Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Foods and Beverages Cause Gout?

When you get a gout attack in your foot, you are likely to be screaming in pain. Gout causes redness, swelling, and extreme tenderness in your joints. Some people will have an attack every couple of weeks, some will go for years without ever having one.
Gout is caused by a build-up of excess uric acid in the blood and tissues. Uric acid develops into crystals, which commonly cause kidney stones. When it occurs in the joints, you have gout. There are three reasons you might be prone to a gout attack:
  • You eat a lot of foods rich with purines, which the body turns into uric acid.
  • You naturally produce a lot of uric acid.
  • Your kidneys don't get rid of the uric acid like they should.
There is nothing you can do about your body's make-up, but there are several things you can do about your diet. Some foods and beverages you should avoid are:
  • Anchoives
  • Sardines
  • Oils
  • Herring
  • Organ meats (liver, kidneys, and sweetbreads)
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Califlower
  • Yeast
  • Alcohol (beer, wine)
Limit your drinking of alcohol and stay hydrated with water. Eat balanced meals devoid of the above mentioned items. Even if you are careful about your diet, you can still get a gout attack. If you are prone to attacks even while eating well, keep non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on hand (Advil, Tylenol, ibuprofen). After attacks that are frequent or severe you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.
If you are are experiencing pain from gout, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Picking Out Shoes and Socks

There are so many options these days when it comes to purchasing shoes in styles, colors, brands, and fits. Most often when you go to pick out shoes there are no shoe attendants to help you size your foot or to help you find the correct size. Here are some tips we recommend to our patients when they are looking to purchase new shoes and socks:
  • Buy shoes in the evening when your feet are most likely to be swollen. This will give you the best fit throughout the day. 
  • If you have diabetes, tell the store clerk. If the store clerk doesn't know what this means, find a store that does.
  • Look for shoes with roomy toe boxes. Shoes with roomy toe boxes will help prevent bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, and blisters.
  • Try on shoes wearing the socks you would normally wear. That is, if you're looking for boots, bring winter socks along with you.
  • Good shoes that will last are made of materials that are flexible and breathable. Athletic shoes should be made of comfortable materials.
  • Leather is always the best option when looking at shoe materials. 
  • If you wear insoles in your shoes, bring them along with you. 
  • Avoid shoes with plastic tops or uppers or sandals that have straps between the toes. Plastic shoes should be avoided in general. They cause your feet to sweat and slide within the shoe, causing blisters. 
  • Wear sandals on a limited basis. They provide little protection and support for your feet. 
  • Don't purchase shoes with thin soles as they can be easily punctured and don't protect your feet from cold weather or hot pavement. 
  • Try not to go barefoot, even at home. Wear slippers instead. 
  • Socks should be cushioned. 
  • Socks without seams are the best because the seams irritate toes or bony prominences on your feet. If you only have or can find socks with seams, position the seam before putting on your shoes. 
  • Stockings or nylons should fit loosely around your toes to leave room for movement when walking. Pull them on, and then pull at the toes to create wiggle room. 
If you are unsure about shoe and sock selections, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tips For Picking Out Flip-Flops

If you don't have a pair yourself, you know someone who does: Flip-flops that are so dirty they have the footprint permanently on the insole, edges gnawed away like a dog attacked them, and arch support gone or nonexistent.
We hate to break it to you, but it's time to throw those flip-flops away! Not only are they dirty, but they're past the point where they could even support your foot. Here are some tips on picking out a new pair that will last:
  • Look for flip-flops that have earned the American Podiatric Medical Association's Seal of Acceptance. The seal indicates the APMA considers the shoe to be one that promotes good health. Flop-flops made by Orthaheel are ones that have earned the Seal. 
  • Your flip-flop should only bend at the ball of the foot, never at the heel. An ideal flip-flop should have arch support built-in to the shoe. Flip-flops that are flat like pancakes provide no support- you might as well be walking around barefoot!
  • Purchase flip-flops made of high quality soft leather for the thong and a sturdy, comfortable base. Flip-flops made of plastic materials are going to give you blisters and dry, callused heels.
  • Buy flip-flops in the correct size- your heels or toes should never hang off the edge.
  • Toss last year's flip-flops if they are showing signs of wear. 
  • Remember: the average flip-flop, even the most supportive, is truly only meant for short walking distances, the beach, and the pool. So don't plan on wearing flip-flops during your vacation, when you are going to be doing a lot of walking, hiking, or bicycling. 
If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain from flip-flops, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Walking and Arthritis

