Blisters Bugging You? Here’s Exactly What You Should Do

It happened again. You decided to slip on your sneakers and hit the pavement for a while. Unfortunately, you got a little too ambitious and walked longer than you expected in newer shoes, and you can start to feel a blister coming on. What should you do? We’ve got all the answers to help you deal with those painful blisters (and how you can prevent them in the future). Read all about it below!

What are Blisters?

If we had to describe blisters in three words, we would say they are: small, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. These pockets of fluid form on areas of your feet that have been subjected to repetitive friction (like your heel and toes). Heat builds up and causes painful swelling, and you may or may not notice fluid being present within the resulting blisters.

What Causes Blisters to Form?

Friction is the main culprit; however, sometimes coming into contact with irritants and even certain autoimmune diseases can trigger blisters to form! Much of the time, you can chalk it up to tight or ill-fitting shoes rubbing up against your feet, especially after you’ve walked for a long period of time.

Should I Pop Blisters?

We know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no, you shouldn’t pop blisters. Why? You run the risk of causing an infection, especially if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or a compromised immunity. Blisters usually contain harmless watery fluid, which isn’t a cause for concern. Larger blisters – especially those that are very painful – could be filled with blood or pus and should be examined by a professional.

Well, Then How Should I Treat Blisters?

Here’s the great news about blisters – they don’t require much attention because they take care of themselves. If you get a blister, know that it will drain naturally and the swelling will go down. If your blister is painful or bothering you in any way, however, you can help yourself feel more comfortable by putting a bandage or padded tape over it. Oh, and try to wear shoes that don’t rub against the blister either!

What Can I Do to Prevent Blisters?

Blisters are a mundane frustration that everyone will more than likely encounter at least once. Fortunately, following a few smart tips can help you avoid getting blisters:

  • Lessen friction by applying foot powders, creams, or even petroleum jelly to the skin.
  • Try using foot powders if your feet tend to sweat a lot. The powder will absorb excess moisture and help keep your feet dry.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks to prevent excess moisture. Change them often to keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Buy new shoes at the end of the day when your feet are more swollen. This will help you find the right shoe size you need.
  • Always choose comfortable, properly fitting shoes that don’t have a restrictive toe box or rub against the heel.
  • If you notice a red spot developing, consider it a warning sign and cover the affected area with a bandage to help prevent a blister from forming.
  • Replace worn shoes frequently. We suggest at least every 6 months!
  • Consider using custom orthotics in your shoes.
  • Break in new shoes before wearing them for extended periods of time.

Should I See My Podiatrist for Blisters?

Typically, blisters are minor and resolve on their own. However, if they interfere with your daily activities, are very large and painful, or if you have diabetes, you should consult your podiatrist. The doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center are well-versed in handling blisters and can give you a proper diagnosis and treatment plan! From blisters to bunions and everything in between, you can count on the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center to get you back on your feet again. Call us today at (314) 487-9300 or request your appointment with us online!

10 Things Your Podiatrist Wishes You Would Stop Doing

Our feet are certainly invaluable to our daily lives, yet they are often overlooked – that is, until a problem arises. The health of your feet is critical: it impacts your entire skeletal system and, ultimately, your way of life. Here are some of the most surprising everyday habits that harm your feet (and what you can do instead to keep your tootsies happy!):

You Attempt to Fix Issues Yourself

We get it – ingrown toenails are a pain (literally). It’s so tempting to try to take measures in your own hands and dig out that pesky toenail yourself. Doing so, however, can make things worse. After all, you’re not using sterile tools and don’t know the proper techniques to remedy the problem. Don’t take the chance – call your podiatrist about any issues that arise, including ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, corns, calluses, and more!

You Run in a New Pair of Shoes

Ever get a new pair of running shoes just for an upcoming race? You might feel inclined to wait until the day of the race to try out your new kicks, but doing so can give you blisters and shin splints! Take it from us – avoid pain by breaking in your new pair of shoes first.

You Regularly Wear Flats

Who doesn’t love the comfort of flip-flops, ballet flats, and flat sneakers like Converse shoes? If these are your go-to duds, you’ll want to find an alternative for your commutes and walks. They have little shock absorption and don’t provide the arch support your feet need. In time, you can develop bunions, hammertoes, Achilles tendinitis, or a collapsed arch if you wear these shoes all day, every day. Do your feet a favor and invest in a lightweight, supportive athletic shoe for your daily adventures.

You Walk Barefoot in Locker Rooms

If you really want to increase your risk of picking up athlete’s foot, warts, and fungi, then by all means, go ahead and walk around barefoot in public locker rooms. These damp communal spaces are the perfect environment for these viruses and fungi to thrive in. Take our advice, though: wear shower shoes or flip-flops at all times in these spaces to keep your feet healthy and happy!

You Walk Barefoot on Hard Surfaces

Do you have any hardwood, ceramic tile, stone, or cement flooring in your home? If so, you should consider protecting your feet. After all, there’s nothing between the floor and your feet, and in time the padding in your feet will deteriorate. The solution: don a pair of supportive, comfortable slippers whenever you shuffle into the kitchen for your morning cup of joe.

