Welcome to Daniel J. Walters DPM

Opening Hours : Hours By Appointment
  Contact : (773) 586-0050

All posts by Dr. Daniel Walters

Why You Need to See the Podiatrist if You Have Diabetes

Whether you’ve only recently been diagnosed or you’ve been living with diabetes for a long time—maybe your entire life—your condition can make life feel overwhelming at times. We get it. Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from a full, active, normal life, though. If you want to stay healthy, you need the discipline to keep doing the little things day after day, month after month, year after year.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. There’s a whole world of people out there who can understand and support you, and medical professionals of all disciplines specialized in getting you the care you need. That said, if your current diabetes team doesn’t currently include a podiatrist, you should make an appointment as soon as you can.

Bashful feet

While diabetes affects systems throughout the body, your feet are among the most vulnerable locations. The slowing of circulation, weakening of nerve function, and reduction in immune response are often felt first—and felt worst—in the toes, feet, and ankles. As you begin to lose the ability to feel your feet, as well as the ability to close wounds and fight infections, even small cuts and blisters could lead to massive sores and serious infections. If not treated in time, that could mean a necessary amputation—and a permanent reduction in your independence and quality of life.

This is why you need a podiatrist on your team. For starters, we have the tools and training to help you get the treatment you need for an existing sore or wound, so that it doesn’t become something worse. But even if your feet seem to look and feel fine, a podiatrist can help you test and screen for circulatory or nerve issues and stop them before they occur. We can also help you manage your long-term risk by addressing any structural foot problems (like flat feet, bunions, arch issues, abnormal gait) that can contribute to ulceration.

We know—no one is especially excited to see another doctor, another specialist, especially if it feels like nothing is wrong (yet). But trust us: diabetic foot care is one area where you need to be proactive, rather than reactive. That’s why we recommend a complete diabetic checkup with a podiatrist at least once per year, even if you’ve never had problems with ulcers before.

If it’s time for your checkup—or past time—give us a call! Hours are by appointment; the best times to call are on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursday. We look forward to seeing you!

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What to Look for in Your Children’s Feet

As a parent, and especially if you’re a new one, it can be tough to know if something your child is experiencing is an actual problem, or simply part of growing up. We also understand that knowing the difference between signs and symptoms of temporary issues from ones that point to more serious concerns is difficult. Now, it won’t be long before fall is here and everyone transitions back to routines of school, sports, and other activities, so let’s take a look at children’s foot care and some common problems you should know.

To start with, it’s worth noting that many child foot problems do actually resolve themselves over time, especially as your child grows. For example, the most common source of child and adolescent heel pain is a condition known as Sever’s disease. Contrary to the name, this is not actually a disease, but rather a problem that arises when the heel bone grows more quickly than the Achilles tendon anchored to it. While there is a discrepancy between the growth rates, your child may have heel pain (especially if he or she is physically active). When the Achilles tendon reaches physical maturity, though, the problem disappears.

What to look for in your children's feet

Something else that is worth noting is the fact that children are not always the most forthcoming about problems. Your son or daughter may very well have a foot or ankle issue, but does not want to say anything about it. As such, you need to know what to look for with regards to your child’s feet.

Common child foot problems range from toe walking, in-toeing, pediatric flatfoot, and high arches to tarsal coalitions, juvenile bunions, and sports injuries. While these various conditions and their respective treatments are different, they do share some common signs that show parents there’s a problem to be resolved. These include things like:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness that does not subside, and especially if these symptoms worsen with activity
  • Development of thick calluses in one area of the foot, as this can indicate a biomechanical problem causing too much force to be placed in that area
  • Problems with your child’s gait pattern (how he or she walks)
  • Ankles that are weak or easily give out
  • Shins or thighbones that appear to turn inward

Checking with your child—and observing his or her feet, ankles, and legs—goes a long way towards catching problems at their earliest, most-treatable stages. For more information on child foot care, or to request an appointment with our Chicago office (located conveniently on W. Archer in Garfield Ridge), simply call (773) 586-0050 or take advantage of our online contact form.

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How Did I Get Fungus Under My Toenails?

fungal toenailsNothing makes you want to hide your feet from the outside world quite like a fungal toenail infection. Fungi under your nails can produce a host of unpleasant and embarrassing symptoms: yellowish discoloration, a thickened nail plate, a ragged and crumbly edge. No matter how much you hope and wish the problem will just go away on its own, the truth is that it won’t—at least not without some outside help.

One reason people get embarrassed by fungal nails is because it can produce a sense of shame. Many mistakenly believe that “normal” people who take good care of their feet could never contract a fungal infection, and therefore it must be their fault. However, this is not necessarily true! Fungal toenails are actually quite common, and while you can reduce your risk with good prevention strategies, you can’t always protect yourself or control when you might be exposed.

So, how did you get fungus under your toenails? In simple terms, the fungus found its way in when it came in contact with your feet.