Dear CT Foot Care Centers,
I would like to walk more but I have painful arthritis in my feet. How can I make it easier or should I find another form of exercise instead? Cindy

Walking is a great form of exercise and calorie-burner and keeps stiff joints active. Switching to another form of exercise depends on what type of arthritis you have and how severe it is. Also remember that with arthritis you can have flare-ups, so some days may be good for exercise and others may not be. Your rheumatologist will be the best resource for your specific needs.
Those with arthritis in their feet and ankles find walking with a pole helps offload some of the pressure placed on the joints. The pole absorbs some of the landing impact, instead of your feet. This type of walking is more commonly known as Nordic walking. Proponents of this style of walking say that it is a better option than walking with a cane or walker because it keeps your body upright and symmetrical. The pole is great for helping propel your body forward. If your legs are hurting after walking downhill, walking with a pole bears some of the weight that is pushed into your knees. When walking uphill the pole assists your climb.
Poles can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and are sized according to your height. When holding the pole, you want the hand grip to be at level with your elbow.
If you have arthritis in your feet and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How Artificial Limbs Have Changed Amputees' Lives

It was an average, muggy August morning when Ann Kornhauser went out of the house to walk her Golden Retriever. The 50-something Hicksville, NY resident heard a snap in her foot and felt the bones break. It turned out that Kornhauser had a rare tumor in her foot and it was amputated.
She received a prosthetic foot which caused her constant pain. Kornhauser recalls crying in her car after trips to the grocery store because she would have to carry the bags in the house. Her prosthetist offered a solution: Artificial limbs have made vast improvements in the past few years and she would be a good candidate to try one of the new high-tech versions. However, her leg would have to be amputated below the knee.
It was a frightening and scary prospect to Kornhauser, whose leg was healthy. But after two years of discomfort, she decided to try it. "All my family said was, 'You're going to be sitting there without a leg.' But they didn't know what I knew. I knew it was going to look like a leg and that people ran marathons on them. I knew that I would have a life."
The mechanical leg has a realistic appearance, with a custom flesh colored silicon skin, and an ankle that adjusts for different heel heights. The toes even have a pedicure.
Over 2 million Americans live with amputations, according to the Amputee Coalition. With the advent of higher quality artificial limbs, many amputees are making the same choice Kornhauser made: amputate healthy limbs to regain more normal function.
Artificial limbs like Kornhausers are replacing older, outdated models. New bionic prosthetics now have custom skins, motors, and microchips that replicate natural human function. South African runner Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, has been accused of an unfair advantage because he runs with J-shaped carbon fiber blades.
Amy Palmiero-Winters, 39, says "Amputees are realizing they can do everything that they did before. They look at people today and see the different things that they're doing and how it's more out in the open and accepted." Palmiero-Winters is a ultramarathon runner who lost her left leg in a motorcycle accident when she was 24. She works at A Step Ahead, a Long Island prosthetics clinic.
The loss of a limb is still a medical trauma, but more amputees are embracing artificial limbs. "Many have little desire for the artificial limb to look human. They want it to look interesting and have a machine beauty," says Hugh Herr, head of the biomechanics research group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is developing wearable robotic devices.
Army captain David Rozelle lay outside a Baghdad hospital the summer of 2003, his right foot mangled by a land mine. The foot was amputated above the ankle. Captain Rozelle, who lives in Boulder, CO, has been able with an artificial foot to compete in triathlons and even returned to duty in Iraq. Two and a half years later he told his doctor that he wanted to amputate the remaining nine inches of his right leg so he could get a new below-the-knee prosthesis. His doctor was horrified.
"The medical community is focused completely on salvaging limbs. There's actually a disadvantage to having extra limb length, because you can't fit correctly into prosthetic devices," says Major Rozelle. Rozelle now owns several robotic legs.
Tom White was just 21 when he was run over by a truck while riding his motorcycle. His left foot was amputated and then reattached, something he begged his doctors to do. But it turned out to be a painful decision that was not the best for him. White had 19 operations and spent 2 years on crutches and lived a fairly pain-free life going on backpacking trips, running marathons, and keeping in shape.
But arthritis attacked his fused joints, he walked with a limp, and there were new sharp pangs when he ran. "The last couple of years, boy, my life started closing in on me because I couldn't run anymore. It got so that doing something like taking a hike wasn't fun anymore because it hurt too much," said Dr. White, now 51, a family physician in Buena Vista, CO.
Like Rozelle and Kornhauser, White had his left leg amputated just below the knee so he could get a carbon-fiber foot. "I made the decision to have an elective amputation so that I could have a chance to get back to my life. It just dawned on me- the technology is amazing, and I would be better off."
Technology for artificial limbs is advancing rapidly. Dr. Herr founded iWalk, which is devoted to making the next generation of prosthetics. Their first product is a bionic foot and ankle, modeled after muscles, tendons, and spinal reflexes used in human walking. The foot senses the actions of the wearer and terrain on which they are walking and adjusts accordingly. The robotics simulate the actions of the missing calf muscles and Achilles tendon.
In the future, we will see artificial limbs that resemble human limbs in dexterity, strength, size, and weight, all while being controlled by your brain. A small array of electrodes would be planted in the brain's cortex. This is still several years away, but the technology we have today has provided one excellent benefit: "I don't feel ugly anymore. I feel like a normal guy," says Dr. White.
If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Warts: Painful and Contagious!

