If you have throbbing toe pain and start noticing redness or inflammation on the side of your toe, you could have an ingrown toenail. Since ingrown toenails can easily get infected, make sure you make an appointment to see board-certified podiatrist Jade Gittens, DPM, of Premier Foot & Ankle Center right away. Dr. Gittens offers ingrown toenail treatments and surgeries right in her state-of-the-art Somerset, New Jersey, clinic. Schedule your ingrown toenail evaluation online or over the phone.
Ingrown Toenail Q & A
Why do I get ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails, medically known as onychocryptosis, generally form because you cut your toenails too short, particularly on the sides. As the toenail grows in, it starts digging into your skin, rather than over it. With each passing day, that nail grows deeper and deeper into your skin.
You might also be prone to frequent ingrown toenails because of your toenail shape. If your toenails are just naturally overly curved, for instance, you may get ingrowns just because of the way your nail grows in. Other times, ingrown toenails occur because of:
- Regularly wearing tight shoes or socks
- Toenail injury
- Fungal or bacterial infection
If left untreated, ingrown toenails can become incredibly sore and severely infected.
What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails are known for being painful. In many cases, it’s common to be unaware that you have an ingrown until you start feeling a stabbing or throbbing pain in your toe. It can feel very tender and sore while walking, standing, or putting on shoes.
Not only can you feel discomfort from ingrown toenails, they generally cause inflammation that you can see, too. Watch for redness, pus, or swelling around your nail. Usually, ingrowns develop on your big toe, although any of your toenails can certainly become ingrown.
What is the treatment for an ingrown toenail?
Treating an ingrown toenail depends on the severity of your discomfort and whether you have an underlying infection. You may only need to have Dr. Gittens thoroughly clean it and place a small splint underneath to help the nail grow over your skin. If your ingrown nail has severely penetrated your skin, though, Dr. Gittens could recommend a minor in-office surgical procedure.
Ingrown toenail surgery involves cutting and removing your nail border, so the affected tissue can heal. This procedure, known as a matrixectomy or partial nail removal, is also beneficial because it can prevent future ingrowns by stopping the growth of the affected part of your nail. In severe cases, Dr. Gittens could suggest removing the entire nail.
If you have an ingrown toenail, you can get treatment right away at Premier Foot & Ankle Center. Book your evaluation online, or call the office if you need a same-day appointment.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. They can develop from an inherited structural defect, excess stress on your foot, or can result from an existing medical condition.
For the most part, bunions require no medical treatment. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the following, a podiatrist can help alleviate your symptoms.
Bunion Q & A
What causes bunions?
A bunion is a joint deformity that develops at the base of your big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). As your big toe regularly gets moved out of place, possibly due to snug-fitting shoes, the joint becomes enlarged and your big toe gets pushed into your smaller toes — it may even overlap your second or third toe. Over time, this leads to a permanent joint misalignment.
While ill-fitting footwear is a common cause of bunions, you may be prone to them just because of your inherited foot shape or deformities that have been present since birth. In other cases, bunions occur because of prior foot injuries or trauma. It isn’t always known why some men and women develop bunions, although symptoms are almost always similar.
Are there symptoms of bunions?
Yes. Aside from the obvious bony bump on the side of your foot, bunions can lead to uncomfortable side effects. For instance, it’s common to develop painful corns across the tops of your toes as they rub against the insides of your shoes. Or you could develop sore and swollen calluses over the bony bump. Bunions can also lead to:
- Decreased joint flexibility
- Persistent throbbing pain
- Difficulty walking
The bigger your bunion gets, the more inflamed it becomes, which can make walking increasingly difficult and painful. Plus, you can also wind up with similar issues on your baby toe joint, which is called a bunionette.
Do I need surgery for bunions?
Possibly, although Dr. Gittens puts together a more conservative treatment plan for you first to see if you get the relief you need — increasing arch support is often helpful. Effective bunion treatments can include:
- Custom orthotics
- Splinting or padding
- Wider footwear
Dr. Gittens may order X-ray imaging to assess your deformity to see if surgery is an option for you. Bunion surgery involves straightening out your toe joint and removing any damaged tissue or deformed bone. If you do need surgery, Dr. Gittens uses modern minimally invasive techniques, which helps minimize your recovery time.
Before your bunions get worse, get started on treatment at Premier Foot & Ankle Center. You can either request an appointment online, or call the office to book one.
Having a hammertoe can become so painful and inflamed, it can be difficult to find comfortable shoes. As an expert in modern hammertoe treatment, board-certified podiatrist Jade Gittens, DPM, of Premier Foot & Ankle Center offers plenty of effective hammertoe solutions. Before living another day with hammertoe pain, schedule an evaluation at this Somerset, New Jersey, practice. Either click on the online scheduling feature or call the office to book.
