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General Podiatry Articles and Blog Post

Here you will find articles related to general podiatry topics. Our goal is to categorize our articles and posts as best we can. If you cannot find an article relating to your question, please contact us. We are happy to help answer any general podiatry questions you may have.

Safe Winter Walking

Safe Winter Walking

By General Podiatry

One of the best ways to stay fit and reduce your stress is to go walking. However, this isn’t always easy to do when winter hits and it’s snowy and icy. You may be nervous about stepping foot in the snow and ice and worry about it being too cold.

While it may be challenging to do, it doesn’t mean you should opt to sit around instead and not get outside and enjoy some fresh air as you walk. Instead, learn some safe winter walking tips so that you can stay well and avoid injury or accidents. You’ll feel better once you get outside and get moving and spend some time in nature.  

Invest in the Right Footwear

Safe winter walking and being able to be outdoors when it’s snowy or icy all begins with having the right and proper footwear. Without it, you may be setting yourself up for an accident or to have wet and cold feet when you return home. Invest in a good pair of winter boots with some traction before you head out to avoid a fall. You not only want them to be well-insulated and waterproof so your feet stay dry, but also to have a thick sole with non-slip tread. It’s best to choose a pair that’s lightweight, is made of natural rubber, and has wide low heels. The right pair of boots should keep your feet dry, you from slipping, and be comfortable to walk in.

Use Ice Grippers on Footwear

When it comes to winter safety or snow safety and foot health, you may also want to try using ice grippers. These can help you walk on the ice and hard-packed snow. However, be careful and mindful to not use them on smooth surfaces. They become slippery on surfaces such as stone, tile, and ceramic. You should be able to sit down and easily remove ice grippers from your boots. The extra traction these provide makes them great for hiking or walking in winter. Many of the styles out there also have a protected toe box and durable barrier which will keep your feet warm and protected.

Consider Using A Cane or Walking Stick

When thinking about additional walking and winter safety tips, you might also want to use a cane or walking stick to keep from spraining an ankle. If you have ski poles, these will work too. Just make sure what you choose to use is the right height for you. Hold your cane upside down and make sure it’s at wrist level to confirm. If you have questions about how to use one, speak to your doctor. It’ll help you keep your balance and keep you from falling should you slip a little.

If using a cane, you might also want to consider attaching a retractable ice pick to the end of it. Make sure you flip it back once you’re inside, because it’ll be slippery on hard or smooth floors. You can get picks at most drug stores, and they’re quite inexpensive. If further support is needed, then you can always think about using a walker too. It all depends on your level of comfort and what you believe your body can handle.

Wear A Hip Protector

As it relates to winter walking, another idea is to use a hip protector. The hip protector is essentially a lightweight belt or pants with shields to guard the hips. You’ll not only feel more confident walking around outside in the winter, but should you fall, it can help protect against a hip fracture. This device can help absorb the impact of a fall and protect the bone in case you do land on the ground. Make sure that when wearing it that the padding always stays in place over your hip bone.  

Choose Bright Clothing

The days are shorter in the wintertime, and you might not have much daylight to do your walking. Regardless of the time of day, you want cars and other people to easily see you. Therefore, wear bright colors or reflective clothing so that you stand out. It’s especially important to do if it’s dark outside and it can be hard to see you. It’s also wise to dress in layers and stay warm as you walk in winter. Choose a warm hat, gloves, and scarf to stay warm and prevent heat loss. You’ll be able to go further distances and for longer periods when you’re bundled up and not too cold. When it comes to your clothing and outerwear, you should also not carry heavy belongings with you or in your hands so that you can stay steady. Be sure to wear your glasses or specs and hearing aids if you have them too, which will help with balance and concentration.

Slow Down

One of the best actions you take as you get outside and start walking in the winter is to slow down. Avoid going out when you’re short on time or in a rush. Make sure that you have plenty of time to go out walking and that you don’t go too fast. Keep your body as loose as possible and think about your next move or step before you take it. Be alert and look around, and be aware of your surroundings and the ground below you. You can better stabilize as you walk by spreading your feet to more than a foot apart. Another way to stabilize your body is to keep your knees loose and to let them bend a bit. You might even find if it’s very icy that you prefer to drag or shuffle your feet instead of lifting them up. Keep your head up and your hands out of your pocket to help you balance better.

