Posts for category: Foot Care

By Michael Guerra, DPM
February 01, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Care   Dry Feet  
At-Home Care for Dry FeetDry, flaky feet are incredibly common, particularly during the cold, winter months; however, if you find yourself dealing with dry or cracked feet throughout the year, especially around the heels, you may be wondering what you can do about it. Instead of just waiting until your feet become dry and flaky, your podiatrist can provide you with some easy skin care tips to keep your feet supple and free from dry skin all year long.
Wear Appropriate, Supportive Footwear

Certain shoes can leave you prone to cracked heels and dry skin due to friction from wearing loose-fitted shoes. People who wear sandals and other open-heeled shoes are more at risk for developing cracked heels. Instead, opt for closed-heeled shoes that fit properly and provide support.
Lose Excess Weight

If you are overweight, you may be surprised to discover that this could be contributing to your dry, cracked heels. This is because your feet take on all of your weight while standing, walking, and running. By safely dropping that excess weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise you can alleviate some of the pressure placed on your heels to reduce the risk of cracking.
Avoid Hot Showers

While we know just how luxurious it feels to stand in a steaming hot shower, especially during the winter months, this could be contributing to dry skin on your feet and cracked heels. If this is something you deal with regularly you may look at your current bathing or showering ritual to see if that could be the culprit. Simply use warm and not hot water, which can strip the skin of the oils it needs to stay moist.
Apply a Moisturizer

You should moisturize your feet every day to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place. Moisturizers that contain lactic acid, glycerin, or petroleum jelly can help to lock in moisture in your feet. Moisturize every time you get out of the shower and throughout the day, especially before going to bed. If you are prone to very dry, cracked feet, you may wish to moisturize and then wear socks to bed.
If these simple home measures don’t work, then you’ll want to consult your podiatrist to see if they can recommend a prescription-strength moisturizer or cream to reduce dryness and inflammation. Since dry, cracked feet can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health problem like diabetes, it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you’re dealing with this problem regularly.
While dry skin isn’t usually a concern for healthy individuals, if you have diabetes, you’ll need to be extra careful when it comes to treating even minor problems like dry, cracked, or flaky skin. To be on the safe side, it’s best to speak with a qualified podiatrist to find out how to treat cracked skin to prevent infection. Call your foot doctor today.
By Michael Guerra, DPM
January 04, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Blisters  
What To Do About BlistersEverything from wearing shoes that are a little too loose to increasing the number of miles you run can leave you dealing with painful blisters on your feet. Blisters can be quite a nuisance, making it difficult to move around, especially when wearing shoes. If you deal with blisters rather regularly here are some simple ways to treat the problem.
Keep the Blister Intact

If possible, try to keep the blister intact. Do not try to pop or drain a blister that hasn’t popped on its own. It’s important not to put pressure on the blister, so avoid any shoes that may be too tight. If you’re going to put on shoes, make sure to apply a bandage (some band-aids are designed specifically for covering blisters) to the area first.
Keep Popped Blisters Clean

If the blister popped on its own, clean it with warm water soap (do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the blister). Once the area is clean, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the area and apply a bandage over the blister. These simple steps can prevent an infection from occurring.
Drain the Blister Yourself

You should only drain a blister if it’s very large, painful, or affects your ability to move. In this case, you should sterilize a needle with alcohol and then make a small hole in the blister to let it drain. You may need to carefully squeeze the blister to help it drain fully. Once the blister has drained, rinse out the area with soap and warm water before applying antibiotic cream to the area and placing a bandage over it.
Replace Bandages Daily

You mustn’t keep the same bandage on your blister day in and day out. You should check the blister every day to make sure it isn’t infected. You should clean the area daily with soap and water and then reapply another bandage.
Of course, if you have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet, you mustn't try to drain or treat the blister yourself. Even something as small as a blister could become infected or lead to serious complications. You should see your podiatrist right away for any blisters that develop on your feet.
If you develop signs of infection such as pus, increased redness, or swelling of the blister, you must see your podiatrist right away for treatment. While blisters aren’t usually a cause for concern in most healthy individuals, it’s also important that you practice good foot care to prevent blisters from happening.
By Michael Guerra, DPM
December 30, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions  

Here are some simple, nonsurgical ways to get bunion pain under control.

Take a look at your family’s feet. If they are dealing with bunions, then chances are good that this is a problem you’re going to deal with. While bunions can be the result of traumatic injuries to the foot, structural foot defects and genetics can also play a significant role in the development of bunions. Of course, there are certain habits that our Burlington, VT, podiatrist Dr. Michael Guerra may recommend practicing now to prevent newly formed bunions from getting worse.

We’ll Try Conservative Treatments First

You’ll be relieved to know that most people won’t need to undergo surgery to treat their bunions. While surgery is the only way to get rid of a bunion, in most instances our Burlington, VT podiatrist can help patients control their bunion-related pain and swelling through simple lifestyle modifications and home care including,

  • Icing the bunion for 10-15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication to ease painful flare-ups
  • Applying non-medicated padding to the bunion to prevent shoes from rubbing against the skin, which can cause a callus to form
  • Turning to our podiatry team to craft custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, which can take the pressure off the bunion and provide cushioning and support for the foot structure when standing, walking, or running
  • Practicing foot and toe stretching and strengthening exercises to strengthen the muscles of the feet
  • Avoiding shoes with high heels (any heels above 2 inches), pointed toes, and worn-out or poorly fitted shoes (if shoes bunch up your toes, then it’s time to replace them)
  • Having your feet properly measured before getting new shoes
  • Wearing a bunion splint at night, which can reposition the big toe to alleviate morning aches and pains

What if Conservative Treatments Don’t Work?

