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February 2019

Monday, 25 February 2019 00:00

Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is a frustrating problem that affects many people. It can be persistent and hard to get rid of. As many different types of fungi are present throughout the environment, it is very easy to contract toenail fungus.  

The feet are especially susceptible to toenail fungus because shoes and socks create the ideal dark and moist environment that fungal infections thrive in. While fungal infections of the nail plate are quite common, if left untreated they can spread beyond the toenail and into the skin and other parts of the body.

Signs of toenail fungus include a thickened nail that has become yellow or brown in color, a foul smell, and debris beneath the nail. The toe may become painful due to the pressure of a thicker nail or the buildup of debris.

Treatment for toenail fungus is most effective during the early stages of an infection. If there is an accumulation of debris beneath the nail plate, an ingrown nail or a more serious infection can occur. While each treatment varies between patients, your podiatrist may prescribe you oral medications, topical liquids and creams, or laser therapy. To determine the best treatment process for you, be sure to visit your podiatrist at the first signs of toenail fungus.

Monday, 25 February 2019 00:00

Can Toenail Fungus Be Avoided?

The foot condition that is known as toenail fungus may be common among people who have a weakened immune system or are over sixty years old. The medical name for this type of fungus is referred to as onychomycosis (OM), and typically lives and thrives in warm and moist areas, without needing sunshine. It can enter the body through small cuts in the skin, or possibly through an opening in the nail, which can penetrate through to the nail bed. Some of the symptoms that are associated with this condition can include yellowed and thickened nails which may easily lift off, or mild discomfort may be felt. There may be measures that can be implemented which may help to prevent toenail fungus. These may include avoiding sharing shoes, washing and drying the feet completely, and keeping the toenails shortly trimmed.  If you have symptoms of a toenail fungus, it is advised to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist who can properly diagnosis and treat this condition.

For more information about treatment, contact one of our podiatrists of Westfield Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus is a condition that affects many people and can be especially hard to get rid of. Fortunately, there are several methods to go about treating and avoiding it.

Antifungals & Deterrence

Oral antifungal medicine has been shown to be effective in many cases. It is important to consult with a podiatrist to determine the proper regiment for you, or potentially explore other options.

Applying foot powder on the feet and shoes helps keep the feet free of moisture and sweat.

Sandals or open toed shoes – Wearing these will allow air movement and help keep feet dry. They also expose your feet to light, which fungus cannot tolerate. Socks with moisture wicking material also help as well.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Westfield and Newark, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Toenail Fungus
Monday, 18 February 2019 00:00

Plantar Warts and Home Remedies

Plantar warts are an uncomfortable condition that affects the soles of the feet. Unlike other warts, plantar warts grow inward through the thick skin on the bottom of the foot. This can cause extreme discomfort and sensitivity. Many people try to fix their plantar warts at home through various methods, including apple cider vinegar, duct tape, and even urine. There is no scientific evidence to support that these remedies actually work, but sometimes they might trigger the immune system. Plantar warts hide in the thick skin on the sole of the foot and usually go undetected by the immune system, which helps them thrive. If attention is brought to them, then the immune system might be able to fight off the infection, but the most effective way to fix plantar warts is to seek help from a medical professional. If you think you may have plantar warts, then it is suggested you speak with a podiatrist to receive the proper treatment.

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. If you need your feet checked, contact one of our podiatrists from Westfield Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the result of HPV, or human papillomavirus, getting into open wounds on the feet. They are mostly found on the heels or balls of the feet.

While plantar warts are generally harmless, those experiencing excessive pain or those suffering from diabetes or a compromised immune system require immediate medical care. Plantar warts are easily diagnosed, usually through scraping off a bit of rough skin or by getting a biopsy.

Symptoms

  • Lesions on the bottom of your feet, usually rough and grainy
  • Hard or thick callused spots
  • Wart seeds, which are small clotted blood vessels that look like little black spots
  • Pain, discomfort, or tenderness of your feet when walking or standing

Treatment

  • Freezing
  • Electric tool removal
  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical Creams (prescription only)
  • Over-the-counter medications

To help prevent developing plantar warts, avoid walking barefoot over abrasive surfaces that can cause cuts or wounds for HPV to get into. Avoiding direct contact with other warts, as well as not picking or rubbing existing warts, can help prevent the further spread of plantar warts. However, if you think you have developed plantar warts, speak to your podiatrist. He or she can diagnose the warts on your feet and recommend the appropriate treatment options.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Westfield and Newark, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Plantar Warts?
Monday, 18 February 2019 00:00

What Are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts are described as small growths that appear on the heels or other areas of the feet that bear a large amount of weight. The pressure in these areas causes plantar warts to hide behind thick layers of skin called calluses. In most cases, plantar warts are not a serious health issue, and they usually go away without treatment. However, it is still important be mindful of them.