Plan A Safe Route

It’s also helpful to think ahead and know the weather conditions and where you’ll be walking. Plan a safe route you can take and that may be less snowy or icy than other areas. Avoid tricky situations or paths and roads, and always be prepared for your walk mentally and physically. It’s all about being a more defensive walker and using care when walking, assuming that what you’re walking on will be slippery or icy. Avoid taking short-cuts and instead, use pathways and roads that have been cleared. Before you leave, shovel your driveway and spread sand or salt along the walkways so that you get off to a safe start. Also, choose to walk on well-lit roads or paths that are ready for walkers. It might also help to download a weather app so you always know the temperature and conditions outside.

Bring Your Phone

Unfortunately, accidents happen and you never know when you may slip or fall or need help right away. Falling is a serious hazard and you may not be able to get up on your own if you slip. In this case, part of the winter safety tips you should take into account is to bring along your phone on your walk. You want to be able to make a phone call and dial for help if you’re hurt and need assistance. It’s also a good idea in case you lose your way or get lost and it gets dark outside. Make sure your phone is not only with you but that it’s fully charged when you leave. While it’s good to have your phone with you, you also shouldn’t be on it or using it unless it’s an emergency. Try not to text and talk while you’re walking so you can concentrate on what you’re doing.

Get Fit

Walking in winter and staying safe on the snow and ice takes muscle and stamina. Therefore, work on getting fit before you head out and at home so that you’re in the best physical shape you can be for going outside. Improving your overall strength and balance will help you reduce the risk of slips and falls. Also, make sure your feet and ankles are healthy and in good working order which will also aid in keeping you safe in winter. Do some daily exercises at the gym or in your home to help you build strength and stamina for your walks. It may be as easy as riding a bike and doing some light weights when you have time.

Conclusion

You now have a better idea of what you can do to ensure safe winter walking. While you’ll be taking a risk doing so, it’s also good for your health and wellbeing to get out and exercise, especially in the winter. You’ll not only be fitting in some exercise but it’ll give your mental health a boost as well. Make sure you have the proper footwear and clothing to go walking in the wintertime and follow the other safety tips here that will help make sure you have a positive experience walking outside in the winter. Most importantly, go slow and take your time so that you aren’t rushing and can focus on the task at hand.

 

Why Proper Winter Footwear is Important

By General Podiatry

There’s no doubt that the holiday season is a beautiful time of year. From the colorful lights to the magical scenery to the snow glistening under the moonlight, it definitely gives a reason to pause and enjoy the sights around us. However, this time of year can also bring along harsh winter weather. With freezing temperatures, icy roads and slick walkways, it’s important to ensure you are taking all of the safety precautions necessary—including wearing proper winter footwear.

Many don’t realize the importance of what goes on your feet during the cold, wet weather. Whether you are just walking into work or venturing out on an enchanting snowy hike, proper winter footwear is critical for a number of reasons. Keep reading to learn why the shoes you chose this winter should be more than just a fashion statement.

They Keep Your Feet Dry

Good hygiene is a vital factor in overall health. This includes your feet. While regularly washing your feet with soap and water is important, it is just as important to make sure you are able to keep them dry. Fungal organisms are attracted to moisture around the feet and in between toes. By keeping your feet dry, you are able to lower the possibility of fungal infections or painful blisters. These conditions can potentially lead to greater health risks.

To ensure your feet remain free of moisture during wet weather conditions, look into shoes that are built to handle water. Footwear that offers waterproofing technology will be able to keep feet dry for extended periods of time. This is because the outer layers are designed to keep water out. The upper layers also allow for breathability so any moisture from sweating is reduced—ultimately preventing any discomfort.

They Keep Your Feet Warm

The cold weather and holiday season gives many memories of warm drinks, a cozy fire, beautiful snow falls… and the cold and flu. Experts have said for years that the winter months are when individuals are most likely to get sick. And keeping your feet warm is the first step to ensure you stay healthy. Warmer feet open up the blood vessels and allow better blood flow, moving heat to every other part of the body to boost energy and protect your immune system. Wearing proper winter footwear, especially during outdoor winter activities, can help keep you healthy.

There are plenty of ways to keep your feet nice and toasty during the colder months. As a first line of defense, we recommend pairing wool-lined or thermal socks with insulated, water-resistant boots for keeping feet warm (not hot) and comfortable. If you are more sensitive to cold temperatures or just want a little more warmth, there are also other options available on the market, such as:

  • Electric heated socks
  • Disposable toe warmers
  • Insulated footbeds
  • Thermal sock liners
  • And more!

