Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about a variety of podiatric topics all put together here in one place for your convenience.

Ingrown Toenails

How can I avoid an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails can be avoided by trimming your nails straight across. If the shape of your nail is curved, trimming along that curve is acceptable (straight across the curve itself). It is never okay to dig into the corners of your nails. If you find you are making your toes bleed when you are trimming the nails.

What happens when I come into the office for an ingrown toenail?

We have taken the worry out of the experience! Our office provides a warm, home like atmosphere combined with state of the art equipment and instrumentation. We make it easy with snacks, beverages, and even our signature squishy feet stress balls to keep your mind at ease about any procedure.

Are ingrown toenails from cutting my nails wrong?

Ingrown toenails develop for various reasons: heredity, trauma, and improper trimming. Improper trimming is the most common cause of ingrown toenails due to cutting the nail too short. Wearing poorly-fitting shoes, especially tightness in the toe box and loose shoes, can also cause pressure on the toes which can cause ingrown toenails.

Does an ingrown toenail procedure hurt?

No, the ingrown toenail procedure does not hurt. Numbing medication is injected into the toe before the procedure so you don’t feel any pain. There is a little pinch when the medication is injected.

Kid’s Feet

How often should my child have their feet measured?

At least 4 times per year! Measuring your child’s feet seasonally will ensure an accurate, proper fit when choosing new shoes.

Can my child use "hand-me-down" shoes?

For those ‘dress up’ occasions, absolutely. For every day play, NO WAY! Kids are rough on clothes and shoes! It’s important to replace frequently to limit the possibility of foot problems down the road.

Heel Pain

What are the causes of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is caused primarily by a mechanical default – basically your foot type! – and overuse.

  • It happens frequently in active people because they are using their muscles and legs often and may not know about how their foot type works to get them around.
  • It is made worse by a tight Achilles tendon. This tendon attaches to the back of your heel bone and is very strong (the strongest tendon in the body!) The Achilles tendon will get a mechanical advantage if it is tight this will lead to it pulling up and back on your heel bone. The area of least resistance where all that pressure will go is to the attachment of the plantar fascia ligament on the bottom of your heel bone.
How will changing shoe gear help treat heel pain?

When shoes are brand new, they’re providing the support that they were designed and intended to. However, as shoes wear down, they lose this support. There are also shoes that didn’t have much in the way of proper support to being with.

By changing shoe gear and transitioning into a more supportive shoe, you’re providing your foot with a solution to any mechanical irregularities in the way that you walk. The shoe will support your arch and cause less stress on your tendons, which decreases pain. It will also prevent further complications such as fallen arches.

What if stretching, icing, and convenience items don't help my heel pain?

Stretching and icing are just the ‘basics’ in regards to heel pain treatment. If you have tried stretching, icing, stretching splint, shoe modifications, anti-inflammatory medications, and conveniences items but are still experiencing pain we have additional treatment options, including:

  • Custom Orthotics which change biomechanical imbalances in your foot, the causes the heel pain.
  • Steriod injections reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Walking boots can immobilize the foot for a short period of time, allowing it to rest and heal. Walking boots keep the foot at and angle, constantly stretching the plantar fascia so it does not tighten and cause pain.
  • Physical therapy offers a wide range of intense exercises to loosen the plantar fascia.
  • In severe cases, surgical options are also available.

Custom Orthotics

What are custom orthotics?

Orthotics are a custom molded insert for your shoe which correct your biomechanics.  These are mainly used to keep your foot and lower extremity functioning properly.

Will orthotics correct my foot problem?

Orthotics can alleviate the pain associated with your foot problem. They correct the foot problem while you are wearing them, but as soon as you take them off the same problem is still there. If patients wear their orthotics on a regular basis most foot pain is usually alleviated.

Will my orthotics fit into all of my shoes?

There are different types of orthotics. Athletic orthotics will switch from shoe to shoe as long as they have a removable insole. Dress orthotics will fit into most of your dress shoes but not all of them. Patients who find success with orthotics often purchase multiple pairs!

What is an "orthotic outgrowth policy"?

We pride ourselves at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates at providing the most comprehensive care possible to all our patients – so we developed the Pediatric Orthotic Outgrowth Policy to allow children the opportunity to receive and enjoy custom orthotics and minimize the long term cost to parents. 

Fungal Nails

How many fungal nail treatments will I need?

Some people start to see improvement in as little as 1 treatment, but for best results we always perform all 3 treatments. We always recommend topical antifungal treatments to be used in conjunction with laser treatments for best results.

Is there any maintenance after fungal nail treatments?

Fungus is a condition that can come back so we recommend maintenance to prevent reoccurrence. Our maintenance program offers a $99 yearly laser touch up, as well as weekly use of Clarus Antifungal Solution to all nails to prevent recurrence.

Do fungal nail treatments hurt?

The laser treatment is virtually painless. You may just feel a little warmth, in which case the medical assistant will proceed to the next toenail. The warmth is common and nothing to worry about. The laser beam is directed specifically at fungus and the warmth you may feel is your body’s natural reaction to the laser wavelength.

Athlete’s Foot

What are some common signs of athlete's foot?

Athlete’s foot typically occurs in between the toes. A few signs of athlete’s foot include a red scaly rash that can cause itching, stinging, and burning. Sometimes athlete’s foot can be mistaken for dry skin or eczema. Some types of athlete’s foot can include blisters and ulcers. It is contagious and can be spread by contaminated floors, towels, clothing, and showers. It can also spread to your hands if you scratch or pick at the infected parts of your feet.

What causes athlete's foot?

Athlete’s foot is caused by the same type of fungus that causes jock itch and ring worm. A few condition that assist the organisms’ growth include damp socks and shoes and warm, humid conditions.

How do I treat my athlete's foot?

Athlete’s foot can be treated with over the counter (OTC) antifungal medications purchased at the drug store, but the infection often reoccurs. Podiatry offices typically carry a line of stronger OTC medications. Our office recommends Clarus Antifungal Cream and MaceRx, both of which are sold in the office.


Why do I have hammertoes on my feet?

Hammertoes are formed by the pulling and stretching of the tendon in your foot. When one tendon gets more use than the other, a deformity called hammertoe can form. Hammertoes can be formed from different chemical imbalances such as stroke, arthritis, diabetes, and other neuromuscular conditions. Previous foot injuries are another factor that can lead to hammertoes.

Does a hammertoe form because of tight shoes?

While shoes don’t actually cause the hammertoe, yes, when someone wears shoes that are too tight, it can make your hammertoe worse. The squeezing of the toes and tendons from the narrow, pointy-toes shoes or heels can cause extra aggravation on your hammertoe.

Diabetic Feet

What are the most common complications a diabetic can develop?

Patients with diabetes can develop peripheral neuropathy, musculoskeletal problems, sores (Ulcerations), infections, and may need amputations or other surgery due to those problems.

What is neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a disease wherein the nerves sending signals to the extremities (hands and feet) no longer work as well as they used to. This causes numbness and tingling in the extremities. In diabetic patients, this is caused by high sugar levels in the blood affecting the sheath that surrounds the nerves.

How often can a diabetic get their nails, corns, and calluses trimmed?

Most insurance plans allow these services to be performed every 9 weeks. If you wish to receive these services any sooner you would be considered self pay, you would need to pay out of pocket at the time of service.