Items filtered by date: December 2016

Wednesday, 28 December 2016 12:04

5 Ways to Prevent Gout

Gout, a form of arthritis, is caused by too much uric acid accumulating in the joints and forming crystals. Although uric acid occurs normally in the body, in some patients we see at Superior Foot & Ankle Center with gout the body doesn’t eliminate uric acid properly and in others the body overproduces uric acid. In either case, the end result is the same: an extremely painful attack, most often in the big toe, characterized by throbbing, swelling, extreme tenderness and a burning sensation in the joint that lasts for several hours. It is common for the pain to come on in the middle of the night. Gout strikes men more frequently than women and once you’ve had an attack it’s likely that it will recur in the same toe again. If you’ve suffered a gout attack, our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas can prescribe medication to help. There are, however, preventative measures you can take to help reduce the risk of future attacks:

  1. Avoid foods known to trigger gout. These include: red meat, fatty poultry, shellfish, and rich sauces.
  2. Stay well hydrated. Drink lots of water in particular to help flush the uric acid out of your system.
  3. Increase the amount of low-fat dairy you consume. There is evidence that foods in this category may actually help protect against gout.
  4. Limit your alcohol intake. Beer, red wine and brandy are all known triggers of gout and there is some thought that alcohol in general may be a trigger.
  5. Maintain a healthy body weight. One reason gout is thought to strike the big toe is because of the excessive amount of force the toe sustains as you walk. The less you weigh the less pressure on the joint. There is also evidence that losing weight may cause uric acid levels in your body to decrease. Do it gradually, however, as rapidly losing weight has been shown to have the opposite effect.

If you have additional questions about gout and how to prevent attacks, contact our Long Beach office by calling: 562-420-9800.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016 12:02

Corns and Calluses: True or False

Although corns and calluses are very common and something we treat often at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we often find that our patients have a number of misconceptions about them. Find out how much you know about corns and calluses with our true/false statements below:

Corns and Calluses are pretty much the same thing.

False. Although corns and calluses both involve the thickening of the skin in response to repeated pressure, corns have a small, hard center.


Corns and calluses are basically skin problems.

False. Actually, corns and calluses are indications of a bone problem. They form in response to an internal issue in your foot. You might have a heel spur or a dropped metatarsal head under the ball of your foot. When there is a bony enlargement or a bone is out of place and receives excessive pressure as you walk a callus or corn may form as a way of protecting the tissue beneath the surface of the skin.

Calluses can be painful.

True. Nerves can become compressed and bursa sacs inflamed when you continue to exert pressure on an area where a callus has formed. This pain can range from aching and sore to extremely sharp or stabbing pains. Another cause of pain is the friction caused by shoes rubbing over the callus or corn which can create a blister or an open sore and possibly lead to an infection.

Treatment for calluses can include orthotics, cortisone injections and even surgery.

True. Technically the callus itself can be removed with exfoliation or an over the counter product or at the podiatrist’s office but it’s the underlying cause that needs to be treated in order for the callus to be permanently eliminated. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas will examine your foot and determine the problem beneath the callus. Relief from pain and pressure on the affected area may be achieved with a cortisone injection or by using orthotics to shift weight away from the trouble spot. Surgery may be recommended to remove a spur or correct a bone that has become displaced.

If you have a callus or corn that causing you discomfort, contact us for an appointment at our Long Beach office.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 12:01

Good Shoes Make Holiday Shopping Easier

The holiday season has you on your feet more than usual: shopping at the mall, extra trips to the grocery store, parties after work, etc. At Superior Foot & Ankle Center we see an increase in many types of foot problems at this time of year just because people are on their feet so much more than usual. Do yourself a favor and make the first gift on your list be a well-made, properly fitting pair of shoes to do all your holiday errands in. Here are some shoe shopping tips:

