Sunday, February 23, 2014

Feet Prime Target For Fungus

If you've read that title and are thinking, "Eww!", yes, you're right to think that's a gross statement. 
At least 80 different types of fungi call our heels home, along with 60 between the toes, and 40 on the toenail. More than 100 different fungi reside on our feet, more than any other place on our body, according to a study published in the journal Nature. 
But as gross as it sounds, some of that fungi has a specific and positive effect, said study leader Julie Segre, a geneticist at the National Humane Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. 
"One of the major functions of healthy fungi is to prevent pathogenic fungi from adhering to our skin," where they can cause athlete's foot, plantar warts, and stubborn toenail infections. "There is something about toenails that fungi just love."
Segre is one of the foremost researchers of the human microbe, a collection of microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and mite that live on our bodies. Their work is showing us that a thriving microbe is essential to a healthy body, by helping us digest our food, fight disease, and generally keep everything in good working order. In other words, there are good germs as well as bad germs and we need those good germs to survive. 
Previously studies had only dealt with genetic analysis of bacteria that populates the skin, but this time they focused solely on fungi.
Dr. Heidi H. Kong, a dermatologist at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda used 10 healthy participants for the study. She swabbed 13 regions of their bodies, including the scalp, forehead, chest, forearms, nostrils, heel, and the skin between the toes, as well as clipped their toenails. The samples were then dunked in a solution which stripped the fungi and bacteria. This was handed off to Segre. 
Across the board, the heels and toes had the most variety of fungi. The most common were Saccharomyces, a yeast that produces beer and bread, Penicillium, which is used to make penicillin, and Malassezia, which causes dandruff.
The findings were remarkable because they discovered that our feet are like fungi hotels- when one fungus moves in, another moves out. Six of the 10 volunteers returned after one to three months for further swabbing, and researchers found that just 30% to 40% of the fungi on the feet had remained the same.
Segre has no specific answer as to why the fungi on our feet changes so much, but she believes that the temperature of our feet may have something to do with it. Our core temperature stays fairly constant, but the temperature of our feet can change dramatically. Some fungi may prefer the cold, while some may prefer the heat. And since our feet are so close to the ground, they are exposed to a wider variety than our forehead or chest.
"People are fastidious about washing everything off their hands, but people don't specifically wash their feet," Segre added. "For many people, standing in the shower seems good enough."
Icky. Anyone else feel like they need to take a shower now?
Segre's research may prove crucial in how we treat fungal infections, like athlete's foot, in the future. Most fungal infections are treated with antifungal medication that attacks all fungus, good and bad. With this knowledge, medications can be created to directly target the bad fungus.
Reference: LA Times
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Prevent Falls This Winter

Winter is prime time for people of all ages to slip, fall, and twist limbs on the ice, snow, and pavement. Many of these falls can be serious, leading to disability and death. More than half of these falls happen at home, and many happen at work and some can be prevented. 
First, take this self-assessment for your potential risk for falling this winter:
*History of falling: two or more falls in the past six months. 
*Vision loss: changes in ability to see and differentiate between objects, decline in depth perception, and decreased ability to recover from changes in light.
*Hearing loss: limited ability to detect hazardous situations.
*Foot pain or shoe problems: Decreased sensation, foot pain, or improperly fitting shoes.
*Medications: taking four or more medications that cause drowsiness, dizziness, or low blood pressure.
*Balance and gait problems: changes in balance, speed of walking, or weakness in lower extremities.
*Blood pressure: high or low blood pressure can cause loss of balance. 
*Hazards within the home: poor lighting, bathroom safety, stairs, pets that get under foot, reaching, and spills.
*Hazards outside the home: uneven walkways, poor lighting, gravel on sidewalks, no handrails, oil on the pavement, pets that get underfoot when being walked.

Here are some tips you can use this winter to avoid falls and be safe:
*Keep emergency numbers right near your phone.
*Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can't get up.
*Wear shoes with good support, and have non-slip soles. Avoid wearing slippers and athletic shoes with deep treads.
*Remove debris on the floor that you can trip on, including papers, books, clothes, shoes, and pet toys.
*Use double-sided tape to keep down scatter rugs.
*Remove furniture from traffic flow in the house.
*Clean up spills immediately with soap and water. 
*Watch that your pets don't get underfoot.
*Don't walk over or around cords or wires. Coil cords and wires.
*If you have trouble reaching, keep important items within easy reach. 
*Invest in a step stool with a handrail.
*Replace light bulbs that have blown out and change out lamp shades that give out glare. 
*Make sure that hallways, staircases, entrances, and outside steps are well lit; have a lit switch at the top and bottom of each stairwell.
*Keep lamps, flashlights, and extra batteries near your bed.

