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Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

What is Morton's Neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma, (also referred to as Morton’s metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuralgia, plantar neuroma or intermetatarsal neuroma) is a condition that is caused when the tissue around one of the nerves between your toes begins to thicken. This thickening can result in pain in the ball of the foot. Fortunately, the condition itself is not cancerous.

Morton’s neuroma affects women more often than men with a ratio of 4:1. It tends to target women between the age of 50 and 60, but it can occur in people of all ages. There are some risk factors that may put you at a slightly higher risk of developing the condition. People who often wear narrow or high-heeled shoes are often found to be linked to Morton’s neuroma. Additionally, activities such as running or jogging can put an enormous amount of pressure on the ligament and cause the nerve to thicken.

There usually aren’t any outward symptoms of this condition. A person who has Morton’s neuroma may feel as if they are standing on a pebble in their shoe. They may also feel a tingling or numbness in the toes as well as a burning pain in the ball of their foot that may radiate to their toes.

In order to properly diagnose you, the doctor will press on your foot to feel for a mass or tender spot. He may also do a series of tests such as x-rays, an ultrasound, or an MRI. X-rays are usually done to rule out any other causes for your foot pain such as a stress fracture. Ultrasounds are used to reveal soft tissue abnormalities that may exist, such as neuromas. Your podiatrist may want to use an MRI in order to visualize your soft tissues.

There are three main options for treatment of Morton’s neuroma: Injections, decompression surgery, and removal of the nerve. Injections of steroids into the painful area have been proven to help those with Morton’s neuroma. Decompression surgery has been shown to relieve pressure on the affected nerve by cutting nearby structures such as the ligaments in the foot. Another treatment option would be to surgically remove the growth to provide pain relief.

If you suspect that you have Morton’s neuroma you should make an appointment with your podiatrist right away. You shouldn’t ignore any foot pain that lasts longer than a few days, especially if the pain does not improve.

Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

High Heels and Morton’s Neuroma

High heels have become a normal part of many women's lives. Unfortunately, wearing high heels too often can lead to health complications. One of these health complications is Morton’s neuroma, which is a complication involving swelling along a nerve in the foot. This swelling results in burning pain, numbness, and tingling. This affliction is more common in women than men, which might be because it is more common for women to wear high heels. High heels put the foot in an unnatural position and push toes together. Wearing high heels often, can lead to subtle bone shifts that increase the risk for a neuroma to form. Usually, the discomfort caused by this condition can be briefly relieved by taking off your shoes and moving your feet around. Continuing to wear high heels for extended periods of time will aggravate your foot and cause the symptoms to come back. If you feel that you may have a Morton’s neuroma, then it is suggested you speak with a podiatrist about proper treatment methods.

Morton’s neuroma is a very uncomfortable condition to live with. If you think you have Morton’s neuroma, contact one of our podiatrists of Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs and answer any of your related questions.  

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a painful foot condition that commonly affects the areas between the second and third or third and fourth toe, although other areas of the foot are also susceptible. Morton’s neuroma is caused by an inflamed nerve in the foot that is being squeezed and aggravated by surrounding bones.

What Increases the Chances of Having Morton’s Neuroma?

  • Ill-fitting high heels or shoes that add pressure to the toe or foot
  • Jogging, running or any sport that involves constant impact to the foot
  • Flat feet, bunions, and any other foot deformities

Morton’s neuroma is a very treatable condition. Orthotics and shoe inserts can often be used to alleviate the pain on the forefront of the feet. In more severe cases, corticosteroids can also be prescribed. In order to figure out the best treatment for your neuroma, it’s recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition and provide different treatment options.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Wednesday, 23 January 2019 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.

Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails

A new treatment for fungal nails, or onychomycosis, which has grown in popularity in recent years, is laser treatment. Laser treatment involves the use of a laser that kills fungus in the toenail with heat. Laser therapy causes no side effects and does not affect nearby healthy tissue.

Toenail fungus afflicts almost 10 percent of the U.S. population and is more common among the elderly. The most common symptom of toenail fungus is the discoloration and thickening of the nail. The nail can also become brittle and a foul smell may be produced. In rare cases, pain might be present. While it is not a serious condition, it can lead to a perception of disgust amongst those it affects. There are several different fungi that cause fungal infections. These include dermatophyte, yeast, and mold. The most common of these is dermatophyte.

Diagnosis for fungal nails involves a podiatrist utilizing microscopy and fungal cultures. This will allow the doctor to determine whether it is a fungus or another condition, such as lichen planus, psoriasis, nail damage, and onychogryphosis.

Fungus in the nails can be hard to get rid of with over-the-counter drugs. This is due to the nail being hard and protective, with fungus able to slip between the nail bed and plate. Furthermore the slow growth of the nail increases the difficulty of fungus going away. Laser treatment seeks to get around this by directly penetrating through the nail and killing the fungus. The laser is used on each infected nail for a couple of minutes. Patients then typically return several weeks or months later for another laser treatment. During this time the podiatrist will routinely observe the foot and infection. It is also recommended to wear clean socks and shoes and allow the feet to dry and breathe to prevent toenail fungus.

