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Featured Articles

Monday, 29 October 2018 00:00

Ingrown Toenail Care

An ingrown toenail is a nail that has curved downward and grows into the skin.  This typically occurs at the nail borders, or the sides of the nail.  As a result, pain, redness, swelling, and warmth may occur in the toe.  If a break in the skin forms due to the ingrown nail, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area; this is typically characterized by a foul odor and drainage.

Ingrown toenails have multiple reasons for developing.  In many instances, the condition is a result of genetics and is inherited.  The most common cause, however, is improper trimming; cutting the toenails too short forces the skin beside the nail to fold over.  An ingrown toenail can also develop due to trauma, such as stubbing the toe, having an object fall on the toe, or participating in activities that involve repeated kicking or running.  Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short can also cause ingrown toenails.

Treatment for an ingrown toenail varies between patients and the severity of the condition.  Milder cases that don’t involve infection or other medical conditions can benefit from soaking the feet in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail.  In most cases, however, it is best to see your podiatrist for thorough and proper treatment.  After examining your toe, your podiatrist may prescribe oral antibiotics to clear the infection if one is present.  Surgical removal of either a portion of the nail or the entire nail may also be considered.  In some cases, complete removal or destruction of the nail root may be required.  Most patients who undergo nail surgery experience minimal pain afterward and can return to normal activity the following day.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented with proper nail trimming and by avoiding improper-fitting shoes.  When cutting the toenails, be sure that you are cutting in a straight line and avoid cutting them too short.  Shoes should not be too short or tight in the toe box.

Published in Featured
Monday, 29 October 2018 00:00

Reasons That Ingrown Toenails May Occur

If you have ever experienced pain and tenderness on the side of your big toe, you may have what is known as an ingrown toenail. This is often the result of the toenail growing into the skin around the nail, and is often accompanied by pain and discomfort. If the toenail is severely ingrown, some of the symptoms experienced may be pus oozing from the area, swelling, or extensive bleeding. It is advised for diabetic patients to seek medical treatment immediately, which will aid in promoting proper healing. There are several causes of ingrown toenails, including wearing shoes and socks that fit too tightly, incurring an injury to the toe, or by having feet that sweat excessively. The latter reason typically allows the nail to cut through the soft skin surrounding it, and implants itself into the skin. If you feel you have an ingrown toenail, please consult with a podiatrist to learn about proper treatment techniques.

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Scott Matthews, DPM, MD of Salem Foot Care . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.

Causes

  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.

Treatment

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Wikesboro, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
Published in Blog
Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

Pregnancy and Foot Health

Many pregnant women complain about foot pain while they are expecting. Foot pain can primarily be caused by weight gain and hormonal changes taking place in the body. By understanding how pregnancy impacts the health of a woman's feet, a pregnant woman can take action to keep her feet as healthy and comfortable as possible.

Because a woman's weight changes during pregnancy, more pressure is brought to bear on both the legs and the feet. This weight shift can cause two major foot problems: over-pronation, also known as flat feet, as well as edema, which is swelling of the feet. Over-pronation occurs when the arch of the foot flattens, causing the foot to roll inwards when the individual is walking, and can aggravate the plantar fascia tissues located along the bottom of the feet. If these tissues become inflamed, a pregnant woman can experience pain in the heel of the foot as well as severe foot pain while walking or standing. Swelling of the feet, or edema, often occurs in the later stages of pregnancy. It is caused by slow circulation and water retention, and may turn the feet a light purple color.

To keep feet in good health and prevent over-pronation, pregnant women should avoid walking barefoot and be sure they are wearing shoes that offer good arch support. A device known as an orthotic can be added to regular footwear in order to provide additional support for the feet during pregnancy. Any expectant mother whose feet hurt should first check to see if the shoes she is wearing are old, worn out and not offering the proper support necessary for distributing the weight of her body during pregnancy.

To treat edema of the feet, a good start is to wear quality footwear which offers support and good circulation. Keep feet elevated whenever possible by using a foot stool while seated. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water to prevent water retention in the feet. Any swelling that occurs in only one foot should be examined as soon as possible by a doctor.

Good foot health during pregnancy can help expectant mothers avoid foot pain that leads to other health problems. Massaging the feet and doing regular gentle exercise like walking aids foot health by contributing to good circulation. Supportive shoes are also a good investment that will support foot health during pregnancy.