They Provide Support

When many people are shopping for new footwear for the winter, they often gravitate towards the more fashionable or season-trendy options. There isn’t a lot of time spent researching all of their selected footwear’s features nor do they take the level of support into account. By wearing boots or other winter shoes that do not provide proper support, you are at risk of ankle, foot or shin fractures, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, arch spasms, heel spurs, tendonitis and other conditions. Purchasing the correct footwear can prevent pain from worsening.

When shopping for new winter shoes, you should be looking for items that have lacing, a firm structure and sides that are padded. We also stress that you are getting options that truly fit. Make sure you have enough room to move your toes and the heel does not rub. These types of factors and features will help ensure you are getting a durable, comfortable piece of footwear.

They Prevent Injury

While the arrival of the snowy, wet, and icy winter season causes safety concerns for drivers, it can also provide hazardous conditions for pedestrians. Snow-blocked sidewalks and icy pathways put walkers at risk for the potential of slipping and falling, which can lead to serious injuries. If you know your usual route into the office isn’t always prepped properly after heavy snowfall or isn’t de-iced after a particularly cold night, you should grab the right shoes that will keep you safe.

To prevent injuries caused by slipping and falling on ice-covered surfaces, you should look for footwear that offers anti-slip technology. Extra grip is highly recommended for the winter. It provides the right amount of traction for when slip hazards on snow and ice are more pronounced.

Consult Your Doctor

If you are planning on engaging in outdoor activities this season and are unsure if your winter footwear is causing issues, please contact us. We can evaluate your current health, understand your activity level, and review any previous foot issues to help determine the best footwear for you.

Caruso Foot & Ankle specializes in sports injuries, foot and ankle pain, dry and cracked heels, ingrown toenails, and flat feet. It is our goal to provide excellent care for our patients. We provide help and guidance to stay safe and healthy during the harsh winter months. Schedule an appointment today!

A Beginner's Guide to Running

A Beginner’s Guide to Running

By General Podiatry, Running
A Beginner's Guide to Running

Healthcare professionals can’t deny the immense benefits of running. From increasing your lifespan to improving your sleep, your quality of life advances when you prioritize physical activity. Running is also a relatively inexpensive sport that you can do almost anywhere. All you need is a good pair of shoes to lace up and space to move.

The pastime has significantly increased in popularity after the COVID19 pandemic when people looked to get exercise outside the house. That’s why almost 60% of active adults have chosen outdoor activities such as running as their exercise of choice, according to the 2021 Fitness Trends Global Report

If running is something that sparks your interest and has been an approved activity by your doctor, add this exercise into your regimen with a plan! It’s critical to do your research for any new program to understand the safety requirements. Here is a beginner’s running guide to running to tackle this sport effectively from the start and ensure proper foot health!

Find Your Why

Running has a stereotype of not being for the faint-hearted. As your body gets used to the activity and builds up cardio, this exercise will be strenuous. In these beginning stages, you’re going to need to have a ‘why’ to keep you motivated.

Did you take on this sport to increase your heart health? To gain energy to keep up with your kids? To shed a few pounds? To boost your mood? Whatever it may be, keep this why in your back pocket and think about it on the days you want to quit.

It’s also helpful for beginners to have something to train for! Look for 5k’s or other races in your local area to sign up for with your friends. Find a proper running plan and stick to it for motivation. When training, think about how you feel after you complete the race!

Work Up Slowly

It is critical not to jump straight into running miles at a time when your body isn’t used to it. Ramping up too quickly can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, Achilles Tendonitis, and more! Both seasoned and novice runners should be wary of rapidly increasing intensity. Beginner runners can start with run-walk running intervals to ease into things.

Runner’s World suggests following the 10-15 rule. Here, athletes will calculate 10-15% of what they want their weekly mileage goal to be. Each week they will not exceed that number as they add more miles to their regimen.

If you are training for a competition, look up beginner training plans for whichever type of race you are looking to participate in, so you can safely work to your goal. There are plenty of free online training sources for 3ks, 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons.  As you start working up to longer distances, be sure to incorporate plenty of walk breaks.

If you are running for exercise, always listen to your body. If something feels off, ensure that you take a break.

Find Specific Running Shoes for Your Foot Type

Everybody’s foot structure is different. Of course, you should always wear shoes specific to your sport, but finding footwear that supports your foot type will help prevent injuries and keep you running longer. Contact your podiatrist, who can give you recommendations on shoes or customized orthotic inserts to support your high or low arches!

Alternatively, you can head to your local running store, where staff can measure your foot and walking patterns. They will make suggestions on shoes according to what they have in stock. It may also be advised for you to select a pair that is half a size larger than usual. Here, your feet have a bit more space for wiggle room as you move.

