Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dangers of High-Heel Boots

Winter's fashionable high-heeled boots put women at risk for slips, falls, and injuries on ice and snow. These popular boots typically feature tall, spiked heels and narrow, pointed toes.
Falls from high-heeled winter boots can lead to a number of injuries, depending on how the woman loses her balance. If her ankles roll inward or outward, she can break her ankles. If her ankle twists, ligaments can be stretched or torn, causing an ankle sprain. Broken and sprained ankles can also be present at the same time.
"Wearing high-heels makes you more unstable when walking or standing on dry surfaces, let alone slippery ones like ice or snow," says Dr. Richard E. Ehle, DPM. "A stylish low-heeled winter boot is a lot more fashionable than a cast and crutches." Ehle also recommends women scuff-up the soles of new boots, or purchase adhesive rubber soles, to provide greater traction.
"This time of year I see a variety of broken bones occurring in patients who have slipped on the ice," says Ehle. "These include broken toes, metatarsals, heels, and ankles."
Ehle urges women hurt from slips and falls in high-heeled winter boots to see a foot and ankle surgeon for prompt evaluation and treatment. In the meantime, immediately use the "R.I.C.E." method- rest, ice, compression, and elevation to help reduce swelling, pain, and further injury.
"Delaying treatment can result in long-term complications such as chronic ankle instability and pain, arthritis, or deformity," says Ehle. "Even if you're able to walk on the injured foot, pain, swelling, or bruising indicates a serious injury."
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Walk This Way

From Prevention Magazine's March 2012 Issue
By Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie

