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.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Stress Fractures and Female Runners and Athletes

The Chicago Marathon just took place, and along with the various other races that people are training for, I have seen an increase in stress fractures in the feet. Stress fractures are very small, hairline cracks in one of both sides of a bone that can occur from repetitive trauma, as with running. These are the biggest cause of pain and swelling in the forefoot and top of the foot for women over age 35 that come into my office. Bone density starts to decrease at age 35, and that contributes to this issue, along with the repeated trauma of running and other sports on the feet. Other factors such as obesity, improper shoegear, improper diet, various health conditions and diseases, and improper training can contribute to stress fractures in female recreational athletes. Stress fractures do not always show up on x-rays and additional tests may be necessary. Sometimes, the diagnosis is purely a clinical one based on the office exam. Do you have foot pain and swelling? Give us a call for an appointment, 708-763-0580, or visit oakparkpodiatry.com for more information or to schedule online.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Warm Weather Flip Flop Foot injuries!

Over the summer, I have had an increase in patient injuries caused by flip flops. It is very easy to slip these on to your feet and walk the dog, run an errand, or hang out with friends. However, flip flops generally offer little or no support to the foot, and they also offer no protection to the foot. For example, when out walking the dog, the flip flop can turn under the foot, causing abrasions, blisters, and broken toes. More serious injuries can occur, such as broken bones to other areas of the foot and sprained ankles due to sidewalk cracks, curbs, dogs that suddenly walk or run faster, or irregularities in other surfaces like grass, rocks, or dirt paths. Obviously, there is no protection to the toes with flip flops, and it is easier to bump them against objects, have them get stepped on, or for objects to drop on them. A closed toe shoe offers significantly more protect to the toes. Most of the toe injuries that I treat in the office are due to flip flops, sandals, and barefoot walking. Additionally, I have seen an increase in heel pain, arch pain and tendon injuries with prolonged flip flop use over the summer. These can include swelling in some cases, but often just present with pain. Interestingly, the pain can be after rest or when you get up in the morning or after walking. Treatment can include better shoes, strapping and taping, ice, medication, physical therapy, orthotic devices, immobilization, and injections depending on the location of the pain and other factors. If you do like flip flops or sandals, consider using a pair that cups the heel and supports the arch. These are somewhat better for supporting and stabilizing the foot but still do not offer the protection and support of a gym shoe. Ideally, if you are walking your dog or walking for long periods of time, it is better to wear a gym shoe. Questions? Come visit us! 708-763-0580 or oakparkpodiatry.com

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Does your Heel Hurt when you Wake Up in the Morning?

One of the most common things patients say to me in the office is that their heel hurts when they wake up in the morning. They hobble around or have great difficulty putting their weight on the heel for a few minutes. What is going on? This is typically plantar fasciitis, which is a common condition that involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a structure on the bottom of the foot. It often hurts on the bottom of the heel but can also hurt in the arch area of the foot. If this is something you suffer with, come visit us! You can schedule on oakparkpodiatry.com or by calling 708-763-0580.