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Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By Mark S. Block, DPM, FACFS, CWS
October 19, 2018
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Warts  

What Causes Warts?

Got foot warts? Nearly everyone will have a wart at some point in their lives. Warts are typically small, hard skin growths caused by an infection with humanpallilloma virus. Foot warts are treatable. Foot warts are among the most common dermatologic conditions podiatrists treat. Read on to learn about the causes of warts.

An HPV Infection

Common warts are caused by by an HPV infection. Over 100 types of HPV exist. Certain types of HPV infection cause cervical cancer. Some types of HPV infection cause foot warts, while others cause warts that appear on the face, neck, or hands. Of the 100 types of HPV, about 60 cause common warts on areas such as the hands or feet.

Skin-To-Skin Contact

Wart viruses are contagious. You can get foot warts from skin-to-skin contact with people who have warts. However, not all HPV strains are highly contagious. You can get the wart virus by touching an object that another person's wart touched, such as clothing, towels, shoes, or exercise equipment.


Breaks in Your Skin

HPV infects the top layer of skin and usually enters the body in an area of damaged or cut skin. Cuts from shaving can provide an avenue for infection. Getting a scrape can also bring on common warts. Foot warts are very common in swimmers whose feet are scratched by rough pool surfaces.

A Weak Immune System

In most cases, your immune system defeats an HPV infection before it creates a wart. Someone with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable and therefore more likely to develop warts. Immune systems can be weakened by HIV or by immunosuppressant drugs used after organ transplants.


If you want to get rid of foot warts, see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Many types of effective wart treatments are available. They include salicylic acid, cantharidin, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and surgery. Your podiatrist can help you get rid of foot warts once and for all!

By Mark S. Block, DPM, FACFS, CWS
August 23, 2018
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Plantar Fasciitis  

Put an end to your heel pain and get back into the swing of things again.

Did you awaken in the morning thinking you were going to go to the gym but quickly realized that one of your heels is in a lot of pain? Isheel pain the pain bad enough that you even have trouble walking? Heel pain can be the result of a couple different issues but the most common cause is plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes inflammation within a thick band of tissue that runs along the soles of the feet. Our Boca Raton, FL, podiatrist, Dr. Mark Block, is here to shed some light on this very common foot problem.

What is plantar fasciitis?

There is a thick band of tissue that runs along the soles of your feet from your toes to the heel, and this tissue is known as the plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia develop microtears from injury or misuse, it becomes inflamed, leading to heel pain and sometimes arch pain, as well.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

As we mentioned before, the most common symptom is heel pain that may radiate to the arches since the plantar fascia are also responsible for supporting the arches of your feet. Heel pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain. In most cases, the pain will be worse when you first get up in the morning or after long periods of standing or sitting.

You may find that symptoms dissipate throughout the day and even during exercise but come back quickly and sometimes severely right after.

How does plantar fasciitis happen?

In most cases, our patients know what they might have suddenly changed up in their routine that could have lead to this problem. More often than not it’s runners and other athletes who suddenly increased the intensity or duration of a workout without progressing gradually.

Of course, if you also spend long hours on your feet for work, you may also be at an increased risk for heel pain.

How can I treat my heel pain?

First thing’s first, our Boca Raton foot doctor will want to determine if plantar fasciitis is to blame for your heel pain or if there is an injury or other health problem that could be causing your symptoms. Once we determine that you have plantar fasciitis, we can walk you through your treatment plan.

Luckily, most plantar fasciitis cases can be treated with simple, conservative at-home measures such as:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Resting and avoiding high-impact activities
  • Wearing proper and supportive footwear
  • Splinting or bracing the foot at night
  • Wearing custom orthotics
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises (which we can show you during your checkup)

Do you have questions about treating your heel pain? Is this the first time you’ve had plantar fasciitis? If so, our foot specialists here in Boca Raton, FL, are ready to answer your questions and provide your feet with the care they need. Call our office today.

By Mark S. Block, DPM, FACFS, CWS
February 20, 2018
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

HammertoesA hammertoe is one of the most common toe conditions, usually stemming from muscle imbalance in which the joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toe are bent into a contracted, claw-like position. In the early stages, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple conservative measures, but if left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery.

The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle imbalance. Tight-fitting and high-heeled shoes often aggravate the condition, crowding your toes forward. A hammertoe can also be the result of injury in which you break or jam the toe, or from conditions like arthritis or stroke that affect nerves and muscles. In some cases, hammertoes may even be inherited.

