One of the most common foot problems seen by podiatrists is a bunion. Typically recognized as an unsightly bump at the base of the big toe, a bunion is actually a deformity of the framework of the foot. It develops when the joint at the base of the big toe becomes unstable, causing both the bone and soft tissues to move out of place. The bunion’s characteristic bony knob appears on the foot just behind the big toe and angles outward as the big toe angles inward toward the smaller toes. Occasionally, a bunion may develop at the base of the little toe on the outside of the foot. This is known as a tailor’s bunion or bunionette.
Foot mechanics that put too much pressure on the big toe joint may be the reason behind the development of bunions. Factors such as gait, inherited foot type, wearing ill-fitting or poorly designed footwear, as well as having an occupation that puts a lot of stress on the feet can increase the risk that a bunion will form. Individuals affected by injuries to foot alignment, neuromuscular disorders, congenital deformities, or joint conditions are also more likely to develop bunions.
Without the appropriate podiatric care, a bunion can widen the foot, make wearing shoes more difficult and impair daily function. A shifting big toe can put so much pressure on the smaller toes, that they too develop abnormalities. Moreover, the toe joint damage associated with a bunion can cause stiffness, bursitis, or arthritis and give rise to additional complications.
Our podiatrist will evaluate your bunion and develop an appropriate treatment plan. If non-surgical, conservative methods of care fail to provide relief, and the bunion is interfering with your daily life, our podiatrist may recommend a surgical procedure.
One of the most common toe deformities seen by our office is a hammertoe. Most often attributed to wearing ill-fitting, tight footwear or high-heeled shoes that squish the toes into a bent position, a hammertoe can also be influenced by genetic factors, the result of a bunion, or caused by arthritis in the toe joint.
Just as the name implies, a hammertoe resembles a “hammer” with the toe bending at the middle joint into a claw-like deformity. Hammertoes can develop in any of the small toes of the foot, but most often affect the second and third toes.
Hammertoes can cause you discomfort while walking or when you simply try to move or stretch your toes. You may also develop corns or calluses on the top of the toe and the ball of the foot and have difficulty fitting into your shoes.
While in the early stages of a hammertoe, the joint may still be flexible and conservative therapy will provide sufficient relief, left untreated your toe will become more rigid and less responsive to these methods of care.
Our podiatrist will develop an appropriate plan to treat your hammertoe, taking into consideration the severity of the toe deformity, existing medical conditions, your level of activity as well as any other factors that may influence your care. A non-surgical, conservative approach may include strategically placed foot padding, wearing shoes with a roomy toe box, custom orthotics, splinting and taking anti-inflammatory medication as needed to reduce pain and inflammation. In severe cases, surgery may be required to straighten the joint. A combination of procedures may be recommended when a hammertoe is accompanied by other foot deformities.
For people with diabetes even the smallest blister, sore, or cut on the foot can pose tremendous risks. Something as minor as an irritation from a small pebble in a shoe can quickly progress from a wound that doesn’t heal to a dangerous infection that can lead to an amputation and even a life-threatening situation. The statistics are alarming. Foot infections and their complications are the leading cause of hospitalization for diabetics. More than 60% of non-traumatic lower limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
The keys to avoiding the foot related complications of the disease are the prevention and early detection of problems. If someone has diabetes it is extremely important that in addition to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and healthy lifestyle, they practice a daily foot care regimen at home, and see a podiatrist for a thorough examination on a regular basis.
Our podiatrist will screen for the presence of diabetic neuropathy and vascular damage as well as check the foot and nearby structures for redness, swelling and non-healing wounds. Furthermore, our podiatrist will provide guidance and care to prevent foot ulcerations or injury. In cases of an existing cut or ulceration, our podiatrist will perform the most appropriate wound care as well as prescribe strategies to protect the foot from infection and accelerate the healing process.
Foot Surgery (Hospital and In-office)
While we do our utmost to treat foot and ankle problems with conservative, non-surgical approaches to care, there are times when surgery is indicated. If your foot or ankle issue requires a surgical solution, you can rely on our office for the best options in care.
As a skilled and experienced specialist, our podiatrist performs a wide range of surgical procedures to address foot or ankle injuries, repair deformity, help resolve an infection, remove abnormal tissue, improve biomechanics, and establish the groundwork for increased mobility and function.
State-of-the-art care every step of the way
Our office is equipped with the latest technology to provide the highest quality of care and ensure your comfort every step of the way. While we perform many minor surgical procedures in our office, we also treat complex cases such as reconstructive surgeries in a hospital setting.
At Ozark Foot & Ankle PLC, you can count on receiving skilled and compassionate care. Patient care and comfort are our top priorities, and we’re always on hand to address any questions or concerns.
Fungal nail infections are very common in adults and account for nearly half of all nail disorders. Technically known as onychomycosis, fungal nail infections can affect both your fingernails and toenails, but are most frequently seen in the toes. While the infection is a slow-growing one, a nail fungus can eventually cause the overlying nail to discolor, thicken, change texture, become increasingly brittle, break and even detach from the nail bed.
Left untreated an increasingly disfigured toenail can cause discomfort and irritation, especially while wearing shoes or walking. Not only that, fungal nail infections can spread to the other nails. If a diseased toenail breaks, it can also pierce the skin thereby allowing bacteria to enter, which can lead to a more serious type of infection. This is especially dangerous for individuals who have diabetes or a compromised immune system.
