Professional Podiatric Foot Care

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.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Let the Healing Begin: How to Address Heel Pain

The good news about heel pain is that if it is addressed appropriately and with regularity it can be resolved within months. The first step in proper heel care is rest. Whenever possible do your best to avoid walking or standing for long periods of time. However, rest does not mean keeping your feet immobile. Stretching your feet  and calves is key to reducing heel issues, while simultaneously improving flexibility in the affected foot. While lying in your bed, loop a towel around the affected foot. Keeping your knee straight, pull back on your toes with the towel. Repeat three times on each foot even if the other is not causing you discomfort. To address your calves stand on a stair with your heels hanging of the step with feet slightly apart. You may want to hold the railing for support while lowering your heels until you feel your calves tighten, then hold for forty seconds. Repeat this stretch up to six times twice a day.

Reducing the inflammation in the affected heel will help to relieve pain. Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen will aid in the reduction of both swelling and discomfort. If you would rather a non medicinal option try wrapping an ice pack in a towel before applying it to the affected area for five to ten minutes.

Additionally you should think about the type of footwear that you are choosing for your feet. Flat-soled shoes should be avoided as they offer no support and could potentially increase your already existing heel issues. Aim for footwear that allows for cushion below your heel and provides a fair amount of support to the arches of your feet. You may also wish to add orthoses to your shoes. These are insoles that fit inside your shoe to support your foot and allow your heel to recover.

If your heel pain persists for a number of weeks without improvement see a podiatrist for further consultation. They will be able to address your specific needs more accurately.

Monday, July 17, 2017

How to Keep Shoe Inserts & Orthotics Fresh

Shoe inserts and orthotics can provide you with many benefits such as cushioning your step, supporting your arches, and alleviating foot and leg pain. Podiatrists prescribe orthotics to treat a variety of foot issues such as: plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendinitis, and foot ulcers.  Inserts and orthotics have been shown in clinical research to decrease foot pain and to improve foot function.

Let's be honest though, shoe inserts come with their own set of problems.  It is natural that overtime your orthotics will smell over time if you do not make an effort to keep them smelling fresh.

Tips for insert/ orthotic care:
  • Try not to get to them too wet (especially foam or cloth covered ones)
  • If wetness occurs remove from shoes immediately
  • If you are concerned that they have come in contact with water, pat them dry with a towel to remove and surface moisture and leave them in a room with good ventilation
  • Lay orthotics flat to dry
  • Allow ample drying time, inserts can need up to several days depending on what material they are made of
  • If you leave them in your shoes to dry it may result in an insert or orthotic that is less able to perform

Cleaning and washing:
Use a mild soap or detergent with lukewarm water to wash your inserts. Be sure not to let them absorb too much water by soaking them. If you have a stain that is difficult to remove it is recommended that you scrub just that area with a soft bristle toothbrush to spot-treat your orthotic. After giving them a good rinse to remove excess dirt and cleaning products allow them to dry completely. Never machine wash or dry your inserts, this will destroy the integrity of their structure.

The expected lifetime of an insert depends on how much you use and wear yours. Every three to nine months you should be thinking about getting new insoles.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How to Avoid Infections at the Nail Salon

First rule to remember is that not all nail salons are created equal and therefore should be chosen very carefully. Make sure that you find a salon that has obvious cleaning procedures in place between clients and where the staff routinely sterilizes their instruments. Do not feel bad for setting high standards about hygienic practices when deciding on a salon, this will enable you to truly relax and not have to worry while you are being pampered. Here are a few more tips to follow to ensure a pleasant visit without any unwelcome outcomes.

  1. Bring your own instruments- This allows you to be sure of how the instruments are maintained and cleaned therefore lowering the risk of infection. Check with your chosen salon first to make sure that they are aware of your preference to do so.
  2. Avoid Cuts- If your skin has an opening like a cut or scratch of any kind, it is not a good time to attend a nail salon. Your skin is your primary barrier that stops bacteria from getting into your bloodstream. You should also be cautious of shaving your legs right before getting a pedicure for the same reasons.
  3. Defend your cuticles- Your cuticles are meant to prevent bacteria from getting underneath the skin by your nail bed. Pedicurist will push back and trim this skin away thus opening your toes up to infection. Just simply ask them to leave your cuticles alone. This will eliminate another opportunity for bacteria to get in.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Diabetic Foot Care 101

Diabetes can cause a variety of issues for your feet. In addition to seeing your foot doctor regularly and making sure that your blood levels are under control it is very important that you pay attention to even the smallest signs of a foot issue. This will allow you to stop something minimal like a blister from becoming an infection or worse something bigger.
Follow these tips to fend off serious foot problems.

  • Daily inspections- Keep an eye out for swelling, redness, cuts, blisters or nail issues. Remember to examine the bottom of your feet too. You may want to use a magnifying hand mirror to help you see better. Call your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary or concerning
  • Proper cleaning- Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water using a soft sponge or washcloth. Dry by patting your feet not rubbing and be sure to dry thoroughly between the toes.
  • Moisturize- To prevent itching or cracking moisturize daily. However, refrain from using moisturizer between your toes as you do not want to encourage fungal infection.
  • Trimmed Nails- Try to cut your toenails straight across, but not too short, this will help to prevent ingrown nails.
  • Appropriate socks- Always wear clean, dry socks. You may want to try socks made specifically for diabetes patients since these have no elastic tops, go above the ankle, have extra cushioning and are made to wick away moisture. If you experience excessive sweating you may want to use an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet.
  • Cover your feet- Never walk around barefoot, even at home.
  • Warm and Dry- Wear warm socks in the winter and avoid getting your feet wet in the snow or rain. If your feet are cold at night wear socks to bed, but never use a heating pad or hot water bottle.

