The Answers You Need to Settle Your Foot Care Questions
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right answers to your questions. Other times it can be too embarrassing to even ask the right questions. That is why we take the initiative to answer common foot care queries without the need to be asked. Come get the answers you and your feet need.
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When is bunion surgery necessary?
Many times your bunion symptoms can be relieved with non-surgical treatment, such as changing your shoe styles, using splints at night in the early stages, routine stretching, various pain medications or therapies we may prescribe, or the use of custom orthotics to rebalance your foot. However, there are certain situations in which we would recommend bunion surgery:
- When you have unrelieved severe pain that keeps you from walking
- When your toe joint is constantly inflamed and swollen
- If the toe is stiff and unbendable
- If your toe is moving toward your second toe or they start to overlap
Correcting bunions through surgery often involves shaving away part of the bone. The bone may also be cut, repositioned, and held in place with screws or pins. Tendons may be shortened or lengthened to keep the problem from returning. There are over a hundred specific procedures, and you need an expert who has done many bunion surgeries to determine which one(s) you need. Trust the high standard of foot care from Dr. Robert Parker at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX. Call us today at (281) 497-2850 to schedule your appointment, or use our online form
Are there multiple causes of chronic heel pain?
Chronic heel pain is often quickly diagnosed as plantar fasciitis (maybe too quickly) and treated with orthotics, pain medication and rest. This can be a mistake that leaves you with months of limited mobility and discomfort.
There are many reasons your heel would hurt: a fracture, Achilles tendonitis, an inflamed bursa, or entrapped nerves caused by neuropathy, tarsal tunnel syndrome, or other underlying conditions. They may also hurt simply because the fat pads on your heel are deteriorating, or you stepped on something and bruised the bone or tissue. Even a bone spur can press on the surrounding tissue and cause inflammation, swelling or pain.
You need a foot expert that uses the latest research and testing to determine exactly what is leading to your discomfort. You’ll find both in Dr. Robert Parker of Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX. Call our office at (281) 497-2850 or request an appointment through our website and take the first steps to enjoying life without chronic pain in your heels.
Do I need to worry about sugar if I’m not diabetic?
Even if you don’t have diabetes, too much sugar is like poison in your system, and for this reason you should know the “alias” terms that are sugar in disguise: agave nectar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, maltose, muscavado, turbinado, molasses, rapadura, sucrose—and the list goes on!
In the early 1900s the average American consumed 25 lbs of sugar per year. Today, the average yearly intake of sugar is roughly 160 lbs!
Sugars do several things to your body:
It sets you up to slowly, over 10-20, years develop diabetes from a condition called metabolic syndrome or “pre-diabetes,” causing burning, tingling and numbness beginning of neuropathy.
It replaces healthy foods in your diet, so you may lack of important nutrients.
It gives you too many calories, stored as fat, so you gain weight.
It can increase inflammation in your vessels, making the linings like Velcro rather than Teflon (a process called glycation) and increasing your blood pressure, with all the attendant problems that causes.
It promotes tooth decay.
It raises your triglyceride levels, which is bad for your entire body.
It increases inflammation throughout your body, which is bad for nerves, causing them to swell in respective tunnels such as carpel tunnel in the hand and tarsal tunnel in the foot.
It raises insulin levels, the absolute worst effect, increasing risk for not only nerve damage but damaging important muscle that control your vital organs as well.
It impairs your immune system.
It lowers your energy levels, especially after the hypoglycemic crash, which drives your system to crave even more sugar while the insulin remains high in your system…disaster!
Of these issues, the ones that affect your feet most directly are the raised glucose levels, which lead to all the above mentioned conditions of poor circulation, and the increase in inflammation—this can damage peripheral nerves and increase incidence of the “itis” conditions like Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis.At Parker Foot & Ankle, we see these conditions often; Dr. Parker is one of the country’s leading peripheral nerve surgeons, and we also provide care for a wide range of inflammatory foot conditions. We can also counsel you on healthy eating to build up your feet and head off painful problems. If you are ready to give sugar a break, call our Houston, TX office at (281) 497-2850 for help.
Can I have neuropathy without having diabetes?
Neuropathy is a general term used for problems with misfiring nerves creating pain and numbness. This has many causes, and although diabetes is one of the most common culprits, it is by no means the only one. Other diseases can damage nerves, particularly ones affecting the kidneys, liver, and connective tissues. Autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis may cause it as well. Even infections like Lyme disease, shingles, and HIV can contribute to it.
Injuries are common causes of neuropathy, too, especially in the lower limbs. Damage to nervous tissue or an injury pressing on a nerve can create neuropathy symptoms. Tumors and other growths could press on the tissue as well. Exposure to toxins, extreme alcohol consumption, and vitamin deficiencies can all lead to painful nerve damage. If you’re struggling with nerve pain, contact Dr. Robert Parker at Parker Foot & Ankle. We’ll help you identify the source of the problem and get the care you need. Make an appointment at our Houston, TX, office online or by calling (281) 497-2850.
How can I avoid toenail fungus?
