If you or someone you love is over 60, there are specific foot health issues that need to addressed. As we age, our bodies change and our feet are no exception. At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care we want our senior patients to be proactive about their health. Look at the True/False statements below to test your senior foot care knowledge.
Smoking negatively impacts the health of your feet.
TRUE: Smoking reduces circulation. Since your feet are the part of your body that is furthest from your heart, the blood has to travel the longest distance to reach them. For injuries, infections and conditions that impede circulation, such as diabetes, maintaining good circulation is essential. Other ways you can improve circulation are by avoiding sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time and putting your feet up whenever possible. Walking and regular exercise also keeps the blood flowing.
Diabetes, arthritis and other systemic disorders can be detected through your feet.
TRUE: Your feet are like an early warning system for your body. The diseases mentioned above as well as certain circulation, joint and nerve issues first show up in your feet. If caught early, they have much better treatment outcomes.
When you are a senior you can start to check your feet less often.
FALSE: Precisely because your feet can be the first place that diabetes, arthritis and other conditions show up, seniors should actually inspect their feet daily (or have someone else do it). Swelling, bruising, changes in shape, color, temperature can all be indicators of a larger problem. Stiffness, decreased range of motion or unusual lumps, and of course any pain should be reported promptly to one of our board certified podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah.
The health of your eyes can affect the health of your feet.
TRUE: Although they’re at opposite ends of your body, if your eyes are experiencing problems, they can cause you to stumble or fall which can result in a fracture, ankle sprain or other injury to your feet or ankles. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. It’s a good time to get an eye exam which can detect this and other conditions that can result in blindness.
Pain and discomfort in the ankle can be a debilitating condition. One of the most common causes of ankle pain is a sprain, which is an over-twisting of the ligaments surrounding the ankle bone caused by an injury or severe blow. But what if you haven’t had a recent injury that involved twisting your ankle? At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care we see patients with ankle pain from several very different causes. The first step to relief is tracking down the source of the pain and discomfort. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will need to examine your ankle and possibly take x-rays or other imaging studies as well as get a complete medical history in order to accurately determine the reason for your ankle pain.
Possible conditions include:
Chronic Lateral Ankle Instability/Pain—this condition is characterized by pain on the outside part of the ankle and weakness in the ankle or a feeling that your ankle is going to “give out” while you walk. Swelling, stiffness and tenderness may also be present. It is usually due to a previous ankle sprain or injury that did not heal completely before the patient resumed normal activity.
Osteochondritis—this is another condition that can develop as a result of past ankle-twisting injuries. The primary symptoms of osteochondritis are stiffness, swelling and pain in the ankle joint which is caused by lesions that form on the joint surface.
Fracture—a fracture may occur at the same time as a bad sprain but not be detected if x-rays or other imaging tests are not performed. Stress fractures, tiny hairline cracks in the surface of the bone can happen in cases of repetitive, overuse of the ankle due to a sport or other activity.
Nerve Conditions—injury to the nerves that pass through the ankle or compression of the tunnel that encloses them can be another source of chronic ankle pain.
If you are experiencing ankle pain or other symptoms that you do not believe are due to an ankle sprain, contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office for an appointment to find the cause and correct treatment for your condition.
Icy roads, snowy driveways and slushy parking lots mean we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care will be seeing an increase in foot and ankle injuries caused by slips and falls. There’s not much chance of escaping winter weather here in New Jersey but there are ways to reduce your risk of taking a spill. Here are 5 ways to avoid a winter fall:
If you do take a tumble and injure your foot or ankle follow the RICE regimen: rest, ice, compression and elevation and make an appointment to come into our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office by calling 732-662-3050 as soon as possible. One of our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah will examine your foot and determine if a sprain, fracture or other injury has occurred and if so, what the best treatment will be.
Chances are if you’ve had an attack of gout it was memorable. Extreme, throbbing pain in a very swollen big toe which often comes on in the middle of the night and lasts for several hours before subsiding is typical. Also known as gouty arthritis, this condition occurs as a result of an excessive amount of the salts or uric acid (known as purines) building up and crystallizing in the joints. At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care we want our patients to know more about this condition and how to prevent it.
Why Here, Why Now?
Although gout can strike any joint, the big toe is the most common site of this affliction. Two reasons for this being: uric acid is sensitive to temperature and is more likely to crystallize when it’s cold. Not only is it winter, but your big toe is the part of your body farthest from the heart and therefore it’s the coldest. The other significant factor is that your big toe joint is exposed to an extreme amount of pressure when you walk. Your diet can also play a key role in triggering gout. Red meat, shellfish, rich sauces, brandy, beer and wine have all been linked to gout attacks and these types of food are served in abundance during the holiday season.
What Can Be Done?
Once you’ve had gout, it’s likely to reoccur in the same toe. One of our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah will want to examine your toe and also get a complete medical history. Most likely the foot doctor will ask questions about your recent activities and diet. During a gout attack, icing the big toe or applying a cooling lotion may help reduce the pain and swelling. On an ongoing basis, the podiatrist may prescribe medication and suggest dietary modifications to help prevent future attacks. Sometimes the foot doctor may recommend shoes that are specially made to help minimize gout-related pain.
You’re probably making your list and checking it twice to be sure you’ve got something nice for everyone on your list. For those “hard to buy for” friends and family, we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care would like to suggest some treats for feet:
Personal Pedicure Set—getting a salon pedicure is certainly a treat but can carry the risk of fungal infection if proper sanitizing procedures are not followed. Clients who bring their own pedicure tools, however, eliminate that worry. Consider pairing with a gift certificate to a local salon.
Socks—doesn’t sound exciting but people rarely splurge on truly good socks. If there is a ski or other winter sports enthusiast on your list, a pair of warm wool socks is a great gift. Also, light-weight socks made of a moisture-wicking material are a good choice for outdoorsy types to wear underneath heavier socks to help keep feet warm and dry.
Luxurious Rich Moisturizer—skin tends to get dry in the winter. For feet, that can lead to flaking and painful cracks. Treat someone special to an extra emollient lotion or cream to rub into tired feet at the end of the day. Include a pair of super soft booty socks to put on after applying the moisturizer.
Gift Certificate to a Sport Shoe Store—avid runners and serious athletes should be wearing shoes specifically designed for their activities and replace them as soon as they wear out. Sport shoe stores will professionally measure your foot and may even ask you to run on a treadmill to analyze your individual gait and running pattern to help you find the best shoe to enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah, wish everyone happy holidays and remind you to contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office for all your podiatric needs by calling: 732-662-3050.
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