Remember to replace your shoes after running 300 to 500 miles. In addition, you should also consider replacing footwear when you develop new aches or form new blisters. The soles wear down and give you less support. It is recommended to track your runs on apps like Nike Run Club or your smartwatch to keep motivated and have visibility over your total mileage!

Mix Up Where You Run

One of the best advantages of running is that you can do it almost anywhere! Therefore, mixing up where you run will prepare you to perform on a variety of terrains. At first, runners should take extra care in listening to their bodies to feel out which surfaces feel best in their feet and legs. There are different pro’s and con’s to different terrains, such as:

  • Asphalt and Concrete: These are some of the most common terrains for runners as they exercise through their neighborhoods, cities, and paved parks. While these roads are great for convenience, the repetitive hard impact on these surfaces can cause injuries like stress fractures, shin splints, heel pain, or other foot problems.
  • Grass and Mountain Trails: These soft surfaces are much kinder to your bones and joints and help cushion your feet! However, runners should be wary of slippery mud and uneven surfaces to avoid sprained ankles.
  • Treadmill: Many turn to this device in the cold winter months when running outside seems unbearable. While running in the same spot can be boring after a while, newer treadmills provide cushions and springs on their track that can help with impact.

Try out these different terrains and see what works best for you. Never force your body to endure something that doesn’t feel right!

Warm-up, Cool-down, and Cross-train

Proper running etiquette includes taking time to warm up, cool down, and implement other training! Your body will protest if you jump straight into running without doing anything else. Taking on these extra steps helps prevent injury and will help you with performance.

Warming-up: When you warm up, you help loosen up your muscles and joints before taking on this strenuous activity. Oxygen is more easily distributed throughout the body due to increased blood flow. Therefore, you will be more limber and reduce your risk of injury and side stitches on your run.

When warming up, ensure you are performing dynamic repetitions instead of static drills. Dynamic exercises are active stretches that help develop the joint’s full range of motion and get the heart rate up. Follow along with this five-minute dynamic warm-up video before your next run.

Cooling-down: Stretch after exercising to avoid injury and reduce soreness. You have the opportunity to increase your flexibility since your muscles are looser after a run. Here is the time to incorporate static stretching where you hold a single pose for a period of time (typically 30-60 seconds). Follow along with this post-run stretching video for a better recovery.

Cross-training: To become a better runner, you will need to implement cross-training into your routine. Mixing up your workouts decreases boredom and helps you increase your overall health by working out different areas of your body. Supplement your training with at least 30 minutes of other activities you might want to try. This could include

Cross TrainingNot only does a variety of training keep things interesting, but it helps reduce injury too. Therefore try out different things and find what you enjoy!

You don’t have to participate in marathons to be considered a runner. Begin your journey today by starting small and taking the time to work your way up. All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other!

Are you wondering if you are healthy enough to start running or have any more questions about this process? Contact our office, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have! What is your motivation to run? Let me know on Twitter!

Tips for Summer Foot Care

Six Tips for Summer Foot Care

By General Podiatry, Health & Wellness

The summer season is coming in hot. Of course, we all want to show off our favorite sandals at the pool or beach, but to do that, we must keep our feet healthy during these hot and humid months! While it’s great that we finally get to let our toes breathe from our sweaty winter boots, we now have to take precautions such as keeping our bare feet away from infection and protecting them from the sun. Before you feel that ocean breeze, let’s put your mind at ease with six tips for summer foot care! 

 

1. Sunscreen is Key 

 

We all know that slathering SPF on our face and bodies protects us from things like cancer and wrinkles, but how often do we tend to our toes when we soak up the sun? The tops of our feet directly face the sun as we walk around in our flip-flops, so applying sunscreen there when we leave the house is essential. You also have a better chance of avoiding those sandal tan lines! 

 

Ensure that you regularly inspect both the tops and bottoms of your feet for abnormal freckles or moles, and call your doctor if something doesn’t look right. Podiatry Today recommends finding a sunscreen that protects you from both UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-B rays are correlated with burning, while UV-A is associated with aging. In addition, repetitive exposure to UV-A rays can link to long-term damage such as cataracts or immune system damage. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and is classified as “Broad Spectrum.”  

 

2. Keep Your Bare Feet Away From Infections. 

 

Our office sees bacterial, fungal, and viral foot infections in the summer months more often than any other time of year! This is because bare feet are exposed to all of the germs, bacteria, and fungus in public places. These offenders are the culprits of infections such as Athlete’s Foot and Plantar Warts. If you choose to take a dip at the public pool this summer, make sure you wear shoes with thick soles to walk around. If your kids are heading off to summer camp, pack them a pair of protective shoes to wear in shared shower areas and pools. 

