Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Get Your Feet Ready for SUMMER!

As June rapidly approaches, most of us are thinking of getting outside and enjoying the weather. After months of having our feet warm and cozy in our socks, boots, and shoes, there are several things to think about before we put on our sandals and flip flops! Nail issues- One of the big things that people notice after not looking at their feet all winter, is that their toenails are thick, discolored, or irregular. This may be due to a fungus, and it is important to be seen by a podiatrist for this. One of the most common ways to get toenail fungus is from your own skin if you have had Athlete's Foot or a fungal infection of the skin. Our feet can get sweaty over the winter while in boots for many hours each day, and Athlete's foot can commonly develop as itchy, blistered, scaling skin. If you had this over the winter, and now have toenail issues, you have have developed fungal nails from this skin infection. Further, pedicures are another cause for fungal nails. I suggest that people keep nail polish off their nails for the cold weather months to prevent toenail dryness. However, many people keep the nails painted and are shocked when they finally look at them without polish. When the cuticle is cut or pushed back, small tears can occur in the cuticle that allow normal fungi that reside in our socks and shoes to invade the nail. Additionally, it is possible that nail polish may have fungus in it from being used to on so many different clients. Thus, it is good to use your own nail polish for the toenails rather than picking something off of the shelf at your local salon. Skin issues- As mentioned in the last section, Athlete's Foot is common in the cold weather months. Warts are a virus that also love warm sweaty feet that have been in socks and boots all winter. If you see raised bumps on your feet or callouses that have black or red dots inside them, it is important to get your feet checked and treated (warts can spread!). Conventional corns and callouses occur in areas of pressure or friction on the feet, so they can also be painful reminders of winter shoe and boot season. There are treatment, padding, and shoe gear changes that can help with these too. Finally, soft tissue aches and pains and bone injuries can occur during every season when people change their shoe gear or activities. Going from boots and supportive winter shoes to sandals can create new aches and pains. The levels of heel and tendon pain always increase in my office during this transition. Flip flops and sandals without support contribute to this increase in foot pain. Also, people get much more active outside when the weather improves. This leads to an increased number of stress fractures from running and similar sports, and heel pain with cleat use for soccer, baseball, and softball. Get your feet feeling and looking great for the summer! oakparkpodiatry.com

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Teenagers and Shoes

Many teenagers visit my office with their parents each day. No matter what has brought them into the office, whether warts, an ingrown nail, or an ankle sprain, our conversation almost always leads to shoes. Sometimes the reason the teen has foot pain is directly related to their shoes! Also, locally, many of our teens walk to school and then spend all day walking around their schools. Thus, a supportive and comfortable shoe is essential to keep the feet safe and pain-free! A supportive shoe is one that cannot be bent or twisted into a ball. Also, a solid heel is essential for stabilizing the foot. For example, supportive walking, cross training, or running shoes are good choices for everyday use by teens. The other important factor to consider is size, as the toes should not be hitting the end of the shoe. There should be one thumb length from the end of the longest toe to the end of the shoe. If your teen, has toe problems, a shoe with a wider toe box (square or round shaped) allows the toes to have more space. Many teens are still growing until they are 18, so it is important to make sure their shoes are the proper size! Even within one school year, a teen may need a new pair of larger shoes. Finally, make sure you check your teen's shoes to make sure the tread has not worn out on the bottom. This can cause falls or may increase pain since the sole is starting to break down. Because many teens walk so much during the day, their shoes may wear out sooner than when they were younger. Questions? oakparkpodiatry.com

Friday, March 8, 2019

Fifth Annual OPRF Chamber of Commerce Health and Wellness Fair, 3/10/19

Several years ago, a couple of members of the OPRF Chamber of Commerce, along with our previous Executive Director, came up with the idea of a health and wellness fair to highlight the unique and local health and wellness offerings in our area. This small project has now grown to the point that it is at its third location (we outgrew the other two) and is expected to draw over 900 visitors. One hundred vendors, free classes, snacks, children's activities, and screenings will all be offered this Sunday. This include the Foot and Ankle Screenings that I will be offering again this year! Come visit us, this Sunday, March 10, 2019, from 11-3 at FFC Oak Park. Please see the press release below for more information! January 22, 2019 Oak Park, IL, January 16, 2019 - The Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce will present the 5th Annual Community Health & Wellness Fair taking place at Fitness Formula Club (FFC) of Oak Park on March 10, 2019, featuring more than 75 local vendors and service providers, complimentary fitness classes, screenings, activities and more. The Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce is proud to bring the Community Health & Wellness Fair to FFC for the first. At this new location, there will be space for more vendors, new kids activities, elevator access and nearby free parking (in the ramp directly behind FFC). “Rush Oak Park Hospital is proud to again be the main sponsor of the Health and Wellness Fair,” said Karen Mayer, vice president of Patient Care Services at Rush Oak Park Hospital. “This free event is a great opportunity for community members to not only learn more about the kind of quality services our hospital provides, but to gather information about what our community partners have to offer. It’s a great resource for improving health, and we’re excited to be a part of it every year.” Community members who would like to attend the fair are invited to pre-register for the event by visiting our Eventbrite page. The FREE advance registration includes: Admission to the 5th Annual Community Health + Wellness Fair and opportunity to interact and consult with 80+ health & wellness providers Free 20 minute fitness classes Complimentary screenings Fun family activities Healthy snacks Automatic entry to raffle to win one of six gift baskets (valued at $300+) overflowing with gifts from our vendors Post-event virtual goody bag filled with GREAT offers from our vendors “As one of the biggest events in Oak Park, the Community Health and Wellness Fair brings needed resources and community together in one place,” says Kim Cepak, owner of Ashland Vine Senior Home Care, “We are super excited about the new venue and looking forward to the many new faces we will be meeting.” ABOUT OPRF CHAMBER The Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce is a member organization proud to serve businesses in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and the surrounding areas. We provide leadership, information, events, workshops and opportunities for networking and relationship-building. We are passionate about our community and all it offers – and committed to helping you find what you need to thrive here. Contact: Diana Shea, Media Contact 443-955-1704 (dir), dianas@tenandfit.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Protecting your feet in slush and ice

