By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
May 21, 2018
Category: Bone health
Tags: Arthritis   Gout  

Did you know that arthritis is an umbrella term that includes more than 100 different types of joint diseases? It’s also the leading cause of disability in the United States. At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we know how debilitating joint pain in your feet and ankles can be. In honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, we want to encourage our patients to take steps now to prevent arthritis. It’s never too early or too late to start!

Changing What You Can

There are definitely factors that increase your risk of developing arthritis that you have no control over, such as your sex, age, and family history. But there are plenty of lifestyle choices you can make that will significantly lower your chances of getting a joint disease, including:

  1. Playing it safe—many times the site of a knee, ankle or another joint injury later becomes a place in your body where arthritis sets in. You can reduce your risk of arthritis by taking proper safety precautions when driving and playing sports. Avoiding an injury now can help prevent arthritis down the road.
  2. Quit smoking—this has been tied to an increased risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  3. Watch your weight—osteoarthritis—the “wear and tear” kind where cartilage and joint tissue breaks down with age, is the most common form of arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight means less pressure over time on the joints of your lower extremities.
  4. Exercise regularly—weight-bearing exercise helps strengthen bones and joints. Exercise also helps keep joints flexible and increases the range of motion—it’s the old “use it or lose it” strategy and it definitely applies to keeping joints healthy and being able to stay active.
  5. Choose foods carefully—in the case of gout (a form of arthritis that often affects your big toe), certain foods that are high in purines can be directly linked to attacks. Patients who suffer from this form of arthritis can lower the chances of an attack by not eating shellfish, red meat, red wine, rich sauces, beer and other alcoholic beverages.

If you notice the joints in your feet or ankles beginning to get stiff, painful or sore, contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction, New Jersey offices for an appointment by calling: 732-662-3050. There are other causes of joint discomfort besides arthritis and our podiatrists, Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will examine your feet, take your medical history, and help track down the cause of joint pain while it is in its earliest and most treatable stages.

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
May 09, 2018
Category: Bone health
Tags: breaking a bone  

At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we know that building and maintaining strong bones is important for our patients no matter what age they are. After all, your feet contain nearly 25% of all the bones in your body! Osteoporosis is a disease that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. It’s estimated that half of the adults in the U.S. age 50 or older have an increased risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis or low bone density. Ideally, prevention should start in childhood and continue throughout your entire life. Below are some ways that you can make strong bones a family affair:

Moo…re Calcium Please—in addition to helping build strong bones, calcium is a mineral that also enables blood to clot, hearts to beat and muscles to contract. Your body loses some calcium each day. When you don’t take in the calcium your body needs it “borrows” some from your bones. Some sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, certain green vegetables such as spinach, arugula, and kale, as well as fortified juices and cereals and soymilk. You can also increase your daily calcium intake by adding a few tablespoons of nonfat powdered milk to recipes.

Build Healthy Habits—eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet that helps everyone in the family avoid being overweight reduces strain on bones—especially those in your lower extremities. Be sure to also get enough vitamin D from foods (fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources) or a multivitamin. Avoiding smoking (which is a known to weaken bones and impede circulation) and immoderate use of alcohol.

Get off the Couch—strength training and weight-bearing exercise are bone health boosters. Biking, walking, dancing, and hiking are just a few ways your family can enjoy time together and make bones stronger. If you can exercise outside in the sun, you’ll also be getting a good dose of Vitamin D.

If you are an adult over the age of 50 and suffer a foot or ankle fracture, talk to our podiatrists, Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah, about assessing your risk for osteoporosis and ways you can prevent falls. Contact our New Jersey offices in Monmouth Junction, Edison or Monroe for an appointment by calling: 732-662-3050.

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
May 02, 2018
Category: Fitness
Tags: walking  

It’s been a long time coming but here in Edison, Monroe and Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, it looks like spring is finally putting in an appearance. Warmer temperatures and sunny days lure us outside and at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we want to encourage patients to make the most of the nice weather and up their fitness quotient by walking.

Why Walk?

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get moving and improve your health. It doesn’t require any training or expensive equipment other than a good pair of walking shoes (see below), it can be done practically anywhere, inside or out, alone, or with company. It’s also a fitness activity that even people who have been sedentary for a while can safely do. In addition, there are some significant health benefits:

  • Helps control blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure
  • Aids in weight loss: a brisk walk can burn up to 100 calories per mile or 300 calories per hour
  • Improves circulation and keeps muscles, joints, and ligaments flexible
  • Elevates mood by producing endorphins which can help fight anxiety and depression

Choosing the Right Shoes

Ready to join approximately 67 million other adults who have discovered the many benefits of walking? It’s always good to check with your physician before beginning any fitness program. Contact one of our offices for an appointment by calling: 732-662-3050. Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral or Dr. Varun Gujral can check your feet to make sure there are no podiatric conditions or biomechanical problems that might be aggravated by walking. In addition, the foot doctor can make specific recommendations about the right walking shoes for your particular feet and gait.

