My Blog
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.
By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
June 15, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Diabetic Foot Care  
Keep Your Feet Healthy With DiabetesDiabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body uses and processes blood sugar. One of the main symptoms of diabetes is nerve pain, creating numbness in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy). If you have diabetes, it’s important that you regularly see a podiatrist. The nerve damage prevents blood from reaching your feet, making it hard to notice when you have a foot injury. A podiatrist can help treat any injuries and foot conditions while also providing you with preventive care. 
 
Keep Track of Your Levels
Monitoring your blood sugar levels keeps both your feet and body healthy. High levels increase your risk of nerve damage. Besides taking your medication, try following a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Losing excess weight makes your diabetes easier to manage. 
 
Pay Attention to Your Feet
Your podiatrist recommends checking your feet every day for injuries or other issues. Be on the lookout for blisters, cuts, swelling, redness, or nail problems. These indicate a bigger issue at hand. Things like blisters or dry skin put you at risk of infection. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, see your podiatrist right away. 
 
Wear Shoes and Socks Daily
People with diabetes need to protect their feet at all costs. This means that they should never go barefoot. Always wear socks and preferably shoes. Choose cotton or wool socks that aren’t too tight. For shoes, you want a pair that fits properly, is insulated, and protects you from injuries. 
 
Toenail Maintenance
Your podiatrist suggests keeping your toenails trimmed and cleaned when you have diabetes. This prevents dangerous infections from ingrown toenails. When you do cut your nails, do so straight across. Don’t try curbing them or cutting the corners and cuticles. Have a loved one help you with your nails if you can’t reach them yourself. 
 
Washing Your Feet
Be extra cautious when washing your feet. Always wash them with lukewarm water, taking care to dry them carefully after. Use a soft washcloth or sponge to avoid injury. You should moisture them after they are dry, just avoid applying lotion between the toes. 
 
Talk to Your Podiatrist
It’s important to stay in contact with your podiatrist with regular appointments. They work with you to manage your diabetic symptoms in your feet. Remember to practice foot care every day to stay safe. 
By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
June 08, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Heel Pain  

When you are dealing with chronic heel pain, it can interfere with your ability to comfortably perform daily activities. For example, the simple act of walking can be painful when you have heel pain. Further, heel pain can get worse throughout the day the more you are on your feet.

Fortunately, here at Big Sky Foot & Ankle Institute in Bozeman and Butte, MT, our knowledgeable foot doctors, Dr. Dallin Greene and Dr. Nathan Judd, can recommend specific treatment options for your heel pain.

Common Causes of Heel Pain

One of the most common causes of heel pain is a foot condition known as plantar fasciitis. Along the bottom of the foot are the plantar fascia tissues. When these tissues become inflamed and irritated, heel pain can develop. Individuals who are most likely to develop plantar fasciitis are those who routinely overpronate when walking or running. Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward so that the arch flattens when stepping.

Heel pain can also develop as a result of performing repetitive motions that put stress or strain on the feet. Other potential causes of heel pain include:

  • Heel spurs
  • Foot injuries
  • Stress fractures
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis

Treatment Options

Several options are available for treating heel pain. Minor heel pain can often be effectively treated by resting the foot, applying ice, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers. Another way to ease minor heel pain is to wear supportive shoes with adequate cushioning, especially in the heel area.

Severe or chronic heel pain is best treated by a podiatrist. The skilled foot doctors at our office in Bozeman and Butte, MT, can develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Some options for treating heel pain include:

  • Physical Therapy — Exercises to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles in the feet.
     
  • Custom Orthotics — Devices placed inside the shoes to provide cushioning, stability, and arch support.
     
  • Padding and Strapping — Padding in the shoes helps minimize the impact of walking, while strapping provides support for the feet and minimizes strain on the plantar fascia tissues.
  • Night Splint — Worn while sleeping, the splint helps reduce heel pain by keeping the plantar fascia tissues in a stretched position for an extended time.
     
  • Corticosteroids — Injected into the foot to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
     
  • Surgery — When other treatment options have not completely resolved the issue, surgery can be performed to correct structural problems in the foot that are contributing to heel pain. Surgery is also needed to remove painful heel spurs or heel calluses.

Heel pain can be resolved with the right treatment plan developed by a podiatrist. To learn about your treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Greene or Dr. Judd, our experienced foot doctors, by calling Big Sky Foot & Ankle Institute in Bozeman at (406) 206-6366 or at (406) 782-2278 for our Butte location.

By Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute
May 29, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Toenail Fungus  
Onychomycosis is the technical term for toenail fungus. It’s when fungus gets under the nail and causes an infection. You’ll notice that the nail changes color and starts emitting an odor. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the other toes and even the fingers. The best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your local podiatrist. 
 
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Your feet are vulnerable to fungi and bacteria due to their location on the body. This is especially true if you go barefoot in damp areas like locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools. Your feet come in direct contact with these pathogens. An injury to the nail bed also opens your body up to infection. Even the smallest cut provides an opening for bacteria. Other possible risk factors include pre-existing medical conditions like immune-deficiency, diabetes, circulatory problems, and other chronic illnesses. 
 
Podiatry Treatment for Toenail Fungus
Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist right away when you notice differences in the appearance of your toenail. This includes any thickening, discoloration, or deformity. Your podiatrist will first need to make a diagnosis before treatment starts. This is done through a simple lab test. 
 
The first line of treatment includes oral and topical antifungal. Topical antifungal medication or cream is applied directly to the nail. Oral antifungal is taken just like regular medication. These are also more effective. You will take the oral antifungal for approximately three months.
 
For severe cases, patients require surgery. That’s why it’s so important to seek treatment from your foot doctor right away. They can help you before it gets to this point. Otherwise, your podiatrist performs a temporary removal of the nail. This gives your doctor space to evenly apply the topical antifungal.  
 
Toenails that don’t respond to any treatment need permanent nail removal. This eliminates the fungal infection while getting rid of the damaged nail.
 
At-Home Solutions for Toenail Fungus
There are a few things you can do at home to help treat your toenail fungus. A strict cleaning regime can relieve mild infections. Patients have found success in filing off the white marks and then applying over-the-counter antifungal agents. These do not stop infections from coming back, which is why we encourage patients to seek treatment from a medical professional.




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