Sound Shore Podiatry and Central Park Podiatry


Painful Bunions & Flat Feet


    Painful bunions are common in patients that we treat, associated with pain by the big toe. Our practice provides everything from alternative footwear to bunion surgery when necessary. Flat feet is another type of pain caused by a lack of arch, typically cared for with orthotics. In severe cases, Dr. Morelli and his team will provide surgical management when necessary.

    What is a bunion?

    A bunion is a bony bump that takes shape on the base of the first, or big, toe. Bunions are a progressive deformity that can become more severe over time. The most common symptoms associated with this condition are pain on the side of the foot, often aggravated when one is wearing shoes.

    How are bunions treated? 

    After x-rays and an examination of the patient's foot, the podiatrist will determine the severity of the problem before recommending treatment. Treatment options may include:

    • Anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers can help ease the discomfort and pain associated with bunions. 
    • Custom sole orthotics or orthopedic shoes may help slow a bunions progression and reduce pain if the condition is mild.
    • If pain and discomfort are hindering your daily activity and mobility, surgery is usually required to re-align the bone under the big toe.The surgical operation to correct a bunion is referred to as a bunionectomy.  Surgeries are often, but not always successful, but the best way to revive foot function and relieve pain in severe cases. 

    Is it possible to prevent bunions?

    If diagnosis is made early on, bunion progression can be slowed down by proper footwear and custom shoe inserts. It is recommended that you see a podiatrist early on to fully evaluate a bunion and offer treatment.

    What are flat feet?

    Most people have a gap under the arch of their foot when they are standing. The arch, the inner part of the foot is slightly raised off the ground. People with flat feet or fallen arches either have no arch, or it is very low. The feet of people with fallen arches may roll over to the inner side when they are standing or walking, known as overpronation. The feet may point outward.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    • Podiatrists will diagnose flat feet by watching the patient stand and walk, and by examining the feet
    • If flat feet cause pain, supportive well-fitted shoes may be recommended
    • Insoles and custom orthotics may reduce pressure and relieve pain
    • In severe cases, an ankle brace or surgery may be required
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      Foot and Heel Pain

      Many people develop foot and heel pain at some point in their lives. If you are experiencing persisting foot and heel pain, or pain continues when you are not standing, you should contact us for an appointment. 

      Other types of common pain we treat include, bunions, flat feet, hammertoes, tendonitis, diabetic nerve pain, and swelling.

      What is causing my foot pain?

      Foot pain can be caused by a range of things, from everyday strain of physical activity to something more severe. If pain is chronic, it could be caused by:

      • Achilles tendinitis
      • Bone spurs
      • Broken bones and toes
      • Bunions and hammertoes
      • Corns and calluses
      • Diabetic neuropathy
      • Flatfeet
      • Gout
      • Poor shoes
      • Ingrown toenails
      • Nerve Damage
      • Plantar fasciitis
      • Arthritis
      • Stress Fractures
      • Tendinitis

      When should I see a doctor?

      You should schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists if:

      • You have trouble walking or moving around
      • Your foot problem does not improve with time
      • You notice a foot deformity
      • You have numbness or tingling sensations
      • You have persistent bruising, swelling, or soreness

      ...or you're just not sure! A comprehensive foot evaluation is always the best way to diagnose the right treatment options for relieving foot pain.

      Treatment Options:

      Orthotics, steroid injection therapy, physical therapy, stretching, immobilization, NSAIDS, oral steroids, ice, strapping and taping techniques, night splints, shoe analysis and modifications are often incorporated with the therapies below:

      Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy is strongly recommended for heel pain that has failed to respond to conventional therapies. Anesthesia in not required and you don’t need to refrain from participating in sports-related activities during treatment. It’s an excellent alternative to surgery.

      The Diowave 15-30 Class IV laser provides low-level laser therapy that has been effective in treating soft tissue pain and also requires no anesthesia. This treatment has proven success, and is often combined with low-energy shock wave therapy.

