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North Andover (978) 686-7623
Tewksbury (978) 640-1010

November 2021

Tuesday, 30 November 2021 00:00

Cryotherapy for Plantar Warts

A wart on the sole of your foot, also known as a plantar wart, is a benign, fleshy growth that is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Plantar warts are often painless and can go away on their own, however, this is not always the case. Warts can cause pain or discomfort if they are in areas that bear a lot of weight, grow inward due to pressure, or rub against your shoes and socks. Without treatment, plantar warts can also take years to disappear. One potential treatment option is cryotherapy. This is a fairly simple procedure in which the doctor applies a liquid nitrogen solution on the wart, freezing it. A blister then forms around the wart within 24 hours and can be removed after about one week. Two cryotherapy sessions may be needed to fully remove the wart. For more information about this and other treatments for plantar warts, please consult with a podiatrist. 

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, 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.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate 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 and ankle needs.

Read more about Plantar Warts
Tuesday, 30 November 2021 00:00

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are growths that typically appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of the feet. These warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters the body through breaks in the skin, such as cuts, that are on the bottom of the feet. Plantar warts are more likely to affect children and teenagers, people with weakened immune systems, people who have a history with plantar warts, and people who walk barefoot in environments exposed to a wart-causing virus.

If you suspect you have plantar warts, you may have the following symptoms: pain or tenderness while walking, a lesion that interrupts the ridges in the skin of your foot, small fleshy lesions on the bottom of the foot, or a callus where a wart has grown inward over a well-defined spot on the skin.

HPV causes plantar warts to form and is very common. There are more than 100 kinds of the virus in existence. However, only a few of them cause warts on the feet. The other types of HPV are likely to cause warts on other parts of the body.

If you have plantar warts, your podiatrist may try different treatment methods depending on your specific case. Some treatments for plantar warts are peeling medicines (salicylic acid), freezing medicines (cryotherapy), or surgical procedures. Laser treatments and vaccines are also used to treat plantar warts.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

What Can Be Done to Treat Bunions?

Bunions are bony growths that appear along the outside of the foot at the base of the big toe joint. They are thought to occur in response to excess pressure and friction on the toes from wearing ill-fitting shoes, as well as due to a genetic predisposition for bunions. This common toe deformity can be painful, as the bunions rub against shoes and cause the big toe to move out of alignment and towards the smaller toes. There are a variety of treatment methods available for bunions. Conservative methods can be prescribed to manage the symptoms of a bunion. These may include wearing wider, more supportive shoes, wearing orthotics such as toe stretchers, splints, or bunion pads, taking over-the-counter medications to reduce pain, and applying ice to the bunion to decrease inflammation. Bunions can be removed permanently through surgery. If you have painful bunions, talk to your podiatrist about potential treatment options today. 

If you are suffering from bunions, contact one of our podiatrists of Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why Do Bunions Form?

Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary

Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How Are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

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 Bunions
Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

Bunions

A bunion is an enlargement of the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot, often formed from a bony growth or a patch of swollen tissues. It is caused by the inward shifting of the bones in the big toe, toward the other toes of the foot. This shift can cause a serious amount of pain and discomfort. The area around the big toe can become inflamed, red, and painful.

Bunions are most commonly formed in people who are already genetically predisposed to them or other kinds of bone displacements. Existing bunions can be worsened by wearing improperly fitting shoes. Trying to cram your feet into high heels or running or walking in a way that causes too much stress on the feet can exacerbate bunion development. High heels not only push the big toe inward, but shift one's body weight and center of gravity towards the edge of the feet and toes, expediting bone displacement.

A podiatrist knowledgeable in foot structure and biomechanics will be able to quickly diagnose bunions. Bunions must be distinguished from gout or arthritic conditions, so blood tests may be necessary. The podiatrist may order a radiological exam to provide an image of the bone structure. If the x-ray demonstrates an enlargement of the joint near the base of the toe and a shifting toward the smaller toes, this is indicative of a bunion.