It's a great time of year to be outside, walking around barefoot at the pool, amusement park,or gym. But what lurks on those surfaces is not anything you would want your tootsies to come in contact with. Did you know you can catch diseases and infections from pools, like warts?
Most foot warts are harmless, even though they may be painful. They are often mistaken for corns and calluses, which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated. A wart however, is caused by a viral infection which invades the skin through small or invisible cuts or abrasions. Foot warts are generally raised and fleshy and can appear anywhere on the foot or toes. Occasionally, warts can spontaneously disappear after a short time, and then, just as frequently, they can recur in the same location. If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into a cluster of warts. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults.
Plantar warts, also known as verrucas, appear on the soles of the feet and are one of the soft tissue conditions that can be quite painful. Unlike other foot warts, plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries. They are often gray or brown (but the color may vary), with a center that appears as one or more pinpoints of black. Plantar warts are often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or littered ground. The virus that causes plantar warts thrives in warm, moist environments, making infection a common occurrence in public pools and locker rooms.
Like any other infectious lesion, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. The wart may also breed, another route for spreading. Plantar warts that develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot (ball or heel of the foot) can cause a sharp, burning pain. Pain that occurs when weight is brought directly on the wart, although pressure on the side of a wart can create equally intense pain.
To prevent the spread of warts, follow these tips:
  • Avoid direct contact with warts, both from other persons or from other parts of the body.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, except on sandy beaches.
  • Change your shoes and socks daily.
  • Check your children's feet periodically.
  • Keep your feet dry and clean.
It is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to recur. Over-the-counter wart treatments are usually ineffective because their use can inadvertently destroy surrounding healthy tissue. Please contact a podiatrist for help in treating warts.
If you believe you may have a wart, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pedicures: Not Just For Women