Because of their clenched, claw-like appearance, hammertoes will generally be visibly present. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficult or painful motion of a toe joint
  • Redness or swelling at a toe joint
  • Development of calluses and corns
  • Open sores in severe cases

The foot and ankle professionals at our office recommend the following for preventing and reducing the symptoms associated with hammertoe:

  • Wear comfortable, proper-fitting shoes that provide support and allow enough room for your toes
  • Avoid high-heeled or narrow-toed shoes
  • Stretch your toe muscles to relieve pressure and pain
  • Apply splints, cushions or pads to relieve pressure
  • Moisturize with cream to keep the skin soft

Generally, a modification of footwear will reduce the symptoms associated with hammertoe. Other non-surgical treatment includes padding to shield corns and calluses and orthotic devices that are placed in the shoe to help control muscle imbalance. We can help you determine the best treatment for your symptoms. Severe cases that don't respond to conservative measures may require surgery to restore your toe's flexibility and eliminate the pressure.

Hammertoes are progressive - they don't go away by themselves and the condition usually gets worse over time. Once a podiatrist at has evaluated your hammertoe, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.

By Mark S. Block, DPM, FACFS, CWS
November 03, 2017
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunions  

BunionsA bunion is an abnormal, bony prominence that develops on the joint at the base of your big toe. As the big toe joint becomes enlarged, it forces the toe to crowd against your other toes, and the pressure exerted on your big toe joint results in inflammation and pain. Early treatment is necessary to decrease the risk of developing joint deformities.

Bunions develop due to prolonged abnormal pressure or motion on your big toe joint, most often caused by inherited structural defects, poor-fitting shoes, foot injuries, or congenital deformities. Women are generally more prone to bunions because of the shoe types typically worn, such as high-heels and narrow-toed shoes.

Bunion pain can range from mild to severe, often making it difficult to wear shoes and perform normal activities. You should contact our office if you notice the following symptoms:

  • An enlarged, visible bulge on your big toe joint
  • Restricted movement of your big toe or foot that prevents you from performing normal activities
  • Irritation, corns or calluses caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
  • Frequent pain, swelling or redness around your big toe joint

Treatment For a Bunion

Treatment for a bunion will vary depending on its severity. Identifying the condition in its early stages is important to avoid surgery, with the main objective of early treatment being to relieve pressure and stop the progression of the deformity. Many times conservative treatments, such as padding, modified footwear or orthotic devices can be highly effective for preventing further growth and reducing the pressure and pain.

We recommend the following for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions:

  • Wear comfortable shoes that don't cramp or irritate your toes and avoid high-heeled shoes
  • Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Our podiatrists can show you how to apply padding to your foot to place it in its normal position and reduce stress on the bunion

When early treatments fail or the persistent pain associated with your bunion is interfering with your daily activities, a surgical procedure may be recommended as a last resort to realign the toe joint and alleviate the pressure. We can advise you on the best treatment options available to relieve pressure on the bunion and slow the progression of the joint deformity.

By Mark S. Block, DPM, FACFS, CWS
October 09, 2017
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Athlete's Foot  

Athletes FootAthlete's foot is one of the most common fungal infections of the skin and is frequently seen in our office. Whether you've had it or not, it's important to understand how you can avoid and treat this highly contagious infection if you do contract it.

The fungus that causes athlete's foot thrives in damp, moist environments and often grows in warm, humid climates, such as locker rooms, showers and public pools; hence the name "athlete's foot. " This infection can itch and burn causing the skin on your feet and between your toes to crack and peel.

Tips For avoiding Athlete's Foot:

  • Keep your feet dry, allowing them to air out as much as possible
  • Wear socks that draw moisture away from your feet and change them frequently if you perspire heavily
  • Wear light, well-ventilated shoes
  • Alternate pairs of shoes, allowing time for your shoes to dry each day
  • Always wear waterproof shoes in public areas, such as pools, locker rooms, or communal showers
  • Never borrow shoes due to the risk of spreading a fungal infection

Treatment

A mild case of athlete's foot will generally clear up on its own with over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays. But since re-infection is common due to its contagious nature, many people require prescribed anti-fungal medication to effectively treat the infection. Generally, it's always best to consult with your podiatrist before choosing a treatment.

Mild cases of athlete's foot can turn severe and even cause a serious bacterial infection. If you notice your rash has become increasingly red, swollen and painful or you develop blisters and sores, call our office right away. Athlete's foot left untreated could eventually spread to other body parts and infect other people around you.

With the right treatment, you'll be cured of your athlete's foot in no time, which means the sooner you can enjoy the activities you love without pain and irritation!