4 Big Reasons Your Ingrown Toenails Keep Coming Back

Pain with every step, inflammation around the toenail, excruciating tenderness when you apply pressure to your toe—sounds like you need ingrown toenail treatment in Austin. Unfortunately, treatment for ingrown toenails is not always once and done; many people have to see a podiatrist more than once for the same problem. Here is a look at just a few of the reasons why you may continue to have problems with toenails ingrown into the sides of your toes.

Ill-Fitting Shoes

Shoes that do not give your toes enough to move or even move around too much against your toes can be the underlying cause of ingrown toenails. When your toes are squeezed together because the toe of your shoe is too narrow, this can push the edge of the toenail into the surrounding toe tissue and cause it to grow that way. If your shoes are moving around against the edge of your toe, inflammation can weaken the skin around the nailbed and also lead to an ingrown.

Improper Toenail Trimming Methods

Always trim your toenails straight across, and don’t trim them too short. You may be tempted to cut off the edges to keep them from resting on your skin, but this can actually continuously contribute to ingrown toenail problems.

Genetics

Even genetics can play a role in persistent ingrown toenail problems. Genetics can determine the shape of your toe, your toenails, and even the thickness of the toenail itself. Naturally, the shape and other attributes of the toe can contribute to your risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Toe Injuries

It is not uncommon for people who have sustained toe injuries to have persistent problems with ingrown toenails. If your toe gets stubbed, for example, the nail can cut into the side of your toe, weakening that tissue. If inflammation occurs due to the injury, you are more likely to have problems with ingrown toenails.

Looking for a Podiatrist in Austin, TX?

Even though problems with ingrown toenails are one of the most common reasons for a visit to an Austin podiatrist, this is not an issue to overlook. If you have persistent problems with ingrown toenails, reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffrey Lamour, DPM, PA.

A Look at Non-Invasive Treatments for Hammertoe

When hammertoe starts making it difficult to walk, climb stairs, and even simply wear shoes, you need a prompt solution. Although surgery is an option for severe cases, it’s often best to start with non-invasive treatments with help from your Austin, TX, podiatrist. Here’s a look at several hammertoe treatments you might want to try.

Switch Up Your Footwear

Although most footwear will cause discomfort as your hammertoe rubs against its rough material, certain shoes can cause excruciating pain. In that case, it’s necessary to quit wearing those shoes altogether as it’s likely making the problem worse.

Instead, seek out footwear that only causes mild discomfort at worst plus wear shoe inserts. The inserts can help shift your weight to relieve friction and make it possible to get through the day with shoes on your feet. You can also bandage your hammertoe to shield your skin from friction.

Consider Taping or Splinting

If a simple bandage doesn’t provide enough relief, you can buddy tape it to an adjacent toe to ease it back into the proper position. This can ease the pain temporarily as you go about your day, although it’s important to minimize how much time the toe remains taped up.

When tape doesn’t quite do it, you can wear a splint that gently straightens the joint and holds your toe flat. Eventually, the splint and other methods will fail to work as the toe becomes more rigid. At that point, you’ll need to discuss surgery with your Austin podiatrist.

Complete Your Exercises

When you visit your podiatrist, they will give you a series of exercises to complete at home to keep the joint flexible. Each exercise focuses on stretching out the ligaments, tendons, and ligaments in the affected foot. Although exercise will slow it down, the hammertoe is likely to grow more rigid over time anyway, resulting in the need for permanent correction through surgery.

Ready to Seek Hammertoe Treatment in Austin TX?

Are you more than ready to say goodbye to the pain and discomfort caused by hammertoe? You can seek hammertoe treatment in Austin, TX, with a visit to Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA. Just call 512-451-3668 to schedule a visit, so you can get an exam and discuss all the treatment options, including surgical correction.

What’s the Best Way to Groom Toenails?

