5 Reasons to Consider Bunion Surgery

If you have a bunion, you know how painful and unsightly they can be. Fortunately, there are many ways they can be treated, including many conservative measures. If you find yourself living in constant pain and being unable to do the activities you once did because of your bunion, you might need to consider surgery. Read on to learn more about bunions, how they’re treated, and why bunion surgery could be a smart choice for you:

What Is a Bunion?

Also known as hallux valgus, a bunion is a bony bump that gradually appears at the base of your big toe joint. It’s not unusual for your big toe to bend toward and push or overlap the other toes on the foot if you have a bunion. This podiatric condition is often genetic since people tend to inherit their foot structure from their parents, but they can also be brought about or worsened by wearing ill-fitting shoes or shoes with a narrow toe box.

How Are Bunions Typically Treated?

Because they begin to show up over time, bunions may at first present themselves to be painless and unnoticeable. As they progress, however, you might begin noticing swelling or redness around the big toe joint, a bony protrusion that continues to grow, or pain or stiffness in the affected area. Bunions don’t go away on their own; if left untreated, they can lead to other conditions like arthritis, limited mobility, and other podiatric deformities.

If your bunion causes you mild to moderate pain, some conservative measures can help relieve your discomfort. Your podiatrist may advise you to try the following first:

  • Wearing comfortable shoes with plenty of wiggle room in the toe box
  • Taping your foot to keep it in a normal position
  • Padding the bunion with moleskin or gel pads
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Applying ice packs on the affected region
  • Using orthotic shoe inserts

When Should I Consider Surgery for My Bunion?

You may want to consult with your podiatrist and talk about surgical options if any of these reasons apply to you:

  • Pain is consistent, severe, and impeding your daily activities.
  • It hurts to put pressure on the affected foot.
  • Walking is difficult because of your symptoms.
  • You’re experiencing a more limited range of motion in your feet.
  • You struggle to fit your feet into regular footwear.
  • The aforementioned conservative treatments are no longer giving you relief.

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Bunion Surgery

If you’re thinking about having bunion surgery because of the above reasons, you may find that it’s the smartest move you could make in regaining your quality of life. Here are our top reasons why bunion surgery could be what you need:

  • It relieves your pain. There’s no doubt about it – bunions can be quite painful. Many of our patients, however, have found that the surgery helps alleviate their pain and gives them long-term relief!

  • It’s more efficient than other methods. There are several types of bunion surgery; the kind you’ll need will depend on your unique situation. Additionally, this type of surgery is becoming more sophisticated and allows for smaller incisions and faster downtime.

  • It helps you lead a healthier life. Painful, protruding bunions often cause patients to shy away from engaging in their favorite activities or even simply walking. Once it’s removed, though, patients have found that they can enjoy a greater level of physical activity, which helps them live a healthier, more active life.

  • It’s performed as an outpatient procedure. This means you can go home to recover the same day as your surgery!

  • It boosts your confidence. Patients tend to feel very self-conscious about their bunion and avoid wearing sandals or going barefoot because of it. Eliminating the bunion through surgery can help patients feel more relaxed and comfortable with their feet once more.

The Experts at The Foot & Ankle Center Can Help Don’t let your bunion control your life. Schedule an appointment with the knowledgeable and friendly doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center to see if bunion surgery is right for you! Call us at (314) 487-9300 or request an appointment online to get started!

8 New Year’s Resolutions You Should Make for Your Feet

Happy New Year! If you’re like most adults in America, you’ve probably made some resolutions to better yourself in some way. If taking good care of your health is at the top of your list, why not work from the bottom up? Feet are all too often forgotten until a problem arises. This year, resolve to show those feet how much you appreciate all they do with these 8 tips:

Exercise, But Start Slowly

We know you’re probably ready to put your new exercise regimen into play, but you’ll definitely want to start slowly, especially if you’re not normally an active person. Exercise can really take its toll on the feet, and you’re much more prone to injury if you start off too quickly. Gradually build on your routine – even small 15-20 minutes of walking work! Remember to stretch your feet and warm up before working out (and cool down after the fact, too).

Eat Well for Your Feet, Too

What you eat affects your entire body – including your hardworking feet. Reward their efforts by choosing healthy, whole foods to promote circulation and strength. Avoid sugary foods or anything laden in artificial ingredients; they cause inflammation in the body, which can cause pain. This is especially important if you suffer from gout or diabetes.

