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,

Monday, June 12, 2017

Keeping Children's feet Safe in the Summer

School is out in Oak Park. Camp is in session. The pools and parks are open and busy. Now is the time to think about keeping your children's feet safe for the summer. Here are some handy tips! 1. No barefoot walking! It is important to have a supportive gym shoe or sandal on when playing outside. Barefoot kids can step on twigs, leaves, rocks, and other outdoor items when they are having fun in the yard or park. This can lead to pain, blisters, sores, and infection if not treated properly. Worse yet, walking around the pool locker rooms or snack bars without shoes can cause kids or adults to develop warts (a virus that loves warm, moist environments). 2. Wear supportive shoes! Many flip flops offer no support to the feet and are not recommended for children's growing feet. Running and playing in these types of shoes makes kids (and adults!) less stable, and each summer people come into the office with blisters, abrasions, broken toes, and pain from flip flops. Want to know about some supportive shoe options for kids or adults...ask me! 3. Keep the feet dry! After a swim in the pool, make sure to dry the feet before putting on socks and shoes, as it will reduce the chance of warts, athlete's foot, blisters, and foot odor. Also, it is important to change the socks frequently during the summer months for these same reasons. Keeping an extra pair in a camp bag or gym bag allows kids to change their socks if they feel damp. 4. Come to the office if something looks or feels funny! It is so much easier to treat one wart before it multiplies and spreads. A mildly tender ingrown nail is much easier to treat before it becomes infected. Finally, heel pain and other aches are easier to control if you come to the office sooner.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Warm Weather and Warts

As the temperatures start to rise, people are more eager to be outside and to be active. This is concerning for a nagging foot condition like warts. Warts are caused by a virus that thrives on warm, sweaty feet. During warm weather, warts can spread and flourish. It is important to seek treatment of these annoying and painful bumps or spots on the feet with a podiatrist. There are many in office and at home treatments that can be curative over time, as warts usually do not go away after just one treatment. In addition to treatment by a doctor, the patient should make some changes as well. First, it is essential to keep the feet as dry as possible by changing socks regularly, using powder or spray on the feet to keep them dry, and drying them thoroughly after bathing or sports. Second, airing out the shoes, and even spraying them out with lysol is helpful as the virus that causes warts often lives in our warm, hot shoes along with fungi and bacteria. It is also important not to touch the warts with your hands or fingers, and if you do, the hands should be washed to prevent spread. Have a nagging wart? Give us a call, 708-763-0580, or visit us at for online scheduling.