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Foot Care FAQ


See below for answers to many common foot related problems. Also be sure to see our educational video library for more information.


I have a discolored toenail, what’s wrong with it and how do I treat it?

There may be other reasons for the discoloration, but the two primary reasons are trauma or fungus infection. The most effective way to return your toenail to its natural state and color is to use a topical or oral medication that’s prescribed by a podiatrist.


Why does my heel hurt in the morning when I step down from my bed?

You may have plantar faciitis, which is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue that supports the arch of the foot. Plantar faciitis is also referred to as “heel spurs”. Heel spurs can be caused by lack of arch support, improper athletic training and sudden overuse of your feet. People with low arches, flat feet or high arches are sometimes prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Wearing shoes with more arch support and stretching can help relieve heel spur pain. For more serious cases, your podiatrist may administer an injection or prescribe oral anti-inflammatories, customized orthotics, night splints or physical therapy.


I was recently diagnosed with diabetes and I’ve begun to notice some numbness and tingling in my toes. Has the diabetes affected my blood circulation?

Diabetes can decrease the blood circulation to your feet, cause numbness and a tingling sensation. However, these symptoms can also be caused by diabetic neuropathy, a peripheral nerve disorder. Neuropathy can sometimes create a false sense of burning or painful sensations. Although there are medications to help with the pain, the best way to control neuropathy is keep blood sugar levels down through proper diet and medication. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital to see your podiatrist on a regular basis.


Are oral anti-fungal medications safe?

All medications have risks and benefits. However, when prescribed and taken correctly, oral anti-fungal medications are safe to use and can be highly effective. It’s best to consult your podiatrist to determine the best medication for you.


I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, is it necessary to wear those special shoes?

It depends. In order to assess the need for diabetic shoes, we take several factors into consideration, including whether you have poor circulation; whether you experience numbness along with a condition such as a bunion or hammertoe; whether you have a pre-ulcerative callus; and whether you have a history of a previous ulceration or non-traumatic amputation. Diabetic shoes and inserts are a proven method of reducing the need for a first or further amputation. And with today’s new diabetic shoes, patients can enjoy both style and comfort.


What are orthotics?

Orthotics are custom-made inserts for your feet. Orthotics are made to control and accommodate your feet; aligning them into an ideal position that improves functionality. It’s important to note that, like eye glasses, orthotics do not correct your feet — they help you function more comfortably in your daily activities. Orthotics are made according to shoe type (e.g. athletic shoes or dress shoes), and can also be made for specific activities such as running, golf and tennis. Orthotics can be especially beneficial for people who work on their feet such as construction workers, salespeople and mail carriers. Simple to use, orthotics are an effective treatment for many foot conditions and can last up to 2-3 years.


Podiatry Institute of Southern California
9808 Venice Blvd., Suite 600
Culver City, CA 90232
Phone: 310-204-2300
Fax: 310-204-0444

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