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Family Foot & Ankle

You Asked, We Answered! Find Information to Top Podiatry Questions

When your pain leaves you immobile and dependent on others, it’s normal that you have questions and lots of them! Check out our FAQ to get answers to some of the top questions people have about foot and ankle pain in Ohio.

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  • Is there a difference between bursitis and tendonitis?

    Although bursitis and tendonitis share many similarities, they are not one in the same. While tendonitis affects tendons (cords of tissues that connect muscles and bones), bursitis refers to an inflammation or irritation of bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints to minimize friction.

    Pain from tendinitisThey are, however, often confused due to their similar causes and symptoms. Both conditions do cause pain and swelling around joints. Both typically attack the same areas—Achilles tendonitis and retrocalcaneal tendonitis are common causes of heel pain and are even found together frequently. Both can be triggered by repetitive motions and overuse, although tendonitis is more likely to result from actual injuries.

    If you’re suffering from stubborn heel pain as a result of bursitis, tendonitis, or any other reason, call Family Foot and Ankle Center, or use our online contact form to set up an appointment today. You can set up a visit online, or give us a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572.

  • Can orthotics help my flat feet?

    Although every foot is unique and each case is different, orthotics can potentially provide significant pain relief for many individuals who suffer from chronic foot, ankle, knee, and even back pain related to flat feet and/or overpronation. That’s because orthotics are custom-tailored to the contours of your feet and are designed to provide the additional support or cushioning that your feet require, as well as alter the position of your feet as you stand and walk in order to improve biomechanics, put your body into better alignment, and more evenly distribute your weight across your foot.

    Orthotics for arch supportAlthough most cases of flat feet do not cause pain and do not require treatment, if you’re suffering from chronic pain and you think low arches are to blame, call Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 in Ohio, (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky, or contact us online to schedule an appointment at one of our six Cincinnati area offices.

  • Could my shoes be causing my ball of foot pain?

    The wrong pair of shoes can be disastrous for your feet, and even your whole body’s health. Shoes that don’t fit right can either cause or exacerbate many foot condition, including bunions, hammertoes, and heel, arch, and ball of foot pain. If constant foot pain is keeping you from enjoying healthy activities and exercise, the consequences go beyond just your feet.

    Everyone knows high heels are bad for you, but flats can be just as bad if they aren’t providing the support or cushioning you need. Look for shoes that fit snugly and comfortably, but also with plenty of space for toes to wiggle about. Cushioning and arch support are essential as well, and a good specialty store can set you up with a pair that’s just right for your foot shape—whether your feet are skinny or wide, whether you over or underpronate, and more.

    When foot pain strikes, call the experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center. We can help you find the right shoes, inserts, or treatments you need to get back on your feet. Reach us through this website or by calling (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572.

  • Is it safe to exercise with arthritis?

    Yes! In fact, we want you to exercise if you have arthritis, since it’s a great tool to help reduce pain, strengthen and protect joints against further damage, and stay healthy, happy, and active.

    That said, you should always listen to your body—exercise should not be painful. To minimize discomfort, try selecting lower-impact activities for your aerobic conditioning, such as walking, cycling, or swimming. You can also incorporate stretches and strength training, including range of motion exercises and resistance bands, to reduce stiffness, improve flexibility, and increase the amount of exercise you can perform pain free.

    If you’re experiencing discomfort, you need help putting together a fitness routine, or are concerned about starting a new activity, call Family Foot and Ankle Center in Greater Cincinnati today. Our experts will evaluate your condition and provide any assistance you require. Set up an appointment via this website, or by dialing (513) 728-4800 in Ohio or (859) 282-1572 in Northern Kentucky.

  • How do you get athlete’s foot?

    Athlete’s foot isn’t just for athletes. This irritating skin condition is usually the result of a fungal infection and is typically caused by exposure to wet, damp, and dark environments where the fungus thrives, or by contact with already-infected surfaces such as shower mats or pool decks. Putting on a dank pair of work boots that hasn’t had enough time to dry out, not changing socks frequently enough, or going barefoot in public places are just a few of the more common sources of an initial infection.

