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  Contact : (773) 586-0050

All posts by Dr. Daniel Walters

Do My Crooked Toes Need Surgery

Are your toes bent out of shape? If the middle knuckle seems to be permanently bent downward—a condition known as hammertoes—it’s best to address it as quickly as possible.

Sure, you might not feel any pain just yet. But a crooked toe is just the start. Over time, the once-flexible joint stops flexing entirely. Moving the toe can become very painful, and the tops and tips of your bent digits may no longer fit comfortably inside of a shoe. The pressure and friction this creates can become very distressing, and can cause secondary complications such as corns and blisters.

Foot With HammertoesThat said, many people put off seeking treatment for their hammertoes, either because it doesn’t hurt very much yet, or because they’re worried about surgery. But this is actually the exact wrong approach! Crooked toe conditions often can be addressed without any surgery at all, with painful symptoms resolved or delayed indefinitely—but you have to act early to get that benefit!

It is true that hammertoes will need surgery if you want to permanently fix them. However, straightening out your toes isn’t always the No. 1 goal. Instead, the main objective is keeping you active and fully mobile without toe pain getting in your way.

That’s our focus when you arrive at our office. We strive to take care of all your foot care problems simply and effectively, without expensive and unnecessary surgeries and with minimal intrusion in your day-to-day life. When hammertoes are still flexible and producing only limited pain, simple conservative remedies such as new shoes, prefabricated or custom orthotics, physical therapy, and exercise can help you keep them that way.

If you wait too long, unfortunately, surgery may become necessary to restore your feet to pain-free status. That said, our commitment to simple and effective treatment extends to these situations, too. That’s why Dr. Daniel Walters has trained extensively in minimally invasive surgical techniques, which allow him to minimize the size of the incision, risk of complications, and length of recovery as compared to more traditional surgeries. There is also no need for screws, pins, wires, or implants to be inserted. Not to mention the advantages of getting you in and out of our office with no expensive hospital stays on your bill!

If any of your toes are looking bent or crooked, we urge you to make an appointment with us as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not you’ve experienced any significant pain yet. We’d love to help you keep the pain away for as long as possible, with methods that are simple and conservative in nature. To see us in Garfield Ridge, Chicago, drop us a line by using our contact form, or call the office at (773) 586-0050.

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Stop Heel and Arch Pain with Orthotics

After a long day on your feet, how do your heels and arches feel? If they ache, swell, sting, stab, or burn, you’re not alone. Foot pain, especially in the heels and arches, is exceedingly common, and unfortunately keeps millions of Americans from being truly able to enjoy their work, hobbies, and daily activities.

Using Orthotics for Foot PainBut it shouldn’t be this way! Our bodies are meant to be upright and active for most of the day. So why do so many people struggle with constant heel and arch pain?

A lot of the time, the answer is “biomechanics.” In the best-case scenario, your feet will perfectly distribute the weight of each step evenly, so nothing gets to overstressed. But most people don’t have “perfect” feet, and walking all day on hard floors and pavement (a relatively recent innovation when you consider how long humans have been around) leads to painful wear and tear. In this scenario, custom orthotics are often the best way to achieve lasting pain relief.

Custom orthotics are special devices you wear in your shoes. Unlike flimsy insoles you can buy at the corner drugstore, custom orthotics are individually fashioned from molds or scans of your feet, so you get a perfect fit made just for you. They can be made in a variety of shapes and from many different materials, too, so that you get exactly what you need—more arch support, more cushioning, better stability for the heel or ankle, etc.

In other words, if your heels and arches aren’t working as well as they should, the orthotics provide the extra assistance they need to be effective again. You can make a direct comparison with eyeglasses here: just as glasses provide the extra help that your cornea and lenses need to see clearly, orthotics provide the extra help your heels and arches need to keep you active without pain.

At our podiatry office in Garfield Ridge, Chicago, we are passionate about eliminating your pain and getting you back on the move, so you can do what you need (and want!) to do. From custom orthotics to physical therapy to surgery, we provide a comprehensive set of treatment options to meet your needs, so you can feel confident and comfortable. To schedule an appointment with us, please complete our handy online contact form, or call (773) 586-0050. Best times to call are Monday 10:45 to 4:45, or Tuesday and Thursday 10:45 to 1:15 and 4:30 to 7.

