Foot And Ankle News

Kids Foot Problems

Children’s Feet Need Attention

Children are always on their feet.

Those tootsies can take a beating and little problems often arise. It’s important to attend to any issues and that often means a trip to the podiatrist.

When to go

There are many reasons why children visit a podiatrist. The most common would be an ingrown toenail, warts or a foreign body. All of these can be easily resolved with a simple office visit. We also see more complicated conditions such as ankle trauma or pediatric flat foot. A flat foot is when people either have no arch or a very low one.

Footwear

The best footwear for children, and really everyone, is a good supportive shoe that does not bend easily such as sneakers. Most importantly, parents should monitor the size of their children’s foot as to ensure their footwear is not fitting too snugly.

Read the rest at Florida Today

Read More
elderly couple walking

Balance-Boosting Footwear Tips for Older People

Balance in all aspects of life is a good thing. We work hard but make time for fun, love our children while setting boundaries, and eat healthy to enjoy a sundae on Friday night. But mental equilibrium isn’t the only kind of balance that’s important in life. Good physical balance can help older people avoid the debilitating and potentially life-threatening complications of a fall.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2010, 2.3 million fall injuries sent older folks to emergency rooms; 662,000 required hospitalizations; and falls cost $30 billion in direct medical costs, the CDC says.

“Preventing falls among older Americans is a top health priority, and improved balance can help reduce the risk of a fall,” says Dr. Matthew Garoufalis, a podiatrist and past-president of APMA. “Proper footwear can help improve balance, especially in older people who may struggle with mobility and balance issues.”

When selecting a shoe to improve balance, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Put shoes to the 1-2-3 test.
    Step 1: Press on both sides of the heel area to ensure the heel is stiff and won’t collapse.
    Step 2: Bend the shoe to check for toe flexibility. The shoe shouldn’t bend too much in the toe box area, but it shouldn’t be too stiff and inflexible either.
    Step 3: Try twisting the shoe; it shouldn’t twist in the middle.
  • Have your feet professionally measured every time you shoe shop. Natural aging and health changes can cause the size of your feet to change. Measure both feet—late in the day—and shop for the larger foot.
  • Bring the type of socks you plan to wear with the shoes and walk around the store in the shoes before you purchase them.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable or steady in the store, don’t buy them. Shoes should feel comfortable and supportive right away; if they don’t feel good right away, breaking them in won’t improve things.
  • If you have specific health challenges or foot issues, talk to a podiatrist about the best footwear for your needs. If your podiatrist has prescribed orthotics—biomechanical inserts that go into your shoes—take them with you when you shop and try them out in the shoes you’re considering.
  • Quality shoes can be an investment. Before you buy, check to see if the brand and style you’re considering have earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance. APMA grants the seals to products found to promote good foot health.
Read More
What are Bunions?

What Are Bunions? What To Look For And When To Call A Podiatrist

A bunion is caused from a bone in your foot that slowly migrates out to the side creating the bump you see by your big toe. There is a nerve that runs along the side of your foot over the bone so as the bone becomes more prominent, the nerve is being compressed between the bone and your shoe. That’s why tighter fitting shoes are more painful to wear.

You inherit bunions from your family, but certain shoes- both flats and heels can cause the bunion to grow at a faster rate.

Treatment options are wearing wider shoes- round or square toe shoes rather than pointy ones. Wearing shoes with arch supports to slow the progression, avoiding flats and heels. Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce some of the swelling and pain caused from the bunion, but shouldn’t be taken frequently. You can also try splints and pads to relieve the pressure along the joint, but they will not correct the bunion deformity, that can only be done with surgery.

More from APMA.Org:

Symptoms

The symptoms of a bunion include the following:

  • Development of a swelling, callus or firm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint
  • Development of hammertoes or calluses under the ball of the foot
  • Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe

Home Treatment

What can you do for relief?

  • Apply a commercial, non-medicated bunion pad around the bony prominence
  • Apply a spacer between the big toe and second digit
  • Wear shoes with a wide and deep toe box
  • If your bunion becomes inflamed and painful, apply ice packs several times a day to reduce swelling
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes over two inches tall

When to Visit a Podiatrist
If pain persists, podiatric medical attention should be sought. Bunions tend to get larger and more painful if left untreated, making non-surgical treatment less of an option.