Commit to Wearing Supportive Shoes More Often

Many times podiatric issues stem from wearing the wrong shoes. This year, promise your feet that you will spend less time in flip-flops and heels and more time in comfortable, supportive shoes. Choose shoes that fit correctly, provide plenty of arch support, and have a wide and comfortable toe box. Life’s too short for cramped toes!

Treat Yourself to New Shoes

We are officially giving you permission to buy new shoes (as long as they are form-fitting and supportive, of course!). You should replace your shoes every 300-500 miles of walking, which is around every 6 months. Discard shoes that are worn out, and donate gently-used shoes you no longer use. Consider buying a few pairs so you can alternate between them and lengthen the time before you need to go shoe shopping again.

Do More Stretching

Want to keep your feet flexible and limber while preventing injuries and painful conditions? Work some stretching into your day! Stretch your feet and toes regularly to keep your muscles and ligaments strong. Remember, if it hurts, stop – you don’t want to overextend and strain your muscles!

Start a Daily Foot Care Regimen

Let’s face it – your hardworking feet deserve the best every day. Treat them well with a daily foot care routine. Wash and thoroughly dry your feet each day and inspect them for anything unusual (especially if you have diabetes). Apply moisturizer to the bottoms of your feet to keep them soft and supple as well. Trust us, your feet will thank you!

Don’t Ignore Foot Pain

Do your feet seem to hurt and ache on a regular basis? If so, it might be time to call your podiatrist. Ignoring foot pain and putting off treatment can worsen any potential problem you may have. Call your podiatrist to help relieve the pain you’re experiencing!

Visit Your Podiatrist Regularly

Visiting your podiatrist regularly can help you keep your feet in top shape. This is especially important for those who have a foot condition, suffer from diabetes, or have any other condition that can affect the feet and ankles. Start the new year on the right foot by scheduling your appointment with the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 or request an appointment with us online!

15 Crucial Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy

Our feet are easily the body parts that we most take for granted. We wouldn’t be ambulatory without them, but we never seem to pay attention to them until a problem arises. Fortunately, following a few steps to look after your feet will not only help prevent podiatric problems, but it can also help you stay active and healthy, benefiting all aspects of health. Here are 15 essential tips to help keep your feet healthy and happy:

Don’t Ignore Foot Pain

Do your feet hurt on a regular basis? If you experience discomfort nearly every day, you might not be wearing the right shoes. In any case, pain is never normal. If it persists, you’ll want to check in with your podiatrist to find out what the problem is.

Inspect Your Feet Often

Keep an eye out for any unusual changes in your feet like corns, calluses, blisters, swelling, redness, abrasions, and discolored nails. Checking your feet often can help you catch problems early, which can prevent them from becoming more serious later!

Take Greater Care if You Have Diabetes

If you suffer from diabetes, you’ll want to keep a sharper eye on your feet. The disease can lead to a higher risk of podiatric infections and sores, so you’ll want to check your feet daily for anything unusual. Manage your blood sugar levels, and remember to schedule a checkup with your podiatrist at least once a year!

Wash Your Feet Regularly

It sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people skip washing their feet every day, however! To ward off bacteria, fungi, and other painful health issues, you need to wash your feet – including in between your toes – with a mild soap. Remember to dry your feet completely once you’re done to keep fungal infections at bay!

Trim Toenails Straight Across

We know you want to round your nails when you trim them, but doing so can cause painful ingrown toenails to develop. Instead, carefully cut your nails straight across, but not too short. This will also help you avoid any fungi or bacteria from forming under the nails.

Wear Shoes That Fit Well

Did you know that wearing the right shoes is one of the easiest ways you can take good care of your feet? Choose shoes that aren’t too loose or tight, offer ample arch support, and provide the toes with enough wiggle room in the toe box. Shop for shoes in the evening when your feet are at their largest; this will ensure that your shoes will always fit and feel comfortable!

Match Your Shoes With Your Activity

You wouldn’t wear flat-soled canvas shoes to go running, would you? If you do, you shouldn’t. To protect your feet and avoid injury, pair the right shoes for the activity you’re engaging in. Basketball shoes are for basketball, not running. Hiking shoes are perfect for hitting the trails, but not so much for shagging balls in the outfield.

Alternate and Inspect Shoes Regularly

Nothing wears shoes out faster than wearing them all day, every day. Alternate which shoes you wear to promote their longevity. While you’re at it, look them over for any signs of wear and tear. Remember, running shoes should be replaced every 300 miles (about twice a year)!

