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I wrote this book because too
many people suffer from foot and ankle pain unnecessarily.

~ Dr. Phil Pinsker

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Podiatrist - Washington
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
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Posts for: October, 2015

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 28, 2015
Tags: fungal toenails  

A fungal toenail may start out as just white marks on the nail or a discoloration. Often there is no pain and so consequently the person with a fungal nail doesn’t see any need to get treatment. Fungal nails (or onychomycosis as they are officially known) are actually infections, however, if left untreated, they can lead to more serious problems.

What Causes Fungal Nail Infections?

Dermophytes are a group of fungi that devour the nail’s protein substance, keratin. Once under the surface of the nail, the infection may also penetrate the nail. These tiny organisms are what cause the nail to thicken, turn yellowish brown in color and sometimes can cause a foul smell. Other symptoms include brittleness and crumbling of the nail or even loosening of the entire nail. In many instances, fungal nail infections are accompanied by a secondary yeast or bacterial infection around the nail plate. In time, the infection can start to cause pain when walking or running and can also spread to other toenails, fingernails, and skin. Our board certified doctor, Philip S. Pinsker, D.P.M. will closely examine your toenail and ask questions about your medical history and your nails. Treatment for fungal nail infections may include a topical or oral medication. A process called debridement may also be used to remove diseased nail matter and anything that has accumulated under the nail. In severe cases, removal of all or part of the nail may be necessary.

Preventing Onychomycosis

Fungal nail infections are transmitted by direct contact with the fungus. A few precautions can greatly reduce your risk of contracting a fungal toenail infection, including:

  • Use shower shoes or flip flops in public places that are damp, such as pools, gym locker rooms, showers, and even in hotel rooms.
  • Don’t share socks or shoes.
  • Properly disinfect home pedicure tools after each use and if you get pedicures at a salon, make sure that all tools and whirlpool tubs are properly sanitized between customers.
  • Keep feet clean and dry and inspect regularly.
  • Since excessive perspiration can make a more hospitable environment in which fungus can thrive, use a good quality foot powder with talc and avoid tight hosiery and socks. Choose socks made of synthetic fiber which wick moisture away from your skin.

If you see signs of a toenail infection or have any questions about irregularities or changes in your toes or feet, make an appointment at our Washington office.


By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 27, 2015
Tags: Heel pain   Sever's Disease  

Heel pain in children ages 8 to 14 is most often the result of Sever’s Disease. Also known as Calcaneal apophysitis, this condition is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. The heel does not finish developing until a child is about 14. A weak spot at the back of the heel can become irritated by excessive repetitive activities that pound the heel such as soccer, basketball, and football. Although overuse is the biggest cause of Sever’s Disease, biomechanical issues with the foot such as having high arches or flat feet, obesity, and a tight Achilles tendon can also be aggravating factors. In addition to heel pain, you may notice your child limping, walking on tip toes, and avoiding physical activity.

Diagnosis and Treatment

At Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, our board certified podiatrist will conduct a thorough examination of your child’s heels and feet and will want to know about his or her recent activities. Sever’s Disease can occur in one or both feet. Dr. Pinsker may order x-rays or other imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment options include:

  • Activity Modification: Any repetitive activity that puts stress on the heel needs to be stopped or greatly reduced.
  • Immobilization: If the heel pain is severe, a cast may be needed to give the inflammation a chance to go down for healing to occur
  • Physical Therapy: Stretching exercises and other physical therapy activities can help both heal and strengthen
  • Orthotics: Shoe inserts, padding, or other orthotic devices can relieve pressure and give support to the heel

Prevention

You can help prevent Sever’s Disease by making sure your child has well-constructed and supportive shoes for the sports and physical activities that he or she participates in. Also, avoid or limit cleats—these have been shown to be a contributing factor to this condition. Making sure your child maintains a healthy weight will also help in the prevention of Sever’s Disease (and many other medical conditions).

If you suspect that your child may be suffering from Sever’s Disease or if there are other concerns with his or her feet and ankles, make an appointment at our Washington office. Proper care is essential to ensure healthy growth and development of your child’s feet.


By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 13, 2015
Tags: hammertoes  

Chances are if you have a Hammertoe you know it because of the telltale bend in the middle joint of the toe, causing it to resemble a hammer. This deformity can occur in the second, third, or fourth toes. Hammertoe is most often caused by a muscle imbalance. It can also be the result of wearing improperly fitting shoes for an extended period of time, trauma to the toe, or arthritis. In some cases, Hammertoe is hereditary.

