Posts for: May, 2016
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and the President’s Council is challenging adults to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we wholeheartedly endorse this challenge. Getting fit has many obvious benefits for your feet (as well as the rest of your body). Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight which reduces the stress on your feet. It also helps control blood sugar levels which can help prevent diabetes, a disease that can have crippling affects on your feet. One of the best and easiest ways to get fit is by walking. It’s free and can be done alone or in a group nearly anywhere.
Choosing the Right Shoes
The one piece of equipment that you need for walking is sneakers or walking shoes. The shoes you pick should be specifically designed for walking. Also, if you have a particular foot shape or arch issues, our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. can offer suggestions about the best walking shoes for you after examining your feet and gait. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you shop for walking shoes:
Get your feet measured by an experienced shoe fitter.
Try on shoes at the end of the day—that’s when your feet are most swollen, and also wear the socks that you will wear when you walk to get an accurate idea of fit.
Shoes that lace up have better stability and control then Velcro.
Choose breathable materials that allow air circulation around your feet.
Make sure the toe box is roomy enough—there should be approximately half an inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
Check the inside of the shoe for loose stitching or seams that stick out that can cause blisters.
Be sure your shoes are comfortable when you buy them—a “breaking in” period is a myth!
Replace your walking shoes every 300-600 miles.
One of the conditions that patients frequently come to New England Foot & Ankle Specialists for is warts. Although warts are not often harmful, they can be quite painful and grow and spread to other parts of the body as well, if left untreated.
What Causes Warts?
Warts are caused by a virus that can enter the skin on your foot through the tiniest of cuts or abrasions. The virus is spread by direct contact. That means that walking barefoot in public places like gyms, community pools, showers and locker rooms and sharing socks or shoes with others are prime opportunities for being exposed to the virus that causes warts. There are two kinds of warts that affect the feet:
Foot warts—these can appear anywhere on the foot or toes. They are usually fleshy and raised and sometimes mistaken for calluses or corns initially. Foot warts can grow to an inch or more across or spread and develop into clusters of warts. Sometimes foot warts will disappear and then return in the same location.
Plantar warts or verrucas—these warts are opposite in appearance to foot warts. They are usually hard and flat and will have a rough surface with pinpoints of black in the center. Plantar warts most often form on the soles of the feet and tend to be more painful because they are bearing the weight of your body when you walk on them.
What Can be Done About Warts?
Warts can be very resistant to treatment. Although there are over-the-counter products available to treat them, these are often ineffective. If you notice a wart on your foot, contact our Reading office and have one of our podiatrists, Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond examine it. Treatment options include prescription ointments and medications, laser cautery and freezing. The foot doctor will be able to determine the most effective treatment for your wart.
This potentially crippling disease occurs when your bones become weak and thin either due to loss of bone mass or underproduction of new bone in your body. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Did you know that unexplained fractures in the foot can be the first sign of osteoporosis? one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. In honor of National Osteoporosis Awareness month, we at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists would like to offer some tips on protecting your bones. With approximately a quarter of your body’s bones located in your feet (26 in each foot), taking care of them is extremely important to your health.
Your Feet are what You Eat
Calcium and vitamin D are the superheroes when it comes to protecting the health of your bones. Look for foods like cereals and juices that have been fortified with calcium and vitamin D and add more of these foods to your diet:
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Green vegetables: bok choy, broccoli, kale, turnip greens
You can also add a tablespoon or two of nonfat milk powder to your recipes or consider taking a calcium supplement.
Improve Your Fitness Routine
Weight bearing exercises help strengthen bones. This can be as simple as walking or a sport such as tennis, or even leisure activities like dancing. What’s important is making exercise part of your daily routine. Other fitness activities that strengthen muscles are also helpful in that they support your bones and help protect them.
Pay Attention to Your Feet
Don’t ignore foot pain. Many times stress fractures may only hurt when you are doing an activity that puts pressure on them. If you have pain in any part of your foot or ankle, make an appointment to get it evaluated by one of our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. The foot doctor will get your medical history and examine your feet and ankles. If the podiatrists suspects osteoporosis, a bone densitometry test or x-rays can be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
Diagnosing osteoporosis in its early stages will allow you to take steps now to prevent the disease from causing major disability in the future. If you have pain in your feet, contact our Reading office for an appointment.
Patients with diabetes have to take extra precautions with their feet. Poor circulation, reduced immune system defenses, and nerve damage are all hallmarks of this disease, which put diabetics at a greater risk for several medical disorders. At New England Foot &n Ankle Specialists we urge our patients to be vigilant in checking and caring for their feet to prevent these conditions:
Diabetic Ulcers—any cut or open wound, no matter how small, can spell big trouble for patients with diabetes. Circulation and immunity issues mean that wounds are slow to heal and diabetic ulcers can form from seemingly minor ailments such as blisters, ingrown toenails or dry, cracked skin. If bacteria enters the wound and infection develops, it can quickly spread to the bone. The risk of amputation is the primary concern if the infection cannot be controlled and eliminated.
Peripheral Neuropathy—neuropathy or nerve damage can occur anywhere in the body as a result of diabetes but in the feet it is particularly dangerous. Being unable to perceive changes in temperature, pain, or other sensations makes it much more likely that a diabetic will sustain an injury or not detect an irritant to the foot that could lead to an open wound.
Charcot Foot—this condition is not common but when it occurs the bones of the feet become very weak and begin to spontaneously fracture. Neuropathy prevents the patient with diabetes from perceiving the pain caused by the breaks and so he or she continues walking on the foot, causing more damage and eventually deformity and extreme difficulty walking.
If you have diabetes your foot doctor will be your partner in protecting your feet. Regular podiatric checkups are essential for foot health. Our podiatrists, Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, can help you develop a diabetic foot care regimen that will help prevent serious complications. If you have questions about diabetic foot health, contact our Reading office by calling: (781) 944-4044.