The fungi that cause fungal toenails love environments that are dark, hot, and wet. The inside of shoes fit this description well, as do saunas, gyms, pools, locker rooms, towels, and the like. Unfortunately, the fungus can spread from one person to a surface or object, lie in wait, and then spread to you. If you go barefoot in public facilities or keep your feet inside sweaty shoes and socks, you put yourself at risk of contact.

One thing worth noting—conditions like athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch are caused by the same types of fungi that can infect your nails. If you have any of these conditions, they can spread from one location to the other.

Fungi can enter through tiny, microscopic cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin, too small for you to see or feel. There’s not much you can do to prevent these microscopic openings from forming, so prevention strategies are mostly focused on reducing the likelihood of initial contact.

Factors that can magnify your risk of a fungal infection include:

  • Conditions that reduce circulation to the toes or weaken your immune system, including diabetes.
  • Advancing age—older adults tend to have slower circulation, not to mention they’ve had more opportunity to encounter fungus.
  • Going barefoot in public.
  • Using a public swimming pool.
  • Not changing shoes or socks once they get sweaty.
  • An injury to the skin or nails, including ingrown toenails

There are two important things to remember if you contract fungal toenails. The first is that you have nothing to feel ashamed about—even with good hygiene, this infection can still occur, and many people deal with it at one point or another in their lifetimes. The second is that, if you ignore it, it will only get harder and harder to treat.

That’s why you should make an appointment right away with Dr. Daniel Walters at his Garfield Ridge, Chicago podiatry office. Striking when the fungus is still relatively mild will greatly increase your chance of a satisfactory outcome, and greatly reduce the odds that the fungus will spread to other toes, other body parts, or other people. To schedule your appointment, give us a call at (773) 586-0050.

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Is It Finally Time to Do Something About that Bunion?

For some people, bunions seem to be an inevitability. A way of life, if you will. Grandma had them, mom had them and, well … here we are. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to help yourself! Bunions can be extremely distressing, and in severe cases, can cause pain and hamper your mobility and quality of life. Yet some people live with these bony protrusions for decades and never seek help. Don’t let that be you!

Bunion Treatment

Is it finally time to do something about that bunion? The answer is YES, whether you’ve only just noticed the deformity or you’ve had it for years.

Let’s be clear, though: that “something” does not necessarily mean surgery. On the contrary, surgery really is more of a last resort, and we only recommend it when pain is severe or stubborn. For the majority of cases, non-surgical forms of conservative treatment and management are recommended instead.

So why seek conservative care now, if you’re not in pain and probably don’t need surgery? The short answer is that you want to keep it that way! Bunions are a progressive condition, which means that over time they tend to get worse and worse. However, the rate at which they get worse depends on how well you care for and manage the condition.

When you meet with Dr. Daniel Walters, he’ll take some time to provide a physical examination, as well as talk with you about your symptoms, your activities, and your concerns. From there, we can determine what forms of treatment, if any, we would recommend for your situation. In the best-case scenario, you may only need to be mindful of the shoes you wear, avoiding high heels and pointed toes. Others may benefit from methods such as stretches, padding, splints, taping, or custom orthotic inserts for their shoes.

And if you do need surgery, we’ve got you covered on that front, too. Dr. Daniel Walters specializes in minimally invasive reconstructive surgery for bunion correction. Unlike the long, 5” incisions required by traditional open surgery, minimally invasive approaches use only 2-3 small openings of about half a centimeter, which significantly reduces pain and quickens the recovery time for most patients. It’s also cheaper, since it doesn’t require hospitalization.

If you’ve been putting off having a professional look at your bunion, now is the time to make a change. We’d love to help you relieve your pain—or prevent it from happening in the first place! To schedule with us on W. Archer in Garfield Ridge, Chicago, please call (773) 586-0050 or complete our contact form online.

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Foot Care for First Responders

It takes a truly staggering number of dedicated, determined, and talented people to keep our communities safe and ensure all Chicago residents have access to the emergency services they need. To serve a population of 2.7 million, the Second City needs enough first responders to fill a second city of their own! That list includes 12,000 police officers, 5,000 firefighters (who respond to more than 700,000 calls annually), and thousands more EMTs and paramedics working within the municipal borders.

First RespondersWe don’t have to tell anyone that these are not easy jobs. The physical stress and strains can be significant, particularly for feet. Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics are active all day and often struggle with heel and arch pain, shin splints, stress fractures, and many other aches, pains, and injuries.

At Daniel J. Walters Foot & Ankle Care, we know there’s no way we could adequately thank our emergency responders enough for their sacrifice and service. Every day, they put their own health and safety—sometimes even their lives—on the line to ensure that the people they serve are safe and secure.

What we can do is ensure that they get the highest quality foot and ankle care, so each day they can continue to go out and do their important work unencumbered by pain and discomfort. That’s why we offer a 10% discount to any and all emergency services personnel for all of our services. You don’t have to be based in Chicago—wherever you are and whomever you serve, we thank you for what you do!

To schedule an appointment with us in Garfield Ridge, Chicago, please dial (773) 586-0050. Hours are by appointment; the best times to call are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. You can also drop us a line using our online contact form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you!

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