Published in Featured
Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

Swollen Feet May Be Common During Pregnancy

Research has shown that many women suffer from specific physical ailments during their pregnancies, and swollen feet is one of the more common uncomfortable conditions. Women who are pregnant undergo a multitude of changes, which may often result in swollen feet and ankles. These may include the blood becoming thicker, which may be a consequence of unpreventable changes in the blood chemistry. Many women have learned to manage swollen feet during their pregnancies, and this may be accomplished by elevating the feet frequently during the day, drinking plenty of fresh water as often as possible, and maintaining a gentle exercise program. Additionally, it may be advised to sleep on your left side, which may help to regulate blood flow in the body. If you would like additional information about the effects pregnancy may have on your feet, please counsel with a podiatrist.

Pregnant women with swollen feet can be treated with a variety of different methods that are readily available. For more information about other cures for swollen feet during pregnancy, consult with Scott Matthews, DPM, MD from Salem Foot Care . Our doctor will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What Foot Problems Can Arise During Pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward.  This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy but tends to occur in the later stages. 

How Can I Keep My Feet Healthy During Pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Wikesboro, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Pregnancy and Foot Health
Published in Blog
Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

Heel Pain Can be Treated!

Do you suffer from heel pain when you get up in the morning?

Published in Blog
Monday, 15 October 2018 00:00

Preventing Running Injuries

Over half of all runners encounter at least one injury per year. The reason for this is because many runners do not train properly. Injuries are almost inevitable due to the physical stress that running causes. While our bodies are great at adapting to the stress, it can only handle it in small doses. Injuries occur when the stress is applied too quickly for the body to handle, causing something within it to break down. With each step you take, your leg is absorbing two or three times your body’s weight.

Some of the most popular running injuries are shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and stress fractures. Shin splints cause pain along the inside or outside of the shins, and this pain is usually felt at the beginning of a run. The condition itself is defined as an inflammation of the muscles or tendons located around the shinbone. To treat shin splints, it is advised that you ice the shin area and stretch the calf muscles. To prevent this injury, you should slowly increase the distance you plan on running, instead of jumping into a more strenuous routine.

Achilles tendinitis is another common injury and it feels like pain along the back of the leg, toward the heel. This condition is defined as an inflammation of the Achilles which is the largest tendon in the body. The Achilles is responsible for connecting your calf muscles to the heel bone and it is caused by tight calf muscles. If you want to treat this injury, you should take a break from running to cross train with a low-impact activity.

There are a lot of common mistakes runners make that are causing them to experience injury. One mistake is stretching too much prior to warming up. If you plan to go on a run, you should warm up with a gentle 3-5-minute walk followed by a 5-minute run-walk.  Another common mistake is jumping into a routine too quickly. Consequently, you should incorporate cross-training into your routine. If you are looking to get active, you should slowly weave running into an activity you are currently participating in. For example, you can try bike riding for 40 minutes followed by a 10-minute run.

Another way to prevent running injuries is to choose shoes that are appropriate for running. There are certain things you should look for when buying a new pair of running shoes. An important factor in these sneakers is flexibility. Running shoes should be capable of bending and flexing at the forefoot. However, you should not be able to bend the entire shoe in half with ease because this is a sign that the shoe does not have enough structure. Additionally, you should look for the fit of the running shoes you want to purchase. It is best to visit a specialty running shoe store to have your feet properly sized. Choosing shoes that fit properly can prevent many foot ailments.

If you are suffering from any pain from running injuries, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist to discover the underlying cause of your pain. He or she will be able to help treat your condition in the best way possible.

Published in Featured
Monday, 15 October 2018 00:00

Many Joggers Set A Running Goal

For people who love the sport of running and jogging, it’s beneficial to learn what can be implemented to prevent running injuries. Research has shown the importance of having a physical examination prior to pursuing any running activities. There may be certain medical conditions present that may hinder the enjoyment of this activity, and proper warm-ups should be performed. Additionally, when the correct shoes are worn that fits your foot structure, running and jogging can be enjoyed more thoroughly. Many people find it favorable to identify why they want to run, and this may aid in finding it easier to set a running goal. When proper stretches are performed before and after running, the chances of an injury occurring may be diminished. If you would like to pursue the sport of running, it’s suggested to speak with a podiatrist to learn about correct stretching techniques for the feet.

