Do you have questions about foot care? We have answers.
Do you have questions about foot injuries or the causes of foot pain? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about foot injuries and foot care. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor about your foot pain, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.
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Do all bunions need surgery?
Once a bunion forms on your foot, there is no way to correct them other than surgery. The bump on the side of the foot is formed because of a rotation of the bone and bunion surgery repositions the bone to achieve correction. That's not to say that every bunion needs surgery.
In my Houston podiatry practice I see the gamut of bunions: from mild-looking bunions that are very painful to horribly deformed bunions that haven't provided a minute of pain. The treatment of a bunion should correlate to the discomfort it provides and its presence restricts you in any way.
Discomfort from a bunion typically comes in two forms: pain deep in the great toe joint and pain where the bunion contacts the shoe. When the pain is in the joint, it is possible to control the function and pressure in that joint by treating it with a custom orthotic. The orthotic will also remove the deforming forces that will cause the bunion to get worse with time. This is a treatment option that many choose to prevent or delay future surgery.
When the pain is related to the bump of the bunion, it makes it difficult to wear shoes comfortably. In some cases, the bunion can be cushioned with a bunion pad. In other cases, foot surgery is the best option to correct the bunion. Bunion surgery will reduce the deformity and will ultimately allow you to return to wearing your shoes comfortably.
Bunions will become worse with time so the best time to get your's checked is now. Houston podiatrist and bunion surgeon Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate your foot and offer the best recommendation to ensure your bunion is addressed in the best way to meet your goals.
Can custom orthotics cure my bunions?
An orthotic is a custom shoe insole that works to increase the stability and efficiency of the foot and ankle. When an orthotic is made properly, it will help to remove the forces that causes the bunion on your foot to form. While it will not reverse the bunion and cause it to go away, the custom orthotic will slow or stop the bunion deformity from progressing.
Not all custom orthotics are created equal. An impression must be taken of your foot, which can be done using plaster, a box of crush foam, or by standing or walking on a digital plate. There are numerous materials that can be used to make an orthotic.
In my Houston podiatry practice, I perform a comprehensive biomechanical examinations with measurements taken both standing and walking. We use two different methods to evaluate your gait, a visual and a computerized gait analysis. We then take a mold of your foot in a stable neutral position.
If you are noticing a bump forming on the side of your great toe joint, it is likely a bunion forming. Contact Dr. Andrew Schneider to evaluate it and make recommendations to control it so it doesn't become larger or more painful.
Why do I have bunions on my feet?
Bunions are the result of unstable mechanics. In general you inherit these mechanics, which is why you may describe your feet as similar to a parent or grandparent. You don't really inherit the bunions themselves, just the predisposition for the bunion to form.
A bunion is not a growth of bone on the side the foot. It is when the first metatarsal bone rotates out, causing the bone to bulge. This forces the joint to be misaligned and pushes the great toe towards the second toe. Every step you take continues this cycle and causes the bunion to grow larger.
If a bunion is caught early in its development, the mechanics that cause it to form can be neutralized. A custom orthotic is best used for this purpose. When properly made, a custom orthotic can neutralize the forces that cause the bunion deformity. This can stop the development of the bunion and possibly prevent the need for further correction, such as bunion surgery, in the future.
If you are starting to see a bump on the side of your foot, do NOT wait until it becomes painful. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive foot evaluation and learn what can be done to stop your bunion from becoming a bigger problem.
Why does taking Advil or Aleve help my running pain?
Most running injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, and Morton's neuroma, are an inflammation of the musculoskeletal system. In many cases, it is inflammation of the tendon or ligament where it attaches to the bone. This inflammation is the source of the pain from these injuries.
You can treat a Houston running injury naturally with ice. Icing your injury will constrict the blood flow to the area. Apply ice for up to 20 minutes at a time and take a break between applications. Icing an injury, such as a sprained ankle, as soon as it occurs is the best way to minimize the swelling.
Antiinflammatory medication, or NSAIDs, are another good way to treat inflammation. Advil, Motrin, and Aleve all fall into this category. They work to inhibit a chemical pathway that causes inflammation to occur. One pifall many fall into, however, is using an anti-inflammatory medication like they treat a headache: taking it when the pain occurs only. Running injuries respond much better to taking medication consistantly, the recommended daily dose for 1-2 weeks. This will not only treat the pain, but allow the injury to heal by eliminating the inflammation.
If you have a running injury that is causing pain in your foot and ankle, the sooner you treat it, the faster you will be able to return to running. Contact Houston running podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprhensive examination and detailed treatment plan to get you back on the road.
Why do running magazines sometimes recommend against orthotics?
Every so often I catch an article in a prominent running magazine that discounts the usefulness and efficacy of custom orthotics. Since I see how custom orthotics help runners increase their speed and endurance first-hand, I'll admit that I get a bit annoyed. On the other hand, I can understand their position.
A custom orthotic is an insole made from a model of your foot. It is called a custom orthotic whether it is made by a Houston podiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthotist. The resulting device, however, varies depending on how it is made...and there are many different philosophies when it comes to custom orthotics. Because some work better than others, those on the outside looking in can notice inconsistent results.
Where my Houston podiatry practice I perform a comprehensive biomechanical examination when I evaluate you for custom orthotics. I check range of motion from your hip to your feet, watch you walk and perform a gait analysis, and ultimately take a mold of your foot in plaster. I believe that this is the most accurate way to capture the foot in the most stable position.
