My Blog

By Michael Guerra, DPM
October 03, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Care   Heel Spurs  

Have you been experiencing any heel pain or bothersome tenderness without any obvious cause? Although heel spurs themselves sometimes do not cause acute discomfort, they are frequently associated with the painful inflammation known as plantar fasciitis, a condition commonly described as feeling like a knife is wrenching through your foot. Read below for more information on the typical causes, symptoms, and treatments of heel spurs.

What is a Heel Spur?

A heel spur is often the result of overstraining foot muscles and ligaments, overstretching the plantar fascia (the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes), and repeatedly tearing the heel bone membrane. From these actions arises a calcium deposit on the underside of the heel bone. Risk factor for developing the condition include:

  • Possessing any walking gait abnormalities

  • Regularly running or jogging on hard surfaces

  • Wearing poorly fitted or overly worn shoes

  • Wearing shoes that lack arch support

  • Being excessively overweight or obese

What are The Symptoms?

Heel spurs do not carry many symptoms by themselves. However, they are often related to other afflictions, most typically plantar fasciitis. The most common sign of this combo of conditions is a feeling of chronic pain along the bottom or back of the heel, especially during periods of walking, running, or jogging. If you are experiencing this recurring inflammation, it is a good idea to visit your local podiatrist's office and inquire about undergoing an x-ray or ultrasound examination of the foot.

What are the Treatment Options?

The solutions to heel spurs are generally centered around decreasing inflammation and avoiding re-injury. They include:

  • Applying ice on the inflammation

  • Performing stretch exercises

  • Wearing orthotic devices or shoe inserts to relieve pressure off of the spur

  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to relieve pain

  • In extreme cases, surgery can be performed on chronically inflamed spurs

If you are dealing with symptoms of heel spurs or pain in your feet, turn to a podiatrist so that we can get you back on your feet. Don't ignore your pain.

By Michael Guerra, DPM
September 07, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Athlete's Foot   Dry Feet  

What your foot doctor in Burlington, Vermont wants you to know


Athlete's Foot XrayAthlete’s foot can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Your feet itch uncontrollably. You don’t want to remove your shoes because of your red, scaly feet. The good news is, you can do a lot to prevent athlete’s foot, and if you do get athlete’s foot, there are several effective treatments to make your feet feel better. Dr. Michael Guerra at Burlington Podiatry in Burlington, Vermont wants to share the facts about athlete’s foot.

If you spend a lot of time in or around public pools, public showers, gyms, or locker rooms, there is a good chance you may experience athlete’s foot. That’s because the condition is caused by a fungus which thrives in moist, warm places. It also spreads quite easily.

You can prevent the itch by always wearing flip-flops or sandals in public areas. Avoid going barefoot on warm, moist floors. You should also keep your feet as dry as possible by changing your socks and shoes frequently if you sweat. Also avoid sharing linens, towels, socks, and shoes with others to avoid spreading the problem.

You will be able to recognize if you have contacted the fungus and acquired athlete’s foot because your feet will:

  • Itch uncontrollably
  • Appear red and scaly
  • Possibly have blisters and sores

Your feet will continue to itch and may grow worse when you remove your socks and shoes. You can try some easy home remedies to provide relief. Consider:

  • Using antibacterial soap to wash your feet every day
  • Trying over-the-counter antifungal cream and applying it daily
  • Changing your socks frequently to help your feet stay dry

If your athlete’s foot doesn’t respond to home therapies, Dr. Guerra can help. He may recommend prescription-strength oral antifungal medications along with prescription-strength topical antifungal cream.

You don’t have to let athlete’s foot affect your life. Get some help for the itch and the redness by calling Dr. Michael Guerra, your foot doctor at Burlington Podiatry in Burlington, Vermont today!

By Michael Guerra, DPM
August 31, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Arthritis  

Arthritis is a joint condition that affects roughly 54 million American adults according to the Arthritis Foundation. It can show up in joints all around the body, including the feet and toes. When the joints of the feet are affected by inflammation, it affects a patient’s ability to move their toes, bend their feet up or down, and turn on a dime when participating in athletic activities. Learn the steps that you can take to care for arthritic feet and improve your overall foot health.

Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritic joint pain, which is usually caused by an inflammatory reaction, is most commonly felt in the big toe, ankle, and the middle part of the foot. There are many different types of arthritis conditions that could affect the feet, including psoriatic, reactive, and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form—it is caused by the bones rubbing together, making the joints feel stiff and painful. Patients who are overweight are more likely to struggle with arthritic feet, as are seniors. Some people have had arthritis since childhood (juvenile arthritis or JA), making them more likely to develop foot deformities like bunions and struggle with swollen joints.

Arthritis Treatments
Though arthritis isn’t a curable condition, the symptoms can be eased with treatment so that you can continue to walk, jog, exercise, and work without debilitating pain. These are some of the ways your podiatrist may treat arthritis in the feet:

  • An X-ray or other imaging test to examine the condition of the joints.
  • Physical therapy exercises to make the joints more flexible.
  • Orthotic device or shoe for better foot support.
  • Joint injections (corticosteroids).
  • NSAID drugs (anti-inflammatories).
  • Surgery to remove inflamed tissue around the joints (Arthroscopic debridement) or fuse the bones (arthrodesis).