For all of these reasons, it is a good idea to give our office a call at the first sign of any discoloration, thickening or deformity of your toenails. Although a fungal nail infection can often be identified by its appearance, other conditions can produce a similar look, and an accurate diagnosis is essential for proper care. One thing is for certain; you can rest assured that our office will consider every aspect of your case in determining the best approach to care. Furthermore, we offer the most effective methods of care including the latest generations of topically applied medications, oral antifungal drugs, and surgical procedures.
The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from your heel to the base of your toes. Overuse or prolonged wear and tear on the heel can strain this band causing damage, inflammation, and pain. Pain under the heel is most frequently associated with a condition known as plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis affects both athletic and inactive individuals and can be triggered by any number of factors or activities that overload or overstretch the plantar fascia. Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include foot arch problems, a tight Achilles tendon, and tight calf muscles. Additionally, certain sports, exercises, being overweight, as well as worn or poorly constructed shoes may contribute to the problem. Plantar fasciitis is common among athletes who run and jump a lot. Runners in particular often complain of plantar heel pain.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis can occur suddenly or gradually and can be quite painful. The most common symptom is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel. While an individual with plantar fasciitis may experience pain that is dull or sharp, sometimes aching or burning on the bottom of the foot is felt. In many cases, a heel spur is also present.
Once our podiatrist has determined that your heel pain is in fact due to plantar fasciitis, the appropriate treatment will be recommended. Most individuals will experience improvements with conservative therapy alone. If symptoms are disabling and persist even after an extended course of conservative therapy, other methods of care may be considered.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into and penetrates the underlying skin at the end of or side of the toe. While an ingrown toenail may not initially cause symptoms as it continues digging into the skin, it can produce increasing irritation, inflammation, redness and pain. An ingrown toenail can become so uncomfortable that wearing any shoes, other than ones with a wide, open toe may be impossible. With an ingrown toenail, extra skin, as well as other tissue, can begin to grow around the impinging portion of the nail. Furthermore, once the ingrown toenail penetrates the skin, an infection may develop with pus and worsening symptoms.
Common causes of ingrown toenails may include:
• Over-trimming the Toenails
• Improper Footwear
• Nail Disorders
• Faulty Foot Mechanics
If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, the safest approach is to see your podiatrist for professional guidance, diagnosis, and care. This advice holds true for everyone and is especially important if an infection is present, if you suffer from diabetes, have nerve damage in your feet, suffer from poor circulation, or have a compromised immune system.
The good news is that fixing most ingrown toenails and relieving the associated symptoms can be accomplished with a minor in-office procedure. The extent of the procedure depends upon the severity of the case, whether or not your ingrown toenail is a chronic problem, and if there are other contributing medical factors.
Many common foot complaints like heel pain, arch pain, and ball of foot pain can be attributed to faulty foot mechanics. What this means is that even a tiny flaw in the complex arrangement of 26 bones, 33 joints, and intricate framework of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that make up each of the feet can cause issues such as gait abnormalities, foot instability, and areas of atypical or excessive pressure. Over time this can lead to foot pain and dysfunction including problems such as plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendon problems and flat feet. Faulty foot mechanics can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms in other parts of the body including the knees, hips and back.
The good news is that foot problems of this nature can often be treated with custom shoe inserts called orthotics. Custom made orthotics can be specifically designed to correct an abnormal or irregular walking pattern, provide the foot with improved support, correct or prevent worsening foot deformity, relieve areas of pressure, and help reduce discomfort. By promoting the proper alignment of the structures in the feet, and by working like shock absorbers, orthotics can improve foot function, restore balance, enhance sports performance while also alleviating foot pain as well as knee, hip and back discomfort.
Our office is skilled and experienced in treating all types of structural and functional foot problems and will thoroughly evaluate all issues and concerns related to your condition. If our podiatrist determines that an orthotic is needed, the appropriate records and impressions will be taken to design and fabricate the most effective one to address your specific needs.
Since young feet are still growing, problems can develop quickly. It is important to catch any conditions before they continue into adulthood. Pay attention to the following as they might indicate possible foot problems your child is experiencing: a change in the wear on their shoes, discoloration of the skin or nails, bumps on the skin, a change in the general coordination and stamina of your child, falling and fatigue and/or if they become unwilling to participate in activities they normally enjoy.
As participation in sports by individuals of all ages increases, so does the frequency of foot injuries and associated conditions. According to statistics, approximately 25% of sports injuries are foot or ankle related. In addition to overuse and repetitive stress injuries, one-time traumatic injuries stemming from sports, recreational, and fitness activities are also on the rise.
In our office, we provide skilled, experienced foot care to help protect against sports-related trauma and offer treatment to support foot function to improve an athlete's comfort level, performance, and endurance. We're well equipped to treat a range of foot and ankle injuries as well as disorders, helping athletes to recover and return to the game.
Whether you're a professional athlete, weekend warrior, fitness buff, or just picked up the sport; we can provide the foot care you require. We recognize that every case is unique and tailor treatment to address individual needs.
Occasionally even the smallest blister, sore, or cut on the foot can worsen and pose more severe consequences to foot health and overall well-being. This scenario is especially common in people with diabetes for whom foot infections and their complications are the leading cause of hospitalization. In fact, according to statistics, more than 60% of non-traumatic lower limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
In cases of problematic cuts or ulcerations, our office provides the skilled and advanced care required to both protect the foot from developing an infection and treat an existing infection to help accelerate the healing process. When indicated, our podiatrist work as part of an interdisciplinary medical team to optimize healing, protect overall health, and restore function.