Surgical Podiatry

Bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, neuromas, achilles tendon problems, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and fractures are some of the surgical problems we address at Boston Common Podiatry.  We offer a wide array of surgical procedures to help patients regain and maintain their active, healthy, pain-free lifestyle.  We are on staff at several area hospitals including Mt. Auburn, a Harvard teaching hospital, as well as hospitals affiliated with the Cambridge Health Alliance.

What is a Foot Ankle Surgeon?

Foot and ankle surgeons are the surgical specialists who provide complete medical and surgical care for a variety of conditions affecting the foot and ankle.

Below are of some of the problems that we can surgically correct for you.

Fractures

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.