Foot and Ankle Center Blog
By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
January 07, 2020
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Sprained Ankle   Sprain  

One wrong step and you could just end up dealing with a sprained ankle. A sprain occurs when the ankle suddenly rolls inwards or outwards, which jolts the ankle joint out of place and also overstretches (and perhaps even tears) the ligaments and tendons of the ankles. These tendons also provide the feet with support. It’s important to understand how to best care for a sprained ankle and when you should see a podiatrist for care.

You could be dealing with an ankle sprain if you experience:

  • Swelling
  • Ankle pain
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Limited range of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Trouble putting weight on the ankle

If you suspect that you have sprained your ankle it’s important to call your podiatrist right away. A foot doctor will be able to discuss your symptoms with you and then determine whether you should come in for an immediate evaluation. A doctor will also provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that will promote a fast and complete recovery.

There are different degrees of a sprain and the way your podiatrist recommends treating the injury will depend on its severity and the symptoms you are experiencing. Mild sprains can often be managed with simple home treatment. This includes resting and staying off the ankle as much as possible as well as:

  • Bandaging or wrapping the ankle
  • Wearing an ankle braces
  • Using crutches (for more serious sprains)
  • Elevating your ankle to reduce swelling
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
  • Not putting weight on the ankle
  • Icing the ankle 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a day (for the first 48 hours after injury)

It can take up to 10 days for a mild sprain to heal, while more severe sprains can take several weeks. When you come into the office for an evaluation, your podiatrist will also discuss how long you should stay off the ankle and avoid certain activities.

It is rare for a sprained ankle to require surgery; however, if there is significant damage to the ligaments that could lead to long-term instability and other issues, or if your symptoms do not improve with home care, then your foot and ankle doctor may recommend surgery to repair the torn ligament.

With proper and prompt care an ankle sprain should heal completely and not require additional treatment; however, the minute you experience symptoms of a sprained ankle or ankle injury you should see your podiatrist as soon as possible.

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
December 23, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: heel pain  

Heel pain is one of the most common foot problems. Find out what could be going on.

Have you gradually been noticing that the heels and arches of your feet are achy after physical activity or after a full day of movement? If so, you may be wondering what’s going on. Fortunately, here at our offices in Springfield, Carlinville, Sullivan, Decatur, Shelbyville, and Taylorville, IL, our podiatrists, Dr. John Sigle and Dr. Grant Gonzalez, as well as chiropractor, Dr. Jared Kennedy, can help alleviate your heel pain.

What is causing my heel pain?

If you are experiencing pain under the heel, it is likely caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes the plantar fascia to become inflamed or irritated. If you are experiencing pain behind the heel (and also the sides of the foot) this is often caused by Achilles tendonitis.

Contrary to what you might assume, heel pain usually isn’t caused by an injury. In fact, this problem usually occurs over time as a result of overuse and overstretching of the tendon or fascia.

How is heel pain treated?

If you are only dealing with mild pain, then you may be able to ease the pain on your own; however, it is very important that you turn to your foot doctor in Springfield, Carlinville, Sullivan, Decatur, Shelbyville, or Taylorville, IL, if symptoms do not get better with at-home care.

You can ease heel pain by,

  • Resting your feet and keeping your feet elevated when sitting down
  • Placing an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the heel for 15-20 minutes at a time several times a day
  • Wearing supportive, properly fitted, and cushioned shoes
  • Wearing heel pads or shoe inserts in shoes to provide additional support and shock absorption for your feet
  • Splinting or bandaging the arches of your feet (talk to your podiatrist about how to do this properly)
  • Perform regular stretching exercises for the feet
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications
  • Avoid pointy shoes or high heels

Need relief? Give us a call

Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois provides comprehensive foot and ankle care to patients living in Springfield, Carlinville, Sullivan, Decatur, Shelbyville, and Taylorville, IL. If you are dealing with severe or recurring heel pain call the experts at (217) 787-2700 to schedule a consultation.

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
November 27, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Toenail Fungus  

Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.

What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?

A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.

Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.

Treating Toenail Fungus

The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.

There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.

A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.

Other treatment options include:

  • Medicated nail polish
  • Laser fungal treatment
  • Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)

If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
November 04, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Foot Care   Baby Feet  

A child's feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half of their adult foot size. This is why podiatrists consider the first year to be the most important in the development of the feet. Proper care at a young age is essential for healthy development.  Since many adult foot ailments develop in childhood, periodic visits to your child’s podiatrist and basic foot care can help minimize these problems later in life.

