Children Tying Their Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions

Arthritis

How can arthritis be treated without surgery?

There are actually many effective treatments for foot arthritis without surgery being necessary. Conservative care is always our first option, and surgery is reserved as a “last resort” for eliminating pain. Shoe changes, pads, and orthotics are some of the most common remedies. They change the foot’s support, helping reduce impacts on your lower limbs while absorbing shock. Orthotics can also control abnormal foot motion, minimizing stress on an arthritic joint. Physical therapy can help improve and maintain your range of motion in a stiff area. In some cases, a brace or stiff shoe can prevent the joint from moving too much and causing discomfort. Our staff at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC may suggest pain medications for you, too. These could be oral medicines or direct injections, depending on your needs.

If you’re struggling with arthritis in your feet, don’t avoid seeking help because you’re afraid you’ll need surgery. Let Dr. Leon Watkins, Dr. Maria Markiewicz, and Dr. Charles Caplis show how nonsurgical therapies can help you. Call our Metairie, LA, office at (504)-708-4810 to make an appointment today.

Diabetic Foot Care

I am a diabetic, how often should I see a podiatrist?

This depends on the how controlled a patient’s case of diabetes is. For example, a person with diabetes that has well controlled glucose levels and no foot problems at all is encouraged to see a podiatrist at least once per year for a thorough diabetic examination of their feet. A diabetic with foot conditions such as ingrown toenails and pre-ulcerative callosities (a thickened hardened part of the skin) will need to see his/her podiatrist on a much more regular basis. The recommended frequency is normally once every 3 months. Peripheral Neuropathy and decreased blood circulation are conditions that plaque a large number of patients with diabetes. Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition which causes a range of symptoms including numbness and tingling in the foot and loss of the sensation of touch in the feet. Due to the lack of sensation and decreased circulation, a diabetic may notice longer healing times for sores and other injuries to the feet. For this reason, it is very important that to see a podiatrist immediately if a wound is found on your foot. The podiatrists here at Gulf South Foot and Ankle, have many modern techniques to assist in wound healing including skin grafting and other methods. It is also very important that a diabetic patient see a podiatrist to have their nails trimmed, as it is often difficult to differentiate between the toenail and skin with poor sensation causing patients to actually cut themselves. Cutting a toenail too short can result in an infected, ingrown toenail or an open sore. With poor circulation, it is difficult to heal from these problems, resulting in long term wound care, surgery, or amputation in some worst case scenarios.

Foot Care and Lifestyle

How does my diet affect my gout?

Your diet and gout symptoms—or, hopefully, lack of symptoms—are closely tied. Gout is a type of arthritis that flares up when sharp uric acid crystals collect in joints. Uric acid crystals form when your body breaks down purines, which are proteins found in certain foods. The more you eat of those foods, the more uric acid has a chance to build up into a gout attack.

On the other hand, avoiding foods that commonly trigger a gout attack while eating a healthy diet can cut down your risk of a flare-up. Sharply limit how much meat you eat, particularly red meat, organ meat, and fatty fish. Instead, meet your protein needs with plant-based proteins, like beans and legumes. Choose low-fat dairy products and avoid alcohol altogether. Cut back on sweets, especially if they contain high-fructose corn syrup. Instead, eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water as well. If you do develop a gout attack, contact Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC right away to take care of it. You can reach our Metairie office by calling (504) 708-4810.

Footwear

What type of shoe is the most harmful to wear?

Just like a thumb print, everyone’s foot is different; therefore, there is no one shoe that is good or bad for everyone’s feet. Generally speaking, very flat shoes and very tall unstable heels tend to cause more foot pain than a sturdy supportive shoe with a sensible heel. That being said, shoes should be comfortable. If a shoe causes pain either from rubbing and causing irritation, or from placing your foot in an abnormal position causing pain in the heel or the ball of the foot, you should avoid wearing these shoes. Wearing flat shoes, such as flip flops, or high heels can cause a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the medical term for inflammation of the tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot. A common symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain. If you are experiencing heel pain, evaluate the shoes that you wear most often. If you find that you have a tendency to wear flat shoes or high heels most often, you should consider wearing a more supportive shoe for a while to see if the condition will improve. If the condition does not improve after a few days, it is important that you contact a medical professional to address the problem. There are many treatment options to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis including exercises and cortisone injections. Our podiatrists here at Gulf South Foot and Ankle are very successful in treating this condition. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Ingrown Toenails