Friday, April 14, 2017

If You Stand All Day At Work - Here's Some Tips!

Working on your feet all day can cause an array of physical ailments for your feet and legs. Since changing the daily expectations of your job does not seem realistic try these tips to help get your feet through your hectic work week.

  • Shoe choice- When choosing your work shoe make sure your heel is elevated by at least ¼ inch and is less than 2 inches. It is also important to choose a shoe with strong arch support which will help to reduce soreness in your legs 
  • Shoe fit- If your shoes are not big enough they can cause blisters and poor circulation making standing all day almost unbearable. Remember that your feet naturally swell as the day goes on. Some podiatrists recommend buying your shoes half a size larger to accommodate for arch supports or custom orthotics. 
  • Regular stretching- If possible give your legs and feet a stretch every hour or so to reduce stiffness and pain. Try calf raises to help pump blood out of the feet. 
  • Home care- When you have a chance to get off your feet and relax go the extra step and provide your feet some comfort through icing, elevation, or massage. Immersing your foot in water with ice for 20 minutes will address swelling and inflammation. Propping your feet above the rest of your body will also help reduce the days swelling. An at home foot massage can be as easy rolling your foot from heel to toe over a tennis ball.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Benefits of Foot Massage

A foot rub does not only feel good but can also promote many positive benefits  for your health. Massaging the foot helps to stimulate the muscles around your feet. This will help to lessen stiffness and can reduce pain in the heel, ankle, arch, and pad of your foot. This, in turn, results in stronger more flexible ankles making you less likely to injure your ankle or foot. The kneading of these muscles and tendons helps to create energy for your body by releasing blockages which hold back energy thus helps relieving symptoms of stress and fatigue. A calming foot massage right before bed can help your body to unwind and relax your nerves while encouraging restful sleep.
Improper footwear and sedentary lifestyles are a large factor in why most of us do not use the muscles in our feet correctly. A corrective measure would be to engage in at least 10 minutes of daily  foot massage. The stimulation created by the rubbing will help to transport oxygen to the body’s cells,  this helps to improve your blood circulation which is essential for overall health. The invigoration of the feet created by massage will also help to prevent varicose veins by awakening the lymphatic system. It has also been found that massaging your feet can bring relief from pain and inflammation that is caused by foot tendonitis, as well as addressing the symptoms of heel spurs. A warm olive oil or coconut oil would also assist in this process along with a foot roller. Be sure to roll it back and forth on the top of your feet as well as on the soles.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bone Spurs and Your Feet

Bone spurs, also known as osteophyte, can be a fairly common foot ailment, especially as you grow older.

Quite often when people have a bone spur they will not even know it simply because often they do not cause any symptoms. However, if a bone spur is putting pressure on other bones or tissues that material can break down over time. This ailment can then cause swelling, pain, or tearing.

When bone spurs occur in the feet they can also cause corns and calluses because tissue builds up to create padding over the bone spur. They can also occur in the feet as a response to tight ligaments. Common activities such as dancing or running can induce the tightening of these connective tissues. Other common causes of bone spurs in feet are being overweight, wearing poorly fitting shoes, or wearing high heels often.

If a bone spur is not causing any pain or discomfort, it does not necessarily need to be treated. Proper care of this ailment will require the specific patients cause or causes of the symptoms. Weight loss will help to relieve pressure within the joints and allow for more effective stretching of the affected area, possibly the heel cord or the bottom of the foot. Your podiatrist, Dr. Forman, may also recommend deep tissue massage, rest, ice, or an over the counter anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen. Adding padding to a shoe or finding a more suitable type of footwear may also help relieve discomfort.

If the problem persists your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid injection. This will reduce pain and inflammation in the tissue that is near the affected area. Contact us today if you have questions, or to schedule a consultation!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Running Through Pain? Stop!

Anyone who has ever taken their running routine seriously has experienced pain or soreness. For athletes the question becomes when the pain overall muscle soreness and when is it something more that needs to be addressed?
Obviously, if you are experiencing swelling, severe pain, numbness, tingling, in ability to move a limb or the feeling that that it is giving way you should seek medical attention. Avoid training of any sort until you are able to seek proper medical care and have your symptoms addressed properly.
Sometimes mild pain will occur at the start of your exercise. Often, this irritation will recede or go away as you start to warm up and continue to run. It may be inconsistent as far as its location or become bilateral. This discomfort is ok to run though. Perform R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) treatment to areas that are you giving you concern after your run.
If the pain occurs at the start of your exercise but stays with you through the course of your training it is considered in the moderate level. As long you are able to tolerate the hurt (no limping or altering of your running stride) you can continue with the day's exercises. Follow up by allowing your body to heal with a couple days off and the application of R.I.C.E. treatments.
However, if you are experiencing these aches before, during, and after your exercises this is considered severe in nature. This pain usually persists, or increases throughout the duration of activity and may also produce a limp. Never continue to run through this suffering. Call our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Forman and put an end to pain!