Laser treatment is still a relatively new treatment and not all podiatrists have laser machines. Ask your podiatrist if they do laser treatment for toenail fungus and if it is right for you.

Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

Treating Fungal Nails with Laser Treatment

Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) is one of the most common nail disorders among adults. It is a mycotic infection that occurs underneath the nail plate. The nail can become deformed, lifted, brittle, and discolored. These symptoms may lead to acute pain in the toenail area. There are various types of fungal nail infections and various types of treatments. One form of treatment is laser therapy, which also consists of varying methods. Photodynamic therapy uses light irradiation and a photosensitizing drug to find specific cells and destroy them. Other laser therapies that involve neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet or low-level lasers aim to selectively hinder fungal growth. Laser therapies are selective to the localized infection, which decreases the chance of systemic side effects. If you are interested in laser treatment for a fungal infection, consult with a podiatrist for further guidance.

Laser treatment can be an effective way to get rid of toenail fungus. If you have any questions about laser treatment, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment for fungal nails.

What are Toenail Fungal Infections?

Onychomycosis, or fungal infection of the nail, is a relatively common and non-serious condition. Around 10 percent of U.S. citizens are afflicted with fungal nails. Common forms of fungus that infect the nail include dermatophytes, yeasts, and molds.

Symptoms of Toenail Fungal Infections Include:

  • Nail thickening
  • Brittleness of the nail
  • Discoloration of the nail

Diagnosis for Fungal Nails

Fungal infections are diagnosed by fungal culture and microscopy. This will rule out any other conditions such as nail trauma, psoriasis, lichen planus, and onychogryphosis.

What is Laser Treatment?

Laser treatment is a non-invasive, safe, quick, and painless procedure that uses the heat from a laser to kill fungus in the nail. Each infected nail is targeted with a laser for several minutes. The treatment is usually utilized several different times over a select period. During this time, a podiatrist will keep an eye on the infection.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Laser Treatment for Fungal Nails
Monday, 14 January 2019 00:00

Flip Flops and Feet

Flip flops are often a popular choice of footwear for many people. Flip flops allow your feet to breathe and give your toes the freedom of movement. They are easy to slip on and can be worn with virtually any style of clothing. Flip flops, however, despite their many benefits, can be detrimental for your foot health.

Despite their comfortableness, frequently wearing flip flops can create problems in the lower body over time. Issues mainly stem from the fact that people walk differently in flip flops compared to other footwear, such as sneakers. This is due to a change in one’s natural gait, which therefore creates stress in different parts of the body while hindering the body’s natural posture. Problems can also arise in the arches and balls of the feet. Flip flops provide little to no support to these areas.

Aside from long-term problems, flip-fops can also create short-term issues as well, such as ankle sprains and blisters. Weak materials that are flexible and bendable are generally used to manufacture flip flops. These materials make its wearers prone to both tripping and injuring their ankles. Flip flops can create blisters as the material rubs against the foot. People are much more at risk for infection while wearing flip flops due to their openness. This also makes it easier to scrape and cut the foot since there is a lack of protection. If these cuts are left untreated and uncovered, the risk then becomes greater.

To prevent the aforementioned occurrences, purchase a pair of flip flops that offer significant protection. The soles of the flip flops should not be floppy, but sturdy and firm, and should not significantly bend or wiggle when lifted from the floor. Flip flops made of high-quality materials will not be affected by this problem. While higher quality flip flops may be more expensive, they will last longer and provide better protection compared to a cheaper pair. Brand name flip flops sold from a quality manufacturer are a dependable option.

There is no problem in wearing your favorite pair of flip flops so as long as you do not wear them daily or for extended periods of time. Flip flops should be replaced every 3-4 months to ensure that they provide your feet with the best protection.

Despite the ease and simplicity of wearing flip flops, they may be detrimental to the health of your feet. This may be a result of the absence of an arch and support in this type of shoe, and this may cause pain and discomfort in your ankles and feet. The toes will naturally curl to stabilize and support the foot, and this may negatively affect the mechanics of walking. Many patients have noticed chronic pain in their heels, which may be a result of a lack of cushioning. Heel pain may lead to the painful and uncomfortable condition known as plantar fasciitis or possibly a heel spur, which may be caused by excess calcium if the former is left untreated. If you would like additional information about how wearing flip flops can affect your feet, it is suggested to speak to a podiatrist.

Flip-flops are not always the best choice of footwear. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

Flip-Flops and Feet

When the weather starts warming up, people enjoy wearing flip-flops.  Flip-flops are comfortable, stylish, and easy to slip on and off; they're perfect for any summer beach goer.  However, these shoes can cause harm to the feet.

How Can Flip-Flops Affect Me Long-Term?

