Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Seniors and Proper Shoegear

As the weather improves, people are outside more, and today, I had the opportunity to see many people walking around the community due to the weather. Specifically, I noticed two senior citizens outside walking with their canes, and both had shoegear that was not adequately supporting their feet. Especially with seniors, a supportive walking shoe that cannot bend, collapse, or twist is ideal. This allows the muscles and tendons to work more efficiently when the person is walking by supporting and stabilizing the foot and ankle. If you watch someone walking from behind with a flexible shoe, their ankles and sometimes knees collapse inward, and their toes often point outward. When that same type of foot goes in a supportive walking shoe, the ankle does not collapse in as much and the toes or forefoot are in a better position. Not only do good shoes prevent falls, but they also allow senior citizens to have a better quality of life. The feet will feel more comfortable, less fatigued, and can function better. Feel free to schedule an appointment with me if you have additional questions about your feet and what shoes would be best!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Stress Fractures in Women

The most common reason a woman over the age of thirty-five comes into my office with a swollen, sore area on the top of the foot is a stress fracture. Stress fractures are hairline breaks in a bone that may be through one or both sides or cotices of the bone and develop for a variety of reasons, including reduced bone density, age, obesity, various health conditions, repetitive movements (like marching, running, or jumping), poor circulation, trauma, and other causes. The metatarsal bones of the foot area common locations for stress fractures, but any bone in the foot can develop a stress fracture. Often, there is pain, swelling, and difficulty walking when the bones of the foot develop this type of fracture. X-rays are ordered when a stress fracture is suspected. However, x-rays are frequently negative for a stress fracture, and more advanced modalities like CT scans or MRI or repeat x-rays at a later date may be needed to see the fracture. A stress fracture needs to be immobilized in order to heal properly. Unprotected walking with a regular shoe can cause the stress fracture to shift out of place, not heal properly, or cause continued pain and swelling in the foot. Thus, proper treatment with a physician is necessary. Other considerations for healing of a stress fracture of the foot include reducing standing and walking (delays healing), controlling other health conditions (like blood sugar for diabetics), and assessing and treating reduced bone density (increasing Vitamin D intake if low). Do you have a painful, swollen foot? Give us a call, 708-763-0580, or visit

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Care of the skin of the feet during the Winter

As temperatures drop in Chicagoland, the skin of the feet can suffer. Dryness, itching, pain, redness, sores, cracks, and warts can develop. How do we prevent these conditions and keep our feet healthy? What needs to be done if we develop one of these problems with the feet? Colder temperatures often mean dry, cracked, and sometimes, itchy feet for many people. Additionally, our waterproof winter shoe gear and boots, can keep our feet dry but can also cause hot, sweaty feet that are more prone to problems like Athlete's Foot, warts, and bacterial infections. Easy Tips for Healthy Winter Feet. 1. Moisturize the tops and bottoms of the feet but not between the toes. First, it is essential to keep the feet moisturized during the colder months. I prefer to have patients use vaseline or a thick foot cream twice per day, but never between the toes. This keeps the feet, and especially the heels, soft and can ward off cracks or fissures in the skin that can be painful and get infected. The areas between the toes can get too moist in our shoes or boots, so adding additional cream between the toes can lead to cracks, sores, and pain. Thus, I recommend anti-fungal spray or powder between the toes to prevent Athlete's Foot and keep these areas drier than the rest of the foot. 2. Wear waterproof boots but beware of hot, sweaty feet! Waterproof boots and shoes are excellent for keeping our feet warm and dry. However, they can also make our feet sweaty and hot. I recommend removing boots when you get to work or school and wearing other shoes during the day when indoors. Especially for children and teens, wearing snow boots all day in school and gym class can lead to very moist and sweaty feet. Additionally, it is important to change socks daily or even a few times a day when wearing winter boots. Warm, sweaty socks allow bacteria, viruses, and fungi to thrive and grow on our feet, as they need warm, moist environments for growth. These organisms can cause fungal and bacterial infections and warts, all of which will require a visit to a podiatrist. Additionally, spraying the shoes or boots out with lysol daily is a good way to stop colonization of organisms in the boots if they are moist from the sweaty feet at the end of the day. If you do develop warts (hard, painful areas on the feet), Athlete's Foot (scaling, redness, blisters, and itching), or an open sore, schedule a podiatry appointment! Question about your feet during the winter months? Schedule a podiatry appointment, 708-763-0580, or As always, you can email the office directly if you have trouble scheduling,

Monday, November 27, 2017

Gout, the Feet, and the Holiday Season!

