• Your Child’s Heel Pain May Be Sever’s Disease

    Does your child have significant heel pain so that they walk with difficulty? If so they may have a heel bone that is growing too fast in a growth spurt. This is a kind of growing pain where the tendons and muscles are tightly stretched because they cannot keep up with the growth of the heel bone, and is called Sever’s disease.

    Sever’s disease most often occurs during growth periods in childhood. For boys, because their growth spurts are later, the condition strikes between ages 10 and 15. Girls generally have earlier growth spurts and Sever’s disease commonly happens between ages 8 and 13.

    This painful condition can be made worse by exercises that involve a lot of jumping and running on hard surfaces. Athletes, particularly those who play soccer, basketball or gymnastics can suffer from Sever’s disease. These types of physical exercise can cause pain and swelling at the spot where the tendons attach to the heel.

    Your child may be suffering from Sever’s disease if you observe:

    • Pain at the back of the heels especially when squeezed.
    • Heel pain, redness, swelling, tightness or tenderness.
    • Pain that worsens after activities involving running or jumping, but the heels feel better with rest.
    • Difficulty walking or with a limp or on tiptoes.

    Seek Out a Professional for Help with Sever’s Disease

    Call Advanced Foot & Ankle Center if your child has serious heel pain. If we suspect Sever’s disease, we will recommend rest with a complete break from sports activities. We’ll also discuss:

    • Icing the inflamed area.
    • Taking anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
    • Wearing heel cushions inside shoes to absorb stress.
    • Stretching exercises in combination with physical therapy.
    • Wearing inserts and supportive shoes to reduce heel bone stress. This is especially important if your child has other foot problems like flat feet or high arches.

    If needed, your child will wear a cast to force the heel to rest.

    You Can Prevent Sever’s Disease

    The good news is that once your child reaches their full size, Sever’s disease goes away. However, until then, practice these common-sense tips to prevent Sever’s disease especially if your child is very active:

    • Don’t let your child over-train in sports and avoid jumping and running on hard surfaces. Make sure they get plenty of rest especially if they have any heel pain.
    • Equip them in supportive shoes with lots of shock absorption.
    • Excessive wearing of soccer cleats can worsen the pain.
    • Keep them at a healthy weight to keep normal pressure on the heels.
    • Regular gentle heel, calf and hamstring stretches can help keep tendons from getting tight.

    We Can Help Relieve the Pain of Sever’s Disease

    Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat Sever’s disease along with other pediatric foot problems. Please call us at our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249. You can also reach us via the website. Stop Sever’s disease so your child can enjoy sports pain-free.

  • Tips For Those With Ankle Sprains, Part Two

    Tips for Those with Ankle Sprains, Part Two
    Ankle sprains are extremely common, but so are the mistakes that people make when treating a sprain. This is Doctor Betschart. Let’s look at part two of my three-part podiatry series for residents of Connecticut about ankle sprains. If you suffer a sprain, never assume that an elastic bandage is sufficient for healing. While perhaps a bandage can help the ankle heal in some ways, it is vital not to overlook the fact that the affected ligament may have sustained a tear, or could be severely overstretched, thus warranting immediate medical attention. It is always necessary to see your podiatrist for a complete examination whenever you become injured by an ankle sprain. I encourage you to stop by my office in Danbury or Middlebury anytime that we can be of help.

  • What You Can Do About Achilles Tendonitis

    If you have Achilles tendonitis, or an inflamed Achilles tendon, you would definitely know it. This condition causes swelling at the back of your heel along with sharp pain, usually after an exercise session.

    The Achilles tendon is a tissue that connects the calf muscle to your heel bone. When the tendon is damaged from overuse, it will first stretch and then tear which causes inflammation and can also make it susceptible to rupture. Middle-aged men are prone to this injury especially if they begin exercising without a proper warm-up or stretch. However, even veteran athletes are not exempt from this painful injury if they suddenly increase the intensity of their workouts.

