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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Why is the bottom of my foot dry and cracked?
If the bottom of your foot is dry and cracked, you want pain relief. But, first, you need to know what's causing the problem. Well, there are two reasons you get dry and cracked feet. And, while your local podiatrist can treat both, the treatment options are different. So you need to know what's causing your problem, to get the right solution.
Environmental Causes of Dry, Cracked Feet
The first reason your feet may crack on the bottom is dry skin. Normally, your feet should be smooth. But they can dry out because of your environment. This can also happen if you forget to moisturize your feet. Or if you have certain conditions or take medications that cause skin dryness.
Here in Houston, we have to worry about dry skin for much of the year. In the summer, or whenever it's hot, you're more likely to wear open shoes or sandals. And that's a big problem for your feet. Particularly the skin on the bottom of your feet.
You see, without the protection of closed shoes, dust and dirt can reach your skin. That can make your skin dry. And, once your skin dried out, it's more likely to crack. (The most vulnerable area is your heel, where skin is thin and delicate. And where shoes can rub against your skin, making matters worse.)
We also need to worry about dry skin in our "winter." Because even a small dip in temperature sends Houstonians running for the heat. And dry heat dries out the skin on your feet. Leading to the same type of problems we see in the summer.
Proper Moisturizing to Prevent Cracks
If dry skin is your problem, moisture is the solution. In fact, we can often treat cracked heels with an excellent moisturizing cream. BUt to get the best results, you'll need to be a supermarket sleuth.
You see, moisturizers come in two main categories: lotions and creams. Lotions are fine for every day hydration. But if your skin is already cracking, you'll need something stronger. And that's when creams come into play.
A moisturizing cream is thicker than a lotion. As such, it will do a better job at re-hydrating your dry skin. It can also help lock in moisture to your feet. In that way, you may prevent your skin from cracking again later on.
Now, fortunately, our feet give us warning signs when they're starting to dry out. Before the bottom of your feet or heel crack, the skin may get rough or thick. This is the perfect time to apply a moisturizing cream. Because, if they get worse, they may crack or even bleed. And, at that point, you're at higher risk for a foot infection. Which means your treatment will go beyond moisturizing.
Need help finding the right product? I'm a big fan of Eucerin or Cetpahil creams. But your Houston Podiatrist, Dr. Andrew Schneider can also recommend or prescribe a different product.
Athlete's Foot and Bottom of Foot Cracks
The other reason for dry and cracked feet is because of a fungal infection, such as athlete's foot. Usually, this infection is uncomfortable; it often causes itching and burning. But when the only symptom is cracked skin, it's easy to misdiagnose the problem. But if your skin is very dry, and you're moisturizing, it could be Athlete's foot. Which means moisturizing won't work. So, in that case, we'll combine moisturizing cream with an antifungal medication. With this powerful combo, we can get rid of your fungal infection. And we can heal the dry, cracked skin on the bottom of your feet. So that, in the future, those openings will disappear. Meaning invading fungus can't make it's way in and cause re-infections.
Remember, seek immediate treatment if you notice cracks on the bottom of your feet. Because, if we don't start the right treatment for your dry, cracked heels, things will get worse. That means your cracks get deeper and can even bleed.
When that happens, it will be painful for everyone. But if you have diabetes it's not just painful. It's actually dangerous! That's because the cracks can become infected and difficult to heal. In fact, a diabetic with cracked heels could get an ulcer. (This is a hard to heal infection, that can increase your risk of amputation. In other words, it's a big deal and a big problem.)
Want to avoid major issues? Treating cracks in your heel early, before they become problematic. That will ensure that your feet stay healthy, and remove the risk of infection.
And how can you know the exact cause of your dry, cracked feet? The best way to figure out your issue is to see your podiatrist right away. But here's another helpful tip.
If you've been using a moisturizing cream with poor results, your problem probably isn't environmental. And, since that means it could be fungal, you can't address the problem at home. So, do you know what that means? It's time to visit Tanglewood Foot Specialists. After a comprehensive foot exam, I can recommend the best treatment for your painful cracked heels. And, at that time, I'll assess your infection and see if you need an antifungal medicine as well.
