Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sock It to Me!

Dr. Bridget Brondon

Socks are helpful clothing items that provide extra cushion to the feet when walking and standing.  They also help absorb moisture from the feet and prevent friction when the feet are in shoes.  In today’s world, socks have become quite a fashion statement as well.  Dress socks, sports socks, tube socks, more socks (that was my best Dr. Seuss impression!), between the bright colors, crazy patterns, and fancy fabrics, the number of sock choices can be overwhelming!  So how do you go about choosing the type of sock that is right for you?

The good news is that for most people, the type of sock that you wear does not have as much effect on the feet as do the type of shoe.   Of course, wearing any socks at all is better than none.  It is also important to change your socks every day to help prevent infection and odor.  However, there are a few medical conditions that may require a sock of a certain type:

  • Diabetics with neuropathy or circulation problems: 
    It is important for this group to find a sock that will not be too constricting and are made out of a soft material.  Another thing that can be helpful is a seamless sock as seams within the fabric can cause irritation to the skin.  Many stores sell “diabetic socks” which can give you a head start on knowing what fabrics to look for, but unlike diabetic shoes, these are not as well-regulated and so you may not get any more for your money that just a regular sock.

  • Sweaty feet:
    As the weather grows warmer, it is often inevitable that our bodies will try to cool us off more by producing more sweat.  Because our feet are “trapped” in shoes, this is often an area of high sweat production.  The answer is NOT to stop wearing socks.  That can actually create more problems.  If you have sweaty feet, a moisture-wicking sock is important to help draw the moisture away from the skin and prevent irritation, infection, etc.

  • Swollen and/or achy feet:
    Socks with compression can help to reduce the amount of swelling within the legs, ankles, and feet.  Gravity tends to pull fluid down throughout the day while we are standing and sitting with our feet down, causing a heavy or aching feeling.  Compression socks or stockings do not allow extra fluid to remain in the lower parts of the legs and help push the fluid back up towards the heart to re-circulate through your body.  The amount of compression within the socks can vary depending on how much fluid is in the legs.  Even using light compression can help to prevent fluid from collecting in the legs and feet.  Though they may not complete resolve the swelling that tighter compression would, every little bit can help!

  • Highly active people or people who stand a lot:
    The more time you spend on your feet, the more pressure you put on the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Socks with good cushion are the best choice for these individuals.  There are also socks that have some mild compression within the arch area that can help support your feet.  While the fabric isn’t strong enough to take the place of support you get from a well-made shoe or a shoe insert/ orthotic, once again, every little bit can help!

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Noticing a Neuroma?

Dr. Adam Thomas

A neuroma is the swelling and thickening of nerves in the ball of your foot. It is often referred to as a “pinched nerve.” If you feel tingling, burning, or numbness in your toes, pain or irritation in the ball of your foot, or pain between toes while walking, you could be experiencing symptoms associated with a neuroma. People who suffer from this condition also report feeling like there is something inside their foot or feeling like they have a pebble in their shoe. Many factors can lead to the formation of a neuroma whenever the nerves are compressed:
A majority of people who develop neuromas are women.
  • Repeated stress on the foot from activities (like running)
  • Improper footwear that squeezes the toes together (ie: High heeled shoes that force the forefoot into a narrow space) 
  • Foot deformities like flat feet, hammertoes, bunions, or a high-arched foot 
  • Inflammation of the nerve as a result of trauma

There are some home treatment options if you have a neuroma. You can rest the foot, massage the affected area, or apply an ice pack to lessen the pain. Or you can take anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain and swelling. Another alternative is to keep pressure off of the foot by using over-the-counter shoe pads or wearing shoes with thick, shock-absorbent soles. Also, as a preventative measure, wear shoes that have room for your toes and if a high heeled shoe is higher than two inches, you should probably avoid it.

The pain associated with a neuroma should not be ignored. Visit your local podiatrist for diagnosis and a treatment plan because if a neuroma is left untreated, it tends to get worse. Some treatment options include padding shoes, anti-inflammatory medicine, cortisone injections, or custom orthotics (shoe inserts). If conservative treatments fail, your podiatrist may consider surgical intervention.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Had No Idea that I Had No Idea!

Many of us know that there are numerous complications associated with diabetes, and one of great importance is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. This condition can be defined as nerve damage to the body’s lower extremities— the legs, feet, and toes.

Your nerves carry messages between the brain and the body. If nerves are damaged, the messages will not be able to travel. This lack of communication between the brain and the body might cause you to be unable to notice or feel anything wrong with your feet: feeling hot or cold, pain or sores, the difference between ill and proper-fitting shoes. Many diabetics are shocked to learn that they are unable to detect serious injuries to their feet.

The nerve damage may cause you to feel symptoms such as tingling, a feeling of pins and needles, burning, loss of sensation, sharp pain, or numbness. Muscle weakness and balance problems are also commonly experienced with this type of neuropathy.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a very serious matter because wound healing is slower in diabetic patients. If a wound heals too slowly, or fails to heal at all, the initial foot trauma could potentially lead to amputation. For example, if an ulcer is unable to heal, and has caused severe damage to surrounding areas (tissue and bone), the safest form of action would be to surgically remove the damaged part from the body. This means that any part of the lower extremity— a toe, foot, or leg, can be amputated.

