Signs of an Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail, a common yet uncomfortable condition, occurs when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin. This often happens on the big toenail. Typical signs include redness and swelling around the affected area, and pain and tenderness when pressure is applied to the toe. More severe cases may involve an infection, which is often indicated by pus or fluid buildup. Some people might also notice the skin next to the nail becoming harder or the nail itself appearing overly curved or thickened. These symptoms not only cause discomfort but can also restrict footwear choices and make walking or standing painful. Recognizing these signs early is important for seeking appropriate treatment to prevent the condition from worsening and to alleviate the discomfort it causes. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, it is suggested you make an appointment with a podiatrist, a foot doctor who can effectively treat this condition. 

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact one of our podiatrists of InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.

Causes

  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.

Treatment

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Dealing with Acquired Flat Foot

Dealing with acquired flat feet, also known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, or PTTD, requires looking into its causes and symptoms. PTTD is an acquired, progressive disease of the foot and ankle that is seen commonly in middle-aged patients. When the tibialis posterior muscle or tendon weakens or stretches, it may no longer support the foot's arch. This leads to arch collapse and discomfort, including midfoot tenderness, arch pain, and ankle swelling. Symptoms may also include difficulty standing on the toes and foot weakness. Treatments involve both conservative and surgical options depending on the severity of the condition. Wearing custom foot orthotics in your shoes and immobilizing the foot in a short-leg cast or boot to allow the tendon to heal properly may be needed. In severe cases, surgery may be required. If you are experiencing symptoms that may be related to acquired flat feet, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist today for an exam, diagnosis, and treatment options. 

Flatfoot is a condition many people suffer from. If you have flat feet, contact one of our podiatrists from InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Are Flat Feet?

Flatfoot is a condition in which the arch of the foot is depressed and the sole of the foot is almost completely in contact with the ground. About 20-30% of the population generally has flat feet because their arches never formed during growth.

Conditions & Problems:

Having flat feet makes it difficult to run or walk because of the stress placed on the ankles.

Alignment – The general alignment of your legs can be disrupted, because the ankles move inward which can cause major discomfort.

Knees – If you have complications with your knees, flat feet can be a contributor to arthritis in that area.  

Symptoms

  • Pain around the heel or arch area
  • Trouble standing on the tip toe
  • Swelling around the inside of the ankle
  • Flat look to one or both feet
  • Having your shoes feel uneven when worn

Treatment

If you are experiencing pain and stress on the foot you may weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs around the inside of the ankle. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Bunion Treatment

Bunions manifest primarily as the big toe angling towards the other toes, causing a bony protrusion on the inner edge of the foot. Symptoms include pain, swelling, callused skin, and foot shape changes. Treatment aims to alleviate discomfort and may involve painkillers, orthotics, or surgery for severe cases. Untreated bunions can worsen and lead to complications like arthritis or toe misalignment. Bunions are more prevalent in women, possibly due to footwear choices like high heels. Other causes of bunions include genetics, arthritis, and ill-fitting shoes. Prevention involves wearing properly fitting shoes with ample toe room, and avoiding tight or high-heeled footwear. Surgery is often the only solution for severe cases but may not guarantee complete recovery. If you have a bunion that causes you pain, it is suggested that you make appointments with a podiatrist for regular monitoring and treatment.

If you are suffering from bunions, contact one of our podiatrists of InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why Do Bunions Form?

Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary

Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions

How Are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How Are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Do You Suffer From Painful Feet?

Painful deformities, such as hammertoes, can be treated. Stop living with foot pain, and have beautiful feet again!

Causes and Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Heel pain is often caused by plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the fascia running along the sole of the foot. Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis relies on symptoms such as morning pain and can be exacerbated by factors like obesity, flat feet, or excessive standing on hard surfaces. There are various relief techniques that affected individuals can take advantage of, and a podiatrist can guide you toward the methods that are best for you. If you have chronic heel pain, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with this type of doctor who can perform an accurate diagnosis and get you the right treatment. 

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

If you have any questions please contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Taking Care of Children’s Foot Health

Tending to children's foot health from birth to the early stages of walking and throughout their growth is important. At birth, baby feet are soft and flexible, with bones that are still forming. Proper foot care involves keeping them clean and dry, and avoiding tight footwear that can restrict movement. As children start to walk, generally between eight and 18 months, their feet undergo significant development. They may initially have a wide gait, but this typically corrects itself over time. It is helpful for parents to encourage barefoot play on safe surfaces to strengthen muscles and improve balance. As children grow, it is beneficial to monitor their foot development and ensure they wear supportive, properly fitting shoes to accommodate their changing foot size and shape. Regular foot checks by a podiatrist are suggested, as this healthcare professional can help detect any potential issues early, and promote healthy foot development for lifelong mobility and comfort.

Making sure that your children maintain good foot health is very important as they grow. If you have any questions, contact one of our podiatrists of InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

Having healthy feet during childhood can help prevent medical problems later in life, namely in the back and legs. As children grow, their feet require different types of care. Here are some things to consider...

Although babies do not walk yet, it is still very important to take care of their feet.

Avoid putting tight shoes or socks on his or her feet.

Allow the baby to stretch and kick his or her feet to feel comfortable.