 

When you arrive home from your activities, wash your feet with soap and warm water and ensure they are thoroughly dried with a towel. Don’t forget to get in-between the toes! Disinfect your gear with wipes or spray after the gym or any other sweaty location that fungus and bacteria lurk around. Consider disinfecting your feet with anti-fungal spray. It’s worth it to take care to prevent these infections so you can spend your summer days relaxing. If you find yourself with itchy, red, or scaly feet, call our office to treat it early! 

 

3. Break-in Your Sandals to Avoid Blisters 

 

We are all thrilled to lock away our winter boots for the time being. However, if you decide to treat yourself to a new pair of sandals or flip-flops for the new season, look out for blisters! Before wearing them out on a summer adventure, be sure to bend and stretch them around at home first. This way, they will conform to your feet easier. You can also check out these seven remedies for stretching out shoes, such as blow-drying them or even putting them in the freezer! If you are looking for a new pair of summer shoes, look for footwear with good arch support.   

 

4. Keep Your Feet Clean and Cool with Proper Sock Care 

 

Don’t trap your feet in their own sweat during these steamy and humid months! Wearing proper socks to keep your feet cool is fundamental to avoid stinky feet. Feel free to lock away those wool socks with your winter boots and break out your thinner cotton socks. If you are out exercising in the hot sun, consider wearing performance-based socks that are ventilated to avoid swampy feet altogether! 

 

Even if you aren’t an athlete, your feet give off a lot of sweat throughout the day. So be sure that you are washing your socks after each use to keep everything smelling fresh. It’s also a good idea to remove socks and shoes when you get home to let your feet air out properly. Letting your toes fester in the sweat can lead to Athlete’s Foot and other infections. Place a fan by your bed and sleep with your feet out of the covers to cool them down at night! 

 

5. Stay Hydrated. 

 

Drinking water should always be a priority for overall excellent health and to keep yourself glowing. It is easy to dehydrate in the summer, especially if we are spending our days in the hot sun. When you drink more water, you increase blood flow. Since our extremities are the furthest part of our bodies from our heart, blood circulation is vital to flush toxins out. In addition, drinking enough water reduces swelling. When feet are inflamed, they are more prone to injury and chronic pain. By staying hydrated, you reduce your chances of these injuries! 

Pedicure health

6. Pamper Yourself Properly  

 

If a trip to the spa or the nail salon is on your itinerary this season, look for appropriate measures are taken to avoid toenail infections. For example, when getting a pedicure, be sure that nail clippers and files are properly sanitized. The fungus is transferred through these tools, so new or disinfected tools are essential. Also, remove toenail polish frequently to give your nail beds a break. Indulge in at-home remedies for foot care such as an Epsom Salt foot soak or an oatmeal and brown sugar foot mask! 

 

Whether your plans for the summer include vacations or working from home, have peace of mind by taking these measures. Take simple care by applying sunscreen, protecting your feet from infection, wearing proper shoes and socks, and staying hydrated. If you have any questions about summer foot care Contact Us or schedule an appointment here if you notice anything abnormal! 

Covid related foot problems from working at home

COVID Related Foot Problems

By General Podiatry

Quarantine can be very bad for your feet, and COVID related foot problems have certainly increased this past year. Much has been made about the casual comfort and convenience of working from home during the COVID quarantine. People are Zoom ready with a nice shirt or blouse on the top, sweatpants on the bottom, and no need for shoes whatsoever. It’s great to have such a relaxed wardrobe and no dry-cleaning bills. We’ve paid so much attention to protecting ourselves from the virus. But we may be overlooking a very important foundational part of our bodies – our feet.

Nobody’s Wearing Arch Supports

We are spending so much time indoors that we have ditched our shoes for extended periods of time during quarantine. Flimsy slippers, flat flip flops, or walking barefoot all the time provide zero support for our feet or the rest of our body. This can lead to some pretty severe foot problems like tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. Without supportive shoes, ligaments stretch out, arches begin to fall, and even putting on regular shoes can be painful. The evidence is in how much the pandemic has shifted our shoe buying habits. Sales of shoes were down 70 percent from March through May of last year, according to NPD, a national market-research firm.

