Suburban Podiatry, Ltd. 
William A. Czarnecki, DPM
 Common Conditions

Please click on a condition below to learn more about the causes, symptoms and how we can help treat it. If you would like to schedule an appointment, click here.

  • Fractures
  • Heel Spurs
  • Tendinitis
  • Circulation Problems
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Fibromas
  • Developmental Problems
  • Flat Feet
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Arthritis/Gout Conditions
  • Sports Medicine

 Bunion (Hallux Valgus)

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. This forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. Since this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated. The MTP joint itself may become stiff and sore, making even the wearing of shoes difficult or impossible. Bunions– from the Latin "bunio," meaning enlargement–can also occur on the outside of the foot along the little toe, where it is called a "bunionette" or "tailor’s bunion."


Symptoms          

  • Development of a firm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe.
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint.
  • Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the first and second toes.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe.
How Do You Get a Bunion?

Bunions form when the normal balance of forces exerted on the joints and tendons of the foot become disrupted. This can lead to instability in the joint and cause the deformity. Bunions are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint. They are, therefore, a symptom of faulty foot development and are usually caused by the way we walk, and our inherited foot type, our shoes, or other sources.

Although bunions tend to run in families, it is the foot type that is passed down—not the bunion. Parents who suffer from poor foot mechanics can pass their problematic foot type on to their children, who, in turn, are also prone to developing bunions. The abnormal functioning caused by this faulty foot development can lead to pressure being exerted on and within the foot, often resulting in bone and joint deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.

Other causes of bunions are foot injuries, neuromuscular disorders, or congenital deformities. People who suffer from flat feet or low arches are also prone to developing these problems, as are arthritic patients and those with inflammatory joint disease. Occupations that place undue stress on the feet are also a factor; ballet dancers, for instance, often develop the condition.

Wearing shoes that are too tight or cause the toes to be squeezed together is also a common factor, one that explains the high prevalence of the disorder among women.

Treatment For Bunion Pain

Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each bunion, although identifying the deformity early in its development is important in avoiding surgery. Podiatric medical attention should be sought at the first indication of pain or discomfort because, left untreated, bunions tend to get larger and more painful, making nonsurgical treatment less of an option.

The primary goal of most early treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and halt the progression of the joint deformity. A podiatric physician will recommend treatments based on your specific condition, including, but not limited to padding and taping, medication, physical therapy, orthotics, or surgical options.
                                                           
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 Neuroma
 

What is a Neuroma?

A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes that brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.

The principle symptom associated with a neuroma is pain between the toes while walking. Those suffering from the condition often find relief by stopping their walk, taking off their shoe, and rubbing the affected area. At times, the patient will describe the pain as similar to having a stone in his or her shoe. The vast majority of people who develop neuromas are women.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the forefoot and between the toes.

  • Tingling and numbness in the ball of the foot.

  • Swelling between the toes.

  • Pain in the ball of the foot when weight is placed on it.

How Do You Get a Neuroma?

Although the exact cause for this condition is unclear, a number of factors can contribute to the formation of a neuroma.

  • Biomechanical deformities, such as a high-arched foot or a flat foot, can lead to the formation of a neuroma. These foot types bring on instability around the toe joints, leading to the development of the condition.

  • Trauma can cause damage to the nerve, resulting in inflammation or swelling of the nerve.

  • Improper footwear that causes the toes to be squeezed together are problematic. Avoid high-heeled shoes higher than two inches. Shoes at this height can increase pressure on the forefoot area.

  • Repeated stress, common to many occupations, can create or aggravate a neuroma.

Treatment by Your Podiatric Physician

Treatment options vary with the severity of each neuroma, and identifying the neuroma early in its development is important to avoid surgical correction. Podiatric medical care should be sought at the first sign of pain or discomfort; if left untreated, neuromas tend to get worse.

The primary goal of most early treatment regimens is to relieve pressure on areas where a neuroma develops. Your podiatric physician will examine and likely X-ray the affected area and suggest a treatment plan that best suits your individual case, including, but not limited to padding and taping, medication, orthotic devices or surgical options. 

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 Ingrown Nail

What is an Ingrown Nail?