      Surgical Options:

      The Topaz™ Microdebrider is an innovative technique that uses a minimally invasive approach to preserve and restore the normal anatomic structure of the plantar fascia, by delivering a precise amount of radiofrequency energy to stimulate an immediate healing response. Open surgical excision of a large heel spur is always a last resort, and is only considered when conservative options have failed.

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      Diabetic Foot Care

      Diabetic foot care is vitally important to preventing complications related to high blood sugar. Many people with diabetes develop circulatory problems, ulcers, or peripheral nerve damage, which in some cases can result in serious infection or amputation.

      What are the symptoms of diabetic foot problems?

      • Diabetic neuropathy can cause numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet.
      • Circulation problems in the feet that cause intense pain, even if the feet feel numb.
      • Bacterial infections that become irritated or ulcerated
      • Fungal toenails or yeast infections

      When should I see a doctor?

      It is recommended that all diabetics have an annual or semiannual foot exam. We provide comprehensive patient education for diabetic foot care, and both conservative and surgical treatment for diabetic infections, ulcers, and deformities.

      What are my options for treatment?

      While damaged nerves cannot be replaced, there are many ways to prevent additional damage and relieve your pain. Treatment options may include medication or regimens for daily care, which are tailored to each patient based on their specific condition.

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      Foot Care for Kids

      Catching foot problems in a child's early years is the best way to avoid foot problems in the future. If you notice something uncommon in the appearance of your child's feet, it may be a sign of a larger, underlying problem.

      Should I visit the doctor?

      As children grow, some of these conditions correct themselves without treatment, while others may become more severe due to other medical or biomechanical conditions. It is important that you see a podiatrist to determine the difference between problems that will correct themselves, and others that need intervention at an early age. Physicians and pediatricians may not catch abnormal foot conditions that are commonly thought to correct themselves, so an evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is necessary to determine whether treatment is needed, or nothing at all.

      Check for symptoms and schedule an appointment if you notice flat feet, pain, limping, ankles turning in, or any change in your child's physical activity level.

      At what age should I bring my child to see a doctor?

      It is never too early for a foot exam! Foot and ankle conditions can afflict children of any age, and it is always better to diagnose and address a problem early on. As children become active in sports and physical activities, it is even more important to look out for changes in their feet and ankles.

      As parents themselves, Dr. Morelli and Dr. Shvets are committed to helping children of all ages. Not sure whether to bring your child to the doctor? Reach out to us with your questions.

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      Sport Injuries

      Yes, you are an athlete! Whether you train or run errands all day, your feet undergo much of the same stress as athletes.

      Your foot is under significant stress from everyday activity. Certain athletes, such as dancers, gymnasts, or basketball players have an increased risk of toe, foot, and ankle injuries. The risk for injury is higher in sports with jumping such as basketball, or sports with quick direction change such as soccer or football. Any bone injury near a joint may injure the growth plate in a child and needs to be evaluated.

      When should you see a podiatrist for a sports injury?

      • You experience severe pain when walking or engaging in physical activity
      • You have severe swelling or tenderness
      • Not being able to place weight on your foot or ankle
      • Pain persists for more than 48 hours

      What are my treatment options for a sports injury?

      Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment can include targeted physical therapy as well as icing and pain medication, with a focus on a safe and early return to activity. Immobilizing boots may also be required for a short period, and other complicated conditions may require surgery, although this is always our last resort. 

      Other Resources:

      -  Women and Stress Fractures
      -  Treating and Recovering from Achilles Injury


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      Not sure what is causing your pain?

      In addition to foot problems mentioned elsewhere on our website, we treat a range of common problems, including: 

      • Fungal Nail Infection
      • Arthritis
      • Ingrown Toenails
      • Hammertoes
      • Bone Spurs
      • Neruomas
      • Skin Conditions
      • Warts, and
      • Chronic Wounds.

      It is common that patients do not know the cause of their foot pain. We're here to help. Call our offices or request an appointment online for a foot evaluation by one of our foot and ankle specialists.

      Caitlin morelli