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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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  • Why does my foot cramp up?

    There are various reasons you may be experiencing a foot cramp, though, broadly-speaking, most incidents tend to be the result of either fatigue or insufficient nutrition. Nutrition deficiency is often brought about by overuse, poor dietary habits, or medical conditions that inhibit your muscles’ ability to absorb necessary vitamins.

    Foot CrampAge is a significant risk factor; as we get older our muscles weaken and become more prone to fatigue and cramping. However, even young, healthy people can cramp up if they put themselves through more strenuous exercise than they’re prepared to handle.

    If your diet is low in essential vitamins such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, your muscles may not work as smoothly, leading to bouts of cramping. This can be magnified by a medical condition such as diabetes, which reduces circulation and thus limits the flow of nutrients to your feet and toes.

    Even though cramps aren’t always predictable and it can be tough to pinpoint the precise trigger, let Family Foot and Ankle Center help. Visit one of our six Cincinnati-area offices and let our experts assist you in finding a solution. For an appointment, dial (513) 728-4800, or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky.

  • How can I get rid of foot cramps?

    If you’re sure the pain is from a cramp and not something else (like a muscle tear), some gentle stretching is a good short-term pain management strategy. Rolling your feet over a tennis ball, carefully grasping your toes and pulling upward, calf and gastrocnemius stretches, and others can be especially effective. Massage and heat are also decent techniques, since both get blood and nutrients flowing to affected muscles. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can try soaking your feet in warm (but not too hot!) bath water.

    Stretching to stop a foot crampGenerally speaking, cramps can be traced to either too much stress on weakened muscles, or not enough essential vitamins to keep them nourished. Foot cramp prevention focuses on improving these factors. If you’re dealing with chronic pain from cramps, call Family Foot and Ankle Center or set up an appointment online. Drop us a line at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572.

  • Why is winter foot care so important?

    Each season poses unique challenges for keeping your lower limbs healthy and happy. Winter is no different. Careful winter foot care is essential to help protect your toes and feet from bitter winds, fungal infections, or being too wet or too dry.

    Why Winter Foot Care is ImportantFeet can sweat a lot when trapped inside boots, but they can also get soaked while trudging through snow or rain with footwear that isn’t weatherproof. Either way, damp feet are a problem in wintertime, and that can mean fungal infections like athlete’s foot (if feet are stuck in toasty boots) or cold-weather injuries like frostbite (if you’re stuck outside). Change socks and shoes regularly and use foot powder to keep feet clean and dry.

    On the flipside, if you prefer the great indoors, inside heat and low humidity can cause skin to dry out quickly, potentially causing painful cracks and fissures in your heels. That’s a problem, especially if you have circulation issues such as from diabetes, so make sure you use moisturizers regularly

    If winter weather has you struggling with difficult foot problems, call Family Foot and Ankle Center in Cincinnati. You can contact us online, or dial (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 for an appointment at one of our six locations.

  • Why does my toe hurt?

    There are many potential causes for toe pain, from ingrown toenails, capsulits, arthritis, blisters, and corns to sprains, fractures, and even deformities. However, you can usually narrow down the list based on the symptoms, or in some cases the type of injury.

    Feeling pain in the toeIf your toe joints are beginning to curl and you can’t straighten them back out without grabbing them with your hands, you may be in the early stages of hammertoes, claw toes, or mallet toes. These can occur alongside another type of toe pain, bunions (in which a bump forms on the edge of the foot at the base of the big toe) or even bunionettes (where the bump is at the pinky toe instead). The big toe can be sprained due to an overextension injury—this is called turf toe—or even broken, usually when you’ve dropped something heavy on it.

    Whatever the source of your toe pain, Family Foot and Ankle Center in Cincinnati can help you find it and treat it (or at least help you keep your symptoms in check). Give us a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572, or contact us via this website. You’ll be glad you did.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 while working in Roofing Companies In Cape Coral 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Does My Ankle Hurt?

    Painful ankleThere are many reasons you could be experiencing ankle pain. Most obviously, you could have a sprain (stretched or torn ligaments), strain (pulled muscle), or fracture (broken bone) as a result of a sudden injury or repetitive stress. Tendonitis, which occurs when tendons become torn, swollen, or inflamed, is another common source of pain, especially among athletes who play sports with repetitive actions. Of course, any joint can be affected by arthritis, too—rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or gout. There could also be nerve damage or compression, such as tarsal tunnel syndrome.

    At Family Foot and Ankle Center, we’ll help you get to the bottom of stubborn ankle pain so you can get back on your feet. If you suffer an ankle injury, follow the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and pay us a visit. Our experienced doctors will make a diagnosis and get you started on the right treatment plan for your condition and desired lifestyle. We have six offices in the Greater Cincinnati area. Dial (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 to set an appointment at the one most convenient for you.