An ingrown nail (also known as an onychocryptosis) is a common form of nail disease. It is an often painful condition in which the nail grows so that it cuts into one or both sides of the nail bed. While ingrown nails can occur in both the nails of the hand and feet, they occur most commonly with the toenails. By the very nature of the condition, ingrown nails become easily infected unless special care is taken to treat the condition early on and keep the area as clean as possible.

Symptoms

  • Pain along the margins of the nail
  • Increased pain when wearing shoes or other tight articles
  • Sharp, even excruciating pain if bumped
  • Signs of infection include redness and swelling
  • Sensitivity to pressure of any kind

How Do You Get an Ingrown Nail?

  • Cutting the nail too short, rounded off at the tip or peeled off at the edges instead of being cut straight across
  • Ill-fitting shoes, as those that are too narrow or too short can cause the nail to curl and dig into the skin
  • Trauma to the nail plate or toe, which can occur by stubbing the toenail, dropping things on the toe or going through the end of the shoes (as during sports or other vigorous activity), can cause the flesh to become injured and the nail to grow irregularly and press into the flesh
  • Predisposition, such as abnormally shaped nail beds, nail deformities caused by diseases, or a genetic susceptibility to nail problems like ingrowth

Treatment by Your Podiatric Physician

Treatment of ingrown nails ranges from soaking the afflicted area to surgery. The appropriate method is dictated by the severity of the condition. In nearly all cases, drainage of blood or pus should mean a trip to your podiatrist, a specialist trained explicitly to treat these conditions. Most practitioners agree that trying to out wait the condition is nearly always fruitless, as well as agonizing.

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 Hammer Toe

What is a Hammer Toe?

In general, the term "hammer toe" describes a buckling of any of the toe joints. Joints at the end or middle of the toe, as well as the joint near the ball of the foot, may be affected. Toe joints usually curl because of a muscle imbalance or tight tendons. Often times, corns develop over the joint from friction of shoes. Hammer toes vary in severity and in the number of joints and toes involved. There are two types of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. The differentiation is based on the joint's ability to move. When hammertoes are flexible, you can straighten the buckled joint with your fingers. These types of hammertoes may not always be painful, but they can become rigid overtime. When the joint becomes rigid, it cannot be moved, and corns may worsen along with pain.

Symptoms

  • Calluses (corns) formed on top of the toe joints
  • Toes bent in a fixed position
  • Callus formed on sole of foot from added pressure

 

How Do You Get a Hammer Toe?

Hammer toes most frequently result from wearing poorly-fit shoes that can force the toes into a bent position, such as excessively high heels or shoes that are too short or narrow for the foot. Having the toes bent for long periods of time can cause the muscles in them to shorten, resulting in the hammer toe deformity. This is often found in conjunction with bunions or other foot problems. It can also be caused by muscle, nerve, or joint damage to the toes.

Treatment by Your Podiatric Physician

If your symptoms are mild, changing shoes may be all the treatment you need.  Using a splint or padding to hold your toes straight may also help. Or try cushioning corns and calluses with felt padding. However, if your symptoms are more severe, a trip to you podiatrist may be in order. Your podiatrist will examine your toes to see how flexible or rigid the joints are and take an X-ray to determine the degree of deformity and whether or not the joint is affected by arthritis. Your podiatrist will discuss all options to determine the best treatment plan for your individual case which may include strapping, padding, medication or surgical options.


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 Plantar Warts

What are Plantar Warts? 

Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus, which generally invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but, technically, only those on the sole are properly called plantar warts.

Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults; some people seem to be immune. Most warts are harmless, even though they may be painful. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses—which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated. The wart, however, is a viral infection.

It is also possible for a variety of more serious lesions to appear on the foot, including malignant lesions such as carcinomas and melanomas. Although rare, these conditions can sometimes be misidentified as a wart. It is wise to consult a podiatric physician when any suspicious growth or eruption is detected on the skin of the foot in order to ensure a correct diagnosis.

Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries; warts are generally raised and fleshier when they appear on the top of the foot or on the toes. Plantar warts are often gray or brown (but the color may vary), with a center that appears as one or more pinpoints of black. It is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur and/or spread.

How Do You Get a Plantar Wart?

The plantar wart is often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or littered ground where the virus is lurking. The causative virus thrives in warm, moist environments, making infection a common occurrence in communal bathing facilities, pools, or locker rooms.