Below are some walking shoe shopping tips:

  • Have your feet professionally measured at a sports shoe store. Remember that it’s not uncommon for one foot to be larger than the other—always buy to fit the bigger foot.
  • Wear the socks that you will wear when walking so that you get a more accurate idea of fit.
  • Choose shoes made of lightweight, breathable materials.
  • Be sure there is wiggle room for your toes. There should be about half an inch between the tips of your toes and the end of the shoe.
  • Take your time and walk around the store for several minutes to be sure shoes are comfortable.
  • Replace your walking shoes every 300 to 600 miles or when you notice obvious signs of wear.
By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
April 25, 2018
Category: Ankle Injury
Tags: ankle injury  

When you suffer a serious injury or trauma to your foot or ankle, you head for the emergency room. But what about injuries that don’t seem to warrant a hospital visit but are still painful and somewhat debilitating? At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we recommend that patients always get a foot or ankle injury checked, even if you don’t think it is serious. Determining how serious an injury is can be tricky—pain and swelling can flare up and then go down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the condition is improving. In other instances, patients mistakenly believe that if they can walk on the affected foot or ankle, it can’t be sprained or fractured. Your best bet is to contact our podiatry office in Monmouth Junction, Edison or Monroe, New Jersey for an appointment as soon as possible. Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will examine the foot or ankle and possibly order x-rays or other tests to determine the type and extent of your injury. Once a diagnosis is made, the best treatment plan can be formulated to suit your individual needs.

 In the meantime, you can relieve uncomfortable symptoms and help reduce pain using the RICE method:

REST—get off the injured foot. Bearing weight on a hurt foot almost always increases the severity of the issue. In some cases, it can even lead to a fall or a secondary injury.

ICE—icing the affected area several times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time can bring down the swelling and reduce pain. Do not put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin. Wrap it in a thin towel or put the towel on your foot and then apply ice to avoid damaging the skin.

COMPRESSION—by wrapping the ankle or the part of your foot that has been hurt with an elastic bandage, you can keep the swelling down and also provide a little stability to the foot while you wait for your podiatrist appointment. Don’t wrap too tightly, however, or you will actually increase swelling below the injured area. Signs of a wrap that’s too tight include numbness, tingling, coolness to the touch, and increased pain.

ELEVATE—try to keep your foot raised up on a few pillows when you are sitting or lying down. The goal is to get the injured part of your foot above the level of the heart. This will help reduce the amount of swelling and allow fluids to be reabsorbed naturally by the body.

If you injure your foot or ankle, don’t delay. Contact us by calling: 732-662-3050 immediately.

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
April 18, 2018
Tags: Diabetes   Ingrown Toenail  

Sometimes referred to as “poor circulation,” peripheral arterial disease or PAD is a serious condition that affects your legs and feet (as well as the rest of your body). At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we want patients to be informed about this disease and to know the risks. Below are some facts about PAD:

  • PAD occurs when cholesterol and other material (known as plaque) stick to the walls of arteries, narrowing them and thus restricting blood flow (hence “poor circulation”).
  • Lack of circulation greatly slows and impedes the healing process. This means that even cuts, blisters, and minor foot ailments like an ingrown toenail can become a serious health risk. The injuries to the skin don’t heal and infection can easily set in.
  • Although PAD most often affects your legs and feet it can occur in other parts of the body and when blood flow is restricted to vital organs like the brain or heart there can be serious consequences such as stroke or heart attack.
  • PAD can develop on its own, but it is often associated with other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Risk factors for this disease include smoking, high cholesterol, being over age 50, sedentary lifestyle and a personal or family history of PAD.
  • Many patients with PAD have no symptoms when the disease is in its early stages. As arteries become more blocked the following symptoms may occur: leg cramps, numbness or weakness in the legs, change in skin color and loss of hair, legs feel cold, toenails become thickened and/or discolored. Another sign is sores on legs, feet or toes that do not seem to be healing.
  • There are both medical and surgical treatments available for PAD. In many cases, however, lifestyle changes such as improving diet, starting an exercise program and stopping smoking are the first lines of defense.

PAD can be dangerous. If you have any signs described above or if you have one or more of the risk factors for PAD, it’s important to talk to one of our podiatrists, Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah about assessing your potential for developing this condition and what you can do to prevent it. Contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office in New Jersey by calling: 732-662-3050.

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