At Philip S. Pinsker, we see many patients in the Washington, PA area with this common condition. If treated in its early developmental stages, the effects of Hammertoe can be lessened. Left untreated, Hammertoes will become rigid and unable to bend. Corns and calluses may form on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe. You may also notice redness or swelling at the toe joint, and the motion of the toe joint may be restricted. People with Hammertoe may have pain in their toes or feet and most definitely will have difficulty finding shoes that are comfortable.

Our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker will take a complete medical history and then conduct a thorough exam of your foot and the Hammertoe. He may order x-rays to more accurately assess the toe’s condition and how far the Hammertoe has progressed. If caught in the early, flexible stage, there are several steps that can be taken to relieve discomfort including:

  • Wearing shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes
  • Exercises for the toe to stretch and strengthen the muscles
  • Straps to help straighten or realign the toe
  • Pads or cushions to relieve pressure on corns

If you think that you might be experiencing the early signs of Hammertoe, don’t delay. Make an appointment at our convenient Washington, PA office online or by calling (724) 225-7410. We offer evening hours and accept most major insurance plans.


By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 09, 2015
Tags: turf toe  

It’s back to school and lots of kids are hitting the fields for soccer, football, and other fall sports. At Philip S. Pinsker, that means we will most likely be seeing an increase in an injury known as Turf Toe.  Turf toe results from hyperextension of the big toe joint as the heel is lifted off the ground, such as when a person pushes off with their foot but the big toe jams or stays flat on the ground. The force exerted on the toe causes the ligaments and soft tissue structures that support the toe to be torn or ruptured. A large number of these injuries occur when playing on artificial turf fields and hence the name, Turf Toe.

What are the Symptoms of Turf Toe?

A Turf Toe injury can be the result of a sudden injury or it can develop over time as a result of repetitive hyperextension as seen in sports like basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, and even certain forms of dance.  If Turf Toe is due to a sudden injury, your child may feel a “pop” when the toe was first injured. There will be pain at the moment of the injury but it may not be severe enough to cause the athlete to sit out the rest of the game. Unfortunately, this may result in a more severe injury. If Turf Toe is the cause of an ongoing repetitive action, the pain may also come on gradually but in both cases it will continue to worsen to the point where it will be very uncomfortable and mobility of the joint will be extremely limited. There will also be swelling at the joint and tenderness.

Treatment

If you suspect your child has injured his or her big toe, our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker will conduct a thorough exam of the injured toe and foot and most likely will order x-rays which can be done in our Washington, PA office. Once a diagnosis of Turf Toe is confirmed, Dr. Pinsker will recommend the best course of treatment. This may include the RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication to relieve the symptoms. It is usually a few weeks before the athlete can participate in sports and footwear modifications may be necessary once he or she does start playing again.

If you suspect an injury, it’s best to not “wait to see if it will go away,” but rather to contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for evaluation. 


By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 02, 2015

Did you know that your Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, is the largest tendon in the human body? It can withstand forces of 1,000 pounds or more. Inflammation of this tendon, known as Achilles tendonitis, is also one of the more common causes of visits to the southwestern PA office of Philip S. Pinsker, D.P.M.

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is a condition that can affect both professional athletes and weekend warriors. It is what’s called an “overuse injury.” Many times, in non-professionals it’s due to starting up or accelerating an exercise program too quickly, such as when you start up an exercise after not having done it for several weeks or months or rapidly increasing your mileage or speed when walking or jogging. Hill running and stair climbing can also cause inflammation in this area because of the strain placed on the calf muscles. Other causes include sprinting and improperly fitting footwear.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptom of Achilles tendonitis is pain during and after exercising that may be mild at first but gradually worsens. You may notice swelling in your Achilles tendon area and also tenderness about an inch and a half above the point where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. Sluggishness in your leg and stiffness that generally lessens as the tendon warms up is not unusual.

How is Achilles Tendonitis Treated?

Our board certified foot doctor, Philip S. Pinsker will want to hear about the circumstances surrounding your pain and discomfort and the activities you do. If after a thorough examination of your leg, ankle, and foot, a diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis is confirmed, the following treatment methods are commonly employed:

  • Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication to treat the pain and inflammation
  • Rest
  • Massage and ultrasound
  • Modifying your activities to include exercise that does not stress the Achilles tendon
  • Wearing a bandage designed to restrict the motion of the tendon
  • Orthotics (shoe inserts) may be prescribed to relieve stress on the tendon and help support the muscle
  • Stretching exercises to strengthen the muscle group in front of the leg, the calf, and upward foot flexors

If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your calf and Achilles tendon area, call our Washington, PA office at (724) 225-7410 or request an appointment online and find out how you can be fit without pain.