Refrain from Walking Barefoot

We know that walking on plush carpet can feel luxurious on your feet, but you run the risk of getting injuries like stubbed toes. Know what prevents injuries and makes you feel like royalty at the same time? Fuzzy slippers. The same idea applies when you’re at the beach, except you’ll want to wear sandals to protect your feet.

Don’t Perform Bathroom Surgery on Your Feet

You know what we’re talking about – shaving calluses, trimming corns, and trying to get rid of ingrown toenails yourself. More often than not, DIY solutions turn minor problems into bigger ones. Do yourself a favor – book an appointment with your podiatrist.

Avoid Sharing Shoes and Other Footgear

Sharing is caring, but not when it comes to your feet. Doing so is like sending an invitation to plantar warts, athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and others to join the party. Wear your own shoes and use your own pedicure tools to keep your feet healthy.

Don’t Hide Discolored Nails with Polish

If you have a discolored or cracked nail, you might be dealing with a fungus. Instead of using polish to cover up the problem, book an appointment with your podiatrist right away.

Keep Your Feet Dry

Warm, dry feet are happy feet, so remember to change your socks frequently and totally dry your feet off after a shower or bath. Wearing moisture-wicking socks can help keep feet dry as well. Remember to change out of wet shoes and socks as soon as you can, too!

Protect Your Feet in Public Places

Heading to the gym or swimming pool? Take shower shoes or flip-flops with you to wear as well. Warm, moist, communal areas are breeding grounds for athlete’s foot and other fungi. If you want to avoid getting any infections, don’t walk around those places barefoot.

Treat Your Feet Kindly

Your feet deserve love. Treat them well by maintaining a good exercise regimen, using a moisturizing cream on them (except in between the toes), rolling a tennis ball under them regularly, giving them a massage, and bathing them gently. Your feet will thank you tenfold if you do!

Foot health is essential if you want to continue feeling well and staying active. While you can certainly prevent many issues from arising by following a few easy steps at home, you should rely on the experts at The Foot & Ankle Center to keep your feet in top shape. We can easily diagnose and treat any podiatric problem you may experience! To make an appointment, please call us at (314) 487-9300!

Got Foot Cramps? Here’s How You Can Treat (and Prevent) Them

If you’ve ever had a foot or calf cramp, then you’re probably familiar with the sudden and severe pain it can bring. Worse yet, cramps can strike at almost any time of the day or night – even when you’re fast asleep. If you or someone you care about regularly suffers from foot cramps, read on to find out how you can treat them and prevent them from reappearing!

What Are Foot Cramps?

Also known as charley horses, foot cramps are a common ailment that happens when one or more muscles involuntarily contract and can’t relax. While they’re usually harmless, they can be quite painful. Anyone can experience foot or calf cramps at any age, but they seem to be more common among older patients.

What Causes Foot Cramps?

While the specific cause of cramps is unknown, there are many factors that may contribute to foot or calf cramping. Among them include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Medication side effects
  • Overuse of the muscle(s)
  • Poor circulation
  • Poor nutrition
  • Wearing shoes that aren’t supportive

How Can You Prevent Foot Cramps?

Foot cramps are uncomfortable, to say the least, but they’re usually pretty simple to prevent. Here are a few key ways you can help prevent foot cramps:

  • Stay hydrated: Make water your beverage of choice every day. Your muscles, just like the rest of your body, need plenty of water to function properly. Additionally, cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and sugary beverages, which can contribute to dehydration.

  • Stretch often: Daily stretching can help you remain limber and strong. Always take 5-10 minutes to warm up and cool down before and after your workouts. Calmer workouts like yoga or tai chi can also help!

  • Wear properly fitting shoes: Yes, your shoe choice can also matter! When you wear unsupportive shoes, you can wind up straining your feet and overworking your tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Choose practical footwear with ample arch support and plenty of room in the toe box.

  • Eat a balanced diet:Did you know that the culprit of many foot cramps is the lack of certain nutrients in your body? To avoid cramps, you’ll want to ensure you get plenty of potassium and calcium every day. Excellent sources of calcium include broccoli, dairy products, kale, and of course, milk. Get plenty of potassium by eating avocados, leafy greens, bananas, and yogurt!

  • Ask your doctor about potential medication side effects: If you’re starting a new medication, always ask your health care provider about potential side effects, especially if you’re prone to painful cramps.

What Should You Do if a Cramp Occurs?

Sometimes, foot or calf cramps can occur despite your best efforts. If this happens, do the following:

  • Stand and put weight on the cramping foot if possible, or try walking around the room. This might be all you need to do to stop the cramp.

