Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, is the most common chronic disease of the joints. Any joint can be affected, but with 26 bones and more than 30 joints, the feet are especially susceptible.
In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. Osteoarthritis causes a breakdown in the cartilage, a soft tissue that covers the end of each bone and allows them to glide smoothly in the joint. Pain, stiffness and swelling can result. Other symptoms of osteoarthritis in the feet and ankles can include tenderness or pain and reduced ability to bear weight, move, or walk.
There are 26 bones and more than 30 joints in each of your feet. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints of the foot that involve the heel bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone; the joint of the big toe and foot bone; and the joint where the ankle and shinbone meet.
Living with Osteoarthritis
There is one element of your podiatric health and wellbeing that is more important than any other, and it’s one you can control: your choice of footwear. If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it’s time to get some sensible shoes for every day use. Put those pointy stilettos on a high shelf and save them for your next gala event. Have your feet professionally measured, as osteoarthritis can be a factor in age-related foot size changes. Select your new shoes carefully. Invest in a quality pair that will last. Choose comfortable, flexible shoes with a wide toe box and a low heel and rubber soles for additional comfort and stability.
After diagnosis, your foot doctor may approach treatment of your osteoarthritis in a variety of ways. While surgery may eventually become necessary in severe cases, you can schedule an exam and be confident that your podiatrist will try non-surgical methods first. Your initial treatment plan will be unique to your situation and may include over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve pain and inflammation, steroid injections, shoe inserts or custom orthotics, physical therapy; stretches or exercises, and physical therapy.
Has standing or walking become painful? Osteoarthritis may be a factor. A visit to Advanced Feet and Ankle Care is the best way to find out what’s causing your discomfort. Jason Grossman, DPM will examine your feet and ankles with state of the art equipment, carefully diagnose the source of your pain, and work with you to create an effective treatment plan. Click here or call our friendly staff at (732) 679-4330 today to schedule an appointment in our comfortable and convenient Old Bridge or Sayreville offices.
Corns and calluses affect more people than any other podiatric complaint. Podiatric corns are hard, thickened areas of skin on the foot. There are three different kinds. Each typically appears in a different area on the foot:
- On the bottoms of the feet, you might see seed corns, tender clusters of tiny corns that are believed to be the result of blocked sweat glands.
- On the tops and sides of the toes, a hard corn usually appears as a small patch of thickened, dead skin with a small, dense plug of skin in the center.
- Between the toes is where you’ll find a soft corn. These have thinner surfaces and more smooth centers than hard corns. They are usually whitish and rubbery in appearance.
There are other, less common types of corns that you might miss but your podiatrist can diagnose. These include:
- neurovascular corns
- fibrous corns
- Durlacher’s corns
- subungual corns
Different from a corn, a callus is a patch of hard, dead skin that can develop as a result of friction anywhere on your body. On your feet, the most common callus is a plantar callus. These are typically found on the sole, on or near the ball of your foot.
Corns and calluses are can be prevented. Here are five tips from Dr. Jason Grossman to help keep your feet smooth, comfortable, and corn and callus-free:
- Changes in foot size are not unusual. Always have both feet professionally measured when buying new shoes.
- Avoid pointy shoes and high heels. They squeeze the toes and cause friction. If you can't wiggle your toes, your shoes are too tight.
- Make sure that the shape of your shoes offers plenty of room to accommodate bunions or hammertoes.
- Replace worn out sneakers or hiking boots. They won’t offer adequate support.
- If the soles or heels of your shoes are wearing unevenly, talk to your foot doctor. Custom orthotics might even out your gait before a corn or callus develops.
It’s important to be seen by a podiatrist at the first sign of a corn or callus. As is the case with so many medical issues, the sooner treatment begins, the simpler it will be. Your podiatrist will draw on years of education and experience to determine the source of your discomfort, then use state of the art technology to remove your corn or callus as painlessly as possible.
Attempting to remove your corn or callus on your own can cause infection and complications. Dr. Jason Grossman urges you to avoid at-home remedies and over-the-counter corn and callus removal pads containing any sort of acid. These can cause complications, especially for patients with diabetes, compromised immune systems, or other chronic health conditions.