All runners should take extra precaution when trying to avoid injury. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Scott Matthews, DPM, MD of Salem Foot Care . Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

How to Prevent Running Injuries

There are a lot of mistakes a runner can make prior to a workout that can induce injury. A lot of athletes tend to overstretch before running, instead of saving those workouts for a post-run routine. Deep lunges and hand-to-toe hamstring pulls should be performed after a workout instead of during a warmup. Another common mistake is jumping into an intense routine before your body is physically prepared for it. You should try to ease your way into long-distance running instead of forcing yourself to rush into it.

More Tips for Preventing Injury

  • Incorporate Strength Training into Workouts - This will help improve the body’s overall athleticism
  • Improve and Maintain Your Flexibility – Stretching everyday will help improve overall performance
  • “Warm Up” Before Running and “Cool Down” Afterward – A warm up of 5-10 minutes helps get rid of lactic acid in the muscles and prevents delayed muscle soreness
  • Cross-Training is Crucial
  • Wear Proper Running Shoes
  • Have a Formal Gait Analysis – Poor biomechanics can easily cause injury

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Wikesboro, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Preventing Running Injuries
Published in Blog
Monday, 08 October 2018 00:00

Bunions

A bunion is an enlargement of the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot, often formed from a bony growth or a patch of swollen tissues. It is caused by the inward shifting of the bones in the big toe, toward the other toes of the foot. This shift can cause a serious amount of pain and discomfort. The area around the big toe can become inflamed, red, and painful.

Bunions are most commonly formed in people who are already genetically predisposed to them or other kinds of bone displacements. Existing bunions can be worsened by wearing improperly fitting shoes. Trying to cram your feet into high heels or running or walking in a way that causes too much stress on the feet can exacerbate bunion development. High heels not only push the big toe inward, but shift one's body weight and center of gravity towards the edge of the feet and toes, expediting bone displacement.

A podiatrist knowledgeable in foot structure and biomechanics will be able to quickly diagnose bunions. Bunions must be distinguished from gout or arthritic conditions, so blood tests may be necessary. The podiatrist may order a radiological exam to provide an image of the bone structure. If the x-ray demonstrates an enlargement of the joint near the base of the toe and a shifting toward the smaller toes, this is indicative of a bunion.

Wearing wider shoes can reduce pressure on the bunion and minimize pain, and high heeled shoes should be eliminated for a period of time. This may be enough to eliminate the pain associated with bunions; however, if pain persists, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed. Severe pain may require an injection of steroids near the bunion. Orthotics for shoes may be prescribed which, by altering the pressure on the foot, can be helpful in reducing pain. These do not correct the problem; but by eliminating the pain, they can provide relief.

For cases that do not respond to these methods of treatment, surgery can be done to reposition the toe. A surgeon may do this by taking out a section of bone or by rearranging the ligaments and tendons in the toe to help keep it properly aligned. It may be necessary even after surgery to wear more comfortable shoes that avoid placing pressure on the toe, as the big toe may move back to its former orientation toward the smaller toes.

Published in Featured

If you notice a large bony protrusion on the side of your big toe, you may have what is referred to as a bunion. It is considered to be a deformity, and there may be several reasons why this condition may occur. Research has shown that genetics may play a significant role in the formation of bunions. If you happen to have a pre-existing case of bunions, wearing shoes that do not fit correctly could possibly make it even worse. This type of footwear may include shoes that have a narrow toe area, which does not have adequate room for the toes to move about in. This may result in the toes being forced to squeeze into an area that is too small. There is a significant reduction in the development of bunions in non-western countries and this may be a result of wearing shoes that fit correctly. If you feel you have a bunion, it’s suggested to speak with a podiatrist who can begin treatment options that are right for you.

If you are suffering from bunions, contact Scott Matthews, DPM, MD of Salem Foot Care . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why Do Bunions Form?

Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary

Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How Are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Wikesboro, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Bunions
Published in Blog
Monday, 08 October 2018 00:00

Reminder - When was the last time...

Custom orthotics (shoe inserts) should be replaced periodically. They need to fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles.

Published in Blog
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