As a toddler, kids are now on the move and begin to develop differently. At this age, toddlers are getting a feel for walking, so don’t be alarmed if your toddler is unsteady or ‘walks funny’. 

As your child gets older, it is important to teach them how to take care of their feet.

Show them proper hygiene to prevent infections such as fungus.

Be watchful for any pain or injury.

Have all injuries checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Comfortable, protective shoes should always be worn, especially at play.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Understanding How Fungus Infects the Toenail

Toenail fungus, medically termed onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection that affects millions of people worldwide. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, making the feet susceptible to infection, particularly in damp socks and shoes. When fungi, such as dermatophytes, yeasts, or molds, penetrate the toenail bed or nail plate, they cause the toenail to become discolored, thickened, and brittle. Fungal nail infections often start as a small white or yellow spot under the nail and progressively spread, leading to more severe symptoms if left untreated. Factors like poor foot hygiene, wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes, and walking barefoot in public places increase the risk of toenail fungus. Additionally, individuals with weakened immune systems, diabetes, or circulatory issues are more prone to fungal infections. If you have developed toenail fungus, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist who can offer effective preventive measures, in addition to prescribing medication if needed for successful treatment.

For more information about treatment, contact one of our podiatrists of InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus is a condition that affects many people and can be especially hard to get rid of. Fortunately, there are several methods to go about treating and avoiding it.

Antifungals & Deterrence

Oral antifungal medicine has been shown to be effective in many cases. It is important to consult with a podiatrist to determine the proper regiment for you, or potentially explore other options.

Applying foot powder on the feet and shoes helps keep the feet free of moisture and sweat.

Sandals or open toed shoes – Wearing these will allow air movement and help keep feet dry. They also expose your feet to light, which fungus cannot tolerate. Socks with moisture wicking material also help as well.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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Symptoms and Risk Factors of Gout

Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints, often affecting the big toe. Gout is notorious for its intense pain, which frequently flares up at night. Although commonly associated with men over 45, gout can develop in anyone at any age. This arthritic condition stems from the body's inability to adequately process purines, which are natural substances found in the body. This inability results in the formation of uric acid. When uric acid levels become elevated, sharp urate crystals form and deposit in joints, leading to inflammation, swelling, and excruciating pain. While the big toe is a frequent target, gout can affect any joint and often strikes suddenly, even disrupting sleep with its severity. Dietary factors play a significant role in gout development, with diets high in red meat, seafood, and fructose-containing beverages increasing the risk. Alcohol consumption and obesity also increase susceptibility to gout. Symptoms can include agonizing pain, swelling, warmth, and redness at the affected joint, which may last up to a week before subsiding. Gout is not curable, but it can be managed with the help of lifestyle and dietary changes and treatment from a podiatrist. If you suffer from the symptoms of gout, it is suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who is medically trained to manage this ailment.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Are You Suffering From Nerve Damage?

Neuropathy is a condition that can lead to numbness or loss of sensation in the feet, but it can also cause pain. This condition is more likely to develop for those who are diabetic, obese, or with high blood pressure.

Preventing Running Injuries and Sustaining Flexibility

Embarking on a running journey is a pursuit of both physical fitness and mental well-being. To ensure a sustained and injury-free experience, incorporating preventive measures into your running routine is paramount. A key way to prevent running injuries is to begin with a dynamic warm-up routine, encompassing stretches that target key muscle groups. Consistent strength training that focuses on the core and lower body fortifies the muscles, reducing the risk of overuse injuries in the feet. Investing in quality footwear that suits your foot type and running terrain is a cornerstone of injury prevention. Gradual progression in mileage and intensity allows the body to adapt, minimizing the strain on foot's many muscles and joints. Listening to your body and recognizing early signs of fatigue or discomfort enables timely adjustments to prevent injuries. Post-run stretches that emphasize flexibility aid in muscle recovery and maintain joint suppleness. By integrating these strategies, runners can safeguard against injuries and nurture flexibility, fostering a sustainable and fulfilling running experience. If you are experiencing foot or ankle injuries related to running, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist.

All runners should take extra precaution when trying to avoid injury. If you have any concerns about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists of InStride Family Foot Care. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

How to Prevent Running Injuries

There are a lot of mistakes a runner can make prior to a workout that can induce injury. A lot of athletes tend to overstretch before running, instead of saving those workouts for a post-run routine. Deep lunges and hand-to-toe hamstring pulls should be performed after a workout instead of during a warmup. Another common mistake is jumping into an intense routine before your body is physically prepared for it. You should try to ease your way into long-distance running instead of forcing yourself to rush into it.

More Tips for Preventing Injury

  • Incorporate Strength Training into Workouts - This will help improve the body’s overall athleticism
  • Improve and Maintain Your Flexibility – Stretching everyday will help improve overall performance
  • “Warm Up” Before Running and “Cool Down” Afterward – A warm up of 5-10 minutes helps get rid of lactic acid in the muscles and prevents delayed muscle soreness
  • Cross-Training is Crucial
  • Wear Proper Running Shoes
  • Have a Formal Gait Analysis – Poor biomechanics can easily cause injury

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Concord, Charlotte, and Salisbury, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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