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By Family Foot & Ankle Care
November 04, 2016
Category: Foot Care
Tags: heel pain  

Heel pain can put quite the damper on your life. Find out how to end your pain once and for all.

It’s amazing just how much heel pain can affect our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s too painful to get around the house and do chores or heel painheel pain has you avoiding your standard workout, pain shouldn’t be dictating your life. If this is an issue you are dealing with, our Sparta, NJ podiatrist, Dr. Philip Caswell, can help.

While coming into our office to visit our Sparta, NJ foot doctor is highly recommended so we can determine the cause of your heel pain, many cases of heel pain are caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition that affects the band of tissue known as the plantar fascia. If this is the case there are quite a few things you can do to give your feet the TLC they deserve:

  • Apply an ice pack to the heel to reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to never place ice directly on the skin (always wrap an ice pack in a towel first). Apply the ice for about 15-20 minutes at a time two to three times a day.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen. While it certainly won’t eliminate your pain for good it can at least temporarily provide you with the pain relief you need. Not to mention, it can also reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Try and give your feet a break. We know how hard that can be but being stubborn and trying to go about your regular activities could just make your condition worse, which will only lengthen your recovery time. Avoid strenuous activities that put a lot of pressure on your feet until you have fully recovered. Now is your time to kick back and relax!
  • If you must exercise, we are happy to show you some exercises you can perform each day to help stretch the plantar fascia and strengthen the muscles. If cardio is your activity of choice, go with low-impact activities like swimming or the stationary bike. You can still elevate your heart rate without making your foot feel worse.
  • Talk to us about whether or not custom orthotics (aka: shoe inserts) can help cushion and support the arch and heel of your foot while also taking pressure off the area, especially when walking.

If you find that your heel pain doesn’t resolve within a few weeks despite trying these at-home measures then it’s time to visit Dr. Caswell. Don’t let heel pain tell you how to live your life. Fight back by turning to Family Foot & Ankle Care in Sparta, NJ for the care and treatment you deserve to get back on your feet and living life again.

By Family Foot & Ankle Care
November 01, 2016
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Metatarsalgia  

Heel PainMetatarsalgia denotes a common foot condition characterized by pain and inflammation of the joints and bones of the ball of the foot - the area just before the toes, also called the metatarsal region.

Symptoms of metatarsalgia can develop suddenly, especially after an increase in exercise or high-impact activities, but normally the problems develop over time. Common symptoms of metatarsalgia include:

  • Sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot - the part of the sole just behind the toes
  • Pain that intensifies when you stand, walk or run
  • Pain that radiates from the balls of the feet into the toes
  • Numbness or tingling in the toes
  • A feeling in your feet as if you are walking with a pebble in your shoe
  • Pain that increases when walking barefoot

Sometimes a single factor can trigger metatarsalgia. More often, multiple factors contribute to the pain, including:

  • Over-training or Over-activity. Extensive training and high-impact sports, especially running, places an abnormal amount of stress on the balls of the feet, causing irritation, inflammation and pain.
  • Other foot disorders. High arches, hammertoes, bunions, stress fractures and Morton's neuroma can all trigger metatarsalgia symptoms.
  • Poor-fitting footwear. High heels, narrow-toed shoes and shoes without adequate padding can all contribute to metatarsal problems.
  • Excess weight. Extra weight places excess pressure on your metatarsals.
  • Aging. The fat pads on the metatarsals thin out as a person ages, diminishing the ability of the metatarsal bones to protect themselves.

Although generally not serious, metatarsalgia can disrupt your day to day activities, and when left untreated can lead to additional pain in your unaffected foot, back or hips. Treatment to eliminate metatarsalgia symptoms can be as simple as resting, icing the affected area and wearing proper-fitting shoes to significantly reduce swelling and ease pain.

When conservative treatments aren't effective and pain persists, visit our practice for a full exam and a proper diagnosis. In most cases, metatarsalgia can be treated non-surgically. An experienced podiatrist may prescribe specially-designed orthotics or shock-absorbing insoles and arch supports to prevent and minimize future problems with metatarsalgia.

By Family Foot & Ankle Care
October 03, 2016
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Ingrown Toenails  

Ingrown ToenailsIngrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, can be annoying and painful. This common condition occurs when the surrounding skin on one or both sides of the nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself penetrates the skin. As the nail digs into the skin, redness, swelling, and pain are often the result.

People develop ingrown toenails for various reasons. Poor nail-trimming is the most common cause, as this encourages the skin to fold over the nail. Other causes include trauma, such as stubbing a toe, or skin conditions, such as fungal infections or nails that are simply too large. In some cases, the condition may even be inherited. Poor fitting shoes generally aggravate the condition, making it worse.

Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by:

  • Wearing well-fitted shoes and socks
  • Protecting feet from trauma when possible
  • Trimming toenails straight across and avoiding repeated trimming of the nail borders
  • Keeping feet clean and dry to prevent infection

If an infection is not suspected of your ingrown, it can usually be safely treated from home by soaking your foot in warm water. Avoid "bathroom surgery" and repeated cutting of the nail as this will only make the condition worse.

When attempts to reduce your symptoms from home fail, or when pain, inflammation, swelling or discharge accompany your ingrown, the toenail is most likely infected and should be treated by a podiatrist at our office. People with diabetes, nerve damage or poor circulation should always seek care immediately if an ingrown nail is detected, regardless of the severity.

A podiatrist can examine the affected toe and determine the best treatment for your condition. For an infection, an antibiotic may be prescribed. Other treatments may involve trimming or removing the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure.

Ingrown toenails may be annoying, but rest assured that they can easily be prevented and treated with the help of your podiatrist. If you think you have an ingrown toenail, visit  our practice for quick and easy treatment.

By Family Foot & Ankle Care
September 02, 2016
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Hammertoes  

HammertoesA hammertoe is one of the most common toe conditions, usually stemming from muscle imbalance in which the joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toe are bent into a contracted, claw-like position. In the early stages, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple conservative measures, but if left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery.

The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle imbalance. Tight-fitting and high-heeled shoes often aggravate the condition, crowding your toes forward. A hammertoe can also be the result of injury in which you break or jam the toe, or from conditions like arthritis or stroke that affect nerves and muscles. In some cases, hammertoes may even be inherited.

Because of their clenched, claw-like appearance, hammertoes will generally be visibly present. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficult or painful motion of a toe joint
  • Redness or swelling at a toe joint
  • Development of calluses and corns
  • Open sores in severe cases

The foot and ankle professionals at our office recommend the following for preventing and reducing the symptoms associated with hammertoe:

  • Wear comfortable, proper-fitting shoes that provide support and allow enough room for your toes
  • Avoid high-heeled or narrow-toed shoes
  • Stretch your toe muscles to relieve pressure and pain
  • Apply splints, cushions or pads to relieve pressure
  • Moisturize with cream to keep the skin soft

Generally, a modification of footwear will reduce the symptoms associated with hammertoe. Other non-surgical treatment includes padding to shield corns and calluses and orthotic devices that are placed in the shoe to help control muscle imbalance. We can help you determine the best treatment for your symptoms. Severe cases that don't respond to conservative measures may require surgery to restore your toe's flexibility and eliminate the pressure.

Hammertoes are progressive - they don't go away by themselves and the condition usually gets worse over time. Once a podiatrist at has evaluated your hammertoe, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.

By Family Foot & Ankle Care
August 30, 2016
Category: Foot Care

Breaking a bone, no matter where its location on the body, is a traumatizing experience. However, telling the difference between an ankle fractureankle or foot fracture and a sprain without x-rays or MRIs can prove to be tricky. Luckily, your Sparta, NJ podiatrist Dr. Philip Caswell can help diagnose and treat your foot pain to get you back on your feet for good.

Signs and Symptoms of a Foot or Ankle Fracture 
A fracture is a break in the bone. A sprain occurs when the connective tissues around the bone become inflamed. Telling the difference between a fracture and a sprain may be difficult in some situations. However, the pain from a fracture is usually concentrated over the bone in your ankle or foot. Since they affect the soft tissues, sprains hurt in the areas of the soft tissues around the bone. Additionally, a good rule of thumb is that if you cannot put any weight or walk on your foot, you probably have a fracture. If you have visual abnormalities in the ankle or foot, seek immediate medical care.

In the case of an injury, listen to your body. If you cannot walk, stay off of your foot or you could cause further injury. If you are having trouble determining whether your foot or ankle is fractured or sprained, rest, ice, compress, and stabilize your foot and ankle for two to four days. If you have not seen any change, are still in severe pain, or notice significant bruising, you should see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Untreated fractures come with the risk of healing incorrectly and creating lasting problems.

Foot and Ankle Fracture Treatments in Sparta, NJ
Treatment for foot and ankle fractures varies depending on the patient and the severity of the fracture. A physical examination allows your doctor to gather the information needed to access the situation and diagnose your problem. Imaging techniques like x-rays or MRIs give your doctor visual evidence of a fracture. If necessary, your doctor will set the bones to realign them properly. Some cases of minor fractures do not require a cast or splint. However, more severe fractures require the stabilization of a non-walking or walking cast or splint. Your doctor can help you determine which treatment option is best for you.

For more information on foot or ankle injuries and their treatments, please contact Dr. Philip Caswell at Family Foot & Ankle Care in Sparta, NJ. Call 973-300-9151 to schedule your appointment for a foot and ankle examination with Dr. Caswell today!

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