Getting a pedicure has always been seen as something women like to indulge in, but men? The connotation is that men who get pedicures are feminine, metrosexual, or gay. Think twice! "Manly-men" are now joining women in the pedicure chairs, relaxing, and getting their digits in shape.
Tim Tebow, the new back-up quarterback for the New York Jets made the news in April when paparazzi snapped pictures of him getting a manicure and pedicure in a West Hollywood, CA salon. Experts say that Tebow is leading the way in a trend that is growing, especially with the summer months approaching. Pedicures can make your feet more attractive, and cut down on calluses, corns, and ingrown toenails, if done at a salon that practices good procedures and cleanliness.
Historically, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth were known to get their fingernails and toenails clipped at salons. Soccer superstar David Beckham is known for having well-groomed nails as well.
Podiatrist Howard Osterman for the Washington Wizards basketball team said that his players see pedicures as "part of their training program" and are not embarrassed by it.
It's not just here in the United States that the trend of men getting pedicures is rising. The Times of London reports that spas in the UK have seen a 30 percent increase. Margaret Dabbs, who owns a London based podiatry clinic, says those who come in for medical pedicures are businessmen, soccer players, and A-list celebrities.
If you're a man reading this article, are you wondering if your toenails need some TLC? Don't worry- you don't have to use nail polish! Many salons have "sports pedicures" and "executive pedicures" that cater to men who want a pedicure but without the frills women love. The Wall Street Journal reports that Miami Heat player Dwayne Wade loves to get sports pedicures, which involve soaking in Epsom salts, dead skin exfoliation, a foot and lower-leg massage, and toenail clipping.
Even though the chances are slim you will get a problem from a pedicure, there are some safety risks you take when cleaning up your digits. Here are some safety tips:
  • Take a look around- is the salon clean? Ask about their disinfecting procedures.
  • Tell the pedicurist to leave your cuticles alone- don't let them push them back or cut them. Also tell them not to use a razor blade when removing dead skin.
  • If you see anything unusual about your feet after the pedicure, like itchy skin or red blotches, call a podiatrist immediately.
If you got a pedicure and notice an ingrown toenail, cut, or other problem, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Keep Kid's Feet Healthy During Summer Months

It's a time of year children think about with growing anticipation: summer. As the weather gets warmer and the school year winds down, children can't wait to leave their books behind and have some summer fun. Because of the different activities they participate in, it's important to think about keeping their feet happy and healthy during the summertime.
With childhood obesity increasing at an alarming rate, it's key to keep your child moving during the summer months. But if your child's feet hurt, it's going to slow them down.
"Just as untreated foot problems can hinder an adult's life, they can have serious long-term repercussions for children," says Dr. Michael King, former president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. "No matter the cause or severity of the problem, the health of a child's feet should not be taken for granted."
An APMA survey revealed that 35% of parents with children said they would not be motivated to take their child to a doctor for foot or leg pain. 25% said they would take their child to a podiatrist.
The most important piece of advice you need this summer to keep your children's feet safe is: Right shoe, right size. Children's feet grow very quickly; shoe and sock sizes may change every few months. Shoes that don't fit properly irritate a child's foot just as much as yours do when they don't fit. Have them measured before you purchase any new shoes, especially if it's been several months since any shoes have been bought. Watch for signs that shoes are bothering their feet by looking for blisters, red spots, and general complaints of foot pain.
Don't leave your child at home when you go shoe shopping. Every shoe brand is different and will fit differently. Remember to buy for the larger foot, as even small feet are never the same size. Shoes should never need a break-in period and your child should be able to wear them right away.
Footwear should never be handed down. You would never pass on eyeglasses to a relative, would you? Just like they might have a different prescription need, your child will have a different footwear need as well. A shoe should have adequate support for how active they will be this summer.
If you are a parent and have a child who is experiencing foot pain or discomfort, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Avoid Foot Cramps at the Pool

