If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right.Switch to Accessible Site

Dr. Szpiro is a Participating Provider with the Beth Israel Lahey Physicians Organization

We are featured as one of the 5 Best Podiatrists in Boston, MA

We see pediatric patients!

Blog

Do I Need an X-Ray to Diagnose Hammertoes?

Hammertoe is a common foot deformity in which one or more of the four smaller toes bend downward at the middle joint, causing the affected toes to have a hammer-like shape. This condition can cause pain and discomfort that progressively worsens over time. The tops of the toes may develop corns or calluses as they rub against the inside of your shoes when walking. Diagnosing and treating hammertoe early is important, as the deformity can eventually become permanent. Your podiatrist will usually be able to diagnose hammertoe through physical examination alone. However, they may suggest an X-ray if they suspect that you could have arthritis or another condition that might be responsible for the hammertoe. In rarer cases, where the hammertoe is extremely painful, your doctor might also recommend that a fluid sample be taken from the joint to check for signs of infection or gout. If you have painful hammertoe, please seek the care of a podiatrist. 

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact the podiatrists from Boston Common Podiatry. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?

It's Time for Beautiful Feet

You don't need an excuse to have beautiful nails. Step outside without worrying about the appearance of your feet.

Painful, Persistent Plantar Warts

Warts are growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can occur in various areas of the body and are spread through direct contact or indirectly through contact with a surface or object that has previously been in contact with a wart. Plantar warts are flat, hard, and rough growths that develop on the bottom surface (plantar) of the foot. They are brown or gray, with tiny black dots in the center, which are actually blood vessels that nourish the wart with oxygen and nutrients. Plantar warts can be individual or grow in clusters. They are typically tender and can be quite painful while walking and standing. While they may go away on their own, it can take years to completely rid yourself of them. If you have one or more plantar warts that are causing you discomfort, contact a podiatrist who has a variety of treatment options to remove the wart.

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact the podiatrists from Boston Common Podiatry. Our doctors will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Plantar Warts?

What Is Os Trigonum Syndrome?

An unfused Os trigonum is a small, extra bone that very few people experience at the back of the ankle, just behind the ankle joint. Having an unfused Os trigonum typically doesn’t cause any problems, however, when an ankle injury occurs, Os trigonum syndrome can develop. This condition is often caused by repetitive overuse and trauma and is particularly common among ballet dancers, runners, and football players who have an unfused Os trigonum. Symptoms of this condition can include pain at the back of the ankle, swelling, tenderness, and a small, hard lump near the Achilles tendon. Conservative treatments are frequently effective in treating os trigonum syndrome and may include resting, icing, and immobilizing the foot, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and doing strengthening and stretching exercises. To learn more about this condition, please consult with a podiatrist. 

Ankle pain can be caused by a number of problems and may be potentially serious. If you have ankle pain, consult with the podiatrists  from Boston Common Podiatry. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Ankle pain is any condition that causes pain in the ankle. Due to the fact that the ankle consists of tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments, ankle pain can come from a number of different conditions.

Causes

The most common causes of ankle pain include:

  • Types of arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and gout)
  • Ankle sprains
  • Broken ankles
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Stress fractures
  • Bursitis
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis

Symptoms

Symptoms of ankle injury vary based upon the condition. Pain may include general pain and discomfort, swelling, aching, redness, bruising, burning or stabbing sensations, and/or loss of sensation.

Diagnosis

Due to the wide variety of potential causes of ankle pain, podiatrists will utilize a number of different methods to properly diagnose ankle pain. This can include asking for personal and family medical histories and of any recent injuries. Further diagnosis may include sensation tests, a physical examination, and potentially x-rays or other imaging tests.

Treatment

Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are rest, ice packs, keeping pressure off the foot, orthotics and braces, medication for inflammation and pain, and surgery.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

Read more about Ankle Pain

What Is a Ganglion Cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac that originates from a tendon sheath or joint capsule and forms a knot-like lump below the surface of the skin. While they usually form on the wrists, these types of cyst are fairly common in the feet, particularly on the top of the foot. Ganglion cysts often cause no symptoms, but when they are symptomatic you may notice a tingling or burning sensation, or a dull ache or pain. You might also have difficulty wearing shoes due to friction from the lump rubbing against your shoes while you walk. If they are asymptomatic, these cysts can be left alone and monitored by your podiatrist. However, if you have a painful ganglion cyst, your podiatrist may prescribe steroid injections and draining the cyst, as well as orthotics or footwear modifications to reduce pressure on the area. For more information about ganglion cysts on the feet, please consult with a podiatrist. 

Foot Pain

Foot pain can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you have a foot pain, consult with the podiatrists  from Boston Common Podiatry. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Causes

Foot pain is a very broad condition that could be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bone Spurs
  • Corns
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Arthritis (such as Gout, Rheumatoid, and Osteoarthritis)
  • Flat Feet
  • Injury (from stress fractures, broken toe, foot, ankle, Achilles tendon ruptures, and sprains)
  • And more

Diagnosis

To figure out the cause of foot pain, podiatrists utilize several different methods. This can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatment depends upon the cause of the foot pain. Whether it is resting, staying off the foot, or having surgery; podiatrists have a number of treatment options available for foot pain.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Foot Pain

Heel Pain Can Be Treated!

Do you suffer from heel pain when you get up in the morning? If so, you should seek the professional help of your podiatrist and have a proper diagnosis performed. Heel pain can be caused by several different foot-related conditions.

