At Franklin Foot Care, we hear many questions come up from our patients on a daily basis. Some of the common questions are below. If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact our office and ask to speak to one of our podiatrists. We would love to help answer any questions you have about foot care.
Q. What is a podiatrist?
A. A foot specialist that performs medical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle.
Q. Having pain in my feet, is it common?
A. Yes, it is extremely common because of the amount of time you are on your feet. Your feet have so many ligaments and tendons that the more they stretch the more they get strained. When this happens your feet swell and that swelling is what causes pain. Sometimes the pain subsides pretty quickly, but as the overuse continues, the pain starts to become more intense and it lasts longer.
Q. Can I prevent foot pain?
A. Foot pain can be prevented by wearing the proper shoe gear. Wearing a shoe that has a rubber sole and shock absorption properties can help. Also, your shoes should have plenty of room in the toe box. You also want a shoe that provides some arch support because the more arch support you have in the shoe the better.
Q. What can I do to relieve foot and ankle pain?
A. Support the arch, use ice, and take some anti-inflammatory medication if needed. But if you are unable to take an anti-inflammatory then the more you ice the better. If the pain continues, you should call our office to set up an appointment.
Q. How do I know when to consult with a podiatrist?
A. If the pain does not go away, and starts to affect the quality of life, you should give our office a call.
Q. What is heel pain and how can I prevent it?
A. Heel pain is pain in the bottom of the heel and the beginning of the arch area. It is pain you have whenever you put weight on your feet. A lot of times you can have heel pain at night while you are sleeping, which a lot of patients do not understand because you are resting. But what happens is when you are not walking on the heel, all of the inflammation from the tear or the tendon injury goes to where the trauma is, which is usually in that heel. As you sleep it starts to accumulate.
Q. What can I do to relieve heel pain and plantar fasciitis?
A. When you have pain in the heel with plantar fasciitis, the best way to relieve that pain is to support the arch, which decreases the increased amount of inflammation. You can also apply ice to the bottom of the heel, to the back of the foot, and the bottom of the foot. Again, anti-inflammatory medication with food will also help. Also, elevation of the foot and sometimes compression helps.
Q. What are the best ways to pick out shoes?
A. You want a shoe that has a nice rubber sole and that does not squeeze the toes. Make sure the shoe has plenty of room in the toe box and it has a level of arch support. The best way to pick out a shoe is to try it on, and wiggle your toes. If you can feel the arch pushing up a little and not flattening out then that is a good shoe.
Q. Do I have to be an athlete to get athlete’s foot?
A. Absolutely not! You have fungus on your feet naturally, but with increased sweating and heat, it increases moisture. When that occurs you usually develop athlete’s foot because the fungus starts to grow even faster. Fungus likes dark, warm, and moist places. That is when the fungus overgrows and that is when you have athlete’s foot.
Q. How do you treat a stress fracture?
A. Using a walking boot, compressive dressing, an ace bandage, or a strapping. Treatment depends on where the stress fracture is and how large. Our goal is to remove the stress that caused the fracture in the first place.
Q. I have ugly toenails. What can I do to get nicer toenails?
A. We have several treatments for fungal nails, such as oral, topical, and laser treatment. If you make an appointment, we can go over treatment options and help select the right one for your situation.
Q. Why do I have to take special care of my feet if I have diabetes?
A. People with diabetes are more susceptible to infections, and you have to be extremely careful. Neuropathy is a common condition and causes numbness. If you have neuropathy and are stepping on something, like a tack, a nail, or a splinter, you may not feel it. No matter how blunt or small an object can be, if you have been walking on it all day eventually it cuts through the skin. Once you have an open area on the foot, it is easy to get an infection. A person with diabetes is more prone to get an infection because their immune system is not as strong due to the increased sugar that is in the blood stream.
Q. Do you provide other services, like a diabetic shoe program?
A. Yes, we do provide a diabetic shoe program. Depending on the insurance, for some patients it is covered, but in other cases it is not. We educate all of our patients about proper shoe care, preventative techniques, and foot health. It is crucial that a person with diabetes see a podiatrist on a regular basis because there are things that we can identify before they become problems. The more eyes you have checking on your feet, the likely you are to catch things before they become issues.
Q. Foot problems in children, do they occur often?
A. Foot problems occur in children because they are so active. Children play organized sports on different surfaces, practice throughout the week, play games and tournaments during the weekend. Common foot problems in children include ingrown nails, Sever’s Disease, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, traumas, sprains, strains, fractures, and general foot pain from growth spurts.
Q. After working on my feet all day, is it normal for them to be sore?
A. Yes, even someone who has a perfect foot, if they have been on their feet long enough they can experience pain. If the pain does not go away, then that is when you are starting to have an increased amount of inflammation in the tissue. When you have increased inflammation in the tissue, the foot or the ankle, it cannot begin the healing process until that inflammation is gone. That is why it is so important, not only to start treating it when you have the pain, but to continue treatment after the pain is gone.
