Common Foot and Ankle Conditions
Our office provides a wide array of services and treatments to help you maintain healthy feet. Dr. Danciger is a trusted specialist in his field in diagnosing and treating all disorders and conditions of the foot and ankle. Some are more common than others, but whatever may bring you into our office, we strive to provide the individualized treatment you deserve to get back to enjoying your life to the fullest.
A Breakdown of Conditions
The reasons for foot problems fall into five different categories. First, a condition can develop over time due to stress on the feet, overuse, poor footwear and changes in the mechanical function of the foot. Second, conditions can be inherited and/or be present at birth. Third, we treat infections relating to the foot including fungal, bacterial and viral. Fourth, benign or malignant growths can develop, and lastly, a foot problem can stem from an injury such as fractures and sprains.
Leading Foot Problems We Treat
Bunions—A bunion is when the big toe starts to point toward the second toe and creates an uncomfortable bump on the inside of the foot. Over time, this bump becomes increasingly painful due to friction and pressure from footwear. This common deformity is often passed on genetically, but many patients can prevent painful bunions by avoiding tight, pointed, narrow shoes and especially high heels. Visit our page on bunions for more information, or schedule an appointment to have a bunion checked.
Hammertoes—This is a condition where the toe curls at the middle joint and points downward. The most common cause is a structural or muscle imbalance in the foot but it can be worsened by poor footwear. Tight shoes or high heels force toes to the front of the shoe so toes are pushed up against the front of the shoe in an unnatural bent position. Changing shoes and wearing inserts can sometimes relieve hammertoes, but in some situations surgery is required to restore toes to their normal shape.
Heel Spurs—These are calcium deposits that often develop as a result of plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs occur when the plantar tendon pulls at its attachment to the heel bone. This area of the heel later calcifies to form a spur. Proper warm-up and the use of appropriate athletic shoes can reduce the strain to the ligament and prevent the formation of heel spurs.
Ingrown Toenails—This common toenail problem develops when the corners or sides of the toenail dig painfully into the skin. They are usually caused by improper nail trimming, but can also result from shoe pressure, injury, fungus infection, heredity, and poor foot structure. You can prevent one from happening by trimming toenails straight across, selecting proper shoe styles and sizes, and responding to foot pain in a timely manner.
Neuromas—This condition involves an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. This is the misconception most people think, but neuromas are really a nerve compression issue. A true neuroma is caused by trauma to the nerve or cutting the nerve and the end of the nerve develops an enlargement of nerve tissue. Treatment may include orthotics, laser treatments, nerve blocks, and, in extreme cases, surgical removal of the growth.
Plantar Fasciitis—An inflammation in the band of tissue on the bottom of the foot can lead to this injury. Overuse or excess pressure can cause the plantar fascia to become strained and result in heel and arch pain. Treatments range from icing and foot exercises, laser therapy, night splints to the prescription of custom orthotics to correct the foot position and help alleviate pain.
Sesamoiditis—A form of tendonitis, sesamoiditis affects the area on the bottom of the foot, near the big toe. Your sesamoids are small bones with the tendons that connect muscles to other foot bones, and the condition occurs when there's been damage to these small bones or tendons. Pain can develop gradually, but in the case of a fracture, pain will be immediate. Treatment may involve taping the area or using a small brace to restrict movement. Proper shoe selection and orthotics also help.
Shin Splints—This involves pain on either side of the leg bone caused by muscle or tendon inflammation. Shin splints are related to excessive foot pronation, but also may be related to a muscle imbalance between opposing muscle groups in the leg. Proper stretching before and after exercise and corrective orthotics for pronation can help prevent shin splints.
Stress Fractures—A stress fracture is an incomplete crack in a bone caused by overuse. With complete rest, stress fractures in toes or any bones of the foot heal quickly. Extra padding in shoes can help prevent the condition. Left untreated, stress fractures may become complete bone fractures, which require casting and immobilization.
If you have any foot or ankle pain or have questions about your foot or ankle health, our staff is ready to help! Contact our Coachella Valley office by phone at (760) 568-0108.