Going barefoot is the worst thing you can do. It puts increased stress on the ligaments, tendons, and around the ball of the foot, which should always be supported and cushioned from the impact of walking. People with high arches are also more prone to various foot conditions because there’s extra pressure on the ball of the foot that supportive shoes help alleviate. Doctors are also seeing a lot of foot injuries from people going barefoot who can’t even navigate their homes and fracture their toes from stubbing them up against furniture and corners.

Working Out Can Cause Foot Problems

Because fitness centers and recreational sports centers are closed, we must now work out at home. It’s never a good idea to work out without the proper footwear, but experts are seeing this more and more. People are running and walking outside without the correct shoes, and because they have been barefoot or in slippers for long periods of time, when they try to do something rigorous with their feet, it leads to injury and chronic foot conditions.

Flintstone Feet

“Flintstone Feet” is the new term for how coronavirus lockdown is destroying our feet. It refers to the stone-age cartoon about a prehistoric family living before shoes are invented. If you’ve never seen the cartoon, here’s a hint, the characters have flat, huge, wide feet that they even use to power their cars! We don’t recommend that.

Flintstone Feet

What we do recommend is being aware of your feet and how shoes affect them. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t get Flintstone Feet:

  • Be aware of the importance of supporting your feet. If you don’t, gravity can take hold and cause problems
  • Wear a supportive shoe, even at home. Don’t go barefoot or wear flip-flops that do not have arch support.
  • Get the right shoe for whatever exercise you choose – running, walking, tennis. They all have different levels of support.
  • Make sure you change your exercise routine to minimize overuse injuries.
  • Get treatment immediately if you injure yourself. Do not overwork a foot injury.
  • Gaining weight in lockdown is a real issue. If you gain a significant amount of weight, your shoes may not fit properly.

Once we are given the all clear to get back to work, there shouldn’t be any major adjustments to your footwear. It’s important to take your time. Get used to wearing regular shoes by doing it slowly and switching it up throughout the week or even daily. If you have any questions please feel free to Contact Us for more information. You can also Schedule an Appointment to see Dr. Caruso if you are experiencing any of the above COVID related foot problems.

Diabetes and your feet

Diabetes and Your Feet

By General Podiatry, Health & Wellness

According to the CDC, over 100 million Americans currently have diabetes or prediabetes. The most common (and dangerous) type of diabetes, Type 2, occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin. Or, when your pancreas can’t produce enough of it.

The body needs a certain amount of insulin in order to function properly. Insulin allows the cells within your body to absorb glucose, which provides energy. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose can’t move freely around these cells, causing high glucose levels within the body that can eventually lead to diabetes.

Common Signs of Diabetes

Diabetes affects people differently. Not everyone has the same signs. But, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Constant thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that heal slowly

Another common sign of diabetes is the feeling of numbness in your hands or feet. If you’ve been a diabetic for a while, you have probably already heard about the importance of taking care of your feet. But, do you know why?

That numbness/tingling sensation in your feet isn’t just annoying. It can create major issues, and some people can develop serious foot problems or may even have to lose a toe or a foot.

That shouldn’t scare you. Instead, it should let you know how important it is to consistently monitor your feet, and how important it is to take proper care of them.

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Feet?

One of the risks of diabetes is nerve damage. As stated above, that damage is often most notable in the hands and feet. This is a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. This condition can cause you to lose feeling in your feet, which makes it easier to get injured. For example, if you happen to get a cut or scrape on your foot, you may not feel it, so you won’t pay attention to it. As a result, it can become easily infected and lead to even bigger problems.

Your risk of infection is often greater if you have diabetes because it can slow down blood flow to your feet. So, not only is it easier for a sore to get infected, but it’s often harder to treat. An infection that doesn’t heal can lead to gangrene, which is often when a toe or the foot itself needs to be amputated.

How to Check Your Feet Each Day

One of the easiest ways to prevent foot issues when you have diabetes is to check the condition of your feet every day. While even just giving them a quick glance-over is better than nothing, it’s easier if you know what to look for. Pay close attention to things like:

  • Red spots
  • Sores
  • Cuts/scrapes
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Calluses
  • Warm spots

A warm spot or area somewhere on your foot can sometimes be an indicator of a blister or ulcer that is just starting. Catching it early can make it easier to treat.

If you want more information on how to thoroughly examine your feet, check out the video below from The University of Vermont Medical Center.

How to Take Care of Your Feet

In addition to examining your feet each day, there are regular care activities that you should perform to keep your feet in good shape and to remain healthy. Thankfully, if you put these practices into your normal routine, they won’t take much time, and they can make a big difference in your overall foot health.