You might think that a simple thing like grooming toenails couldn’t cause any harm. But if you groom toenails incorrectly, you could actually end up needing to visit your podiatrist in Austin, TX. There are actually good ways and bad ways to groom toenails. Here’s a guide for steps to take.

Groom Toenails Regularly

It’s easier to groom toenails that aren’t in too bad of shape. The longer you wait in between grooming sessions, the harder it is to groom them. Left untended, toenails have a tendency to curl inward, get caught on socks and shoes or become thick and hardened. Regular toenail grooming also makes it more likely that you’ll notice any irregularities in your toenails, such as blackening, that might require the immediate attention of your Austin, TX podiatrist.

Soak Toenails First

If you are older and have thickened toenails, you’ll have an easier time of it if you soak your toenails first. In fact, anyone who wants to trim toenails should do so after the nails have had a chance to soften. You can either soak feet in a foot spa appliance in warm water or simply wait until after a long shower or bath.

Use Proper Grooming Tools

Always use tools specially made for grooming toenails. These may include toenail scissors or extra wide and straight nail clippers. Note that nail clippers for fingernails have a radius that is too narrow for toenails. Never use kitchen scissors to cut toenails. Never tear toenails across. You won’t get a clean tear, and you risk tearing down into the “quick” of the nail.

File Straight, Not Curved

If you are looking for a fashionable shape for your toenails, you may be tempted to file a curve along the edges of the nail. But you should not have the curve go down the side of the nail. Instead, the sides should be straight. If you want a little curve, do so only at the top of the nail. Otherwise, you run the risk of inviting an ingrown nail to develop as the nail grows out from the curve.

Use Clean Tools

It’s easy to get a nail infection if you use unclean tools. Always disinfect grooming tools before use, and don’t share them with other family members.

Try to visit with your podiatrist in Austin, TX on a regular basis. Routine feet exams can help ensure that your feet and toenails stay healthy. Contact us for more information any time.

When Your Ankle Sprain Needs Medical Attention

Ankle sprains can be tricky for many people, especially when it’s easy to get the word ‘twist’ and ‘sprain’ confused. A sprain is generally much more severe than a twist, and a truly bad one can keep you off your feet for weeks. However, you might reasonably ask: if it’s not broken, do you really need medical attention? The answer is a resounding yes. We’ll look at when it’s time to seek professional help.

The Truth About Ankle Sprains

Most ankle sprains just need time to heal. Your body is trying to mend the ligaments and can usually do so without much help from you. Whether they were merely stretched or torn completely, you may only need ice, compression, and elevation to begin the process of getting back up on your feet.

Sprains can take a while to heal entirely, up to 12 weeks or more. So you shouldn’t necessarily think there’s something wrong if you’re not feeling 100% after a week or two. As long as the sprain is getting better with time and you’re giving it enough space to heal, home treatment may be all that’s needed.

When to Seek Help

You’ll know when a sprain is particularly bad. If there’s a lot of swelling or bruising, you’re unable to bear weight without serious pain, or there’s no improvement after the first few days, it’s time to see a professional.

A severely hurt ankle may not seem broken at first, but X-rays may reveal a small fracture rather than a big sprain. Even if it is a sprain, you may need an ankle boot or crutches to help stabilize yourself if you need to. Since few people can afford to be off their feet entirely for weeks on end, you don’t want to risk breaking the ankle when you undertake necessary tasks.

In more severe cases, you might benefit from physical rehabilitation or surgery. The former can help you strengthen the angle gradually so it can heal properly without compromising your range of motion. Surgery will use metal plates and screws to support the ankle and ensure it can recover from the initial injury.

Common Causes of Foot Deformities

If your feet are feeling tired and sore lately, it’s no wonder. According to the College of Podiatry, the average person will walk 150,000 miles during the course of their lifetime. In case you’re wondering just how far that is, it’s the equivalent of walking around the world six times. Unfortunately, if you happen to have various types of foot deformities such as hammertoes, bunions, corns, or others, your feet will hurt even more. As to why foot problems such as these and others happen so frequently, here are the most common causes.

