My Blog
By Dr. Robert B. Kierstein
March 05, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions  

What foot deformity occurs in women ten times as frequently as in men of the same age? it's the common bunion, say researchers at bunionsHarvard Medical School. Causing pain, redness, and even limited mobility, bunions can be treated. For particulars, seek the advice of Dr. Robert Kierstein, your highly experienced podiatrist in Kirkland, WA who wants the best for your feet and overall well-being.

The typical bunion in Kirkland

It's a sore, red bump at the base of the big toe. It affects the metatarsophalangeal joint, the juncture between the first metatarsal bone of the foot and the pharynx bone of the first toe. With a bunion, the toe bends inward toward the second or even third toe, and sometimes, other deformities such as hammertoes, corns, and calluses form.

While most bunions affect the big toe, smaller deformities, called bunionettes or tailor's bunions, form on the fifth, or little, toes. As the size of a bunion increases, so do the associated discomforts, including:

  • Thickened skin on the bottom of the feet
  • Pain when walking
  • Arthritis and bursitis
  • Numbness or a burning sensation

Why bunions develop

While people are not born with bunions, the tendency to develop these foot problems may run in families. Usually, women develop bunions more often then men do, and certain lifestyle factors set the stage for their development, including:

  • Wearing shoes with poor support, narrow toe boxes and heels that are too high
  • Trauma to the foot
  • Improper gait with too much weight placed on the inside surface of the foot and on the toes

Treating bunions

The good news is that bunions can be corrected, and while surgery, or bunionectomy, may be an option, it definitely is not the first, or only, choice. More conservative measures generally reduce the inflammation, pain and other symptoms.

If you come to see Dr. Kierstein regarding bunion symptoms, he'll visually inspect your foot and take digital x-rays to view the bone structure. If he confirms a bunion, he'll develop a care plan to reduce pain and swelling and help bring the toe into proper alignment.

Treatment measures may include:

  • A change in shoes to ones with a wider toe box and better overall support
  • Shoe padding to reduce friction on pressure points
  • Corn and callus removal
  • Stretching exercises and other kinds of physical therapy
  • Night splints to realign the big toe (especially helpful with young people)
  • Customized orthotics, or shoe inserts, to relieve pressure and correct gait problems
  • Cortisone injections to reduce swelling and over the counter medications to relieve pain

Fix those feet

Dr. Kierstein is experienced in all aspects of podiatric medicine. He can help you with your bunions or any other foot health concerns. To arrange a consultation, please contact his office in Kirkland, WA at (425) 899-5331.

By Dr. Robert B. Kierstein
December 19, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Heel Spurs  

Heel pain is one of the most common foot problems according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. While the occasional bout of heel painpain or discomfort after a long day on your feet, or from wearing uncomfortable shoes is usually normal, ongoing or recurring pain can be a sign of a heel spurs. Dr. Robert Kierstein, a podiatrist in Kirkland, WA, offers diagnostic and treatment options for heel spurs and other foot and ankle conditions and injuries.

Treatment for Heel Spurs in Kirkland, WA

Heel spurs are bony protrusions on the underside of the heel bone. Because heel spurs sometimes develop in conjunction with plantar fasciitis, a common cause of heel pain that results from inflammation to the large ligament that spans the length or your foot from the heel bone to the base of the toes, the two conditions are sometimes referred to interchangeable. However, only 5% of people with heel spurs report experiencing heel pain according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Causes and Risk Factors for Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are caused by calcium deposits on the heel bone, which can cause sharp shooting pain during movement. Although anyone can develop heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, there are a few factors that may increase the likelihood of developing one:

  • Age - they are generally more common over the age of 40
  • Being overweight/obese
  • Wearing shoes with inadequate support
  • Repeatedly standing for long periods of time

In some cases, people with low arches (also known as flat feet) may put additional pressure on certain parts of the foot while walking or participating in physical activities like distance running, increasing the risk of inflammation of the plantar fascia and heel spurs.

Find a Podiatrist in Kirkland, WA

If heel spurs and pain have been interfering with your physical activity and quality of life, contact our office by calling (425) 899-5331 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kierstein today.

By Dr. Robert B. Kierstein
October 17, 2017
Category: Foot Care

When your Achilles tendon is injured, walking, running, jumping or even standing on your toes becomes painful and difficult. Our Kirkland, achilles tendonWA, podiatrist, Dr. Robert Kierstein, treats a variety of conditions that cause foot and ankle pain, including Achilles tendon problem. He discusses common conditions and treatment options.

Achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon, the long tendon that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone, becomes inflamed. If you have the condition, you may notice pain and swelling at the back of your heel that feels worse after you've been active. Other symptoms can include difficulty moving your foot and tight calf muscles. The condition often occurs in people who run for exercise, but other factors can increase your risk, such as flat feet, jobs that require lots of standing, poorly fitting shoes and tight calf muscles.

Achilles tendonosis

Small tears and scar tissue can develop in your tendon if you have Achilles tendonosis. The condition may be more likely to occur if you continue to participate in your normal activities despite experiencing Achilles tendinitis symptoms, or return to running or other activities before healing completely. If you've experienced ankle pain for weeks or months, Achilles tendonosis may be to blame.

