As we age, our feet will change shape and size, which can also predispose them to certain problems. This also means that your foot needs will change, particularly concerning footwear. Here’s how your feet will change:
- Loss of fat pads
- Dry, cracked skin
- The development or worsening of certain deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
- Widening or lengthening of the feet
- Loss of bone density (which can increase your risk for fracture)
- Changes in gait due to certain conditions such as neuropathy or arthritis
- Diabetic-related foot problems
- Issues with balance
You must look for shoes that provide proper cushioning and supportive insoles so that your feet can tackle the day-to-day activities. If you have foot problems or issues with gait, then you’ll want to turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Together, you can decide the proper footwear and whether prescription orthotics can also provide your feet with additional support and cushioning that footwear alone can’t.
You should turn to a specialty shoe store where they can analyze your gait, properly measure your feet, and determine whether the shoes you’re getting may require additional modifications including orthotics. For example, some shoes and brands adjust to foot swelling throughout the day, while others provide enough space to place orthotics.
- Any shoes with pointed toes
- Shoes with heels over 2 inches
- Shoes that aren’t non-slip
- Sandals or flip-flops
- Shoes that don’t have a firm sole (including your slippers)
- Old, worn shoes (that simply need to be tossed)
- Shoes with rocker soles (particularly if you have gait problems)
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness
- Skin that’s hard to the touch
- Pus or drainage coming from the nail
Can you prevent ingrown toenails?
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
- Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
- Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
- Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
- Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
Foot issues can be debilitating. There are leading foot problems you ought to look out for. Dr. Jesse Anderson of AAL Podiatry Associates can help answer and treat conditions in Norfolk and Suffolk, VA.
Leading Foot Problems
- Bunions: This is when the big toe joint is misaligned. You may experience swollen and tender joints. Bunions are usually hereditary but poor shoes aggravate this issue and corrective surgery may be necessary from your Norfolk and Suffolk podiatrist.
- Hammertoes: This is when the toe is bent like a claw. Any toe may be affected but it's usually the second toe. Avoid shoes and socks that crowd toes to avoid pain or discomfort.
- Heel Spurs: Heel spurs are bone growths that occur when the plantar tendon pulls at attachments to the heel bone. This area calcifies forming a spur.
- Ingrown Toenails: Poorly cut toenails can dig into the skin. This can also be a result of shoe pressure, injury, fungal infection, genetics, and poor foot structure. You can prevent this issue by trimming toenails straight across and choosing proper shoe styles and sizes.
- Neuromas: These are enlarged benign nerve growths commonly found between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas occur because of irritated nerves, pressure from ill-fitting shoes, and an abnormal bone structure.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Heel and arch pain occurs when the plantar fasciitis tissue on the bottom of the foot is inflamed. Treatment options your podiatrist may suggest include icing, foot exercises, and prescription orthotics.
- Shin Splints: This is pain on either side of the leg bone. Causes range from muscle or tendon inflammation to excessive foot pronation. Proper stretching and corrective orthotics can help.
- Stress Fractures: Cracks in the bone because of overuse heal quickly with rest. Extra padding is a good preventive measure but if left untreated, stress fractures may lead to complete bone fractures, requiring casting.
Are you suffering from a foot problem that requires a podiatrist's attention?
Want to learn more about treating foot pain from AAL Podiatry Associates? Call Dr. Jesse Anderson, at the Norfolk, VA, office, at (757) 625-2962 or Suffolk, VA, office at (757) 539-2098 for more information.
How to Treat Sprained Ankles
Most minor sprains can be properly managed through simple at-home treatment and care. Conservative treatment is typically the first line of defense against minor ankle and foot problems, including minor sprains. While more moderate to severe sprains will require more aggressive attention and treatment options, the RICE method is ideal for most ankle sprains. Here’s what RICE stands for:
No matter the severity of your sprain, your podiatrist will be the first to tell you to stay off the ankle and to rest as much as possible to give the ankle time to heal. If the sprain is more moderate or severe, your podiatrist may recommend wearing a protective boot or using crutches to help stabilize the foot and ankle and take pressure off the ankle while standing or walking.
Especially for the first 72 hours after an ankle injury, it’s a good idea to use ice as much as possible to reduce swelling and pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the ankle for up to 20 minutes at a time. You can continue to do this every few hours throughout the day.
Your podiatrist can also show you the proper way to wrap and bandage your ankle, which not only promotes proper circulation and blood flow to the area to aid in healing but also can provide additional support and stabilization for the ankle. It’s important to know how to properly wrap your ankle to make sure it’s providing the very best support and your podiatrist can easily show you how.
Whenever you at resting (which should be most of the day!), it’s a good idea to prop your injured ankle up above your heart to reduce inflammation and bruising. You should elevate your ankle for at least a couple of hours each day!
If you are in pain, over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers can be great for reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. For more severe sprains, your podiatrist may prescribe something stronger. Patients with more moderate-to-severe sprains may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to help rebuild and strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the ankle.
Knowing you have a proper treatment plan in place can provide you with the peace of mind you need to know that your ankle will heal properly. Don’t ignore any foot or ankle injuries. Turn to your podiatrist right away for sprained ankles, or any other problems you may be facing.
This might sound obvious but it’s important to find socks that offer the perfect amount of snugness for your feet. There shouldn’t be added material that can bunch up, as this can cause friction and blistering; however, socks shouldn’t be so tight that they put too much pressure on your feet. The seams of the socks should not rub against your feet or irritate.
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