Ankle Sprains and Fractures

The ankle is designed to help move the foot in various directions as well as support the body. Many patients have ankle pain  that is a result of a disease of the ankle joint, or from an injury that has occurred. A twisted ankle may be the result of unexpectedly stepping off of a curb which can affect the surrounding tendons and ligaments. Other medical conditions that can cause ankle pain include osteoporosis which may weaken the bones in the ankle leading to an increased risk of a fracture. If you have sprained or fractured your ankle, please speak with a podiatrist who can properly diagnose and treat your ankle injuries.

Ankle sprains are common but need immediate attention. If you need your feet checked, contact the podiatrists from Boston Common Podiatry. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains take place when the ligaments in your ankle are torn or stretched beyond their limits. There are multiple ways that the ankle can become injured, including twisting or rolling over onto your ankle, putting undue stress on it, or causing trauma to the ankle itself.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Mild to moderate bruising
  • Limited mobility
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration of the skin (depending on severity)

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

Treatment of a sprain depends on the severity.  Many times, people are told to rest and remain off their feet completely, while others are given an air cast. If the sprain is very severe, surgery may be required.

If you have suffered an ankle sprain previously, you may want to consider additional support such as a brace and regular exercises to strengthen the ankle.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ankle Sprains

Topical Treatments for Diabetic Foot Wounds

Those with diabetes may find that their feet are more prone to dryness, itchiness, bruising, cuts, scrapes, and sores. These seemingly minor issues can be dangerous for diabetic feet. Even small wounds may heal slowly and poorly, becoming infected, or develop into diabetic foot ulcers (DFU's) over time. Topical medications are treatments that are applied directly to the skin to treat a skin problem. There are various topical medications that may be used to address skin conditions on diabetic feet. These include medications that moisturize the skin, protect the skin from irritants, reduce itchiness, decrease pain, disinfect wounds and aid wound healing. If you have DFU's or other skin problems on your feet a podiatrist can help to find the correct treatment for you. 

Wound care is an important part in dealing with diabetes. If you have diabetes and a foot wound or would like more information about wound care for diabetics, consult with the podiatrists from Boston Common Podiatry. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Wound Care?

Wound care is the practice of taking proper care of a wound. This can range from the smallest to the largest of wounds. While everyone can benefit from proper wound care, it is much more important for diabetics. Diabetics often suffer from poor blood circulation which causes wounds to heal much slower than they would in a non-diabetic. 

What Is the Importance of Wound Care?

While it may not seem apparent with small ulcers on the foot, for diabetics, any size ulcer can become infected. Diabetics often also suffer from neuropathy, or nerve loss. This means they might not even feel when they have an ulcer on their foot. If the wound becomes severely infected, amputation may be necessary. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to properly care for any and all foot wounds.

How to Care for Wounds

The best way to care for foot wounds is to prevent them. For diabetics, this means daily inspections of the feet for any signs of abnormalities or ulcers. It is also recommended to see a podiatrist several times a year for a foot inspection. If you do have an ulcer, run the wound under water to clear dirt from the wound; then apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover with a bandage. Bandages should be changed daily and keeping pressure off the wound is smart. It is advised to see a podiatrist, who can keep an eye on it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Wound Care

Tips to Prevent Falls for Adults Over 65

Roughly 1 in 4 older adults fall annually, which is why it is important for people over 65 to practice various safety measures to reduce risks of falling. Exercises can be done to strengthen muscles and improve balance. Pharmaceuticals should be reviewed to eliminate any medicine that causes drowsiness or dizziness. Vision should be checked annually to update eyewear as prescriptions change. Homes should be made as fall-proof as possible by installing grab bars near toilets and in showers and railings on both sides of stairs. Clutter should be eliminated from walkways, bright lighting should be installed, and small rugs should be eliminated or taped down to avoid slippage. A trip to the podiatrist is also recommended for a thorough examination to ensure that feet and ankles are healthy. A gait analysis may also be performed to see if custom orthotics may help improve balance and mobility.

Preventing falls among the elderly is very important. If you are older and have fallen or fear that you are prone to falling, consult with the podiatrists from Boston Common Podiatry. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality advice and care.

Every 11 seconds, an elderly American is being treated in an emergency room for a fall related injury. Falls are the leading cause of head and hip injuries for those 65 and older. Due to decreases in strength, balance, senses, and lack of awareness, elderly persons are very susceptible to falling. Thankfully, there are a number of things older persons can do to prevent falls.

How to Prevent Falls

Some effective methods that older persons can do to prevent falls include:

  • Enrolling in strength and balance exercise program to increase balance and strength
  • Periodically having your sight and hearing checked
  • Discuss any medications you have with a doctor to see if it increases the risk of falling
  • Clearing the house of falling hazards and installing devices like grab bars and railings
  • Utilizing a walker or cane
  • Wearing shoes that provide good support and cushioning
  • Talking to family members about falling and increasing awareness

Falling can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience for elderly persons; this can make them less willing to leave the house, and less willing to talk to someone about their fears of falling. Doing such things, however, will increase the likelihood of tripping or losing one’s balance. Knowing the causes of falling and how to prevent them is the best way to mitigate the risk of serious injury.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Falls Prevention

Reminder: When Was the Last Time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Connect with us
Boston Common Podiatry on Facebook Boston Common Podiatry on Twitter Boston Common Podiatry on Pinterest Boston Common Podiatry on LinkedInSuffolk County Podiatry Blog

Boston Common Podiatry Articles