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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How close to my race day should I wait to get my foot pain checked?
I treat many types of runners in my Houston sports podiatry office. These include weekend warriors, serious high school and college athletes, to marathon runners, ultra-marathon runners, and Ironman triathletes. It consistently amazes me how often people come in just before their race, after months of training in pain, to get a quick fix.
One of the jobs that I take very seriously is to help my patients meet and exceed their goals. The last thing I want to do is to tell a runner that he can't run. There are times when it is unavoidable. The sooner you come into our office after you begin to notice pain, the more likely it is that you will not have a significant interruption in training. The longer you wait, the worse the running injury becomes and the more time is needed to treat your injury properly.
If you have any pain when you are running, the time to come into the office is now. Let Dr. Schneider evaluate your injury and make recommendations to treat the pain and get you back to running. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists today! Waiting will only make your injury worse.
Why does running cause my toenails to become black and fall off?
A bruised toenail has almost become a badge of honor, certainly among marathon runners. It is a common, but preventable, result of when your toes repeatedly impact the front of your running shoe. The impact causes bleeding beneath the toenail which makes the nail appear black and blue.
Once you have a bruised toenail from running, one of three things will happen. It is possible that a new toenail will begin to grow beneath the damaged nail. As it progresses, the damaged nail will loosen and fall off, usually without pain or bleeding. I other cases, a new nail will grow behind the damaged nail, pushing the damaged portion out as the new nail grows in. In cases of minor injury, the nail can reattach to the nailbed and grow as it should.
The best chance of keeping the toenail and allowing it to reattach is to visit your Houston podiatrist as soon as possible after you notice your nail is bruised. Dr. Andrew Schneider will painlessly relive the pressure beneath the nail, providing immediate relief of any discomfort you may have. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for an immediate appointment.
Why does running cause shin splints?
Shin splints are an overuse injury involving the muscles and tendons on the front of your leg and ankle. These tendons are overactive because of your natural mechanics. If your foot is flat, or of it has an excessively high arch, your mechanics becomes unstable. One way for your body to compensate for this instability is to increase the use of your muscles to add stability.
Unfortunately, when muscles are overused, they don't have the blood supply to support the excess usage. Not enough oxygen is available to the tissues and they "cry out" for more by becoming inflamed and causing pain. This is true of most overuse running injuries, including shin splints.
The best way to control shin splints is to address your mechanics and reduce the usage of the muscles. This is best achieved with a custom orthotic, a specialized insole made for you to allow your feet to function in a more stable and efficient manner. When properly constructed, an orthotic can effectively eliminate your shin splints.
If you have suffered with shin splints, you should consider a custom orthotic to allow you to run without the worry of constant pain. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an evaluation to see if custom orthotics is the appropriate treatment for your shin splints.
Can I still run if I have foot pain?
Pain is your body's way to tell you that something is wrong. While you may consider some pain that you experience is normal, there really is no such thing as normal pain. there is a difference from soreness after a hard workout as opposed to pain when something is wrong. It is important that you identify the cause of the pain to make sure you are not forced to stop running.
It's true that "No Pain No Gain" was once the athlete's battle cry, but not anymore. It is important that you differentiate soreness from training from pain due to injury. Continuing to run through pain can worsen the injury and significantly delay your full recovery and return to your training. I see it everyday...runners who swore the pain would go away if they just run through it, only to encounter a severe tendonitis, tendon rupture, stress fracture, or worse.
Don't take the chance of having to stop running for a long recovery. If you are feeling pain when you are running, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Schneider will do all he can to keep you running, but you have to do your part and take the first step.
How do I know if my feet are okay to run on?
We all have two feet and their sole purpose is to walk, run, and jump. We all have the capability to do those things, but some of use do it with greater ease than others. We consider those people to be natural athletes. What it really means, however, is that they were born with more efficient mechanics than others.
Your feet were made to run. That's not to say that they will be pain free when you do. When you first start an exercise program, it is common for your feet to ache, just as other muscles do when they start to be conditioned. There is a difference between soreness and pain. If the discomfort lasts beyond a week, you should get checked out by a Houston podiatrist to prevent further injury.
If you have instability in your gait while walking or running, you would benefit from the biomechanical stability provided by a custom orthotic device. An orthotic will provide the efficiency that your feet and ankles need which, in turn, will stop then from hurting.
If you are experiencing pain when you are running or while playing other sports, don't be discouraged. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to schedule an appointment to get you on the right path.
I keep getting stress fractures, is that normal?
Stress fractures are not normal. A stress fracture is a non-displaced fracture in a bone which forms because of increased stress on it. When a stress fracture is treated properly and heals, the bone should return to full strength. A stress fracture can recur after it heals. There are two possible reasons why this happens.
The first reason is a repetitive and recurrent force on the bone. This can be a problem in runners and other athletes of all levels. The persistent force causes your bone to break down and ultimately fracture. When this happens it is important to get treatment right away. Treatment includes immobilization in a cast boot. In some cases crutches may be necessary to use.
