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.
- Page 3
How are custom orthotics different from store inserts?
Many opinions exist concerning custom orthotics vs. store bought. In general, over-the-counter inserts provide extra cushioning and arch support. Orthotics designed especially for your feet, however, take those basic accommodations a few steps further.
For one thing, they are made from a cast or 3-D image of your foot, so they are designed to fit perfectly. For another, they are used to address medical issues like overpronation, diabetic ulcers, excessive pressure on certain bones, heel pain, and neuromas, just to mention a few. When you work with a board certified podiatrist like those at our office, our trained medical eyes can look for the underlying cause of your foot issue (a machine in a store can’t do that). We provide an exact diagnosis and form a specialized treatment for it.
You may want to try an over-the-counter arch support or heel cup to see if it helps at all with your foot pain. If it does, that’s even more reason to get a custom pair that is made for you and will last. Call our experts at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Gilbert, AZ at (480) 981-1800 or Chandler at (480) 963-9000 and get help today.
What kinds of conditions do orthotics help?
Conditions treated by orthotics fall into two broad categories: those that can benefit from cushioning and protection (accommodative) and those that can be helped by addressing your biomechanics (functional).
The first includes conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis which present special challenges for your feet. Cushioning diabetic ulcers or supporting the joint misalignments of arthritic feet require special care, and store-bought orthotics can do more harm than good. Be sure to come to us for your foot care needs when you have these conditions.
Functional orthotics help with conditions like plantar fascia and Sever’s disease (heel pain), neuromas and metatarsalgia in your forefoot, and arch pain from flat feet or high arches. Because your feet are the basis for your entire skeleton, orthoses can also address problems like shin splints, knee problems, and hip and lower back discomfort.
To determine whether custom orthotics could be the answer for you, call the experts at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona at (480) 963-9000 in Chandler or (480) 981-1800 in Gilbert for diagnosis of your foot and ankle problems. You can also schedule an appointment online using this contact form.
How long does it take for tendons to heal?
Tendon healing time depends on your specific injury. Tendinitis involves the inflow of white blood cells in an area following trauma, which causes warmth, inflammation, and pain. It is fairly rare, but you are likely to recover quickly with proper treatment and see improvement in a couple of weeks or so.
Tendinosis is the result of repeated overuse and causes changes in the makeup of the fibers of the tendon due to an abnormal buildup of protein. This type of injury takes longer to heal—three to six months is common. If the tendon is torn or needs surgery, expect even more time for your tendon injury to heal.
Recovery requires rest, but not total inactivity. Try alternative movements that don’t stress the tissue (biking instead of running, for example). Certain exercises may also help to strengthen the tendons (like heel drops for your Achilles).
Be patient. Take the time you need to heal, because re-injury is common when healing is not complete. Call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona for evaluation or treatment of your tendon injury. Reach us in Gilbert, AZ at (480) 981-1800, or in Chandler at (480) 963-9000.
What can I expect from foot surgery?
- You’ll need to stop smoking and taking certain meds, and arrange for someone to take you home.
- You need to have reasonable expectations as to results, and your own body’s structure and healing properties will have an impact on how successful the surgery is.
- You may have some pain, swelling, discoloration, and possible joint stiffness from the surgery. You may also need to wear a cast or protective boot and use crutches. Plan on time off work and non-weight bearing for at least several weeks.
- Recovery can’t be rushed. A rule of thumb is fair healing in 3 months, good healing in about 6, and a year until you’re fully back to normal.
- Physical therapy will be needed to regain range of motion and conditioning in your feet.
At Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona, we do all we can to prepare you for surgery and help you through recovery. Learn more by calling our office in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800 or Chandler at (480) 963-9000 to schedule an appointment.
Can my child wear hand-me-down shoes?
Whether you should use hand-me-down shoes depends on the age of your child. Socks and booties passed from one infant to the next are no problem, and likely the same goes for those soft leather models that they wear when crawling around in the later months. The main thing to watch for during this time is that the socks, bootie, or shoes do not constrict the foot in any way.
However, once your little one begins standing and walking, the requirements are different. Even small bodies put more weight on certain parts of the foot than others, so the shoes become molded to the foot shape. Putting them on another child could mean friction at certain spots that could cause blisters. That said, pairs for special occasions that get little wear could probably be used for the next child, too.
For all your questions about shoes, or to find treatment for a foot problem that concerns you, contact our podiatrists at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona for good guidance and the highest standard of care. Dial 480) 963-9000 to reach our office in Chandler or (480) 981-1800 to schedule at our Gilbert location.
How are bunions treated?
Usually those bumps on your foot can be treated without bunion surgery. At home you can control your weight, choose different shoes, use protective pads, and take any pain medication we advise.