Poor-fitting Shoes

More than anything else, poor-fitting shoes tend to contribute to many types of foot deformities. Whether you are wearing shoes that are one size too small or find yourself trying to cram your feet into a pair of narrow high-heels before heading off to work, poor-fitting shoes will almost certainly guarantee you will at some point develop foot deformities such as hammertoes or bunions, the two most commonly associated with this issue.

Medical Conditions

If you have a medical condition that directly impacts your feet, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, you are at much greater risk of developing various types of foot deformities. For folks who suffer from diabetic neuropathy and thus have nerve damage in their legs and feet that make it hard to feel pain, conditions such as ingrown toenails and bunions can be very common. If left untreated, these problems can lead to severe infections, which is why diabetics and others with certain medical conditions should always have regular foot exams.

Genetics

Unfortunately, it’s sometimes just not in the cards for you to go through life without having some foot issues. If your parents, grandparents, or others in your family have a prior history of dealing with bunions or other foot problems, that may be the reason for your current situation. However, by seeking regular treatment from a skilled podiatrist, most foot deformities can be treated quite successfully.

Along with working closely with your podiatrist, making certain lifestyle changes such as wearing the proper shoes, losing weight, and perhaps switching to a less-stressful form of exercise, such as cycling instead of jogging, you can find yourself ready to start on that seventh trip around the world.

 

Polydactylism – Should You Be Worried About Extra Toes?

Polydactyly is actually one of the most common malformations affecting as many as 1 in every 1,000 babies born today. The condition is most often related to genetics, but some research suggests that environmental factors could contribute to the development of extra fingers or toes during pregnancy. While extra toes may seem like no big deal, occasionally, these little extra limbs can cause problems. Here is a look at a few things that can come up when you have extra toes.

Problems Finding Properly Fitting Shoes

One of the biggest challenges people with extra toes have is the fact that it can be relatively difficult to find shoes that fit properly. Shoes are obviously designed for people with five toes. A six-toed foot can be substantially wider than the average foot, and the added toes can be in unusual spots, such as along the side of the big toe or seated slightly overlapping other toes.

Disruptions in Balance or Walking Form

In certain polydactyly cases, the added toe can cause a disruption in how an individual holds their balance or how they walk. For instance, an added toe that points in a more downward position may have the individual walking in an unusual way to avoid putting pressure on the toe. While having extra toes may sound like it would mean you have better balance, the opposite is often true. Many people with added toes have issues with an imbalanced stance, specifically, if the toe is in an odd place or one foot has an extra toe and the other does not.

Injury to the Extra Toe

Depending on where the added digit is located, it can be more prone to injury. For example, an individual with a nubbin (extra toe with little or no bone structure) on the side of their pinky toe can have issues with hitting the nubbin or catching it on things. Injuries to extra toes can be just as concerning as injuries to other toes. Infection is common with foot injuries and healing times can be a bit slower.

Talk to a Podiatrist in Austin, TX About Polydactyly Problems

If you have an extra toe or more on your foot as an adult, chances are your parents chose to not have the toe(s) removed when you were born. Reach out to us to discuss how we may be able to help with your extra toes and the problems they can cause. Contact the office of Dr. Jeffrey Lamour, DPM, PA to schedule an appointment.

OUCH! That Stubbed Toe May Be more Problematic Than You Think

It often happens in the middle of the night, when you’re in a rush, or when you’re not quite watching where you’re going. A stubbed toe can be one of the most painful everyday events, but, thankfully, the pain usually subsides relatively quickly. Nevertheless, there are some instances when a stubbed toe is more than just a painful “stub.” In fact, a hard enough hit can lead to a list of bigger problems. Take a look at just a few of the injuries that can stem from stubbing your toe.

