We Answer Your Top Questions About Podiatry and Physical Therapy
Have questions about bunion removal, orthotics and more?
When you live in constant pain, you have questions about what causes your pain and how you can get the relief you crave. Get the answers you need from our podiatrists and physical therapists.
- Page 6
Should I use ice or heat for my foot injury?
Both heat and ice are used to treat injuries, but at different stages—and they aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Ice is used to combat swelling and inflammation in a fresh or relatively recent injury, particularly if soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments are involved. Heat is best for chronic injuries that have been painful for a while, like a persistently strained muscle or joints with arthritis.
The ice in a cold treatment contracts all the tissues around the injury, temporarily limiting how much fluid leaks into those tissue and discouraging inflammation. Swelling and inflammation get in the way of healing, so limiting them shortly after you hurt yourself can be helpful. However, chronically painful injuries are different. A heat treatment helps muscles and other soft tissues relax, as well as encourage a healthy blood flow in the area, which brings healing.
If you’re struggling with foot pain and you’re not sure how to best care for it, don’t hesitate to get more help. Early treatment is best for your recovery. Just call our experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines, Parker, and Cherry Creek, CO, at (303) 805-5156 for an appointment today.
What is skier’s toe?
Skier’s toe is a very common nail injury. Repetitive pressure and trauma to a nail from your ski boots causes it to turn black. This is because the injury creates slight bleeding in the nail bed. The blood leaks to the underside of your toenail, where it stains the hard keratin a dark color. This looks unsightly, but it isn’t usually a problem unless the blood pools. Pooled blood can put pressure on your digit and be quite uncomfortable.Normally black toenails from ski boots develop when your boots do not fit correctly. Either they are too small and pinch the ends of your toes, or they are too big and allow your feet to slide forward and bang against the inside of the boots. The discoloration only goes away when the stained keratin has had a chance to fully grow out. If your toe is painful, however, you may need to have the pressure under your nail relieved. Let our teams in Cherry Creek, Castle Pines, and Parker, CO, help you take care of your digits in every season. Make an appointment online, or by calling us at (303) 805-5156.
What are the signs of toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus symptoms are usually obvious and easy to catch if you know what you’re looking for. As the fungus grows and damages the hard keratin making up your toenails, the affected areas start to look dull and discolored. Often nails turn a yellow-grey color, though they could simply get darker. Nails often become thickened and distorted in shape as well. The edges may appear ragged or crumbly. Often the keratin grows more brittle, too. Some people’s nails separate from their nail bed and get debris caught under them.If you’ve noticed any symptoms of fungal toenails, even if they are mild, act quickly and have them examined. Fungal infections are challenging to eliminate and the best way to deal with them is to catch early and treat the problem immediately. Let our team of foot experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. help you accurately identify fungal nail symptoms. Make an appointment with us online or by calling (303) 805-5156 to reach our Cherry Creek, Parker, and Castle Pines, CO, office locations.
Why do my toes itch when I come in from the cold?
Cold toes often itch when you warm them up because of something called chilblains. Chilblains are small, itchy, red bumps in your skin that appear when your body improperly reacts to cold and rewarming. No one is exactly sure what causes them. It seems that rewarming can sometimes allow tiny blood vessels in your toes to suddenly expand before the larger vessels they are attached to can handle it. Fluid then leaks into surrounding tissues, creating little bumps and red, itchy skin. You may feel like your feet are burning. In extreme cases, this can actually cause blistering or lead to ulcers.The best way to avoid all this is to limit your skin’s exposure to extremely cold temperatures, especially for your hands or feet. Wear warm socks and appropriate footwear to protect your digits. Avoid being outside in winter for too long. When your feet do get cold, warm them up gradually and carefully. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. is happy to help you take care of cold toes and deal with chilblains or other issues. Call (303) 805-5156 or use our online forms to contact our Parker, Castle Pines, and Cherry Creek, CO, offices.
How can I safely warm up cold toes?
Warming cold toes isn’t difficult. You simply have to be careful so that you don’t accidentally harm your skin in the process of doing so. Cold feet are typically somewhat numbed, so they are unable to accurately judge warm temperatures. This makes it much more likely that you’ll accidentally burn your feet as you try to warm them unless you are careful.
When you have cold feet, make sure they are dry and not exposed to icy air. Run room temperature or slightly warmer water over your toes. This provides your digits with heat and encourages your circulation. You can also gently massage your toes to create friction heat and improve blood flow. Make sure you are hydrated, too—this increases your blood volume, which helps with circulation. Once your feet are warm, keep them that way by wearing thick socks and possibly footwear.If you regularly struggle with cold toes, our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. can help you determine what underlying causes might be affecting this. Make an appointment online or by calling (303) 805-5156 to reach our Castle Pines, Parker, or Cherry Creek, CO, offices.