Other remedies include warm soaks, icing, massage, and ultrasound therapy, as well as wearing a shoe insert or custom orthotic to relieve pressure from the joint as you walk. Sometimes a stretching regimen may help, or we may prescribe a splint worn at night while you sleep that helps hold the toe in a better position (more helpful in the very early stages).
As long as the pain is bearable and doesn’t interfere with your normal activities, conservative treatment for bunions may be all you ever need. However, when the deformity in your toe joint becomes extreme or the pain means you can’t even walk around the block in athletic shoes, it’s time to consult our experts—Dr. David Laurino, Dr. Antonius Su, and Dr. Darick Freestone—for possible surgery.
You can reach Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in the Phoenix area by calling (480) 963-9000 or (480) 981-1800 to set up a visit at our Chandler or Gilbert, AZ office.
Can my footwear contribute to bunion pain?
We’ll probably never understand why fashion trends are so compelling that people would risk their foot health to follow the latest fad. Shoe choice definitely affects the comfort of your feet, as anyone with bunions can tell you. While the cause of the bump on the side of your foot is likely the foot structure you inherited, shoes matter, too. Footwear that is tight around the toes can cause the deformity to get worse more quickly, and when high heels force all the weight onto your forefoot, they can pretty much do the same.
Bunion pain comes from two sources: pain in the joint itself because of the misaligned bones and damaged tendons and ligaments, and pain in the skin and tissue where the joint juts out and rubs against your shoes. Footwear for bunions should have roomy toes and low heels to reduce discomfort from both sources. You may need extra arch support in your shoes, or custom orthotics as well, to rebalance your foot and correct your gait.
For more information about shoe choice or other bunion treatments, call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona at (480) 963-9000 in Chandler, AZ or (480) 981-1800 in Gilbert.
Why are my toes cold?
The reasons for cold toes are numerous, ranging from nervous disorders to frostbite (though that’s unlikely to happen in our Arizona climate). The common denominator for all causes, however, is poor circulation.
With diabetes, increased sugar levels can narrow the vessels and cause sluggish blood flow. If you have high cholesterol, plaque can form inside your arteries and veins, constricting the flow. With frostbite cases, the capillaries are damaged when the tissue freezes.
There is also a rarer condition called Raynaud’s (pronounced ray-NOHZ) phenomenon that can cause attacks of cold toes, and even turn them blue. This nerve condition reacts to cold temperatures or stress with spasms in the vessels, stopping blood flow at the skin surface. Your toes feel cold and numb, and then tingle or feel prickly when the circulation is restored.
You can treat cold toes by wearing warm socks, exercising, eating right, and avoiding stress as much as possible, but other treatments are available, too. When you are ready to find help, we are ready to give it. Just call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Chandler, AZ at (480) 963-9000 or in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800 to schedule your appointment.
How can I improve my circulation?
There are many ways to improve circulation in your lower limbs. In fact, this is important if you suffer from cold feet, muscle cramps, or trouble with wounds. Lifestyle changes can have a big impact. If you spend most of your time standing, walk around a bit and take breaks to sit. If you spend most of your time sitting, take breaks to walk and stand. Don’t stay in one position for too long. Exercise regularly to boost your heart rate and send more blood to your extremities as well.
Don’t wear tight footwear that could restrict blood flow. Drink plenty of water and eat healthily. Cut down the saturated fats that could contribute to plaque build-up in the blood. Instead, opt for healthy veggies and fruits. Cut tobacco from your life as well, since it can stiffen arteries.
Our team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona will help you set up a plan to manage circulation problems, from peripheral arterial disease to Raynaud’s disease. Make an appointment online, or by calling or faxing: call the Gilbert office at (480) 981-1800 or fax to (480) 981-0229; call the Chandler office at (480) 963-9000 or fax to (480) 963-0375.
How can I control gout pain?
Most gout pain flares up very suddenly and sharply without warning, but there are ways you can help alleviate it. Ice your toe to try to lower the inflammation in the joint. Keep your foot elevated, too, to avoid straining it. Drink plenty of water to flush out the excess uric acid in your blood. Avoid gout trigger foods and drinks so you don’t make the situation worse. Also, contact experts like our team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona so we can help you with anti-inflammatory treatments in the first day of a flare-up.
Except for during an attack, you don’t really experience discomfort from the condition—however, an important part of controlling gout pain does mean managing the chronic issue outside of a flare-up. You’ll need to eat gout-safe foods and live a healthy lifestyle. If you need medication, take it regularly. Let our team help you establish a safe plan to manage your condition. Use our website to make an appointment with us. You can also call or fax one of our office locations: call (480) 963-9000 or fax (480) 963-0375 for our Chandler office; call (480) 981-1800 or fax (480) 981-0229 for our Gilbert office.