Professional Podiatric Foot Care

Friday, December 15, 2017

If You Have Diabetes, Visit Your Podiatrist

Diabetes affects the lives of nearly 26 million people in the United States. And while there is no cure for diabetes, there are steps you can take to keep it in check. If you suffer from diabetes, regular visits to the podiatrist will be of great value to your health. Podiatrists know the importance of your health and are available to work with you to keep your feet healthy and pain free.

What Role Does a Podiatrist Play?

Podiatrists play a key role in helping patients control diabetes to avoid foot-related complications. Some of the warning signs include:
  • Skin color changes.
  • Swelling of the foot or ankle.
  • Numbness in the feet or toes.
  • Pain in the legs.
  • Open sores on the foot that do not heal quickly.
  • Ingrown and fungal toenails.
  • Bleeding corns and calluses.
  • Dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel.

Paying close attention to your feet and visiting the podiatrist are very important in maintaining your foot health when you have diabetes.

Stay One Step Ahead of Your Foot Health

Getting ahead of your diabetes is what a podiatrist will help you with. Did you know that up 65,000 lower limbs are amputated due to diabetes complications? These could have been avoided with regular visits to a podiatrist.

Regular visits to a podiatrist will lower your risk by up to 85% and can also help to lower the risk of hospitalizations by 24%. In addition to regular visits to the podiatrist there are steps you should take at home too. These foot care tips include:

  • Inspect your feet daily.
  • Wear thick soft socks, and properly fitted shoes.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not go barefoot.
  • Do not remove calluses, corns and warts by yourself.

Annual checkups to the podiatrist are the best way to be certain that your feet remain healthy. Contact your podiatrist if you suffer from diabetes and want to stay proactive by keeping it in check.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Even Your Feet Can Get Skin Cancer

Skin cancer in the lower extremity may have a very different appearance from those arising on the rest of the body.  Podiatrists are uniquely trained as lower extremity specialists to recognize and treat abnormal conditions as they present themselves on the skin of the lower legs and feet. 

Because of this, a podiatrist’s knowledge and clinical training is of extreme importance for patients in the early detection of both benign and malignant skin tumors. Some of the common attributes of cancerous lesions include:
·       Asymmetry – If divided in half, the sides will not match
·       Borders – They look scalloped, uneven or ragged
·       Color – They may have more than one color which may be unevenly distributed
·       Diameter – They can appear wider than a pencil eraser
For other types of skin cancer, look for spontaneous ulcers and non-healing sores, bumps that crack or bleed, nodules with rolled or donut shaped edges, or discrete scaly areas.  If you notice a mole, bump or patch on the skin of a friend or family member that meets any of these criteria, encourage them to see a podiatrist immediately. 
What are the Types of Skin Cancer of the Feet?
Skin cancers of the feet have several features in common with most being painless and a history of recurrent cracking, bleeding, or ulceration.  Frequently individuals discover their skin cancer after unrelated ailments near the affected site.  Some of the most common cancers of the lower extremity are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma: Frequently seen on sun-exposed skin surfaces, and with feet being significantly less exposed to the sun, Basal cell carcinoma occurs there less often.  This form of skin cancer is one of the least aggressive cancers in the body.  It will cause local damage, but only rarely spreads beyond the skin.  Basal cell cancers may appear as pearly white bumps or patches which may ooze or crust being similar in appearance to an open sore.  On the skin of the lower legs and feet, basal cell cancers often resemble non-cancerous skin tumors or benign ulcers.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common form of cancer on the skin of feet and is most often confined to the skin and do not spread, similar to basal cell carcinoma.  When advanced, some can become more aggressive and spread throughout the body.  It is important to bring attention to any new developments on your feet to your podiatrist for early diagnosis.  Squamous cell carcinoma often begins as a small scaly bump or plaque, which may appear inflamed.  Sometimes there is a history of recurrent cracking or bleeding as well.  Occasionally they begin as a hard projecting callus-like lesion.  Though painless, squamous cell carcinoma may be itchy.  It may also resemble a plantar wart, a fungal infection, eczema, an ulcer, or other common dermatological conditions of the foot. 
Malignant Melanoma: This is one of the deadliest skin cancers known and nonsurgical treatments are rarely effective, remaining experimental.  This type of skin cancer must be detected very early to ensure patient survival.  Melanomas may occur on the skin of the feet and on occasion beneath a toenail.  They are found both on the soles and on the tops of your feet.  As a melanoma grows and extends deeper into the skin, it becomes more serious and may spread throughout the body through the lymphatics and blood vessels.
Prevention is Key
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid sunbathing and tanning salons.  Sunscreen should be used frequently and before any prolonged exposure to the sun.  All skin lesions should be checked and if changes are detected in a mole or skin lesion, if you are even mildly suspicious about the appearance of one, you should contact your podiatrist immediately. 

