General Foot Conditions

We Provide Relief for all of These Conditions

General foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis can be treated by Boston Common Podiatry.One of the most complex parts of the body, the foot, contains 26 bones connected by joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. On average, we take thousands of steps every day and with each step, our feet absorb hundreds of pounds of square inch while walking and running. With this complexity, we’re susceptible to many stresses that may lead to foot problems. Pain, inflammation or injury associated with these stresses often result in limited mobility and movement.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Like many other foot disorders, including bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas, Achilles tendinitis will get progressively worse and may eventually lead to degeneration of the tendon if not properly diagnosed and treated by a podiatrist. The most common symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain or stiffness along the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel, particularly when walking or exercising. Pain may also occur after a period of inactivity or when getting up in the morning and taking those first steps. There may also be swelling or warmth in the area.

Because the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel, Achilles tendinitis is often caused by over training, overusing, or injuring the tendon during repetitive sports activities. Muscle tightness in general or back and hip problems that throw off your body’s proper alignment can sometimes be the culprit. Another major cause of Achilles tendinitis is tight calf muscles resulting from continuously wearing high-heeled shoes. Flat shoes can also cause Achilles tendinitis since they tend to shorten calf muscles.

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle. The ligaments connect the bones to each other another and stabilize the ankle joint. The treatment of the ankle sprain, whether non-surgical or surgical, depends on the severity of the injury. The severity is determined by whether a ligament is stretched, partially torn, or completely torn, as well as on the number of ligaments injured. It is important that ankle fractures of any severity be promptly and properly evaluated to exclude associated injuries, such as fractures of the foot and ankle, as well as to avoid long-term complications of an untreated ankle injury such as chronic ankle instability.

Bone or Heel Spur

A bone spur (osteophyte) is a bony growth that develops along the edge of a bone. It is most often formed at the joint, where bone meets bone. Bone spurs may go undetected for years, unless they rub against nearby nerves or bones and cause pain. If you’re experiencing pain or loss of motion in a joint, you may have a bone spur. Bone spurs or heel spurs (those that begin at the front of your heel bone and point towards your arch) may be revealed in an x-ray. About half the people who have plantar fasciitis will develop a heel spur.

Bunions

A bunion (Hallux valgus) looks like a “bump” on the joint of the big toe; however, these bumps are not calluses. Instead they result from the bones in your foot becoming misaligned. More often than not, the big toe is leaning inward towards the middle toe giving the appearance of a bump on the joint. Bunions are a progressive disease that warrants treatment from a podiatrist early on. While some people may never have symptoms, most people experience pain at the base of the big toe near the joint, redness at the big toe joint, pain such as a burning sensation associated with activity, pain when wearing shoes, and numbness in the big toe.

One of the causes of bunions is heredity. You may have inherited a faulty foot bone structure that makes you more prone to bunions. Flat feet are also a culprit and younger patients may be diagnosed with bunions because of hyper-flexibility. While wearing shoes that are too tight, high heels that crowd the toes, and spending a lot of time on your feet won’t cause bunions, these situations can exacerbate the problem and symptoms will appear immediately and be more severe. For these reasons, women are treated for bunions more often than men.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses on the foot can cause discomfort. Basically, they are thick, hardened layers of skin that develop where friction and/or pressure is present. Corns usually develop on the tops or sides of the toe. Calluses are usually found on the soles of your feet.

The risk of complications from corns and calluses is very low unless you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor circulation to your feet. Corns and calluses are often filed down during a salon pedicure, so it’s important to protect your foot health by being proactive about salon sanitization. Follow these guidelines to ensure a healthy pedicure.

Diabetic Foot Care

Injury or even a small cut on the foot can result in serious consequences for someone with diabetes. Diabetes may cause nerve damage or reduce blood flow to the feet, which makes it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. An infection or a non-healing wound could put you at risk for amputation. See a podiatrist for any suspected foot problems and professional foot care including toenail trimming and treatment of corns or calluses.

Fractures

Foot fractures may be caused by certain activities or injuries. Pain, swelling, redness and bruising are signs of a possible fracture.
Fractures are diagnosed with an examination and with  x-rays or other studies. Based on the findings, a podiatrist can determine the best treatment course. Fractures are often treated with rest, icing, and immobilization. However surgery is sometimes necessary to repair the fracture.

Fungal Toenails

Toenail fungus is a common problem that can affect people of all ages, although it most commonly affects individuals who are older. It is a skin infection, tinea pedis, or more commonly, athlete’s foot. The fungus often starts under the nail fold and continues to grow under the nail. Over time,l the nail becomes discolored (yellow or brown), thicker and deformed.

Hammertoes

Hammertoe is the term used to describe a bending in the joint of the toe. A hammertoe can occur in one toe or in several toes, with the exception of the big toe. When more than one toe is affected the condition is referred to in the plural, hammertoes. This abnormal bending of the joints can result in unsightly lesions or pain from pressure of the toes when wearing shoes. If you suspect you have a hammertoe, you should consult with a podiatrist to confirm diagnosis since the condition can get progressively worse over time.

