Items filtered by date: March 2016

Expecting mothers often experience swollen legs, feet, and ankles during and immediately after their pregnancies. This is due to the extra weight and stress on the feet, which causes pain after long periods of walking or standing.

For some mothers the extra weight on their feet may even cause their arches to fall, causing extreme pain. When the arches of your feet fall, you may begin to over-pronate, or turn in abnormally when walking. Over-pronation can stretch the plantar fascia, which is the tissue lining the bottom of the feet, causing a painful inflammation known as plantar fasciitis.

Edema, or swollen feet, is another common issue that expecting mothers face.
Both of these foot issues, especially when experienced together, make it extremely difficult to walk or stand for a long time. Therefore, it is vital for expecting mothers with pre-existing foot issues to discuss how their pregnancy will affect their feet with a podiatrist.

Below are a few tips for mothers to treat swollen and aching feet:

Always wear comfortable and supportive footwear

For added comfort and support, try using gel insoles.

Exercise regularly

The more you move, the more blood moves out of your legs into the rest of your body. If you find most exercise painful, try using a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer.

Drink plenty of water; avoid salt and caffeine

Staying properly hydrated helps your body flush its system of extra fluids. Therefore, drinking lots of water will help you relieve your swollen feet and ankles. Avoid consuming salt and caffeine because they cause your body to retain fluids.

Elevate and ice your feet

Elevating and icing your feet helps relieve the pain and tension associated with swollen feet and ankles.

Soak feet in warm water

Soaking your feet can relieve their pain and tension. In addition, the warm water can stimulate blood flow and reduce your swelling.

Get a foot massage

A massage is an excellent way to alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Massages stimulate blood flow and improve circulation, providing the muscles and tissues with the nourishment they need to heal. Improved circulation also reduces swelling.

Apply pain relief ointments

There are many over-the-counter pain relief ointments specially formulated for expecting mothers. These ointments help relieve pain and tension, especially from the bottoms of your feet. While these ointments are designed for pregnant women, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional before you begin using them.

Know your limits

If you find that your feet are becoming extraordinarily swollen after you walk, it is best to take breaks and to elevate your feet whenever possible.

Motherhood is beautiful, and your foot pain shouldn’t ruin the experience. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Vikki today for personalized foot care and relief.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 10:10

What Causes Ingrown Toenails

Toenails that curve and dig into the skin of your toe are called ingrown toenails. Sometimes even the size of the nail are covered in skin and become embedded in the toe. This is why you should always be sure to cut your toenails straight across to discourage the sides from growing into your skin. Any toe can develop an ingrown toenail however, it is often the big toe.

While ingrown toenails are not often serious medical problems they can be severely painful. And, if left untreated and uncared for properly ingrown toenails can become infected. This is why it is important to receive proper treatment for your ingrown toenails right away.

What causes ingrown toenails?

  • Shoes that are too small because they squeeze the toes.
  • Toenails being cut too short.
  • A toenail that has become damaged or chips can become an ingrown toenail.
  • Having toes are too small to accommodate proper nail growth.

People with congenital conditions that cause them to have toenails that are frequently larger or smaller than normal should take care to always trim their nails properly and maintain proper foot hygiene because they are at high risk of developing ingrown toenails.
You may also develop ingrown toenails after sustaining a foot injury, such as a broken foot.

Other ways to keep your feet/toes healthy.

  • Keep your feet clean and dry
  • Keep your feet safe in public areas where they are susceptible to contracting diseases like athlete’s foot.
  • Wear breathable footwear
  • Don’t share footwear
  • Always wear shoes that fit you properly
  • If your toenails are discolored be sure to not apply any nail polish to them. Discoloration is often a sign of infection, and the Polish may make the infection worse.

Treatments

  • Soak your feet
  • Take over the counter pain medication
  • Using a small nail file pulls the skin gently away from the nail
  • Rub your toe with antibiotic ointment.
  • Bandage your toes

When you develop ingrown toenails it is important to put any and all of these treatments into practice right away before you develop an infection.

