Thursday, May 29, 2014

So Basic It’s Simple!

Dr. Bridget Brondon

Our feet are an area of the body that is commonly overlooked until something goes wrong.  They are hard to reach, take a lot of wear and tear through the years, and are body parts that many people deem to be “gross.”  As a doctor’s office, we most commonly see patients who are actively having a problem or concern with their feet.  We love seeing our patients and helping you feel better, but what can all people do to reduce the risk of needing to visit the foot doctor?  How best can you prevent problems from occurring in the first place?

Here are some basic foot maintenance tips to keep you in tip-top shape:

  1. Wash your feet daily- Dirt, oil, dead skin, bacteria, fungus, sweat, etc. are all naturally found on all skin of the body, but because of where they are located, sometimes these can be in even greater amounts on the feet.  Cleaning with soap can help scrub the bad stuff away.  Don’t forget to clean in between the toes too.  This is a place especially susceptible to infections because of the friction created from your toes rubbing together.

  2. Dry feet well after washing- Excess moisture on your skin can cause it to break down and infections can occur.  Once again, in between the toes is very important as well.

  3. Check your feet every day- The faster you notice a problem and take steps to fix it, the sooner and probably better it can be fixed.  Same goes for your feet.  The sooner you notice if something is wrong (like bruising, swelling, redness, cuts, sores, scrapes, etc.), the sooner you can start to treat the problem.  If you can’t reach your feet or see the bottoms, try using a mirror or have someone else look for you.

  4. Apply lotion- As we get older, our skin has less moisture in it naturally and can dry out easier, especially in colder, drier weather.  Others naturally have dry skin.  If you notice dry skin on your feet, applying lotion every day can help.  Do not apply in between your toes, as that can cause too much wetness from the lotion.  Thicker creams/lotions always provide greater moisture, but any lotion is better than none!

  5. Soak your feet- For mild aches and pains, this can be a very easy remedy.  A warm-water bath with epsom salt can feel very nice.  Remember to check the temperature of the water before putting your feet in, as you can burn them if the water is too hot.  Also make sure that you apply lotion afterwards.  Warm water and the salt can dry out your feet as well.

  6. Supportive shoes- As often as possible, try to wear good supportive shoes with adequate cushion.  This will help to support your joints, ligaments, and tendons so they do not become strained.

As always, if you notice a problem with your feet that isn’t getting better, call our office to schedule an appointment.  We want to help you keep those feet feeling great and keep you comfortably walking on your way!

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Got Cold Feet?

Dr. Adam Thomas

Getting “cold feet” is not just an expression for chickening out or getting nervous and changing your mind. You can literally get cold feet if you have poor circulation. Circulation is the flow of blood throughout your body. Poor circulation occurs when the blood flow becomes restricted and is often indicative of a more serious problem.

Signs and Symptoms include:
  • Cold feet and toes (despite the weather)
  • Red, purple, or blue toes
  • Cold hands and fingers
  • Feeling tired / Lack of energy
  • Swelling and water retention – most noticeable in the feet
  • Feeling numb in the extremities
  • Loss of hair on feet or legs
  • Cramps in legs
  • A feeling of pins and needles
  • Sometimes headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blotches and blemishes in skin
  • Lumps in blood vessels or varicose veins
  • Wounds that heal slowly
Risk Factors:
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Poor Diet
  • Sitting or standing in one place for long periods of time
Another cause could be Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). In this disease, plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to other parts of your body. The plaque can harden over a period of time, causing the arteries to narrow and reducing the amount of blood flow, especially to the legs. PAD is a very serious disease that could lead to gangrene, the death of tissue, which could result in amputation of the extremity.

Treatment options for poor circulation include lifestyle changes. For instance, you could change your diet by trying herbs (like ginger), eating foods with more fiber, or drinking more water. You should also try moving more: stretching, doing yoga, swimming, or going on gentle walks – nothing too demanding to start if you have poor circulation. It is a good idea to quit smoking since it produces carbon monoxide, a gas that displaces oxygen in the blood and destroys the lining cells in blood vessels, allowing plaque to stick to blood vessel walls. A lot of the tips mentioned above could also lower your cholesterol.

Other suggestions are to use relaxation techniques to reduce stress, wear socks to keep your feet warm, avoid long periods of immobility, and try to elevate your legs. Please visit your local doctor to make sure that there aren't more serious concerns related to your poor circulation.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stop the Itch!

Dr. Belinda Dotter

With warmer weather being here, we are more active and more exposed to this pesky fungal skin infection. If you notice a scaly rash that itches, stings, or burns, you probably have athlete’s foot. Athlete's foot, officially known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that usually starts between the toes. It is very common for this infection to affect people with sweaty feet, especially if they wear shoes that fit too tight. Most people affected by Athlete’s Foot maintain that itching worsens after the removal of shoes and socks. Be careful because this infection can spread— especially if you scratch the infected parts of your feet.

