Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Summer and Swimming and... Plantar Warts!?


With Summer just around the corner, you and your children are at risk for picking up the painful and unsightly plantar wart, which is caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV).  The human papilloma virus enters the skin through small cuts or abrasions and may take several weeks to become visible.

The plantar wart appears on the bottom of the foot. They are similar to corns and calluses as a layer of hard skin forms over top of the lesion. Plantar warts are differentiated from corns/calluses by appearance. Plantar warts typically have small black hemorrhages under the skin giving the appearance of black dots; skin lines also diverge around warts and not through the lesion.

Plantar warts are contagious; however, the HPV strains that cause plantar warts are not easily transmitted by direct contact from one person to another. The virus thrives in warm and moist environments—such as shower floors, locker rooms and public swimming areas. When children are in swimming pools they often get small abrasions on the bottoms of their feet from the rough surface of the pool bottom. The virus enters these small abrasions, infects the basal cells resulting in plantar wart a few weeks later.

Our podiatrists, here at Community Foot Specialists, see a huge increase of patients with plantar warts in the warm Summer months. Here are a few precautions you can take this Summer to reduce your risks of plantar warts:
  • Don't go barefoot in public areas. Wear sandals or flip-flops in public pools and locker rooms.
  • Don’t share towels, washcloths. Even with members of your own family.
  • Avoid direct contact with warts. This includes your own warts.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Change your shoes and socks daily.
  • Don't pick at warts. Picking may spread the virus.
  • Don't use the same file, pumice stone or nail clipper on your warts as you use on your healthy skin and nails.
  • Wash your hands carefully after touching your warts.

If you think you or your child may have a plantar wart, come in and see one of our podiatrists at Community Foot Specialists; we’re located in the Dayton/Springfield area and we can treat you with one of the following options
  • Salicylic acid
  • Cantharadin (blistering agent from beetle extract)
  • Compounded medication that triggers an immune response against the virus
  • Cryosurgery (with liquid nitrogen) freezes the internal cell structure of the wart
  • Laser therapy (pulsed dye laser or CO2 laser
  • Surgical excision of the verruca

Community Foot Specialists - Podiatrists/Foot & Ankle Surgeons Serving Dayton and Springfield, Ohio Call today to schedule your appointment! (937) 426-9500

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Reconsider Your Footwear Choice: The Truth About Flip-flops

After experiencing many glimmers of sunshine and the Groundhog's official sighting, the long awaited Spring has finally arrived. With it's arrival it graces us with many pleasures, and of the many, Spring attire might just top the list. A common and popular footwear choice for the Spring and Summer months are Flip-flops.
 However, this seemingly innocent and harmless footwear choice does not provide you with much support. Here are some dos and don’ts of flip-flops to consider this year.

Shop for high-quality, soft leather flip-flops to minimize potential blisters and other types of irritation. Don’t wear the same pair of flip-flops year after year. Inspect older pairs for wear-and-tear, and if they are in bad shape throw them out.

Look for flip-flops that will allow for the most normal foot function possible. Two good brands to look for are FitFlop and Chaco. These products are evaluated by a team of APMA podiatrists and given a Seal of Acceptance. Don’t ignore irritation between toes, where the toe thong fits. This can lead to blisters and possible infections.

Gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring it bends at the ball of the foot (No shoe should ever fold in half). Don’t wear flip-flops while walking long distances. Even the sturdiest flip-flops offer little in terms of shock absorption and arch support. Wear a sturdy pair of flip-flops when walking around a public pool, at the beach, in a hotel room and in the locker room areas. Walking barefoot can expose foot soles to plantar warts and athlete’s foot. Don’t do yard work while wearing flip-flops. Always wear a shoe that fully protects feet when doing outside activities such as mowing the lawn or using a weed-eater.

Ensure that your foot doesn’t hang off the edge of the flip=flop. Don’t play sports in flip-flops. This practice can lead to twisting of the foot or ankle, as well as sprains and breaks.

