Thursday, February 21, 2013

Humpty Dumpt Had a Fall

To many of us the ending of February is similar to seeing the light (literally) at the end of the tunnel. Thoughts of the warm sun and beautiful sunflowers keep us trudging through the winter. Although these thoughts keep us going, reality reminds us that it will remain cold for a little while more. If you made it this far without falling or hurting yourself--due to winter conditions-- then, kudos. This week, we prepared a guide to help you survive the rest of the cold weather conditions. Here is our input on how to navigate through the wet, icy, sluggish, nasty weather:

1.  Walk like a penguin-- no, really though : On slippery, compact snow and ice, take short, careful, flat-footed little steps, spreading your body weight as evenly as possible across the entire surface of your feet.

2.  Know the snow you're walking on.  The riskiest snow to walk on is when the snow began to thaw, then ices over night.  Always be careful, even when it's above freezing and the snow is melting.

3. Choose the right shoes:  fashionable high heeled boots are just asking for trouble.  Pick snow boots with a deep, strong, rubber treat.

4. Use appliances:  poles, sticks, canes to help.

5. Or use a clamp on ice  grip or spray on snow grips on your shoes.  Inventions are nifty!

6. In the unfortunate case that you, like Humpty Dumpty, take a tumble, here is some further advice: 

           a. If you are Elderly, avoid falling on your hip and risking a fracture there.  Fall on hands--you may obtain a wrist fracture but that is better than a hip fracture.

           b. Younger folk should protect their heads and neck.  Use your non dominant hand if possible.

           c. Lastly,  Consider a bicycle helmet.  Especially if you're wearing the wrong shoes for the weather.  Yes it looks silly but better than a head injury.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February Feet: An Overview of Cold Weather Feet Conditions

Every year, the month of February brings an abundant amount of joy and celebration. Among those things are include: Valentine’s Day, where we celebrate the human desire of love & togetherness; American Black History Month, were we reflect on our nation’s history and race relations; and President’s day, where we honor our current and past Commander-in-Chiefs. Although all of these heart-warming celebrations come along with February, there is also one other thing that is coupled with this beloved month: the freezing cold weather! It is one unavoidable wrinkle in what is otherwise a perfect month. Recognizing this unfortunate condition, the folks here at Community Foot Specialist took the time out to help you understand and prevent some feet conditions related to the cold weather.

Here are some of the most common conditions related to your feet that occur in cold weather:

Frostnip & Frostbite

Frostnip and Frostbit are in close relation, so much so that some people really do not recognize the difference. This is completely understandable, given that they both signal the same symptoms, with the only true difference being the degree of severity. With frostnip, your skin still becomes pale, feels cold, uncomfortable, and stiff, but the deeper tissues are not necessarily harmed. Because these deeper tissues are not significantly affected, Frostnip typically does not lead to blisters. On the contrary, Frostbite, due to its more severe damage to the underlying tissues, does lead to blisters after the skin re-warms. Depending on the severity of the Frostbite itself, the results can be worse—possibly damaging nerves, tissues, and tendons.
Although Frostbite in the modern English colloquial is treated as a minor condition, it can lead to very serious results. It is imperative that your dress appropriately for the weather, avoid standing in snow and other extremely cold surfaces for extended periods of time, and most of all, that your recognize when you have or when you are starting to develop Frostbite. It is important that you notice the symptoms of Frostbite and that you receive medical attention as soon as possible, because untreated and unattended Frostbite can lead to extreme cases such as gangrene, which will undoubtedly require amputation—who wants their toes cut off!?  

Pernio (Chilblains)

           Although, generally, Pernio does not lead to as serious effects as Frostbite, it’s results can be extremely irritating and uncomfortable. Pernio develops when a person (more often than not, said person is already highly susceptible) is exposed to cold conditions & high humidity. This unfortunate combination results in the person having an itching, burning, and possibly sweating sensations. These symptoms can go on for weeks, even if treated, and even longer if it is not. The affected area can develop lesions that can eventually become blistered.  On the extreme side of the spectrum, pernio can, in fact, cause skin ulcers and infections, which is why it is, once again, important to know the symptoms and get it treated as soon as possible. To help prevent Pernio (chilblains), revisit the advice given for prevention of Frostbite, and in addition: Do exercises that help the flow of your blood circulation, make sure that your socks & shoes are dry at all times, and when returning from the cold avoid exposing your feet to sudden and extreme warmth.