What does an ingrown toenail look and feel like?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the toenail grows into the skin and tissue surrounding the nail. As the nail grows, it pushes further and further into the surrounding tissue. This can cause an infection in which the body treats the toenail as a foreign body and causes redness, pain, and swelling. Ingrown toenails can occur on any toe, but they most commonly occur in the big toenails. The side of the toe next to the nail will become red, swollen, and painful. In some cases, the patient may not be able to wear closed toe shoes due to the pain caused by the pressure placed on the toe from the shoe. If the ingrown toenail becomes infected there may also be drainage at the nail border. Improper trimming of the nails is one cause for ingrown toenails as is tight fitting shoes. It is important that one does not try to remove an ingrown toenail without the assistance of a medical professional as severe infection may occur. If the nail is infected it is important to seek medical care to have the offending border removed. Your medical professional may also prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. If you think that you may have an ingrown toenail, please contact us at Gulf South Foot and Ankle. Removal of an ingrown toenail is a very common procedure performed by our podiatrists. Recovery time from this procedure is minimal. In most cases, the patient is able to return to wearing their regular shoes within one day of the procedure.

Nerve Problems

Why does my foot feel like there is a marble in it?

If you feel that you are “walking on a marble” and have a persistent pain in the ball of your foot, you may have a condition called Morton’s neuroma.

Payment and Insurance

Can I pay my bill online?

Do you accept my insurance?

Yes! The patient portal may be used to pay your bill, view upcoming appointments, send messages to your doctor and the staff, and much more. If you need assistance signing in to the portal, give us a call and we will happily walk you through the process.

We are a participating provider for most insurance companies. Simply give us a call and our friendly receptionist will be happy to check your insurance benefits for you.

Practice Information

Do any of your doctors do house calls?

Can I get an appointment today?

Can I request an appointment online?

YES! Dr. Watkins has been doing house calls for many years. House calls are done at a reasonable self pay rate.  Please contact the office for more information.

ABSOLUTELY! Here at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, we are able to offer same day appointments. Simply give us a call and we will get you in as soon as possible. Whether you stepped on broken glass, twisted your ankle, or you’re  just finally fed up with a foot problem you’ve been dealing with for ages, we can address the issue for you right away.

Yes, you can. Simply fill out our online appointment request form and we’ll contact you with more information.

Toenail Fungus

What treatments do you offer for toenail fungus?

Fungal toenails or onychomycosis, as it is called, affects over 50% of the population who are over the age of 40.  Here at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, we over several different treatment options for this condition. Topical Nail Lacquers, such as Formula3, are medications that you paint on the toenail.  Nail Lacquers are most effective when the fungal infection is mild as they have difficulty penetrating the nail bed to truly treat the nail bed. Oral Antifungals, such as Lamisil, are often used as well.  These are quite effective, but have been known to have side effects that can affect the liver.  For this reason, before a patient is placed on an oral antifungal, they must have bloodwork done to check liver enzymes. The PinPointe Laser is a device that we have used for a few years now that we have seen great success with.  This is an exciting new treatment that is non-invasive and takes only about 20 minutes per treatment.  There is no pain and no side effects.  The one downfall with this treatment option is the price, since  insurance companies do not consider it a covered procedure. For this reason, Gulf South Foot & Ankle have created Laser packages and offer payment plans.

Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment Options

Baby's Feet

Barefoot Package - $1,200

  • 4 Laser treatment sessions

  • 1-bottle of formula

  • 3 (topical anti-fungal for nails)

  • 1-bottle of Clean Sweep (anti-microbial shoe spray)

  • 1-bottle of Dr.’s Remedy Nail Polish (you choose color)

  • 1- 3 month follow up appointment 

About Us

Our doctors are knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate. Coming together as a group of experienced podiatrists we can guarantee that your feet are in the best possible hands at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC.

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