  • Ankle problems
  • Hip problems
  • Lower back problems
  • Pain in the balls of the feet
  • Problems with foot arches
  • Changes in the way you walk

Are There Injuries Associated with Flip-Flops?

Yes.  Since flip-flops are relatively weak and do not provide the same amount of support as sneakers, people who wear flip-flops regularly are more susceptible to injuries. On top of that, the open nature of the shoe makes your feet more prone to other problems, such as cuts and even infections.  Common injuries and ailments include:

  • Sprained ankles
  • Blisters
  • Infections
  • Cuts and Scrapes

I like Wearing Flip-Flops. Are There Safe Alternatives?

When buying flip-flops, try to find ones that have sturdy soles and that are made of high-quality materials that will support for your feet.  These flip-flops will cost more but will also last longer as a result.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA.  We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Flip Flops and Feet
Wednesday, 09 January 2019 00:00

Why Live with Pain and Numbness in Your Feet?

Living with foot pain is hard on your body.  Give us a call and let us find out what's wrong.

Monday, 07 January 2019 00:00

Stretching Your Feet

Debilitating foot pain is a problem for many people. But just as stretching the torso can help alleviate back pain, stretching the feet can also help mend existing foot problems and prevent future ones.

The feet, as the body’s foundation, carry the body’s entire weight and can get easily strained from overexertion. Persistent sharp pain and cramping in the feet are often common concerns. Foot pain and foot problems can be due to any number of causes, and in many cases pain may be eased without medication or doctor visits. It is always a good idea, however, to first rule out any serious medical issues with a physician.

Stretching can help relax the feet and alleviate pain, but is especially important before heavy aerobic exercise. Stretching before such activities can help you avoid experiencing painful cramps or strained foot muscles. Stretches should be performed slowly and deliberately without forceful pulling. The stretch should be held for several seconds before relaxing.

A great way to stretch out and loosen up the foot muscles while sitting is to cross one leg over the other and pull the toes carefully back without overextending. Start by resting the left ankle on the right knee. With the left hand, gently flex the left foot by pulling back on the toes. Do not pull too hard; just hard enough to feel the stretch in the arch of the foot. Then point the toes of the left foot as far as you can. Rotate the motion of pointing with pulling back on the toes. This should relax and stretch the muscles on the bottom and the top of the foot. Doing this stretch ten to twenty times should bring relief. Repeat the whole process for the other foot by resting the right ankle on the left knee.

A stretch that focuses on the often injured Achilles tendon involves standing and facing a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot, keeping it flat against the floor. Move the other leg forward and lean toward the wall. You should feel a stretch through the back of your leg and your Achilles tendon, but do not push yourself too much. Stop when you feel a stretching sensation, and hold for 30 seconds. Ten repetitions may be done for each foot.

Stretching the feet is important for athletes or those performing aerobic exercise, but it can also help anyone with foot pain caused by poor footwear, plantar fasciitis, or long hours standing and walking. Individuals who tend to their feet by regularly stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

When proper care of the feet and ankles are maintained, the overall health of the body may be positively affected. The alignment of the body is affected by how we walk and stand, and research has shown that practicing yoga may be an option in ensuring the body remains strong. If the feet are not properly cared for, specific foot conditions may develop as a result of this, possibly including heel spurs, bunions, or plantar fasciitis. There are several parts of the feet that may be strengthened as a benefit of a yoga practice, and these may include the inner and outer heel, in addition to the pinky and big toe mound areas. An important portion of performing yoga includes standing with the feet flat on the floor and making sure the weight of the body is evenly distributed on the four corners of the foot. When this is accomplished, lift the arches. This may strengthen the muscles of the ankles and feet. If you would like additional information about the benefits of stretching the feet, speak to a podiatrist.  

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with one of our podiatrists from Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Stretching the muscles in the foot is an important part in any physical activity. Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but also prevent it as well. However, it is important to see a podiatrist first if stretching is right for you. Podiatrists can also recommend other ways to stretch your feet. Once you know whether stretching is right for you, here are some excellent stretches you can do.

  • Using a foam roller or any cylindrical object (a water bottle or soda can will do), roll the object under your foot back and forth. You should also exert pressure on the object. Be sure to do this to both feet for a minute. Do this exercise three times each.
  • Similar to the previous one, take a ball, such as a tennis ball, and roll it under your foot while seated and exert pressure on it.
  • Grab a resistance band or towel and take a seat. If you are using a towel, fold it length wise. Next put either one between the ball of your foot and heel and pull with both hands on each side towards you. Hold this for 15 seconds and then switch feet. Do this three times for each foot.
  • Finally hold your big toe while crossing one leg over the other. Pull the toe towards you and hold for 15 seconds. Once again do this three times per foot.

It is best to go easy when first stretching your foot and work your way up. If your foot starts hurting, stop exercising and ice and rest the foot. It is advised to then see a podiatrist for help.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in North Andover, and Tewksbury, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stretching Your Feet
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