Caring for Your Feet
Seeing a foot doctor is an important part of caring for arthritic feet. But there are also some actions you can take at home to keep your feet and joints in good condition:

  • Get rid of shoes that put too much pressure on your joints, like high heels or sneakers that don’t support the ankles.
  • Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt and massage your feet when relaxing.
  • Commit to doing the toe and foot exercises suggested by your podiatrist.

Treating Arthritic Feet
Arthritic feet shouldn't prevent you from carrying on with normal life and physical activities. Get help from a podiatrist as soon as you start to experience symptoms and take extra steps to care for your feet.

By Michael Guerra, DPM
July 30, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Blister  

A foot blister is a small pocket of fluid that forms on the foot. Blisters can be painful while they heal. Foot blisters are caused by several things, including friction, burns, contact with irritants, and autoimmune diseases. Treatment can alleviate your pain, prevent infection, and help heal your blister. Here's what to do when you keep getting blisters on your feet.

1. See a podiatrist- When foot blisters interfere with your normal activities, you should see a podiatrist. Podiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, including blisters. Depending on the cause of the foot blister, your podiatrist will form a treatment plan for you. 

2. Cover your blisters- If a blister does occur, do not pop it. A blister should be covered to reduce irritation and cut back on the risk of infection. Wash your blisters with soap and water and cover them with dressings, like bandages or gauze pads. Your dressings should be changed every day. 

3. Use antibiotic ointment- Antibiotic ointment helps prevent infections in blisters. You can purchase antibiotic ointment at a local pharmacy. Apply antibiotic ointment to the foot blisters as directed, especially before you put on your socks or shoes.

4. Keep your feet dry- Keep your feet dry at all times. After you shower, dry your feet thoroughly. Wear socks every day to keep moisture away from the skin of your feet. For sweaty feet, use products that help control moisture. 

5. Use custom orthotics- Orthotic devices are molded pieces of rubber, leather, or other material that are inserted into shoes. You can get custom-made orthotic devices from your podiatrist. Orthotic devices can be helpful in preventing and treating foot blisters. Orthotic devices can reduce friction on foot blisters and alleviate your pain. 

6. Wear the right shoes- Rubbing and pressure from shoes that are too tight often cause blisters on the feet. Avoid wearing shoes that cause foot blisters. Wear good-fitting footwear that fit comfortably and leave your feet with some wiggle room, especially on long walks or runs. Wearing the right footwear can prevent future blisters.

7. Use foot powders- Friction can make foot blisters worse and increase your pain. In order to reduce friction on blisters, buy a powder designed for your feet at a pharmacy. Pour it into your socks before putting on your shoes to reduce pain. If a powder causes your foot blisters to become irritated, stop using it.

Don't let foot blisters knock you off your feet. Find a podiatrist in your area and schedule an appointment. A podiatrist can help you get rid of those foot blisters once and for all. The journey to healthy feet starts with you!

By Michael Guerra, DPM
July 23, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Heel Pain  

You've had it with your heel pain. You need to be on your feet. Work demands it, but frankly, you need help. Talk to Dr. Michael Guerra at heel painhis Burlington, VT, office about your heel pain. At Burlington Podiatry, he uses several approaches to treating plantar fasciitis, the most common source of heel discomfort. One amazing approach is innovative Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology, or EPAT. Learn the details here.

The reasons for plantar fasciitis

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that plantar fasciitis affects millions of people in the United States, causing substantial pain, swelling, and loss of mobility. Typically due to overuse (from sports or just being on your feet too much), obesity, or overpronation (turning the foot toward the midline when you walk or run), this inflammatory condition causes pain from the heel bone to the base of the big toes. While aging factors into the issue, people of any age can suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Common treatments

After a visual inspection and hands-on podiatric examination, Dr. Guerra can determine the cause of your heel pain. He looks for tenderness on the bottom of the foot and a high arch. Also, he may watch you walk and will ask you what increases and relieves your symptoms. X-rays or an MRI could reveal a fracture or, more commonly, a heel spur, a little bony projection on the front of the calcaneus or heel bone.

Many people find great relief from heel pain from simply resting, elevating, and icing their feet. Shoes with good arch support help, too, as do:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Custom-made shoe orthotics (inserts)

A new way to relieve heel pain

At his podiatry practice in Burlington, Dr. Guerra offers an FDA-cleared treatment for heel pain (plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis). Innovative, non-invasive, and highly effective, Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT) delivers focused bursts of sound wave energy to painful areas including the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, or trigger points (muscular knots resulting from tension or overuse of muscles, ligaments, and tendons).

Requiring no anesthesia, this five- to ten-minute EPAT treatment happens right in the office. Dr. Guerra applies conductive jelly (similar to that used with ultrasound imaging). Then, via a handheld instrument, he delivers the acoustic wave pulses to the areas of concern. The patient feels no real pain, just a pulsating sensation. Afterwards, he or she feels an amazing relief of pain.

Dr. Guerra usually recommends three treatments spaced a few weeks apart. Most individuals experience total pain relief and increased function at the completion of their sessions at Burlington Podiatry.

How does EPAT work? Science shows that this inventive technology increases blood flow to the affected areas, speeds metabolic activity and promotes healing.

Have pain-free heels

You can when you seek treatment from Dr. Guerra at Burlington Podiatry. For more information and to arrange your one-on-one consultation in Burlington, VT, contact the office staff at (802) 862-8666.

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