*Put nightlights in bathrooms, hallways, and passageways so if you have to get up during the night, you can see.
*If you have carpeting on stairs, make sure it is firmly attached to the steps. The top edge of each step should be painted a contrasting color.
*Handrails that are loose or undone should be reattached and on both sides of staircases. 
*If you have trouble getting out of the bathtub or off the toilet, install grab bars nearby.
*Use non-slip mats in the shower and bathtub. 
*Exercise regularly.
*Use an elevated toilet seat if you have trouble getting down.
*Have your vision checked yearly by an eye doctor. 
*If you have history of dizziness or vertigo, get up slowly after you lie down or sit.
*Use a cane if you have trouble walking.
*Consider purchasing an alarm device that alerts emergency personnel if you've fallen and can't get up. 
Reference: Valley Business Journal
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Madonna Still Recovering From Foot Injury

Madonna has been dealing with an ankle injury for roughly a month now, and she isn't letting it stop her from getting out and about, most recently at the Grammys.
Last Tuesday Madonna led a workout class during the grand opening of her new gym brand, Hard Candy, in Toronto. In an exercise masterclass she taught 50 members of the gym. Madonna co-led the session with her personal trainer Nicole Winhoffer.
She attended the opening event with a bandage on her ankle after bruising a bone in her ankle on a skiing holiday in Switzerland in January. She injured her foot while out dancing in high heels. Days after the injury she shared a picture on Twitter, working out at her gym on crutches, tweeting, "Inventing a new workout on crutches #nothingcanstopme." 
After the event, the signer shared her agony, posting a picture on Instagram with her icing her ankle injury. The caption read, "Harder is better! Post work out! Foot in the ice bath. A girl has to make a living. Hard Candy Toronto. Addicted to sweat."
This is the third gym the 55 year old has opened across the world, including Sydney and Moscow. 
Reference: Contact Music If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Staph Infections Common In Hospitals

We blogged last fall how two football players got staph infections from conditions in their locker rooms. Staph infections however, are more common than you think.
Drug resistant staph infections, also known as MRSA, can develop from common, everyday foot problems like cuts, cracks in the skin, athlete's foot, and ingrown toenails.
"If you have a cut or a scrape that gets infected and it's not healing in a timely fashion, don't hesitate to get it checked out," said Karl Collins, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon in St. Louis. Dr. Collins has diagnosed staph infections in patients with athlete's foot and even a six year old child who stubbed his toe.
Brandi Johnson, DPM, AACFAS, has treated several patients for community-associated MRSA in her Brandon, Florida practice. Half of those patients were ones who had ingrown toenails, and the rest had puncture wounds, pedicures, and cuts from glass and seashells.
One patient of Johnson's was a teenage boy who waited months and months before seeing a doctor for an infected ingrown toenail. After seeing his primary care physician, who referred him to Johnson, she ran several tests, which showed a community-associated MRSA infection. Since the teen had waited so long to be seen, the infection had spread to the bone in his big toe. He recovered after months of intravenous antibiotics.
"I've had several high schoolers come in with ingrown toenails," Johnson said. "Their pediatricians started them on antibiotics and sent them to my office. Lab results show they all had MRSA."
The staph bacteria present in MRSA is quite common- one in three people carry it. The bacteria will live on the skin and in the nose and be spread through skin contact. Skin conditions like athlete's foot, calluses, corns, eczema, and psoriasis can all be open doors for the bacteria to enter. Waking around barefoot increases your odds of getting a puncture wound or cut.
Some things you can do to prevent community-associated MRSA infections include:
  • Wash and bandage all cuts.
  • See a doctor within 24 hours of a puncture wound, even if it looks minor.
  • Refrain from performing bathroom surgeries on ingrown toenails.
  • Keep feet dry and clean to avoid fungal infections like athlete's foot. 
Reference: Foot Health Facts
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Now Offering EPAT For Heel Pain

Have you tried every treatment and remedy possible for your heel pain, plantar fasciitis, or Achilles tendonitis? Stretching, icing, and rest not helping? Have you considered EPAT, or shockwave therapy for your pain?
Extracorporeal Pulse Activity Technology, or EPAT, is the most advanced and high effective non-invasive treatment solution for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain cleared by the FDA. This scientifically proven procedure represents a breakthrough in regenerative medicine treatment options for a broad range of musculoskeletal disorders/conditions utilizing a proprietary set of unique acoustic pressure waves that stimulate the metabolism, enhance blood circulation, and accelerate the healing process.
CuraMedix's pioneering EPAT technologies allow our podiatrists to provide the most advanced, highly effective treatment options more quickly and economically. The benefits of EPAT compared to traditional treatment options include:
  • No down time
  • No anesthesia
  • Better access to innovative care and movement solutions
  • Better intervention and non-invasive treatments
  • No risk of infection
  • Improved clinical outcomes
  • Faster, easier healing
  • Reduced expenditures (Cost benefit)
  • Healthier patients who are enjoying their active lives again
EPAT is proprietary technology based on several sets of acoustic pressure waves that activate biologic and angiogenic responses, including new vascularization and microcirculatory improvement, helping to restore the body's normal healing and tissue regeneration.

EPAT technology offers gentle, fast, and highly effective non-invasive treatment without the need for ultrasound guidance, anesthesia, medications, or surgical intervention to achieve effective and sustaining results. There are no incisions, no risk of infections, no needles, and no down time.
The beneficial effects of EPAT are numerous and are often experienced after only three treatments, with some patients reporting immediate relief. In fact, clinical research shows over 80% of patients treated have experienced a significant reduction or are completely pain free.
EPAT benefits include:
  • Quicker recovery. Since a non-invasive procedure requires no scarring, your body typically heals much faster.
  • No downtime. No restrictions on normal use. Non-invasive procedures help you get back to your active life immediately.
  • No scarring. No incisions means no scarring or fibrous tissue build-up.
  • Less pain. Because these procedures are non-invasive, there is typically less pain involved. 
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
Visit our website, like our page on Facebook, and follow our tweets on Twitter.