The shoes you wear can make you feel slim, sexy, and stylish- or they can leave you winching in pain. Ever wonder how much damage you are doing when you walk to work in sky-high heels or scuff through errands in flip-flops? We wanted to find out for sure, so we took three 40-something women to a high-tech motion-analysis laboratory to test out four different types of shoes: flip-flops, high heels, dress flats, and toning sneakers. (Results were compared with our gold standard of comfort- a simple pair of running shoes.) At the lab, the women were outfitted with sensors to measure muscle and joint activity so we could see precisely what types of stress their bodies were subjected to. Read on to learn the findings and (since we know shoe choice is not always based purely on practicalities) get expert advice on how to make even those stilettos as foot-healthy and pain free as possible.
Flipping Out
They may be your favorite things to slip on as soon as the weather gets warm, but flip-flops aren't as foot healthy as you might think. Here's why:
Scrunch time. Only a thin strap and your bunched toes keep flip-flops from coming off. That constant grip makes it impossible for your arch to flex normally, which in turn compromises the way your forefoot pushes off when you step forward. Deprived of a powerful push-off, our testers compensated by using their hips, forcing their knees and hips to absorb more impact. In addition, your butt and the backs of your legs are less engaged in your stride, weakening those muscles over time, says Katy Bowman, a biomechanical scientist and the author of Every Women's Guide to Foot Pain Relief.
Short steppin'. Wearing flip-flops shortens your gait, so you can't expect to get very far very fast in them. Eventually, your shortened stride may lead to lower-body fatigue, which in turn may make you more inclined to hop in a cab or get in your car rather than hoof it, says Philip J. Vasyli, a podiatrist and founder of the orthotic company Vasyli International.
Flip-Flop Fixes
Stretch it out. To help your toes recover from the stress of being clenched, stretch the muscles along the top of the foot, says Bowman. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then place one foot behind you, turning the tops of your toes to the floor. Try to keep both knees straight, stand tall, and don't let your ankle roll out to the side as you stretch. Start by holding the stretch for a few seconds on each side (you foot might cramp initially because it's not used to stretching this way), and work up to 60 seconds on each side.
Shop Smarter
If you can't fathom going through a flip-flop-less summer, opt for a more structured pair. Look for a contoured arch that fits to the shape of your foot (brands to buy: Chaco, Reef, Orthoheel, and Dansko, all of which have the American Podiatric Medical Association's Seal of Acceptance) rather than the flimsy corner-drugstore ones that look like they're stamped out of a piece of rubber.
The Heel Deal
There's a reason most women willingly forgo comfort to squeeze their feet into stilettos: Adding inches makes you look slimmer, accentuates calf muscles, and even lifts your backside.
But you may be doing lasting damage if you live your life in heels. A 2011 Danish study found that walking in heels can increase the risk of osteoarthritis sixfold. Here's what else we found in testing:
Tighter quads. Imagine standing on the edge of a ski slope with your toes pointing downhill. To compensate for this tipped-forward position, it's natural to bend your knees slightly and arch your back. As a result, your quads are forced to work overtime, which makes them tight and prone to injury. Walking with your knees slightly bent also puts 200% more stress on your kneecaps, which can wear away at the cartilage and increase your risk of developing arthritis, says Howard Dananberg, DPM, a podiatrist in Bedford, NH.
Screaming shins. The added height of heels puts extra strain on the shin muscles, which control the forefoot. This repetitive strain can eventually lead to painful shin splints.
Knotty calves. Heels put your calf muscles in a shortened position. Over time, this can become permanent: One study in the Journal of Experimental Biology found regular heel wearers had calf muscles that were an average of 13% shorter than those non heel wearers, making it uncomfortable for them to walk without heels because their natural stride was thrown off.
Heels Help
Stretch it out. Give your calves a good daily stretch like this one from Bowman: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place a rolled-up towel under the ball of your right foot. Lower your right heel to the floor. Once you're comfortable here, take a small step forward with your left foot, keeping your hips square. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and work up to 60 seconds.
Massage your shins. Relieve shin pain with a gentle self-rubdown, applying long vertical finger strokes down the front of your lower leg. Then focus on kneading the muscles horizontally, says Bowman.
Embrace the commuter shoe. Switch to low-heeled options for getting places, and save those skyscrapers for when you're mostly sitting pretty.
Shop Smarter
Feet swell over the day, so if a shoe feels slightly tight at 7AM, it'll be a vise by nightfall. Only buy shoes that are roomy enough, and consider going lower. Research shows that 2 inch heels create impact forces 4% greater than flats, while 3 inch heels boost stress by 33%.
