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 can you be sure it is fungus in the toenail?
Fungal toenails are often easily diagnosed in the office based on their clinical presentation. They often appear thickened and discolored with loose material beneath them. There are also times when we can clinically tell that a toenail is not infected.
When a toenail is questionable as to whether it is infected or not, a simple test can be performed to diagnose the nail. A biopsy is performed on the toenail and sent to a lab for examination. This biopsy is usually not painful and no anesthesia is required. The results from the biopsy are returned in approximately one week. This test is often necessary when there is associated trauma to the toenail, which also can thicken the nail when fungus is not necessarily present.
Prior to starting definitive treatment for toenail fungus, it is important to know that there is a fungal infection present. Visit Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to evaluate your toenails. If the examination is inconclusive, the biopsy can be done that same day. The longer you wait, the worse the nails can become. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists today!
Is there a way to cure fungal toenail infection without medication?
The most common way to treat toenail fungus is with medication. An oral antifungal medication, such as Lamisil, or a topical antifungal treatment, such as Tolcylen, is often recommended. Both of these medications are effective and safe, however there are ways to treat a fungal toenail without medication.
There are some patients who elect to have to infected toenails surgically removed and then treat the nail beds with antifungal cream. I generally do not recommend this method except when the toenail is so thick and deformed that it causes pain. Also, if multiple toenails are infected, removal can become very painful.
A newer treatment for fungal toenails involves laser therapy. This treatment entails one to three treatments, depending on the laser, and is generally not painful. Treatment with the laser is not uncomfortable and initial results show an improved appearance of the toenail. There are also natural antifungal therapies, such as tea tree oil and garlic, which are used in topical preparations with limited success.
If you are noticing your toenails are becoming thick and discolored, be sure to get them checked before they become worse. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation.
Will a night splint help relieve my heel pain?
If you feel severe pain in your heel when you step out of bed in the morning, you are suffering from one of two serious foot conditions: Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendonitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament where it attaches to the bottom of the heel bone. Similarly, Achilles tendonitis is when the Achilles tendon is inflamed at its attachment on the back of the heel bone.
While there are many treatments for both types of heel pain, one that works well for both types is the use of a night splint. While there are many types of night splints for heel pain, I have found the most effective and comfortable type to be when the support is in the front of the foot and ankle. This type of night splint is light and the most comfortable to wear and sleep in.
Night splints work by providing a constant stretch to the plantar fascia ligament and Achilles tendon overnight. This has been proven to be an effective way to treat heel pain. You will especially notice the relief of pain that you feel when you first step out of bed in the morning. This relief will carry over throughout your day and you will notice a progressive relief of heel pain as you continue to wear the night splint each night.
At Tanglewood Foot Specialists, we stock this type of night splint. The good news is that this night splint is covered by health insurance in most cases. Regardless, if you have heel pain it is important to visit your Houston podiatrist to have your heel pain evaluated and treated to get you out of pain as efficiently as possible.
How should I shop for new shoes that won't hurt my neuroma?
If you have a Morton's neuroma that causes pain in the ball of your foot or numbness in your toes, you know that the discomfort can be better or worse depending on the shoes you are wearing. Shoes can certainly effect the pain caused by a Morton's neuroma. If your shoe is too narrow, it will compress the metatarsal bones and increase the pressure on the neuroma. This added pressure will increase the pain that your neuroma is causing.
For this reason, if you are suffering from a Morton's neuroma try to purchase the widest shoes that will fit you. You don't want it to purchase a shoe that is so wide that you slip around in it, but the widest shoe that will still provide a good fit. Also, consider lowering your heel height, which will reduce the pressure on the ball of your foot.
If you do change the shoes you are wearing but continue to feel the pain from the Morton's neuroma, don't wait any longer. Contact Dr. Andrew Schneider at Tanglewood Foot Specialists of Houston, TX for an evaluation. Pain relief can be found much easier if you come in soon!
Many people who read this also wondered Why Do I Have a Bump On Top of My Foot?
How long should I wait before getting a neuroma checked?
In my Houston podiatry practice, I see many people who have suffered with ball of foot pain due to a Morton's neuroma for weeks, months, and even years. A Morton's neuroma does not usually improve on it's own. While your pain from a neuroma can start off coming and going, and even dependant on the shoes you are wearing, it very rapidly can become more consistently and intensely painful. Your neuroma can stop you from wearing your favorite shoes and may even force you to only wear flats.
The ideal time to treat your neuroma is as early as possible. If you are treated when the pain is minor and inconsistent, there is a much greater chance that conservative measures can be effective. As the pain from your neuroma increases, it becomes more difficult to control the inflammation and manage your pain. When non-surgical treatment, such as anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, and custom orthotics, do not adequately eliminate your pain, surgery to treat the neuroma may be necessary.
