Items filtered by date: February 2016

Thursday, 25 February 2016 09:16

Why Hammertoes are More Serious Than you Think

One thing’s for certain, the word, “hammertoe”, doesn’t exactly sound like a potentially serious foot problem. Instead, it gives off a rather humorous, or even cartoonish, first impression. But don’t let the seemingly lighthearted name fool you. Hammer toes can become a real big pain in the neck, or foot- to be exact- and may impact your life more than you might think.

Causes & Symptoms

A hammertoe is a bending or buckling of the toe joint, which is a result of muscles getting out of balance. The toe ends up curling downward, and taking a shape, that can resemble an upside down letter “V”. Several different things can cause this common foot issue, including:

  • Genes
  • Arthritis
  • Injury/trauma to the toe

Wearing shoes that are too tight or pointy
The visible difference in the toe’s form is one thing, but if you’ve developed a hammertoe you may also experience symptoms such as swelling and reddening of the joint, pain when moving the joint or putting on a shoe, corns on top of the buckled toe, and pain on the ball of the foot that is under the toe, in question.

Types of Hammertoes

Hammertoes can either be flexible or rigid. If they are flexible, they still can provide some movement and can often be more easily treated with conservative methods. However, if they are rigid, they are stiff and cannot be moved. This can also lead to irregular, deformed foot movement. Once the condition worsens, and non-invasive treatment is unavailable, hammertoes that are rigid will require surgery to correct.

Pardon the phrase, but this all “buckles” down to the important fact that hammertoes do not merely go away, or get better, on their own. It is a progressive condition that, if left untreated, can only get worse.

Sometimes, those with mild cases may not feel that treatment is necessary. However, this can be faulty reasoning. Early intervention often allows for simple adjustments such as, finding proper footwear, and adding insoles or cushioning for pain management. Taking steps toward early treatment can mean preventing accelerating pain and preventing the need for any future surgical procedure.

Care For Hammertoes & Beyond

At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, our doctors and staff are trained to use our medical skills and knowledge to treat a wide variety of foot-related issues. We make it our mission to help keep feet healthy and working well. If you are looking for dedicated patient care for your feet, contact our Long Beach office today.

Dealing with a toenail fungal infection can be both difficult and unpleasant. When fungi attacks the nails, it can leave them yellowed, thick, split, and damaged. It can also leave you ditching your favorite pair of flip flops, or even hiding your feet in embarrassment when around other people. But aesthetics aside, nail fungus can have other, potential, effects that are even more concerning. Eventually, it’s possible for walking to become painful, or for the infection to spread. At which point, removing the nail might be necessary.

Unfortunately, this common condition doesn’t go way on its own. Instead, its capacity to get worse, and to impact your health, reveals that treatment, and preventative measures, are the keys to stopping a toenail infection from worsening.

The Fight Against Fungus

While you may have picked up the fungus from something as simple strolling around the pool barefoot, it’s not so simple to treat or eliminate it. This is one reason why early detection and treatment always remains the preferred route. That being said, steps towards getting rid of the infection can go in several directions.

You can’t deny that over the counter creams and topical applications offer convenience. Yes, it’s pretty natural to like the idea of purchasing a solution at your nearby drugstore. However, many of these products lack that ability to provide effective treatment is less reliable because many don’t penetrate deep enough to fully eradicate the fungus. The same can be said for plenty of home remedies. Seeking treatment from a professional foot doctor is often the best way to go and fight the good fight against fungus. A podiatrist will evaluate your condition and then based on the severity of the infection, go over your options.

Sometimes, a topical medication is a part of the plan. In other cases, these treatment methods may be recommended:

  • The removal of thicker portions of the nail to provide pain relief (Debridement)
  • Getting rid of the fungus using laser treatments
  • Oral medications

Preventive Steps For Fungus-Free Feet

Even if you’ve kicked a fungal infection through treatment, it can come back. In order to keep it from returning and keep your feet healthy, here are several important steps to follow:

  • Keep your feet clean: Wash them regularly with soap and water, then dry them thoroughly
  • Keep your nails trimmed and make sure that toenail clippers, and grooming tools, are sanitized before using them.
  • Wear clean shoes that are made of breathable materials
  • Make sure to change your socks if they are dirty or damp
  • Put on shower shoes in public areas, like a gym locker room or pool shower area.

Discovering Your Treatment Options

Toenail fungus may seem like a relatively small issue, but its capacity to get in between you, your lifestyle, and your foot health, is greater than you may realize. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we use our experience and knowledge to help patients with all kinds of foot-related problems, from the big to the seemingly small.