Q. If I have bunions will I need surgery? If yes, how long will I be off my feet?
A. Just because you have a bunion does not mean you need surgery. We try to exhaust every treatment option short of surgery first. However, if there is a significant amount of bone changes and the pain you are experience is affecting your quality of life, then that is when it is time for surgery. The length of time you will be off your feet depends upon the type of procedure. The minimum amount of time you will have to get off your feet is for at least a week, but you will be wearing post-op shoe and crutches. Sometimes it can be up to six weeks if you have a major osteotomy done and you have a plate or screw. If you are on crutches then that helps protect the foot, but the post-op shoe keeps you from bending that joint because you cannot bend the joint for quite a while.
Q. Do you have different options for bunion surgeries?
A. Yes. Depending on the severity of the bunion, the arthritic changes, and the quality of the bone the surgeon will determine what procedure to use. Of course, all surgeons have procedures they have done more of, and experienced. So it varies based on which doctor you go to for the procedures.
Q. What are ingrown toenails and can I remove them myself?
A. Ingrown toenails happen when the nails turn into the skin and put pressure on the skin and the nerves that are in the toe. A lot of times, when the nail is just starting to become ingrown, or incurvated, people do try to cut them out, but a lot of times it is very common that an infection develops. This happens because there’s been a cut in the toenail and the nail was so close to the skin, or they cut it the wrong way. If your toenail is painful, the first thing you want to do is call your podiatrist, and get in as soon as you can. Let the professional do it because if there is a knick in the skin they know what to do. They know how to treat it so they can nip it in the bud and keep it from getting worse.
Q. Are pedicures suitable for your feet?
A. Pedicures by a professional technician can be okay. The problem occurs when a technician cuts the skin, or tries to cut the skin or calluses. Also, sometimes soaking, depending on the apparatus your feet are soaking in, can be a problem. If it is not cleaned, you can develop fungal nail issues or infections of the skin. So you want to be extremely careful with any pedicure. If you have a comfort level with a professional technician that is perfect, but make sure they do as little cutting as possible.
Q. What should I look for in a spa that provides pedicures?
A. Cleanliness! The buckets need to be cleaned if you do have your feet soaked. Also, they should not do a lot of cutting with sharp instruments on the skin.
Q. What are orthotics?
A. Orthotics are prosthesis that support the foot in a correct position. It is a custom prosthesis, which usually requires some casting, an imprint box, or computerized scan. The custom prosthesis is developed to fit your foot type, your foot, your arch, and your issues exactly. Orthotics are created by a podiatrist. There are other orthotics that are pre-fabricated, but these are made for a general shape. Custom orthotics are preferred, but not every person needs a custom orthotic. Sometimes they just need the arch supported, and the general arch support is adequate. In most cases, when you have other issues, like traumas or arthritic changes in the bone, or extreme pain in certain areas or wounds, a person becomes a strong candidate for custom orthotics.
Q. How will I know if I need an orthotic?
A. If you have issues including a flat foot, a very high arch, constant pain or weakness, repeated sprained ankles or hip issues, knee issues or lower back or neck issues.
Q. Do you do custom orthotics and how are they different from preformed orthotics?
A. Yes, we do custom orthotics. We do orthotics by casting, computer scan and imprint boxes. The custom orthotics are different from preformed orthotics because the custom orthotic fits your foot only.
Q. What are the most common conditions that you see?
A. Very common conditions include plantar fasciitis, paronychia, diabetic foot care, traumas, sprained ankles, tendonitis, hammertoes with bunions, and neuromas.
Q. What treatment options do you have?
A. For some of the common procedures, we have arch supports, preformed and custom orthotics, exercise programs and plans. We advise a range of motion exercises, stretching, and applying ice therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. For mild conditions, we write prescriptions or recommend over the counter inflammatory medication. For severe conditions, we will write a prescription for a high dosage of anti-inflammatory medication.
Q. What types of foot conditions require surgery?
A. Conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, tendon tears, ankle pain, ganglion cysts, and fibromas.
Q. Do you provide physical therapy?
A. We can recommend physical therapy practices available in our community.
Q. Do you provide the products that I need in your office?
A. Yes. We have diabetic shoes, vascular stockings, and creams to break down calluses. We have heel socks where patients can do therapeutic heel treatments at night while they are sleeping. We have creams to take away some of the pain, and bio-freeze. We have toe and metatarsal pads and bunion shields. We have crest pads that help with severe hammer toes. We have shoe horns, spacers, moleskin, and lamb’s wool. We provide inserts and have many of types, which will give some support.