Frequently Asked Questions
Our office staff compiled a list of questions that patients frequently ask us. This may save you some time as you are considering podiatric care. If you have any other questions, please call 281-778-5560.
We accept most insurance plans. Plans and limits of coverage do change frequently. We will assist you on checking the features of your plan, and also in the paperwork.
Usually a foot disorder is already present and shoes can aggravate it. Some examples are bunions, hammertoes, ingrown nails, and bony prominences (spurs).
Make sure your shoes fit properly and are of high quality. Clean and dry your feet thoroughly each day. Visit your podiatrist if you have aches or pains or you notice some changes in the skin.
In most cases, exercise is great but it is important to stretch and warm up first. Always “break in” new shoes slowly. If you are a diabetic, consult a podiatrist before doing any weight-bearing type exercise.
Diabetes can affect blood flow and nerves in the feet. If the tissues have been damaged, it is very difficult to heal a wound and fight infection. The nerve damage is called neuropathy (numbness) and you can “walk a hole (ulcer) in the foot” and not even know it. The most important thing a diabetic can do is check feet daily for changes.
Arthritis is a disease of the joints and there are about 30 joints in each foot. If any joint is out of alignment or has abnormal motion, arthritis can set in. This kind of arthritis can wear the cartilage out and lead to pain. Supportive shoes, shoe inserts, and medication can help ease the painful arthritic foot.
No, more than 90 percent of the time this type of problem can be cured by conservative measures. Sometimes fear of surgery prevents a person from getting needed care. You can call our office at 281-558-9090 for a professional consultation.
Typically we can accommodate a new patient within days and we make every effort to see semi-emergencies, infections, and injuries the same day. We realize that your time is important and our office policy is to see you within a few minutes of your appointment time.
Yes, we are always accepting new patients to our practice. Please call for an appointment.
Treatment depends upon the cause of the deformed nails. The most common causes are trauma and a fungal infection. When a toe is stubbed or something falls on a toe, the nail is usually damaged. Since the nail grows from its base, anything traumatizing that area may cause the nail to grow in discolored, thick, or in the wrong direction. This type of deformity is often permanent, however, treatment by a podiatrist can make the nail look much better.
Deformity due to a fungal infection may be easier to cure. When an infection is suspected, the nail must be cultured (a small piece sent to a lab and analyzed) to confirm the diagnosis. Once the infection is confirmed, treatment can be either topical or systemic. For mild or moderate infection, a liquid medication can be applied daily in an attempt to kill the fungus. Since it takes 10-12 months for a new toenail to grow in, improvement will be seen gradually. Other products can also be applied to the nail to make it softer and enhance the penetration of other medicines.
For severe cases of infected fungal toenail, the best treatment option is taking a pill which affects the area under the skin where the nail grows from. The two most common pills must be taken by mouth for about 3 months, usually with blood tests to make sure there are no side effects. The toe nail can also be removed and allowed to grow back.
Other less common causes of nail deformity include psoriasis, which can cause pitting and discoloration of nails. These systemic problems are best treated by a medical doctor who specializes in the cause; sometimes a podiatrist can perform ancillary treatments which may improve the appearance of the nail.
You can help prevent athlete’s foot by keeping your feet – and your bath or shower area – clean and dry. Avoid walking barefoot in community areas. Always wear clean socks and don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row, they need time to dry out.
The type of foot surgery performed determines the length and kind of aftercare required to assure that your recovery from surgery is rapid and uneventful. The basics of all postoperative care involve to some degree each of the following: rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). The “RICE” method promotes healing, decreases pain, and reduces swelling around the area. Bandages, splints, surgical shoes, casts, crutches, or canes may be necessary to improve and ensure a safe recovery after foot surgery. A satisfactory recovery can be hastened by carefully following instructions from your podiatric surgeon.
The most common causes of feet itching are dry skin or a fungal infection. A fungal infection causes circular scaling of the skin. It can also cause cracks in the skin, especially between the toes. Fungus likes to grow between the toes because it is a dark, moist environment. Fungal infections are best treated with antifungal creams or gels applied twice a day. There are many good creams that can eradicate a fungal skin infection. It is important to use powder to help treat the fungus, as it will dry out the area. Dry skin can also cause scaling and cracking of the skin with itching. Dry skin should be treated by an emollient once or twice a day. All emollients should be applied after a shower or bath to lock in the moisture. Dry skin accompanied by cracking requires special treatment, usually with a high potency keratolytic cream.
Heel pain can have many causes. The most common causes are heel spurs, a bone bruise, or bursitis. A heel spur can become painful when a person increases their activity level suddenly, or walks or runs in poor shoe gear (insufficient padding). This activity can also cause a bone bruise. An x-ray should be taken to assess the heel bone. A stress fracture is sometimes seen on an x-ray, which can also result from the aforementioned activities. A less common but important cause of heel pain is systemic arthritis such as Reiter’s arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, or Ankylosing Spondilitis.
Treatment of heel pain varies depending on the type, cause, and severity of the condition. Your podiatrist may advise you to cut back on activities that put stress on your foot and/or recommend the use of orthotic devices.
Other treatments include:
- Biomechanical Orthotics
- Oral or injected anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy
- Foot taping
- Foot exercises – for muscle strengthening and stretching
- Surgery or Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy
The most common cause of this is backless shoes. Other causes include severe dry skin or systemic disorders such as diabetes and thyroid disease.
