Every day, patients come into the Leesburg office of Dr. William Knudson with a variety of foot maladies. The ankle and foot specialist helps patients with both foot care and treatment, advising families on the importance of proper footwear. Among the many issues that Dr. William Knudson deals with in the course of his practice are several that come up repeatedly. Today, Dr. William Knudson answers some of the frequently asked questions from his patients at Podiatric Care of Northern Virginia.
Q: What is the most common foot problem you see?
Dr. William Knudson: Fungal and bacterial issues are often the reason patients come to see me. Often they’ll notice strange toenail discoloration or blisters and itchiness.
Q: Why are fungal problems so common?
Dr. William Knudson: Feet spend so much time crammed into shoes and socks, it’s easy for moisture to build up, especially for extremely active people.
Q: What happens if I don’t seek treatment for a fungal issue?
Dr. William Knudson: It could evolve into athlete’s foot, a much more serious condition that can lead to toenail loss, skin infections, and lymph gland infection.
Q: Another common condition you treat is plantar fasciitis. Explain what that is.
Dr. William Knudson: Plantar fasciitis is caused by a repetitive strain on the arch of the foot. It is an inflammation of the foot’s fascia tissues.
Q: What causes plantar fasciitis?
Dr. William Knudson: We see it with patients who wear heels or have a certain foot shape. It also can be caused by the patient putting weight more on one part of his or her foot while walking.
Q: How is plantar fasciitis treated?
Dr. William Knudson: Treatment may involve wearing a certain type of shoe, or simply staying away from high heels. If left untreated, heel spurs could eventually develop.
Q: Ingrown toenails are a common problem. Is they caused by untrimmed toenails?
Dr. William Knudson: That certainly doesn’t help, but we also find that patients are often wearing ill-fitting shoes. It also can be caused by an injury to the feet. For some patients, though, the cause is related to the natural shape of their feet.
Q: What treatment is there for an ingrown toenail?
Dr. William Knudson: If a patient comes in with an ingrown toenail, I first check for infection. If it isn’t infected, the patient may simply soak the toe in warm salt water to relieve pain and promote healing. I’ll also wipe the area with antiseptic and bandage it to help accelerate healing.
Q: What if the ingrown toenail has become infected?
Dr. William Knudson: When a patient comes in with an ingrown toenail, we’ll treat the infection first, and then proceed with easing the patient’s pain. If a patient notices an infection beginning, it’s important to seek treatment immediately to prevent further problems from developing.