The best ways to avoid toenail fungus are to keep your feet clean, make your nails hostile to fungus, and avoid skin or nail contamination. Wash your feet every day with soap and water. Pat them completely dry, especially around your nails and between your toes. Wear clean socks every day. The best hosiery wicks moisture away from your skin. Try to wear different pairs of shoes each day, so every pair has a chance to dry from your foot sweat between uses. Pretreat your feet and footwear with anti-fungal sprays or powders, too.
You can avoid contact with the fungus as much as possible in a number of ways. Never walk barefoot on potentially contaminated surfaces, like locker room floors, community showers, and pool decks. Instead, wear shower shoes or sandals. Don’t share footwear or towels with other people, either. If they have an infection, they could pass it to you that way.
Finally, if you think you’ve gotten fungal nails at all, seek help right away. Our team at Parker Foot & Ankle offers state-of-the-art Fotona laser treatment to help you beat fungus painlessly and effectively, with no side effects. Call (281) 497-2850 to reach our Houston office, or use our website.
What are the different types of arthritis?
There are many different types of arthritis pain, though a few are more common than others. In the lower limbs, arthritis usually means one of several different types: osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a problem with wear and tear over many years deteriorating the soft tissues in a joint, allowing the bones to rub together. Post-traumatic arthritis develops after an injury. Damage in the joint allows the soft tissues to wear down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the protective lining around a joint, damaging and deforming it.
For milder cases, conservative treatments can help you minimize painful pressure on your damaged joints and strengthen supporting muscles and tendons, alleviating pain and slowing the rate of progression. More serious cases may be linked to painful deformities such as bunions or hammertoes and require surgical intervention, and often joint replacements, from Dr. Parker. Make an appointment with us online, or call us at (281) 497-2850, for a full diagnosis and treatment options.
What is a benign tumor?
A benign tumor is any abnormal but noncancerous mass in your body tissues. The growth doesn’t help or benefit your tissues in any way, but it doesn’t necessarily cause harm, either. Because it’s not cancer, the growth does not spread or destroy neighboring tissues. It may or may not need treatment—though Dr. Robert Parker will monitor these tumors to make sure they don’t become malignant or cause problems.
Some tumors do get in the way of normal function. They can grow in places that weaken or aggravate your tissues. They may also press against nerves or blood vessels and cause damage that way. If a benign tumor is causing pain or other problems for your lower limbs, it will need to be removed to protect your feet. Make sure any unusual lumps or bumps in your feet and ankles are thoroughly evaluated. Don’t wait and put up with pain or risk your growth changing from benign to malignant! Let our team at Parker Foot & Ankle help. Call our Houston office at (281) 497-2850 or use our website to request an appointment with us.
What is the difference between a sprain and a fracture?
A sprain and a fracture can both be painful, debilitating injuries, but they affect different structures. A sprain is damage to connective tissues called ligaments. These are fibrous bands that connect bones to other bones, so they stay in the right places. Ligaments have a limited range in which they can stretch. If they are forced beyond that point, the tissue is damaged and suffers a sprain. In the lower limbs, this is most common in the ankle.
A fracture is any kind of break in your bone tissue. This can range from a thin crack due to overuse, also known as a stress fracture, to multiple displaced bones, which can happen in a serious accident. Depending on the severity of the injury and its location, these two problems can feel similar. You need a complete exam, and probably diagnostic images like X-rays, to determine which condition you have so you can get the best treatment. Let our team at Parker Foot & Ankle help with your injury. Make an appointment online, or call us directly at (281) 497-2850.
How can I prevent athlete’s foot?
Some simple preventative care can go a long way in avoiding athlete’s foot. Wash your feet every day with soap and water. Dry them completely, especially between the toes. Wear fresh, moisture-wicking socks made from materials that allow your feet to breathe. If you perspire heavily, change your socks after being active to get the moisture off your skin. Use shoes made from natural or breathable materials so air can circulate around your lower appendages, and try not to wear the same pair two days in a row.
Use antiperspirant products on your feet if they sweat heavily to help reduce the moisture. Avoid walking barefoot in areas that have a high risk of being contaminated by the fungus that causes athlete’s foot, like locker rooms, pool decks, or community showers. You might want to pre-treat your feet with anti-fungal sprays or powders daily, too.
If you’re concerned you may have athlete’s foot, let Dr. Robert Parker check. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston for an appointment. Just call (281) 497-2850 to reach us.
Who is most at risk for Achilles tendon ruptures?
An Achilles tendon rupture can happen to anyone, but some people have a much higher risk for this injury than others. The people who typically tear their Achilles are casual athletes, especially if they’re middle-aged, who do sports occasionally for fun but may not be conditioned for the strain. Middle-aged people have this risk because they are still young enough to be active, but their bodies are not as strong and durable as they were—particularly if they’re busy working and don’t otherwise exercise. Men are most likely to be in this group of casual athletes, increasing their likelihood of a rupture. Sports with jumping, running, and lots of sudden starts, stops, or direction changes increase the risk of injury even more.
Fortunately, even if you are a man in your forties who plays soccer every other weekend, you aren’t doomed to rupture your Achilles. The right conditioning and foot care can prevent this. Let Dr. Robert Parker at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX, help you stay on your feet and in the game. Call (281) 497-2850 or use the web request form to make an appointment with us.