Flat Attack
Flats sound like the healthier alternative to heels, but the truth is that even a basic ballet flat or canvas casual can be just as problematic, says Megan Leahy, DPM, a podiatrist with the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute in Chicago.
Arch enemy.Many flats lack internal support (like the kind you find in a sneaker). Without it, ligaments and tendons along the bottom of your foot can overstretch and the arch can collapse, says Marlene Reid, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in Naperville, IL. This in turn can lead to the painful foot condition plantar fasciitis- a notoriously hard-to-treat burning or aching along the bottom of the foot. Poor internal support is especially problematic if you're naturally flat-footed.
Strained soles. Many casual flats have even less interior cushioning than heels or sandals. This lack of padding can trigger pain in the heel or ball of your foot when you're walking, especially if you have high arches, says Dr. Leahy.
Flat Fixes
Give your feet a workout. To wear shoes with no built-in support, you need to strengthen the tiny foot muscles that support your arches, says Bowman. Try doing toe lifts: Raise your big toe without moving the rest of the gang. It may seem impossible at first, but it's like riding a bike, says Bowman: You just have to master the coordination. Until you get the knack, wriggle your toes and rub your foot vigorously, which will stimulate your nerve endings and help wake up your feet. Do 20 toe lifts per foot.
Stretch it out. Just as the abductor/adductor machine at the gym strengthens your outer and inner thighs, you can work your toe abductors and adductors to make the muscles of your foot stronger and more supportive. Start by interlacing your fingers with your toes to help press them apart, then spread and relax them without assistance from your hands. Hold the stretch long enough to sing the alphabet. Do this once a day (or up to 3 times if you have bunions).
Bump it up. Help strengthen the small muscles in your feet and lower legs by striding barefoot across an uneven surface such as cobblestones. This also helps stimulate the nerves in your feet. Buy a premade cobblestone mat with smooth stones already glued to it ($60, amazon.com) or find (or make) a bumpy space to walk back and forth on it in your backyard.
Add OTC insoles. If you have flat feet (your wet footprint shows the entire foot), foam or rubber insoles can help prevent your arches from collapsing. If you have high arches (you see only the heel and ball of your foot in your footprint), look for an insole with more rigid arch support.
Shop Smarter
Look for flats with an insole that curves along the same lines as your foot and arch. Then try to fold the shoe in half- it should only bend at the ball (the same place your foot naturally bends as you walk). Also avoid pairs that fold right in the middle or roll up easily.
Rocker Shocker
Shoes with rounded or "rocker" soles that purportedly increase muscle activity and boost calorie burn are big business- after all, who doesn't want to get a workout without really working out? But despite their medical provenance (rocker-bottom shoes were originally engineered to help patients with pain in the balls of their feet, says Dr. Leahy), consider the following before you get a pair as a fitness tool.
Stress case. The rigid soles prevent arches from naturally flexing. Eventually, this can cause your arches to flatten and lead to over pronation (when the feet excessively roll in while walking). The result: Your feet absorb less shock, causing your knees and back to take on extra stress.
Teeter trouble.  Testers were slightly less stable in the rocker-bottom shoes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission's web site is loaded with complaints about injuries from toning shoes (including tendinitis; foot, leg, and hip pain; and even broken bones resulting from falls) and Reebok recently agreed to hand over $25 million in consumer refunds for overstating the benefits of its toning shoes.
Rocker Relief
Be inspired (but don't skip your strength workout). If these shoes help you feel more conscious of the benefits of every step you take and make you want to walk more, go for it! But don't skip proven strengtheners. The best way to tone your lower body is with strength moves such as squats and lunges, not just walking around in toning shoes.
Work your wobble muscles. Because these shoes make you unstable, they can lead to ankle injury. To strengthen the muscles around the ankle, practice standing barefoot with one leg lifted, keeping your standing knee straight, and try to minimize wobbling. Start with 30 seconds and work up to 60 seconds at a time.
Take it slow. The convex soles force you to change your natural gait, so it can take your muscles a while to get used to the movement. "At first you should not wear these shoes all day, every day," says Dr. Leahy. Start with about an hour a day and build up gradually. And listen to your body: "If you start to develop pain in your back, hips, knees, feet, or ankles, switch shoes," she adds.
Shop Smarter
If you're determined to try the rocker technology, look for a pair that actually bends at the ball of the foot. This will allow your foot to flex more naturally despite the extra thickness of the sole.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Causes My Heel Pain?