Wash Your Feet Each Day

How often do you take the time to actually wash your feet when you’re in the shower or bath? You should be spending a few minutes each day actually washing then with warm (not hot) water, especially between your toes.

Perhaps just as important as washing them is drying them thoroughly. Moisture that gets trapped on your feet or between your toes can lead to fungal infections. Additionally, if your feet tend to get sweaty throughout the day, sprinkling them with a bit of talcum powder can help to keep them dry and reduce the risk of a fungus.

Trim Your Toenails the Right Way

Many people think you’re supposed to trim your toenails in a “curved” shape to match the toes themselves. But, this can put you at a greater risk of experiencing an ingrown toenail, which can lead to different types of infections. You also risk cutting your skin.

Instead, trim your toenails straight across and smooth them out with an emery board. If you choose to get a pedicure somewhere, it’s a smart idea to bring your own tools along, rather than risk using tools that could be contaminated.

Protect Your Feet

When you have diabetes, protecting your feet every day should be a top priority. For starters, make sure you’re wearing shoes and/or socks as often as possible – even in your own home.

When you walk around barefoot, you’re at a greater risk of stepping on something or cutting your skin. As you now know, that can lead to an infection, which could cause even bigger issues. Just make sure you’re wearing shoes that allow your feet to “breathe,” so moisture doesn’t accumulate inside.

In addition to protecting your feet from objects, it’s also important to protect them from extreme temperatures. Put sunscreen on your feet if they’re exposed outside, don’t dip them into extremely hot water, and wear shoes on hot sand or pavement.

Keeping fit and healthy for diabetes preventionBoosting Circulation to Your Feet

Finally, you can take care of your feet by keeping the blood flowing. There are easy ways to do this, including:

  • Propping your feet up when you’re sitting
  • Remaining physically active
  • Moving your ankles and toes throughout the day

If you’re experiencing any diabetic foot problems or pain, the best thing you can do is to see a doctor immediately. If you’re concerned about the general care and health of your feet as a diabetic, feel free to contact Caruso Foot and Ankle to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. We are happy to work with you to ensure your feet stay healthy – so the rest of you remains healthy, too!

Plantar Warts in the Summer

Don’t Let Plantar Warts Spoil Your Fun

By General Podiatry

There is nothing more exciting than the first rush of spring and summer. We clean out the cobwebs of winter, brush ourselves off, and head outside for any number of activities. The last thing we want to think about is plantar warts. But the risk of walking around barefoot, using public showers and pools, and cutting your foot or hand, can be the culprit in many cases of plantars warts.

What are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts are a viral infection within the skin. The warts are caused by the HPV or human papillomavirus. There are many different strains of the HPV virus, only a few which cause warts on the feet. Other types of HPV are more likely to cause warts on other areas of your skin or on mucous membranes. Typically, plantar warts are non-cancerous and are not harmful.

The infection gains access to the skin through direct contact by means of an open cut or wound or by direct or indirect contact with someone who has a wart. For instance, a child with a wart on their hand may touch a piece of playground equipment and when another child touches that surface, the wart spreads to that child. Another way, as mentioned above is using public showers at pools or waterparks without wearing shoes. Wart

 

What Do They Look Like?

Plantar warts are small and can appear as little black dots first, growing to the size of a pencil eraser and sometimes can grow in clusters; those are called mosaic warts. They are usually flat with a smooth surface and have a gray-yellow or brown color. Plantar warts usually appear on the heel and ball of the foot or other areas of pressure. It’s a good idea to have suspicious growths examined by a doctor because a variety of more serious lesions can appear on the foot and be misidentified as a wart.

Plantar warts on the bottom of the feet

What are the Treatment Options?

There are a variety of ways to treat plantar warts. First and foremost, it’s not fast and easy and can take up to a few weeks to a few months because the warts lie deep within the skin layers. Unlike other types of viruses that the body can recognize and fight, the wart shields itself in the skin so the body can’t detect it. So treatment can be difficult. The recurrence rate can be higher or lower depending on the treatment type, and immunity can be an issue.

Acid treatment is most often used in our office and requires a few applications. If the wart is more stubborn, anesthetizing and cutting out the wart is also an option.

Many people will opt for over-the-counter (OTC) ointments and liquids. However, serious problems can occur with prolonged use of overly aggressive OTC treatments (more than two weeks). Skin irritation, infection, pain and scarring are a few. OTC medications are also not recommended for infants, people with diabetes, or other circulation problems.