If you are dealing with nail fungus or another foot issue, please call us at 562-420-9800, today, or request an appointment at our Long Beach office. This is the first step to determining which course of treatment is right for you and what we can do to help you achieve happier, healthier feet.

Warts are caused by HPV, or human papillomavirus, coming into contact with open cuts, then developing into an infection. While warts in most cases are not life-threatening, they can be extremely painful if left untreated. This is particularly the case of plantar warts, which are warts that only target the bottoms of your feet. Here are some helpful tips and tricks on how to prevent warts and how to treat them if you have them.

What are Common Warts?

Common warts can appear on any part of your body, but usually, appear on either the hands or feet, via hangnails or small cuts. The worst thing about warts is how highly contagious they are. Not only can they be spread from person to person, they can be spread from one part of your body to another. In order to prevent the spread of warts, you should consistently wash your hands and the affected area. You should also keep the affected area covered, at all times. If your feet are infected, wear socks around the house and shower socks when bathing.

What are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts only affect the bottoms of your feet and are often flat, or grow inward, causing a lot of pain- especially for those who work on their feet. Most plantar warts are noncancerous and are not life threatening, however, for those with weakened immune systems, or those suffering from diabetes, plantar warts can cause health complications. In these cases, you should seek out a healthcare professional immediately.

How to Prevent?

Because warts are so contagious, it’s hard to prevent them. However, there are many preventative measures that you can take. For one, you can avoid being barefoot in public places such as pool showers and locker rooms. If you are going to be in these areas, you should invest in shower socks and portable shower mats. Keep your feet, toe nails and cuticles well moisturized and healthy. Make sure you treat all open cuts with antibiotic ointment to avoid infections and keep them covered, at all times, with either bandages or liquid skin.

Treatments

Minor warts, that are not painful, simply go away on their own. However, if you are experiencing painful foot warts you need to consult a healthcare professional. Warts can be treated by depriving them of oxygen. Simply wrapping your infected area with bandages, or liquid skin, may prove to be an effective treatment. For those who seek out professional treatment for their warts, they can be frozen off with liquid nitrogen, burned off ( via laser), or you can be prescribed a topical treatment. All of these treatments are highly effective ways to prevent you from spreading warts to others or reinfecting yourself.

Now that you know the preventative measures to take, to safeguard yourself against warts, be sure to follow these steps to keep yourself from getting them. If you have any further questions about preventing or treating foot warts, contact Superior Foot and Ankle Care Center to schedule an appointment, today.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 09:11

The Health Benefits of Regular Foot Massages

There are many physical and psychological health benefits related to foot massages. Daily foot massages, for a couple minutes at a time, has been proven to fight depression and relieve headaches. Here is a list of the many health benefits of having regular foot massages.

Stress Relief

Regular foot massages have been shown to greatly relieve stress, as well as, many of the symptoms associated with it, such as energy loss and headache. A five to ten-minute foot massage, after a long day, can significantly relieve fatigue and increase feelings of well-being. Try using scented oil when administering your foot massage, for the added benefit of aromatherapy.

Blood Circulation & Sleep

Poor blood circulation causes many foot health issues. Regular foot massages can regulate your blood flow and keep your feet healthy, as well as, combat foot health problems such as inflammation, swelling, and pain. Foot massages also stimulate the limbic system and help prevent varicose veins. When night falls, massaging your feet right before bed helps you unwind, relax your nerves, and relieve any aches and pains-promoting restful sleep. Try using a lavender scented oil when administering your foot massage, as the lavender scent in calming and promotes relaxation.

Foot Health

Not only does regular foot massage promote healthy blood circulation, it can also relieve everything from minor aches to arthritis pain. In addition, it has been shown that regular foot massages, with olive or coconut oil, can significantly relieve the pain associated with foot tendonitis. Additionally, daily foot massage can help strengthen your ankles and increase your flexibility, which can prevent foot-related injuries.

Pain & Depression

While it’s well known that foot massages relieve foot pain, it also an effective way to treat other common body aches and pains. For example, regularly massaging your ankle and Achilles tendon can help relieve lower back pain and pressure. Additionally, because foot massage is such an effective stress relief treatment, it has also been shown to relieve migraine and headache pain. Regular foot massages also help you feel relaxed and balanced, promoting a sense of calm. Considering stress, tension and fatigue are associated with situational depression, daily foot massages have been shown to not only combat to these symptoms, but depression itself.