The first symptom of a hammertoe is pain when wearing shoes. You may notice a painful lesion between two or more of your toes or that your toes curl or bend to one side or the other. Other symptoms of hammertoes include pain at the tip of the toe, pain in toenails, or thick lesions on the tops of the toes that may be discolored. In some cases, hammertoes may not be painful at all. Common causes of hammertoes include wearing high heels or tight fitting shoes that create bunions and push the second toe out of place. People with flat feet often get hammertoes, and in some instances hammertoes may be hereditary.

Hyperhidrosis 

Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which there is excessive foot sweating. Most of those affected have a family history of the condition. Excessive foot sweating may be associated with excessive hand sweating. Hyperhidrosis can result in significant lifestyle disruptions relating to foot odor and fungal infections as well as difficulty in wearing shoes and sandals.

At Boston Common Podiatry, Dr. Szpiro takes a non-surgical approach to treating hyperhidrosis which includes the use of topical medications and BotoxR treatment.  Dr. Szpiro also treats fungal infections of the feet which are associated with hyperhidrosis.

Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail may cause pain, swelling and even infection. When a toenail grows into the soft flesh of the toe, it becomes “ingrown”. Ingrown toenails may be caused by an injury to the toenail; cutting the toenail too short or incorrectly or wearing tight-fitting shoes that crowd your toes. People with diabetes or other circulation problems that affect the feet should consult a podiatrist immediately if an ingrown toenail is suspected. Learn more about our Miracle Medi Pedicure.

Neuromas

A neuroma is a swelling or thickening of a nerve in your body but when it comes to neuromas in your foot, there’s a special name for it, Morton’s neuroma. This type of neuroma typically occurs at the base of the third and fourth toes near the ball of the foot. If neuromas are not treated, they may lead to permanent nerve damage. The most common symptoms of neuromas are tingling in toes, numbness in the toes or ball of foot, pain in the ball of the foot. Some people report that it feels like you’re walking on a stone. In severe cases it may cause difficulty in walking. Symptoms typically begin gradually but over time will get progressively worse and more intense.

Neuromas can be caused by anything that results in irritation to the nerves of the foot, but are primarily caused by wearing narrow shoes such as those with a tapered toe, especially when combined with high heels. Unstable footing is another cause (wearing shoes that don’t support the feet; walking on cobblestones or other uneven paving surfaces.) An increase in activity such as running or walking can also cause neuromas because of the repetitive impacts. Those who are prone to getting bunions and hammertoes also seem to be more susceptible to neuromas.

Peroneal Tendon Injuries

Peroneal tendon injuries are seen most frequently in sports players and marathon runners. The main function of the peroneal tendons is to stabilize the foot and ankle and protect them from sprains. The two peroneal tendons in the foot run side-by-side behind the outer ankle bone.

Peroneal tendon injuries are either acute or chronic and occur in individuals with higher arches and/or who participate in sports that involve repetitive ankle motion. Peroneal tendon injuries include tendonitis, tears, and subluxation. Weakness or instability, pain, swelling, and warmth are all symptoms of a peroneal tendon injury.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis, which often exhibits as heel pain, is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed.

Those who have problems with their arches or who have overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing Plantar fasciitis. Symptoms of Plantar fasciitis include pain on the bottom of the heel, pain that is usually worse upon rising and pain that increases over a period of months.

Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts (Verruca Plantaris) are soft tissue growths that develop on the bottom of your foot. Warts are usually not painful, although they can be if a plantar wart is located on the ball or heel of the foot. All warts result from a viral infection of the skin caused by direct skin-to-skin contact. The virus, called Human Papillomavirus (HPV), enters the skin through a cut. The cut may be so small that it is invisible to the naked eye. Plantar warts are contracted in public places where people walk around barefoot like locker rooms, pools, gyms, and salons where foot care treatments such as pedicures are performed.

All warts, including plantar warts, are very contagious and are easily spread by physical contact including touching or scratching, with skin shed from another wart. If left untreated warts, including plantar warts, can spread to other parts of the body.

Plantar warts are gray or brown in color, while common warts are white, tan, flesh colored, or pink in color. Serious malignant lesions can also be mistaken for a wart, which is why it’s important to have any suspicious lesion checked by a podiatrist. Plantar warts on the bottom of the foot are generally hard and flat, with a rough surface. They may have tiny black pinpoints scattered throughout. Warts on the top of the foot are raised and more fleshy looking.

Trauma

Pain, swelling, redness and bruising are signs of a possible fracture. Foot fractures may be caused by certain activities or injuries and are diagnosed by x-rays or other studies. A podiatrist can determine the best treatment course. Oftentimes, rest, icing, and immobilization are the treatments; however surgery is sometimes necessary to repair the fracture.