People who have had melanoma once are at an increased risk for developing it again.  You should watch your skin carefully and take note of any unusual marks or moles, especially ones that change in shape, size, or color.  Protecting your skin from additional sun damage is very important, as well as scheduling an appointment with your podiatrist.

Monday, October 16, 2017

You change as you age, but so do your feet

If you want to age gracefully, it is also important to maintain foot health in order to help you properly move about.  Mobility is important for gaining the independence that is needed to help our aging population remain active and healthy.  Foot ailments make it difficult and sometimes impossible to work or participate in social activities.  Just as you need to prepare a newborn’s health by visiting doctors, you need to maintain proper foot health to prevent various foot ailments that could disrupt your life.

Foot problems can be prevented

There are more than 300 different foot ailments and some can even be traced back to heredity, with the majority of foot pain being treated by your podiatrist to eliminate any problems.  For the aging population, most of these foot ailments stem from the cumulative years of neglect or abuse, but even people in their retirement years, foot problems can be treated successfully, and pain relieved.

As a person ages, their feet tend to spread and lose the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of the feet.  Additional weight can also affect the bone and ligament structure. Older people, consequently, should have their feet measured for shoe sizes more frequently, rather than assuming that their shoe sizes remain constant. Observing preventive foot health care has many benefits for you, the patient.  Preventive measures can increase comfort, limit the possibility of additional medical problems, reduce the chances of hospitalization because of infection, and lessen requirements for other institutional care.

Remember these health tips for feet

When it comes to your feet, it is important to take extra precautions and properly care for your feet.  Some common foot health tips include:

  • Properly fitted shoes are essential; an astonishing number of people wear shoes that
    don’t fit right, and cause serious foot problems.
  • Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm (not hot) water, using a mild soap, preferably one
    containing moisturizers, or use a moisturizer separately.
  • Trim or file your toenails straight across.
  • Pantyhose or stockings should be of the correct size and preferably free of seams.
  • A shoe with a firm sole and soft upper is best for daily activities.
  • Shop for shoes in the afternoon; feet tend to swell during the day.
  • Walking is the best exercise for your feet.
  • Do not wear constricting garters or tie your stockings in knots.
  • Never cut corns and calluses with a razor, pocket knife, or other such instrument;
    use over-the-counter foot products only with the advice of a podiatrist.
  • Inspect your feet every day or have someone do this for you. If you notice any redness,
    swelling, cracks in the skin, or sores, consult your podiatrist.
  • Have your feet examined by a DPM at least twice a year.

Contact Dr. Mark Forman at our Scottsdale, AZ office for more information on how you can better prepare your feet for optimal health as you age. And remember, pain is not something you should live with. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Attention Diabetics: Take Care of Your Feet

 With damage to your nervous system caused by diabetes, you might not be able to feel your feet properly.  Normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is often impaired and, as a result, this can lead to an abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and other activities. 

This can even lead to the breakdown of the skin on the foot, causing sores to develop. If you have diabetes, it is important to take proper precautions to prevent foot problems before they occur, recognize problems early and seek the right treatment from your podiatrist when a problem does happen.

Complications with Your Feet and Diabetes

There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet with poorly fitting shoes as one of the biggest culprits of diabetic foot complications. 

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, it is important to find new proper fitting shoes immediately:
·      Red spots
·      Sore spots
·      Blisters
·      Corns
·      Calluses
·      Consistent pain when wearing shoes

And if you have common foot abnormalities such as flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes, prescription shoes or orthotics from your podiatrist might be necessary to further protect your feet from other damage.

Poor Circulation and Nerve Damage

People who have long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes are also at risk for having damage to the nerves in their feet, which is known in the medical community as peripheral neuropathy.  If you have nerve damage, you may not be able to feel your feet normally and you may also be unable to sense the position of your feet and toes while walking and balancing, which can cause even more harm to your feet. 

Normal nerves allow people to sense if their shoes are too tight or if their shoes are rubbing on the feet too much.  With diabetes, you may not be able to properly sense minor injuries, such as cuts, scrapes and blisters—all signs of abnormal wear, tear, and foot strain. The following can also compromise the health of your feet:

·      Poor circulation
·      Trauma to the foot
·      Infections
·      Smoking

Diabetes can be extremely dangerous to your feet, so take precautions now.  You can avoid serious problems such as losing a toe, foot, or leg by following proper prevention techniques offered by your podiatrist. And remember, prevention is the key to saving your feet and eliminating pain.