Wearing wider shoes can reduce pressure on the bunion and minimize pain, and high heeled shoes should be eliminated for a period of time. This may be enough to eliminate the pain associated with bunions; however, if pain persists, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed. Severe pain may require an injection of steroids near the bunion. Orthotics for shoes may be prescribed which, by altering the pressure on the foot, can be helpful in reducing pain. These do not correct the problem; but by eliminating the pain, they can provide relief.

For cases that do not respond to these methods of treatment, surgery can be done to reposition the toe. A surgeon may do this by taking out a section of bone or by rearranging the ligaments and tendons in the toe to help keep it properly aligned. It may be necessary even after surgery to wear more comfortable shoes that avoid placing pressure on the toe, as the big toe may move back to its former orientation toward the smaller toes.

Thursday, 18 November 2021 00:00

Reminder: When Was the Last Time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

The Basics of Diabetic Foot Care

If you or someone you take care of has diabetes, there are a number of preventative practices that should be implemented to help keep your feet healthy and to avoid serious complications down the road. Shoes and socks should be worn during waking hours, even around the house. Check to make sure shoes fit properly and that there are no rough edges that will scrape against or cause a disturbance in the skin. Examine the feet daily. Early detection of any break in the skin will help avoid the injury from developing into a wound. Keep the feet clean and dry and the toenails trimmed straight across. Toenail length should be level with the tips of the toes, but not too short in order to prevent the nail from growing into the skin. Finally, any diabetic should be under the care of a podiatrist who can help them maintain proper foot health and manage any complications should they arise.

Diabetic foot care is important in preventing foot ailments such as ulcers. If you are suffering from diabetes or have any other concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. The condition can damage blood vessels in many parts of the body, especially the feet. Because of this, taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes, and having a podiatrist help monitor your foot health is highly recommended.

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

  • Routinely inspect your feet for bruises or sores.
  • Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels, as blood sugar levels play such a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised.

It is always best to inform your healthcare professional of any concerns you may have regarding your feet, especially for diabetic patients. Early treatment and routine foot examinations are keys to maintaining proper health, especially because severe complications can arise if proper treatment is not applied.

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 Diabetic Foot Care
Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of people every year. Blood vessels located all over the body are damaged due to diabetes—even the blood vessels of the feet. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can result from slower blood flow in the legs and feet. In diabetic patients, neuropathy is very important to monitor, as diabetics are at risk for developing ulcers.

Always washing and thoroughly drying the feet are pertinent parts of diabetic foot care. There should be a focus on cleaning between the toes. Even if no pain is felt, the entire foot should be examined for redness and sores. Neuropathy can often mask the pain of sores and ulcers and can cause these conditions to be overlooked. Use a mirror to examine the underside of your feet if needed. It is recommended that diabetics wear well-fitting socks.

Patients with diabetes should have their doctor monitor their blood levels because blood sugar levels play a huge role in diabetic care. Monitoring these levels on a regular basis is highly advised. It is very important to keep your blood sugar levels in the normal range, which can be determined by your physician. There are medications that may be prescribed to help with any neuropathy experienced by the diabetic patient. It is also advisable to visit a podiatrist if one is experiencing any conditions involving the feet, such as ingrown toenails, which in more severe cases can cause infection.

Diabetic feet must be inspected daily. Diabetic foot care at home is possible if a patient is provided with instructions from their podiatrist. Patients can relieve dry heels with creams or ointments. Suspected wounds should warrant an immediate call to the podiatrist. Gangrene is a serious problem for diabetics and can lead to sepsis and amputation in its worst cases. Early treatment and daily inspection of diabetic feet are keys to staying healthy.

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 00:00

Blisters

Blisters are pockets of fluid that occur under the top layer of your skin. These fluid pockets are usually filled with pus, blood, or serum. Blisters may itch or hurt and can appear as a single bubble or in clusters.

The most common types of blisters are friction blisters. This type of blister may be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight. Friction blisters can also occur on the hands. A change in temperature may also cause blisters on the feet. In the freezing air, frostbite on your toes can lead to blisters, as well as sunburn from hot weather.