You Habitually Wear Running Shoes When You’re Not Running

There’s a reason why there are so many different types of shoes out there. Each is specifically designed to support your feet during various types of motion. Walking shoes are for walking, running shoes are for running, and basketball shoes are for – you guessed it – basketball. If you choose to run in basketball shoes, which are made for side-to-side movements instead of forward motion, you up your risk for injury. Do your research and find the appropriate footwear for the physical activities you love – your feet will appreciate it!

You Like Wearing the Same Shoes Every Day

We all have our one favorite pair of shoes – the ones that make us feel like we can completely take on the world singlehandedly. As much as you may want to keep rocking your favorite pair, remember: variety is the spice of life (and is oh, so good for your feet, to boot!). Switch it up between various pairs of supportive, comfortable shoes to avoid foot fatigue and pain. Are your shoes wearing out? Make sure you replace them about twice a year or so to keep your gait natural and as pain-free as possible!

You Stick to One Shoe Size

Here’s a fun fact: your shoe size will change with age! Often, feet grow wider and longer as the years pass, so don’t automatically assume that you’re still the same size. Make sure that you test out new shoes in-store before purchasing them whenever possible, and get your feet professionally measured every once in a while as well!

You Ignore Aches and Pains

Pain is never good. If you’re experiencing aches or ongoing pain when you walk or exercise, the worst thing you can do is sweep it under the rug. Ignored discomfort can easily worsen and develop into more worrisome conditions. If something doesn’t feel right, call up your podiatrist for a thorough examination! Remember, if you’re experiencing discomfort or notice anything out of the norm, the friendly and knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center are here to help! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment with us!

What are Plantar Warts and How are They Treated?

Toads, frogs, and cackling, grotesque witches in fairy tales – this is usually what comes to mind when we think of warts. Although they are usually a minor inconvenience, warts can be embarrassing – and sometimes painful. There’s nothing to be ashamed about if you have a plantar wart, and you certainly don’t have to live with it, thanks to the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center!

What are Plantar Warts?

Classified as a soft tissue condition of the foot, plantar warts are hard, textured growths that typically appear on the soles, heels, or balls of the feet. While they grow outward from the skin most of the time, they can occasionally grow inward beneath a callus. Sometimes, many plantar warts will spread and form a group called mosaic warts. They are generally benign but can often become uncomfortable or painful. Children – especially teenagers – tend to be more susceptible to developing plantar warts than adults.

What Causes Them?

Contrary to popular belief, warts don’t come from handling toads or frogs. They are caused by a virus, specifically the human papillomavirus (HPV). When the virus enters the body through tiny cuts, abrasions, or sores on the bottom of your feet, it often can cause plantar warts to appear. The virus is contagious and can be contracted when you come into contact with an infected source, particularly when walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or warm, moist environments such as communal bathing facilities.

How Can I Identify Plantar Warts?

It’s actually quite easy to confuse plantar warts with other podiatric conditions such as corns and calluses! While corns and calluses will develop when your feet accrue dead layers of skin, plantar warts are the result of a viral infection and have a rough surface with a well-defined boundary. You may even notice a pinprick of black in the center of the wart, which is just a dried-up blood vessel.

How Are Plantar Warts Treated?

Treating plantar warts can be a bit tricky if you’re trying to do it on your own. Worse yet, they can be very resistant to treatment and tend to come back. We advise talking to your podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to tackle your plantar wart. Treatments typically include using topical medications, salicylic acid, or liquid nitrogen to dissolve the stubborn wart, cryotherapy (freezing the wart), or a simple surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia. Left untreated, the warts can grow and spread into mosaic warts.

When Should I See my Podiatrist?

It’s always wise to schedule an appointment with your podiatrist if you notice any changes in your feet, especially if you have diabetes. As we previously mentioned, plantar warts can easily be confused with corns and calluses, but your podiatrist can give you a correct diagnosis and come up with the right treatment plan!

How Can I Prevent Getting Plantar Warts?

Prevention is usually as simple as maintaining proper podiatric hygiene! Here’s how you can help increase your odds:

  • Avoid walking barefoot, especially in moist communal areas like gym showers.
  • Change your shoes and socks daily and when wet.
  • Check your feet periodically.
  • Avoid direct contact with warts from those who have them.
  • Visit your podiatrist annually as part of a well-rounded health checkup.

Warts can be embarrassing and inconvenient, but they don’t have to be. Boost your confidence and live without pain and discomfort by scheduling your appointment with The Foot & Ankle Center! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 or request your appointment online!

Slow and Steady: Night Splints Can Help Address Heel Pain

Those excruciating first steps in the morning, that tightness and discomfort you experience in your heels – sounds like heel pain to us. Heel pain due to plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis is one of the most common podiatric conditions we treat at The Foot & Ankle Center. In fact, it’s so common that 1 in 2 people will experience it at some point in his or her life. Fortunately, there is hope to get back on your feet pain-free, and night splints can help expedite this process!

