Our feet are one of the easiest places on our bodies to cover up – yet they are one of the most important! Typically, if we get a rash on our face or break one of our arms, we would go into the doctor’s office immediately. Why is it then that when we see a problem with our feet, we just put on socks and pretend it isn’t there? Just like with any other more visible ailment we might acquire, getting the proper medical attention as soon as possible is paramount to a quick and full recovery.
You know exactly what I mean, don’t you? Your toenails might be yellowing, or you might have a wound on your foot that refuses to close. It’s so easy to cover up our feet and think, “Out of sight, out of mind!” The fact of the matter is: just because our feet are the furthest away from our eyes, they can be the most important to examine. As scary as it may sound, if not treated in a timely manner, a festering diabetic wound can quickly lead to a limb amputation. And don’t forget, just because you don’t feel any pain associated with a visible foot problem does not mean that you can let it slide for a few weeks or months – oftentimes this can be indicative of a more serious peripheral neuropathy.
We just learned that this last week that Canadian hockey star Haley Wickenheiser won the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics playing on a broken foot. According to the Associated Press, Wickenheiser admits that she knew her foot was broken, but only just realized how serious of a break it was. Just like Haley not realizing how serious her condition is, you won’t know your true condition until you make an appointment with a podiatrist. You might have a stress fracture, Lisfranc injury, Jones Fracture, or even a calcaneal (heel-bone) fracture. Even though the hockey star was still able to grab the gold, many times we aren’t that lucky! She likely had the added benefit of being strapped into a hockey skate that immobilized her feet and ankles to avoid repetitive injury to her fracture site. So, unless you are about to play for the gold medal in the Olympics on hockey skates, make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care in Edison and Monroe NJ today!
Even though it has been rainy the past few weeks here in New Jersey, springtime weather will be here before we know it! Memories of spring remind us of blooming flowers, farmers’ markets, and… you guessed it! New shoes! Ok, so it might not have been the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s true. We replace our heavier, warmer winter shoes for lighter springtime sneakers. As the weather transitions, so does what we put on our feet! While it is certainly exciting to be wearing those new heels, we can’t forget that what we put on our feet’s main job isn’t just to look stylish, but to provide the necessary support as well.
Too often, our shoes simply cannot support our feet. This is where a podiatrist can help. Custom orthotics in your new springtime shoes will help you keep the spring in your step this spring. Many common foot problems can be alleviated with the help of a custom fit orthotic. Some examples of where an orthotic can help are: plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, diabetic foot ulcers, bursitis, or many different types of foot, ankle, and heel pain!
Frequently, we wear shoes that don’t provide the support that our feet desperately need to function painlessly. It’s easy to be tempted to buy the cheap shoe inserts we see at the drugstore. The problem is that everyone’s feet are different and these shoe inserts do not properly address your foot’s specific needs. Your podiatrist can determine if custom orthotics are right for you before you waste your money buying cheap shoe-inserts at the big-box store. Here at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care, we examine your feet and the way that you walk thoroughly to insure you are made the perfect orthotic to fit your needs. We talk to you about your unique needs to design a custom orthotic that is perfect for you. So, keep the spring in your step this spring, and make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care in Edison and Monroe NJ today!
We've all had that moment when we see a new little brown spot on our skin. "What is that?” we ask. In the back of your mind, you're wondering, "is that cancer? Do I need to go to the doctor?" The answer to these questions is simple and difficult.
As summer approaches, outdoor activity explodes. This is a great thing but also brings about increased sun exposure. A tan is something that has a high value to many and laying out in the sun is both relaxing and gives you a beautiful glow. But, beware of melanoma, the most dangerous of skin cancers
Thousands of people are diagnosed with melanoma every year. A melanoma is a growth of the cells in your skin that produce the melanin pigment. These cells are called melanocytes and they give your skin the color that you enjoy. When exposed to rays of the sun they can become damaged and grow out of control. Melanomas are so dangerous because when they start to grow out of control, they spread very quickly and can become invasive without proper removal.
So how do you know if that spot is cancer? The first warning sign is new growth. If you notice something that wasn't there previously then it means that something new is growing there. If it is getting larger then it is worrisome and you should head to the doc ASAP. If you can't remember if it’s new or how big it is then use the tried and true ABCDE evaluation method. If the spot has two or more of the qualities below then it needs to be checked by a professional.
A – asymmetry: if it has an irregular shape
B – borders: irregular, variable, unsmooth, or jagged borders
C – color: the color is variable and changes throughout the lesion
D – diameter: greater than 6mm in diameter
E – enlarging or evolving: changing over time
Because melanoma can spread rapidly it is important to check your body often. The longer a tumor has to grow the more dangerous it becomes. A month can make the difference between life and death.