Read More
Vascular Disease Foot

Podiatrists: First Responders for Vascular Disease

Many are aware of the risk factors of heart disease. However, fewer are aware that the blockages that can cause heart disease affect more than coronary arteries—they can also affect other arteries throughout your body. This condition is called vascular disease. Signs and symptoms for vascular disease often first appear in your feet.

Luckily, today’s podiatrists are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to diagnose vascular disease based on their education, training, and experience.

Learn more about your risk for vascular disease by reading the latest Footprints Newsletter from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

If you have a suspicious spot on your foot or ankle and are at risk for vascular disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Denise Elliott or Dr. Catherine Hudson of the Foot And Ankle Center!

Read More
Diabetic Foot Care

Foot Care Tips For Diabetics

If you have diabetes, follow these foot care tips:

  • Inspect feet daily. Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.
  • Wear thick, soft socks. Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.
  • Exercise. Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.
  • Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.
  • Don’t go barefoot. Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.
  • Never try to remove calluses, corns, or warts by yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.
  • See one of the doctors at The Foot And Ankle Center. Regular checkups by a podiatrist—at least annually—are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.
Read More
Bunion Treatment New Orleans Podiatrist

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. This movement forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing an often-painful lump of bone on the foot. Because this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated.

THE HOW & WHY OF BUNIONS

  • Bunions form when the normal balance of forces exerted on the joints and tendons of the foot is disrupted. This disruption can lead to instability in the joint and cause the deformity.
  • They are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint.
  • They are usually caused by the way we walk and our inherited foot type.
  • Neuromuscular disorders or congenital deformities can cause bunions.
  • An unsupported shoe can contribute to further hypermobility. Narrow-toed shoes can aggravate symptoms

Symptoms

  • Development of a fi rm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe.
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint.
  • Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the fi rst and second toes.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe.

BUNION TREATMENTS

What can YOU do?

  • Use commercial, nonmedicated bunion pads.
  • Wear wide shoes. Avoid high-heeled shoes.
  • Apply ice packs to reduce swelling.
  • If pain and other symptoms of inflammation persist, see your podiatric physician.

Conservative Treatments:

  1. Padding and taping: minimize pain and help keep the foot in a normal position.
  2. Anti-infl ammatory drugs and cortisone injections: help ease acute pain and infl ammation.
  3. 3. Physical Therapy: provides relief from pain and associated soft tissue involvement.
  4. Orthotics: prevent worsening of the deformity.

Surgical Options:
Surgical options are used when early treatments fail or the bunion progresses past the threshold for conservative treatment. Surgery will remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and relieve pain.

Read More
Keeping Kids Feet Healthy and Happy

Keeping Kids’ Feet Healthy And Happy

FOR HEALTHY FEET AT EACH STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT:

1. INFANCY (birth to 1 year)

Look carefully at your baby’s feet. A child’s feet grow rapidly during the first year. For this reason, podiatric physicians consider this period to be the most critical stage of the foot’s development. If you notice something that does not look normal to you, contact a podiatric physician. Most deformities will not correct themselves if left untreated.

Keep your baby’s feet unrestricted. No shoes or booties are necessary for infants. These can restrict movement and can inhibit toes and feet from normal development.

Provide an opportunity for exercising the feet. Lying uncovered enables the baby to kick and perform other related motions that prepare the feet for weight bearing.

2. TODDLER (1–3 years)

Keep bare feet indoors. Walking barefoot allows your toddler’s foot to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength, as well as the grasping action of toes. Of course, when walking outside or on rough surfaces, feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials.

Assess your child’s walking pattern or gait. It is not uncommon for little ones to walk on their toes. However, persistent toe-walking is not normal. A podiatric physician can examine a child to make a proper diagnosis and determine the best treatment option.

Pay attention to unspoken signs. If your child is limping, tripping, or always wants to remove one or both shoes, this may be an unspoken sign that the shoes don’t fit properly.

3. YOUNG CHILD (4–8 years)

Take your child shoe shopping. It’s important to have your child’s feet measured before buying shoes. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe-buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.

Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.

Establish good outdoor footwear practices. Spending summer at the pool? Wear flip-flops around the pool and in the locker room to prevent bacterial infections. Raising a ski bunny? Make sure winter boots fit properly. Kids should be able to wiggle their toes, but boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of their foot to help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries.

