Long Island's Top-Rated Podiatry
Podiatrist Esther Hansen, D.P.M. received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from SUNY Stony Brook. She completed her Doctor of Podiatrist Long Island Medicine from New York College of Podiatric Medicine in New York, N.Y. While completing her Podiatric Surgical residency training at The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Northport, N.Y., she had the opportunity to work in wound care at Stony Brook University Hospital Leg and Foot Ulcer Group. Prior to joining Heart and Health, Dr. Hansen had been in private practice for eight years. Dr. Hansen is a member of American Podiatric Medical Association. She is also a Podiatric Surgical Attending at North Shore LIJ Southside, Bay Shore, N.Y., and a consulting podiatrist for The Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, Southampton, N.Y.
What is Podiatry?
Podiatrists treat issues related to the bones, muscles, and tendons of the foot and ankle.
Facts about the Foot
- Each foot has 26 bones – both feet contain nearly one quarter of all the bones (206) on the body.
- Each foot is made up of an intricate network of over 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
- Every step places 1.5 times your body weight of pressure on your foot (a 150-pound person places 225 pounds of pressure on the foot with every step).
- The average person walks 5,000 to 7,000 steps a day. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) estimates that the average person will walk nearly 100,000 miles in a lifetime, between three to four times the Earth’s circumference.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
A tendon is a piece of tissue that connects the muscle to the bone. The Achilles tendon runs down the lower back part of the leg to connect two muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius) to the heel bone. Together, these two muscles form a group referred to as the gastroc-soleus muscle group. During contraction, the Achilles tendon moves, which allows the foot to point up and down. This contraction is very helpful for movements, such as sprinting and jumping.
When the Achilles tendon ruptures, the tendon is usually overstretched, resulting in the tendon being either partially or completely torn. While waiting to seek medical attention, it is important to stay off the foot and to elevate and ice the area to reduce pain and swelling.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Treatment
Treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture can be treated surgically and non surgically. Non surgical methods would include things like a cast, a foot brace, or walking boot. These methods prevent movement in the ligament and will allow the ligament to gradually heal on its own. For more severe cases, surgery may be required. In this case, the surgeon will make an incision on the heal and stitch the tendon back together. Surgery is also accompanied by physical therapy. The physical therapy will be designed to help strengthen and improve the muscle.
An ankle sprain is when the ligaments in or around the ankle become injured. A ligament is a type of tissue that connects bones to other bones. In the ankle, the ligaments play a very important role in providing stability for walking and helping prevent excessive side to side motion.
Causes of a Sprain
The most common causes of ankle sprains are falling from sports, tripping, and walking on uneven surfaces. When this happens, the joints are moved out of their normal position therefore affecting the ligaments. Common symptoms of a sprain include pain in the ankle, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. There are 3 types of ankle sprains
The first is less serious and occurs when the ligament is over stretched.
The second type of sprain is when the ligaments become slightly torn.
The third type of sprain is the most serious and occurs when the ligament is completely torn.
Ankle Sprain Treatment
It is important to seek medical treatment for an ankle sprain because if left untreated, it could lead to chronic pain and unsteadiness. Treatment varies depending on the type of sprain. In most cases, non surgical methods are used. These include ice, elevation, physical therapy and compression. Only when the ligament is completely torn is surgery necessary.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the feet. The shoe is the common growth place for this fungus because it is dark and moist. These thriving conditions are perfect for the fungus to flourish. It usually grows on the heel and in between the toes. Most people get athlete’s foot from public showers, swimming pools, and lockers, making it a very contagious condition.
Athletes Foot Symptoms & Treatment
Common symptoms of athlete’s foot are cracking skin, burning and itching patches, and oozing blisters. The fungus can also spread to the toenails leaving them discolored and crumbled. Athlete’s foot is very easily treated with medicated cream that contain antifungal agents.
Brachymetatarsia is a medical condition in which one or multiple metatarsals are unusually shorter than the rest. It most commonly occurs in the fourth toe. The main cause of brachymetatarsia is that the growth plate in that bone closes prematuarely, resulting in the bone not being fully developed. Once the plate has closed, the bone will not grow anymore.
Even though it may seem minor, brachymetatarsia disrupts the physiology of the foot, mainly interrupting the weight distribution. When a person begins to walk, the weight of the body starts in the fifth toe, and gets passed along until it reached the first toe. If the fourth toe is shorter than the fifth toe, the weight cannot be accurately transferred to the third toe. This means the other toes of the body are given excess weight.
There aren’t many treatment options for people with brachymetatarsia. Shoes with padding and orthotics can help deal with the weight distribution and excess pressure. In some rare cases, surgery may be an option. In this procedure, the shortened toe is cut and a small pieces of bone is inserted between the cut pieces. However, in most cases of brachymetatarsia the toes is too short and surgery is not an option.
What are Bunions?
A bunion is a bump on the inner side of the foot, right by the big toe. These occur overtime when the big toe begins to shift inward to the second toe. This shift is what causes the big bump on the side of the foot and usually causes inflammation of the tissue in between the tendon and muscle of the toe. Bunions are caused by genetic factors but are not genetically passed down. In addition, foot traumas, arthritis, and improper shoewear may contribute to the formation of bunions.
Treatment of bunions can be surgical or nonsurgical. Non surgical options include things such as padding for more support and anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the swelling. If the pain is extreme and no other non-surgical methods work, surgery can be an option. The goal of surgery is to remove the bump and repair the bone structures that have been changed due to the shifting of bones.
Calcaneal apophysitis is a medical condition where the growth plate in the heel becomes inflamed. It most commonly occurs in younger children ages 8-14 because the heel bone is not fully developed. The main cause of this inflammation is overuse and repeated stress on the heel bone. A child’s heel growth plate is very sensitive to repeated pressure, so children that are involved in running sports are very susceptible to this condition. Other risk factors include obesity and a stiff Achilles tendon.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and callus are thickened layer of protective skin that results from consistent pressure and thickness. When the thickened skin forms on either the top or side of the toe it is referred to as a corn and when the thickened skin is on the bottom of your feet it is called a callus. This thickening of skin is actually a form of protection against blisters.
Corns and Callus Treatment
Corns and calluses are very minor conditions and usually go away overtime. The main way to get rid of these areas of thickened skin is to reduce the amount of friction in the feet. Proper fitted shoes and gloves can help prevent corns and callus.
What is Charcot Foot (Clubfoot)?
Clubfoot is a medical deformity in which the foot points down and inward. This condition is present at birth and effects 1 in every 1,000. It generally is more common in males. There is no exact cause of clubfoot but it could possibly be genetic.
The most common way to treat a clubfoot is to cast the foot. The sooner the cast is put on the better. Along with the cast, stretching techniques are required. This method is usually successful because a baby’s bones, ligaments, and tendons are all still flexible and easy to manipulate. An average baby will wear five to ten casts during their treatment, wearing each cast for about a week or two. The tenth cast will stay on for about 3 weeks. The baby will then need to wear a fulltime brace for about 3 months. After those 3 months, the brace should be worn only at night and when the baby naps. This last brace should be worn for 3 years. In most cases, the cause of the clubbed foot is a tight Achilles tendon. However, in half of the cases, the cast will not provide enough correction. If this is the case, surgery is needed to lengthen or shorten the ligaments and tendons.
- Compartment syndrome
- Diabetic Limb salvage
- Ganglion cyst
- Ingrown toenail
- Turf toe