Excessive Inward Motion When Walking
When you walk with excessive pronation, or inward motion of your foot, you can create an abnormal amount of stretching and pulling on the ligaments and tendons that attach to the bottom of your heel bone.
Inflammation of Your Arch Ligament & Heel Spurs
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of your arch ligament (fascia) that runs along the bottom of your foot (plantar surface). When your plantar fascia is strained, it can overstretch or tear. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and the growth of a heel spur.
Inflammation of Your Achilles Tendon
Pain at the back of the heel can be associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon as it runs behind the ankle and attaches to the back surface of the heel bone. The inflammation is called achilles tendonitis.
Other Heel Pain Triggers You Should Know About
Other conditions that can bring about heel pain include: rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, and something commonly referred to as a pump bump. This is a painful bony enlargement of the back of the heel bone aggravated by wearing certain types of closed heel shoes. Heel pain can also be caused by a bone bruise or stress fracture.
If you have any amount of heel pain, we don't have to tell you how crippling it can become when left untreated.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't Ignore an Ingrown Toenail!

If the area around your nail hurts just by rubbing your foot against your bed sheets, there's a good chance
you're starting to get an ingrown toenail or that an infection is brewing.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail corners or sides dig painfully into the skin. This digging in of the nail irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe. This may seem harmless enough at first, but once an ingrown nail causes a break in your skin, bacteria can cause an infection.
With the presence of an infection, you may notice drainage from the area, as well as a foul odor.
You could have a full-blown infection and not even know it. That's where podiatrists come in.
Please call us if there's any possibility of infection, especially if you have a medical condition that puts your feet at high risk for losing a limb, such as diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, poor circulation, or peripheral neuropathy.
Repeated trimming can make your condition worse and no over the counter topical treatments will do the job. A simple office procedure will ease your pain and give us the chance to start treating your infection right away.
Ingrown toenails are usually caused by cutting your nails too short or by a change in the shape of your nail. The problem can often be prevented by trimming toenails straight across, selecting the proper shoe style and sizes- and by letting us treat you in a timely manner.
Remember, we're always here to help.
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Don't Suffer With Heel Pain Any Longer!

Why suffer another day of agonizing heel pain when we can provide you more comfort without surgery?
Thanks to recent breakthroughs in modern Podiatric Medical care, 90% of heel pain can now be treated without surgery.
Foot pain may be common, but that does not mean that it's normal. Foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems in this country. If you can't get out of bed in the morning because your feet hurt so much, or you can't walk or stand at your job, that's a serious issue that cannot be pushed aside.
Based on a recent survey, 72% of Americans say that foot ailments impact their ability to walk, exercise, stand, travel, work, and play with their kids or grand kids. Yet only about 25% of those in pain take care of their feet all of the time.
When you come to see a podiatrist in one of our six locations, you'll be in a program of ongoing care. As soon as you enter our doors you'll leave behind limping and giving up your favorite activities. Living without heel pain is possible and we can do it for you!
The heel bone is the largest of the 26 bones in the human foot. You may be experiencing burning, a dull ache, or a sharp pain anywhere in your heel area. Your symptoms may come and go, but it doesn't mean the problem is gone.
Pain anywhere in your foot needs attention. However, heel pain is of the utmost importance because of the many afflictions that can contribute to heel pain.
Excessive stress can be placed on your heel when running or jumping, or from prolonged walking or standing on hard surfaces. You can also place stress on your heel bone by wearing shoes that are worn out or that don't fit well- or even by being overweight.
When your feet aren't happy, every day is miserable. Once you get a taste of living without heel pain and discover how amazing you feel, you'll wonder why it took so long to make an appointment.
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Tour of Our Bristol Office

Our Bristol office is located at:
51 Burlington Ave.
Dr. Richard Ehle, DPM practices at this location. 

Welcome to Bristol!

Waiting Room

Exam Room

Surgery Room

On Site X-Rays
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best New Walking Shoes