    An Achilles Tendon Injury Requires Professional Help

    An injury to the Achilles tendon usually will not heal by itself. Also, if your pain is severe and interferes with walking, you may have a more serious injury like a ruptured or torn tendon. If you suspect an Achilles tendon problem with persistent heel and lower leg pain, call Advanced Foot & Ankle Center right away for an evaluation.

    After taking x-rays to rule out any fracture, we may begin treatment with the R.I.C.E. method:

    • Rest your foot and hold off on your exercise program.
    • Ice the area several times a day for 15 minutes to lessen swelling.
    • Compress your ankle with elastic wraps and minimize movement and reduce swelling.
    • Elevate your foot as often as you can – try to keep it above the level of your heart, especially at night.

    If ibuprofen doesn’t relieve your pain, we may prescribe an anti-inflammatory pain reliever. We can make custom-fitted orthotics that raise your heel to cushion against force and ease the strain on the tendon. When you are ready, physical therapy stretching and strengthening exercises will promote healing and build strength.

    If these conservative treatments don’t relieve the swelling and pain of Achilles tendonitis, we will discuss surgery with you to repair the tendon.

    Call Us for Relief from the Pain of Achilles Tendonitis

    A tendon injury will not heal itself. Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist will address your injury and recommend the best treatment based on your individual needs. You can reach us at our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249, or via the website. Take action now to resolve your Achilles tendon pain and get back to your normal activities.

  • Neuropathy: Choose Footwear Carefully

    Do you have neuropathy? This condition arises when the nerves are damaged so they can’t do their job – transmitting sensory or muscle information. Peripheral neuropathy causes numbness and pain in the hands and feet. All nerves outside the spinal cord and brain comprise the peripheral nervous system which link muscles, skin and internal organs to the brain.
    Neuropathy can be caused by infections, injuries and toxin exposure. However, the most common cause is diabetes where nerve fibers are damaged because of prolonged exposure to high blood sugar.
    Symptoms of neuropathy include loss of sensation, a tingling or burning feeling, weakness or even paralysis.
    The Right Footwear Is Essential for Patients with Neuropathy
    Because damage to the feet is dangerous with neuropathy – even minor injuries or cuts may go undetected – it’s important to always wear protective footwear. Don’t go barefoot!
    Shoe selection becomes very important. Here are a few tips to help you choose footwear that is protective and comfortable too:

    • Shop for shoes later in the day when the feet are largest and always have both feet professionally measured each time.
    • Lace up shoes have greater stability and look for stretchy, soft leather materials that breathe.
    • Even though not all neuropathy is caused by diabetes, shoes that are specifically designed for those with diabetes are good choices. They have extra cushioning, a roomy toe box and are very supportive.

    And ladies: you don’t have to abandon your high heels as long as you wear them for very brief periods. But if you also suffer from a foot deformity like bunions or hammertoes, or if you have poor blood circulation, lock those high heels in your closet. Also avoid skimpy sandals as they have inadequate protection for your feet and the strap between the toes may blister or irritate your feet without you feeling it.

    Take Action To Protect Your Feet

    In choosing the right footwear for neuropathy, the best first step is to call us at Advanced Foot & Ankle Center. We will examine your feet carefully, watch your gait as you walk and recommend the best shoes for your condition. Please call Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist for an evaluation appointment. You can reach us at our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249, or via the website. We hope to see you in our office soon!

  • Tips For Those With Ankle Sprains, Part One

    Tips for Those with Ankle Sprains, Part One
    Many active and athletic individuals suffer with ankle sprains. It is important to treat this crippling condition promptly as there may be other underlying issues accompanying the sprain. This is Doctor Paul Betschart, and today I would like to share with those of you in Connecticut a podiatry tip in a three part series on ankle sprains. One of the most important keys to keep in mind is that those that suffer with ankle sprains should never soak their feet in hot water. Hot water actually increases the swelling as it increases the flow of blood to the area. The swelling will then cause added pressure on the nerves, which causes more pain.
    If you’re dealing with an ankle sprain, why not stop by my office in Danbury or Middlebury and let me take a look!

