Contact our Podiatry Department: 641-494-5340
Our podiatry department specializes in diagnosing and treating all disorders and conditions of the feel. Feet problems can affect people of all ages, but are most common in older people, diabetics and athletes. Podiatrists provide medical and surgical treatment of foot conditions that are caused by injury, disease or genetics. Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and 100s of ligaments, muscles and tendons that are all under frequent pressure from daily activities. This puts the foot at high risk for injury and other damage. 75 percent of Americans will experience foot problems at some point in their lives because the foot is such an important part of our daily lives, it often requires specialized care from a podiatrist. Foot problems can affect the bones, joints, muscles or skin of the area, all of which are highly susceptible to damage.
A bunion is a common condition that involves an abnormal, bony bump at the base of the big toe, causing the joint to swell outward and become painful. The big toe may also turn inward toward the second toe as a result of the enlarged joint, which can then lead to difficulty walking, ingrown toenails and corns and calluses. Bunions can form when there is an improper balance of forces exerted on the joints of the foot, causing instability in the joint of the big toe.
Hammertoes are an abnormal ‘V”-shaped bending of the little toes. Caused by stiffened tendons, hammertoes often form because of a muscle imbalance, arthritis, a hereditary condition, an injury, or tight shoes that squeeze the toes. They may be flexible (the toes can still be moved at the damaged joint) or rigid (the toes are immobile). Many people with hammertoes develop swelling, redness, stiffness, or painful corns or calluses as the toes rub against the inside of the shoes.
Orthotics are shoe inserts that correct the way the foot moves while standing, walking, running or playing a sport. In addition to making these activities more comfortable and efficient, orthotics treat problems with the feet, ankles, knees, hips or back that are due to abnormal movements of one or both feet. They offer a conservative yet effective approach-to treating certain foot and ankle problems and controlling movement after foot surgery.
There is a ligament along the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia that stretches from the heel to the base of the toes. If the ligament is forced to stretch beyond its limit, it may become inflamed and result in heel pain. This condition is called plantar fasciitis. Patients often complain of discomfort in the heel, the arch of the foot, or the back of the leg when walking.
People with diabetes are at high risk for developing problems with their feet. More than half of diabetics lose sensation in their feet due to nerve or blood vessel damage, and can hurt themselves without knowing it. To make things worse, diabetes slows healing and weakens the immune system, so what may seem like an inconsequential injury can quickly become a major problem. Even the smallest of foot and ankle injuries such as a blister or ingrown toenail can lead to infection and tissue death.
An ingrown toenail is a common condition that involves the comer of the toenail growing into the skin of the toe, causing pain, swelling and infection. This can occur as a result of wearing shoes that are too small or tight, cutting the toenails too short, injury to the toenail or a naturally curved toenail. While this condition can affect any toe, it most commonly affects the big toe. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail is likely to develop an infection and may even require surgery to remove the nail.
For additional information, please contact the Podiatry Department at (641) 494-5340.