    If you’re struggling with athlete’s foot—over-the-counter treatments aren’t working, symptoms are severe, or you have an autoimmune disease such as diabetes that puts you at greater risk—we can help you put it behind you. Simply call the experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 or use the contact form on this website to schedule an appointment today

  • What are the symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture?

    At the exact moment of the initial injury, when the Achilles tendon ruptures, most people report a sharp pain that feels like they’ve been kicked—or even stabbed—right in the back of the calf. You may feel a pop, or you may even hear an audible pop or snap.

    After the initial trauma, you may continue to feel (potentially severe) pain and notice significant swelling and stiffness just above the back of your heel. Damage to the tendon also affects your ability to flex your foot and point your toes downward, making it difficult or impossible to push off your injured leg when walking or standing on tiptoes.

    Achilles tendon ruptures are severe injuries that require lengthy rehabilitation, so if you do notice these symptoms, call Family Foot and Ankle Center right away at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572. Fixing the damage before it worsens is key to successful recovery.

  • How will I know if my midfoot is sprained or broken?

    In a Lisfranc sprain, only ligaments (commonly the Lisfranc ligament) in the midfoot are damaged. Bones remain unbroken and in place. This type of injury is still stable, and a conservative treatment featuring a period of rest and immobilization may be all you need.

    If the bones are broken or dislocated, however, pain may be more intense, with greater difficulty bearing weight. You may even notice an unnatural widening of the foot in this case. These injuries almost always require surgery to repair and realign (or in some cases even fuse) the bones and joints.

    Unfortunately, a midfoot sprain can very easily turn into a dislocation or fracture if not treated promptly, as the weakened ligament will no longer reliably hold the bones in place. If you suspect any Lisfranc injury, whether a sprain or fracture, call Family Foot and Ankle Center right away at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572. Even relatively minor midfoot injuries can cause debilitating pain and carry long-term consequences, so expert care is recommended as soon as possible.

  • Is it possible to fracture my heel bone?

    Although tough, your heel bone (also called your calcaneus) is not impervious. High-energy collisions, such as a fall from a ladder or an automobile accident, can crack or break the hard outer “shell” of the calcaneus and cause intense heel pain, swelling, and bruising, as well as make it difficult or even impossible to walk normally.

    Unfortunately, since the amount of force required is quite high, and the bone itself has a softer, spongy core, heel bone fractures tend to be quite severe and in many cases debilitating, with shattering of the bone common. That’s why you don’t want to delay treatment—Try not to put any weight on your foot and contact Family Foot and Ankle Center right away. Ohio residents can call (513) 728-4800, while those in Kentucky can reach us at (859) 282-1572. You can also use the contact form on this website to set up an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati locations.

  • How should I treat a sprained ankle?

    The first step in treating a sprained ankle, as with many other foot traumas, is RICE therapy. That stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Limiting weight bearing activities, icing the injured area periodically, loosely compressing the injury with bandages, and elevating above chest level all can help minimize pain and reduce swelling. If the sprain is more serious, or does not improve after a few days, you may need to immobilize the area with a boot or splint.

    Physical therapy and exercises for at least a few weeks after pain subsides will help quicken healing, re-strengthen damaged muscles and ligaments, and restore flexibility and range of motion. We will help you design a routine that will give you the best chance at a speedy recovery.

    Is a painful sprained ankle keeping you from doing the things you love? Call Family Foot and Ankle Center, especially if pain and swelling have continued for several days. Our expert podiatrists are here to help. Give us a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572, reach us through our website contact form, or stop by in Cincinnati, Finneytown, Hamilton, Fairfield, or Florence.

  • What is the difference between a bunion and a bunionette?

    The primary difference between a bunion and a bunionette is location. A bunion is a bump that forms on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe, as the toe drifts toward the second digit. A bunionette is the reverse: a bump forms at the outside of the foot at the base of the pinky toe, as the pinky toe drifts towards the fourth digit.

    Both conditions share similar causes (faulty foot structures exacerbated by narrow or unsupportive footwear), similar symptoms (pain, swelling, and risk of complications like corns and blisters), and similar treatment methods.

    There’s another similarity: both conditions are treated by the experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center. If you notice a bump forming at the base of your first or fifth digit, give us a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 and schedule an appointment at one of our Greater Cincinnati locations.

  • Is ice or heat better for tendonitis pain?

