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By The Foot Doctors
August 22, 2017
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Bunions  

Bunions are a common foot problem caused by a deformity in the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) at the base of the big toe. Although bunionsanyone can develop a bunion, they tend to be more common in women. The most common sign of a bunion is pain and the protrusion of the bone at the MTP joint, which also causes the big toe to veer at an angle towards the other toes. Bunions develop gradually and tend to get worse over time, depending on the severity of damage to the joint. The podiatrists at The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County in Santa Cruz and Watsonville, CA and serving the Scotts Valley area offer diagnostic and treatment options for bunions and other foot and ankle conditions and injuries.

Bunion Treatment in Scotts Valley, Watsonville and Santa Cruz

When the bones in the metatarsophalangeal joint move out of alignment, it can result in a bunion. The most common cause of bunions is repeatedly wearing tight, narrow shoes or high heels that squeeze the toes together at the tip of the shoes, but there are other potential causes such as:

  • Family history/heredity - Foot deformities due to the shape and structure of the bones and arches tend to run in families
  • An injury to the MTP joint
  • An inflammatory joint condition like rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness
  • Protruding bone at the base of the toe
  • Swelling and inflammation of the MTP joint
  • Difficulty moving or putting pressure on the big toe
  • Corns and calluses from poorly fitting shoes

Bunions range in severity, and can typically be treated with conservative options like investing in supportive footwear and inserts, orthotics, icing or medication. In very rare cases, a podiatrist may recommend surgery to correct a bunion if conservative treatments are insufficient and it is causing difficulty walking or fitting into shoes.

Find a Podiatrist in Scotts Valley, Watsonville and Santa Cruz

Don't let bunions or other foot and ankle conditions and injuries slow you down. For more information on injury prevention and treatment options, contact The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County by calling (831) 475-7900 to schedule an appointment in our Santa Cruz office, or (831) 728-8844 for Watsonville.

By The Foot Doctors
May 25, 2017
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: toenail fungus   Bunion   Surgery  

Our podiatrists are here to provide a little insight into your foot health.Foot Care

So, you have questions for our Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz, CA podiatrists do you? We hear a lot of questions from patients, from whether they should get custom orthotics for sports or how to care for bunion pain. Here are some of the most common questions we hear regarding some very common foot problems that many Americans face.

Q. Why is foot care so important when you have diabetes?

A. Diabetes can affect any system within the body but feet tend to develop a lot of complications if you have unmanageable diabetes. One of the most common conditions we see in those with diabetes is neuropathy, which causes numbness and tingling in the feet. Neuropathy can also cause nerve damage and change the shape of your feet.

Diabetes also affects blood flow, so it may also take you longer to heal from an injury. Making sure you perform self-exams every day, clean your feet properly, trim your toenails, wear well-fitted shoes and come in for treatment if you are experiencing symptoms, will ensure healthy feet.

Q. What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?

A. Have you suddenly noticed that one of your toenails has started to yellow and become thick and brittle? If so, you could be dealing with a toenail fungus. Toenail fungus, also referred to as onychomycosis, can occur in any toenail and can even spread to other nails if left untreated.

Q. How is toenail fungus treated?

A. While there are over-the-counter creams and remedies, these creams can’t always get through the nail to reach the fungus underneath. In this case, it’s always a good idea to visit our Scotts Valley foot doctor for an oral antifungal medication that can wipe out the infection. If this medication still doesn’t work then we may need to talk about other options such as laser treatment.

Q. What is a bunion?

A. A bunion is a deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. As the deformity gets larger, it can cause the big toe to lean in toward the smaller toes. Bunions can often cause pain and swelling around that area, and make wearing shoes rather painful.

Q. How are bunions treated? Do they always require surgery?

A. The only way to get rid of a bunion is to undergo surgery to repair it. Of course, this is only necessary if the bunion is severe and affecting your daily life. Otherwise, bunion symptoms can easily be managed through simple measures such as wearing properly fitted shoes, icing the joint, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and performing certain stretching exercises.

If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County in Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz, CA. We are always here to answer your questions and make sure that your feet are at their healthiest. Call us today!

By The Foot Doctors
February 28, 2017
Category: Foot Health
Tags: toenail fungus  

Our feet spend a lot of time crammed into tight, sweaty shoes and socks, which makes them especially susceptible to bacteria and toenail fungusfungus, which can lead to common conditions and infections like athlete's foot. Toenail fungus (tinea unguium/onychomycosis) results from an accumulation of fungus underneath and around the toenails.

Because fungal infections are contagious and continue to proliferate if left untreated, treatment by a podiatrist is usually necessary to help clear up an outbreak of toenail fungus. The podiatry staff at The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County in Santa Cruz and Watsonville, CA offer treatment for nail fungus, and a range of foot and ankle problems.

