Common Foot and Ankle Questions

What is a podiatrist?

The word “podiatrist” comes from the Greek words “pod”, meaning foot and “iatros”, meaning healer. So a podiatrist is, literally, a foot healer.

A podiatrist is a licensed physician and surgeon, specializing in the examination, diagnosis, and treatment, both medically and surgically, of foot and ankle conditions.

Hundreds of millions of dollars is spent each year on over-the-counter foot care products such as foot powders, corn pads, bunion pads, insoles, and other remedies. These, along with proper home care and preventive measures, can help some foot problems. However, many injuries and serious foot problems must have professional foot treatment.

The foot is vulnerable to sprains, fractures, and other types of trauma which may require emergency care. Most hospitals have podiatrists on staff to care for these patients.

The foot is a sophisticated system with 26 bones and 55 joints. Diagnosing and treating foot problems requires a thorough background in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics of the foot, in addition to the normal medical school curriculum.

The problems treated by podiatrists include corns, calluses, bunions, plantar warts, hammer toes, ingrown nails, gout, arch pain, heel pain, infections, parasites, circulatory problems, tumors, sprains, fractures, congenital foot deformities, degenerative changes, and a host of other problems that commonly affect the foot or ankle.

The treatment of children’s feet is an important part of podiatric practice, since early treatment will often forestall a lifetime of foot problems.

Older people often need specialized foot care. Arthritis, circulatory, and skin conditions often result from degenerative changes. Proper foot care for diabetic patients is particularly important.

The major goal of the podiatrist is to keep the patient’s feet in healthy condition. Methods include recommendations for proper shoe selection, advice on effective home care, and orthopedic devices such as functional orthotics, padding, and shoe balancing. Topical and systemic medications and physical therapy are prescribed. When necessary, surgical intervention is utilized.

Having a regular annual foot check-up, just as you have your teeth checked, may mean easy walking for life without the pain or headache of many foot problems.

Are you in need of a local podiatrist? The physicians and staff of the A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Centers maintain two complete podiatric clinical facilities, and provide 24-hour emergency service. We participate in most health plans including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, and Medicaid. We also complete and file all necessary insurance forms, making every effort to assure you receive maximum benefits with minimum out-of-pocket expenses.

No matter what foot problems you are dealing with, the foot and ankle specialists at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center are here to help. Call today to schedule an appointment!

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Why should I see a podiatrist over a regular MD?

The goal of the podiatry profession is keeping America on its feet. As we grow older, we accept the fact that our teeth wear out, our eyesight diminishes, and our hearing weakens, but somehow we expect our feet to keep on going.

Your feet are the foundation of your body, and must last a lifetime. Our foot specialist’s goal at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center is to correct your foot problems whenever possible, rather than temporarily relieving your symptoms.

On your first visit, every effort will be made to relieve any acute discomfort you are experiencing. Next, a plan will be created or more complex foot problems to ensure that you receive the appropriate foot treatment.

The podiatric physician is concerned with your total well being. An acute symptom may be the body’s signal of a more serious problem. In treating the foot, like any other part of the body, if the underlying cause can be found and corrected, many chronic conditions can be cured due to an early diagnosis. Therefore, it is best to schedule regular appointments with your local podiatrist for a thorough examination of your feet and lower legs, including x-rays and lab work (if needed). Be sure to be open and honest when giving the complete medical history of you and your family as many foot problems are hereditary.

Painful problems such as hammer toes, corns, bunions, fractures, infections, calluses, sprains, ingrown toenails, tumors, fungus, and other skin disorders of both children and adults are treated daily by your local podiatrists at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center.

Modern podiatric techniques have largely eliminated the need to suffer with chronic foot pain. Under most circumstances, these problems can be controlled or corrected once and for all, eliminating the need to seek temporary relief month-after-month — year-after-year.

Diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout are often first detected in the mirror of your foot. This emphasizes the importance of a periodic thorough examinations of your feet by a foot specialist. As podiatrists, we are trained and equipped to diagnose and treat problems involving the foot, ankle, and lower leg.

On your first visit, our goal is to relieve your pain as much as possible. We will also determine from your health history and a thorough examination, what type of care is needed to give you the healthiest, most comfortable feet possible for many years to come.

The physicians and staff of the A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Centers maintain two complete podiatric clinical facilities, and provide 24-hour emergency service. We participate in most health plans including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, and Medicaid. We also complete and file all necessary insurance forms, and make every effort to assure you receive maximum benefits with minimum out-of-pocket expenses.