    Whether you use ice or heat for tendonitis depends mostly on your symptoms, as well as how long has passed since the injury or onset of foot pain.

    Ice is particularly helpful for reducing swelling and pain, as it numbs the nerves and constricts blood vessels. In the early stages of an injury—usually the first few days or so—when discomfort is most acute, ice is preferable to heat for these reasons.

    By contrast, heat increases blood flow, which promotes faster healing. It also relaxes muscles, which can quiet chronic aches and pains. That’s why, once the initial swelling and pain subside somewhat, heat is the better choice.

    If acute or chronic tendonitis pain is limiting your activities, and at-home care doesn’t seem to help, give Family Foot and Ankle Center a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572. Let our expert doctors evaluate your condition and help get you back to full speed. Visit us in Cincinnati, Finneytown, Hamilton, Fairfield, or Florence.

  • What is a stone bruise?

    The phrase “stone bruise” has been applied to a few different foot injuries, but usually it refers to a deep bruise on the bone and/or on its surrounding soft tissues, frequently found in the ball of the foot but also sometimes on the heel.

    These bruises can be quite painful and are typically caused by blunt impacts to the foot—not quite enough to cause a fracture, but still enough to cause significant damage and discomfort. The resulting pain is often likened to the sensation of walking on a stone or pebble, hence the name of the injury.

    If foot pain has you feeling bruised, call Family Foot and Ankle Center, Inc. at (513) 728-4800 (Ohio residents) or (859) 282-1572 (Kentucky). Our experienced foot doctors have the expertise you need to evaluate and treat your condition. Visit one of our six convenient Greater Cincinnati locations, including two offices in the city proper and one each in Finneytown, Hamilton, and Fairfield, OH, and Florence, KY.

  • Do I need surgery for a stress fracture?

    The short answer: probably not.

    Most stress fractures will heal on their own with enough rest, because in most cases the bones themselves are not displaced: they’ve been cracked through repeating pounding and overuse, rather than through a sudden trauma.

    However, in rare cases (especially when the stress fracture occurs in or near a joint) where the fracture is severe, displaced, or likely to become displaced, we may need to insert pins, plates, or screws in order to fix bones in place while they heal.

    Recovery time can be frustrating, particularly for runners and athletes who may be annoyed at having to halt their routine for a few months (even after their pain has subsided). However, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders completely and give your bones time to fully heal before returning to activity—starting too soon can cause a re-injury and force you to start all over again.

    For any chronic foot pain, sports injury, or overuse injury such as stress fractures, trust your feet to the experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center, Inc. Give us a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 to schedule an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati locations.

  • Should I pop the blister on my foot?

    In general you should try to avoid popping a blister if possible. However, the ultimate decision will depend on the size and location of the fluid bubble, and whether or not you have any other health issues that might affect your body’s sensation and natural healing processes.

    If you have diabetes, never attempt to pop or drain a blister yourself, as the risk of infection is very high and can lead to profound consequences (even amputation) if untreated. Keep the skin intact or have a doctor drain it for you. The area should be protected with a bandage and left alone, unless it is actually causing you pain or in a difficult location. In that case, we can instruct you how to clean the area and carefully drain the fluid by making small perforations in the edge of the bubble with a sterilized needle.

    If you need assistance with blister prevention or care, call Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572. We have six convenient locations throughout the metro region to serve you.

  • What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

    Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain in adults, and is particularly common among middle-aged people. But pain in the heel alone isn’t quite enough to make a diagnosis, as plenty of other conditions can make your heel area hurt, such as Achilles tendinitis, bursitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, or stress fractures.

    The telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is that the pain that is underneath your heel, and it is worst in the morning or after a long period of sitting, right when you take your first steps. The torn, swollen tissue along your sole contracts when resting; once you put weight on it again, it takes a few minutes for the tissues to stretch back out and the pain to subside.

    Nobody likes living with heel pain, and the good news is that you don’t have to. Call Family Foot and Ankle Center today for help with your stubborn symptoms, whatever your foot or ankle condition. Reach us at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 to set an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati offices.

  • Can I cut off my wart?

