My Blog
By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
August 11, 2020
Category: Foot Issues
Tags: Swollen Foot   Swollen Ankle  
Foot and Ankle SwellingThere are many reasons why someone may be dealing with swollen ankles or feet. The most common reason is an injury such as a sprained ankle; however, not all causes are as obvious. If you aren’t dealing with a foot or ankle injury, then you may be wondering what could be causing your swelling. Along with. determining the cause of your swelling it’s also important to recognize warning signs of a potentially serious health problem.

Here are some possible reasons why you may be dealing with foot and ankle swelling,

You’re pregnant

It’s normal for there to be a little bit of swelling in the ankles and feet due to extra fluid and pressure placed on the body from the developing uterus. This is more common for women in their third trimester, especially the weeks leading up to delivery, or during hotter months. However, it’s important to keep an eye on your swelling to make sure it’s not severe or appearing suddenly. If you notice significant swelling of the feet and ankles along with stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or headaches, call your doctor right away, as this could be a sign of high blood pressure (known as preeclampsia).

You have a foot or ankle injury

This is a common reason why people often turn to a podiatrist. Everything from strains to sprained ankles and fractured bones in the foot can lead to sudden swelling after an injury. It’s a good idea to ice the injury to help reduce swelling. If your swelling is accompanied by severe pain or trouble walking on the foot then you should see a podiatrist immediately.

You could have a blood clot

A blood clot in the leg, often known as deep vein thrombosis, can stop blood from flowing through the legs back to the heart. As a result of the blockage, this can lead to swelling in the ankles and the affected leg. Since a blood clot can be particularly dangerous it is important that you seek immediate medical attention if your swelling is accompanied by leg pain, fever, and any color changes in your leg.

You may have heart or kidney disease

It is possible that swelling in your feet or ankles could be warning us of problems with your kidneys, liver, or heart. If you find that your ankles start to swell at night, your body could be retaining both salt and water (a possible sign of heart failure). When kidneys don’t function properly excess fluid can accumulate within the body and lead to swelling. If you notice swelling along with weight gain, loss of appetite, and fatigue then you should talk with your doctor.

These are only some of the reasons why you may be dealing with foot and ankle swelling. Other causes could be,
  • Consuming too much salt
  • Sitting or standing for too long
  • Side effects from certain medications
  • An infection (more common in those with diabetic neuropathy)
  • Weak or damaged veins in the legs
If you are dealing with severe or recurring foot and ankle swelling, it’s important that you see a podiatrist right away to find out what’s going on and to catch potentially dangerous problems as soon as possible.
By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
August 06, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Diabetic Foot  

You must care for your feet daily if you are diabetic. Wounds often take longer to heal with diabetes, so there is an increased risk of developing an infection. Small or minor foot wounds are not always readily noticeable and can lead to infection, so it is essential to check the feet daily. Dr. Dallin Greene and Dr. Nathan Judd, the knowledgeable foot doctors at Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute in Bozeman, Butte, and Anaconda MT can help you develop a diabetic foot care plan to help you stay healthy.

Ways to Care for Diabetic Feet

One of the reasons it is so important to develop good foot care habits is that wounds tend to take longer to heal for patients with diabetes, due to slower blood circulation and other factors. The longer the healing process, the more risk there is of developing an infection. An untreated infection that spreads can lead to more serious health problems, including the possibility of amputation.

There are several steps you can take to care for your diabetic feet. For example, scheduling regular foot exams with your skilled Bozeman, MT foot doctor is an excellent way to ensure your feet remain healthy. The podiatrist can examine your feet for wounds, injuries, circulation problems, or signs of infection and treat potential issues right away. Steps you can take to care for your feet daily at home include:

  • Moisturizing the feet daily
  • Wearing comfortable shoes
  • Wearing loose socks to bed
  • Checking for foot wounds daily
  • Avoid soaking the feet in the water
  • Keeping the feet clean, warm, and dry
  • Wearing warm socks and shoes during cold weather
  • Preventing ingrown toenails by trimming nails straight across
  • Improving blood circulation by periodically stretching and moving about during the day

Checking for Foot Wounds

Checking for foot wounds daily plays an essential role in proper diabetic foot care. When examining the feet, look for scratches, cuts, blisters, bruises, redness, punctures, and ingrown toenails. If any wounds or injuries are discovered, apply appropriate first aid measures right away. For example, a cut or puncture on the feet should be cleaned, dried, and bandaged to help prevent infection. It is also a good idea to see a Bozeman, MT foot doctor, or another doctor to ensure the wound is healing properly.

Taking care of your feet when you have diabetes helps prevent infection, which can promote better health. Dr. Dallin Greene or Dr. Nathan Judd can assist you with developing an effective daily foot care routine. To schedule an appointment with one of our foot doctors, call Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute in Bozeman MT at (406) 206-6366. You can also call (406) 782-2278 to contact our office in Butte or our satellite location in Anaconda.

By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
July 28, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Footwear   Hammertoe  
HammertoesWhile tight, cramped shoes and those towering high heels may not immediately show you the damage that’s being done to your feet, over time you will certainly notice changes in the structure and function of your feet. Along with bunions, a common foot deformity, hammertoes are another deformity that causes the toes to bend downward at the middle joint. If the problem isn’t corrected, this simple and rather uncomfortable deformity can become severe. Here’s how to determine whether you may have hammertoes and what you can do about it now to prevent it from getting worse.