The latest research shows that athletic shoes that overrestrict foot motion may contribute to injuries, and so can flimsy flats. We asked 33 walkers to test more than 100 pairs for the right balance of support and flexibility for any occasion. The result is this list—our picks for the best walking shoes of 2011! To keep your feet feeling good mile after mile, try a bunch on and go with the shoe that feels best on your feet.
We walked hundreds of miles in the newest walking shoes to rate them for fit, stability, and--yes--style. Here are Prevention magazine's top picks.
Best For: Fast Walking. New Balance 860 ($90). Also available in blue.
This shoe has a superflexible toe that makes it easy to push off and quicken your pace. But no matter how fast you go, the ankle padding will keep your heel snugly in place. "My foot didn't budge, even in thin socks," reports tester Jessica Branch, 45, of New York City. A mesh upper is lined to buffer cold and wind.
Best For: Running Intervals. Brooks Trance 10 ($140). 
Walkers who want to add jogging bursts should opt for a running shoe. This one is designed for high impact but is still flexible enough for the rolling motion of walking. "These shoes were comfortable at any speed; I felt like they really sprang me forward," reports tester Molly Raisch, 23, of Allentown, PA.
Best For: Hiking. Ahnu Rockridge II ($100). Also available in green and brown. 
These lightweight hikers perform as well as bulkier high-top versions. "They're much more flexible," reports tester Jess Lee, 30, of Brooklyn, NY. The rugged sole grips as you go up and down hills but is bendable enough that you can keep up a smooth, rolling stride on level terrain. And the reinforced toe area protects your feet from bumps against rocks and roots.
Best For: Running Errands. Saucony Bullet ($60). Available in nine colors. 
These stylish sneakers are lightweight and have just enough arch support to keep your feet comfy when you're on the go. "I wore these for shopping and doing errands--they were just right for everyday," reports tester Eileen Kohn, 48, of Aurora, OH. The full coverage makes them a good choice for spring and fall.
Best For: Overweight Walkers. Reebok DMX Max ReeDirect ($70). Also available in white. 
Air pockets in the rubber bottom of the shoe reduce impact for more comfort and less chance of injury. Even slim walkers enjoy the extra cushioning, especially for long walks: "No matter how far I went, my feet never got sore," reports tester Jennifer DeLuca, 41, of Brooklyn, NY. The mesh upper lets air circulate so feet stay dry and cool.
Best For: Bunions. Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo 2 ($100). 
An ultraroomy toe box and an expandable "bunion window" on the inside take the squeeze off swollen joints and toes. "I could walk longer than usual, because the shoe has a lot of give in the right place," says bunion sufferer Connie Esmond, 63, of Broken Arrow, OK.
Best For: Feeling Like You're Barefoot. Ecco BIOM Walk ($175). Also availabe in gray. 
Barefoot walking is a growing trend, but these minimally padded shoes protect your feet from the perils of the pavement while giving you much of the flexibility and foot-strengthening benefits of going au naturel. "I liked the narrow sole—it didn't feel at all clunky, like some sports shoes do," says tester Carina Ready, 35, of Casper, WY.
To avoid overworking your foot muscles, start with short 15-to 20-minute walks, and increase your workouts by about 5 minutes a week. You'll walk more lightly (minimizing the shock caused by your steps), and the strength you may gain can help prevent conditions such as fallen arches.
Best For: Dressing Up. Hush Puppies Veracity. ($80). Also available in taupe and black. 
These shoes have a hip look, thanks to the asymmetrical strap, yet they provide the comfort of sneakers with cushioned insoles and arch support. "I could walk for longer than I can in flats," says Jodi Standish, 32, of Bellevue, NE. "My heels and arches felt great." The leather upper molds to your foot after a few wears for a snug—but not tight—fit.
Best For: Walking Away Foot Aches. Merrell Mezamine Ballet Flats. ($95). Also available in gray and black. 
Mini rubber nubs on the insoles massage your feet as you walk. If you tire of the effect, flip the insoles over—they're reversible and have a smooth bottom side. "This shoe felt as light as a flip-flop and was dressy enough to wear out to dinner," says tester Rachelle Powell, 45, of Mesquite, TX. The tapered heels stay put—no slipping!
Best For: All Day Wear. Scarpa Caipirinha ($130). Also available in pink and tan. 
These casual sneakers are sturdier than they look, making them a comfy choice for activities such as sightseeing, when you're on your feet for hours. The sole—made of slip-resistant Vibram rubber—is firm in the back and flexible in the front. "I usually take off my shoes as soon as I get home, but I wore these late into the night without even noticing," says Kristina Donatelli, 39, of Bethlehem, PA.
Is It Time for New Shoes?
Athletic walking shoes should be replaced after they've logged 350 to 600 miles. If you walk 3 miles 5 days a week, that means every 6 to 10 months. To keep track, write the date you started using a pair in marker on the inside of the shoe's tongue.
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Going to the Podiatrist Saves You Money!