Tips to Avoid Plantar Warts

  • Avoid walking barefoot in public showers or at pools or water park bathrooms (beach walking is fine)
  • Change shoes and socks daily and avoid sharing socks, shoes and showering facilities
  • Keep feet clean and dry
  • Check your children’s feet regularly during warm weather months
  • Don’t touch warts on other people
  • Don’t scratch warts or they will spread
  • Warts should be covered with waterproof tape in wet environments and swimming pools to avoid infection and infecting others
  • Do not ignore growths on, or changes in the skin

What to Expect If You Get a Wart

Roughly 60 percent of plantar warts disappear on their own in what is called “spontaneous remission.” This happens because the body’s immune system takes action to kill the virus. But if stubborn warts don’t go away and are left untreated, they can grow up to one inch across and spread into clusters and cause pain, swelling, or bleeding.

Warts can also grow back after treatment and this indicates that the virus is still present. This is not serious, but the warts can spread to other parts of the body, particularly if they are scratched because blood from the wart contains the virus and can cause a new warts to grow. The best advice is to seek treatment and as soon as you notice the signs of a growth or the “black seed” of a wart.

Please feel free to Contact Us with any questions about plantar warts, or you can Make An Appointment to see Dr. Caruso.

COVID-19 Operating Hours and Telemedicine Information

By General Podiatry

Caruso Foot & Ankle is open during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are working to ensure proper precautions, protocols, and resources are in place to provide safe care to those who need it.

If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or have symptoms that may indicate exposure, please CONTACT US before seeking care in person.

Our current office hours are:

Monday: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Tuesday: 1:15 PM – 7:30 PM

Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Thursday: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Friday: 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

All other days are currently for emergencies only. If you have a critical emergency call 911 immediately. For after hours, non-life threatening emergencies please call 732-366-9866 and follow the prompts to be connected to the doctor.

Callused feet

Calluses

By General Podiatry, Running

Most of us can remember running around barefoot when we were young. Shoes seemed like such a hindrance! As we get older though, shoes are a necessity for overall health and mobility. And while good fitting shoes are important, many foot maladies are often caused by boney prominences consistent with underlying foot deformities.  These deformities along with thinning skin layers can increase the risk and frequency of calluses. Read More

Runner with pain due to a neuroma

Neuroma (Pinched Nerve)

By General Podiatry

What is a Neuroma?

Basically, a neuroma (commonly called a pinched nerve) is a thickening of nerve tissue. A neuroma can form in various areas of the body, but the most common neuroma in the foot is called Morton’s neuroma. This condition is named after the American surgeon Thomas George Morton (1835-1903) who published the first complete description of this particular neuroma. The term intermetatarsal neuroma describes its most common location between the third and fourth toe bones (metatarsals).  Read More

metatarsal joint pain

Metatarsalgia

By General Podiatry

What is Metatarsalgia?

The structure of your feet is very complicated, and it’s an amazing fact that they contain a quarter of the bones in your entire body. Among these bones are the five long metatarsals that run from the arch to your toes. They are very important bones as they act as shock absorbers when the foot is in motion. The metatarsal head refers to the top of each metatarsal. Pain in the ball of the foot can happen when one or more metatarsal heads becomes inflamed. The pain can be caused by a number of different underlying conditions and is known by the general term of metatarsalgia. Read More

ankle posterior tibial tendonitis

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

By General Podiatry

Sharp pains in your arch or inner ankle? Popping sensations? Sore to the touch? These are all signs you might have posterior tibial tendonitis!

Posterior tibial tendonitis is a common runner’s injury that can stop you in your tracks and make you wonder if you will ever run pain free again. Never fear though we can help you can back on track, literally! Read More

Ingrown Toenails and Other Nail Related Injuries

By General Podiatry, Running

Ingrown Toenails and Other Nail Related Injuries

As an avid runner, I know all too well that toenail injuries are likely to occur. I have experienced some of this myself, and after a long race, I usually take off my sneakers to assess the damage. Whether it’s ingrown toenails, hematomas, or other nail deformities, these common injuries are a part of many runners’ lives. As part of the Discussion Series on Running Injuries, here we discuss a few very common toenail injuries.  Read More

Caruso Foot and Ankle Logo 611-611

Patient Portal Now Available

By General Podiatry

Access our new patient portal

We’ve just launched our new patient portal which is now available on our website. The portal gives all current patients of Caruso Foot & Ankle access to their health records. Simply log in through the Patient Portal link in the navigation bar at the top of the page at carusofootandankle.com. Follow the instructions to create a new account which will require identity verification to ensure your health records remain safe. If you have any trouble creating an account or need help connecting to the patient portal please contact us here.