Wear Appropriate Footwear
You need to make sure that any shoes you wear properly fit your feet. While this might sound silly, many people are guilty of wearing shoes that are too narrow and put too much pressure on the toes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your feet enough room to wiggle freely. If your toes are bunched up in any of the shoes you have (particularly high heels or shoes with pointed toes) then you will want to avoid these types of shoes whenever possible.

Consider Shoe Inserts
While it’s important to find shoes that cushion and support your foot structure, sometimes people with hammertoes, bunions, and other foot problems that can cause pain can benefit from prescription shoe inserts (also known as orthotics). Orthotics can be crafted to fit the shape of your feet and also to address the issues you’re having (aka alleviating pressure on the toes when standing or walking).

Apply Protective Padding
A hammertoe causes the toe to bend down like a claw. This means that the toe’s joint is sticking out. As you may already know, this causes shoes to rub against the joint, causing a callus to develop. One way to prevent this from happening is to apply a non-medicated pad over the toe joint before putting on shoes.

Practice Pain Management
If your hammertoe starts to ache or hurt, you may want to apply ice to the area throughout the day to help alleviate pain and swelling. If the pain is intense or persistent then you may want to consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, which can help with both pain and swelling; however, if your symptoms are severe, you must see a podiatrist about your hammertoe.

Do I need surgery for a hammertoe?
If the hammertoe is flexible (meaning that you can straighten the toe out) then you won’t need surgery; however, if the hammertoe becomes rigid and causes pain and problems with mobility then surgery is recommended.

If you are dealing with hammertoes or other foot problems, you must have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular and immediate care.
By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
July 14, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions  
BunionsIf you’re dealing with a bunion then you know that this pain is no joke. If you’re dealing with a throbbing, aching pain at the base of your big toe then you could very well be dealing with a bunion. This problem, a common complaint among women, usually develops gradually over many years so many people don’t even realize that they have a bunion until symptoms start to appear. While a bunion will not go away without surgery, the good news is that a podiatrist is usually all you need to manage your symptoms without resorting to surgery. Here are some ways to effectively manage your bunions:
  • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to help with pain and swelling
  • Ice the bunion for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day to also alleviate pain and swelling (conversely, you may choose to soak your bunion in warm water to ease symptoms)
  • Consider getting prescription orthotics (shoe inserts) to place within your shoes to take the pressure off the deformed joint and to reduce pain with walking or standing
  • Wear a night splint, which will straighten out the big toe while you sleep to reduce morning pain and stiffness
  • Only wear shoes that have a wide toe box that doesn’t put pressure on the bunion. Avoid high heels and shoes with pointed toes.
  • Perform stretching exercises every day to alleviate stiffness and to improve mobility and range of motion within the feet
  • Apply a non-medicated pad over the bunion before putting on shoes to prevent friction and the formation of a callus
Conservative treatment is typically the first course of action when treating a bunion. A patient will go through this home care plan to see if it alleviates their symptoms; however, if symptoms persist or get worse then it’s time to see your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to examine the bunion to determine the severity and to create a treatment plan that will help you manage your pain.

Should I consider bunion surgery?
Most patients won’t require bunion surgery to manage their symptoms; however, if your bunion pain is severe, the deformity is large, or if conservative and nonsurgical care isn’t helping you manage your symptoms then it may be time to talk with your podiatrist about whether or not you should get bunion surgery.

Worried that you might be dealing with a bunion? Experiencing regular bunion pain? If so, a foot and ankle professional can assess the problem and provide you with a customized treatment plan to help you get your bunion pain under control.
By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
June 26, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Podiatrist  
PodiatristAre you wondering whether you should be turning to a podiatrist for care?
 
We don’t often think about the health of our feet until they start to cause us problems. Once foot pain, swelling and other problems set in, it is most likely a good time to visit a podiatrist to find out what’s going on. While minor pain and swelling may be alleviated through rest and home care, you should visit a podiatrist if you are dealing with:
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Chronic heel pain
  • A broken foot or ankle
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in the feet
  • Severe pain
  • Difficulty bearing weight on a foot or ankle
  • A visible foot deformity
  • Signs of infection (e.g. redness; swelling; fever)
  • An ulcer or open wound
Need to come in for an evaluation? If so, here’s what to expect when you come into our podiatrist’s office for care,
 
We’ll go through your medical history
 
It’s important to understand your current health status as well as any conditions that could cause further problems for your feet and ankles. For example, patients with diabetes are more at risk for foot-related complications; therefore, it’s important to know all the details of your medical history so we can provide you with more effective care.
 
We will examine your foot
 
Next, we will perform a thorough physical examination of the affected foot and ankle. We will look for everything from visible deformities such as bunion and hammertoes, to issues with blood flow or changes in the color of your skin. A physical exam of your feet and ankles can tell us a lot about what might be going on.
 
We will determine if imaging tests are needing
 
Sometimes a physical examination is all that’s needed to be able to determine what’s going on. This is often the case with outward problems such as ingrown toenails or fungal infections; however, problems that affect the bones, ligaments and muscles of the foot may require imaging tests such as MRIs or X-rays to make a proper diagnosis.
 
We will map out a treatment plan
 
Once we’ve determined the cause of your symptoms, we can create your individualized treatment plan. The treatment options we recommend will depend on the type and severity of your condition. Acute and minor conditions will heal with rest and proper home care while more severe or chronic conditions may require long-term maintenance, therapies and medication. This is something that our podiatrist can discuss with you at length during your appointment.
 
If you are looking for someone to provide you with specialized foot and ankle care then a podiatrist is the right doctor for you.




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