Other Health Benefits

  • Helps manage PMS and Menopause symptoms.
  • Assists those suffering from restless leg syndrome manage their illness.
  • Relieves swollen feet during pregnancy.
  • Relieves the chronic pains of arthritis in the feet and legs.
  • Helps those with minor foot injuries to heal quicker.

Now that you are aware of the health benefits from regular foot massages, be sure to incorporate this into your daily routine, along with your regular visits to Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center. If you have any questions or concerns about your foot health, please feel free contact us today, at 562-420-9800.

Thursday, 11 February 2016 09:09

How to Select the Right Shoes for Your Children

Soon after a child takes his or her very first steps, they seem to be everywhere, at once, scurrying about with a new-found sense of freedom and a desire to explore. At this time, parents have many questions about choosing the right footwear for their little one. Sure, there are a lot of cute options out there, and they are super adorable. But parents should look beyond mere aesthetics and focus more on other aspects that will help their child put their best foot forward. Injuries and foot problems requiring pediatric foot care, all can occur as a result of improper shoes. In order to help parents on their quest for what’s best, here are 8 essential tips about kid’s footwear selection:

  1. The Material- Stay away from shoes that are made of man-made materials, like plastic. Instead look for shoes that are more breathable, with an upper portion that is constructed of something like leather or canvas. Since kid’s feet perspire a lot, materials such as these will help air out the shoe and keep feet dry. They also tend to last longer, provide more comfort, and prevent blisters from forming.
  2. The Soles- Be on the lookout for shoes that have some sort of traction on the bottom of the sole, as slick soles can cause a child to slip and possibly injure themselves. The thickness and consistency of the sole is important, as well. Soles should be flexible for comfort and mobility, and somewhat thick for protection. Heels are not recommended for children, as they can make walking difficult. This can also be the case for toddlers when wearing a shoes with a slight heel.
  3. The Fit- This is a big one because ill-fitting footwear can cause a slew of problems including, bunions, ingrown toenails, and calluses. Children should wear shoes that fit their feet right, being neither too tight nor too loose. There should be a little room (roughly half an inch) at the toe end of the shoe so that a child’s toes are not scrunched up or jammed. Additionally, since kids feet grow fast-every few months or so, make sure to replace their shoes when needed.

Superior Care For Precious Feet

Choosing the right shoes and keeping foot care a priority, is important for everyone, both, young and old. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we understand that parents desire the best possible care for their children, and we aim to provide it with our extensive podiatric knowledge and our friendly and open approach to treatment. If your child is in need of expert foot care, contact our Long Beach office today for an appointment. We look forward to meeting you both, and helping make sure your child’s feet stay on a happy and healthy track.

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 09:05

Foot Health Tips for Athletes

Athletes are busy people. Whether they’re students balancing homework and extracurricular activities, or 9-5 workers trying to stay in shape in the evenings, athletes only have limited time for everything else. Focus on diet, exercise, and responsibilities, foot health is one of the last things on an athlete’s list of concerns. If you or someone in your family leads an active lifestyle, make sure they’re taking the time to take heed of the following foot care tips.

Shoes

If you’re devoted to a particular sport, you probably have a great pair of sport-specific shoes already. If for some reason you don’t, or you’re planning to start playing a new sport regularly, make sure that you get a specialized pair, soon. Basketball shoes, for example, have a very particular type of cushioning designed for rapid changes in direction and hard landings. If your shoes don’t fit well or aren’t designed for the activity, you could be risking injury.
When looking for shoes, shop in the afternoon or later, when your feet swell to their largest size. And one more thing: shoes tend to lose shock absorption between 250-500 miles. Runners who go for 25 miles every week will need new shoes, every 2.5-5 months.

Socks

Any old pair of socks might seem to do the trick, but believe it or not, those fancy Nike or Underarmor logo socks really do have a purpose. If your socks aren’t made with moisture-wicking fabric, the fabric will retain moisture for too long and may cause blisters.
College students, stay on top of your laundry: if you don’t change your socks often, you could develop foot odor.

Blisters, and Calluses

Speaking of blisters, don’t ever pop them. If they happen to pop, wash the area, apply antiseptic, then apply a bandage.
As for calluses, talk to your doctor before making a decision. Don’t try to remove them on your own, even if you have an over-the-counter product.

Toenails

Make sure toenails are trimmed to avoid in-grown nails. Cut the nails straight across, but leave them slightly longer at the end of each toe. Watch out if they turn black or blue; it could be a sign of blood underneath the nail, or possibly a condition like melanoma or an infection.

That should cover most (if not all) potential foot problems. If you take nothing else from this article, remember to practice proper hygiene, and use proper sports shoes and socks.