The best way to treat a blister is to keep it clean and dry. Most blisters will get better on their own. Once the skin absorbs the fluid within the blister, it will flatten and eventually peel off. You should avoid popping your blister unless you podiatrist does it for you. Additional treatment options include applying an ice pack to the blister or using over-the-counter blister bandages to cover the affected area.

If your blister becomes discolored, inflamed, or worsens it is advised that you speak to your podiatrist. Blisters that are yellow, green, or purple may be infected and require immediate medical attention. Blisters that are abnormally colored may be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition such as herpes.

Tuesday, 09 November 2021 00:00

What Causes Blisters and Why They Form

Blisters form between layers of injured skin as a way of cushioning the injury and protecting it from further damage. When friction or some other irritant damages the upper layer of skin (epidermis), it can tear away from underlying layers of skin. The space that is created between the layers then fills up with fluid (serum). Most blisters occur as a result of friction caused by ill-fitting shoes or socks. Other causes of blisters include burns, frostbite, irritants such as insect bites, chemicals and other toxins. Medical conditions like diabetic neuropathy and eczema, as well as certain autoimmune deficiencies, can weaken the outer layer of skin which increases the risk of blisters forming. Aside from removing pressure from the affected area, it is best to leave a blister alone to allow it to heal naturally, which usually happens within a few days. However, if the blister worsens by becoming discolored or excessively inflamed, it may indicate that an infection is present and a podiatrist should be consulted right away.

Blisters may appear as a single bubble or in a cluster. They can cause a lot of pain and may be filled with pus, blood, or watery serum. If your feet are hurting, contact one of our podiatrists of Foot Health Center of Merrimack Valley. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Foot Blisters

Foot blisters are often the result of friction. This happens due to the constant rubbing from shoes, which can lead to pain.

What Are Foot Blisters?

A foot blister is a small fluid-filled pocket that forms on the upper-most layer of the skin. Blisters are filled with clear fluid and can lead to blood drainage or pus if the area becomes infected.

Symptoms

(Blister symptoms may vary depending on what is causing them)

  • Bubble of skin filled with fluid
  • Redness
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Itching

Prevention & Treatment

In order to prevent blisters, you should be sure to wear comfortable shoes with socks that cushion your feet and absorb sweat. Breaking a blister open may increase your chances of developing an infection. However, if your blister breaks, you should wash the area with soap and water immediately and then apply a bandage to the affected area. If your blisters cause severe pain it is important that you call your podiatrist right away.

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 Blisters
Tuesday, 02 November 2021 00:00

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. These types of injuries are very common and can occur in people of all ages. Sprains may range from mild to severe, depending on how much damage is done to the ligaments. If a sprain goes untreated, a more severe sprain may occur which can further damage the ankle. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle pain.

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering a sprained ankle. Those who participate in sports, walk on uneven surfaces, have a prior ankle injury, are in poor physical condition, or wear improper shoes are more likely to get a sprained ankle.

There are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect you are suffering from a sprained ankle. Some common symptoms are swelling, bruising, tenderness, and instability of the ankle. In cases where the tearing of the ligaments is severe, there may be a “popping” sound when the strain occurs.

The RICE method is proven to be effective in treating ankle sprains. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest is important for treatment especially within the first 24 to 48 hours. You should also ice your sprained ankle for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time. A small piece of cloth should be placed between the ice and the affected area. For the compression step, you should wear a brace that is snug, but not too tight that it cuts off circulation. When choosing a brace, be sure to choose one that is suitable for the type of ankle sprain you have. Lastly, you should elevate your foot above the heart as often as possible.

After you treat a sprain, you should go through rehabilitation to prevent the injury from occurring again. There are three phases to the rehab process. The first phase involves resting, protecting and reducing the swelling of the injury. The second phase consists of restoring the ankles flexibility, range of motion, and strength. The third phase consists of slowly returning to activity and maintenance exercises.

If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and a suitable treatment option for your condition.

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