The most common cause of the big toe deviating towards the other toes is tight shoe gear. Pointy shoes will force all the toes together, precipitating bunion and hammertoe deformities. Heredity is also a cause of this deformity, which is the beginning of a bunion. As the big toe falls to the side, the first metatarsal bone starts to deviate toward the midline, which causes redness, pain and swelling over the area. It is imperative to wear spacious shoe gear to avoid pressure on this area, and thereby reduce the pain. Sneakers are the best shoe gear, as they contain good support and cushion and usually have enough space for the toes. Bunion shields and cushions are available to cushion the area and decrease pain.
Corns and calluses are your body’s response to friction or pressure against the skin. If your foot rubs inside your shoe, the affected area of skin thickens. If a bone is not in the normal position, skin caught between bone and shoe or bone and ground builds up. In either case, the outer layer of skin thickens to protect the foot from unusual pressure. In many cases, corns and calluses look bad but are not harmful. However, more severe corns and calluses may become infected, destroy healthy tissue, or affect foot movement. If your corns and calluses are mild, reducing friction may help. Different shoes, moleskin patches, or soft pads may be all the treatment you need. In more severe cases, treating tissue buildup may require your doctor’s care. Sometimes orthotics (custom-made shoe inserts) are prescribed to reduce friction and pressure
Diabetes and chronic high blood sugar can result in damage to the arteries and nerves of the feet. Therefore, it is important for your circulation and nerves to be evaluated at least 1 to 2 times per year by a physician. Circulation problems may present with pain or cramping in the feet or legs, as well as a feeling of coldness. Nerve problems may present with a burning or tingling pain, or may cause no pain when there is a problem such as a sore. This can be especially disastrous if a person can not see the effected area. Thus, it is important for everyone with diabetes to check their feet daily. Diabetes can also affect the skin and make it drier, so a moisturizer should be used daily.
Pressure ulcers are sores that occur when pressure cuts off the blood supply to the skin. Stress caused by the body’s weight and the impact of striking the ground place the ball of the foot, the big toe, and the heel at greatest risk. Left untreated, an ulcer may allow infection to enter your body. If infection reaches the bloodstream or bone, your life or limb may be at risk. But with your podiatrist’s help, your health can be protected. Pressure ulcers can be controlled and even prevented
People, whose feet or legs are not in perfect alignment, often experience pain in other parts of their body. Your feet are your foundation. Orthotics correct the movement of the foot, and that relieves the problems in the legs and hips.
Wearing orthotic devices, also known as orthoses, inside your shoes can help your feet function better as you stand, walk, and run. Your podiatrist can prescribe orthotic devices, based on a specific diagnosis of your foot problem, and then have them individually manufactured from a mold of your feet. Feet are relieved of the chronic stress that results from abnormal movement and are usually relieved of pain, too
A bunion is most often a symptom of faulty mechanics of the foot. The deformity does run in families; however, it is the foot type that is hereditary, not the bunion. People with flat feet or low arches seem more prone to develop the problem than those with higher arches.
A fracture or break into the joint may lead to arthritic changes and the development of bunion deformities with limited range of motion.
Bunions may also be associated with various forms of arthritis. The arthritis can cause the joint’s protective covering of cartilage to deteriorate leaving the joint damaged with a decreased range of motion.
After surgery to correct a bunion, the foot may become narrower – but not always. Also for a period of time, the joint may remain slightly stiff and not be as flexible as before the surgery.
Gradual return to normal activity will be recommended by the podiatric surgeon as healing progresses.
When you use a set of muscles too much, you’re likely to strain the tendons (soft tissues) that connect those muscles to your bones. At first, pain or swelling may come and go quickly. But if you do too much too soon, your muscles may overtire again. The strain may cause a tendon’s outer covering to swell or small fibers in a tendon to pull apart. If you keep pushing your muscles, damage to the tendons adds up and tendonitis develops. Over time, pain and swelling may limit your activities. But with your podiatrist’s help, tendonitis can be controlled. Both your symptoms and your risk of future problems can be reduced.
Growing pains are what aches in leg muscles in children are sometimes called. The term is often used because a “growing” child has seemingly unexplained leg pains that are casually attributed to growth. The thinking goes that if the bone is growing an d the muscle lags behind it will ache resulting in a growing pain. Most of the time these pains have nothing to do with growth. Previously unexplained leg aches and pains are often the result of overuse of leg muscles in children with flat or pronated feet. The pronated foot, especially in an active child, leads to stress and strain on muscles in the foot and leg which may cause them to hurt. These pains occur most often at night or after heavy activity when the effects of overuse of muscles are likely to be greatest.
If your child complains of pains that may fit this description schedule an appointment for your child at the Foot Clinics where he or she can be evaluated to determine if abnormal foot positions and postures may be contributing to this problem.
Common reasons why your child’s feet or legs may look different from each other is an in-toe or out-toe deformity on one side or a foot or arch that is flatter on one side or the other. If you’ve noticed that there are differences between your child’s feet or legs it may be a sign that something isn’t quite right. If you think your child might fit this description schedule an appointment for your child with us.
Using modern x- ray equipment and limiting the exam to the smallest area possible keeps patient exposure to a minimum. We use low energy x-ray units which are safe and efficient We also provide x-ray shields for out patients before taking the x-rays.
Diagnostic ultrasound uses sound waves, much like sonar, allowing us to visualize soft tissue structures such as cysts and tendons, which do not show up on X-ray. This is a safe, quick and painless way to help diagnosis many conditions.