  • Don’t Ignore The Pain Of Stubbed Toes

    You know the feeling: that awful split second when you’ve stubbed a toe and you wait for the pain to rush in. Stubbing a toe is a very common injury, especially when barefoot. Although painful, a stubbed toe is not usually very serious. But pay attention if the pain persists or worsens with pressure, or if there is an abnormal toe appearance, discoloration or swelling. These can be signs of a fractured toe.

    Stubbing the toes is an extra painful injury because the toes have extra nerve endings that send pain signals directly to the central nervous system. Also, the toes don’t have a lot of fatty tissue that can absorb trauma.

    A broken toe should be assessed by a foot doctor. Call Advanced Foot & Ankle Center for an examination and to rule out other injuries like a contusion, ligament sprain, dislocation or tendon injury.

    Special Note of Caution: Contact us right away if you suspect that your child has a toe fracture. If treatment is delayed, bone inflammation, or osteomyelitis, can result. Please bring your child into our office right away.

    Treating a Stubbed Toe

    Normally the pain from a stubbed toe subsides in a day or two. If the pain continues or if the toe looks deformed, come in to our office. After a careful examination, including comparing the toes to the healthy foot and x-rays right in our office, we will recommend treatment for the stubbed toe.

    For a fractured toe, we will immobilize it by splinting or taping the toe. A post-op boot or shoe will help keep it stable. Surgery may be indicated in serious cases based on the fracture location or if any bone fragments are near the joint.

    Watch for Other Complications from a Stubbed Toe

    Even in the absence of a fracture, your toe injury may be more serious than you think and can lead to other complications.

    When a stubbed toe includes broken skin, infection can set in especially if the injured to had an ingrown toenail. Patients with diabetes must act quickly in this case as the broken skin may cause a foot ulcer or bone infection.

    Another complication can be osteoarthritis which may appear months or even years after an injury to the big toe. Stubbing the toe or dropping a heavy object on it can cause this chronic, painful condition.

    A Stubbed Toe May Not Be As Simple As You Think

    Please contact Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist if you have a stubbed toe or any other foot and ankle injury. We will examine your foot carefully and begin treatment for any condition that we find. Call our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249 for an appointment, or contact us via the website. Stubbed toe complications won’t heal themselves so come in for a consultation soon.

  • Make Foot Health A Priority In 2016

    Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions for 2016? According to Time.com, 2 of the top 3 resolutions are health-related: live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight.

    Taking good care of your body is a big part of living a healthier lifestyle, and don’t forget your feet! Often we take them for granted but to keep them happily pounding the pavement for us, they need consistent TLC. Here are a few ideas to keep your tootsies in tip-top shape this year:

    ➢ Inspect your feet every day for anything out of the ordinary. Look for trouble spots like fungus, cuts, punctures or cracked skin. Be sure to check between the toes and use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet.

    ➢ Wash and moisturize your feet every day. Use warm, soapy water with a soft washcloth or sponge. After carefully drying especially between the toes, apply an emollient lotion or shea butter balm all over. Don’t forget the toenails – use petroleum jelly or cuticle cream.

    ➢ Try to keep feet well-protected at all times. Avoid going barefoot and limit the time wearing flimsy flip-flops. Choose instead sturdy sandals and flip-flops with firm, supportive soles. Use sunscreen regularly when out in the sun. In wet or cold weather, wear moisture-wicking socks under warm, waterproof shoes.

    ➢ If venturing out to the malls armed with gift cards, why not upgrade your boots and shoes? Look for good support with heels no higher than 2 inches. Choose shoes with a roomy toe box and be sure to shop late in the afternoon or evening when feet are largest.

    ➢ For do it yourself pedicures, trim toenails straight across instead of rounding to prevent ingrown toenails. Apply a pumice stone to damp soles and heels to eliminate excess dry skin. If you visit a nail salon, be sure to check foot baths and equipment for cleanliness and check for proper licensing postings.