The results speak for themselves...not to mention that I guarantee that the orthotics will feel great and work perfectly. If you have not had success with custom orthotics in the past, contact Dr. Andrew Schneider in Houston to see how much difference a properly made device will make.
What can you do to help me run again?
Runners have one desire...to keep running. In fact most runners delay coming to our Houston podiatry office because they are afraid that I'll tell them to stop running. The problem with that reasoning is that if they came sooner, before the problem became unbearable, I probably wouldn't have told them to stop running...but now I have to.
There are of course some circumstances where you do absolutely have to take a break from running. These include stress fractures, fractures, tendon ruptures, and severe sprains. Continuing to run on these injuries is a recipe for disaster! The injury will worsen, possibly requiring surgery to repair and correct
When it comes to overuse running injuries, such as shin splints, heel pain, and Achilles tendonitis, I don't often have you stop running. It is very important, however, that you come in as soon as possible. If the injury becomes worse, there is a greater chance that you'll have to take a break from running.
If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain that is worse when you are running, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston. Dr. Andrew Schneider will perform a comprehensive evaluation and recommend the best treatment to get you running pain-free.
Why does one foot hurt more than the other?
Humans are not symmetrical. We have a tendency to use one limb in a more dominant way than the other. Just as you may be right or left handed, you also have a dominant foot that will be used more and takes more pressure through your daily activity, and especially during running.
There are other factors that can cause pain, and even problems like bunions and hammertoes, occur on one foot and not the other. The most common issue that causes this is when one leg is longer than the other. It happens more often than you'd think! Because of the leg length difference, your feet work differently to compensate for the discrepancy. We often use a custom orthotic to correct for the difference in length and stabilize the compensation. This managed the foot pain and also will address the knee, hip, and back pain that also can result from the leg length difference.
Another cause of unilateral pain is related to the running surface. Many streets, and especially theses in Houston, are banked to allow for drainage. When you run on the side of the road, you end up with one foot higher than another, essentially creating a leg length difference. A simple fix for this is a couple of steps to the center of the road....but don't get hit by a car!!
If you are unsure what is causing the pain or problem in your foot or ankle, contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate your mechanics, determine where there is instability, and discuss the best solution with you.
How do I know if I'm running right?
Most of us never really learned how to run. We started walking as a child and running came naturally soon after. In fact, that's the appeal for most people who take up running for exercise: you lace up your shoes and go!
If running was so natural, why do injuries occur? Even though we know how to run does not mean we do it efficiently. That said, many people take advice from friends, books, and running magazines, about the right way to run. Such advice is often problematic, since everyone runs a bit differently. For instance, one runner used a heel strike and another with a midfoot strike. Neither is wrong, per se, but depends on many factors, including foot type and the associated biomechanics.
If you are determined to make significant changes in your running gait, you should consider doing so with an experienced running coach. A coach will be able to objectively watch you run an offer appropriate recommendations.
There are also times where your running is impacted by mechanical instability. This causes the muscles to work harder and leads to overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints, and also results in getting fatigued quickly. These cases are well managed with custom foot orthotics.
If you are noticing that you can't run as far or as long as you like, contact Dr. Andrew Schneider in Houston, TX. Dr. Schneider will perform a comprehensive biomechanical examination to identify where you are not efficient and will recommend the best treatment to improve your running.
Is stretching necessary when I run?
Stretching is one of those things that many runners don't like to do. In fact participants in all sports, all who would benefit from stretching, don't take enough time to do so. Stretching accomplishes several things. It provides gradual "warm up" to the muscle fibers prior to putting additional stress on them during exercise. Stretching also helps to eliminate lactic acid buildup from muscles after a workout. Stretching is indeed an important element to help increase your fitness level and to prevent running injuries.
There are different philosophies as to when is the best time to stretch. Some feel they stretching is best prior to a run. Others recommend stretching after a brief warmup. Still others stress stretching after a run. None of these philosophies are wrong and you should choose a stretching regimen that works for you.
One pitfall many runners encounter is developing a stretching regimen that is too long. We often take an "all or none" approach to stretching. We either do the whole stretching routine, or none. Time gets in the way and "none" often wins out. Focus on key stretches for the major muscle groups and get it done first. If you have time, stretch more.
Not stretching enough can make overuse injuries, such as heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints, more likely. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment and comprehensive evaluation.
How much does the surface I run on matter?
Every step you run results in two forces: the force of your foot hitting the ground and the force the ground exerts back into your foot. This results in a large amount of pressure coming into your foot. This is the reason that the surface that you run on makes a significant difference.
The harder the surface you run on, the greater the force coming back into your lower extremity. The harder surface materials are concrete and asphalt. More moderate surfaces include gravel, grass, and a rubberized track. In Houston, we consider a surface similar to the track at Memorial Park a perfect surface to run on.
Surfaces can be too soft and irregular, though. Running on a beach causes your foot and ankle to work harder as you try to stabilize yourself in the loose sand. Our Houston roads also pose a problem, since they are banked for drainage. This causes those running on the side of the road to run on a slant, causing a significant differential in the running surface.
Regardless of the surface you are running on, you should never have pain. If you find that your feet or ankles are painful when you run, contact Dr. Andrew Schneider at Tanglewood Foot Specialists. We will eliminate your pain quickly and take measures to ensure it won't return. Most importantly, you'll get back to what you love...running!