Hammer Toe Q & A
Why do I have hammertoes?
Hammertoes are deformities of your small toes where the affected toes are bent at the middle joint. While inherited foot shape and family history can certainly contribute to having hammertoes, you can also develop them due to poorly fitting footwear.
If you regularly wear high heels or pointy shoes, for instance, your toes regularly get scrunched together and stuck in an unnatural position. When this happens on a daily basis, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that generally hold your toe straight, instead become imbalanced. Your toe actually gets stuck in one position.
You’re also more likely to develop hammertoes if you’ve had previous foot trauma, or if you have a chronic inflammatory condition, like rheumatoid arthritis. While any of your toes can become a hammertoe, this condition most commonly affects your second toe, especially if it’s longer than your big toe.
What are the symptoms of hammertoes?
The biggest complaint Dr. Gittens hears about hammertoes is the severe pain caused by corns and calluses that form as your hammertoes abnormally rub against the insides of your shoes. You may even experience joint pain in the affected toes and decreased range of motion.
Hammertoes may not bother you much initially while they’re still flexible. But as those tendons contract and tighten, your toe stays permanently bent and rigid in that position. In either case, before your hammertoes cause pain, make sure you get started on a custom treatment plan.
How are hammertoes treated?
Treating a hammertoe depends on whether your toe is still flexible, as well as the severity of your symptoms. If your hammertoe is flexible, your tight and inflamed soft tissues may eventually relax by switching to shoes with more wiggle room in the toes. Getting fitted for custom orthotics at Premier Foot & Ankle Center can further help support your affected toes, although you may also need:
- Physical therapy
- Daily stretches or exercises
- Padding, strapping, or taping
If you’re still not getting relief or if your hammertoe pain is becoming unbearable, it’s time to consider surgery with Dr. Gittens. Hammertoe surgery involves releasing the affected tendon or ligament, removing damaged tissues, or correcting your joint — sometimes a combination of these resolutions.
You can get effective relief from hammertoe discomfort at Premier Foot & Ankle Center. Book your evaluation by requesting an appointment online, or by calling the clinic.
Diabetic Foot Care
If you’re diabetic, you have an increased risk of circulatory problems, which can leave you more vulnerable to foot wounds and ulcers. Leading board-certified podiatrist Jade Gittens, DPM, of Premier Foot & Ankle Center offers comprehensive diabetic foot care right in her Somerset, New Jersey, clinic. Book your evaluation by clicking on the online booking feature, or by calling the office.
Diabetic Foot Q & A
How does diabetes affect my feet?
The surge of blood sugar that can occur when you have diabetes damages cells and tissues throughout your body, including in vital organs, as well as in veins and arteries. Overall blood circulation could be impacted, decreasing oxygen and nutrient delivery that are essential for healing. When you’re diabetic, you’re also more likely to have a weakened immune system.
Diabetes can even lead to permanent nerve damage and can make it difficult for you to tell if you have a foot wound or ulcer. Plus, you’re going to have less sweat and oil secretion than normal, which can contribute to abnormal pressure on your foot skin and, ultimately, sores develop.
This combination of issues can leave diabetics prone to serious foot wounds that may never heal if left untreated. It’s important for you to build a lifelong relationship with a trusted podiatrist to help you manage your diabetic foot care plan.
When should I see a doctor for a foot wound?
Diabetes is the leading cause of lower extremity amputations — not related to trauma — in the United States. The American Podiatric Medical Association reports that about 15% of diabetics develop a foot ulcer or wound, usually on the sole of their foot.
Roughly 6% of those patients are hospitalized due to a serious infection or complication. Needless to say, checking your feet daily and visiting Dr. Gittens at Premier Foot & Ankle Center at least once a year to monitor circulation and assess nerve function are essential to prevent complications. You should also see Dr. Gittens right away if your wound is:
- Red, tender, or swollen
- Getting worse
- Leaking pus or fluid
If you have a fever, too, it could be a sign that you have a serious infection and you need a thorough evaluation right away.
How are diabetic foot wounds treated?
Diabetic foot care involves treating any acute wounds, preventing future wounds, and collaborating with your health care provider to ensure your blood sugar is under control. Dr. Gittens helps you with all of this during your visits.
Treating diabetic ulcers and foot wounds involve:
- Cleaning and applying topical medicine
- Prescribing antibiotics (if needed)
- Removing dead skin tissue (debridement)
- Off-loading, or taking pressure off the wound with orthotics or special shoes
Once your wound is under control, Dr. Gittens teaches you lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk of future issues.