Broken Bones

Believe it or not, broken toes are most often caused by the notorious accidental stub. While the toes in your feet are relatively strong, they do not have a great deal of fatty tissue to protect them. Therefore, hitting your toe directly against something can be enough to cause a fracture. If your toe is broken after you have stubbed it, you will likely know it. The symptoms of a broken toe include:

  • Swelling around your toe or up into your foot
  • A change in the overall shape of the toe
  • Severe pain that gets worse and does not subside
  • Difficulty trying to move your toe

Cracked Toenails

Smacking your toe against a hard surface can cause cracks in your toenail, which can be incredibly painful. While cracked toenails are not necessarily a major health threat, this is an issue to keep an eye on. The toenail will not mend back together; you simply have to wait for the broken portion of the nail to grow. If your toenail comes off or is hanging off and you can’t remove it, it is best to see a podiatrist for advice.

Infection

If the hit against your toe causes a wound, your toe can be prone to infection. In some cases, you can get an internal injury you may not spot right away. For example, a hard enough hit could force the edge of your toenail into the interior tissue of your toe. If bacteria are allowed to get inside this kind of injury, it could easily lead to an infection. Your toe may be red or irritated and feel hot to the touch. If you see any of these signs, schedule a visit to your podiatrist for help.

Get Help for Toe Injuries at an Austin Podiatrist

While your toes are one of the smaller parts of your body, these small body parts have some of the biggest responsibilities. If you suspect you have injured your toe after a run-in with a door frame, table leg, or corner, reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA in Austin, TX to schedule an appointment.

Modern Innovations for the Treatment of Common Podiatric Ailments

Every year, numerous people make their way to a podiatrist for help with common foot-related injuries and illnesses. While traditional medicine still has its general place in podiatric care, many of the best practitioners have taken advantage of the latest forms of treatment. At our Austin podiatrist office, we are always implementing new ways to help patients have healthy feet. Here is a look at some of the modern innovations in podiatric care you may experience when you come in for a visit.

1. Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus and More

For many years, patients had to rely on minimally effective treatments to try to eradicate issues with toenail fungus. However, modern technology has afforded a new solution for people with this aggravating and unsightly issue: laser treatment. Laser treatment for toenail fungus targets the fungi without causing damage to the full toenail or the surrounding tissue. And, this modern treatment has been shown to be more effective than a lot of topical ointments and other traditional remedies.

2. Stem Cell Treatment for Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries can be some of the slowest-healing injuries. For example, if you have a torn Achilles tendon, the tendon itself is slow to mend because it is dense and heavy, so it takes the body a long time to rebuild that tissue without some level of support. Stem cell treatment gives your body the growth-supporting cells that can help that tissue regenerate quicker so you can get back to normal faster.

3. PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Treatment for Foot Fractures

PRP has been used in numerous types of medical treatment, including orthopedic care. Platelet-rich plasma is essentially your own bodily blood plasma product in concentrated form. Blood is taken from you, put through a scientific process to condense the valuable platelets, and then that platelet-rich plasma is injected at the injury site. The PRP treatment may help encourage the rapid healing of the fracture in your foot.

Let’s Talk About Foot Care in Austin, TX

The ways in which innovative medicine has seeped into podiatric care are nothing short of amazing. If you have issues with your feet, reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA in Austin, TX. We work hard to provide all of the latest treatment options for our patient’s feet.

 

Odd Toenail Issues and What They May Mean

You probably clip them, paint them, and try to keep them clean, but you may not realize that your toenails can be a direct indicator of your health. Check out some of the odd toenail issues and what they may mean.

Your toenails break easy and seem extremely brittle.

Toenails should be thick enough to protect the tip of your toe, so if they are brittle and break easily, it can cause some concerns. Brittle toenails can be a sign of overexposure to certain detergents, chemicals, or moisturizers. Toenails can actually take in too much moisture and get thinner due to overexposure to certain agents. Likewise, toenails can become brittle and dry if you are not staying hydrated enough.