We've know it for a long time, but your feet are in good hands!
Research proves that compared to other health professions, podiatric medicine is the best equipped to treat your lower-extremity complications from diabetes, reduce hospitalizations, and cut your overall health care costs. And who these days isn't looking to cut costs and prevent unnecessary expenses?
Diabetes is a complex condition that can become very costly to manage. However, even with just one podiatric evaluation, we can potentially save you thousands of dollars and increase your quality of life! Aren't you looking to lead the best life you can?
Researchers examined records of more than 32,000 patients with diabetes, aged 18 to 64, comparing the costs, risk factors, and quality of life issues for those who received podiatric care and those who did not. We'll sometimes hear from reluctant diabetic patients "Why do I need to see a podiatrist when I already see a primary care doctor or endocrinologist for my diabetes?" Well, you see a opthomologist for your eyes, a dentist for your teeth, a gynecologist for your women's health issues, so why wouldn't you go to a podiatrist for your diabetic foot care?
The Thomson Reuters Healthcare Study highlights the phenomenal value of today's podiatric medical care:
  • Researchers found that care by a podiatric physician (one preventative, pre-ulcer visit) reduced the risk of hospitalization and lower-limb amputation.
  • Among patients with commercial insurance, a savings of $19,686 per patient with diabetes can be realized over a three year period if there is at least one visit to a podiatrist in the year preceding a diabetic ulceration. Among patients with commercial insurance, each $1 invested in care by a podiatrist results in $17 to $51 in savings.
  • Among Medicare-eligible patients, a savings of $4,271 per patient with diabetes can be realized over a three year period if there is at least one visit to a podiatrist in the year preceding ulceration. Among Medicare-eligible patients, each $1 invested in care by a podiatrist results in $9 to $13 of savings.
A multidisciplinary team approach that includes regular podiatric visits is the most effective way to prevent diabetic foot complications.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Diabetic Amputations- Doesn't Have To be Your Future!

Somewhere in the world, a leg is lost to diabetes every 30 seconds. Worldwide, diabetes take a life every seven seconds. Yet, preventative podiatric visits can drastically reduce life-threatening diabetic foot complications!
Whether you're one of the 24 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes or you're one of the nearly seven million Americans who don't know they have diabetes, frequent podiatric visits are no longer an option.
Diabetes affects many parts of your body, but your feet are especially susceptible. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can impair your immune response and blood flow, leaving your lower extremities extremely vulnerable to infection, ulcers, and wounds. Once down this road, it's difficult to hit reverse.
And, just because you have an infection on your feet doesn't mean that it's going to stay in your feet. You can't afford to risk the potentially devastating effects of a fast-spreading infection.
If you don't take care of your feet, you can end up with severe ulceration- the primary factor leading to lower-extremity amputations. Fortunately, going to a podiatrist for diabetic foot care regularly has been proven to reduce this tragic outcome by as much as 85 percent.
Contact us if you or a loved one notices any tingling, redness, skin discoloration, coldness, or swelling of the feet, or if you have a blister, sore, or cut that isn't healing.
The good news is that if caught early, we can prevent and successfully treat diabetic foot complications. Keeping your legs, ankles, and feet healthy will help you stay active and healthier all over. Remember that if you're having discomfort, pain, or another problem in your feet it is often an indication of your overall health and wellness.
Anyone with an immune deficiency, poor circulation, or a nerve disorder such as peripheral neuropathy (which diabetics often have) that diminishes the feeling in your feet, can develop a dangerous infection you may not even know about.
Diabetic foot amputations don't have to be part of your future- be smart and see a podiatrist!
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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Frostbite and Your Feet