Athlete’s foot can extend to other parts of your body, including:
  • Your hand. A similar infection may develop on your hands if you continue to scratch or pick at the itchy parts of your feet.
  • Your nails. Athlete’s foot can spread to your toenails because of the fungi. This is a problem because your toenails can be more resistant to treatment.
  • Your groin. Athlete’s foot can travel from the feet to the groin via your hands or a towel. The same fungus that causes Athlete’s foot can also cause Jock itch.

Athlete’s foot does not just spread by body parts. It can also spread other ways:
  • Sharing. If you share clothes, socks, shoes, rugs, mats, towels, or bed linens with someone who has the infection, chances of you getting Athlete’s foot increase.
  • Walking barefoot. Public areas like swimming pools, locker rooms, saunas and communal baths/ showers are more susceptible to the fungi associated with Athlete’s foot. This is because fungi like to thrive in warm, moist places.

Try these tips to prevent Athlete’s foot or to help ease the symptoms if you already have the infection:
  1. Keep your feet dry. Also, be sure to keep the areas between your toes dry since this is where Athlete’s foot usually begins.
  2. Do not share shoes.
  3. Wear well-ventilated shoes. Avoid shoes made out of rubber or vinyl since these synthetic materials do not allow for air to move.
  4. Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day. Alternating shoes allows them to dry out while they are not being worn.
  5. Change socks regularly, especially if your feet sweat often.
  6. Protect your feet in public places by wearing shower shoes or waterproof sandals.
  7. Use antifungal powder on your feet daily if you have Athlete’s foot.

Some types of athlete’s foot can lead to blisters or ulcers. Another type called Moccasin, causes scaling and dryness on the soles of the feet. Sometimes it is mistaken as eczema or very dry skin. Since there are different varieties of Athlete’s foot and this infection is highly contagious, see your local podiatrist if you have a rash on your foot that doesn't improve within a few weeks after self-treatment. If you have diabetes, please visit your podiatrist sooner as there are a number of foot-related complications associated with diabetes.

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

High Heels and You

Dr. Belinda Dotter

It's spring and time to wear gorgeous high heeled sandals. Here’s some information and tips to keep your foot in tip top shape when wearing them!
Studies have shown that high heeled shoes create excess pressure on the plantar surface, or sole of the foot, which can lead to metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain), excess stress on foot joints, and painful calluses. The higher the heel is, the more probability that muscular imbalances are occurring while walking in the shoes causing certain leg and foot muscles to work too hard. These imbalances can lead to problems such as knee pain, heel pain (plantar fasciitis), and hammer toes.

Common Mistakes:
Find the right fit
  1. Incorrect Size:  You may be surprised to learn that your shoe size has changed over the years. A change in foot size can often be attributed to hormonal changes and natural changes in soft tissue that occur with aging. The next time you shop for shoes, be sure to measure your feet for both length and width. Be aware that the right size shoe may not always be a good fit, so it helps to try on a few different styles until you find the most comfortable fit. Shoe sizes can vary to almost 1 size depending on the manufacturer!

  2. Extreme Height: One of the most common problems with high heels is pain under the ball of the foot. A higher heel means more stress on the ball of the foot, ankle, and knee, which increases as the height goes up. 
    Try these to minimize pain and possible injury: 
  3. Chunky Heel
    • Prefer to wear a platform shoe, this adds height without the extreme slope and pressure on the ball of the foot. 
    • Wear a chunky heel instead of stilettos.
    • Find a heeled shoe where the heel is positioned more toward the back of the shoe, which is more stable than a heel positioned more toward the center of the shoe.

  4. Not Enough Coverage:  Shoes with very little to no straps on the top of the shoe.  This will allow too much motion on an already unsteady, elevated heel. You can bet that long periods of walking in these shoes will leave you with tired, sore feet and put you at risk for an ankle sprain. Your best bet is to choose styles that fit the shape of your foot well, offering adequate material to hold your foot in the shoe  a good example is a high-heeled boot or a shoe with straps across the toe area, arch, and ankle.

  5. Pointy Toed Shoes:  Seeing the way the toes are 
    Pointy Toed Shoes
    squeezed into these pointy-toed shoes are painful to observe. Besides the toes being pushed into a cramped space, there is an issue with the shoe's toe 
    material not covering enough of the toes. This forces the toes to work harder at maintaining stability, possibly contributing to toe contractures, such as hammer toes. A better choice is a shoe that has more material across the toes and more of a rounded toe box. Another toe problem that can be aggravated by high-heeled shoes is a bunion deformity.

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