Why Splinters Need to be Removed
Regardless of whether the splinter is wood, glass, or even a plant thorn, you must remove it from the foot as soon as possible. Why? Because these foreign objects also contain germs, which can lead to an infection if the splinter isn’t promptly and fully removed.
How to Remove a Splinter Yourself
You probably have all the tools you need at home to remove a splinter safely. Of course, it’s important to go over the basics of safe splinter removal. Here are tips for safely removing the splinter:
- Soak the foot in warm water for a few minutes to soften the skin
- Wash your hands thoroughly before removing the splinter
- Once the skin has softened in the water, see if you can squeeze the splinter out by simply applying pressure to both sides (like you would a pimple)
- If squeezing doesn’t work, you can use tweezers or a sewing needle to remove the foreign object (just make sure to disinfect these tools first with rubbing alcohol)
- If the splinter cannot be grabbed with tweezers, use the needle to create a small opening around the splinter to make it easier to grab
- Be gentle and careful when removing the splinter to avoid breaking it
While a splinter often isn’t a big deal there will be situations in which turning to a podiatric physician will be the best option. You should turn to one if:
- You aren’t able to remove the splinter or foreign object yourself
- The area becomes red, tender, swollen, or contains pus (signs of infection)
- You feel like there’s a splinter but you can’t see it
- You have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet (do not try to remove a splinter yourself)
- The splinter is too deep or too painful
- Your child is too squeamish or won’t sit still so you can remove the splinter
Are You Able to Put Weight on Your Foot?
One method that you can use to determine whether or not you have actually broken a toe is checking if you can put weight on your foot. If you can walk on your foot without limping or pain, your toe is likely not broken. Icing the toe and using some non-prescription anti-inflammatory medication will probably be enough. In the event that you continue to experience swelling or severe pain, you should see a doctor about your toe.
Does Your Toe Have a Deep Wound?
You should take a close look at your injured toe. If your toe has a deep wound or cut, the bone in your toe might get exposed to the air and a doctor should check out your injured toe. Another sign that you have a broken toe is bruising. Additionally, one more sign that you have actually broken your toe is some discoloration on or near your toe. An obvious sign of a broken toe is if it is at a different angle than the toe on your other foot.
What Else Should I Know About Broken Toes?
Taping is a common solution for a broken toe. This works just fine if the break in the toe is simple and the bones are still in alignment. Taping your broken toe will not help it heal properly, though. That is why you should keep the following information in mind:
- Consult a doctor about your broken toe so it heals correctly.
- Taping your toe could worsen the situation if you have a bad break in your toe.
- Taping your toe is only a viable solution in some circumstances.
The Problem with Cavus Foot
Cavus foot needs to be addressed right away by a podiatrist, as this condition can lead to a variety of issues for your child. Cavus foot is more likely to lead to imbalances within the feet, which in turn can also impact the function of the ankle, legs, hips, and even lower back. Children and teens with cavus foot may be more likely to deal with aches, pains, and strains within the feet, ankles, legs, and hips. This condition can also lead to metatarsalgia, Achilles tendonitis, and chronic ankle sprains.
Causes of Cavus Foot
In many cases, a muscle or nerve disorder that impacts how the muscles function causes cavus foot. This leads to imbalances that cause the distinctive high arches of this condition. Of course, other conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida can also increase the chances of developing cavus foot.
Treating Cavus Foot
You must be watching your little ones as they start to walk to see if you notice any differences in how they move. Catching these issues early offers your child the best chance at improved mobility and less risk for developing foot problems later on. Your podiatrist may work together with a neurologist to pinpoint whether a nerve disorder could be the underlying cause.
Once your foot specialist determines the root cause of your child’s cavus foot then they can map out a customized treatment plan. Milder cases may benefit from more conservative treatment options such as custom orthotics and arch supports; however, surgery is often necessary to correct this problem.
Any issues with mobility, particularly in children, should be addressed and assessed as quickly as possible. Turn to a podiatrist that also specializes in providing pediatric podiatry to children and teens, as they will be able to provide the most thorough treatment plan for your little one.
As we age, our feet will change shape and size, which can also predispose them to certain problems. This also means that your foot needs will change, particularly concerning footwear. Here’s how your feet will change:
- Loss of fat pads
- Dry, cracked skin
- The development or worsening of certain deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
- Widening or lengthening of the feet
- Loss of bone density (which can increase your risk for fracture)
- Changes in gait due to certain conditions such as neuropathy or arthritis
- Diabetic-related foot problems
- Issues with balance
You must look for shoes that provide proper cushioning and supportive insoles so that your feet can tackle the day-to-day activities. If you have foot problems or issues with gait, then you’ll want to turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Together, you can decide the proper footwear and whether prescription orthotics can also provide your feet with additional support and cushioning that footwear alone can’t.
You should turn to a specialty shoe store where they can analyze your gait, properly measure your feet, and determine whether the shoes you’re getting may require additional modifications including orthotics. For example, some shoes and brands adjust to foot swelling throughout the day, while others provide enough space to place orthotics.
- Any shoes with pointed toes
- Shoes with heels over 2 inches
- Shoes that aren’t non-slip
- Sandals or flip-flops
- Shoes that don’t have a firm sole (including your slippers)
- Old, worn shoes (that simply need to be tossed)
- Shoes with rocker soles (particularly if you have gait problems)
How to Treat Sprained Ankles
Most minor sprains can be properly managed through simple at-home treatment and care. Conservative treatment is typically the first line of defense against minor ankle and foot problems, including minor sprains. While more moderate to severe sprains will require more aggressive attention and treatment options, the RICE method is ideal for most ankle sprains. Here’s what RICE stands for:
No matter the severity of your sprain, your podiatrist will be the first to tell you to stay off the ankle and to rest as much as possible to give the ankle time to heal. If the sprain is more moderate or severe, your podiatrist may recommend wearing a protective boot or using crutches to help stabilize the foot and ankle and take pressure off the ankle while standing or walking.
Especially for the first 72 hours after an ankle injury, it’s a good idea to use ice as much as possible to reduce swelling and pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the ankle for up to 20 minutes at a time. You can continue to do this every few hours throughout the day.
Your podiatrist can also show you the proper way to wrap and bandage your ankle, which not only promotes proper circulation and blood flow to the area to aid in healing but also can provide additional support and stabilization for the ankle. It’s important to know how to properly wrap your ankle to make sure it’s providing the very best support and your podiatrist can easily show you how.
Whenever you at resting (which should be most of the day!), it’s a good idea to prop your injured ankle up above your heart to reduce inflammation and bruising. You should elevate your ankle for at least a couple of hours each day!
If you are in pain, over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers can be great for reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. For more severe sprains, your podiatrist may prescribe something stronger. Patients with more moderate-to-severe sprains may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to help rebuild and strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the ankle.
Knowing you have a proper treatment plan in place can provide you with the peace of mind you need to know that your ankle will heal properly. Don’t ignore any foot or ankle injuries. Turn to your podiatrist right away for sprained ankles, or any other problems you may be facing.
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