Today, after a night of snow, sleet, and ice, we have wet, slippery conditions on the roads and sidewalks in Chicagoland. These conditions can, obviously, leads to slips and falls when people are trying to go to work, school, or run their errands. Take care when moving around outside by wearing boots or shoes with good tread on the bottoms to try to stabilize the foot when walking on uneven or slick surfaces. Additionally, the heel and ankle portions of your boots or shoes should be solid and supportive to make the ankle more secure. Compressive and flexible shoegear makes it much easier to loose your balance and fall. Be safe, and have a great day! oakparkpodiatry.com

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Winter Running and your FEET

I treat athletes all year long. However, winter running presents its own challenges in Chicagoland. First, the feet should be warm and dry when running in the winter, not only for comfort but also to prevent cold injuries (like frostbite). Thus, our sock and shoe choices are important in the winter. Socks should wick moisture away from the feet. Wool, polyester, and Dry-Max or Cool-Max technologies are incorporated into a lot of popular running socks. Wicking socks are the best choice and can minimize the risk of warts and Athlete's Foot (both of which thrive in warm, moist environments like our sweaty socks and shoes). Cotton socks do not pull moisture away and are not the best choice for winter running as the foot can become moist and cold. Some runners like to wear two pairs of socks when running in the winter, but this can affect shoe fit. Doubling the socks and making the shoe tighter may increase the risk of blisters, numbness/burning, and pain. Thus, if you prefer to do this, make sure you have a specific shoe that can accommodate the addition of a second sock. Next, shoes need to have good support to stabilize the foot when running in ice and snow. Trail type running shoes are a good choice for the irregular surfaces that winter runners may encounter as they have better traction for the varied surfaces. Additionally, their construction offers more support and stability, as off road runners need the foot to be stable in the shoe (with less slippage). These shoes tend to have a better and more secure fit in the heel and a wider toe box. Mesh shoes should be avoided in the winter, as they are not as warm. The next blog will focus on common foot injuries that happen with Winter Running! oakparkpodiatry.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cold Temperatures and the FEET

My office will be closed tomorrow, 1/30/19 and possibly 1/31/19, due to the extreme cold temperatures. With these record breaking cold temperatures, exposed skin can develop frostbite in 5-10 minutes. The skin and tissues under it actually freeze, and this can result in long term complications: nerve damage, ulcerations, infection, gangrene, loss of limbs, and loss of life. The toes (along with the fingertips, ears, and nose) are prime areas that can develop frostbite. This is of great concern for our homeless population, as many of these people walk or stand outside for prolonged periods of time. When I treated patients at Pacific Garden Mission, I saw several cases of frostbite each year. However, anyone who spends too much time out in these cold temperatures can also develop frostbite. For example, if your car breaks down, if you are walking to work, or waiting for the bus, you may be exposed to the frigid air for too long. The exposed areas of skin can feel initially very cold and have numbness and burning. As the condition persists, the skin will feel harder and change colors (purple, blue, red, grey, white). After rewarming, blisters can appear, along with pain. More serious frostbite can result in loss of sensation, difficulty moving, large blisters with rewarming, and tissue loss. If you feel that you have frostbite, please report to the nearest ER. Certain populations are more prone to frostbite: people with chronic disease, neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, mental illness, people with a history of frostbite, smokers, and alcoholics. As mentioned, however, anyone who is exposed to the cold weather for too long can develop frostbite, even when perfectly healthy. What can you do to be safe? Stay inside during these cold temperatures, either at your home or at a warming center. Other tips: wear several layers of clothes, wear socks that wick moisture away (not cotton), wear waterproof boots or shoes, wear warm mittens, avoid alcohol, and keep moving if outside. Again, if you feel like you have developed frostbite, report to the ER! Please visit oakparkpodiatry.com to schedule an appointment.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Your feet and the Snowy Day

Snow in November? Blizzard conditions in November? Some people may not be ready for this cold and snowy day since it arrived early. Not only do you need to worry about your coat, gloves, and hat, but you also need to give some thought to your winter boots. Winter boots should be warm, waterproof and supportive. Nothing is worse than trekking through the snow in boots that do not offer support of the arch, heel and ankle, as this can lead to pain. Pain in the feet and ankles but also in the hips, knees, and back. The skeleton consists of bones that connect with each other, so disrupting one part of the entity can cause pain or problems in another area. Waterproof boots that keep the feet warm and dry can protect against frostbite. In addition to support, it is also good if the boots protect you from falling or sliding by being slip resistant. Obviously, serious injuries can occur when you fall in the winter: sprains, broken bones, abrasions (skin injuries), and contusions. Enjoy the warm weather, but do not forget to protect your feet! Questions? Schedule an appointment at oakparkpodiatry.com or 708-763-0580.