What are Night Splints?

When your podiatrist prescribes night splints to address your heel pain, you may wonder if they work. The answer is yes! As the name suggests, these splints are worn at night to help hold the affected foot or feet in a particular position with toes pointed up. Doing so provides your heel with a constant, gentle stretch throughout the night.

How Can Night Splints Help with Heel Pain?

Let’s say you have plantar fasciitis. Throughout the day, your plantar fascia and neighboring tendons stretch out. While you’re asleep at night, however, they revert back to a shrunken state. This is why those first few steps in the morning are painful, why you experience sharp pain as the tendons lengthen, and why the cycle of heel pain seems interminable.

That’s when night splints come into the picture. These handy braces keep the plantar fascia gently stretched throughout the night, which helps keep it strong and flexible. This helps patients experience decreased pain as the ligaments begin slowly but surely healing.

What are the Benefits of Using Night Splints for Heel Pain?

When your podiatrist prescribes night splints to tackle your plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis, you’ll experience many benefits! Night splints can:

  • Help you sleep more comfortably
  • Steadily heal the affected ligaments
  • Decrease your foot and heel pain
  • Keep your muscles and tendons aligned properly

What Other Therapies Could my Podiatrist Prescribe Along with Night Splints?

More often than not, podiatrists prescribe a combination of non-surgical treatments to address heel pain, including the following:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Ice therapy
  • Injection therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription orthotics
  • Stretching exercises you can do from the comfort of your home

Conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis have a high success rate! You more than likely won’t need surgery to experience healing.

When your podiatrist prescribes night splints, you should use them as prescribed. Wearing them may take some getting used to, especially during the first week. You can ease into it by wearing them when you’re sitting and relaxed. Keep in mind that these splints will help speed up the healing process and, combined with other therapies, you’ll experience relief from pain!

Suffering from heel pain? Call the friendly and knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center at (314) 487-9300 to request an appointment! Our doctors have successfully treated patients for more than 30 years and stay up to date on the latest trends and technology in the medical field to provide you with the best treatment possible.

Think You Broke Your Toe? Here’s What You Should Do

Here’s the scene: you’ve motivated yourself enough to get off the couch and shuffle toward the fridge in search of a midnight snack. Your bare feet slap the cold tile beneath you as you amble toward the treasure trove of treats in the dark. You’re almost there when suddenly – BAM! – you’ve stubbed your toes hard on a kitchen table leg. Searing pain jolts throughout your toes, blinding your other senses. In your nocturnal delirium, you’ve wondered, “Have I broken my toe? What should I do?!” If you suspect you have a broken toe, we have the answers.

What Causes a Broken Toe?

A broken toe is one of the most common podiatric injuries that we see at The Foot & Ankle Center. It usually occurs when something heavy is dropped on your foot, when toes are stubbed against a hard surface, or when you experience repeated trauma. You are also more susceptible to damage when you walk around barefoot!

How Can I Tell if a Toe is Broken?

It can be surprisingly difficult to determine if your toe is broken! Typically, the telltale signs of a broken toe include the following:

  • Intense and throbbing pain
  • Severe bruising
  • Crooked and misshapen appearance of the injured toe
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty walking
  • Swelling
  • Toenail discoloration

Any pain and swelling that you experience should subside within a few days. If not, you should schedule an appointment with your podiatrist for an evaluation.

What Should I Do if I Think I Broke My Toe?

You will probably feel tempted to tape up your toe, take some painkillers, and move along with your life. This, however, is one of the worst things you could do. Any time you suspect a broken toe, you should visit your podiatrist as soon as possible. It’s possible that your toe bone may have been pulled out of alignment or pushed into an incorrect angle. If you choose not to be evaluated, you risk running into worse problems later in life like arthritis, chronic pain, infection, difficulty wearing your favorite shoes, and limited range of motion.

You may have also heard various myths about broken toes. You know, myths like there’s nothing a doctor can do to help your toe, if you can move it then it’s not broken, and toe injuries should be soaked in hot water with Epsom salts right away. These are all harmful and untrue! The right answer is to see your friendly podiatrist, who is an expert on all things feet.

What Will My Podiatrist Do for My Broken Toe?

First off, your podiatrist will more than likely use an x-ray to evaluate your toe and determine the right treatment for you. The x-ray will allow your doctor to view your toes’ bones and alignment to see if a break truly occurred. Should you have a broken toe, your podiatrist may suggest using a walking boot, hard-sole shoes, splinting, or a cast, depending on the injury. Surgery is typically reserved for severe injuries and misalignments.

What Should I Do if My Toe is Just Bruised?

Bruised toes are still plenty painful, even if they’re not broken or fractured! If you only sustained some bruising, thank your lucky stars and give your affected toe some TLC. You can use ice within the first few days for 15-20 minute intervals to help decrease swelling. Dial back your physical activities and rest your foot for a few days. If the pain persists, however, check back in with your podiatrist! Don’t let toe pain keep you down. Reach out to the friendly, knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center to help you get back on your feet again! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 or request your appointment here.