  • Choose flat shoes or ones with heels no higher than one inch
  • Be sure soles have a good tread that will help you avoid falls on slippery sidewalks and parking lots
  • Avoid shoes with narrow toe boxes that squeeze toes together; this can encourage ingrown toenails
  • Look for breathable, natural materials that allow air to circulate to reduce the change of athlete’s foot and other fungal infections
  • Run your hand all around the inside of the shoe to check for loose stitching or seams that can rub against the skin and cause irritation
  • Shoe shop at the end of the day—that’s when feet are at their largest
  • Make sure there is at least a half inch between the tip of your big toe and the end of the shoe
  • If one of our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas have prescribed special orthotic devices be sure to bring them to try on with your shoes
  • Wear socks that are similar in thickness to the ones you will wear with your new shoes
  • Try on both shoes and walk around for several minutes in the store. Shoes should be comfortable from the moment of purchase—don’t count on them feeling better after they are “broken in.”
  • If you have any special foot needs—diabetic, hammertoes, bunions or other foot deformities or conditions, ask the foot doctor’s advice on the best shoes for you. You can always contact our Long Beach office with questions by calling (562) 420-9800.
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 12:00

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

You may be familiar with the symptoms of athlete’s foot, especially if you’ve had it before: extremely itchy, burning skin (usually starting between your toes) that becomes red and flaky. If not treated, painful blisters may develop and athlete’s foot can spread to the rest of your foot, your toenails and even other parts of your body. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we believe that prevention is the best treatment. Some common ways that athlete’s foot is spread include:

  • Sharing socks, shoes, towels or anything that touches another person’s feet
  • Walking barefoot in public places like gym locker rooms, public showers
  • Poor hygiene: feet should be washed with soap and water every day and dried completely
  • Choosing footwear not made of breathable materials that do not allow air to circulate
  • Allowing feet to stay in damp socks and shoes—the perfect setting for fungi and bacteria to thrive

If you have symptoms of athlete’s foot, you should contact our Long Beach office for an appointment by calling: 562-420-9800. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas will examine your feet to determine the best treatment. There are several different types of fungi that can cause athlete’s foot and it’s important to identify the fungus behind the infection in order to choose the correct type of medicine for treatment. Topical medications in the form of creams and sprays are often used to eliminate athlete’s foot. Oral medications may also be prescribed in more severe cases. The doctor may also suggest that you use an over the counter antifungal powder on your feet as a preventive measure going forward. For some patients, athlete’s foot may be a recurring problem.

Thursday, 01 December 2016 11:58

“Mom, My Foot Hurts”

At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas are experts in pediatric footcare. One of the issues in evaluating children’s feet is that the patients are not able to articulate just what the problem or discomfort is. That’s when podiatrists have to become detectives and help track down the condition affecting the child. Here are some of the more common complaints we hear from our young patients and what they might mean:

“It hurts in the back of my foot.” Heel pain in children can be either an overuse issue or due to developmental factors. Medical conditions such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis can affect children just as they do adults if an injury has occurred during a sport or if too much repetitive exercise is straining a particular part of the foot. In cases of children ages 8-15, the growth plate at the back of the heel is still forming and this leaves a vulnerable area that can become inflamed and result in calcaneal apophysitis (also known as Sever’s disease, although it is not actually a “disease”).

“It’s too far to walk.” If children complain that their feet hurt after a long walk or that their feet feel “tired,” it can be a sign of flatfeet. This can be tricky to diagnose because children don’t develop arches until between the ages of four and six. The foot doctor has a number of ways to check for flatfeet and the solution may be as simple as an insert for the shoes that will help shape and train the arch to develop properly.

“Ow! Don’t touch my big toe!” Extreme pain in the side of a toe, especially if the toe looks red and swollen is most likely pointing to an ingrown toenail. If toenails are cut to short or children pick them off and they end up with a curved edge, the nail may start to grow down and into the skin. This causes extreme pain and, if the nail actually punctures the skin, can lead to an infection.

“There’s something on the bottom of my foot.” Plantar warts are hard growths that most often form on the balls of the feet or the heel. Caused by a viral infection that enters the skin through tiny cuts, it is very common in children. They may not hurt initially but can grow and spread. Usually a topical medication or freezing will remove the wart.

As children grow and become more responsible for their own personal hygiene parent see less of their feet. It’s important to periodically examine your child’s feet and to listen seriously to foot complaints. If your child is experiencing any discomfort or pain in the toe, foot or ankle, contact our Long Beach office for an appointment today.

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