If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of several warts; these are often called mosaic warts. Like any other infectious lesion, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. The wart may also bleed, another route for spreading.


Tips for Prevention
 

  • Avoid walking barefoot, except on sandy beaches.

  • Change shoes and socks daily.

  • Keep feet clean and dry.

  • Check children's feet periodically.

  • Avoid direct contact with warts—from other persons or from other parts of the body.

  • Do not ignore growths on, or changes in, your skin.

  • Visit your podiatric physician as part of your annual health checkup.

Treatment By Your Podiatric Physician 

Self treatment is generally not advisable. Over-the-counter preparations contain acids or chemicals that destroy skin cells, and it takes an expert to destroy abnormal skin cells (warts) without also destroying surrounding healthy tissue. Self treatment with such medications especially should be avoided by people with diabetes and those with cardiovascular or circulatory disorders. Never use them in the presence of an active infection.

Depending on the location, depth and number of warts you may have, your podiatrist will determine an appropriate method of removal. This may include topical or surgical treatment to remove the warts.  
                                                           
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 Fungus Infection

What are fungus infections?

Fungal infections, such as athlete's foot (tinea pedis) or toenail fungus (onychomycosis) occur in the warm, moist areas of the feet. Infections are typically transmitted in moist areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or locker rooms. The toes, nails and bottom and sides of the feet can be affected with fungal infections. Nail fungus isn't the same as athlete's foot, which primarily affects the skin of the feet, but at times the two may coexist and can be caused by the same type of fungus.
A nail fungal infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the nail fungus spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges — an unsightly and potentially painful problem.  
  With an athlete's foot infection, scaling, flaking, and itching may occur in the affected skin. Blisters and cracked skin may also occur, leading to exposed raw tissue, pain, swelling, and inflammation. Secondary bacterial infection can accompany the fungal infection, sometimes requiring a course of oral antibiotics.
Symptoms
Nail Fungus
  • Thickened, yellow nails
  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged
  • Distorted in shape
  • Dull in appearance
Athlete's Foot
  • Itching, Stinging or Burning between toes or on soles of feet
  • Cracking and peeling skin
  • Itchy blisters
  • Excessive dryness
How Do You Get a Fungus Infection?

Fungi are microscopic organisms that do not need sunlight to survive. All of these microscopic organisms live in warm, moist environments, including swimming pools and showers. They can invade your skin through tiny invisible cuts or through a small separation between your nail and nail bed. They cause problems only if your nails or feet are continually exposed to warmth and moisture — conditions perfect for the growth and spread of fungi.

Infection with fungus occurs in the feet because they are often confined in a dark, warm, moist environment inside your shoes — where fungi can thrive.


Treatment by Your Podiatric Physician

Your doctor will want to determine if your signs and symptoms are caused by fungus or by another skin disorder. You'll probably be asked about exposure to contaminated areas or contact with people who have athlete's foot or nail fungus. Your doctor may also take skin scrapings or fluid samples from your foot to have a laboratory identify the fungus. If it is determined that fungus is the cause of your symptoms, you doctor may prescribe either a topical or oral medication to treat and clear the infection.

It is important to note that fungal infections can be painful. They may also lead to other serious infections that can spread beyond your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes or other conditions. Fungal infections of the nail pose the most serious health risk for people with diabetes and for those with weakened immune systems. Additionally, fungus can be hard to treat and over-the-counter medications are often not effective. See your podiatrist for an effective treatment plan.

 

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'width' is a duplicate attribute name. Line 1, position 37.Diabetic Foot Care

What is Diabetic Foot Care?

Diabetes can cause poor circulation or loss of feeling in your feet. Even a tender spot or tiny break in the skin can turn into an infection and lead to serious problems. A person with diabetes has fewer defenses against everyday wear and tear and reduced sensation may mean that you can't feel injuries. Additionally, because of reduced blood flow, healing is more difficult which is why something small can quickly progress into a much bigger problem. Medical treatment by your podiatrist is key in maintaining your foot health.

Symptoms

Take a look at your feet. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, your fee may be heading for trouble and an apointment with a podiatrist could greatly benefit you.

  • Do you see red spots?
  • Do you have blisters, corns, or calluses?
  • Do you feel tingling?
  • Are your toenails thick or ingrown?