Are you suffering from foot problems or tend to worry about underlying disease? Contact the foot and ankle specialists at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center today to schedule an appointment!

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What causes heel pain?

Pain beneath the heel bone is an extremely common and debilitating condition. In our modern society with its unyielding artificial floors, occupations demanding long hours of standing, and shoes of ill-design, it’s no wonder that heel pain is one of the most common foot complaints.

There are many causes of heel pain including trauma, heel spurs, heel tumors, bursitis, gout, arthritis, diabetes, and strain due to standing and walking improperly.

People with heel pain usually complain of a stone bruise. The most frequent symptom is that of pain in the morning with the first few steps. This is due to inflammation with swelling around the ligament on the bottom of the heel. This inflammation may be due to any of the causes mentioned above. However, the most common cause of this type of heel pain is faulty foot function, which causes a rubbing or stretching of the ligaments. This is referred to as plantar fasciitis or heel spur syndrome.

If you should be bothered by any or all of the symptoms mentioned, the first step in treatment can be tried at home. Often, relief can be attained by :

  1. Padding the heel with a soft, foam-rubber material.
  2. Wearing supportive shoes with a thick rubber heel.
  3. Placing ice against the bottom of the heel to reduce swelling.
  4. Stretching the calf muscles.

If these measures fail, it is time to contact your local podiatrist at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center. A careful lookover of medical history, a complete clinical examination of your feet, and sometimes x-rays are used to determine the cause and appropriate treatment for your foot problems.

Treatment of the heel-spur syndrome or plantar fasciitis is two-fold. First, the inflammation responsible for the discomfort needs to be reduced, and secondly, the abnormal motion of the foot needs to be controlled. Reduction of the inflammation can sometimes be accomplished simply by reducing the amount of motion. This can be achieved temporarily with taping or strapping the foot.

If symptoms resolve fairly quickly, then many times no further treatment is needed unless there is another flare-up. Oral anti-inflammatory medications often are helpful in reducing this inflammation, and occasionally an injection of local anesthesia and cortisone into the inflamed area is needed to calm it down.

Controlling the abnormal motion is the key to preventing recurrence of this syndrome, and the most effective means of doing this is with the use of a custom orthotic inserts. When the condition has existed for so long that these methods of treatment fail to resolve the symptoms, surgical treatment is sometimes necessary to provide permanent relief. Fortunately, on October 12, 2000, the US Food & Drug Administration granted approval to market the OssaTron. This is a new device that uses shockwave therapy to treat chronic heel pain. This is a 15 minute procedure that allows you to walk in your regular shoes immediately after the procedure, and has over a 70% success rate.

The physicians and staff of the A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Centers maintain two complete podiatric clinical facilities, and provide 24-hour emergency service. We participate in most health plans including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, and Medicaid. We also complete and file all necessary insurance forms and make every effort to assure you of maximum benefits with minimum out-of-pocket expenses.

If you are looking for relief from chronic heel pain, contact one of our four locations today to schedule an appointment!

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How do I make an appointment?

You can call any of our four offices during our normal working hours or you can request an appointment through the Patient Portal and someone will get back to you no later than the next working day.
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Where can I find your office?

Visit our Contact Us page to find our addresses and office hours for each of our four locations. Click “Get Directions” below any of those locations to get directions from your current location to our office. If you have any questions or need help finding our office, give us a call today!
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Does my insurance cover podiatry?

Most insurances cover podiatry services, but it depends entirely upon your insurance plan. Each insurance plan and policy is different. The best way to learn about your insurance coverage for podiatry is to use the number on the back of your card to call your insurance company, and speak with a representative that can access your account.
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Do you accept new patients?

Absolutely! In fact, we can usually get you in within a day or two for an initial consultation and foot examination.
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What if I need a second opinion?

Call your physician or doctor’s office that provided the initial diagnosis to request records and X-rays. These records will help us follow their diagnosis path, and possibly save you money from us having to perform duplicate tests. Next, our foot and ankle specialists will look over the records and perform a thorough examination of their own. From there, diagnosis and treatment will depend on their findings during the examination and further testing (if needed).  

If you have received your diagnosis from one of our foot specialists at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Center and are looking for a second opinion, we will supply you with any pertinent records and X-rays that were taken.

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Do you accept Medicare or Medicaid?

We accept both Medicare and Medicaid at all four of our office locations.
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