Are you prepared? As we enter the cold weather season, many of us will be skiing, sledding, and shoveling snow. Many people will get cold feet as well as wet feet. Having “Jack Frost nipping at your nose” sounds great when Nat King Cole sings it, but it’s no fun when frostbite strikes your feet.
Extreme exposure of your feet to cold over a prolonged period can lead to a serious condition called frostbite. However, you do not necessarily need to be exposed to extremely cold temperatures to get frostbite. Even cool temperatures coupled with wet socks can induce frostbite.
Symptoms include pain and a burning sensation in the exposed areas, numbness in the toes or feet, and changes in skin color, from pale or red to bluish-gray or black. Children, the elderly, and people with diabetes are more prone to frostbite because of the size of their extremities or poor circulation. People who live or work outdoors also have higher likelihood of contracting frostbite because of their increased exposure to the cold.
There are various degrees of frostbite with frost nip (first degree) being the most commonly encountered by people who live in very cold climates or do a lot of outdoor activity in the winter. Skin may feel stiff to the touch, but the tissue underneath is still warm and soft.
Superficial frostbite (second degree) and deep frostbite (third degree) are serious medical conditions that must be treated by a trained medical professional. Skin will feel hard and frozen to the touch and blistering will happen. In some severe cases, doctors may have to amputate frostbitten limbs to prevent severe infection.
Start your treatment by getting out of the cold and moving to a warm environment. Keep the feet dry and 
warm; warm the skin gradually by using warm compresses or immersing the feet in warm water (101° to 104° F) until sensation returns. Do not use direct heat such as heating pads or fire, and do not disturb any blisters.
Frostbite is very serious, and if you suspect that you have it, seek professional help from a podiatric physician for any foot and ankle-related concerns. Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment are essential; they can literally save your toes. 
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Friday, February 3, 2012

February Shoe of the Month: Ballet Flats

We're not fans of the ballet flat here at Connecticut Foot Care Centers in general, but there are always exceptions. The ultra-feminine ballet slipper may make you feel light on your feet, but in reality, its flat nature can be punishing on the arch and heel. Thin soles provide inadequate cushioning and support, and can result in heel and arch pain. Never choose a pair that can bend in half and don't wear for a long period of time. Consider a cushioned insert like the Power-Steps we sell here in the office for extra shock absorption.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winter Sport Injuries

For many athletes and weekend exercise warriors, winter is a time to enhance their cardiovascular health. Many partake in winter sports such as sledding, skiing, snowboarding, rough-and-tumble ice hockey, or casual ice skating. Winter sports offer a fast track for fun, but expose the body to injuries, especially foot and ankle injuries.
Some common winter and snow sports injuries related to the foot and ankle include:
  • Frostbite – The symptoms of frostbite include skin-color changes, from blue to whitish, and a feeling of burning or numbness;
  • Blisters – Friction in winter sports footwear often causes blisters;
  • Neuromas – Enlarged benign growths of nerves between the toes are caused by friction in tight footwear and can result in pain, burning, tingling, or numbness. Neuromas require professional treatment, including an evaluation of skates and boots, from a podiatric physician;
  • Sprains and strains – The stress of skiing and skating can result in sprains and strains of the foot and ankle. They can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). If pain persists, seek medical attention from a podiatric physician; and
  • Subungual hematoma – Pressure in the toe box of a ski or skate can cause bleeding under the toenail known as a subungual hematoma. This condition should be treated by a podiatric physician to prevent the loss of a toenail.
Podiatric physicians recommend properly fitted shoes or boots to prevent winter and snow injuries. With adequate preparation and proper equipment, you can prevent most injuries common to winter and snow sports.
  • Maintain an adequate fitness level all year round. Being fit is the best way to avoid many sports-related injuries in winter.
  • Find a buddy who enjoys your sport. Never participate in winter sports alone.
  • Warm up thoroughly before activity. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. Make sure to cool down thoroughly afterwards, as well.
  • Wear several layers of light, loose, water and-wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection.
  • Wear proper footwear that is in good condition and keeps feet warm and dry. Footwear should provide ample ankle support, as well.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding.
  • Wear a blended sock that “wicks” sweat away from the skin. Consult your podiatric physician for recommendations.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sports activity.
  • Move to a warm, dry environment if your feet get wet. The skin tissues of wet, cold feet are in danger of freezing (frostbite).
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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