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Items filtered by date: March 2021

Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00

Foot and Ankle Trauma

Broken Feet

A broken foot can either refer to a fracture or a straight break. The location of any break can tell you how the break happened. Toes, for instance, break typically as a result of something being kicked hard and with great force. Heel breaks almost always are a result of an improper landing from a tall height. Twists or sprains are the other two frequent occurrences. As with all usual breaks, they result from unexpected accident or sudden injury. As with stress fractures, breaks form as a process over time from repeated stress on already present cracks. Runners, dancers, and gymnasts are the usual athletes who receive this type of break. Stress fractures result from incredible pressure on the feet. It is no surprise these athletes bear the majority of reported fractures.

Pain, swelling, bruising, and redness are all indicative of the typical symptoms from a broken foot. Severe pain—to the point of not being able to walk—usually depends on the location of the break in the foot. Toes are on the lower scale of pain threshold, but heels are high, as are a few other particular bones. As the severity of the broken foot increases, symptoms like blueness, numbness, misshaping of the foot, cuts, or deformities will become apparent. These symptoms indicate the need to see a medical professional with access to an x-ray facility.

Prior to seeing a specialist, precautions should be taken to reduce pain and swelling. Elevate and stabilize the foot, and refrain from moving it. Immobilization of the foot is the next priority, so creating a homemade splint is acceptable. Keep in mind that while creating a splint, any increase of pain or cutting off blood circulation means that the splint should be removed immediately. Use ice to decrease swelling and relieve pain symptoms.

When dealing with a medical center, the patient should note that the treatment can vary. The treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture and the cause of the break. Crutches, splits, or casts are common treatments while surgery has been known to be used in more severe cases in order to repair the break in the bones. 

Broken Ankles

Broken ankles are a serious injury that can lead to an inability to walk, function, and also cause a significant amount of pain. A broken ankle is a break in one of the three bones in your body that connect at the ankle joint, the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. The tibia and fibula are your two primary leg bones that connect at the knee, which sits directly upon the talus bone. This is protected by a fibrous membrane that allows for movement in our ankle joint. A broken ankle is usually caused by the foot rolling under or twisting too far, causing one of these three bones to snap.

A broken ankle is different from an ankle sprain, which occurs when the ligaments are ripped or torn but no bones have been broken. A sprain can still be very severe, causing bruising in the foot and an inability to hold your own weight, much like a broken ankle would. If you’re unable to stand, and suspect that you have a broken ankle, the first thing to do would be to get an immediate x-ray to determine the severity of the break.

A common cause of broken ankles is when the ankle is rolled over with enough pressure to break the bones. This usually happens during exercise, sports, or other physical activities. Another common cause is a fall or jump from a tall height.

One immediate treatment for pain relief is elevating the feet above your head to reduce blood flow to the injured area. You can also apply ice packs to your ankles to help reduce swelling, redness, inflammation, and pain. After these initial steps, getting a cast and staying off your feet as much as possible will aid in the recovery of the broken ankle. The less movement and stress the ankle has to endure, the more complete it will heal. A doctor can determine if surgery is needed in order to heal correctly. In these cases, an operation may be the only option to ensure the ability to walk properly again, followed by physical therapy and rehabilitation.

It is highly important to determine if surgery is needed early on, because a broken ankle can become much more severe than you realize. If not professionally treated, the broken ankle will inhibit your walking, daily functioning, and produce a large amount of pain. Treating your broken ankle early on will help prevent further damage to it.

Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00

What Is Drop Foot?

Drop foot is a general term used to describe difficulty lifting the front part of the foot, and it can be a symptom of an underlying neurological, muscular, or anatomical problem. Drop foot can affect the way you walk, causing your toes to drag on the floor as you move around. Some people compensate for this issue by lifting their foot too far off the ground and then slapping it down as they walk. This is known as a steppage gait because of its similarity to the gait people use when going up steps. Some people who have drop foot also experience numbness on the top of the foot and the toes. For more information about drop foot and other conditions that affect the feet, please consult with a podiatrist.

Foot and ankle trauma is common among athletes and the elderly. If you have concerns that you may have experienced trauma to the foot and ankle, consult with Dr. Richard Silverstein from Union Foot Care. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Foot and ankle trauma cover a range of injuries all over the foot; common injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Muscle strains
  • Injuries to the tendons and ligaments
  • Stress fractures

Symptoms

Symptoms of foot and ankle injuries vary depending on the injury, but more common ones include:

  • Bruising
  • Inflammation/ Swelling
  • Pain

Diagnosis

To properly diagnose the exact type of injury, podiatrists will conduct a number of different tests. Some of these include sensation and visual tests, X-rays, and MRIs. Medical and family histories will also be taken into account.

Treatment

Once the injury has been diagnosed, the podiatrist can than offer the best treatment options for you. In less severe cases, rest and keeping pressure off the foot may be all that’s necessary. Orthotics, such as a specially made shoes, or immobilization devices, like splints or casts, may be deemed necessary. Finally, if the injury is severe enough, surgery may be necessary.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Foot and Ankle Trauma
Monday, 22 March 2021 00:00

What Are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts are described as small growths that appear on the heels or other areas of the feet that bear a large amount of weight. The pressure in these areas causes plantar warts to hide behind thick layers of skin called calluses. In most cases, plantar warts are not a serious health issue, and they usually go away without treatment. However, it is still important be mindful of them.