If you suspect you have an infection or your ingrown toenails consistently come back, it is best to see a podiatrist as soon as possible. In addition to treating your ingrown toenail and possible infection, the podiatrist can give you a clear idea of what causes ingrown toenails which can help you avoid developing them in the future. If it persists, you may need a small surgical procedure to remove the ingrown sides of your toenail. People with diabetes should always be their podiatrist if they think they have an ingrown toenail as if they can lead to serious health complications.

Now that you know more about the causes and treatment for ingrown toenails be sure to get yours looked at by a foot care professional, especially if you suspect that you have an infection. If you have any further questions about ingrown toenails, don’t hesitate to contact us. To schedule an appointment, visit doctorvikki.com.

Thursday, 24 March 2016 10:09

Bunions

A bunion is an enlargement of the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot, often formed from a bony growth or a patch of swollen tissues. It is caused by the inward shifting of the bones in the big toe, toward the other toes of the foot. This shift can cause a serious amount of pain and discomfort. The area around the big toe can become inflamed, red, and painful.

Bunions are most commonly formed in people who are already genetically predisposed to them or other kinds of bone displacements. Existing bunions can be worsened by wearing improperly fitting shoes. Trying to cram your feet into high heels or running or walking in a way that causes too much stress on the feet can exacerbate bunion development. High heels not only push the big toe inward, but shift one's body weight and center of gravity towards the edge of the feet and toes, expediting bone displacement.

A podiatrist knowledgeable in foot structure and biomechanics will be able to quickly diagnose bunions. Bunions must be distinguished from gout or arthritic conditions, so blood tests may be necessary. The podiatrist may order a radiological exam to provide an image of the bone structure. If the x-ray demonstrates an enlargement of the joint near the base of the toe and a shifting toward the smaller toes, this is indicative of a bunion.

Wearing wider shoes can reduce pressure on the bunion and minimize pain, and high heeled shoes should be eliminated for a period of time. This may be enough to eliminate the pain associated with bunions; however, if pain persists, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed. Severe pain may require an injection of steroids near the bunion. Orthotics for shoes may be prescribed which, by altering the pressure on the foot, can be helpful in reducing pain. These do not correct the problem; but by eliminating the pain, they can provide relief.

For cases that do not respond to these methods of treatment, surgery can be done to reposition the toe. A surgeon may do this by taking out a section of bone or by rearranging the ligaments and tendons in the toe to help keep it properly aligned. It may be necessary even after surgery to wear more comfortable shoes that avoid placing pressure on the toe, as the big toe may move back to its former orientation toward the smaller toes.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 10:08

When is Foot Surgery Necessary

In some cases, foot issues can be corrected through a number of treatment methods. However, if pain and discomfort when you run, stand or walk is consistent, then foot surgery is necessary. Foot surgery can correct your feet’s physical deformities and, therefore, alleviate any of the discomfort and pain that you are feeling. Here’s a list of common foot issues and deformities that require surgical removal to relieve pain.

Bunions

Bunions are a common foot deformity that is characterized by an enlargement of the bones and tissue around the big toe. Like most foot deformities bunions are hereditary. This enlarged area is prone to becoming swollen, inflamed and makes walking incredibly painful and difficult. When conservative care failed to alleviate these issues, it may be best to have them surgically corrected. Your foot care professional will be able to instruct you as to which surgical procedure will be best for you after running some tests and taking x-rays.