Follow theses Do’s and Don’ts to ensure you are fit to flip-flop this spring!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


If you are not a fan of college basketball, then you are probably wondering why we have a blog titled "march madness" at the beginning of April. No, it is not because this March, in terms of weather, could be considered madness, or that the word "madness" simply goes well with March (although it does). March Madness refers to the NCAA's men's basketball tournament that hosts 64 division-1 college basketball teams from around the nation. It is referred to as "March Madness" because of the chaos, excitement, and passion that it brings -- this is marked by the fact that there is no other sport, let a lone tournament, that welcomes and expects "upsets" the way that March Madness does. An upset happens when a team that is seeded lower than their opponent ends up winning the match-- the classic underdog tale. So far, there have been 23 upsets, with some standing out more than others. One of the most outstanding upsets, in my opinion, is Wichita State (No.9) putting on an electrifying performance and beating Gonzaga (No.1). FYI, Wichita State is still in the tournament. So you might be wondering how the tournament works, or, in other words, how the "madness" is structured. The tournament started with 64 teams this year (60 automatically in the tournament, and the other four playing to gain access). These 64 teams are broken down into their respective regions: Midwest, West, South, and East ( 16 teams in each region; 64 divided by 4, get it?). The number of teams that are in the tournament is cut in half with every round that passes: 64, 32,16,8, 4, and finally 2. The last four rounds are of special importance, and although they have their formal titles (Regional finals, national semi-finals...etc.), they more commonly go by their nick names: Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and, obviously, the National Championship. Currently, we are in the Final Four stage of the tournament (hence, the title picture), with the Shockers playing the Cardinals and the Wolverines playing Syracuse.

Now that you understand what March Madness is, you are probably wondering why, as a podiatrist, we care about it. Outside of the obvious reasons (the excitement, OSU, "bro time"...etc.), the game of basketball has a way of exposing the weaknesses of our feet and ankles, and, more broadly our entire lower extremity. This is highlighted in the NCAA and specifically in the March Madness tournament.



 Michael Carter Williams, the star player for Syracuse, is currently taping and recovering from a minor ankle injury amidst the teams run for the National Championship. Expected to play on Saturday against Wolverines.


UC Santa Barbara's John green goes down with a foot injury that puts him out for the entire season.



 Montana's Matthias Wards's late-February foot injury that put the entire teams chances of winning in peril.

Lastly and most notably,


Kevin Ware. There hasn't been an injury this year that has shocked the sports world in such a way that Kevin Ware's broken leg did. Immediately after the injury, the video of Kevin Ware's broken leg went viral and horrified many. Fortunately, Ware promptly received proper medical attention, and is now on a steady road to recovery.

As you can see, Basketball is especially harsh on our lower extremity, with all the jumping, running, sudden stops, and the physicality of the game. Granted, it is not football, but basketball takes a different, more constant toll on the players.

Foot & Ankle Basketball Injuries:

Ankle Sprains. This is probably the most common ankle injury in the game of basketball. If you are not familiar with this injury, you probably do not play basketball. In basketball, ankle sprains happen when players come down on their foot the wrong way, suddenly and unpleasantly twist their ankle, step on an uneven part of the hardwood (say, someone's foot), or when a player exerts an unusual amount of force on the ankle.
  •   Ways to avoid 
    • Wear proper shoes that give you enough support on your ankles.
    • Stretch and exercise your ankle before engaging in intense play (i.e., warm-up & practice)
    • Be aware. When you are playing, know your surroundings and playing field. If you know that an ankle is particularly weak, have a trainer tape it beforehand.
Achilles Tendinitis. As a basketball player, you are naturally jumping quite often, whether it is to grab a rebound, shoot a jump shot, or block a shot. Constant and forceful jumping takes a toll on the Achilles. This usually results in Achilles tendinitis: the swelling of the tendon, which is associated with overuse (in this case jumping, and pushing off that tendon in general).