    Do not cut off a wart yourself! While it’s technically possible to perform a little “bathroom surgery,” and some people have claimed success using the method, it’s a very bad idea. Cutting the wart off won’t cure the core infection (so the wart is likely to grow back anyway), and if you do it improperly you can make the situation much worse and greatly increase your risk of a painful infection.

    The most common treatment for warts includes either peeling medication like salicylic acid, freezing the wart (cryotherapy), or a combination of the two. If the wart needs to be cut out, we can perform minor surgery to safely extract the bump on your foot in our office.

    If you’re dealing with a stubborn wart, you’ve tried home remedies, and you just want it gone, call Family Foot and Ankle Center, Inc. at (513) 728-4800 in Ohio, or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky. We’ll help you find the right method for fighting these unsightly growths.

  • What is turf toe?

    In the simplest terms, turf toe is a sprain of the big toe—it’s the same principle as a sprained ankle, it just affects a different joint. When the toe is hyperextended (either in one big injury or minor stresses repeated over time), the ligaments tear and the result is pain and reduced range of motion.

    This common sports injury is frequent among athletes who do a lot of running, jumping, twisting, cutting, or balancing on the balls of their feet—including football running backs, soccer players, basketball players, dancers, gymnasts, etc. The best prevention strategy is to wear shoes that provide adequate support for your activity (inserts or orthotics can help, too) and work with a trainer to improve your mechanics.

    If you do sprain your big toe, get off your feet, ice and compress the area to reduce swelling, and give Family Foot and Ankle Center, Inc. a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572. Come see what we can do for your stubborn toe pain.

  • Why is Diabetic Wound Care Important?

    Diabetic cold feetIf you have diabetes, you have a double problem when it comes to foot and ankle health. One, reduced circulation suppresses your natural healing processes. Two, reduced nerve function can hide problems like ulcers from your attention until it’s too late, and the site has already become infected.

    Diabetic ulcers commonly occur on the soles of feet, and they are the single leading cause of non-traumatic amputations nation-wide. Let an ulcer fester, and you could end up losing a toe, a foot, or even a leg. That’s why diabetic wound care is so important—without regular foot checks and prompt treatment, even minor scrapes can have disastrous complications.

    If you develop a diabetic ulcer, trust the experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center to provide the highest quality wound care and treatment. We’ll fight to preserve your mobility so that complications such as infection and amputation can be avoided. Dial (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 for an appointment in Cincinnati, Finneytown, Hamilton, or Fairfield, OH, or in Florence, KY.

  • Is a Yellow Toenail a Sign of Infection?

    Locker room Yellow, discolored toenails are usually a sign of a fungal infection. You may have picked up toenail fungus from going barefoot through a locker room or putting on a damp pair of shoes, but without treatment, what begins as a yellowish spot can blossom into a thickened, brittle, crumbly, and warped nail. It can even spread from toe-to-toe, foot-to-foot, or person-to-person.

    Since the infection is difficult to eradicate, it’s best to take action quickly. At-home treatment options such as keeping feet dry, exercising good foot hygiene, trimming and thinning nails, and using over-the-counter topical antifungals can help, but also call Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 for an evaluation. We can prescribe tougher oral medications that can reach the fungus growing deep beneath the nail. Give us a call to set up an appointment at one of our six convenient Greater Cincinnati offices throughout southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

  • Difference Between a Custom Orthotic and Shoe Insert?

    Orthotic Shoe InsertsShoe inserts can be purchased off the rack at many stores, and are designed to provide additional cushioning and support for your feet. Shoe inserts may provide pain relief for some conditions, especially if it’s not severe, but because shoe inserts are mass-produced while every foot is unique, they will not be the most effective way to address chronic issues. By contrast, custom orthotics are uniquely fashioned to fit the contours of your specific feet.

    The experts at Family Foot and Ankle will make a complete evaluation of your feet and ankles and design a piece that’s right for you. Orthotics can correct biomechanical issues and gait abnormalities, which over-the-counter inserts can’t do. They are also made from higher-quality materials that last longer—even several years. For many, it’s well worth the cost.

    If you’re dealing with stubborn foot pain, call Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572. We’ll evaluate your condition and determine whether you could benefit from a custom-made orthotic, or whether a good insert is all you need. Visit one of our six offices in the Greater Cincinnati area to see what we can do for you and your feet.