The Foot Blog
Posts for: June, 2016
As the school year comes to an end, we tend to see more school teachers coming in to have bunion surgery. Some of them have been in pain for months or longer — but they’ve been waiting for summer break so they can recover while school’s out, and be ready to stand in front of a classroom again in the fall. So, for teachers, summer is a sensible time to take care of painful bunions.
How about you? Have you been struggling with painful bunions but putting off treatment because of your schedule? Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about the timing of a procedure like bunion surgery:
- Is there a time of year when you’re less active, when it's easier to take time off? The answer to this is easy for teachers and those with seasonal work. If you’re in real estate, perhaps winter would be a better time for bunion surgery than the spring homebuying season. On the other hand, if you work in retail, winter may be a hard to get time off due to the busy holiday season.
- How bad is your bunion? If your bunion is causing you pain that prevents you from going about your daily routine, then there’s no time like the present to see your podiatrist and begin the recommended treatment, whether surgical or otherwise.
- Do you have diabetes? Foot problems are the number one complication that put diabetics in the hospital every year, so if you are diabetic and have a bunion (or any kind of foot problem), it’s essential that you see a podiatrist immediately to prevent permanent damage or even a life-threatening condition.
- Do you have just a small bunion? If you have a bunion that’s not very big or painful, you may decide to put off surgery. In some cases, this may be fine — but be aware that if you wait and your bunion becomes larger, you may end up needing a lot more time off for having a larger bunion removed later. In general, recovery time is much faster for small bunions. So, in some cases, it may be to your advantage to take care of your bunion while it’s still small. Your podiatrist can help you decide if it makes more sense to wait or to go ahead and treat your small bunion now.
Here’s one more thing to consider. Some people put off bunion surgery because they’re concerned that the recovery will be painful. In our clinic, we’ve developed a proprietary pain prevention protocol especially for our bunion surgery patients — and most of them have been genuinely surprised at how little pain they’ve had after surgery. It’s one thing that sets The Foot & Ankle Center apart, when it comes to bunion surgery. You may want to check out our bunion page for more information.
If you’re trying to figure out the best time to plan a bunion surgery, or if you have questions about bunions, bunion surgery or recovery times, feel free to give us a call or make an appointment for a consultation with one of our podiatrists.
In a previous blog post, I discussed prevention of ingrown toenails. But once you've got an ingrown toenail, what's the best treatment? Do you need to see a podiatrist, or can you treat ingrown toenails at home? There are two ways to answer this question, depending on whether you have a medical condition.
If you are diabetic, have peripheral vascular disease or other circulatory disorders:
Do not attempt to treat an ingrown toenail at home! If you suspect an ingrown toenail because you you have symptoms such as redness, swelling, drainage or pain, make an appointment with your podiatrist immediately! If you're diabetic, we have a standing rule at The Foot & Ankle Center: if someone calls to make an appointment about an acute foot injury and they let us know they're diabetic, we'll find a way to squeeze them in to see the podiatrist that same day — because it's vitally important to treat diabetic foot conditions immediately, in order to prevent a serious infection.
If you are in good health and do not have diabetes or circulatory disorders:
It's still a good idea to make an appointment with your podiatrist. However if the ingrown toenail is not severe or infected, you may try this home treatment first: Soak your foot in a basin of either warm salt water or warm, soapy water. Afterwards, apply an antiseptic to the ingrown toenail area and put a bandage over it to protect it. If you don't see improvement shortly thereafter, you should see your podiatrist. And, if you notice any drainage or excessive redness around the toenail, you should see your podiatrist immediately.
Never try to remove any part of an infected nail yourself.
This should only be done by your podiatrist. Avoid over-the-counter medications as well; these should only be taken on the advice of your podiatrist.
In an upcoming blog post, I'll discuss how we treat ingrown toenails at The Foot & Ankle Center. In the mean time, if you're dealing with painful ingrown toenails, we can help. I encourage you to make an appointment.