To prevent diabetic peripheral neuropathy, diabetic patients should keep their blood sugar levels under control, carefully trim their nails, and keep feet clean and dry. They should also inspect their feet daily for blisters, burns, sores, ulcers, cuts and other puncture wounds. If you are a diabetic patient, please remember to get a diabetic foot exam at least once a year, or if you have foot issues more frequently, please see your podiatrist and primary care physician more regularly.

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What's That Smell?

Did you know that each foot has more than 250,000 sweat glands? This means that your feet have the potential to sweat… A LOT! But why do they smell?

You might be surprised to learn that your sweat is not the source of the odor because sweat is only made of salt and water. The real cause of odor in stinky feet is the bacteria on your skin. The bacteria feed off of your sweat and dead skin, eventually excreting waste that has a strong odor. Bacteria love dark, warm, and damp places— sounds like your socks and shoes right? Your feet sweat and if the sweat is unable to evaporate, it comes into contact with your socks and shoes, the perfect place for bacteria to breed and thrive.

If you want to prevent smelly feet, wash and dry your feet every day! You can even use a pumice stone to help remove dead skin.  Do not wear closed toe shoes without socks. Also, try not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. The rotation of shoes allows the first pair to dry out while you wear the second pair.

Be sure to wear a fresh pair of socks (preferably made out of a material that helps keep feet dry like wool or other moisture-wicking fibers). Another quick tip is to turn your socks inside out before you toss them in the washer to make sure that they are washed more thoroughly. Still, the main goal is to keep your feet clean, dry, and cool. If you lessen the amount of moisture in socks and shoes, you also prevent the growth of bacteria.

Another way to help prevent foot odor is your diet. After foods are broken down, their compounds are absorbed in the body and released through your skin. Some of these foods have been known to cause odors like garlic and onions. At the very least, try to eat a well balanced diet.

If you are currently a victim to smelly feet, you can reduce your foot odor by using powders like talcum powder, baking soda, or corn starch. They absorb sweat and some prevent bacteria growth. Also, you could soak your feet in black tea or apple cider vinegar. You can even wipe your feet down with a Vodka-soaked washcloth!

It is important to keep in mind that there are other reasons why your feet could smell:

  • Excessively sweaty feet (Hyperhidrosis )
  • Poor Hygiene
  • Hormone changes
  • Medication
  • Stress
  • Alcohol and drugs

If you have more questions about this topic and your foot health, contact your local podiatrist.

Community Foot Specialists

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Welcoming to Spring, Weekend Warriors!

Dr. Bridget Brondon

Spring is finally here (hopefully!) and with the weather becoming nicer (again, hopefully!), a lot of people are starting to rediscover the outdoors.  Many people take this time to become more active and begin exercise programs outside to take advantage of the nice weather. While the mind may be ready for the increase in activity after a long, cold winter spent hibernating inside our homes, sometimes it takes a little while longer for the body to get use to the higher demands we are asking of it once we become more active again.

This is the time of year when we, as podiatrists, begin to see more of these “weekend warriors” in our offices for activity related injuries. Weekend warriors are those whose work schedules keep them busy during the week but have free time for activities on the weekend. Please be aware that the longer you have been inactive, the greater risk you have for sustaining injuries once you start increasing your activity. Examples of problems you might encounter include ankle and foot sprains, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.  

Now don’t get me wrong, activity is a GOOD thing.  It helps to maintain a healthy heart function, lower blood pressure, keep cholesterol and blood sugar under control, maintain a healthy weight, keep arthritic joints moving, boost your immune system, and the list goes on and on. Still, try these helpful tips to keep yourself out of trouble:

  • Make sure that you have supportive shoes.  If your body doesn’t have a good supportive base to start with, increased stress put on your muscles and joints can tire them out faster making them more prone to injury.
  • Also, keep in mind, shoes don’t last forever.  Over time, the cushion and support decrease. Treat yourself to a new pair if yours are starting to wear out!
  • If you have overdone it one day, take a couple days to recuperate.  Your body will need time to rest and heal itself.  If you can’t sit still that long, try a lower stress workout, such as swimming or biking, which puts less stress on the body than running or other high intensity workouts.
  • Elevate your legs after exercise to help with any swelling. Use ice or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to help with any inflammation and soreness as needed.
  • If the soreness won’t go away after doing the above for a few weeks, or the pain gets worse, call and make an appointment with your doctor.  We want to help you feel better!

The important thing is to ease your way back into the activity so your body has a chance to adjust to the change.  Start off slow and work your way up.  Don’t try and run a marathon your first day out!  Your body needs time to adjust to the increase in activity without overly fatiguing your muscles, joints, etc.  The more tired your muscles are, the higher the chance they will become injured.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Give your body a chance to become accustomed to its newly active lifestyle so you can continue to stay active and keep your body healthy!

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