If you are beginning to feel pain in the ball of your foot or numbness in your toes, be sure to schedule an appointment with Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to see if your pain is due to a Morton's neuroma.
Will I need to wear a special shoe or boot after neuroma surgery?
A postoperative shoe is typically worn after your neuroma surgery. After surgery for a Morton's neuroma, a surgical dressing is applied to your foot. The bulk of this dressing makes the surgical shoe necessary. The shoe is open and will accommodate the dressing comfortably and easily. It also helps to keep the pressure off of the incision site and provides room for any swelling that may occur.
The surgical shoe also has a stiff sole. This restricts the motion of your foot when walking and allows for the soft tissue and skin to heal properly and quickly. In most cases, you could expect to stay in a postoperative shoe for approximately three weeks after surgery.
A surgical shoe is only a temporary necessity. You'll find that healing from your neuroma surgery will be faster if you wear the shoe diligently. You should NOT make your surgery decision based on the shoe. Look past the appearance of the shoe and keep your eye on the prize...wearing your favorite shoes without pain. To learn more about treating your neuroma with both conservative and surgical treatment, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider.
Will I be able to wear high heels after neuroma surgery?
High heels can contribute to the pain caused by a Morton's neuroma. Narrow shoes will compress the metatarsal bones and increase the pressure on the nerve. This explains why a neuroma may hurt worse in a closed shoe than it does in a more open sandal. High heels also shift more pressure onto the ball of the foot, which increases the neuroma pain. Some women report that the higher the heel, the more pain they are in and many find that they are limited to flats.
After neuroma surgery, the enlarged and inflamed portion of the nerve is removed. With the neuroma goes the pain associated with it. Most women find it much more comfortable to wear a high heel after neuroma surgery. In fact, some women are back in heels after 3 or 4 weeks after surgery!
If you find yourself unable to tolerate wearing high heels, it is time to stop the suffering. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists and schedule an appointment with Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. He will discuss the treatment options with you and determine what will get you out of pain and back into your cute shoes as quickly as possible.
Will I need to wear an orthotic after neuroma surgery?
A custom orthotic device is recommended after many types of foot surgery, such as bunion or hammertoe surgery, to prevent the deformity from reforming. Because a neuroma does not return after surgery, since the nerve is unable to regenerate, some think that an orthotic is not needed after neuroma surgery. There is another good reason to utilize a custom orthotic after neuroma surgery.
In order to expose the neuroma during surgery, a ligament must be severed. Although the ligament heals, it does lead to an instability in the metatarsal arch and can cause the metatarsals to drop. A custom orthotic will support the metatarsal arch to prevent any problems occurring from this instability. If a custom orthotic was used prior to surgery, the same orthotic can be used afterwards.
Controlling the mechanics of your feet after foot surgery is a key to successful results. If you have had foot surgery and want to know if a custom orthotic will help you maintain a full recovery, contact Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation.
What are the most common complications of a neuroma surgery?
While complications with neuroma surgery are uncommon, there are always possibilities with this and any foot surgery. The most common complication with neuroma surgery (and all surgeries) is a postoperative infection. In the foot, this usually occurs if the surgical dressings become soiled or wet. An infection presents with swelling and pain around the area thatwas operated on, often beyond what a pain medication will alleviate. It is crucial that you contact your Houston foot surgeon if you are concerned you have an infection after foot surgery.
Another common complication of neuroma surgery is a stump neuroma. This occurs when a neuroma forms on the end of the cut nerve. It is a very uncommon complication. This does not usually occur until substantial time has passed after the neuroma surgery and presents with a pain similar to that of the original neuroma. Treatment for a stump neuroma can include anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, and also may require an additional surgery.
If you continue to feel symptoms of a neuroma, including pain in the ball of your foot, even after you have had surgery, contact Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation. You should not still be in pain and relief is often just a phone call away!
Why are some of my toes feeling numb?
When some of your toes become numb, it can be because of a Morton's neuroma that has formed. This is commonly found in the second, third, and/or fourth toes. When a neuroma occurs between the metatarsal bones, pain often results in the ball of the foot. Because that nerve continues to the adjacent toes, it can also cause those toes to become numb.
When pressure on the neuroma is reduced, the numbness in the toes can be alleviated. This is accomplished with metatarsal support added to a custom orthotic device or applied directly to the foot. The support spreads the metatarsal bones and reduces the pressure on the nerve. This is also effective to alleviate the associated pain.
There are other possible causes of your numbness, such as peripheral neuropathy, so it is vital to visit you Houston Podiatrist at Tanglewood Foot Specialists. Dr. Andrew Schneider will be able to assess your symptoms, determine the cause, and create a custom treatment plan to manage your condition. Contact our office today for an immediate appointment.