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Posts for: March, 2016

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 29, 2016
Tags: Bunions  

Bunions are a fairly common problem that we see often at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 33 percent of the population living in Western countries suffer from bunions.

Causes

Despite sometimes being portrayed as an “old person’s” complaint, a bunion is actually a deformity in the bone that can affect younger people too. When the big toe moves out of place, drifting toward the second toe, the joint at the side of the base of the big toe becomes enlarged. It will protrude beyond the normal width of the toe and therefore get irritated by footwear rubbing against it. The larger the bunion grows, the more irritated and tender the skin over the bunion becomes and the more painful it is to walk. Over time, bursitis and arthritis may also set in and the skin of the bottom of the foot may thicken, making getting around even more painful.

The single biggest cause of bunions is wearing shoes that are toe tight in the toes. Other causes include:

  • Faulty foot mechanics
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Pronated feet
  • Flat feet
  • Injury

While bunions themselves are not hereditary, some of the defective foot mechanics and muscular issues that lead to bunions can be genetic.

Treatment

Bunions do not go away without treatment. If you suspect you have a bunion, our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah be able to diagnose your bunion after examining your toe and taking a complete medical history. X-rays may be ordered to help determine the cause and see how severe the deformity is.

Once the diagnosis of a bunion is confirmed, the foot doctor will determine the best treatment for you. In cases where the bunion is extremely severe, bunion surgery, or a bunionectomy, may be recommended to remove the bunion and realign the toe. There are however, several non-surgical treatments as well, including padding to protect the irritated area, splints and orthotic inserts to help correct joint position and exercises to increase joint mobility.

As with most foot and ankle issues, treating bunions in their early stages is easier than when they have progressed to a disabling condition. Make an appointment to get your bunion evaluated by contacting our Monmouth Junction, Edison or Monroe office at your earliest convenience.


By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 23, 2016
Tags: heel pain   tendonitis   blisters   calluses   corns  

Spring is in the air and that means more people are going to be looking to bring their exercise routines out of hibernation and start getting in shape. Often overlooked, however, are prepping your feet for your fitness routine. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, not properly caring for your feet during fitness activities is a contributing factor in more than 300 foot ailments. These include common and not so common conditions, such as: blisters, calluses, corns, heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, sesamoiditis, stress fractures and many more.

Getting Fit Without Hurting Your Feet

At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we recommend that patients come in for a podiatric check up before beginning a new exercise routine. After examining your feet and ankles, our podiatrist, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will be able to diagnose new conditions and checking on previously existing ones. Knowing certain “weak spots” in your feet will help you make informed decisions on the type of activity best suited to your body as well as special shoe needs. If you have flat feet, for example, you will need athletic shoes that have strong arch support to prevent injury.  Some other ways that you can ensure good health for your feet when you exercise are:

  • Buy shoes specifically designed for the sport or activity you are doing. It’s worth investing a little extra and buying good quality shoes from a specialty store that understands fitness needs for your feet.
  • Always take the time to warm up properly before beginning your workout. This means stretching your calf, Achilles tendon and toes.
  • Listen to your feet while you are working out. If they start to hurt, stop. Pain is never normal!

If you would like more information about fitness and your feet, make an appointment at our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office by calling: 732-662-3050.


By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 16, 2016
Tags: hammertoe  

Hammertoe is a deformity where the toe is bent at the middle joint, giving it the appearance of a hammer. It most often affects the second, third or fourth toe. Hammertoes cause pain both from keeping the toe in a bent position and from the discomfort of wearing shoes. Corns and calluses may form on the top of the toe joint or the tip of the toe due to the abnormal position and can eventually result in open sores.

Treatment Options

At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will take a detailed medical history and then conduct a thorough examination of the toes. Although the hammer-like appearance may be obvious, there are other conditions that have similar symptoms to hammertoe and correct diagnosis is necessary before treatment can begin. X-rays may also be ordered to help confirm the diagnosis.