Your toenails are extremely thick and difficult to trim.

Toenails are naturally thicker than fingernails, which can mean they are a bit harder to trim. However, your toenails should not be so thick that they are practically impossible to trim with ordinary clippers. If they are, it can be a sign that something else is going on. For example, people with high blood sugar levels related to diabetes can develop thick toenails and toenail fungus can also be to blame.

Your toenails frequently fall off.

Toenails fall off when they separate from the nail bed, and once a toenail does fall off, it cannot reattach. You have to wait for a new nail to grow in its place, which can take as long as 18 months for toes. Losing your toenails can come from a lot of causes, such as:

  • Direct injury to the affected toenail
  • Taking certain medications
  • Exposing the toe to certain types of chemicals
  • Untreated toenail fungus
  • Psoriasis on the toes
  • Ringworm
  • Poor blood flow to the toenails

Talk to an Austin Podiatrist About Odd Toenail Issues

Your toenails may seem like a small part of your feet and the health of your feet, but even small problems can be a big deal, so you should seek professional advice. Reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA, a podiatrist in Austin, TX, to schedule an appointment if you have odd toenail issues.

Frostbite: What You Need to Know

Frostbite is the most severe kind of cold-related injury and the fingers, and toes are at the highest risk of becoming frostbitten. There are a variety of symptoms associated with frostbite. Recognizing and then treating frostbite as soon as possible is vital, but preventing frostbite in the first place is even better.

Recognizing, Treating and Preventing Frostbite

Knowing the symptoms associated with frostbite is the first step in properly treating this injury. Sometimes, people confuse chilblains with frostbite; however, the symptoms are different. Chilblains occurs when the skin is exposed to wet, cold and windy weather conditions. It causes swollen, dry, red and rough skin with tiny red bumps, which may ulcerate.

There are three degrees of frostbite:

  • First degree (frostnip) — skin becomes red and irritated. Toes will feel cold to the touch. If not addressed soon, numbness sets in. Warming the toes may cause some tingling type of pain. Chilblains may be present once the toes are warm.
  • Second degree — blisters and inflammation, but no tissue damage. Redness dissipates and the toes become pale (white or grayish-yellow in color). Although the skin may remain soft, ice crystals have probably formed within the tissue. All sensation in the affected toes may be lost. If the toes are warmed and treated, stinging and burning should be expected. Inflammation is likely and blisters may form over the next day or two.
  • Third-degree — all skin layers are affected, resulting in permanent damage to the skin and its underlying tissues. The toes are completely numb; therefore, pain and discomfort are no longer an issue. However, the absence of these senses occurs because the nerves have sustained serious damage. Skin feels waxy, functioning of the muscles and joints is poor or non-existent. Tissue death is likely.

Treating Frostbite

Seek medical assistance if you think you have frostbite. If you have frostnip of the toes, remove any clothing that is wet and/or may prevent blood flow to your toes. To keep your blood vessels from constricting, do not smoke or drink any beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine. If there is no chance that they will re-freeze, you can use water that is not too hot to warm your toes. Warming them as soon as possible is essential to preventing damage. Remain in a warm area and avoid walking around. You can reduce inflammation by keeping your feet elevated. Once warmed, apply a sterile bandage or cotton to the affected toes, this helps prevent rubbing.

Preventing Frostbite of the Toes

When spending time in the frigid outdoors, warm-up sessions are important. Be sure to keep an eye on your toes because sometimes you will not even know that frostnip or frostbite is setting in.

Prevention tips:

  • Wear two pairs of socks. Your inner sock should consist of synthetic fiber because these fibers wick water away from the skin. Your outer sock should be wool because it offers a great deal of insulation.
  • The boots or shoes you wear need to be insulated and waterproof.

If you are experiencing any type of foot problem, contact Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA, today at 512-451-3668. We can help.