Plantar warts are caused by infections with human papillomavirus (HPV) in the outer layer of skin on the soles of the feet. The plantar warts then develop when the virus enters the body through weak spots at the bottom of the feet, such as tiny cuts and breaks. Plantar warts are not guaranteed for all who encounter the virus. Everyone responds differently to the affects of HPV.

Plantar warts are most common in the following groups: children and teenagers, people with weakened immune systems, people with history of plantar warts, and people who walk barefoot. Exposure to HPV is common in environments such as locker rooms or pool areas.

One of early signs to look out for is a callus, since many plantar warts hide behind them. You can also locate these warts by looking for small, fleshy, rough, grainy growths near the base of the toes and the heel. Early signs of plantar warts are shown by black pinpoints, which are small, clotted blood vessels. Lesions that interrupt normal lines and ridges in the skin of your foot may also be a sign of plantar warts. Any feeling of pain while walking or standing can also be a symptom of plantar warts.

Although most cases are not serious, some conditions may require a visit to your podiatrist.  If you are uncertain that your lesion is a wart, if you have diabetes, or if you are experiencing bleeding, you may need to see a seek professional treatment. Your doctor may offer treatments such as prescribing stronger peeling medicine or using cryotherapy by applying liquid nitrogen to the wart. More serious cases may require minor surgery or laser treatment.

There are simple solutions available to help prevent plantar warts. One common task is to avoid walking barefoot in swimming pool areas and locker rooms, as this is where HPV is commonly present. Keeping your feet clean and dry, while changing shoes and socks daily can also help prevent future plantar warts. If you know someone who has plantar warts, it is important to avoid direct contact with their warts. You should also refrain from picking or scratching your wart if you happen to develop one.

Monday, 22 March 2021 00:00

What Do Plantar Warts Look Like?

Plantar warts are warts that appear on the bottoms of the feet due to a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Plantar warts often look like circular spots of thick, callused skin. These spots will typically have tiny black dots on the surface, which are actually bits of dried blood. Plantar warts are usually flat and grow inwards as pressure from walking is applied to them. This often leads to pain. A plantar wart can occur on its own, multiply to form additional satellite warts, or can appear as a “mosaic” of several plantar warts growing closely together. Warts on the bottom of the feet can be treated with topical or oral medications, laser therapy, or cryotherapy. To learn more about plantar warts, please speak with a podiatrist. 

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. Richard Silverstein from Union Foot Care. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Plantar Warts?
Sunday, 21 March 2021 00:00

Reminder: When Was the Last Time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Monday, 15 March 2021 00:00

Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic progressive disease that attacks several joints throughout the body. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. As a result, the tissue inside the joints, called synovium, starts to thicken and causes pain around the joints. The synovium is responsible for creating a fluid that lubricates the joints to help them move. Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Women are almost three times as likely to have RA compared to men, and it’s disease usually begins between the ages of 30 and 60. People who have a genetic history of RA are more likely to develop the disease.

Symptoms of RA may include the following sensations in the joints: pain, tenderness, swelling, redness, warmth, stiffness, and loss of range. Swollen joints are a very common symptom for those with the disease. At times, it may be minimal, but it may also be very apparent. Another typical symptom is joint stiffness. Doctors will often use the direction of morning stiffness to measure the severity of a patient’s joint inflammation. Other RA symptoms include limping, anemia, fever, and fatigue.

To diagnose RA, your podiatrist will typically request x-rays to see how much damage there is in the joints. Blood tests may also be performed to show if there are any signs of anemia, or antibodies such as the rheumatoid factor. If you have previously been diagnosed with RA, you should know the disease may spread to your feet and ankles.

There are many non-surgical options that can be used to treat this ailment. Some of these options include physical therapy, foot massages, orthotics, bracing, supportive shoes, and steroid injections. Physical therapy is useful because it will help stretch and strengthen the joints in both the foot and ankle to improve joint function. Massages can help improve blood circulation which will be good for the feet. Choosing proper footwear will allow you to walk with comfortability if you are a sufferer from RA. Lastly, bracing will help stabilize the foot joints, limit deformities and decrease pain.

In severe cases, surgery may be a treatment option that should be considered. For those who cannot walk without experiencing pain and those whose deformities can not be managed with braces, surgery should be considered. Your podiatrist will recommend surgery if he or she believes it will improve your foot biomechanics.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that can cause swelling, pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion in any joint in the body. RA often affects the small joints of the feet and the ankle joint. In the front of the foot, the big toe joint is often affected. This can lead to difficulty walking, as the big toe joint bears the body’s weight. In the back of the foot, the three joints responsible for side to side movements of the foot can be affected and can make walking on any uneven surface very difficult. When the ankle is affected, the ability to climb stairs or ramps may be impaired. RA can also cause rheumatoid nodules to form on the feet, which can painfully rub against the shoes while walking. If you have RA in your feet or ankles, it is suggested that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can help you manage this condition.

Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact Dr. Richard Silverstein of Union Foot Care. Our doctor will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of feet
  • Joint shift and deformation

Diagnosis

Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet
Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. These types of injuries are very common and can occur in people of all ages. Sprains may range from mild to severe, depending on how much damage is done to the ligaments. If a sprain goes untreated, a more severe sprain may occur which can further damage the ankle. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle pain.

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering a sprained ankle. Those who participate in sports, walk on uneven surfaces, have a prior ankle injury, are in poor physical condition, or wear improper shoes are more likely to get a sprained ankle.

There are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect you are suffering from a sprained ankle. Some common symptoms are swelling, bruising, tenderness, and instability of the ankle. In cases where the tearing of the ligaments is severe, there may be a “popping” sound when the strain occurs.

The RICE method is proven to be effective in treating ankle sprains. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest is important for treatment especially within the first 24 to 48 hours. You should also ice your sprained ankle for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time. A small piece of cloth should be placed between the ice and the affected area. For the compression step, you should wear a brace that is snug, but not too tight that it cuts off circulation. When choosing a brace, be sure to choose one that is suitable for the type of ankle sprain you have. Lastly, you should elevate your foot above the heart as often as possible.

After you treat a sprain, you should go through rehabilitation to prevent the injury from occurring again. There are three phases to the rehab process. The first phase involves resting, protecting and reducing the swelling of the injury. The second phase consists of restoring the ankles flexibility, range of motion, and strength. The third phase consists of slowly returning to activity and maintenance exercises.

If you suspect you have an ankle sprain, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and a suitable treatment option for your condition.

Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00

What Happens During an Ankle Sprain

The ligaments in the ankle connect the bones to each other and provide stability to the ankle. When these ligaments are torn or stretched due to an accidental twist or roll of the ankle, a sprain can occur. Ankle sprains are some of the most common injuries that occur in sports that require quick changes in direction such as soccer, football, and basketball. Athletes who have had an ankle sprain before are at a higher risk for developing them again. Patients who believe they may have an ankle sprain should consult with a podiatrist. A podiatrist will examine the ankle and take X-rays to make sure that it is not broken. While most ankle sprains are treated with anti-inflammatory medications, ice, and supportive devices, a podiatrist will be able to determine the right treatment for you.

Ankle sprains are common but need immediate attention. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. Richard Silverstein from Union Foot Care. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains take place when the ligaments in your ankle are torn or stretched beyond their limits. There are multiple ways that the ankle can become injured, including twisting or rolling over onto your ankle, putting undue stress on it, or causing trauma to the ankle itself.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Mild to moderate bruising
  • Limited mobility
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration of the skin (depending on severity)

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

Treatment of a sprain depends on the severity.  Many times, people are told to rest and remain off their feet completely, while others are given an air cast. If the sprain is very severe, surgery may be required.

If you have suffered an ankle sprain previously, you may want to consider additional support such as a brace and regular exercises to strengthen the ankle.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ankle Sprains
Monday, 01 March 2021 00:00

What is a Podiatrist?

The branch of medicine that is focused on the treatment, diagnosis, and study of disorders of the lower leg, ankle and foot is referred to as podiatry. Because people often spend a great deal of their time on their feet, many problems in this area can occur. A person seeks help from the field of podiatry when they need treatment for heel spurs, bunions, arch problems, deformities, ingrown toenails, corns, foot and ankle problems, infections, and problems with the foot that are related to diabetes and additional diseases.

To treat problems of the foot, ankle or lower leg, a podiatrist may prescribe physical therapy, drugs, perform surgery, or set fractures. Individuals may also be recommended to wear corrective shoe inserts, custom-made shoes, plaster casts and strappings in order to correct deformities.

When trying to gather information on a patient problem, a scanner or force plate may be used in order to design orthotics. During this procedure, patients are told to walk across a plate that is connected to a computer; the computer then takes a scan of the foot and indicates weight distribution and pressure points. The computer readouts will give the podiatrist information to help them determine the correct treatment plans.

Diagnosis is also provided through laboratory tests and x-rays. Through the foot, the first signs of serious problems such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis can show up. For example, individuals that have diabetes may frequently have problems such as infections and foot ulcers because they experience poor circulation in the foot area. A podiatrist can then have consultations with patients when symptoms arise. Referrals will then be made to specialists that handle the greater health problems.

Some podiatrists have their own independent, private practices or clinics where they have a small staff and administrative personnel. Many podiatrists work within group practices. They usually spend time performing surgery in ambulatory surgical centers or hospitals, or visit patients in nursing homes. Podiatrists typically spend between 30 to 60 hours of week working. Some podiatrists specialize in public health, orthopedics, surgery, or primary care. Other fields include specialties in geriatrics, dermatology, pediatrics, diabetic foot care and sports medicine.

Some podiatrist specialists complete extra training in the area of foot and ankle reconstruction that results from the effects of physical trauma or diabetes. There are also surgeons that perform surgery of a cosmetic nature to correct bunions and hammertoes.

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