Most people who found this helpful also wondered Why Does My Athlete's Foot Keep Coming Back?
What doctor treats a broken foot?
When you hurt your foot, the first step is to diagnose that injury! Remember, a broken foot isn't always obvious. In fact, many people are able to walk after breaking a foot bone. So, the only way to know if your foot is broken is with an x-ray.
Now, you could head to the Emergency Room for an x-ray. But then, you'd face a long wait while more critical patients receive care. Then, you'd have to wonder which doctor is reading your x-ray to diagnose your injury.
If it's a general emergency physician, you may not get the accurate diagnosis you need for a full recovery. You see, your foot has 26 bones, many of which are small and easy to overlook. For that reason, we've heard plenty of storis of patients who return from the ER with a clean bill of health. But they find out, days or weeks later, that their foot was broken. Want to avoid that situation? Go see your podiatrist if you've experienced any kind of foot injury.
See a Podiatrist for a Broken Foot
Now, let's return to that original question. We've established that a podiatrist is the best doctor to diagnose your broken foot. And it follows that you want to treat a broken foot with a doctor who treats all areas of foot and ankle problems.
And guess who fits that description? You guessed it: a podiatrist in Houston, TX! Why? Your podiatrist can assess the severity of the foot fracture. And he or she can do so with confidence, since podiatrists see foot fractures every day.
Also, thanks to experience, podiatrists can decide the right treatment plan for your foot fracture. That way, it will heal in the right way. And that's a big deal for so many reasons.
Recovering from a Foot Fracture
Most broken feet will heal in about 6 weeks. But that's not the case if we don't choose an appropriate treatment. You see, how we set your broken bone depends on the location and severity of your fracture.
If your broken foot bone is in a good position, we can choose immobilization treatment. But if you're thinking that means a bulky cast, don't worry. I prefer treating broken feet with fracture boots. (And because I'm a podiatrist, I keep these boots stocked in my office. So you could be x-rayed, diagnosed and immobilized with one office visit!)
Why are fracture boots best for non-displaced foot fractures? First, they're more comfortable than casts. Plus, they cause less interference in your regular activities. Because you can walk in this boot. And you can take your boot off when you bathe or sleep. And doing so won't sacrifice the protection your broken foot needs to heal.
Of course, if your bone looks unstable on the x-ray, I can't let you walk on your boot. Doing so could extend your recovery time. Instead, I'll suggest using a scooter for your broken foot. This will help you keep weight off your broken bone. But it helps you avoid the frustration and pain of using crutches.
Finally, we'll have to see if your bone has moved during your injury (a displaced foot fracture.) If it has, you'll need foot surgery, or your bone won't heal in the proper place.
At this point, you'll have to choose your foot surgeon. Here, again, I'd suggest working with a podiatrist. We are trained surgeons, but we only operate on feet, so we've got years of expertise!
Now, while I can operate on your broken foot, that's the one procedure I won't do in my podiatrist's office. Instead, we'll go to an outpatient surgery center to fix your broken foot bone. During the surgeru, I reposition the broken ends of your broken bone. Then, since we don't want them slipping around, I'll secure your bone with a metal plate and screws. (Remember, these are medical devices, so they won't set off metal detectors!)
Speeding Up Your Broken Foot Recovery
Why did we just review all the treatment options for a broken foot? To make this fact clear: how you treat your broken foot bone matters. And it directly impacts the length of your recovery. (Not to mention the outcome of your healing!)
I think this goes without saying, but I'll put it out there anyways. When you've got a broken foot, nothing is worse than extending your recovery by weeks! I know that you're anxious to return to your normal routine. And because I've helped thousands of patients do that, I'm your best choice for treating a broken foot. I do know that there are other doctors who are also qualified to treat foot fractures. Orthopedists are bone doctors and surgeons; they can also treat your fractures. In fact, there are some orthopedists who specialize in the foot and ankle. And they can do a great job, even though I don't recommend going to the emergency room. As I said earlier, I've found many foot fractures missed on ER x-rays.
Remember, at Tanglewood Foot Specialists, we take the x-rays in the office. And we read them immediately, so you do not have to wait for the results. Dr. Schneider will spend the time with you to make sure you understand the severity of your broken bone. Then, we'll review what needs to happen to allow it to heal quickly and completely. What does that mean for you? If you think you broke your foot, call our Houston podiatry office now. We'll schedule you for an immediate appointment.