The old adage is "Wait 30 minutes after eating before going in the pool." But what about foot cramps? You're happily swimming along, enjoying the cool water and sun, and all of a sudden your foot twists in pain. Ouch! Foot cramps plague many swimmers, especially those using the flutter kick or dolphin kick.
Foot cramps are caused by excessive plantar flexion of the foot or pointing your toes. One way to avoid them is stop swimming and massage your feet. Another method is to change your stroke and do the breaststroke instead, or relax your feet if you use the flutter or dolphin kick.
Here are some tips to stop foot cramps before they start:
1. Stretch before you swim. This will prevent cramping. Concentrate on your lower leg muscles and your feet during your stretch. To relieve cramps after you get in the water, try a toe stretch. Put your toes against a wall and press toward the floor with the four corners of your foot (your left and right heel areas and the bones behind your toes.). While your toes are on the wall and the four corners are on the floor, lift your inner ankle bone to ease the cramp.
2. Hydrate before and during your swim. Even though you are in the water, you are sweating. Dehydration can lead to cramping. Keep a water bottle close to you and drink some every 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Eat your bananas and leafy greens. Low electrolyte levels, especially potassium, calcium, and magnesium, also cause cramping during swimming.
If you are consistently getting foot cramps and none of these remedies help you, call one of our six offices to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Child Loses Foot In Law Mower Accident

A trip to the Cincinnati Zoo for any other kid is a great day, but for three-year old Brandon Mefford, it's a miracle.
"I immediately thought he was going to die," stated Brandon's mother, Elizabeth.
Since April 4th, Brandon's whole world has been here in this hospital bed surrounded by doctors, nurses, and pain.
"This is definitely the worst experience I have ever had in my life," exclaimed Mefford.
When Mefford got to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, she didn't know what to expect. "He got run over by the riding lawn mower, he's three years old, look at how little he is."
Brandon immediately had his arm amputated above his right elbow, and doctors braced the family for more troubling news. "Then the doctor came in and he said 'I need you to come and sign this consent form.' I asked, 'What for?' and on it, it said 'Right foot amputation,'" recalled Mefford. "That's the worst feeling ever is to give the doctor consent to cut your kid's foot off."
"His leg was a lot harder to explain than his arm. He took his leg very hard when he saw he had no piggies," described his mother.
With seven surgeries already behind them, Brandon's mother now worries about the future, even the simple things like "The song 'If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands,' you know stomp your feet. And I cried for hours because I thought he's not going to be able to sing that song."
But Brandon's not one to stay down, this is his therapy. "We just kind of get up and go, walk and run, and chase, go outside, and he likes the basketball hoop," listed Brandon's physical therapist Michelle Michels. "Yeah, so he wears me out, for sure, but it's good. He does a great job!"
"The main thing was to try and figure out how to get him up on his legs and standing, to help his transition when he gets the prosthesis and all of that to go a little smoother," added Michels.
For Brandon, therapy looks a little like play time, but each element has a purpose. Although, Brandon tends to disagree. With each kick he takes and each move he makes, a new hope rises.
"The longer that I'm here the more I realize that he's strong," said Mefford, adding, "he's going to be able to hold his kids when he gets older, and he's going to be able to run around the yard, and he's going to be able to sing the song and clap his hands."
Which is something that will make his mother proud. Brandon was released from the hospital earlier this week.
Thousands of accidents like this happen every year and can be prevented. Every year some 25,000 Americans sustain injuries from power mowers, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.
"Although the number of accidents has steadily declined since the 1982 adoption of federal safety standards, we still see too many foot injuries from power mowers," says Timothy M. Downs, DPM, FACAS, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). "The blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun. Yet we see patients who have been hurt while operating a mower barefoot. Foot injuries range from dirty, infection-prone lacerations to severed tendons to amputated toes."
If a mower accident occurs- with just a minor injury- our podiatrists say immediate treatment is necessary to flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics to prevent infection. Superficial wounds can be treated on an outpatient basis, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon damage, deep clean the wound and suture it. Tendons severed in lawnmower accidents generally can be re-attached surgically unless toes have been amputated.
Children under the age of 14 and adults over age 44 are more likely to be injured from mowers than others. Anyone who operates a power mower should follow a few simple precautions:
  • Don't mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers. 
  • Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing- no sneakers or sandals.
  • Mow slowly across slopes, never go up and down. 
  • Never pull a running mower backward.
  • Keep the clip bag attached when operating a power mower to prevent projectile injuries. 
  • Use a mower with a release mechanism on the handle that automatically shuts it off when the hands let go.
  • Always keep children away from the lawn when mowing it. 
If you get a lawn mower foot injury, call one of our six offices to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow our tweets on Twitter
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