Treatment by Your Podiatric Physician

A podiatrist is specially trained to treat diabetic foot conditions. Whether you currently have a symptom or problem that needs to be treated, or just need routine check-up, seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis can help start you out on a foot health program. Preventing and managing diabetic foot conditions is vital to maintaining your foot health.

Routine foot care helps keep thick and ingrown nails, blisters, corns, calluses, and other skin irritations from developing into ulcers or infections. If more serious problems present, your podiatrist can evaluate whether surgery and/or antibiotics are needed to help control the infection or ulcer.

Additionally, your podiatrist can provide customized footwear to aid in keeping your feet healthy. A customized shoe with extra-depth and custom inserts can provide extra cushioning and relieve pressure to prevent damage to your feet. At Suburban Podiatry, we offer an extensive line of premium diabetic shoes by SafeStep.

 

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 Orthotics/Custom Orthotic Shoes

What are Orthotics?

Did you know that functional problems with your feet can cause pain in you hips, knees and back? As part of your treatment plan for these problems, your podiatrist may recommend orthotics. Orthotics are custom shoe inserts that are made from impressions or casts of your feet. The impression or cast will be taken in a specific position which will capture the angular relationships between the various segments of each foot. Thus when models of your feet are constructed at the laboratory, the doctors and technicians will be able to capture your best functioning positions in the models. Consequently, instead of just supporting arches, orthotics create more normal function of the feet and legs by controlling abnormal motion and aiding in normal motion of the walking cycle. The end result is a decrease or elimination of foot symptoms, corns, calluses and very often leg and back fatigue.

Are Orthotics for Me?

Orthotics are prescribed for a wide variety of foot conditions. They can be made from various materials depending on the degere of control required, the physical status, activities, occupation and foot wear for each individual patient. Orthotics can greatly benefit many people. The list below are just some of the conditions for which orthotics may be appropriate.

  • Active in sports and/or running
  • Bunions
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Flat Foot
  • High Arch
  • Unequal Leg Length
  • Heel Pain and Heel Spurs
  • Neuromas and Neuropathy
  • Hammertoes
  • Stiff Joints

Additionally, we offer an extensive line of shoes and sandals that have the custom-molded orthotic built directly into the bed of the shoe.

 

 Heel Spurs & Plantar Fasciitis

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. This forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot. Since this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated. The MTP joint itself may become stiff and sore, making even the wearing of shoes difficult or impossible. Bunions– from the Latin "bunio," meaning enlargement–can also occur on the outside of the foot along the little toe, where it is called a "bunionette" or "tailor’s bunion."


Symptoms          

  • Development of a firm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe.
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint.
  • Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the first and second toes.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe.
How Do You Get a Bunion?

Bunions form when the normal balance of forces exerted on the joints and tendons of the foot become disrupted. This can lead to instability in the joint and cause the deformity. Bunions are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint. They are, therefore, a symptom of faulty foot development and are usually caused by the way we walk, and our inherited foot type, our shoes, or other sources.

Although bunions tend to run in families, it is the foot type that is passed down—not the bunion. Parents who suffer from poor foot mechanics can pass their problematic foot type on to their children, who, in turn, are also prone to developing bunions. The abnormal functioning caused by this faulty foot development can lead to pressure being exerted on and within the foot, often resulting in bone and joint deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.

Other causes of bunions are foot injuries, neuromuscular disorders, or congenital deformities. People who suffer from flat feet or low arches are also prone to developing these problems, as are arthritic patients and those with inflammatory joint disease. Occupations that place undue stress on the feet are also a factor; ballet dancers, for instance, often develop the condition.

Wearing shoes that are too tight or cause the toes to be squeezed together is also a common factor, one that explains the high prevalence of the disorder among women.

Treatment For Bunion Pain

Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each bunion, although identifying the deformity early in its development is important in avoiding surgery. Podiatric medical attention should be sought at the first indication of pain or discomfort because, left untreated, bunions tend to get larger and more painful, making nonsurgical treatment less of an option.

The primary goal of most early treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and halt the progression of the joint deformity. A podiatric physician will recommend treatments based on your specific condition, including, but not limited to padding and taping, medication, physical therapy, orthotics, or surgical options.
                                                           
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