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.
Today, the incidence of diabetes is on the rise, with the complications of this metabolic disorder representing one of the most challenging public health problems of the 21st Century. According to The National Diabetes Statistics Report, a periodic publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States alone, over 34 million people, or more than 10% of the population, have diabetes. These numbers include both diagnosed and undiagnosed cases across all age groups. However, a closer look reveals the statistics are actually higher for adults. As it stands, 13.0% of adults 18 yrs. of age and older across the country have diabetes, with that number rising to 26.8% among those age 65 and over.
The overriding concern with diabetes is that the disease can have severe consequences to one's health and well-being when not adequately managed. Among other things, diabetes contributes to the development of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss, dental problems, nerve impairment, and complicated medical issues in the feet and lower extremities.
For people with diabetes, even the smallest blister, sore, or cut on the foot can pose tremendous health risks. In reality, something as minor as 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 amputation and even a life-threatening situation. The statistics are alarming. More than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
At the office of Ozark Foot & Ankle PLC, we provide the skilled and experienced podiatric care required to help prevent the onset of diabetic-related foot problems. We're dedicated to our patients' care and comfort and maintain a position at the forefront of advances in technology and treatment. With our comprehensive range of services, we do our utmost to help patients enjoy optimal foot health while providing care that supports their overall health and well-being.
Diabetes is a complex metabolic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. With diabetes, your cells are deprived of glucose, the energy source they require, while high levels of this sugar remain in the blood. Persistently high blood sugar has a detrimental impact throughout the body, leading to significant and even life-threatening acute and long‐term health complications.
While proper foot care is essential for everyone, it’s especially critical for people with diabetes. As a result of damage to the peripheral nerves and blood vessels in the lower legs and feet, minor issues can escalate to dangerous infections with severe consequences.
Even though there’s no cure as yet for diabetes, the condition can be managed. At the office of Ozark Foot & Ankle PLC, we provide the diabetic foot care you need to protect your health.
Peripheral neuropathy - One of the primary sources of foot problems in people with diabetes is peripheral neuropathy. Recognized as the most common form of diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy first affects the feet and legs, followed by the hands and arms. The condition produces a range of symptoms, including numbness, a decreasing ability to feel pain or temperature changes, tingling, burning, sharp pains, cramps, or an increased sensitivity to touch.
The consequences in the feet are particularly concerning. As nerve damage affecting the feet progresses, numbness and susceptibility to ulcerations of the skin increases. Due to the loss of sensation, an individual with peripheral neuropathy may not notice an injury to their foot until they have developed a severe infection—more than half of the people with diabetes experience mild to severe forms of neuropathy.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) - Having diabetes also puts one at risk for peripheral arterial disease. Although this condition can affect all the extremities, it most often involves the legs and feet.
PAD occurs as fatty deposits build up along the inner walls of blood vessels, narrowing the arteries and decreasing blood flow to the legs and feet. According to statistics from the American Diabetes Association, one-third of people with diabetes over the age of fifty develop PAD.
In addition to symptoms such as pain with walking, poor circulation can result in foot wounds that are slow to heal, one foot being much colder than the other, and an increased risk of developing gangrene. In severe cases, foot or leg amputation may be needed.
To prevent, manage, and treat the consequences of diabetes requires the involvement of a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals. As foot infections and their complications are common and the leading cause of hospitalization for diabetics, our podiatrist serves an essential and integral member of your healthcare team.
Diabetes sufferers are especially prone to foot infections, with about 15 percent of those with diabetes mellitus developing a foot ulcer at some point in their lives. Furthermore, the non-traumatic loss of a toe, foot, or leg is most often due to diabetes.
Considering the higher risk of complications and the complex nature of care, the keys to avoiding diabetes-related foot problems are prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment.
If you have diabetes, it essential that in addition to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and healthy lifestyle, you take the following steps to maintain foot health:
See a podiatrist for periodic exams. Professional checkups and routine care not only help to avoid complex problems that threaten foot health, but also prevent consequences to your overall health and well-being.
Inspect your feet on a daily basis. If any ulcerations, lesions, inflammation, redness, or nail problems develop, contact our office.
Gently wash your feet daily with lukewarm water and thoroughly dry them. Keep in mind; peripheral neuropathy can make it difficult to tell if the water temperature is dangerously hot. Burns or blisters in a diabetic can readily lead to infections.
Use a recommended moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated and supple. To avoid fungal infections, avoid moisturizing between the toes.
To avoid ingrown toenails or injury, trim your toenails with care. Alternatively, our podiatrist can also do it for you.
