Archive for July, 2015

Could You Have Flexible Flatfoot?

July 28th, 2015 by Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle

Do you experience any of the following: aching or fatigue in your feet or legs, pain in your heel, ankle, arch, or along the outside of your foot, shin splints, low back, hip or knee pain? Do you find that you are prone to rolling your ankle? If so, you may have flexible flatfoot.

What is It?

At Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic, we treat many cases of flexible flatfoot every year. It is a complex disorder which can take several forms, all of which exhibit a partial or total collapse of the arch of the foot. Flexible flatfoot is one of the most common types. The name “flexible” refers to the fact that the foot is flat when you are standing on it but the arch returns when you are not bearing weight on your foot. It typically begins in childhood and continues progressing in severity into adulthood. Usually both feet are affected. As the deformity worsens, the tendons and ligaments of the arch can stretch or tear and become inflamed, causing pain and difficulty walking. You are more likely to develop bunions and hammertoes as well if you have flexible flatfoot.

How is Flexible Flatfoot Diagnosed and Treated?

Dr. Stewart M. Chang and Dr. Kevin P. Murray will do a complete examination of your foot and observe how it looks when you stand and sit. Usually digital x-rays will be ordered (which can be done in either our Fishersville or Charlottesville office) so the podiatrist can see how severe the disorder is. If it is determined that you have flexible flatfoot, your foot doctor may recommend any or all of the following:

  • Modify your activities—avoid long periods of walking and other activities that keep you on your feet
  • Relieve pain and inflammation– nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can lessen discomfort
  • Lose weight—if you are overweight, losing weight will lessen the strain on your arches and may reduce your symptoms
  • Use orthotics—custom made orthotic devices to put in your shoes can give needed support to your arches
  • Do physical therapy—ultrasound and other physical therapy regimens may bring some relief

In more severe cases it may be necessary to use a walking cast or avoid weight bearing all together for a period of time. When pain is not relieved by other methods, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. If you think you may have flexible flatfoot, schedule an appointment online or by phone with one or our podiatrists.

Elaine Allen, DPM joins Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic
Elaine Allen, DPM joins Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic

Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic is pleased to announce Dr. Elaine Allen will be joining our practice. Dr. Allen is Board Certified in Foot Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Dr.  Allen has been actively practicing podiatry and foot & ankle surgery in Virginia and Georgia for 8 years.  She will be seeing patients in our newly built Fishersville office beginning September 14, 2015.

Call our Fishersville office at (540) 949-5150 or schedule and appointment online at Schedule Appointment to consult with Dr Allen on your foot and ankle injury or concern.

WELCOME DR ALLEN !!!

Treating a Rupture of the Achilles Tendon

July 22nd, 2015 by Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle

The Achilles Tendon, sometimes called the “heel cord,” is the band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. If you’ve ruptured it, most likely you’d know it. When the tendon is stretched beyond its capacity due to forceful jumping or pivoting or sudden acceleration when you’re running, it can tear. At Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic, we often see this injury in “weekend warriors,” those less-fit adults who decide to go full force running, exercising, or participating in a sport. The tendon can also rupture as the result of tripping or a fall. If you’ve ruptured your Achilles Tendon you will probably experience one or more of the following:

  • Sudden stabbing pain in the back of the ankle or calf that may subside to a dull ache
  • A popping or snapping sensation
  • Swelling between the heel and the calf
  • Difficulty walking (especially upstairs or uphill) and an inability to rise up on your toes

Seek Treatment

If you believe you have ruptured your Achilles Tendon, call our Fishersville office at 540-949-5150 or our Charlottesville office at 434-979-8116 immediately. Prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent further damage. Until you are able to see the doctor, follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) regimen.

Our board certified podiatrists, Dr. Stewart M. Chang and Dr. Kevin P. Murray will conduct a thorough examination of the foot and ankle, which will involve checking for range of motion and comparing the injured foot to the uninjured one. Our podiatrists will also want to know how the injury occurred and, in some cases, may order an MRI or other advanced imaging tests.

There are both non-surgical and surgical treatment options for a ruptured Achilles Tendon. Your podiatrist will determine the best treatment plan for you, based on the severity of the injury and your level of activity.

What to Do About an Ingrown Toenail

July 14th, 2015 by Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle

An ingrown toenail, or as it’s officially known, Onychocryptosis, happens when the nail plate penetrates the skin. This very painful condition can affect any nail but it is most often seen with the nails of the big toes. At Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic we treat many cases of Ingrown Toenails.

Common Causes

There are several different possible causes of ingrown toenails. A trauma to the nail can cause it to grow in an irregular fashion so that it starts to grow inward, penetrating the skin. Deformed nail beds or plates due to genetics or disease are also more likely to lead to ingrown nails. Even improper trimming of the nails (hint: don’t make them too short or file them in an overly round shape so that the nail is not right up against the skin) can lead to this painful condition. Beware too of shoes that are too tight and compress the toes as this also can cause nails to start to ingrow.