There are several non-surgical avenues of treatment available for hammertoe. These include:

  • Medication: oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or cortisone injections may be part of the initial treatment to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Padding: if your hammertoe has progressed to the point where corns or calluses have already formed, the podiatrist may recommend pads to prevent additional irritation
  • Orthotics: custom designed inserts for shoes can help correct the muscle imbalance that is one of the primary causes of the deformity
  • Strapping or splinting: the foot doctor may put splints or straps on the affected toe to help realign and straighten the toe
  • Exercise: stretching and strengthening surrounding muscles can provide needed support to the bent toe

Hammertoe is a progressive disorder and will only get worse if not treated. Eventually, the toe will become frozen in the hammer position and surgery may then become the only option for correcting the deformity and avoiding disability. If you have signs of hammertoe, contact our Edison, Monroe, or Monmouth Junction office for an appointment and get treatment for your toe condition before it becomes a major medical problem.


By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 06, 2016
Tags: Ankle Sprains  

One of the most common injuries we treat at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care is ankle sprains. Much misinformation about ankle injuries exists, however, we want our patients to be educated and able to make the best choices for their podiatric health so here are some myths and facts about ankle sprains:

Myth: If you can walk on it it’s probably okay.

Fact: An ankle sprain occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle gets injured. Ankle sprains have varying degrees of severity depending on whether the ligament is overstretched, partially or completely torn. Basic symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Joint stiffness

These symptoms may be more or less intense depending on the extent of the injury. If you have previously sprained your ankle, symptoms may be even less pronounced. The damage to the ankle still needs to be repaired, however. Delaying or not getting treatment at all is the number one reason people develop chronic ankle issues. Your ankle injury may also be accompanied by a fracture or other problem that will go undetected and probably worsen when you resume activities if the foot doctor does not evaluate your ankle.

Myth: Once the pain is gone you can stop treatment

Fact: Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will take the time to properly diagnose your ankle injury and develop a treatment plan that is correct for your individual condition. It is important to continue treatment and follow the foot doctor’s instructions for the prescribed time period. Physical therapy and exercises are not only given to relieve ankle sprain symptoms, but to strengthen muscles surrounding ankle ligaments and joints and thereby reduce the likelihood of additional sprains.

Myth: You should continue to maintain your regular routine until you see a doctor

Fact: If you have twisted your ankle or have ankle sprain symptoms you should follow the RICE regimen until your appointment at our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office. RICE stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Prompt medical attention and complete rehabilitation can prevent chronic ankle problems in the future. So don’t delay, if you have had an ankle injury or are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your ankle, contact our office today by calling 732-662-3050.


By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 03, 2016
Category: Diabetic Foot Care
Tags: Ulcers   neuropathy   wounds  

Patients with diabetes have to be particularly careful about taking care of their feet. Diabetes can reduce blood flow to the feet, making even small cuts or blisters difficult to heal. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, another common component of the disease, makes it harder to perceive pain and injury creating a doubly dangerous situation for these patients. At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we have experience treating diabetic patients. Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah would like to offer the following suggestions for protecting the feet of diabetic patients and preventing serious medical problems:

  1. Check your feet daily (or have someone do it for you). Look for changes in skin color, bruising, cuts or blisters. Report any changes to your podiatrist.
  2. Choose footwear that is roomy and made out of breathable materials. Run your hand around the inside of the shoes before you buy them to check for rough stitching or material that may rub on your foot and cause friction or a blister. Shoes should fit comfortably from the moment you try them on—no breaking in period.
  3. Wash your feet every day with a mild soap and dry gently but completely.
  4. Moisturize your feet with an emollient lotion or cream but avoid the areas between the toes as this could encourage a fungal infection.
  5. Trim toenails (or have someone cut them for you) straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
  6. Do not use a heating pad or hot water bottle on your feet. Decreased sensation may prevent you from realizing when something is too hot and you could end up burning your feet. Wear socks to bed if your feet are cold at night.
  7. No bathroom surgery! Do not attempt to cut or trim corns or calluses, pop blisters or do anything that could result in cutting yourself. This opens the doorway to infection.
  8. Don’t walk barefoot, even at home. This increases your chances of stepping on something and cutting your foot.
  9. Avoid smoking as this further decreases circulation.
  10. Follow your doctor’s instructions and eat a healthy diet to keep your diabetes under control.

Patients with diabetes should have regular podiatric checkups. Schedule an appointment at our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office online or by calling: 732-662-3050.