  • If you’re unable to stand, try flexing your foot and pulling your toes toward you to stretch the muscles in your feet. Gently massage the area to help your muscles relax.

  • Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm washcloth on the affected area to promote relaxation and blood circulation. Soaking in warm water with Epsom salts can also help.

  • If you’re still experiencing lingering pain or discomfort, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.

Should I Visit My Podiatrist for Foot Cramps?

Foot cramps normally are harmless and don’t warrant a visit to your foot doctor. However, you should make an appointment if you experience muscle weakness, redness or swelling, cramps that aren’t improved through self-care, or severe pain that won’t go away. These symptoms may point to a deeper underlying condition that a podiatrist can treat.

Trust the Experts at The Foot & Ankle Center If you’re concerned about cramping in your toes, feet, or calves, schedule an appointment with the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! We will thoroughly examine your feet, give you an accurate diagnosis, and provide you with a treatment plan to alleviate the pain you’re experiencing. Call us today at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment or request a time with us online!

What Are Bone Spurs and How Are They Treated?

What’s a common ailment that many people don’t even realize they have? Two words: bone spurs. In fact, around 40% of the US population has a bone spur without even knowing it! Let’s talk about these bony growths, how they form, who gets them, and how they’re treated.

What Are Bone Spurs?

Also known as osteophytes, bone spurs are a smooth overgrowth of bone that gradually form near joints. You can find them just about anywhere, but they’re most commonly found on the spine, heels, knees, hips, and shoulders. When they form in the feet, they’re generally found in the heel, on the toes, or on the top of the foot. We will be focusing on the bone spurs commonly found in your feet in this blog!

What Causes Bone Spurs?

The short answer is time, along with wear and tear in the feet. They can also form due to arthritis, chronic tension on the plantar fascia, or too much pressure on a particular area of the foot. When cartilage breaks down, your body will try to compensate by creating extra bone in an effort to repair itself, which can often lead to bone spurs.

What Are the Symptoms of Bone Spurs?

Even though bone spurs sound awfully painful, the spur itself doesn’t cause pain. If you do experience pain, however, it’s because the spur is coming into contact with tendons, muscles, nerves, and other tissue. Here are the general symptoms of bone spurs:

  • Pain or discomfort when walking, standing, or performing weight-bearing activities. Many people describe it as having a perpetual pebble in their shoes!
  • Redness and/or swelling at the affected area.
  • A visible deformity or lump in the affected area.
  • Stiffness or limited mobility in the affected joints.

So, Who’s Prone to Getting Bone Spurs?

You’re more likely to experience bone spurs as you age. It’s also a hereditary issue, so if you have family members with bone spurs, that may increase your risk as well.

Others who are more prone to getting bone spurs include:

  • Those with certain podiatric conditions including plantar fasciitis, arthritis, Achilles tendinitis, and flat feet.
  • Those who regularly wear tight, ill-fitting shoes with little support, especially heels.
  • Those who are overweight or obese.
  • Those who regularly partake in weight-bearing activities that put stress on the feet.

How Can I Prevent Getting Bone Spurs?

The faster you adhere to healthier lifestyle habits, the less likely you’ll encounter bone spurs in the future. You can help protect your feet by maintaining a healthy weight and wearing shoes that fit well and provide ample support.

How Are Bone Spurs Treated?

Bone spurs can keep growing, which is why it’s important to get them treated as soon as you can. Fortunately, there are many conservative treatment options available to help relieve the pain and discomfort you may be experiencing! These include the following:

  • Wearing orthotic inserts to provide greater arch support.
  • Physical therapy, which includes targeted stretching exercises.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Cortisone injections to address pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
  • Resting and icing the affected area, especially after performing weight-bearing activities.
  • Wearing a walking boot to alleviate pressure on the foot.

When Should I See My Podiatrist for Bone Spurs?

Call your podiatrist if you’re experiencing prolonged pain, if you notice a bump that has grown larger over time and is red or swollen in appearance, if the bump interferes with your daily life, or if you notice any numbness or burning in your foot. We will perform a physical exam on your foot and may also take an x-ray to determine if you are truly suffering from a bone spur.

Count on The Foot & Ankle Center for Help If you’re experiencing pain and suspect a bone spur, don’t wait. Call the knowledgeable, friendly doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! We will examine your foot, draw up an appropriate treatment plan, and help you get back on your feet in no time. Schedule your appointment with us by calling (314) 487-9300 or request a time with us here!