As summer begins to wind down, it is important to keep the health of your feet in mind, even when they are cooped up in socks and boots throughout the winter. Toenail fungus can happen to anyone and is often nothing to worry about. However, some cases of toenail fungus are stubborn and hard to treat, meaning your podiatrist may suggest procedures like laser therapy for your condition. Find out more about laser toenail fungus treatment with Dr. Richard Wittock at Ankle and Foot Institute in Fenton, MO.
Do I have toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus begins subtly and symptoms worsen over a long period of time. At first, the fungus appears on the toenail as a small yellow dot or spot. The discoloration progresses into a yellowed, thickened nail which may grow into a distorted shape. Eventually, the nail becomes brittle and begins to flake or crumble. The nail may also begin to separate from the bed. Your nail may also have a foul smell.
Where does toenail fungus come from?
Toenail fungus comes from fungal spores entering into the skin and coming to a rest under the nail. Some contributing risk factors for toenail fungus include:
- older age
- sweating heavily
- decreased blood flow
- a family history of toenail fungus
- tight shoes
- frequenting locker rooms or public pools
- athletic activity
You can prevent fungal toenail infections by keeping your feet clean and dry. Always wear shower shoes in areas like locker rooms or public pools and ensure that your feet are completely dry before putting on your socks and shoes. Additionally, always wear clean socks and ensure you change your socks immediately following activities which cause excessive sweating.
Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus in Fenton, MO
Toenail fungus is often a stubborn condition to treat. Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medication, ointments, or lacquers. However, laser treatment can help you and your condition. Your doctor directs the laser at the fungus, allowing it to treat the fungus and infected areas without harming the tissue around or under the toenail.
For more information on laser toenail fungus treatments, please contact Dr. Richard Wittock at Ankle and Foot Institute in Fenton, MO. Call (636) 717-1100 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Wittock for a consultation today!
Find out if the foot problems you are experiencing could be due to this foot deformity.
If you are noticing a large bump sticking out at the bottom of your big toe then you might be dealing with a bunion. As the bunion progresses it can even cause the big toe to lean in on the other toes. Our St. Louis, MO, podiatrist Dr. Richard Wittock is here to tell you about to best handle a bunion if you do have one.
First and foremost, if you suspect that you have a bunion you will need to get a proper diagnosis. Usually, early on, people won’t notice any symptoms that a bunion may be brewing. While this deformity is gradual, it will continue to grow and worsen if you don’t properly care for your feet.
A bunion will cause a bony protrusion at the base of the big toe. You may notice that this hard lump is often red or swollen, particularly after walking or wearing shoes. Over time, the big toe will begin to lean in on other toes. You may have a bunion on just one foot or both of your feet. Once you notice any of these changes it’s important that you schedule a consultation with our St. Louis, MO, foot doctor.
We can often diagnose bunions just by looking at your feet. While the only way to repair the deformity is through surgery, you’ll be relieved to hear that some people can manage their symptoms without ever needing surgery.
The most common ways to treat a bunion include:
- Wearing the proper footwear that doesn’t bunch up toes or put pressure on the bunion
- Wearing a bunion pad over the bunion to protect it while wearing shoes
- Placing custom orthotics into shoes to provide support and to take pressure off of the bunion
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers
- Performing certain stretching and strengthening foot exercises
- Steroid injections (for more serious pain and swelling)
If you suspect that your foot pain could be the result of a bunion we recommend that you get an evaluation from Ankle and Foot Institute in St. Louis, MO, the experts in handling everything from bunions to fractures. Call our office today to book your appointment.
A sprained ankle can cause serious pain, discomfort, and frustration. Though they present some of the same symptoms as a broken bone, a sprain affects the soft tissues which surround the bones and joints. If you sprain your ankle, you may not know the first steps to take to ensure a timely and healthy recovery. Find out what to do if you think you have sprained your ankle with Dr. Richard Wittock at the Ankle and Foot Institute in Fenton, MO, and serving the St. Louis area.
Is my ankle sprained or broken?
Sprains almost always occur after an event or injury, such as tripping or rolling the ankle. A sprain affects the soft tissues, often those which lie above the ankle joint. If your ankle is sprained or broken, you will notice pain, discomfort, and swelling. However, the pain associated with a sprain is concentrated over the ankle’s soft tissues around the joint. A break would be centered on the bone itself. Additionally, if you have a break, chances are that you will not be able to place any pressure on the affected area at all. A sprain may allow you to place some pressure on the area.
When should I see a doctor?
Your doctor is able to help you determine if your injury is a sprain or a break. If you have severe pain or swelling or you notice an open wound around the affected area, or if you experience the signs of infection, such as a fever or redness, warmth, or tenderness in the area, you should seek immediate medical attention. Schedule a visit with your doctor if you have persistent swelling or pain which lasts more than a few days, or if you still have pain after several weeks. Your doctor will use an imaging technique to definitively determine whether your ankle is broken or sprained.
