Frequently Asked Questions


Diabetic Foot Care

Foot Diseases

General Foot Care 

Heel Pain

Treatment Options

Skin and Nail Problems


What skin problems can affect diabetics?

Damage from fluctuating blood sugars can lead to a variety of skin problems in diabetics. Dryness, fungal infections, and diabetic dermopathy are a few conditions that cause problems. Damage to your nerves impacts the thousands of sweat glands in your feet and makes you vulnerable to dry skin. The drier your feet become, the most susceptible they are to painful splits, fissures, blisters, and calluses. Moisture, especially between the toes, can easily lead to fungal infections. Athlete’s foot and fungal nails are uncomfortable enough on their own, but may open your body to bacterial infections as well. Diabetic dermopathy is a change in the blood vessels under the skin. As it progresses, you develop brown, scaly spots.

If you have diabetes and have noticed a change in the skin on your feet, have it examined right away before serious complications develop. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle in Berkley, MI, for an appointment or for information on taking care of your feet and ankles. Call (248) 545-0100 or use the website contact form to reach us.

Should I have surgery for plantar fasciitis?

Whether or not you need plantar fasciitis surgery depends on your individual situation. The vast majority of people who develop heel pain from this condition have their discomfort completely resolved through conservative, noninvasive methods. Only about 5% of people with this problem need a surgical solution to eliminate their pain, and that is determined by working with an expert like those here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle. If you continue to struggle with intense heel discomfort after at least six months or more of working through conservative treatments, then surgery may be a reasonable option for you.

Most people with chronic heel pain find that plantar fasciitis surgery is successful where conservative treatments were not; however, like any procedure, it does have some risk. You will need to discuss your options with our specialists completely before making your decision. If you’re struggling with heel pain and wonder if surgery might be the best solution for you, contact our office in Berkley for an appointment or more information. Call (248) 545-0100 or visit the contact page online to reach us.

Do I need bunion surgery?

Whether or not you need bunion surgery depends on your unique foot and how much your condition is affecting your ability to walk without pain. Doctors can and do operate on bunions both big and little. If conservative treatments have not been successful in helping you manage your discomfort or the progression of your condition, surgery may be your best option for relief.

The experts at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle will evaluate the bump at the base of your big toe to determine what kind of procedure would benefit your foot the most. Then they can help you move forward with the remedy.

Don’t wait until surgery is your only option for pain relief. If you do choose to have surgery, the specialists at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle can help you navigate the whole process smoothly. Contact our Berkley office for an appointment or more information. Visit the website contact page, or call (248) 545-0100.

How do I choose the right shoes?

Choosing shoes doesn’t have to be difficult. First you need to know how you will use these shoes. Are they for soccer practice, your daily jog, a hiking trip, or a day at the office? Different activities have different needs. Once you know what to look for, have your feet measured to get an accurate fit. Then try on the pair that interests you. It should be wide enough that your feet aren’t squeezed, with half an inch between your toes and the end. Shoes shouldn’t need a “breaking in” period to feel right, and they should meet all your support needs or fit your orthotics comfortably as well. If you’re struggling to find the right shoes, or aren’t sure what your unique support needs may be, contact the experts at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle for more information or an appointment. Call (248) 545-0100 or visit our online contact page to reach our Berkley office.

Can stretching prevent foot pain?

Many people use stretching to prevent foot pain. It helps your muscles and connective tissues relax and release tension, so they’re less likely to pull painfully on your foot structures. When stretches are paired with exercises that work the small muscles in your feet, they can help condition and stabilize your lower limbs to handle the strain of your activities. Make sure you work both the calf muscles and the tissues in your feet. The runner’s stretch, heel raises, and stair stretch all work your calves. The towel pull, plantar stretch, toe spread, and foot rolls work the muscles in your soles and other parts of your lower limbs.

Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle for the most effective ways to condition your feet to prevent injuries, or if you already struggle with discomfort. They can help you eliminate your pain and maintain strong, healthy feet. Call (248) 545-0100 or visit the online contact page to request more information or an appointment.

What does shockwave therapy treat?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT treatment) is used to treat chronic pain caused by a variety of conditions, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Occasionally it can be used to address stress fractures as well. Generally ESWT treatment is used for long-term discomfort and inflammation that hasn’t responded to other conservative measures. The experts here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle direct high-powered waves of energy at the affected tissues. This energy stimulates the body’s natural immune response, sending nutrient-rich blood and various repair cells to take care of the damage quickly, relieving your discomfort.

If you’ve been struggling with persistent heel pain or other discomfort in your lower limbs, and other conservative measures have not helped, ESWT may benefit you. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle for more information or an appointment. Fill out the website contact form, or call the Berkley, MI, office at (248) 545-0100 to reach us.

What is a callus?

Calluses are hardened, thickened areas of skin on the soles of your feet or the bottoms of your toes. Typically they appear waxy, greyish, and flattened. They may also be dry and flaky. They develop as a form of defense against irritation from friction and rubbing, often from poor footwear or a biomechanical issue. Unfortunately, this excess skin can actually become a problem. It can press painfully into the softer tissues it’s meant to protect, making it unpleasant to walk around or even wear shoes. They also have a higher risk than healthy, flexible skin for developing splits or fissures, which makes you more vulnerable to infections.

If your calluses are uncomfortable, don’t ignore them and limp around in your shoes. Our expert staff can help you pare down your excess skin build-up and restore your lower limbs to full health. Contact our Berkley, MI, office for an appointment or more information by calling (248) 545-0100 or by using the online contact form to reach us.

Can smoking cause foot problems?