Do you have a hard, painful spot of skin on your foot? Click here or call Advanced Feet and Ankle Care today at (732) 679-4330 to schedule an appointment in our convenient and comfortable Old Bridge or Sayreville offices. Jason Grossman, DPM will examine your feet, diagnose your condition, and work with you to implement to most effective solution for your problem.
Learning About Morton’s Neuroma
When nerve tissue is chronically compressed and irritated, swelling and enlargement results in a neuroma. If left untreated, this can lead to permanent nerve damage. Neuromas can occur anywhere in the body. The most common type of podiatric neuroma is a Morton’s neuroma. These commonly develop between the third and fourth toes, but they may also occur in other locations.
Be alert for the three most common symptoms of a Morton’s neuroma and reach out to your podiatrist’s office if you notice them:
- Persistent pain
- Discomfort including numbness, tingling, or burning
- A strange sensation in your foot, even when you’re not wearing shoes – this is most often described feeling like there is something inside the ball of your foot or in your shoe, or as if a sock is bunched up under your foot
Neuromas grow gradually. As a result, the symptoms of a Morton’s neuroma typically begin slowly. At first, you may notice them only periodically. They may appear only when you wear certain shoes or do certain things. They may improve when you change position or rub the affected area. Unfortunately, if your neuroma is left untreated, they will probably worsen and may begin to persist unabated for longer and longer periods of time. Even worse, as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary irritation to the nerve becomes permanent damage, your discomfort will likely intensify.
The Causes of Morton’s Neuroma
Anything that compresses or irritates the nerve over a long period of time can create a neuroma. Common causes include:
- Years of involvement in activities such as long-distance running or sports including basketball and tennis that can cause repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot
- Foot and ankle injuries or other trauma
- Pre-existing foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, and flat arches
Treatment for Morton’s Neuroma
The best place to find relief from your Morton’s neuroma is at your podiatrist’s office. With years of specialized training and experience, a podiatrist like Jason Grossman, DPM is the best doctor to diagnose and treat all issues related to your feet, ankles, and lower legs. Treatment options for a neuroma will depend on the severity of the situation. The sooner you see the foot doctor, the more likely it is that non-invasive intervention will be effective. These options include icing, orthotics, activity restrictions, practical shoes, over the counter or prescription medications, and injection therapy. Surgery may be the best treatment for patients whose neuromas have not responded to non-surgical options.
Are you experiencing symptoms of a Morton’s neuroma? Is there anything else bothering you about the look or feel of your feet? Click here or call Advanced Feet and Ankle Care at (732) 679-4330 to schedule an appointment in our comfortable and convenient Old Bridge or Sayreville offices. Dr. Jason Grossman will examine your feet, diagnose your issue, and work with you to create an effective plan for treatment.
The average American walks over two hundred million steps in his or her lifetime. This represents more than 200,000 miles, the majority of which will be logged before you turn 50. Every step creates wear and tear on the bones, muscles, and ligaments of the feet that can lead to a change in shoe size as you get older. Some people will experience a slight change; others will notice as much as a half size of growth every 10 years after their 40th birthday.
Due to time and gravity, the ligaments and tendons in the feet loosen as we age. This is especially noticeable in the plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of your foot. As it stretches, the arch of the foot lowers and the foot becomes wider and longer.
Weight gain and obesity exacerbate this natural flattening. A healthy diet is essential for lifelong well being, including foot health. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein; avoid junk food and highly processed items whenever possible.
Did you know that, because the hormones released during pregnancy cause ligaments to relax, motherhood can cause increased foot size? Most women will experience foot growth only temporarily, but the change will be permanent for a few.
Most people are still buying shoes in the same size that they wore in high school. It’s essential to get your feet professionally measured and assessed every few years. A 2006 study looked at the footwear choices of 440 patients at a U.S. veterans' affairs hospital and found that only 25% of them were wearing the right size shoe. When foot size changes, it becomes necessary to purchase shoes that accommodate feet as they are, not as they were. New shoes in a different size can be especially important for patients with hammertoes, corns, or deformities caused by diabetes or arthritis.
Are your feet uncomfortable? Click here or call Advanced Feet and Ankle Care at (732) 679-4330 for a convenient appointment in our comfortable Old Bridge or Sayreville office. Dr. Jason Grossman will thoroughly examine your feet, diagnose any existing or potential issues, and work with you to create a treatment plan that might include some new footwear in a bigger size.