If the excessive pressure on the bone is not properly managed, the fracture can recur. The best way to avoid this situation is to address the stress on the bone. This is most commonly addressed by using a custom orthotic device. This is a specialized insole designed to redistribute pressure and increase the stability of the foot and ankle.
The second reason a stress fracture can occur is due to an inherent weakness in the bone. This can be caused by a demineralization of the bone causing osteoporosis. It can also be due to a weakness in the bone due to poor circulation coming into the bone. In both of these cases, the underlying issues must be addressed as well as the fracture.
My patients like to differentiate between a broken bone and a fracture, thinking a fracture isn't as problematic. The truth is a fracture IS a broken bone and must be treated as such. If you are dealing with foot or ankle pain, or if you have had recurrent stress fractures, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment.
What do I do if I see a problem on my foot?
There is a direct correlation between noticing a diabetic foot problem and seeking treatment for it. The sooner a problem, such as a diabetic foot ulcer, is identified and treated, the better the chance is that it will be effectively treated and healed quickly. Time and time again, I see my Houston patients wait weeks, months, and even years, to have their foot treated with results that range from slow healing to disastrous loss of limb.
I always recommend that my patients with diabetes perform a self-inspection of their feet every night. This is a quick, 30 second look at the bottom and top of their feet, as well as between their toes. What you need to look for is anything that wasn't their the night before...areas of redness, bleeding, pus, cracking or anything that doesn't look right. The good news is that if you do find something, you know it is not more than a day old. Just pick up the phone, call our Houston podiatry office, and say "I am diabetic and I think I have a problem." We'll get you in the same day.
When it comes to my patients with diabetes, I'd rather you call and it be nothing than have you wait and it become a major problem. If you see something on your foot that you think may be a problem, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment.
What is the right foot cream for a diabetic to use?
There are so many creams available in the pharmacy, the choices can be daunting. Add to that, manufacturers who market creams specifically for the diabetic foot. Many of these creams, however, are the same general use cream, but repackaged for the diabetic and significantly marked up.
There is no "best" cream for a diabetic to use. It is important for you to use a cream to maintain the health of your skin and to avoid dry, cracked skin which can lead to an infection. My favorite commercially available creams are Cetaphil and Eucerin. I also carry Foot Miracle cream in my Houston podiatry office which many of my patients, diabetic and non-diabetic alike, prefer.
In situations where your foot is particularly dry, or if the skin is cracked, you will need a creme that is stronger. In these cases, I recommend a creme with Urea or Lactic Acid to better soften the skin. While these used to be covered as a prescription product, most insurance companies have stopped providing this benefit. For this reason, we carry two Urea creams, Gormel creme (20% urea) and Kera-42 creme (42% urea).
No matter what cream you use, the most important thing is to use it at least daily. If you stop applying the cream, your feet will return to their previously dry condition. Apply cream to the top and bottom of your feet and rub it in so it disappears. You should NOT, however, put cream between your toes. If you have dry skin between your toes, Dr. Andrew Schneider can recommend an alternative that is safe for you to use. If you are unsure what cream is the best choice to use, contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists to receive recommendations.
Why doesn't my diabetic foot ulcer heal on it's own?
A diabetic foot ulcer is one of the most frustrating conditions to have and get healed. There are many factors that cause a diabetic foot ulcer to form, including diabetic peripheral neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and excessive pressure beneath the foot. In order to have the ulcer heal, all of these contribute factors must be controlled.
Diabetic foot ulcers also have different characteristics. Some are dry, while others drain; some are infected, and others are not; some are deep to bone, while others are superficial. Different wounds will require the appropriate treatment in order to heal properly. All, however, should be considered to be medical emergencies.
The management of a diabetic foot ulcer is too complex to handle on your own. If the wound is not treated properly, it can worsen and become infected. An infection such as this, particularly if you have diabetes, can result in you losing a toe, your foot, or even your leg. Don't put yourself at risk! At the first sign of a diabetic foot ulcer, contact your podiatrist. Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider has the means to evaluate your wound and recommend the best treatment to get the ulcer healed as quickly as possible.
What can you do for a diabetic Charcot foot?
A diabetic Charcot foot is a severe form of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. While peripheral neuropathy most commonly only effects sensation, causing numbness or pain, the Charcot foot occurs when the motor nerves are involved and results in the breakdown of joints in the midfoot.
When a Charcot foot occurs, it creates many problems. First of all, it is common to have a diabetic foot ulcer form beneath the collapsed arch. The ulcer forms because of the increased pressure beneath the bones in the arch. In order to prevent a diabetic foot ulcer from forming or returning, an ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) may be needed to provide support and redistribute the pressure beneath the foot.
Because of the foot deformity involved with Charcot, it is often impossible to fit the foot into a regular shoe. In these cases a extra-depth diabetic shoe is needed. In some cases, a shoe must be custom made for you.
At Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX, Dr. Andrew Schneider provides a comprehensive evaluation for your diabetic foot and to make sure a Charcot condition does not cause you trouble. We will get you in the footwear and support needed to ensure your feet last a lifetime.