Foot and Ankle Pain

 

 

Houston Foot/Ankle Pain

Why walk around with foot pain? There may be a simple answer. Do you suffer from heel pain? These are just a few of the foot pain and heel pain questions people ask all the time.

At Diagnostic Foot Specialists, our doctors are experienced in treating a wide range of foot and ankle problems. We provide quality care to patients and get them back on their feet as soon as possible.

 

Just expand the menu items to the right and learn more about common causes of foot, heel and ankle pain.

Achilles Tendon Pain

Achilles tendon issues can be a real problem and account for 11% of all running foot pain. The Achilles’ tendon is the very large, thick tendon running from the calf muscle on the back of the leg, into the back of the ankle, connecting at the heel bone. This large tendon provides power during the “push off” phase of walking or running. Pain in this region can make walking or running especially difficult and painful.

When a patient complains of pain at the back of the ankle with different activities like running or walking, Achilles Tendonitis diagnosed by a physical exam performed by a podiatrist can be alleviated. When it is diagnosed and treated early, it is usually very responsive to conservative treatment.

The cause of Achilles tendonitis used to be considered an inflammatory condition. Now generally it is due to a loss of fibrous structure through degenerative tissue.

If you have pain in the back of the ankle, you should call our Houston foot pain experts at Diagnostic Foot Specialists. They can help you come up with a conservative treatment plan and get you back on the road in no time at all. Call Today! 713-862-3338

Athlete’s Foot is caused by a fungal infection on the skin of the foot. This fungal infection, also known as tinea pedis, causes peeling, flaking, scaling and itchiness in the general foot region. This is one of the most common skin infections of the feet. It is caused by the fungus Trichophyton and is normally transferred from person to person in moist areas where people usually walk around barefooted such as showers or bathhouses.

Athlete’s Foot can lead to extreme pain if allowed to go untreated. If bad enough, skin can crack, exposing raw skin and secondary infections can set in. Athlete’s foot can even spread to your toenails if left untreated and can cause chronic fungal infections of the toenails. If you have itchy, cracked skin on your feet, you need to call a podiatrist. A foot pain specialist can prescribe pharmaceutical medicines and possibly other more conservative treatments. Call today. 713-862-3338

Bunions – Bunionectomy

Bunions on the foot are an issue that affects many and are commonly treated by podiatrists. Bunions are usually a hereditary condition that is aggravated by shoes. These seemingly harmless bumps on the side of the foot can cause severe pain and are the most common reasons for visits to the podiatrist’s office.

A bunion is a bump that forms most commonly around the big toe joint, and can be extremely painful. Symptoms can include swelling after wearing tight fitting shoes, and soreness on the outside surface of the big toe. The presence of a bunion causes pain for patients when they are wearing certain shoes that are snug-fitting or during physical activity. Early treatment consists of limiting the pressure and rubbing of the area of the bunion, adjusting shoe gear and fabrication of custom molded orthotics but can sometimes lead to surgical removal in severe cases. We utilize the latest surgical procedures to correct this problem if surgery becomes your only option. The mini-tightrope procedure for correction of bunions is an example of a new procedure that reduces the recovery time after bunion surgery. Before the best treatment for you can be determined, it is necessary for your foot to be x-rayed and evaluated by one of our Podiatrists. We can treat this condition at any of our 7 offices throughout the Houston, College Station, Bryan and The Woodlands, Texas. Call today for more information or to make an appointment and let is get you pain free.

Fungal Toenail Remedy

Some fungal toenail conditions are caused when fungi penetrate the nail and enter the soft skin under the nail. This can begin as a simple little white or yellow spot under the tip of a finger nail or toenail. These fungi can penetrate deeper, if left untreated, causing the entire nail to turn yellow, increase in thickness and start to peel and eventually stop growing. If undiagnosed and treated, nails can begin to crumble and can become incredibly painful if shoes must be worn.

At Diagnostic Foot Specialists, we are trained to quickly and safely treat fungal nails through one of many treatment options. Some fungal nail issues can be treated with oral or topical medications, and some can be treatment through a new laser treatment procedure.

The BlueShine Laser can now be used to treat thick, yellowed, and/or deformed toenails.  These findings are a clear indicator of a fungal infection of the toenail. The fungus is usually the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. It requires immediate attention and can usually not be treated with over-the-counter medications.

Big Toe Pain

Stiffness of the big toe joint describes Hallux Limitus. The big toe helps us balance and when one suffers from pain in the big toe, your balance can become an issue. Repeated jamming of the big toe via kicking an object, wearing shoes too tight, or even severe arthritis, can cause the condition to flare up.