It seems that every winter around this time, I write a blog about Gout. Why, and what is gout? Gout is an arthritic condition that flares up in a joint, most commonly the big toe of the foot, when the uric acid in the blood stream is elevated. During the holidays, we invest things that can cause elevated uric acid: red meat, cheese, shrimp, leafy green vegetables, beer, and wine. Thus, gout flare ups of the feet tend to occur more frequently around this time of year. Gout often presents as a red, hot, very tender, and swollen joint. Sometimes, it can cause the entire foot to appear this way, and rarely, it can affect more than one joint at a time. Even the sheets touching the area can cause extreme pain. This condition is more common in men, but post-menopausal women can also get this condition. Injuries, recent surgeries, obesity, medical conditions, medications, and family history can also be factors with a gouty attack. If you think you are experiencing a gouty attack of the foot, it is important to see a podiatrist to make sure this is exactly what is going on. Other things can also have a similar presentation, especially infections, so a proper diagnosis is key to effective treatment. Often, a blood test is helpful to differentiate between infection and gout. There are a variety of treatment options for gout: medication, injections, strapping, soft casting, surgery shoes or boots, and other things. Dr. Bender, 708-763-0580,

Monday, November 6, 2017

Best Customer Experience Award for Dr. Bender and staff

In October, I was honored to be awarded the Best Customer Experience Award in our community by the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce. I work so hard each day with my staff to try to make our office better and better. We try to follow up with our patients, respond to messages and emails in a timely fashion, and get patients in and out of the office quickly. Your time is valuable, and we really care that you are getting better! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or problems with your condition, treatment, or office visit. I can be reached directly through my website, Plus, we love compliments too! Your positive reviews of the office on Yelp, Facebook, and Google make all the difference to us, as these reviews help attract new patients to the office. Also, referrals of your friends, family, and neighbors are the best compliment of all! Thanks so much for believing in my practice and for all of your support! Mary Ann Bender, DPM

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dr. Bender Quoted in August, 2017 issue of Women's Running

Dr. Bender was quoted in the article "My Toes Hurt," in the August, 2017 edition of Women's Running, written by Nicole Radziszewski. This article explains why poorly fitting shoes and the repetitive pressure that running creates on the toes and toenails can create several issues: blood to form under nails, painful toenails, loosening of nails, bacterial infections, and fungal nails. Shoes with a bigger toe box and proper length can minimize toe pain in runners. Check out the article at your local book or magazine store or request a copy from Dr. Bender!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Can I stop this ingrown nail from coming back?

Ingrown toenails can be pesky, annoying, painful, and also may interfere with our lives. They make shoes, sports, and even daily activities challenging. Ingrown nails can be caused by genetics, improper shoe gear, incorrect cutting of the nail, trauma or injuries to the nail, fungus or psoriasis, and other causes. There are many patients who get this condition repeatedly and want to permanently correct it, so what can be done? There is a procedure called a matrixectomy which can solve this problem of recurrent ingrown nails. After numbing up the toe with an injection, a portion of nail is removed from the area where the ingrown nail is occurring. A chemical called phenol is applied to the area, so the nail border will no longer regrow. There is a longer recovery time for this procedure than when the nail is simply removed. However, the problem of recurrent ingrown nails can be solved with this matrixectomy. It is important to note that this procedure cannot be performed if there is an infection in the nail or surrounding tissue, and there are certain patients who are not ideal candidates for this procedure. Please see your podiatrist to see if it will work for you! Dr. Bender,