Plantar warts are caused by infections with human papillomavirus (HPV) in the outer layer of skin on the soles of the feet. The plantar warts then develop when the virus enters the body through weak spots at the bottom of the feet, such as tiny cuts and breaks. Plantar warts are not guaranteed for all who encounter the virus. Everyone responds differently to the affects of HPV.

Plantar warts are most common in the following groups: children and teenagers, people with weakened immune systems, people with history of plantar warts, and people who walk barefoot. Exposure to HPV is common in environments such as locker rooms or pool areas.

One of early signs to look out for is a callus, since many plantar warts hide behind them. You can also locate these warts by looking for small, fleshy, rough, grainy growths near the base of the toes and the heel. Early signs of plantar warts are shown by black pinpoints, which are small, clotted blood vessels. Lesions that interrupt normal lines and ridges in the skin of your foot may also be a sign of plantar warts. Any feeling of pain while walking or standing can also be a symptom of plantar warts.

Although most cases are not serious, some conditions may require a visit to your podiatrist.  If you are uncertain that your lesion is a wart, if you have diabetes, or if you are experiencing bleeding, you may need to see a seek professional treatment. Your doctor may offer treatments such as prescribing stronger peeling medicine or using cryotherapy by applying liquid nitrogen to the wart. More serious cases may require minor surgery or laser treatment.

There are simple solutions available to help prevent plantar warts. One common task is to avoid walking barefoot in swimming pool areas and locker rooms, as this is where HPV is commonly present. Keeping your feet clean and dry, while changing shoes and socks daily can also help prevent future plantar warts. If you know someone who has plantar warts, it is important to avoid direct contact with their warts. You should also refrain from picking or scratching your wart if you happen to develop one.

Research has shown that feet may be an important way to determine the cause for many aches and pains that may be present in the body.  When correct stretching techniques are incorporated into a daily routine, the general health of the body may be positively affected. An effective stretch for the arch of the foot is called a toe stretch. This may feel good if the toes become cramped in poorly fitting shoes. This is performed by interlacing the fingers between the toes, rotating the ankle, and repeating on the other side. If the arches in your foot feel tired, it may be beneficial to roll the bottom of your foot on a tennis ball, which may help to relax any tight muscles in the feet. Foot spasms may be avoided when the toes are frequently pointed and flexed. If you would like additional information about the benefits of stretching the feet, please consult with a podiatrist who can properly guide you.

Why Stretching Is Important for Your Feet

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with one of our podiatrists from Westfield Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Stretching the muscles in the foot is an important part in any physical activity. Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but also prevent it as well. However, it is important to see a podiatrist first to determine if stretching is right for you. Podiatrists can also recommend other ways to stretch your feet. Once you know whether stretching is right for you, here are some excellent stretches you can do.

  • Using a foam roller or any cylindrical object (a water bottle or soda can will do), roll the object under your foot back and forth. You should also exert pressure on the object. Be sure to do this to both feet for a minute. Do this exercise three times each.
  • Similar to the previous exercise, take a ball, such as a tennis ball, and roll it under your foot while seated and exert pressure on it.
  • Grab a resistance band or towel and take a seat. If you are using a towel, fold it length wise. Next put either one between the ball of your foot and heel and pull with both hands on each side towards you. Hold this for 15 seconds and then switch feet. Do this three times for each foot.
  • Finally hold your big toe while crossing one leg over the other. Pull the toe towards you and hold for 15 seconds. Once again do this three times per foot.

It is best to go easy when first stretching your foot and work your way up. If your foot starts hurting, stop exercising to ice and rest the foot. It is advised that you then see a podiatrist for help.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Westfield and Newark, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about How to Stretch Your Feet
Monday, 11 February 2019 00:00

How to Stretch Your Feet

Your feet endure a great amount of stress each day from constantly allowing us to move around. It is important to stretch your feet to help prevent them from becoming injured. Your toes may easily deform into unhealthful positions if they are not stretched.

One of the most common reasons for toe deformities are the shoes you may be wearing. Shoes that are too tight may fold and shift the toes out of place. Heeled shoes may also push your toes upward. Forcing your toes into an unnatural position which may cause the muscles to tighten and prevent them from reverting to normal length. Another common reason is improper use of foot muscles. Many people fail to use the muscles in their feet or toes when they walk. Lastly, the positioning of your feet while walking may also cause toe deformities. If you walk with your feet facing outward, your “push-off” phase is on the side of your big toe instead of the bottom of your foot. This may cause the big toe to eventually tighten into a new shifted position.