If big toe pain or hallux limitus is left untreated, range of motion can be severely affected. Hallux limitus (or big toe pain) can be treated by using oral anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections or functional orthotics. Surgical intervention is sometimes an option also.

If you are suffering from conditions such as the listed symptoms above, call one of our Diagnostic Foot Specialist offices today. With 5 offices in Houston, and offices in The Woodlands and College Station, Texas, reaching one of our podiatrists is relatively easy. Call today!

A contracture of the toes (or toe) due to deformity or a muscle imbalance between the top and bottom tendons of the toe is a condition called hammertoes. The toes can be flexible or rigid but when they are rigid, it is impossible to straighten the toe out by manipulating it. Depending on severity the treatment can be preventative, symptomatic, or curative. It is up to your doctor.

If you think that you might have this condition, or are suffering from any type of toe pain, call one of our Diagnostic Foot Specialist offices today. Our podiatrists have access to the latest and greatest technology at all of our 7 offices. Call today!

Heel Pain

Heel pain is a common problem that is often caused by shoes that do not fit properly, or footwear that does not provide the proper support due to weight gain or hard surfaces. Rarely related to serious foot conditions, heel pain can still significantly affect your life. You may struggle to exercise, and find yourself leading an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of heel pain can allow you to once again live a healthy, active life.

Heel pain can affect either the back or bottom of the heel, and may be associated with a number of different foot conditions, including:

Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis can be associated with pain in the back of your heel.

Arthritis
The foot has more than 30 different joints. This leaves it particularly susceptible to arthritis, which is commonly linked to heel pain.

Bursitis
When the bursae, or small cushions that protect the joints, become irritated, the resulting inflammation, or bursitis, can create heel pain.

Gout
Gout is linked to the buildup of uric acid in the small bones of the feet and can lead to the onset of arthritis.

Heel spurs
Plantar fasciitis, or the inflammation of the plantar fascia, can lead to heel spurs. Heel spurs are painful calcium deposits on the bottom of the foot that can develop if plantar fasciitis is not properly identified and treated.

Neuropathy
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can lead to significant foot and heel pain. Those with diabetes may be particularly susceptible to neuropathy. A family history of the condition can also increase your risk.

Plantar Fasciitis
The most common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is often caused by the arch of the foot becoming inflamed and irritated. It is commonly related to long periods of walking or standing. Untreated plantar fasciitis can trigger the development of heel spurs.

Stress fractures
Although not a common cause of heel pain for most people, stress fractures often occur in athletes or runners. Sprains and strains may also increase the risk of developing heel pain.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition is caused by the large nerve in the back of the foot becoming pinched or inflamed.

Heel pain that interferes with your daily activities or persists should be carefully evaluated by our experienced podiatrists, particularly if you are unable to walk comfortably, struggle to put weight on that foot, have pain in feet that occurs at night, or if the pain lasts more than a few days. Signs of infection or injury, including swelling, discoloration, fever, inflammation, or heat, should also be evaluated by a foot doctor as soon as possible. Treatment for your foot pain will vary based on the cause of your pain.

Diagnostic Foot Specialists may recommend:

• Customized inserts, which can better support your feet throughout the day

• Exercises, which can gently stretch the muscles and ligaments in your feet and reduce the risk of relapse

• Ice packs, which can reduce pain and inflammation particularly after an injury or as a result of increased symptoms

• Medications, which can help reduce pain and swelling
Our doctor may recommend over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or we may recommend prescription drugs for more serious pain.

• Rest, which can give your feet time to heal and provide relief from pain, swelling or inflammation

Any amount of pain in the feet can indicate the presence of injury or disease. An accurate diagnosis of your pain can help our doctors make the best treatment recommendations to help you fully recover and get back to your favorite activities. If you are suffering from pain, discomfort, or any decrease of function in one or both feet, we can help. Contact our Houston heel pain doctor today to schedule your consultation.

An ingrown toenail occurs when an edge of a toenail curves or breaks and digs into the skin. If left untreated, this can become an incredibly painful condition. At the point where the toenail is pressing into the soft skin, infection can set in. This can begin as a relatively minor problem that can become more severe, especially for those with poor circulation like diabetics.

There are many different ways to treat ingrown toenails, mostly conservative. Sometimes the nail should be cut out, and a splint used. This is a procedure that should be performed by a podiatrist in an office to assure cleanliness of the tools used. Bacteria and infection can move in quickly.