Hammertoes

Hammertoes are characterized by a curvature of the big toe, which often affects the tendons and nerves around it as well. Because of the buckling of the toes, footwear can cause an immense amount of pain and discomfort. I is not uncommon for those who suffer from hammertoes to also have a large number of corns and calluses on the affected area due to their deformity rubbing against their footwear. A surgical procedure can realign your toe bones and alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with hammertoes.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are overgrowths of bones that results in trauma and pressure to the tendons and ligaments. Pain and discomfort can also be associated with bone spurs depending upon where they are located. For example, if the bone spurs are located under your toenail this may cause a toenail deformity and making it difficult to walk and painful to wear shoes. What surgical procedure is needed to correct bone spurs depend on their size and location, so be sure to consult your Foot Care Professionals to decide which procedure is best for you.

Bunionette or Tailor’s Bunion

A Bunionette is protuberance of bone on the outside of the foot behind firth or smallest toe. Many factors can cause this issues such as heredity, the way you walk and trauma to name a few. They can become inflamed and swollen, particularly if they rub against your footwear. Much like bunions, if conservative care does not alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this deformity, it may be best to have them surgically corrected.

Neuroma

Irritation of the nerves may cause them to become swollen and inflamed and result in an enlargement of a nerve segments, this is called Neuroma. This nerve segment is often found between the third and fourth toe and can be quite painful particularly when walking. People came develop Neuroma for a number of reasons to include wearing high heel shoes and having an abnormal bone structure. This deformity can cause pain and burning for particularly after walking for a long time. If this deformity has greatly impeded your quality of life, it’s best to speakers foot care professional about a surgical solution.

Now that you know a few examples of when foot surgery is absolutely necessary hopefully it helps you decide if surgery is the right choice for you. Remember foot pain is not normal and having healthy, pain-free feet are essential for living a well-rounded life. Our expert team would be happy to discuss any questions you may have about the procedure. To schedule a consultation visit doctorvikki.com.

Thursday, 17 March 2016 10:06

Are Your Feet to Blame for Your Back Pain

Back pain is a common problem: in fact, 90% of Americans report experiencing back pain at some point in their lives. There are many factors that may contribute to back pain, ranging from age to obesity. However, very few would suspect that the main culprit could be their feet.
Your feet can trigger back pain in a number of ways. Here’s a list of which foot issues could potentially affect your back, and what you can do to address these problems:

Signs to Watch Out For

  • Your feet hurt in general.
  • One side of your shoe wears out first.
  • Your feet point inward or outward when you walk.
  • You suffer from extreme pain in your heels, ankles, shins, or knees.
  • Your toes are abnormally crooked.
  • You have fallen arches or flat feet.
  • You sprain your ankle more than the average person.

How Your Feet Impact Your Back

The structure of your feet and the way you walk directly affect your level of shock absorption. Therefore, any structural issues with your feet impact your ankles, shins, knees, and ultimately your back. This is seen most commonly in those whose feet pronate or roll inwards. This dysfunction usually results in fallen arches and flat feet, which lead to a number of serious foot problems. Fallen arches and flat-footedness can misalign your spine and ruin your posture, both of which can cause serious back pain.

Steps to Take

The best and most efficient way to correct any foot problem is to purchase orthotics. While there are several over-the-counter orthotics brands, it is always best to consult a foot care professional to have custom molds or foot scans made. Custom orthotics are the only way to ensure that your unique foot needs are being addressed and corrected properly. Once the structural issues have been taken care of, your posture and alignment will normalize and remove the stress from your back, easing your foot, leg, and back pain.
It is also important to wear shoes that provide proper support and stability for your ankles. The right footwear can also correct a number of foot issues, in turn remedying your back pain.

If you suffer from chronic back pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. Vikki today to thoroughly inspect the condition of your feet. For this and other foot-related issues, feel free to contact us with any questions and concerns.

The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program began as an effort to enhance the sports experience at the event, and improve well-being for every athlete. The Fit Feet initiative became a part of this endeavor in 2003. We here at the Superior Foot and Ankle Care Center are proud to take part in the screenings for the Special Olympics to ensure that the athletes have the proper socks, shoes, and the special equipment they need to compete to the best of their abilities and stay healthy.