You can get comprehensive diabetic foot care at Premier Foot & Ankle Center. Request an evaluation either online or over the phone.
Plantar warts (foot warts) most commonly affect children, although adults can develop them, too. With her modern approach to wart treatment, board-certified podiatrist Jade Gittens, DPM, of Premier Foot & Ankle Center offers the latest in wart solutions right in her Somerset, New Jersey, clinic. Before living another day with uncomfortable foot warts, book an evaluation so you can get started on treatment right away. Schedule either online or over the phone.
Warts Q & A
Are plantar warts contagious?
Yes. Plantar warts (verrucas) are caused by a viral infection that invades your skin through a weak spot or opening, like a wound or cut. This virus, known as human papillomavirus (HPV), isn’t generally harmful and doesn’t always cause foot warts in every person who comes into contact with it — your immune system may fight it off.
In many cases, you can contract the foot wart virus by:
- Sharing socks or shoes with someone who’s infected
- Walking barefoot in communal areas, like gym locker rooms
- Having a weakened immune system
This viral infection thrives in warm, dark environments — like between your toes. Needless to say, it’s important to wash between your toes daily and let your feet dry out to help prevent a plantar wart outbreak.
What are the signs of plantar warts?
Plantar warts look like flesh-colored grainy growths that usually develop along the soles of your feet, either close to the base of your toes or on your heels. In some cases, the warts have a small black pinpoint, which are clotted blood vessels.
If you have plantar warts in weight-bearing areas, they can lead to sharp, burning pain. You may experience discomfort while standing, walking, or putting on shoes.
How are foot warts treated?
The best foot wart treatment for your specific needs just depends on the severity of your wart breakout, your overall health, and how well you respond to therapy. No matter how minor or severe your case of foot warts may be, you can get relief at Premier Foot & Ankle Center. Some of the most effective solutions Dr. Gittens provides include:
- Chemical ablation
- Freezing (cryotherapy)
- Laser removal
- Topical salicylic acid
- Electrodesiccation and curettage
Resolving foot warts and having a full recovery can require several treatments — the virus can be stubborn. Dr. Gittens monitors you closely and makes changes to your wart care plan as needed to fully resolve your condition.
Premier Foot & Ankle Center offers effective foot wart solutions for both children and adults. Book your wart treatment appointment by requesting an appointment online, or by calling the office.
Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis
One of the most common complaints among men and women who come to Premier Foot & Ankle Center is chronic arch and heel pain. This condition, known as plantar fasciitis, requires prompt medical attention for pain relief, and board-certified podiatrist Jade Gittens, DPM, can help. Dr. Gittens provides comprehensive plantar fasciitis solutions right in her Somerset, New Jersey, clinic. Get relief from plantar fasciitis by requesting an appointment online, or by calling the clinic.
Plantar Fasciitis Q & A
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis leads to heel and arch pain that can make everyday tasks unbearable. You tend to develop heel and arch pain right when you take your first steps after waking up or getting up from a seated position. Once you start walking around a bit, the pain usually starts to subside.
It’s also common for plantar fasciitis to flare up shortly after a workout, but it doesn’t usually bother you during exercise. In any case, plantar fasciitis tends to cause stabbing or throbbing foot pain that primarily surrounds your heel.
What are the risk factors for plantar fasciitis?
If you experience symptoms of plantar fasciitis, it’s a sign that your plantar fascia is inflamed. This long band of connective tissue links your toes to your heel bone and acts like a shock absorber with each step you take.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is overpronation. In this case, your foot rolls inward while walking. This causes your foot to flatten, which lengthens your arch and puts tension on your plantar fascia. Other risk factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being between ages 40-60
- Having naturally flat feet
You’re also more likely to struggle with plantar fasciitis if you’re a runner, or you work in a field where you’re on your feet for long periods of time.
Is there treatment for plantar fasciitis?
Absolutely. Dr. Gittens understands how debilitating plantar fasciitis can be, so she spends time evaluating your condition, as well as your lifestyle, so the two of you can work together to find pain-relieving solutions that are best for you. Your plantar fasciitis treatment is likely going to include increasing your arch support through:
- Custom orthotics
- Night splints
- Foot and ankle braces
Many plantar fasciitis sufferers get further relief by going through extracorporeal shock wave treatment (ESWT) to heal inflamed tissue and relieve pain. Not only does Dr. Gittens teach you stretching exercises that can alleviate or even prevent pain, she also counsels you on proper footwear for minimizing plantar fasciitis pain, since walking barefoot can worsen your condition.
Before your plantar fasciitis pain persists another day, see what the team at Premier Foot & Ankle Center can do to help. Schedule an evaluation either online or over the phone.