Trench Foot

          Trench Foot, more formally known as Immersion Foot, has a couple overlaps with both Frostbite & Pernio. Trench Foot is commonly associated with people who work in cold and harsh conditions—hence the name. Often times, the most common individuals who are affected by Trench Foot are those who work on their feet in cold harsh conditions; who wear boots; and who are in these conditions for a prolonged time.  Like Frostbite, Trench Foot can exhibit blisters, sores, and, in extreme cases, gangrene and we know where that leads. . .
         To prevent Trench Foot, it is important to heed all the advice that has been aforementioned. Try your best to stay warm and dry. If you are a person who works on your feet often and extendedly, it is important that you take care of your feet outside of work—see a podiatrist and get your foot examined  frequently (we have six locations! J ).

Although some of these conditions seem daunting if you know about them know, you can prevent them in the future—what is that old saying, “the best defense is a good offense”?  We hope that this guide can help you so that you may enjoy all of the wonderful celebrations that February has to offer.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Watch GOUT, they'll get ya!

Gout is a condition that is unknown to many, especially those of the younger generations. But, for those of us who do know what Gout is, we definitely know that it is, by no means, pleasant or enjoyable. Gout is a form of arthritis that typically develops when a substantial amount of uric acid builds up in the blood. Uric acid releases shard-like objects into your joints, thus cause them to inflame.  Gout most frequently “attacks” the big toe, often showing redness and swelling in the joints associated with that toe.  Although the big toe is the most likely victim of Gout, this condition can also affect the ankle and knee. 

                How can I tell if it is Gout? Although you should see a doctor to be certain, these are symptoms that are associated with Gout:
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness of joints
  • The pain is acute and develops rapidly
    • Typically the pain increases exponentially overnight

What can I do to prevent Gout Attacks?
There is a plethora of things that you can do to help prevent Gout. One of the most prominent ways of stopping gout attacks before they develop is by maintaining a well-regulated diet. As we mentioned before, Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid, so you should stay away from food that increases this acid, and instead look to eat foods that decreases uric acid. Foods that increase uric acid are, but not limited to : Meats, that is meat with high purines such as beef kidneys, liver, lamb, bacon (pork in general) and veal;  Fish, that includes, cod, sardines, shrimp, and scallops; Vegetables  such as asparagus, cauliflower, spinach and mushrooms (I know what you’re thinking, “now you’re going to tell me that vegetables are bad!?” but the truth is some vegetables, like the other categories mentioned, can trigger gout attacks).

Gout attacks are the most common among men that are over the age of forty. With this in mind, we know turn the conversation to Alcohol. God forbid that we do a regression (correlation) between American men over the age of forty and alcohol consumption—you get where the discussion is going now? The truth is, alcoholic beverages increase uric acid, which can cause gout attacks, so we urge you to keep your consumption low or avoid it completely—especially if you are over the age of forty.

Whether you have or have not experienced a gout attack, we hope that this information can help you. Although maintaining a well-regulated diet can help decrease your chances of having a gout attack, there are plenty of other ways; you should consult your doctor. For more information on Gout, check out these websites:


Monday, February 4, 2013

Hearts & Heels: The Complete Guide For Shoes On Valentine's Day

As Valentine's Day quickly approaches, the mere image of wearing high heels is giving some women a spliting headache. On the other side of the tolken, this image is excitng happines and celebration, as women across the United States are going shopping for that one pair of high heels that will make them look like million bucks (maybe even two, who knows). Here at Community Foot Specialist, we understand that this can be a very nerve-racking or exciting time, so we preparared a mini guide for all women when it comes to Valentine's Day and wearing high heels. Here are some key points to keep in mind this holiday season:

1.)  High heels,as pretty as they may look, inevitably increase stress on the ball of your feet. Specifically for high heels that are two (2) inches or higher, every inch increases the stress on the ball of the foot by 50 percent!

2.) Buy the best fitting shoes (a sound idea for any kind of shoe). Try the shoe on and walk around for 15 minutes in the shoe store or at home to determine any friction or extra pressure.

3.) Invest on appliances such as metatarsal pads to provide better cushioning on the balls of your feet.

4.)   Wear open toed heel if possible. If you have any deformities such as hammer toes, this will prevent any pain due to the tightness around the toebox.
5.) Consider wearing comfortable shoes until you get to the event. Change into the sexy but possibly painful shoes once you arrive.

6.)  Wear a shoe with a thicker heel. The thinner the heel the less stability there is. You may look more elegant but much more clumsy!
7.)  Pay attention to the slope of the heel. They may be 4 or 5 inch heels but the higher or steeper the slope, the more painful the shoes may be. Pick a shoe with a more gradual slope from heel to toe.

8.) Buy shoes with square or rounded toes rather than pointy.
We hope that this guide can help you look AND feel the way that you want. For infomation regarding this blog or feet, in general, feel free to contact one of our doctors in any of our locations!
Information provided by: Dr.Belinda Dotter.