Most people who read this also asked Can a Twisted Ankle Break a Bone in My Foot?
Can I have my bunions on both feet operated on at the same time?
Bunions look like bumps that form next to your big or small toe joint. But they are actually bones that change direction and grow outward. That growth can also cause swelling in your soft tissue, which is why some bunions seem red and angry.
Many times, bunions develop because of pressure on those bones. It could be from bad shoes. Or because of your genes, and weak mechanics in your feet. (People with flat feet have a higher risk for bunions. And hammertoes as well, since bunion growth can impact your toe structure.) In fact, the pressure could be a combination of your body structure and your shoes.
Often, the source of pressure affects both your feet. And that's why many people who suffer with a bunion on one foot often have a bunion on their other foot too. Now, since bunions are often painful, and make it hard to fit into shoes, you'll want to treat those bunions. Before they get worse and cause more problems.
If I see you early enough, we may be able to treat your bunions without surgery. Early interventions including padding your bony bumps to prevent painful rubbing. We can also fit you for orthotics. These can correct biomechanical issues that contribute to your bunion growth. Which means your bunions probably won't get bigger. But, at the same time, they won't go away. Because the only way to remove bunions is with surgery.
Surgical Bunion Treatment
When you have bunions on both your feet, you may be very uncomfortable. So I wouldn't be surprised to hear that you want bunion surgery. Or that you want me to operate on both your feet in one go.
After all, surgery to correct a bunion requires a significant investment in time. It makes sense, then, to have both feet operated on at the same time. Unfortunately though, that logic doesn't fly in my Houston podiatry practice. Because, while some doctors may agree with this convenience, I don't. In fact, along with many of my colleagues I recommend against it.
Why fight convenience, you ask? Here's the deal: there are many different ways to correct your problem with bunion surgery. Before operating, I'll x-ray your foot and figure out the best procedure.
The approach I choose will depend on the site of your pain and the rotation of your bones. But no matter what, I'll reposition your metatarsal bone and straighten your big toe. And that means, when I perform bunion surgery, I must make a surgical fracture in your bone. Now. that's a medical procedure, so your broken bone will be stable. But that doesn't mean your fracture won't worsen with excess pressure. In fact, that's a real possibility.
To prevent that complication, we have specific post-operative instructions for bunion removal. After surgery, we need to limit swelling by keeping your foot elevated. We'll also have a dressing on your foot. And that needs to stay clean and dry for several weeks after your surgery. Which is where things can get complicated if we operate on two bunions at once.
Post-Op Care for Bunion SurgeryMost of my bunion patients can walk right after surgery. That's because I'll put a protective boot on your foot. Still, even with that boot, you'll have to give that foot some special care and attention.
When I operate on one bunion, its simple to care for one foot after surgery. But it's far more difficult to do the same for both feet at the same time. Plus, when I operate on both your feet, there will be more limits on mobility sfter surgery.
Now do you understand why I recommend AGAINST doing both bunion surgeries at once? If not, let me make it very clear. If we treat both your bunions at once, you might not like the results. Because, what sometimes happens is you end up with one excellent result and one that's subpar. Should that happen to you, you'd likely face a future revision surgery. And no one wants that, I'm sure. Instead, wouldn't you rather get two stellar results? Even if that means two seperate bunion surgeries?
If you are having pain from the bunions on your feet, don't wait to have them checked! As I mentioned, when we treat bunions early, we can try non-surgical options. And that dictate if you need surgery, or how limited you will be during your recovery. Like the sound of that option? Don't wait around while your bunions get bigger. Instead, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment. We'll check out those bunions and come up with a fast and effective treatment plan!
Can you stop a corn from coming back by getting the root?
When you're living with painful corns, you just want it gone. It's why there are so many over-the-counter corn treatments. (Which can be dangerous for your feet, so stay away. More on that later.)
It's also why I hear so many rumors and misconceptions about treating corns.