Lastly, I must urge you to pay attention to your feet. Cancers commonly develop on your feet because for some reason people often forget to put sunscreen on their feet. This summer, don't be afraid to smear on the sunscreen and smear it often. Your skin will thank you.
If you notice any lesions on your feet then please bring them to the attention of your local podiatrist. Don't wait; make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care in Edison and Monroe NJ today.
By Varun Gujral
Since activity should be a part of everyone's routine, I thought I should talk about sweaty stinky feet. Some among us suffer from stinky feet and as a podiatrist, I run into stinky feet all the time. While some people can sweat gallons and still smell like roses, others just cannot seem to shake the stink. Your feet are built to perspire when you are undergoing intense activity. We don't know why exactly but it has to do with traction when you're running barefoot (perhaps the cavemen needed all the traction they could get when they were running barefoot away from mountain lions). In any case, feet sweat. So how do you keep the odor at bay?
While you may think that the odor is coming from the sweat, it's not. The odor is mainly due to the bacteria that thrive in dark, wet, and dirty environments. Unfortunately, most shoes are ideal for these little odor causing bugs. Here are a few tips to help keep your shoes smelling fresh.
· Wear moisture wicking socks. Technology is great, and fortunately there are many socks on the market that not only allow your feet to breath (decreasing moisture), but wick away the sweat to keep your feet and shoes dry. If you wear your shoes barefoot they will quickly become saturated with sweat which will actually decrease the breathability and cause you to sweat even more.
· Speaking of shoes, keep your shoes dry! If your shoes are soaking wet by the end of the day, make sure they get plenty of air so they can dry out overnight. You should never put wet shoes back on. The best antimicrobial solution is lack of water. Bacteria, like humans, require moisture to thrive and will die if they are deprived of that moisture. When I leave the gym I like to pop my shoes off and stick them on the floor by the passenger seat. Then I power up the AC on the floor which dries out my shoes, socks, and feet. Plus it feels great!
· Wash your feet daily to eliminate any bacteria that may be growing on your skin.
· If you really have a problem, then invest in an odor absorbing foot powder which will kill bacteria and keep your shoes fresh and dry. In a pinch you can use some baking soda or salt!
· Buy breathable shoes. In the summer, sandals and thin lightweight shoes are a great way to keep your feet dry.
· Lastly, keep your feet healthy. Talk to your podiatrist about maintaining healthy feet.
By Nrupa Shah
If you watched the Oscars this weekend you probably saw lots of high heels. Whether it was Jennifer Lawrence falling yet again or Liza Minnelli smiling despite those painful bunions, it was quite an entertaining evening. High heels are here to stay but you should know by now that they cause instability, hammer toes and bunions. I’d like to give you a little advice when it comes to bunions.
A bunion is an abnormal bump that forms at your big toe joint. Bunions are unfortunately a large problem that affects nearly 25% of people between the ages of 18-65. Bunions are generally formed by tight shoes or biomechanical imbalances. The big toe starts to deviate toward the other smaller toes which force the joint to protrude away from the foot. Many women’s shoes actually put the foot right into this position because of the pointed tight toe box. Some statistics show that 85% of women wear shoes that are too tight. In fact, many of the fashionable shoes on the market will only fit if they are a size too small.
That big bump is unfortunately a self-aggravating problem. The more that bump protrudes the more muscular imbalance in the foot and the more it rubs on the shoe. These things will just get worse and worse and more and more painful. If you are in an early stage and your bunion is small then now is the time to act.
First of all, stop feeding the bunion. Wear shoes with larger toe boxes and plenty of room for your toes. There are plenty of comfortable AND fashionable shoes out there. Sometimes simple things like this can stop the bunion from progressing further and keep your feet in proper alignment.
If your shoes aren’t the problem and you have a biomechanical deformity that is causing your bunion, consider taking a trip to your local podiatrists. As podiatrists we are taught to assess the biomechanics of the foot and correct problems with what we call functional orthotics. Functional orthotics work by positioning your foot in the proper position at a precise moment in your gait cycle, allowing proper biomechanics as you walk. By doing this we are able to treat the cause of the bunion to ensure that it doesn’t progress.
There are also some splints on the market that pull your big toe into proper alignment and protect the bump from friction on the shoe. This can help to rebalance the muscles in your foot and alleviate any pain you may have. There are many splints on the market so do some research and find one that fits your needs.
The last resort is surgery. Bunionectomies are common procedures that are usually reserved for those with severe pain or serious malformations that need correction. One thing is for sure, if you start to see changes in your feet then come see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Treatments are most often successful if they are treated early. If you have foot care questions or needs then make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care located in Edison and Monroe NJ today.
By Varun Gujral
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