    ➢ Add feet, ankle and toe stretching to your exercise routine to maintain flexibility.

    If you find anything unusual during your foot inspection or if you experience any foot or ankle pain, be sure to call Advanced Foot & Ankle Center quickly. Any patient with diabetes should pay special attention to foot condition and foot health.

    A Stubbed Toe May Not Be As Simple As You Think

    Please contact Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist for any foot or ankle pain or problems. We will examine your foot carefully and begin treatment for any condition that we find at either of our two offices conveniently located in Western Connecticut. You can reach our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249 for an appointment or contact us via the website. Make 2016 the year that you learn to love your feet – your feet will love you back!

  • What Is Morton’s Neuroma

    Morton’s Neuroma is an agonizing condition. As a podiatrist, I can tell you that this condition is certainly nothing you want to ignore. Hi, my name is Doctor Paul Betschart and I would like to teach my friends in Connecticut today about the interesting yet debilitating disease called Morton’s Neuroma. Morton’s Neuroma is a condition where the lateral plantar nerve joins with the the medial plantar nerve to form one large nerve between the third and fourth toes. When you walk and put pressure on this enlarged nerve, radiating pain is often felt throughout the foot, and some may feel as if they have a pebble in their shoe. At my offices in Danbury and Middlebury we want to help those suffering with Morton’s Neuroma and keep the problem from growing more severe. I invite you to come see me, and let me bring you some much-needed relief!

  • Heel Bumps May Be Haglund’s Deformity

    Have you noticed a bump on the back of your heel just where the top of your shoe hits the skin? This bony enlargement is called Haglund’s deformity. Also called “pump bump” because women who wear pump-type shoes often have them, these growths form at the back of the heel bone near where the Achilles tendon is attached.

    Heredity can contribute to this condition as can high arches. Those who walk on the outside of the feet as well as those with a tight Achilles tendon are more likely to develop this growth. Certain footwear with rigid backs like work boots, pumps and ice skates can contribute to the development of Haglund’s deformity.

    These enlarged tissues cause pain and swelling. At times the irritated skin blisters from rubbing on the back of the shoes. Haglund’s deformity sufferers can also develop bursitis from the repeated rubbing.

    Treating Haglund’s Deformity

    This painful condition sometimes responds positively to home treatment. Apply ice frequently to the irritated area. Change your shoes often to give your heels a rest and add heel pads to shoe backs to relieve excess pressure.

    Open-heeled shoes like clogs are a good idea to eliminate the rubbing. But wearing shoes with no heels is not a good idea for those who suffer from bunions or tendonitis.

    If after trying these conservative measures your pain continues or the bump becomes bigger, it’s time to visit us here at Advanced Foot & Ankle Center. We will carefully examine your feet and take x-rays right here in our office to rule out any other complications.

    The goal of our treatments will be to relieve your pain and reduce pressure to allow the bump to shrink gradually. Treatment options include:

    • Custom-fitted orthotics can relieve pressure by changing the position of your foot in your shoe. Over-the-counter heel lifts or arch supports may also work well.
    • Oral anti-inflammatory medications can relieve your pain, as well as topical anti-inflammatory products applied directly to the bump.
    • Foot immobilization may be necessary for severe inflammation. A soft cast or walking boot may be prescribed to allow healing by immobilizing the area.

    After trying these methods for a period of time, if you still have pain we will discuss surgery on the area to re-shape the heel bone.

    To minimize your risk of Haglund’s deformity, choose backless shoes or those with non-rigid backs. If you have a high arch or a tight Achilles tendon, always wear any prescribed orthotics and stretch the tendon regularly.

    We Can Help with Haglund’s Deformity and Any Other Heel Pain

    If you have a pump bump or any other foot or ankle pain, please call Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist. He has extensive experience in all types of heel pain and will quickly diagnose your problem. You can contact us at our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249 for an appointment or via the website. Don’t delay treatment for Haglund’s deformity – we can resolve your pain.