If you suspect that you have an ingrown toenail, call Diagnostic Foot Specialists today. We can get you into one of our 5 Houston offices or into the College Station or The Woodlands, Texas, offices and get you back to being pain free as soon as possible. Call today

Metatarsal Stress Fracture

Metatarsals are the long bones in the forefoot and are abused every day with normal walking. When excessive stress is placed upon the ball of the foot, a hairline break (fracture) of a long metatarsal bone may occur. This occurs most frequently to the second, third, or fourth metatarsal but can occur in any bone. Causes of metatarsal stress fractures are usually traced back to some type of overuse. Example: too much running without ample rest for the foot to repair itself. Overpronation and oversupination are also causes. Army recruits, runners, ballet dancers and gymnasts are often affected.

If left undiagnosed and untreated, this fracture can cause uncomfortable pain in the top of the foot. If you suspect that you have a metatarsal stress fracture or other pain in your foot, call Diagnostic Foot Specialists today. We can get you into one of our 5 Houston offices or into the College Station or The Woodlands, Texas, offices and get you back to being pain free as soon as possible. Call today!

Neuromas

A neuroma is nerve tissue that has thickened in different parts of the body. A neuroma in the foot is usually called a Morton’s neuroma – this neuroma occurs between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas are usually found in the ball of the foot but can initially be treated by cortisone injections, chemical destruction of the nerve, orthotics, or surgery. Neuroma is often described as nerve tumors that result due to compression or trauma. If not treated in time, a neuroma could result in permanent nerve damage.

If you are suffering from pain in a foot or both feet, call for an appointment today at Diagnostic Foot Specialists today. A trained podiatrist can relieve some pain immediately. Call today and let us help you get back on your feet and pain free as soon as possible.

Heel Spurs

Calcium deposits that develop on the underside of the heel bone are called heel spurs. These protrusions can up to half-an-inch long. Although they are often painless in their early stages, they can be associated with plantar fasciitis, a condition that can causes severe foot pain as the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed.

Causes

Calcium deposits on the heel can take months or even years to develop. They may be associated with overuse injuries, strains, excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, or other injuries. A number of other factors can increase your risk of developing heel spurs, including:

  • Regularly running or jogging on hard surfaces
  • Shoes that do not fit properly, are excessively worn or that lack proper arch support
  • Walking habits that stress your nerves, ligaments, or heel bones
  • Flat feet
  • High arches
  • Spending long hours on your feet
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diabetes
  • Age, which can be associated with a thinning of the protective fat pad on the heel and decreased flexibility of the plantar fascia
  • Runners and athletes may also be at an increased risk.

Symptoms

Heel spurs may cause no symptoms at all. However, as the bony deposit irritates the soft tissue, inflammation can develop around the spur. The pain can be intermittent or chronic and may worsen during periods of activity. The pain may initially be sharp, stabbing, or prickling, and then it may become a dull ache after you have been on your feet awhile. The sharp pain is most common after you have been sitting or lying down.

When to See Diagnostic Foot Specialists

If you have pain that worsens after rest or your heel pain lasts for more than a month, our Houston heel spurs doctor can help. A comprehensive exam will help us identify the cause of your pain and create a treatment plan that will restore foot health. We have several conservative, non-invasive treatment options that may be able to provide you with significant relief from pain in feet.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

Many people may naturally decrease their activity levels when they have pain associated with heel spurs. However, rest is rarely recommended since it is simply not effective. If you have been diagnosed with heel spurs, our foot doctor may recommend wearing custom-made orthotics. We may also recommend other treatments, including:

  • Exercises – Carefully designed exercises can relieve pain, inflammation, and tightness in the plantar fascia
  • Taping
  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medications – Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may help reduce the pain associated with heel spurs.
  • Cortisone shots – Corticosteroids may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Shoe inserts – Inserts, or functional orthotic devices, can correct imbalances and improve any gait abnormalities that may be contributing to the heel spurs.

Surgical Treatment Options

Conservative treatments often provide relief from the pain and discomfort of heel spurs. However, surgery may be recommended if the heel spurs do not respond to treatment or they worsen. One of the more common surgical procedures for heel spurs involves the plantar fascia. In some cases, the heel spur itself may also be removed. After surgery, patients are advised to elevate their feet, rest, and use the recommended orthotic devices until their feet are fully healed.

Because all surgery carries risk, conservative treatments are generally recommended before surgical treatment. Recurrent heel pain, nerve damage, infection, or scarring are some risks inherent with heel spur surgery.

Prevention

Reducing your personal risk factors can help prevent plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Wear supportive, well-fitting shoes. If you run or participate in sports, choose the right shoe for the activity. Those who are overweight or obese can benefit from reaching a healthier weight, which can reduce the amount of pressure on the feet. A Diagnostic Foot Specialists podiatrist can diagnose and recommend the correct treatment for all types of foot pain.

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