Ruptured Achilles tendon

Ruptures occur when your tendon partially or fully tears. They're common during a fall or accident, but can also occur if you participate in sports that involve jumping or running. Achilles tendon ruptures cause sudden, severe pain and are often accompanied by a popping sound. If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, you won't be able to put your weight on your leg.

How are Achilles tendon problems treated?

When you visit our Kirkland office, we'll ask you to describe your symptoms and perform an examination that will allow us to diagnose and treat your Achilles tendon problem. Achilles tendinitis often improves if you rest your leg for a week or two, apply ice, take anti-inflammatories, wear a compression bandage and keep the leg elevated. Exercises that help stretch your calf muscles can also be helpful.

If you're diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, physical therapy to break apart scar tissue, orthotics and walking boots can be helpful. You may also benefit from shockwave therapy and other therapies that facilitate healing.

Achilles tendon ruptures often improve with rest. Anti-inflammatories and ice can reduce pain and swelling, while a walking boot and heel wedge will reduce stress on the tendon as it heals. If the rupture is severe or doesn't respond to more conservative treatments, you may need surgery.

Are you concerned about Achilles tendon pain or foot pain? Call our Kirkland, WA podiatrist, Dr. Kierstein, at (425) 899-5331 to schedule an appointment.

By Dr. Robert B. Kierstein
August 17, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: ankle sprain  

Experienced an ankle injury? Find out if you could be dealing with a sprainankle sprain

Whether you were just recently in a car accident or you just love playing sports with your friends, there are so many scenarios in which foot and ankle injuries can happen. Our Kirkland, WA, podiatrist Dr. Robert Kierstein is here to share the telltale symptoms of a sprained ankle and when you should come in for professional care.

You may have a sprained ankle if you are noticing:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion or flexibility
  • Pain when putting weight on the affected foot

Since there are a variety of ankle injuries that can present with these symptoms it’s important that you visit our Kirkland, WA, foot doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.

We will be able to diagnose the condition by examining the foot and asking you questions about your symptoms. We may also need to run imaging tests (X-rays) to determine the extent of the injury and to see whether you are dealing with a serious injury.

How is a sprained ankle treated?

The treatment plan we create for you will really depend on the severity of your sprain. In most cases, simple self-care measures can be taken to reduce symptoms while the ankle heals. Common treatment options include:

  • Icing
  • Rest
  • Elevation
  • Compression
  • Ankle braces or supportive footwear
  • Crutches (for more extensive sprains)

The best piece of advice is to rest your foot as much as possible and to stay off of it. Avoid certain activities that could exacerbate your condition. If you have a mild sprain, symptoms usually go away within a week to 10 days; however, if you are dealing with a more severe sprain than it could take six weeks or more for the injury to fully heal. When you come in for treatment we will be able to provide you with the information you need to get your ankle health back on track.

If you ever have any concerns about the health of your feet or ankles don’t hesitate to call our Kirkland, WA, podiatry office to find out how we can help you. When in doubt, pick up the phone and give us a call. We are here for you.

By Dr. Robert B. Kierstein
June 23, 2017
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Bunion  

Everyone is likely to suffer from some type of foot pain from time to time. But when pain becomes chronic and affects your ability to walk orBunion wear your favorite shoes, it could be a sign of an injury. Bunions are a common podiatry problem caused by a deformity of the Metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe. Dr. Robert Kierstein, a foot doctor in Kirkland, WA, offers treatment for bunions and foot and ankle pain and injuries.

Bunion Treatment in Kirkland, WA

Also known as a hallux valgus, a bunion causes the first metatarsal bone in the foot to turn outward, and the big toe to turn inward towards the other toes. Like every joint, the MTP contains small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) which help to protect the joint by cushioning the bones during movement. When a bursa sac becomes inflamed from prolonged pressure or an injury, it can lead to pain and deformities in the joint. Anyone can develop a bunion, but they tend to be more common in women. According to Harvard Health, wearing narrow, tight fitting shoes that crowd the toes can trigger the formation of a bunion, but they are hereditary and more likely to develop in people with certain foot types.

What Causes a Bunion?

The most common underlying cause for bunions are:

  • Family history
  • Low arches/flat feet
  • Joint instability

Wearing shoes that put additional pressure on the joint and lack adequate arch support act as a catalyst, but they are not the direct cause of a bunion.

Bunion Signs and Symptoms

Bunions are visible as a bump at the base of the affected toe. They also tend to be painful and can make it difficult to put pressure on the foot or wear certain shoes over time. They can also cause corns and calluses from friction between the skin and your shoes. A foot doctor can treat a bunion in several ways. The most common treatment usually involves assistive devices like padding and orthotics to help lift the arches and relieve pressure on the joint, as well as exercise and physical therapy to prevent joint stiffness. In rare and extreme cases, a bunion may be removed through surgery.

Find a Foot Doctor in Kirkland, WA

Foot and ankle pain can interfere with your daily routine and overall quality of life. For more information about bunion prevention and treatment, contact our office by calling (425) 899-5331 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kierstein today.

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