Smoking and foot problems are more connected than you may believe. Smoking damages more than just your heart and your lungs—it causes significant changes elsewhere on your body. Tobacco smoke stiffens and narrows your arteries. Your lower limbs are already far away from your heart, weakening your circulation. If your arteries further restrict your circulation, you risk developing problems with peripheral artery disease. This can cause pain, trouble recovering from injuries, and slow-healing sores. You may also notice a thinning and breakdown of the skin.

If you smoke, you should have your feet checked regularly to evaluate them for complications like these. The best way to prevent all of them is to quit tobacco altogether. Don’t wait until you have serious problems to take care of your lower limbs. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle here in Berkley, MI, to make an appointment by calling (248) 545-0100 or by filling out our online contact page. 

Am I at risk for gangrene?

There are multiple gangrene risk factors that increase your chances of developing the condition. Age, obesity, poor circulation, and severe injury can all play a role in the problem. Diabetes and surgery complications can also cause the issue. Since gangrene is tissue death from a significant loss of oxygen, anything that impairs or cuts off blood flow to your lower limbs could potentially cause gangrene. The condition could develop slowly over time, or if could appear quickly, after an injury like frostbite or a bad burn.

If you’re concerned you’re at risk for tissue death in your lower limbs, don’t wait until you develop symptoms to have your feet evaluated. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle here in Berkley, MI, for more information, or set up an appointment to check out any potential problems and treat them before they get out of hand. Fill out our online contact form or call (248) 545-0100 to reach us.

I’m diabetic, what should I do to care for my skin?

Diabetic skin care is very important for preventing painful problems and infections, especially on your lower limbs. Make sure you wash your feet carefully with a mild soap and warm water every day. If you’re prone to dry skin, you may need a moisturizing soap to help. Pat your feet dry with a towel instead of rubbing them so you don’t irritate your skin. Make sure you dry between your toes in particular. Then, carefully moisturize your lower limbs with cream or ointment, giving extra care to your heels. Take the time to inspect your lower limbs for changes during this time, too.

Wear fitted socks and protective shoes at all times to prevent minor cuts or puncture wounds. If you’re concerned about the skin on your feet or notice any unusual changes, have them examined immediately. Our team of experts here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle are happy to help you care for and protect your diabetic feet. To reach us, call our Berkley, MI, office at (248) 545-0100 or use our website contact form.

Does being overweight affect my feet?

Could obesity and foot pain be related? If your weight has increased considerably, you may have noticed a decline in the health of your feet. The fact of the matter is, more than half of the people who are obese also suffer from foot problems. Increased body mass is directly correlated with foot pain and disability. What's more, those who are overweight often have difficulty reaching their feet to care for them properly.

Some of the most common foot problems associated with being overweight include: gout, frequent blisters, infections such as athlete's foot and toenail fungus, neuropathy, arthritis, flattened arches, reduced balanced, plantar fasciitis, and limited mobility. For those who have diabetes, they also become more at risk for developing foot ulcers.

Fortunately, our team of experts here at NorthPointe Foot and Ankle are happy to help you care for you and your feet. If you've developed any of these issues, call our office in Berkley, MI, at (248) 545-0100 or use our website contact form to schedule your appointment today!

How do I prevent fungal toenails?

You can prevent fungal toenails if you invest in a few precautionary measures. Make sure you wash your feet with soap and water every day. Pat them dry with a clean towel, paying extra attention to the spaces between your toes. Keep your nails trimmed and clean as well. Change your socks daily—and more frequently if your lower limbs sweat a lot. Fitted, moisture-wicking styles are the best. Wear roomy, breathable shoes that don’t make your feet sweat a lot. Avoid going barefoot, especially in public places that tend to breed fungus, like pools and locker rooms. Instead, wear sandals or shower shoes there.

Don’t share your footwear or nail clippers with others, especially if you already know they have athlete’s foot or a fungal nail infection. You may want to pre-treat your toes with anti-fungal sprays or powders as well. Inspect your nails periodically, too, to look for any changes. Catching an infection early can help you eliminate it more easily. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle here in Berkley, MI, by calling (248) 545-0100 for more information. You can also make an appointment to take care of your nails by using our online request form.

How did I get a wart on the bottom of my foot?

Warts appear on the bottom of your foot appear when the virus that causes the problem enters your skin through a cut, crack, or fragile area. The virus is a strand of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that thrives in warm, moist environments. Walking barefoot in public places, particularly wet areas like pools, saunas, locker rooms, and community bathrooms, can expose your soles to the pathogen. Although it’s less common, direct contact with a wart on another person can also cause the condition.

These non-cancerous growths are not serious, but they can be quite uncomfortable and make wearing normal shoes difficult. A little professional care can eliminate the infection and restore the skin. If you have an uncomfortable wart, contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle in Berkley, MI, to see what treatments we use—from traditional medications to advanced laser care. Request an appointment by calling (248) 545-0100 or using the website contact form.

What shoes should I wear for my bunions?

Your bunions are often aggravated by your footwear, so choosing the right shoes can make a significant difference for your overall comfort.  First, look for shoe models with wide, rounded, or square toe boxes with cushioned soles. Avoid styles that are too narrow and squeeze your toes together, exacerbating the problem with your bunion. Make sure the shoe has sufficient arch support. Don’t choose models that strain the ball of the foot, like high heels or super-flat, support-less sandals.

Try on any potential new shoes to be sure they fit comfortably, too. If you’re concerned about rubbing against your bump, the shoes may not be wide enough—or you may need protective padding to prevent friction.

Don’t settle for less than the best when you’re looking for bunion-safe shoes. The right shoes can help you avoid significant discomfort. Contact our team here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle in Berkley, MI, if you’re struggling with foot pain from this condition. Call (248) 545-0100 or submit a request on our website to reach us for an appointment