How Do You Know if You Have an Ingrown Nail?

The most obvious sign of an ingrown toenail is pain and redness around the edge of the nail on the toe. Ingrown toenails are highly susceptible to infection and you may see swelling at the base or sides of the nail and it will be warm to the touch. You may see pus draining from the irritated area as well.

Treatment

If the ingrown toenail is mild and you are not seeing signs of infection, you may try a home remedy first of soaking the foot in warm water with some Epsom’s salt. However, this is not advised if you have diabetes, nerve damage, or poor circulation as the risk of developing an infection with these conditions can have very serious detrimental effects. If your ingrown toenail is getting worse instead of better, it’s time to make an appointment with one of our board certified podiatrists. Dr. Stewart M. Chang and Dr. Kevin P. Murray have extensive experience treating ingrown toenails. A minor surgical procedure can be performed to permanently remove the border of the nail that is ingrown.

If you would like to get relief from an ingrown toenail, make an appointment at either our Fishersville or Charlottesville office today.

Those Pesky Bunions and What to Do About Them

July 9th, 2015 by Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle

The telltale sign of a bunion is a bump on the side of the big toe. But the bump that you see is actually only an outward reflection of the real problem: changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. Bunions may or may not be painful but they are a progressive condition that requires medical attention. At Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic our board certified podiatrists, Dr. Stewart M. Chang and Dr. Kevin P. Murray will take the time to conduct a thorough examination of your foot to diagnose a bunion.

Signs and Symptoms

In addition to the bump on the side of the big toe, there are other symptoms which may occur at the site of the bunion:

  • Inflammation and redness
  • Soreness or pain
  • Numbness
  • Burning sensation

You may notice the symptoms more when wearing shoes that have a tight toe box or high heels that force your toes to be compressed in the front of the shoe. Even with all of these symptoms and the bump, our podiatrists may also order a digital x-ray to determine the extent of the deformity.

Treatment

There are treatments that are aimed at reducing the pain and discomfort of bunions. These include: wearing shoes with a wide toe box that won’t cramp the toes, padding the bunion, reducing standing time, orthotics, and oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. Icing the bunion may also provide relief. All of these treatments, however, will not correct the underlying problem. If your bunion is severe and impacting your ability to function on a daily basis, our podiatric doctors may recommend surgery.

If you are suffering with a bunion, don’t wait. Contact us at our Fishersville or Charlottesville office to schedule a consultation today. You’ll be glad you did.

Fixing a Broken Toe

July 2nd, 2015 by Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle

How many times have you heard it said, when someone thinks they may have broken a toe, “No sense going to the doctor, there’s nothing they can do for a broken toe.” That’s a myth! In fact, not treating a fractured toe correctly can lead to serious complications including: a deformity of the bone structure which may limit mobility or make it hard to find comfortable shoes, arthritis, chronic pain, and possibly long-term dysfunction requiring surgery to correct. At Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic, we want you to know the facts about toe fractures. Toe fractures, or breaks fall into two categories.

Traumatic Fractures

Also known as acute fractures, traumatic fractures are the result of a direct impact or blow, such as dropping something heavy on your toe or stubbing it really hard—you usually know when it happens. You may hear a breaking sound at the time the incident occurs and have serious pain on impact that lasts a few hours (the pain may go away after several hours but that does not mean the toe isn’t fractured). There may be bruising and swelling the next day and the toe may appear misshapen or out of place.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures may not be so obvious. These small, hairline breaks have symptoms that can come and go. There may be pain at the site when touched and swelling of a particular area without bruising. Pain usually comes after activity but goes away when resting. Oftentimes stress fractures result when athletes over do it and try to increase their activity level too quickly. They can also be caused by improper footwear, deformities in foot structure, or certain diseases like osteoporosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Just because you can still walk on your foot is not proof that your toe isn’t broken. If you experience any of the symptoms above, it’s important that one of our board certified podiatrists examine your toe promptly. Dr. Kevin P. Murray and Dr. Stewart M. Chang will first conduct a thorough exam of your toe and foot, which may include digital x-rays. Depending on the type and severity of the fracture, several treatment options are available:

  • Splinting the toe to keep it in a fixed position until it heals
  • “Buddy taping” the broken to another toe is sometimes appropriate
  • Wearing rigid or stiff-soled shoes to protect the toe from further damage and keep it in the proper position
  • Surgery may be required if the break is severe or the bone is badly displaced.

If you believe you may have a fractured toe, don’t delay. Make an appointment today at one of our two conveniently located offices in Fishersville or Charlottesville.

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