Don’t be tempted to perform a “bathroom surgery.” Let our podiatrist evaluate and treat your corns, calluses, and any other unusual bumps or lesions.
Keep your feet warm and dry. Damp shoes, socks, and excessive moisture can increase your risk of infection.
Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from accidental cuts, scratches, irritations, hot sand, or pavement.
Before you put on a pair of shoes, check the inside for any pebbles or sharp edges that may cause an irritation. Because diabetics can lose some feeling in their feet, it’s essential to make sure footwear is safe and object-free.
Don’t smoke. In addition to contributing to other medical issues, smoking complicates circulatory problems, which further deprives your feet of the oxygen and nutrient rich blood they need.
To avoid ingrown toenails or injury, trim your toenails with care. Alternatively, our podiatrist can also do it for you.
Stay active and exercise. Be mindful of high-impact activities that may increase your risk of a foot injury. You can keep the blood flowing to your feet by remembering to wiggle your toes, periodically moving your feet around, avoid crossing your legs for too long a time, and elevating your feet when sitting.
Speak to our podiatrist about special diabetic shoes and socks that provide enhanced comfort and protection and support healthy circulation. We’ll advise you on the right socks, footwear, and orthotics to help you walk better, cushion your feet, and redistribute pressure to prevent sores or callous formation.
Remember, if a lesion, redness, swelling, or irritating foot deformity are present, it’s essential to contact the office of Ozark Foot & Ankle PLC for care. Our experienced podiatrist will provide the prompt treatment and guidance you need to resolve an infection, prevent it from worsening, and promote healing. We offer integrated care, partnering with your physician, vascular surgeon, infectious disease doctor, and other specialists as needed to get you back on the road to health.
Living with diabetes presents a challenge, and foot complications are a constant risk. A diabetic should always keep in mind that proper foot care is essential to overall health and well being. Being under the care of our podiatrist is the best step you can take to avoid pain and problems. While it’s recommended that diabetics visit a podiatrist once a year for a comprehensive examination, depending on your blood sugar levels, medical history, results of your foot exam, and lifestyle, we may recommend more frequent appointments and care.
Because minor problems can escalate quickly to infections and more serious threats to a diabetic’s health, it’s essential to contact our office as soon as you notice signs of a problem or the appearance of symptoms.
The following issues require immediate attention and care:
Approximately 15% of diabetics develop an open sore or wound known as a foot ulcer. Commonly located on the bottom of the feet, ulcers are not only slow to heal, but without prompt treatment can lead to a severe infection, hospitalization, and even amputation. The numbers speak for themselves. Six percent of diabetics with a foot ulcer end up hospitalized due to an infection or other ulcer-related complication. In addition to elevated glucose levels affecting the body’s ability to combat an infection, diabetes-related circulatory issues further compromise healing.
The nerve damage and circulatory problems associated with diabetes are responsible for a range of issues affecting foot health and function. While uncommon, diabetes can cause the bones in your feet and toes to shift or break. In addition to deforming and changing the shape of your feet, these changes can lead to disability and, in some instances amputation.
As part of a comprehensive plan of care, the type and fit of the shoes you wear can play a significant role in preventing as well as alleviating foot conditions before they can do considerable harm. Our podiatrist will provide you with guidance on choosing the right footwear to safeguard the health of your feet. Diabetic shoes, socks, and custom orthotics are designed to enhance your comfort, function, and protect your feet from injury.
Diabetic socks are typically made of materials that effectively wick away moisture from the feet. They are also designed to support circulation and protect your feet from injury. Diabetic socks are fabricated from materials that are non-elastic, non-binding, seamless, and padded.
Diabetic shoes offer a deeper toe box for pressure-free movement and extra-depth to prevent irritations and comfortably allow orthotic inserts. They contain no irritating inner seams or edges and are cushioned to reduce the forces of impact while allowing ease of movement and stability.
At the offices of Ozark Foot & Ankle PLC, we offer the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. Our primary goal is to provide care that supports optimal foot health and overall well-being. For patients with diabetes, we look to establish successful partnerships to monitor and protect their foot health and prevent any complications related to the disease.
In addition to the provision of acute care, we work hand in hand with a diabetic patient to develop a comprehensive and proactive diabetic foot care plan. We provide patients with the education and resources they require to maintain foot health and wellness. From helping patients develop a daily foot care regimen to nutritional guidance, comprehensive preventive care, and emergency treatment for wounds and injuries, patients can depend on our office for outstanding care!
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.