Are there physical therapy exercises to improve balance?
Physical therapy exercises can be a huge help to improve balance. Working with a physical therapist like Dr. Jennifer Molner will help you identify exactly where you are weakest and what your body needs to improve. Then, our team will help you establish exercises that target your unique needs and accommodate your individual body. Typically these exercises work to strengthen the muscles that support joints, as well as build up your core muscles that hold you upright.
Standing on one leg is the most common type of balancing exercise. You can make this more difficult by balancing for an extended period of time, swinging your leg or rotating the ankle of the foot in the air, or standing on something unstable, like a pillow. Walking heel-to-toe in a straight line like you’re balancing on a tightrope is another exercise. The specific physical therapy exercises you’ll use to improve your balance will depend on your unique needs. Let Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy in Colorado help you. Call (303) 805-5156 or use our website to reach us.
Can physical therapy help with gait abnormalities?
Physical therapy can certainly help treat and manage the underlying problems that contribute to gait issues. Many issues can affect your gait, like autoimmune diseases, neuromuscular disorders, and even injuries. Physical therapy helps by improving your muscle control, joint range of motion, and general stability. Exercises to build up strength and stability in your core and your lower limbs help you control your movements better and improve your body’s ability to take a step. Activities that boost flexibility help your range of motion and make it possible for your lower limbs to move correctly. It will take time, but for most people, you eventually can train your body to accommodate your gait abnormalities and walk more normally.
You’ll need to have your gait issues diagnosed and the underlying cause identified first, of course. Our teams at Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy can help you diagnose your condition and plan out the best course of action to address your concerns. Make an appointment with us today by calling our Colorado offices at (303) 805-5156.
How can you prevent frostbite?
Nearly all frostbite is avoidable. You simply need to take precautions. To prevent frostbite, limit your time out in extremely cold temperatures. When you do go out, make sure you wear appropriately protective gear.
Layer loose, light, warm clothing and use moisture-wicking socks. Taller styles are better than ankle socks for your lower limbs. Many people use a thin sock close to their skin and layer thicker ones over that. Also, use the correct boots for your winter activities. Make sure your footwear is waterproof and durable enough for your use. Definitely pick comfort over fashion.Always wear lined gloves—or better yet, mittens—and a hat when you go outside. Pay attention to your extremities, especially your toes, and go inside at the first signs of frostnip. If you’re concerned about preventing frostbite, let our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. help you do so. Use our online forms to contact us with questions or for an appointment. You can also call our Castle Pines, Parker, and Cherry Creek, CO offices at (303) 805-5156.
What are the signs of frostbite?
You need to be able to recognize signs of frostbite, so you can be sure to take care of your extremities as soon as symptoms appear. Frostbite symptoms will vary slightly depending on how serious the damage is.
Mild frostbite, also called frostnip, features cold skin that may appear somewhat reddened. The affected area may feel numb or somewhat prickly. They next degree of damage, superficial frostbite, goes deeper into the skin. The reddened areas will turn pale grey-yellow or possibly blue. Your affected limb may actually start to feel warm even as ice crystals form in your tissues.
The worst damage of all is deep or severe frostbite. The affected area may feel hard or waxy to the touch. You may not notice any pain from the numbness, as well as have trouble moving your joints. Eventually the tissues will turn black. At this point, the damage is permanent and you may need surgery or even an amputation to avoid life-threatening issues with gangrene.As soon as you notice frostbite symptoms, get help. You can call Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Parker, Castle Pines, and Cherry Creek, CO, at (303) 805-5156.
How are burns treated?
There are multiple ways to treat foot burns. The main goal is to alleviate pain and inflammation so the skin can begin healing. Exactly what your foot will need to recover will depend on how serious the damage is. For minor to medium burns, the damaged area will have to be cooled. Running lukewarm to cool water over the foot, or wrapping a moist, cool bandage over the painful area reduces the inflammation. After cooling your skin, you’ll need to gently wash the area to disinfect it. Then apply a thin layer of cooling gel, like petroleum jelly or aloe. To protect the skin on your feet from rubbing, you may need to then cover the spot with loose, non-stick gauze.
More serious burns will need stronger and possibly more invasive treatments. Our experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines, Parker, and Cherry Creek will determine the best way to treat your foot burns. This may include prescription-strength ointments or, in very severe cases, skin grafts to ensure your foot heals correctly. Make an appointment today to see what your burn really needs. You can use the website contact forms or call (303) 805-5156.