Flat feet aren’t generally a medical concern, although the drop in your arch can lead to chronic foot pain and ankle instability. If you have flat feet, top board-certified podiatrist Jade Gittens, DPM, of Premier Foot & Ankle Center can help. Get started on your flat feet therapy plan at this Somerset, New Jersey, practice by requesting an appointment online, or by calling the clinic.
Flat Feet Q & A
What causes flat feet?
Flat feet tend to be associated with overpronation, where your ankle bones lean inward, possibly due to your inherited foot shape. But you can also have flat feet due to:
- Being overweight or obese
- Having a foot or ankle injury
- Developing rheumatoid arthritis
- Getting older
- Having diabetes
Flat feet can develop in childhood, although in many cases, adults can become flat-footed, too.
Do flat feet cause symptoms?
Not always. Once the tendon across your arch becomes inflamed, a sign of a condition called tibialis posterior tendinitis, you can start feeling discomfort. When this occurs, you may experience pain and inflammation in your:
- Lower legs
Tibialis posterior tendinitis means that the tendon that supports your arch becomes stretched out or torn. This can happen due to a genetic defect or abnormal attachment of your tendon to the bones in your midfoot. If left untreated, this can lead to chronic foot pain and severe ankle instability that can leave you prone to having ankle issues and injuries — including ankle sprains.
How are flat feet treated?
Because flat feet require regular management to ensure the tendon doesn’t become more damaged or inflamed, it’s important to discuss all of your symptoms with Dr. Gittens. She can work with you to design a therapy plan that can include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Taping, bracing, or custom orthotics
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone injections
Dr. Gittens emphasizes the importance of proper footwear and avoiding barefoot walking — the goal of therapy is to find ways to boost arch support. If you’re still not getting relief after trying these conservative treatments, or if your condition is worsening, Dr. Gittens could suggest surgical repair.
Surgery for flat feet involves repairing the torn or damaged tendon. If needed, Dr. Gittens can also correct the bones in your midfoot to restore proper foot function and minimize issues with flat feet pain. No matter which solution is right for you, Dr. Gittens and her specialized team at Premier Foot & Ankle Center work to help you recover from flat feet-related pain.
The team at Premier Foot & Ankle Center understands how flat feet can cause chronic foot and ankle pain. Start your treatment right away by scheduling an evaluation online or over the phone.
While toenail fungus is not generally a major medical concern, if it’s left untreated, it can certainly become so severe that your toenails eventually pull away and fall off. Before your fungal nails worsen, get started on treatment with board-certified podiatrist Jade Gittens, DPM, of Premier Foot & Ankle Center. Dr. Gittens offers the latest fungal nail treatments right in her Somerset, New Jersey, clinic.
Toenail Fungus Q & A
What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?
Early indicators of toenail fungus (onychomycosis) aren’t always obvious. This type of infection affects your nail bed underneath your nail, so it can take some time for the infection to start showing through your nails.
Initially, you may have only a small dot or minor yellow discoloration. As that fungal infection worsens, though, you may notice:
- Foul smell or odor
- Thickened nails
- Distorted nail shape
- Brittle or crumbling nails
In severe cases, nail fungus can be accompanied by secondary bacterial or yeast infections. If left untreated, these infections can make walking and standing difficult, which could potentially throw off your gait and lead to chronic pain.
Why do I have toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is caused by a group of fungi known as dermatophytes. These fungi live on keratin, the protein found in your nails. They thrive in moist, dark environments and are incredibly contagious. You can develop fungal nails due to:
- Having a nail injury
- Sharing socks or shoes with an infected person
- Walking barefoot on a contaminated surface
Not everyone who comes into contact with dermatophytes develops toenail fungus — sometimes your immune system fights off the invaders. You’re more likely to develop toenail fungus if your immune system is weakened, possibly due to diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions.
How are fungal nails treated?
During your toenail fungus appointment, Dr. Gittens takes a specimen of your nail to determine what’s causing your nail discoloration — it’s not always fungus. Once she understands what’s going on, she can treat your condition.
Dr. Gittens treats the underlying toenail fungal infection by prescribing oral antifungal medications, or by applying topical antifungal creams — sometimes both. Because toenail fungus can easily spread to surrounding nails and even your fingernails, it’s important to wear gloves and wash your hands anytime you apply your topical solutions at home.
If your toenail fungus isn’t improving, it might be time for toenail surgery. This procedure — known as a debridement and performed right in the office — involves removing the affected nail. Debridement allows Dr. Gittens to treat the underlying fungal infection directly, so a healthy new nail can grow back in.
Get started on toenail fungus treatment right away by booking an evaluation at Premier Foot & Ankle Center. Either click on the online scheduling feature or call the office.