A heel spur is a small, bony protrusion that extends from the back of the heel bone. It is formed over many months from calcium deposits and is often found in conjunction with another condition called plantar fasciitis.
These types of conditions are caused by excess stress and strain to the tendons and ligaments of the feet and ankles. Athletes who do a lot of running and jumping with quick starts and stops, such as from playing tennis or basketball, often experience this condition. Even though the heel spur itself may not always be painful, a large spur can extend out a half an inch or more, making footwear painful or impossible to use.
Risk factors for developing heel spurs include:
Improperly fitting footwear—The correct arch support for your foot type is essential to avoiding the tendon and ligament stress and damage that can lead to the growth of heel spurs. Your feet should be properly measured when shopping for new footwear and any gait abnormalities need to be addressed to avoid putting excessive pressure on the heel.
- Excess weight—As you get older and possibly gain some extra weight, the flexibility of the tendons and ligaments in the feet lessens and the protective layer of fat on the heel decreases, increasing the chance that heel spurs will occur.
Treatment for heel spurs
Small heel spurs will respond well to conservative measures including modified and correctly-fitted shoes with extra cushioning in the heel area. Physical therapy will help to increase strength and relax the inflamed tissue. Custom-fitted orthotic inserts for stabilization and additional cushioning are also helpful.
If you are suffering from the pain of a heel spur, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
Blisters are a very common foot problem that is usually caused by excess rubbing on your footwear. Your skin responds to this friction by producing a pus-filled area on your skin. The fluid in a blister is most often clear, but it can also be slightly red or pink if bleeding is present. A yellow fluid discharge could be a sign of infection. Blisters can also be exacerbated by excessive perspiration and fungal or bacterial infections such as athlete’s foot and toenail fungus.
What Causes Blisters?
Blisters are often caused by shoes that are too tight, but they can also occur when shoes are too loose and your feet move around too much while rubbing on the interior. Always wear properly-fitted shoes with good arch support and extra room in the toe box.
The majority of blisters can be treated at home if they have no bleeding or signs of infection. By inserting a sterilized needle into the edge of the blister and draining out the pus, you keep the blister from popping and possible becoming more painful and infected.
- Clean and sterilize—Wash the area with soap and warm water, then wipe the area down with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
- Prick the edge of the blister with a sterilized needle—Insert a sterilized needle into the edge of the blister where it meets the surrounding skin to puncture the blister.
- Drain the fluid from the blister—Carefully squeeze the blister with a cotton ball and slowly push the pus out while keeping the skin intact to prevent future infection and help the healing process.
- Bandage—Use hydrogen peroxide to clean the area and apply antibiotic ointment. Cover with a large bandaid or sterile bandage.
If you have hard-to-treat blisters on your feet, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
Many people don’t realize that they can get skin cancer on their feet, even on the heels. Skin cancer is often associated with excess sun exposure, and some people are more susceptible to sun damage than others. Individuals with lighter skin, hair and eyes will burn more easily and may be more vulnerable to developing skin lesions and cancer. However, UV exposure is not the only factor involved in developing skin cancer, so even though your feet may rarely be exposed to the sun, you still need to check them for unusual looking lesions.
Potentially deadly skin cancers such as melanomas can have the appearance of benign conditions such as plantar warts, ulcers, blisters, and ingrown toenails, so it’s always a good idea to have these evaluated by your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis. A skin biopsy may be performed to check for skin cancer.
Two other factors that may increase your chances of getting skin cancer on your feet include:
- Poor immune system function—When your immune system is compromised by viral infections such as AIDS or the human papillomavirus (HPV), it makes it more difficult for your body to defend itself against malignant growths. Having transplant surgery may also weaken your immune system. Acral lentiginous melanoma, cancer that grows on the soles of the feet and underneath the toenails, is more likely to occur in people with compromised immune systems.
- Chemicals and other contaminants—Exposure to harsh chemicals that can cause burns. Being exposed to environmental chemicals released by industries such as refineries and power plants can damage your skin’s DNA, thereby increasing the risk of lesions and cancer developing.
If you have any worrisome growths or lesions on your feet, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
Pain in the big toe is a very common complaint that is treated by podiatrists. There are quite a variety of causes of pain in the big toe and, since the symptoms can mimic each other, you should see your foot specialist for the correct diagnosis and treatment.
The problems that can cause pain in the big toe can be caused by disease, injury or a structural deficiency.
Three of the most common painful conditions affecting the big toe include the following:
- Turf toe—This injury is a toe sprain that usually affects the big toe and it is more likely to occur on artificial field surfaces – which is how it got its name – but this injury can occur on any athletic surface. The injury is characterized by the ligaments around the big toe becoming inflamed or jammed from the forces experienced while pushing off from your feet while playing sports.
- Hallux Rigidus (stiff big toe)—Hallux is the Latin word for big toe, and rigidus refers to the complete rigidity of the big toe that is the hallmark of this condition. In many instances of stiff big toe, wearing properly-fitted shoes with custom-made orthotic inserts can help alleviate pain and discomfort.
- Gout—There are several types of arthritis that can cause stiffness in the big toe joint. Gouty arthritis is an inflammation of the big toe that is caused by uric acid crystals in the joint. These painful crystals are created by excess uric acid in the blood. When the acid builds up past a certain level, it crystallizes into the extremities, often affecting joints in the feet and hands. Eliminating or greatly reducing alcohol intake and avoiding foods that contain purines such as shrimp, lobster, and fatty meats can help reduce gout attacks. Keep to a healthy weight and consume fresh cherry juice and organic apple cider vinegar to help reduce blood levels of uric acid.
If you are experiencing big toe pain, your foot doctor can determine the cause, so set up a consultation with our board certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
Your feet really are a marvel of engineering and they do an incredible job every day to get you through your day. While you may tend to take your feet for granted (75% of us do!) while they do all the work of walking, standing, and exercising, here a few things to remind yourself how truly awesome your feet are.
Here are 5 fascinating foot facts:
- The largest feet ever seen—The biggest feet ever measured belong to a Venezuelan man named J. Hernandez, and are a size 26! That’s over sixteen inches long!
- Amazing components—With over 100 muscles, tendons and connecting tissues, 26 bone, and 33 joints, your feet are a design masterpiece.
- Toenail growth rate—Did you know that your toenails grow at a much slower rate than your fingernails? Toenails grow only 1/16th of an inch per month, whereas fingernails can easily grow 1/8th of an inch or more. Nails grow faster during pregnancy, the teenage years, and during the summer months.
- The thickest skin on your body—The skin on the bottoms of your feet is the thickest anywhere on your body. The heel area is very susceptible to forming cracked calluses that could possibly become infected through fissures, so inspect your feet for any cuts or wounds, especially if you have diabetes.
- Stress and pressure absorption—Your feet absorb the equivalent of hundreds of tons of weight every day.
Another fascinating foot fact to consider is that you probably have a foot problem you are not treating, since over three-fourths of people say they neglect their feet. This can be remedied by a visit to your foot doctor, so be sure to consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
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