And this is the biggest one: people think that, when treating a corn it will not return if you get the "root" or "seed" out. Of course, I wish that was the case, but it's 100% false. Because, while corns look like they have "seeds" or "roots," that's not why these painful bumps form.
What is a corn?
Corns form in shapes that appear conical. That means they are widest at top and narrow at the bottom. Beacause of that formation, people think corns have roots. But that's not the case.
Yes, a corn forms on your skin with a small, root-like attachment,. But the root forms because of pressure, not because some "seed" implants in your skin. In fact, a corn is thickened skin. It pops up when your shoes push on your toes, or when your bones don't stay where they should.
In other words, pressure makes corns grow. Put more pressure on your corn, it gets bigger. Remove the pressure, and you'll see growth stop.
So, if a corn doesn't have roots, why is it narrow at the base? Well, he most narrow or defined area will be closest to the cause of the pressure. Then, the corn widens as it reaches the surface of the skin. And that pressure comes from your bone. Which means you'll have to address issues with your bone if you want to keep corns from coming back.
Permanent Corn Treatments
By now, you've guessed the answer to your question. If you remove the root of a corn, will it come back? (If you haven't, I'll help you out. The answer is 'yes,' unless you address the underlying pressure.) You see, even in I remove that corn, all I'll give you is pain relief. But if I don't target the pressure that formed the corn, it's going to return.
For that reason, I have to change the pressure on your toes to prevent a corn from coming back. Sometimes, that's as simple as changing your shoes. I can help you select a pair with a larger toe box. We can also pad spots where corns formed, to keep pressure off your toes. Now, for some of you, these swaps may be enough to reduce pressure on the bone.
But that's not the case for everyone. Some patients have biomechanical issues that impact bone alignment. When that's the case, we may be able to relieve pressure with custom orthotics. These medical devices help compensate for certain anatomical problems. They may keep pressure away, so corns don't return.
Having said all that, some patients will need foot surgery to cure corns. Why is that the case? Some corns will form regardless of what shoes you choose. Because many corns form from internal pressure. And that pressure can come from arthritis, bone spurs, or even hammertoes. In these cases, surgery is the best way to remove the pressure from the bone. And it's often the only way to deal with a persistent corn.
Houston Podiatrist Treats Persistent Corns
What does a podiatrist visit for corns look like? When you come into the office, I'll start by paring down dead skin at the corn's top layer. Then, I'll go find that deep "root" and remove it as well. But that's only step two of your treatment plan.
Since I want to make sure that corn doesn't come back, we'll start talking lifestyle once the corn root is out. I'm going to ask you questions and examine your foot and gait. That way, I can figure out what's causing pressure on your toes. So that I can go on and stamp out the source of the pressure.
If it seems like you're just choosing the wrong shoes, I'll get you into a better pair. But if we realize the source of the pressure is the bone, we'll cycle through some other treatment options. At this point, surgery may well be in your future. That doesn't mean you need to panic, though.
Look, I know that foot surgery sounds scary. But surgery to permanently remove corns is a small surgical procedure. Sometimes, I go to the operating room and remove a small piece of bone. In other case, I can shave down a small piece of bone that corresponds to where that corn formed.
Both options are effective because they get rid of internal pressure. And that is what's going to stop your corn from coming back. So next time you come into the office and say, it's back again, I'm going to look at you and say, yes, it's back again.
I won't judge you. And you can choose to come in every so often for me to treat your corn in the office. But if you want to take care of it once and for all, we can discuss the surgical option. Either way, I need to see you to figure out why you're getting corns. So give us a call at the office for an immediate appointment. The sooner we know the true "root" of your corn problem, the quicker we can get rid of them for good!
Do I need to wear a special shoe for my broken toe?
A broken toe can be very painful. While this injury is common, it can cause plenty of problems. There are many types of broken toes; some are severe, and some are less so. It's important to see your podiatrist if you think you've got a broken toe. Because the way we treat your injury, and the way we guide your recovery, will depend on they type of fracture you've sustained.
Diagnosing a Broken ToeYou have 14 bones in your toe, and you may break one or more of them. The only way to confirm a fracture is with an X-Ray. That's why we offer in-office imaging. That way, your podiatrist can diagnose your broken toe and start treatment right away. But what will that treatment look like? And how will you walk while recovering from a broken toe? That all depends on the nature of your injury.
