Posts for: January, 2014

Ingrown toenails walk tenderly into my office on a daily basis.  Treating ingrown toenails is one of the everyday procedures that podiatrists perform on a weekly if not daily basis. 

Ingrown toenails are basically sharp edges of nails that grow into the skin at the edges of the nail.  The edge of the nail normally only grows outward and away from the skin but this can go awry if you're not careful.  So why does this happen?

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Don't wear tight shoes!  Your toes need plenty of space so give yourself a big toe box with space above and in front of your toes.  Tight shoes force the nails downward and can eventually cause your toenails to become rounded.  Believe it or not you can actually predispose yourself or your children to ingrown toenails if the shoes worn are too tight.  When your toes are still developing during childhood, you can cause permanently rounded nails that can dig into the skin with any downward pressure.  There are also some people with naturally rounded nails that are more likely to develop ingrown toenails.

The actual cause of the ingrown nails is almost always tight shoes and improper nail care.  People that don't wear shoes will never (well, I'll say almost never) develop ingrown toenails.  When cutting your nails always cut straight across and be careful not to cut them too short, especially on the sides of the nail. You definitely want to stop cutting before the nail attaches to the skin. 

Another factor that can increase your risk is weight bearing trauma to the toes.  When playing basketball for instance, if you have tight shoes you are constantly slamming your toes into your shoe and the floor which is pushing the skin into the nail.  The more you damage the skin the more inflamed it can become and the skin may actually grow and swell up over the nail (if the nail is cut too short). 

What does this mean for you? If you commonly get ingrown toenails then take a look at your shoes.  They are probably too small.  If you live in warm weather you can wear open toes shoes to stop ingrown nails.  Be more conservative when cutting your nails and don't cut your nails too often. 

Ingrown toenails can develop and get out of control quickly.  They often get infected and swollen and very painful.  In this case you should make your way to your local podiatrist who is equipped with the tools and expertise necessary to return your nails to normal.  Seriously, you can walk in with extreme pain and walk out feeling great.  Actor Mark Wahlberg recently underwent a procedure for an ingrown toenail and showed up at the Critics Choice awards that same night.  Recovery from these simple procedures is quick and the pain relief is instant. 

If you have any questions about your shoe gear, feet, or nails, make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care located in Edison and Monroe NJ today.

By Varun Gujral

It’s a well-known fact that high heels can be bad for your feet and cause painful deformities such as bunions or hammer toes.  Just wearing high heels every now and then can be painful, because they just aren’t very comfortable!  But let’s face it; many women are still going to wear high heels.  Why are women torturing themselves for shoes you ask?  Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?  It’s a mystery!  Ok maybe there are a few reasons.

High heels have several “fashion” benefits.  They make you appear taller.  They force your body to balance by pushing your bosom forward and pushing your buttocks back, which is accentuating the “ideal and sought after” female form.  They also put your feet into plantar flexion which accentuates your calves.  Just to be clear, I’m not recommending high heels… at all.

If you must wear high heels here are a few simple rules to follow.

  1. When picking out high heels, look for shoes with plenty of space for your toes.  Make sure that the toe box is roomy and has enough height to keep your toes from becoming squished.  Many high heels force your toes to come to a point which is the main deforming force high heels exert. 
  2. Buy inserts.  There are over the counter inserts that you can slap into your high heels that help distribute the weight and provide more shock absorption throughout the pressure points.  Dr. Scholl’s for her high heel inserts work well for many women. 
  3. Exercise your feet daily with simple exercises like picking up a golf ball with your toes.  This can work to stop muscle atrophy and keep your feet strong and injury resistant.
  4. Give your feet plenty of breaks.  Try not to wear high heels every day and take them off as often as possible.  When you’re at a party or around the office take a seat as often as possible to give your feet a break. 
  5. Get a grip.  The bottom of your shoes can be very slippery when new.  Scuff them up with some sandpaper or a concrete surface.  You can even buy adhesive grips to place on the bottom of your shoes.
  6. Keep your balance.  Ankle injuries are very common when wearing heels and they occur when you lose your balance and roll the ankle in one direction or the other.  This is very easy to do because you aren’t nearly as stable up on heels as you are on the ground.  Do some balance exercises to condition your leg muscles and enhance your proprioception.  If you’re really ambitious then join a yoga class!

Remember that high heels are not ideal for your feet and if you have to wear them, follow these tips to take care of your feet.  If you have any questions or problems with your feet, then make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care in Edison and Monroe NJ today.

By Nrupa Shah

While for some, cold weather means bunkering down next to the fireplace with a warm beverage, many of my active acquaintances hit the slopes this time of year.  Recently in the news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a fall during a cross-country skiing accident causing a partial pelvic fracture.  The German Chancellor was forced to cancel many of her meetings and engagements following the incident that occurred over her Christmas vacation.  Don't let injuries slow you down this year by following 4 simple tips to prevent injuries.

1.  Don't hit the slopes cold.  Before you fly down the mountain be sure that you are warmed up and stretched out.  When your body is cold and tight you are more likely to tear, strain, and rip your muscles, tendons and ligaments.   You may look funny doing calisthenics in your snow gear but it certainly beats sitting at the bottom of the hill while your friends tear up the powder. 

2.  Get in shape.  In addition to warming up, the best shield for warding off injury would be athleticism and conditioning.  If you know in advance that you are going skiing, make sure you're ready to handle it physically.  You are much more likely to sustain an injury if fatigue sets in as you aren't able to control your body or protect yourself.  A simple exercise to try would be holding a squat for 40-60 seconds.  Boost your cardio with an intense stationary bike session and then do another squat hold.  Hopefully you're already exercising, but if you aren't then your ski-cation could be the perfect reason to start. 

3.  Find the right footgear.  Whether you're strapping on skis or going for a leisurely stroll in the park, make sure you have properly fitting shoe gear.  For skiing you want boots that fit snugly around the sides of your feet and ankle.  Your lateral or outer ankle ligaments are the weakest so make sure they feel secure in the boot.  The one part of the boot that you don't want too snug is the toe box.  Make sure you can wiggle your toes in your boots.  In a pinch, if you find yourself stuck in boots that aren't tight enough, then throw on a couple pairs of thick wool socks to keep your feet locked in place. 

4.  Lastly, don't ski with an injury.  If you find yourself worn out or in pain then call it a day and head down the mountain for some beverages and relaxation.  Pushing through the pain can cause more serious damage to your ankle and take you out of the game.  Rest your injuries and if they feel better you can try to ease back onto the bunny slopes.  While skiing is a blast there is often plenty to do at the bottom of the hill.

Stay warm out there and remember to take care of your body.  If you have any questions about your shoe gear or your feet, make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care located in Edison and Monroe NJ today.

By Varun Gujral