Treating a Sprained Ankle in Fenton and St. Louis
Treating a sprained ankle often begins with the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This allows the body’s natural healing processes to work uninterrupted. Over-the-counter medications can help with pain and swelling. If these methods fail to produce results, your doctor may suggest more invasive or in-depth techniques like physical therapy or, in rare cases, surgery.
For more information on sprained ankles, please contact Dr. Wittock at Ankle and Foot Institute in Fenton, MO, and the St. Louis area. Call (636) 717-1100 to schedule your appointment today!
Do your feet, knees, hips or a backache at the end of the day? Orthotics may offer a simple way to relieve your painful symptoms. Our St. Louis, MO, podiatrist, Dr. Richard Wittock, explains how you can benefit from orthotics.
Orthotics offer a superior level of comfort and support
If your shoes don't have enough padding or you need a little additional arch support, over-the-counter shoe inserts may do the job, at least for a little while. Unfortunately, one-size-fits-all inserts may not adequately address your foot condition. In some cases, they may even worsen it.
Orthotics are designed to fit you and you alone. They're designed in our St. Louis office after we evaluate your gait and make a digital mold of your foot. Although orthotics cost more than drugstore shoe inserts, they're made of durable materials and will probably last three years or longer before they need to be replaced.
Orthotics help you avoid pain
Poor foot position or mechanical issues, such as overpronation or flat foot, can affect the alignment of your entire body. Eventually, you may begin to notice pain not just in your feet, but also in your ankles, knees, hips, or lower back. Orthotics improve the position of your feet when you wear shoes, restore normal alignment and reduce pressure on your foot.
Depending on your foot condition, we may recommend one of these types of orthotics:
- Semi-Rigid: Semi-rigid orthotics support your entire foot and are made of a rigid inner core encased by soft, cushioning material. These orthotics relieve foot pain, control movement, improve balance, and reduce pressure on your tendons and muscles when you walk or run.
- Rigid: Rigid orthotics also support your entire foot, but are constructed of stiff plastic or carbon. They're a good choice if you have back or leg pain, your legs are different lengths, or you overpronate or have an abnormal gait.
- Soft: Soft orthotics cushion your feet, absorb shock, and decrease pressure. They're a good choice if you have arthritis or diabetes.
- Heel Cups: Heel cups fit into the heel portion of your shoes and provide extra cushioning. The cups may be recommended if you have plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. Heel cups can also be helpful if your heel pain is caused by thinning of the fat pads under your heels, a problem that can occur as you get older.
Orthotics can help relieve your pain. Call St. Louis, MO, podiatrist, Dr. Wittock, at (636) 717-1100 to schedule your appointment.
Your job requires you to be on your feet almost constantly throughout the day. Over the past few months, you've noticed increased pain in your heel and across the arch of your foot. What could be happening? Well, many adults with heel pain suffer from an inflammatory condition called plantar fasciitis. Your foot doctor at the Ankle and Foot Institute in St. Louis, MO, Dr. Richard Wittock, sees it frequently in adults of all ages, and he successfully treats in many ways for maximum comfort and foot function.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Affecting the wide band of tissue which connects the base of the toes to the calcaneus, or heel bone, plantar fasciitis in St. Louis may come on suddenly. However, Dr. Wittock says this painful condition rarely results from trauma. Rather, overuse typically causes it-- for instance, simply standing for hours on hard surfaces or playing sports such as tennis and running.
Other contributing factors are:
- Age (the fat pad on the bottom of the foot thins as we get older)
- Wearing poorly supporting shoes or high heels
- Overpronation, or excessive flattening of the arch of the foot when walking, running or jumping
In addition. while some people with heel spurs, small bony projections off the heel bone, have plantar fasciitis, not all people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs.
How your foot doctor can help
If you're having pain in the heel and/or arch of your foot, please contact your foot doctor so he can perform a complete podiatric examination, including a visual inspection of how you place your feet when you walk. Also, Dr. Wittock may take X-rays to visualize your heel structure.
If Dr. Wittock diagnoses plantar fasciitis, there are several options available which supply substantial relief to most patients. Typical interventions include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Shoes with good arch support
- Custom-made orthotics, or shoe inserts
- Cortisone injections
- Stretching exercises and physical therapy
If a patient does not improve significantly over the course of several months, Dr. Wittock may recommend innovative Extracorporal Shock Wave Therapy. Performed right at the Ankle and Foot Institute in St. Louis, ESWT treats plantar fasciitis with short, painless waves of energy. These mini-shock waves reduce inflammation and speed healing.
The Food and Drug Administration reports that 92 percent of patients treated with ESWT experience significant pain relief, and there's no down time. Patients are in and out of the office quickly after their treatments and enjoy better foot and ankle function.
And, feel better. See Dr. Richard Wittock of the Ankle and Foot Institute of St. Louis, MO, about your heel pain. It could be plantar fasciitis, and it's totally treatable. Contact the office today for an appointment, won't you? Call (636) 717-1100.
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