4. PRETEEN (9–12 years)

Play it safe with sports. Sports-related foot and ankle injuries become common as children start participating in athletic activities. Parents should consider discussing these matters with their family podiatric physician if they have children participating in sports.

Promote healthy pedicures. While many young girls would like a pretty pedicure to match Mom’s, it’s important they learn how to trim and polish nails safely. Visit www.apma.org to see a “Pedicure Pointers” tip sheet in the “Learn About Feet” section.

Buy shoes that are comfortable right away. Kids may see their friends with the latest flashy sneakers or trendy boots, but make sure those styles are comfortable for your child’s foot before purchasing them. Properly fitted shoes should never require a “break-in”” period.

Read More
Five Common Foot Problems

Fighting The Five Most Common Foot Woes

From eating better foods to getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercise, we live in a very health-conscious society. So why is it that many Americans routinely overlook one of the cornerstones of good health? While nearly 70 percent of Americans say they want to be healthier five years from now, just 51 percent recognize that foot health can be a key to achieving that goal, according to a survey from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

“Nearly eight in 10 adults have experienced some type of foot ailment in their lives. Yet despite the pain, close to three in 10 do nothing about it, simply choosing to live with their pain,” says Denise Elliott, DPM, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center and APMA member. “Meanwhile, more than half of those surveyed said they had endured foot pain at some point in their lives but have not sought treatment from a podiatrist.”

So what are the five most common types of foot problems, and what causes them? Here are some tips from today’s podiatrists:

  • Nail problems are one of the most prevalent foot woes in both men and women. These problems can range from ingrown toenails to fungal infections. “Ingrown toenails—a condition in which the corners of sides of a nail dig painfully into the soft tissue of the nail grooves—is the most common form of nail problem,” Dr. Elliott says. To avoid ingrown toenails, trim nails straight across and don’t dig into the corners. If a toenail becomes infected, see a podiatrist immediately for treatment. Those with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and other circulatory disorders should seek a podiatrist’s care on a regular basis to help prevent complications.
  • Sweaty feet and foot odor are two foot conditions that are often experienced together. While stinky feet are definitely embarrassing, feet that sweat excessively can lead to other foot problems, even creating an environment conducive to the development of athlete’s foot. Closed shoes make feet sweat, but in the winter you can’t avoid wearing them. Instead, practice good foot hygiene. Wash feet daily with soap and water, keep shoes and socks dry, and choose socks that wick away moisture. Change shoes and socks regularly and consider rubbing cornstarch or applying antiperspirant directly onto the soles of your feet.
  • Pain in the ball of the feet — Nearly one-third of adults have reported pain in the balls of their feet. Pain in this location can be caused by over-exertion, injury, or ill-fitting shoes. To avoid pain, always wear well-fitting, supportive, activity-appropriate shoes when walking, running, or engaging in other physical activity. If necessary, replace the insoles that came in your shoes with ones that provide additional cushioning.
  • Heel pain — This type of pain can have many sources, including weight gain, excessive foot flattening, muscle imbalance, injury, or even improper footwear. To kick heel pain to the curb, always be sure to warm up and stretch properly before and after exercise. If wearing high heels, opt for heels that are no more than two to three inches in height. For persistent pain, treatment can range from prescribed orthotic devices and medications to cortisone injections, physical therapy, and rarely, surgery.
  • Bunions — A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe. Treatments range from self-remedies such as using a bunion pad around the bony prominence, to ice packs to reduce the swelling, and to avoiding shoes that could irritate the bunion and even make the problem worse. For persistent pain, see a podiatrist for a full range of treatment options.

“While foot problems are common, that doesn’t mean people should be resigned to living with pain,” Dr. Elliott says. “Consulting today’s podiatrist can help people feel better sooner, and get back to living healthier lives.”

Denise Elliott, DPM, is a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center in Marerro, LA.  Call 504-349-6633 or visit http://footandanklenola.com to make an appointment. Visit www.apma.org to learn more about foot health and care.

Read More
Benefits of Bath Salts For Feet

Benefits of Soaking Feet in Epsom Salt

Epsom salt, derived from distilled mineral-rich water, is a widely used health and beauty product. Named after the town of Epsom in England, this commonly used bath salt is actually a mineral compound containing magnesium and sulfate. Epsom salt is widely touted and used as a treatment for sore muscles, joint pain, arthritis and skin disorders. Despite sparse research on the effectiveness or even the mechanism of action, there are some reasons why Epsom salts may provide benefits to the foot.

