbert, AZ at (480) 981-1800.