Of course, we worry about wearing regular shoes with a broken toe. Because the pressure could cause you pain, or even delay your healing. Now, some people can get away with wearing regular shoes. But, if this is the case for your injury, you should choose a low heeled or tennis shoe. Something that's stable and comfortable to help your healing.
Just remember: some people will have to wear a special surgical shoe for broken toes. And this is how we decide which footwear you'll need if your toe is broken.
When Do You Need a Surgical Shoe for a Broken Toe?
When we're treating your broken toe, we may recommend wearing a surgical shoe. And there are a few factors we'll look at before making those decisions. Here are some of the questions we'll explore when choosing your foot wear after a toe fracture. It will depending on where the toe is broken, and which toe is broken.
If your great toe is broken, your Houston Podiatrist will almost certainly keep you out of regular shoes while you heal. Why is this toe fracture treated differently? Because of the amount of pressure your big toe bears, you will likely have to wear a surgical shoe while you heal. In fact, in some cases, you may need a fracture walking boot with a broken big toe. We'll evaluate your injury and make the proper recommendation, to ensure it heals properly.
We'll also see if your fractured toe is in a good position. Because if the break displaced your bone, you may need surgery. (If you have a displaced fracture, your toe may look crooked.) And then you'll likely be wearing a surgical boot while you recover. Of course, I'll also look at how stable your bones appear to be after we set your broken toe. Because, if it seems like pressure would delay your recovery, we'll recommend a surgical shoe while you recover.
Now, if we recommend wearing a surgical shoe, we'll help you wear it properly. Because wearing your shoe properly will be an important part of your recovery.
How to Wear Surgical Shoes with a Broken Toe
First, let's look carefully at this wearable medical device. A surgical shoe is special foot wear that lets you put weight on your foot without compromising your recovery. How does it do that job? The stable sole on a surgical shoe keeps your toe from moving too much. And this is important, because broken toes need to be immobilized in order to heal.
Remember, don't get upset if you need to wear a surgical shoe. This treatment will actually leave you feeling more comfortable. Plus, it will lower your risk of long-term complications. (If your broken toe doesn't heal properly, your risk for arthritis will increase. And your toe could permanently change shape. Leaving you with a painful or unsightly deformity.)
Recovering from a Broken Toe
Wondering how long you'll need to wear that surgical shoe while you heal your broken toe? Of course, every patient is different. And that means broken toe recovery times will vary. Still, we can look at average healing times for injuries, to help you know what to expect.
When it comes to broken toes, most bones will heal within six weeks. Now, if you have a hairline fracture, or a stress fracture, you'll likely heal faster. Or, if you had a displaced fracture treated with surgery, your recovery may last longer.
But, regardless of your injury, there are things you can do to speed up your recovery. Be sure to follow all of your podiatrist's instructions. From wearing a surgical shoe to resting or icing your broken toe, listening to your doctor should speed up your recovery. (Or, at the very least, not increase your healing time.)
And here's the most important way to heal from a broken toe: see your podiatrist as soon as you notice pain. Because, the sooner we diagnose your broken toe, the sooner we can being treatment. In that way, we can take pressure off your toe. This will prevent any worsening problems and offer you pain relief while you heal.
For that reason, you need a fast X-ray if you think you have a broken toe. But that doesn't have to mean long waits at the ER. Instead, come into my office right away. I can get you X-rayed, immobilized and in your surgical shoe for broken toes all in one visit. That way we'll get you on the road to recovery as fast as safely possible!
How should a mold be taken to make a custom orthotic?A custom orthotic must, in some way, be designed for you specifically. That's what makes it custom, after all. There are many ways to accomplish this and they are not created equal.Some orthotics are direct molded. Meaning there is a template orthotic for your size that becomes pliable when heated. You then step on the orthotic while it cools to make it best fit your foot. This is a step up from a generic, off the shelf insole, but does not provide much in the way of mechanical correction.Another way of capturing a mold of the foot is using a foam impression box. You step into the foam and compress it into a mold of your foot. This can result in a good mold but the quality often is variable. It varies based on the skill and attention of the technician taking the mold to ensure your foot is properly placed. There is much room for error and we only utilize it for specific types of orthotics...generally softer custom insoles provided for use by our diabetic patients.A newer and very promising method of taking a mold is a 3-D scanner. Unfortunately, the scanner still isn't providing the quality and depth of an image that will provide a superior orthotic. For that reason, we take a plaster mold of your foot at Tanglewood Foot Specialists. A plaster mold captures your foot in these most efficient and stable position and ensures an effective orthotic is made.An orthotic is only as good as how well you are evaluated in the office. Learn how a properly designed custom orthotic can do for you by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation.