Toenail Fungus Treatments in Santa Cruz and Watsonville

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the feet are a natural breeding ground for fungal infections because of the warm, damp environment created by our shoes. It is also possible to pick up a fungal infection in communal areas like the showers or pool at the gym, or from contaminated equipment or surfaces at a nail salon. Podiatrists recommend keeping the feet clean and dry, especially for people with diabetes, who can be at risk for serious complications from common foot problems like ingrown toenails and infections. Wearing protective footwear like flip flops or socks in communal areas can help to protect the feet from fungus and bacteria.

Signs and Symptoms of Toenail Fungus

Fungal infections typically cause changes to the texture, color and appearance of the affected nails, including:

  • Scaling, flaking or crumbling of the nail
  • Yellow or white spots and streaks
  • Nail becomes loose or falls off
  • Visible signs of infection such as foul odor or pus
  • Brittle or thickened nail

Treatment varies depending on the patient and degree of infection, but the most common treatment for toenail fungus is a prescription for a topical or oral anti-fungal medication from a podiatrist.

Find a Podiatrist in Santa Cruz and Watsonville

To clear up toenail fungus for good, contact The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County today by calling (831) 475-7900 to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Santa Cruz, or (831) 728-8844 for Watsonville.

By The Foot Doctors
November 28, 2016
Category: Foot Health
Tags: foot surgery  

It isn’t always obvious when foot surgery is needed, so turn to the foot care experts in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley, CA, to find out.

There are so many foot issues that can easily be treated by our Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley podiatrists without the need for surgery, butfoot surgery unless you turn to a specialist you may never know whether conservative care is all you need or whether surgery is the only option. Here are some common conditions that may require surgery:

Bunions

This is a pretty common condition that affects the base joint of the big toe and can cause the bone and tissue to stick out from the foot. While inheritance is often to blame for this condition, there are other risk factors that can predispose your feet to a bunion. If non-invasive approaches do not treat your pain or other symptoms, or if walking causes significant pain, then we may need to determine whether surgery is the next treatment option. After all, surgery is truly the only way to remove a bunion.

Neuromas

A neuroma is an enlargement of a foot nerve. Arthritis, wearing high heels, malformations in the bone structure of the foot and other conditions may be responsible for a neuroma. If you have a neuroma you may notice a burning sensation at the ball of the foot. You may even experience numbness in some of the toes. Some people liken a neuroma to feeling as if they have a pebble in their shoe. While conservative care is always the most common way to treat a neuroma, if these treatment options don’t provide relief then surgery may be necessary.

Hammertoes

This deformity causes one or more of the toes of the foot to bend downward, resembling a claw. Hammertoes are often caused by an imbalance in one or more of the joints or tendons in the foot. Those with a hammertoe may notice pain when walking or moving. You may also notice the development of a corn or callus on the foot, which can make wearing shoes more irritating. For more severe deformities, our Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley podiatric physician may recommend surgery to correct the structural deformity to realign the toe.

Bone Spurs

This condition occurs when there is an overgrowth of one of the bones in the foot. This can be as a result of trauma, or repeated stress or pressure on certain tendons or ligaments in the feet. Bone spurs are often known to cause pain, and depending on how large it is or where it is on the foot, it could affect how you move. While not all bone spurs will require surgery, if it is affecting your ability to walk or move around comfortably then our Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley foot doctors may advise you to have surgery.

Always play it safe and turn to The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County if you are dealing with foot problems. While your issues may seem easy enough to handle on your own, you may never know how serious the issue actually is until you get a proper diagnosis.

By The Foot Doctors
May 11, 2016
Category: Foot Health

Twisting or spraining an ankle from time to time is completely normal. Whether from wearing shoes with insufficient support, or tripping ankle instabilityon a broken sidewalk or rocky hiking path, everyone can lose their footing from time to time. However, ankle instability is a chronic condition that causes the ankle to repeatedly "buckle" outward or "give way" while a person is walking, or engaged in other physical activities and sports. It can also happen while a person is standing still.

Ankle Instability Treatment in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley

Athletes and highly active individuals, who are prone to suffering from regular ankle sprains and injuries, are more susceptible to instability. Although occasional mild to moderate sprains may not result in lasting damage, they can make the ankles weaker and increase the risk of problems in the future. The podiatrists at The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County and Scotts Valley, who treat patients for a range of foot and ankle conditions, advise active patients to monitor their injuries and to be aware of the risks and signs of instability.

Signs and Symptoms of Ankle Instability

  • Pain on the lateral (outward facing) side of the affected ankle
  • Weakness or "giving way"
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness/soreness/tenderness

Instability can also make the ankles more susceptible to more sprains. Depending on the range and severity, some patients may respond to conservative treatment, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Brace or cast
  • Steroid injections

More severe injuries or breaks may require surgical treatment to stabilize the ankle and alleviate chronic pain. If diagnostic imaging tests reveal loose bone fragments or connective tissue particles in the joint space, a procedure known as debriding or excising can be used to clear it.

Find a Podiatrist in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley

For more information on the treatment options for foot and ankle injuries and disorders, contact a podiatrist at The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County by calling (831) 728-8844 to schedule an appointment today.





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