Feel free to contact us you have any further questions and concerns about your foot health. For a consultation, call Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, at 562-420-9800, to set up an appointment today.

Friday, 05 February 2016 09:02

How to eat Right for Proper Foot Health

Everything from regular exercise to foot massage is essential for maintaining your foot health. In addition, it is important to practice good nutritional habits in order to keep your feet healthy. Certain foods such as those that are high in sugar can cause inflammation, particularly in your feet. This inflammation can have a significant, and negative, impact on your overall foot health. However, health issues that can be avoided, or managed, by having the right diet. Here are a few tips and tricks for eating right for your foot health.

Avoid Foods that Cause Inflammation

Many foods that contain sugar, refined grains, trans and saturated fats, as well as foods high in omega 6, can cause serious foot inflammation. Plantar Fasciitis is a common, and severe, inflammation that affects the bottoms of your feet. However, this can be avoided by having proper nutrition. It is best to avoid red meats, fast food, sugary snacks, and vegetable oils because they are all high in chemicals that cause inflammation. In addition, it is best to avoid any foods that cause your blood sugar to rise at an accelerated rate such as white flour, pasta, and sugary sweets- these can cause severe inflammation, as well.

A Well-Balanced Diet

Having a well-rounded and well-balanced diet, that is rich in fruits and vegetables, is the best way to combat the vast majority of foot related health issues. However, eating green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach is ideal because of their high levels of iron and antioxidants- which promote good circulation. In addition, cranberries have also been shown to promote good circulation, as well as, alleviate inflammation. It is also important to have a diet that is rich in Omega 3s in order to combat the negative effects of Omega 6s, that are found in vegetable oils. Fatty fish, like salmon, are an amazing source of omega 3s. You can even supplement your diet with fish oil capsules.

Proper Nutrition for All-Around Good Health

Major health issues such as obesity and diabetes can have a profound effect on your foot health, and, overall, general health. Obesity can put an immense amount of strain on your feet, which can lead to cramping and pain. In addition, obesity can cause serious circulation problems, particularly in your lower extremities. Eating a balanced diet that is low in fat and sugar will help you lose weight and keep it off, therefore, alleviating the strain on your feet and correcting any circulation problems you may be experiencing. Additionally, it is important for those with diabetes to eat a diet comprised mainly of whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and lean meats in order to avoid foot health complications that are associated with their disease.

Feel free to contact us you have any further questions and concerns about your foot health and nutritional habits. For a consultation, call Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, at 562-420-9800, to set up an appointment today.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 08:59

Ways you can get Involved at the Special Olympics

Inclusivity and community are at the heart of the Special Olympics. Keeping in line with that spirit is why so many people can become involved in the organization, in several ways. Here at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, our participation has mainly been related to the health side of things. It could be said that, when these games are “afoot,” we help to keep foot health a priority. We do this by performing screenings that make sure participants are wearing proper shoes before they compete, and by offering our expertise and advice concerning foot-related problems. But for those of you who aren’t involved in health services, there are many other opportunities in which you can participate. Check out these ways you, or someone you know, can join in the fun and get involved in the movement:

Be a Coach/Official:

Whether it comes to motivating and teaching, or ensuring that the rules are implemented, coaches and officials are both integral parts of the Special Olympics. As the games and the number of its participants continue to grow, this is one area that could use more people to lend a helping hand.

Volunteer:

All over the world, Special Olympics offices need volunteers to help make them be the best that they can be. This can include things like meeting with the athletes and training them in various sports, or talents, such as photography, to capture the essence of the events and the heart of the competitors. Event organizers and fundraisers are also needed.

Participate:

Unified partners are those who play sports alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities. Like others involved, these participants get to experience the joy of the human spirit, when everyone works together. Help break down stereotypes and build up unity by joining the team!

Become an Athlete:

Children, ages 8 and up, with an intellectual disability are encouraged to become involved as an athlete and join in theses exciting events. For children, ages 2-7, the Youth Athletes program is available. At any skill level, athletes can become enriched by new friends and new challenges. Many have gained confidence and leadership skills that have led them to roles in coaching, mentoring, and public speaking.

Helping Acceptance Go Strong & Helping Feet Get Happy

Taking part in an organization like the Special Olympics can be a very rewarding experience, for all involved. It can work to create a better world where acceptance, friendship, and community can thrive. Learn how you can be a part of this process today.

Foot issues can have a big impact on everything from participating in sports, to volunteering, to the overall quality of life. If you are suffering from any of these problems, please contact our Long Beach office for help that can get your feet back on a happy, healthy track.

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