There are many reasons why stretching your toes may be helpful. One reason is that healthy spacing may aid in avoiding calluses and other injuries that are caused by rubbing.  Stretching will also prevent you from developing toes that curl, hammertoes, or bunions.

A great way to stretch your toes is to place them in your hands and bend them all downward; this will help you stretch the top of your foot. Next, you should repeat this process but instead bend them upward enough to feel a nice stretch in the bottom of your foot. You should then try to pull each toe apart from the next and pull any toes that are bent upward until they are back downward.

If you are looking to practice stretching your entire foot, you can try a towel stretch. This is done by sitting on the floor with your legs in front of you. Take a towel and wrap it around your toes. Afterward, pull the towel toward you with your toes and hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds before releasing. Practice this stretch for three sets. Another stretch your feet are towel lifts. This is done by sitting in a chair and trying to pick a towel up from the ground with your toes. Try lifting the towel with your little toes for five sets before switching feet.

If you are an athlete, or exercise often, it is especially important for you to practice stretching your feet. Those who suffer from foot pain caused by poor footwear, plantar fasciitis, or long hours of standing at work may also benefit from foot exercises.

Monday, 04 February 2019 00:00

Flatfoot

Flatfoot is a foot disorder that is not as straightforward as many people believe.  Various types of flatfoot exist, each with their own varying deformities and symptoms.  The partial or total collapse of the arch, however, is a characteristic common to all types of flatfoot.  Other signs of flatfoot include:

  • “Toe drift,” or the pointing outward of the toes and the front part of the foot
  • The tilting outward of the heel and the tilting inward of the ankle
  • The lifting of the heel off the ground earlier when walking due to a tight Achilles tendon
  • Hammertoes
  • Bunions

One of the most common types of flatfoot is flexible flatfoot.  This variation usually starts in childhood and progresses as one ages into adulthood.  Flexible flatfoot presents as a foot that is flat when standing, or weight-bearing.  When not standing, the arch returns.  Symptoms of flexible flatfoot include:

  • Pain located in the heel, arch, ankle, or along the outside of the foot
  • Overpronation, or an ankle that rolls in
  • Shin splint, or pain along the shin bone
  • General foot aches or fatigue
  • Pain located in the lower back, hip, or knee

Your podiatrist will most likely diagnose flatfoot by examining your feet when you stand and sit.  X-rays may be taken to define the severity and help determine the treatment option best for your condition.  Nonsurgical treatments can include activity modification, weight loss, orthotics, immobilization, medications, physical therapy, shoe modifications, and ankle foot orthoses (AFO) devices.  If nonsurgical methods prove ineffective, surgery may be considered.  Multiple surgical procedures can correct flatfoot; and depending on your specific condition, one may be selected alone or combined with other techniques to ensure optimal results.

Flat feet are common, but unfortunately can cause issues, specifically during physical activities. Choosing the right footwear for regular fitness routines can help combat the complications that flat feet cause. Shoes that are straight last are the best fit for those with flat feet, because the design of the shoe is symmetrical to a straight line from the heel to the toe. A straight last shoe provides more base support for lifting weights and balance-oriented exercises. An arch is also essential, but the support should not be limited to the insole. Shoes that have an arch on both the sole and insole, will offer the appropriate amount of support for those with flat feet. The height of the shoe should be almost even at the toe and the heel. Shoes that are higher at the heel put more stress on the feet, which will create problems for flat feet. If you have flat feet and would like more information about the right shoe for you, then it is suggested you speak to a podiatrist.

Flatfoot is a condition many people suffer from. If you have flat feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Westfield Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Are Flat Feet?

Flatfoot is a condition in which the arch of the foot is depressed and the sole of the foot is almost completely in contact with the ground. About 20-30% of the population generally has flat feet because their arches never formed during growth.

Conditions & Problems:

Having flat feet makes it difficult to run or walk because of the stress placed on the ankles.

Alignment – The general alignment of your legs can be disrupted, because the ankles move inward which can cause major discomfort.

Knees – If you have complications with your knees, flat feet can be a contributor to arthritis in that area.  

Symptoms

  • Pain around the heel or arch area
  • Trouble standing on the tip toe
  • Swelling around the inside of the ankle
  • Flat look to one or both feet
  • Having your shoes feel uneven when worn

Treatment

If you are experiencing pain and stress on the foot you may weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs around the inside of the ankle. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Westfield and Newark, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Flatfoot

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