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5 Stretches for Heel Pain

IStretches for Heel Painn a big, blue collar city like Chicago—where standing, walking, and working on your feet is the norm—heel pain is a common complaint. Fortunately, most cases are temporary and can be dealt with conservatively. If you’re currently struggling with a bit of pain in and around your heels, stretching can help. Here are a few to try:

  • Calf stretch. Often, tight calves contribute to heel pain conditions such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis. Stand in front of a wall, about an arm’s length away. Slowly bend one leg forward, keeping the back leg straight and the trailing foot flat on the ground. You can place your hands on the wall for support if necessary.
  • Arch massage. Sit on a chair, then grab a round object. This could be a foam roller, cold water bottle, tennis ball, etc. With gentle pressure, roll the object back and forth under your foot for about a minute, then switch.
  • Pick up objects with your toes. You can try tasks like grasping a small towel with your toes and dragging it back and forth, or placing a number of small marbles underfoot, picking them up with your toes, and placing them in a cup or bowl.
  • Resistance stretches. Grab a seat, either on a chair or the ground. Then, take a resistance band, towel, scarf, or folded piece of cloth and wrap it around your arch. Gently pull on the ends of the band with your hands, bring your toes back toward your body while providing resistance with your foot.
  • Big toe stretch. From a chair, cross one leg over the other. With the same sided hand as the crossed leg, reach out and grab your big toe and pull it gently toward yourself.

If your heel pain doesn’t subside after a few days, even with rest and stretching, make an appointment with our office for further help. Chronic heel pain can put a serious cramp on your lifestyle, and it doesn’t have to be that way! Our team offers comprehensive care solutions, such as physical therapy, custom orthotics, and other techniques.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Walters in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood of Chicago, give us a call at (773) 586-0050. The best times to reach us are Mondays from 10:45 to 4:45, or Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:45 to 1:15 or 4:30 to 7 p.m.

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Physical Therapy for Pain Relief

Physical therapy is one of the best available remedies for a wide variety of painful foot, ankle, and lower limb conditions and injuries—particularly in cases where pain is chronic or you’re rehabbing an injury. This field of medicine uses physical, mechanical movements and pressure to alleviate tension and stress, reduce pain, heal damaged and injured tissue, and improve your physical capabilities.

physical therapyThe physical therapist will first identify both the causes and locations of pain, stiffness, and mobility loss. Then, he or she will select the techniques and exercises best suited to addressing those problems, as well as guide you through stretches you can perform at home to continue your recovery.

Take massage, for example. Our staff physical therapist, Michael, is skilled in several techniques, including Swedish, deep tissue, and trigger point work. Most people enjoy massages because they feel good and promote emotional well being and stress relief, but massage is also a great physical therapy tool. It increases oxygen and blood flow, stretches and relaxes tight connective tissues, stimulates natural healing, and even breaks up old scar tissue.

Of course, there are many other forms of physical therapy, but all are based on using mechanical, physical movements to bring pain relief. This can include high-tech therapies, like electronic muscle stimulation and therapeutic ultrasound. But it also includes much more simple, traditional remedies, such as practicing simple stretches and exercises you can do at home, with little or no special equipment.

Not many podiatrists can say they offer an on-staff physical therapist to help you with your foot and ankle pain. We do, because we know it works. We always strive to do what’s best for every patient that walks through our door, and physical therapy can usually help you eliminate your pain and recover from injury without needing an expensive hospital visit or surgery.

To find out more, or to schedule an appointment with podiatrist Daniel J. Walters or Michael, our physical therapist, please call (773) 586-0050. The best times to call are Monday between 10:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., or Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

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Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy—the science and art of using mechanical movement to relieve pain, heal injuries, and rehabilitate function—is one of the most effective conservative treatment options for foot, ankle, and leg pain. It’s also an important part of what we do here at Daniel J. Walters Foot & Ankle Care.

Benefits of Physical TherapyWhy do we stress physical therapy so much as a treatment option? Simple. It provides many significant benefits to patients with a wide range of physical conditions. You can use physical therapy to:

  • Reduce or eliminate pain.
  • Build (or regain) strength, flexibility, and range of motion after an injury. Getting muscles, connective tissues, and joints working again helps improve your mobility and protect vulnerable joints from getting hurt again. It will also enable you to enjoy more active lifestyles.
  • Heal faster. Physical therapy can significantly shorten recovery time after an injury or surgery. Often it accomplishes this by improving blood flow to affected areas so they get more oxygen and nutrients.
  • Improve balance. Falls are one of the costliest preventable accidents in America, especially among older populations. Physical therapy helps keep you steady on your feet so you can stay active.
  • Resist the effects of aging. No one lives forever, but those who exercise and practice physical therapy can prevent or delay problems like arthritis and osteoporosis, and even keep brain function and senses sharper.
  • Manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and neuropathy. Regular exercise and physical therapy is a great way to help you keep blood sugar under control, nerves healthy, and arteries clear.
  • Avoid surgery. When combined with other conservative treatments, physical therapy can often help you relieve painful foot conditions without the need for surgery.
  • Reduce stress and improve mood. Our physical therapy services involve several types of massage, including Swedish, deep tissue, and trigger point work. In addition to the physical benefits, the mental and stress-relief benefits of massage can be significant!

We have found physical therapy to have a success rate approaching 95% when we prescribe it for a foot or ankle problem you may be experiencing. Instead of an expensive surgery with a long recovery period, the work of our physical therapist, Michael, is often more than enough to help get you past your pain and on your way.

To schedule an appointment with our foot doctor or physical therapist, please call our office in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood of Chicago at (773) 586-0050.

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