If you find that despite all the changes you’ve made for the sake of your bunion that you still aren’t experiencing ample relief, then it’s definitely time to turn to our Burlington, VT, podiatry team to determine more aggressive treatment options. You may want to consider surgery if:

  • Your bunion is large
  • You have trouble finding shoes that properly fit because of the size of your bunion
  • Your bunion has caused your big toe to cross over your smaller toes
  • You deal with severe swelling and pain around the big toe joint
  • You have trouble walking or participating in certain activities because of your bunion

If you are dealing with bunion pain or noticing changes in the shape of your feet our Burlington, VT, podiatrists can help. We offer a variety of non-surgical and surgical treatment options for addressing bunions of all severities. To schedule a consultation with our podiatry team, please call Burlington Podiatry at (802) 862-8666.

By Michael Guerra, DPM
December 14, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Heel Pain  

If your heel hurts when you get up in the morning or after sitting for a while, you may wonder if it's worth seeking professional care. You may be able to treat some of the symptoms on your own, but for peace of mind, and a comfortable step, you should contact Dr. Michael Guerra of Burlington Podiatry in South Burlington, VT.

Source of Your Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain, develops when too much pressure is put on the plantar fascia. The ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot.

Work that demands that you be on your feet for extended periods of time on flat surfaces, carrying around extra weight, and wearing shoes with inadequate arch support are often responsible for the extra strain.

What You Can Do at Home

When your heel pain is not too severe you can opt to treat some of the symptoms at home.

Over the counter medication, and applying ice for about 15 minutes at a time throughout the day can help with the pain and inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is recommended, and remember not to apply the ice directly to your skin. You can place ice inside a plastic bag and wrap that in a towel, or use cooling pads.

Stretching exercises are also helpful in this regard, most notably those that stretch the calf.

But the most important thing is to try not to put too much strain on your feet. Allow yourself some rest, avoid walking barefoot and with shoes without proper support.

Inflammation and the pain that you feel at the bottom of your feet should subside if you follow the appropriate precautions. But if the pain and discomfort continue, even after home treatments, or if it's limiting your everyday activities, then it's time to contact your podiatrist.

How Your Doctor Can Help

The first line of treatment is EPAT therapy. This is known as Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology, and it uses pressure waves to speed up the healing process.

Rest remains an important facet of healing. So while you rest, your doctor may recommend a removable walking cast.

Night splints that keep your plantar fascia stretched as you sleep can help with the morning aches.

You may also, or depending on your specific case, be prescribed custom orthotic devices.

To reduce inflammation and pain, corticosteroid injections may also be administered.

Almost all patients respond to the above treatments, but if for months none of them have proven successful, your podiatrist may recommend surgery.

Heel Pain Treatment in South Burlington, VT

Quit living with pain, make an appointment today with Dr. Guerra of Burlington Podiatry in South Burlington, VT. Dial (802) 862-8666.

By Michael Guerra, DPM
December 01, 2020
Category: Foot Care
What To Do for a High Foot ArchHere’s what you can do to prevent foot pain caused by high arches.

If you have high arches, you may notice them but not experience any problems; however, those with high arches bear more weight on the balls and heels of the feet. Over time, you may develop corns, calluses, hammertoes, painful calf muscles, or foot pain. If you have high arches, a podiatrist can provide you with a variety of ways to support your feet to prevent these problems.

Consider wearing custom orthotics

Orthotics are special devices that are placed inside the shoes to improve stability and to cushion the foot. These devices can reduce shock absorption while standing, walking, or running. While there are over-the-counter orthotics that you can buy, they aren’t specifically designed to fit your feet or treat the issues you’re dealing with.

A podiatrist can provide you with custom-fitted orthotics that can help to support the arches of your feet and distribute weight more evenly among the foot to prevent heel pain and pain in the ball of the foot.

Wear shoes that support your feet

You must be also wearing shoes that can accommodate your high arches, especially if you are on your feet most of the day or participate in physical activities. Those with high arches are prone to stress fractures and ankle sprains, and you must consider shoes that have,
  • A high top that can cushion and support the ankles
  • A spacious toe box that won’t put pressure on the toes or cause irritation to preexisting deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
  • A midsole that has added cushioning to reduce pressure
  • A high-abrasion rubber outsole that will provide more durability (especially important for running shoes and athletic footwear)
If you are prone to Achilles tendonitis because of your high arches you may also look for a shoe that offers a little heel lift, which can take the stress off the Achilles tendon and the arches of the feet.

Talk to your podiatrist about bracing

In some cases, your podiatrist may also recommend bracing the feet and ankles to help stabilize them and provide additional support. If your podiatrist has told you that you also have a drop foot, which means that you have trouble lifting the front of your foot, then bracing may also be a great way to manage this problem and provide a more natural and comfortable gait when walking.

While high arches alone aren’t a cause for concern it can be good to know about potential issues that it can cause along the way so you can take the necessary precautions now to protect your feet. If you are dealing with foot pain or other problems, a podiatrist can help.