  •  Ways to avoid
    • The advice here is very similar to that of ankle sprains. You should ice and stretch your ankles and feet often. You should specifically ice your feet after playing. As for stretching, you should do it as often as you can.
    • If you know that Achilles is starting to become painful, lessen the load, and, at the very least, do no over exert yourself.
Plantar Fasciitis.  Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the Plantar Fascia develops a tear, which typically results in a sharp pain that is normally described as "burning", "stabbing", or "surging". In a similar manner to ankle sprains and Achilles Tendinitis, Plantar Fasciitis is caused by overexertion. In basketball, players are often on their toes, and then their heels, and their toes again, all the while with great force and speed. This constant back and forth coupled with the typical force of a basketball play can easily cause Plantar Fasciitis. This process can be quickened and/or worsened by wearing incorrect shoes (no matter what you are doing, you should always wear shoes that fit you and support you!).

  • Ways to avoid
    • Wear the correct shoes. If you do not know if a shoe is supporting you properly or if you suspect that it is ill-fitting, then consult your podiatrist or your on-site medical trainer.
    • Once again, stress often and extensively. Many of the injuries that occur in basketball can be prevented, and, in the case treated, with aggressive and often stretching.

The NCAA's March Madness brings us joy and excitement by watching people who love the sport that they play compete at such high levels of intensity and vigor, but it also reminds us how vulnerable we are as humans and athletes to injury. As you watch the last stages of the tournament, and as you are inspired to play the lovely game of basketball, keep in mind the safety precautions that might help you prevent injury in the future.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fun in the sun may not be fun for your skin

 Do you have a spot on your foot that you're not too sure what it could be? This may be a sign of skin cancer. This week we will be discussing how to identify a spot as skin cancer, steps your doctor may take, how to treat it, and last but not least how to prevent it.

Skin cancer develops when "mutations" of the skin's DNA grows rapidly and out of control. When it does this it begins to develop cancerous cells. There are three common skin cancers -- basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Actinic Keratoses are referred to as "pre-cancers." The most common warning sign of skin cancer is when the skin begins to change appearance. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in humans. Many types of lesions, or abnormalities in the tissue of an organism, can develop on the skin and most of these lesions are benign, a mass of cells (tumor) that lacks the ability to invade neighboring tissue or metastasize, or non harmful. Some hints on inspection can help distinguish which ones are concerning and which ones are less concerning.

Since your podiatrist is checking your feet, they are able to give a good inspection of your lower legs and ankles while sitting in the exam chair. Some characteristics to consider are: Color: Benign skin lesions are generally uniform in color, or the same color throughout. Borders/Shape: Benign lesions are generally uniform in shape and tend to be smooth  with a regular feel to the surface. Growth rate: New appearing skin lesions or rapid growth or change in size can be a concern for a more suspicious lesion. Ulcerating or bleeding skin lesions: these can be a concern for more aggressive type skin cancers.

Sometimes dark lesions under the toenail can be a concern although 90-95% of the time this will be due to dry blood or bruise from either an injury or repeated jamming of the toe in the shoes. For any type of lesion, under the nail or on the skin, your foot doctor will likely monitor and if any concern, can easily perform a biopsy in the office under local anesthetic which will help give a definitive diagnosis,and in some very rare cases, may save a limb or a life. Skin cancers of the feet are more often related to viruses, exposure to some chemicals, chronic inflammation, irritation, or inherited traits.

There are a lot of different ways to treat skin cancer. Some treatment options are freezing. Your doctor can get rid of early skin cancers by freezing them with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery). The dead tissue sloughs off when it thaws. More known options are radiation, when surgery is not an option, and chemotherapy. Laser therapy. A precise and intense beam of light vaporizes growths with generally little damage to surrounding tissue. A doctor may use this therapy to treat superficial skin cancers.

Ways to prevent getting skin cancer on your feet is putting sunscreen on them, as directed on the bottle. Wearing protective shoes that block the harmful rays. Try to stay inside or in the shade as much as possible; from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. when the suns rays are more harmful.

When you cannot go see a doctor you should do a regular examine especially if you spend many hours outside. Examine your skin often for new skin growths or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks. Contact your doctor immediately if you think you may have any signs of skin cancer.