Aren't Dr. Scholls insoles just as good as a custom orthotic?There is a difference between a custom orthotic and an insole you can buy off the shelf. Even with OTC insoles, there is a significant difference between them. Some are very flexible and others provide more support with a flexible plastic interior.Even more confusion occurred when Dr. Scholls introduced their automated kiosk in retail stores and billed the insoles as "custom-fit orthotics." This scanner is simply sizing and grouping your foot type into one of a very few broad categories and then recommend the best generic insole for you. A salesperson is equipped to make the same recommendation.At Tanglewood Foot Specialists, a custom orthotic is much more! Dr. Andrew Schneider performs a comprehensive biomechanical exam and gait analysis to learn how efficiently your lower extremity works when you walk and run. We then take a mold of your feet in the most efficient and stable position. The orthotic device is then constructed specifically for you.If you have tried many insoles that just don't seem to work for you, contact Dr. Schneider to schedule an appointment and see how much better you'll feel when provided the right orthotic.
Is it okay that my child walks on his toes?Toe walking is a common condition in kids. Just because it is common, doesn't mean it's okay! Toe walking generally occurs because children don't have the ability to compensate for mechanical issues. So where adults may have flat feet for these same issues, kids end up lifting up on their toes. Many pediatrician aren't alarmed by toe walking and insist that kids will just grow out of it. In most cases that isn't the case.As a child develops, the heels will come down to the ground and it will appear that your pediatrician was right after all. In truth, the child just becomes able to compensate. You may see the feet angling out like a duck and the arch flatten out as he walks. This may result in foot pain, heel pain, and knee pain. It is better to address these issues early before they cause problems later in life.If you are noticing your son or daughter walking on their toes, or they used to be a toe walker when they were younger, it is worthwhile to get them checked out. This is especially true if they have any pain! At Tanglewood Foot Specialists, Dr. Andrew Schneider will assess how your child walks and see if corrective measures, such as a custom foot orthotic, is needed.
Will an injection stop my bunion from hurting?
The pain associated with a bunion on your foot is due to inflammation. That inflammation can be either at the bump on the side of your foot or deeper within the joint. Reducing the inflammation would help to control the bunion pain.
A cortisone injection is very effective in reducing the pain from a bunion. Because the area of inflammation is so localized, an injection does a better job than taking an oral anti-inflammatory medication. Even so, the results of the injection are likely to be temporary. Over time, the inflammation will build up again and cause the pain to return.
If you are experiencing bunion pain, the best time to get it checked and treated is now. Whether it be an injection, padding, custom orthotics, or even bunion surgery, Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will recommend the best and most effective treatment for you.
What are the best shoes to wear with bunions?
Many people who have painful bunions on their feet struggle with shoes. The bump on the side of their foot at the great toe joint just takes too much pressure and becomes painful in their favorite shoes.
The ideal shoe for someone with a painful bunion is one that has a wider forefoot and a narrower heel. Unfortunately a shoe like this is difficult to find. Some pads, like Dr. Jill's Gel Bunion cushions, are helpful in taking some of the pressure away, but for some it can just make the shoe tighter.
The best shoes to wear with a bunion is simply the shoes that are most comfortable. A tennis shoe that is the widest you can comfortably keep on your foot or a dress shoe that doesn't provide too much pressure on your bunion may be your best bet. When you find that you have fewer and fewer shoe choices, it is time to consider surgery.
If you find that you simply have no shoes that are fitting your bunion comfortably anymore, it is time to consider bunion surgery. Houston bunion surgeon Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate the bunions on your feet and recommend the best course of personalized treatment. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for an immediate appointment.