The Claims

A home remedy for generations, Epsom foot soaks are purported to relieve aches and pains, decrease inflammation, improve circulation, and soften and deodorize the feet. Epsom salt is also claimed to have anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties — and soaking feet in Epsom salt baths is reported to help heal a variety of foot and skin infections, including athlete’s foot, toenail fungus and small wounds. Epsom salt is even claimed to detoxify the body and relieve stress. However, the benefits of Epsom salt is mostly based on personal testimonies and its longstanding reputation, as there is little research to back up these claims.

The Research: Skin Absorption of Minerals

Since magnesium deficiency can lead to foot cramps and pain, Epsom foot soaks are believed promote magnesium absorption through the skin which helps relax muscles and nerves and lessen foot discomfort. But there isn’t research that supports topical application of magnesium is effective in increasing body magnesium stores, according to a 2012 review published in “International Journal of Cosmetic Science.” However, another review article published in the June 2014 issue of “Experimental Biology and Medicine” suggests that skin absorption could occur given the right conditions — such as with heat or high salt concentrations. In addition, minerals from the water are able to be absorbed if the skin is broken, as in a cut or scratch.

The Research: Healing Properties

Epsom salt is also touted to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. While there is a lack of research supporting these benefits, there may be some reasons why these foot soaks work. First, soaking feet in water will help clean the feet, removing substances that may risk or worsen infections. Warm or hot water improves blood flow to the skin which can promote healing. Because most bacteria do not thrive in a salty environment, soaking feet in Epsom salt could inhibit the growth of the microorganisms that cause infection. Finally, soaking feet in warm or hot water feels good. It’s relaxing, soothing and reduces stress, and this may simply make you feel better.

How to Soak Feet in Epsom Salt

To enjoy a Epsom foot soak, add one half cup of salts to a small tub that holds enough warm water to cover the feet up to the ankles. Or add 2 cups to a standard size bath tub. Soak feet for 30 to 60 minutes. Combining Epsom salt with essential oil is a relaxing aromatherapy bath treatment. Store the essential oil in a jar with a lid and add a few spoonfuls to bath water.

Precautions

Topical Epsom salt is not known to have any negative impacts on health; however, excess use of Epsom foot baths can result in dried, cracked skin on the feet. Use a foot bath only two to three times a week for duration of 30 to 60 minutes. Individuals with very dry skin should try using less Epsom salt and massage the feet with moisturizer after drying them. Even though Epsom salt may help heal of minor wounds, in certain cases medical treatment will be necessary. If you have diabetes, or if you have nerve damage or poor blood flow to the feet, consult your doctor first with any sores, wounds, redness, swelling or foot pain. Anyone with severe foot pain or redness or pain following a foot injury should also see a doctor.

Source: LiveStrong.com

Read More
Choosing the right athletic shoes

5 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing Workout Shoes

Why you shouldn’t reach for those comfy old sneakers after all.

The single most important piece of equipment in virtually any kind of exercise program — running, aerobics, hiking, tennis, basketball — is the right pair of shoes.

A good pair of sneakers can make or break your workout. And it’s easy to go wrong. Here are the five biggest shoe mistakes people make.

1. Grabbing Whatever’s Handy

Don’t just reach into the closet and pull out an old pair of sneakers. An old pair of shoes may no longer have the support you need. And even more problematic, that pair of shoes might be inappropriate for the activity you choose.

2. Choosing the Right Shoe — for the Wrong Workout

The APMA recommends that if you’re going to participate in a particular sport two to three times a week or more, you should choose a sport-specific shoe.

3. Loving Them Too Much

Your workout shoes should be your workout shoes and not your running-around-town shoes. So buy yourself a pair of casual tennies for running around town, and stow your good workout shoes in the closet as soon as you get home from your run or your tennis game.

4. Loving Them Too Long

Shoes start to break down while they’re still looking good. Once the support is gone, you’ll start feeling strange aches and pains in your knees, hip, and back.

Most experts recommend that runners replace their shoes every 300 to 500 miles. You should replace your athletic shoes at least once a year.

5. Doing It Yourself

It’s a bad idea to just walk into a sporting goods store, try on a few pairs of shoes, and walk out with what you think is best. Instead, go to an athletic shoe specialty store to get an expert insight on the right shoe and the best fit.

Read the entire article at WebMD.com

Read More