A child’s feet are formed from soft, pliable cartilage which makes them more susceptible to deformities. A young child can be affected by foot conditions such as:

  • Intoeing
  • Out-toeing
  • Flat feet
  • Warts
  • Heel pain

Tips for Parents

Parents can help promote normal, healthy foot development for their baby.

  • Examine your baby’s feet regularly. If you detect anything unusual, contact your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist right away.
  • Encourage exercise.  Lying uncovered allows the baby to kick and move feet and toes freely so not to inhibit normal development.
  • Cover feet loosely. Tight clothing or covers restrict movement.
  • Alternate your baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in one spot may place unnecessary strain on the feet and legs.

Growing Up

As your baby continues to grow and develop, so will the feet. It may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months, as tight-fitting footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. After your child takes their first steps, you should also carefully observe walking patterns. Intoeing, out-toeing, and gait abnormalities can be corrected when they are detected early.

A baby’s feet will carry them throughout life, so it’s important to begin good foot care at a young age. Neglecting your child’s foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the back and legs. Whether you have questions about your child’s foot health or suspect a problem with the development of your child’s feet, please contact our office. We want every step your child makes toward adulthood to be pain-free and easy!

By Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois
October 25, 2019
Category: Foot Health
Tags: Healthy Feet  

Older adults across the country are developing plans to age in place and to reach lifelong health. The AARP estimates that over 90% of the population over age 65 are striving to remain in their homes as long as they possibly can and live independent lifestyles. 

According to Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab, older adults are making an investment in home improvements for longevity.* The top trends for aging in place include access and lighting improvements throughout the home, moving bedrooms to the main floor with more accessible closets and beds, creating kitchens that are more accessible for wheelchair use, and partnering with providers who offer home assistance services.* 

Older adults are also preparing for the next stage in life to live life to the fullest.

Many are transforming good intentions into new lifestyle habits to age well. According to Kay Van Norman, President of Brilliant Aging, older adults are spending more time deciding where they want to live, what they want to do, and what they need to do to make that happen. They are making plans to create a strong foundation for lifelong health.* 

Marc Middleton, author of Growing Bolder and creator of the Growing Bolder Ambassador Movement, is rebranding aging with energy and enthusiasm for life. Middleton aspires to the belief that you don’t have to dread aging. He believes that this new life stage can become an exciting journey! 

According to Dr. John Sigle, founder of the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois, “many of our older adults are undergoing a major transformation in their lives. They are changing their lifestyle and fine tuning their bodies to prepare for the next stage. Many of them seek help to resolve long-standing foot problems to resolve pain and improve mobility.”

According to the American College for Foot and Ankle Surgeons, there is a common misconception that growing older means having to cope with sore feet; however, foot pain is not the consequence of aging. Although many older adults have foot pain, aging alone is not responsible. Foot pain is not a normal part of aging. 

According to Dr. Grant Gonzalez, Associate podiatrist at the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois, “most common foot and ankle problems can be treated successfully with the right diagnosis, conservative treatments, and proper rehabilitation. Some conditions require more advanced diagnosis and surgical corrections. We use advanced 3D CT Imaging to diagnose and preplan surgeries for bunions, hammertoes, stress fractures, and Flatt-foot corrections.” 

According to Dr. Sigle, some of the more serious foot and ankle problems associated with aging include joint deterioration that often lead to painful Arthritis. “Arthritis in the big toe (Hallux Rigidus) is a common problem that causes improper biomechanics and structural abnormalities of the foot. The ankle is also prone to Arthritis if there is a history of trauma or sprains. Often, these conditions lead to end-stage Arthritis requiring advanced surgery.” 

According to Dr. Gonzalez, “We encourage older adults to take proactive steps to live an independent lifestyle. We will partner with you to reach your goals and transition to the next stage of life!” 

If you are seeking advanced foot and ankle surgeons call the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois at (217) 787-2700 to schedule an appointment. Clinics are located in Springfield, Decatur, Taylorville, Carlinville, Shelbyville, and Sullivan. Visit the medical library at to obtain information on foot and ankle treatments. 

*Growing Bolder/Spring 19

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