Here is a glimpse at some of the advice that we give to the Special Olympians. Even if you’re not an athlete, proper foot care is important for your overall health and comfort. Make sure that you understand the steps you need to take for optimal foot health.

General Care

Inspect your feet regularly, checking for calluses, blisters, bunions, discolored nails, and any other potential problems.

Always wear shoes or sandals to protect your feet. Don’t settle for any shoes: make sure that they are appropriate for the activity at hand. For example, wear running shoes and moisture-wicking socks for running, basketball shoes for basketball, and sandals for the beach. Make sure that your shoes are clean inside and fit well. Buy new shoes when the cushioning has run out, and check that you can wiggle your toes in the new pair. Runners should replace their shoes every 250-500 miles, at which point the shoes begin to lose shock absorption.

Skin Care

Take care to wash your feet with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly thereafter. If your feet retain too much moisture from sweat or from the shower, painful blisters may develop. Always wear clean socks to prevent foot odor.

Foot powder is an excellent way to protect your feet from damage and discomfort. Foot powder absorbs excess moisture, provides itch relief, soothes irritated skin, and fights odor-causing bacteria. To prevent skin cracking and calluses, moisturize with lotion regularly.
If you develop a blister, never pop it. Wash the affected area, apply antiseptic, then use a bandage to prevent infection.

If you experience soreness, soak your feet in Epsom salts. These salts are also an effective way to soothe muscle aches, sun burns, and even relieve stress.

Nail Care

Nails should be trimmed weekly to keep them healthy and strong. Long nails may break and attract harmful bacteria. Always cut nails straight across using either scissors or clippers. Be careful not to cut too short, or you may develop an ingrown nail. Nails are designed to protect from trauma: cut your nails too short, and you will experience a lot of discomfort, and possibly even injury. Do not pick at your toenails with your fingers, as this may damage them.
Check your feet for discolored or thick nails. If you suspect a problem, schedule an appointment right away.

Remember that your feet need proper hygiene and care, just like any other part of your body. Whether or not you’re an Olympian in training, your feet deserve the same level of treatment. Contact us today with any questions or concerns, and schedule an appointment for your best foot health.

Being a parent involves caring for your child in every way you can. You make sure they are eating the right food, being nice to others, and staying out of any trouble. However, it is also important that you are watchful of their health, more specifically their foot health. Maintaining good foot health in childhood is important in preventing later conditions in life from happening. As children continue to develop, their feet require different techniques of care. Here are some various ways in which you can help your child’s feet stay healthy.

A baby needs a lot of care and attention overall, but the importance of their feet should never be forgotten. Before a baby turns one, their feet change and develop greatly. It is important that during this time, a mother avoids putting tight socks on their child. She should also encourage movement of their feet so the baby can begin to feel more comfortable using them.

As a baby enters the toddler years of his or her life, they are begin to walk around. When your baby begins to take those first steps, it is crucial that they are wearing protective shoes on their feet. As a mother that is observant of your child’s feet, you may notice changes in them. This is completely normal as the feet are becoming susceptible to the activity of walking. It is normal for a toddler to be a bit unsteady or to “walk funny” at first.

When your child grows out of their toddler years, it is important that you begin to show him or her how to care for their feet on their own. Practice with your child proper hygiene in order to prevent foot fungus or infection. Since children are constantly on the move, it is crucial to be cautious of any accidents or injuries that might occur. If an injury occurs, it is advised that you take your child to be examined by a doctor immediately. Since your child is still growing, particular injuries can shift the way in which a bone or other important part of the foot is developing.

Babies and kids are always changing and growing. Your job as a parent is to make sure they stay healthy and making sure they are properly maintained. This involves proper foot care and making sure the feet stay healthy. Following this guide, your child can live a long and happy life.

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 10:02

How to Treat Fallen Arches Properly

Feet are often taken for granted, despite their critical role in the human body: they support our weight and keep us on the move, so that we can go about our busy daily lives. However, the anatomy of the foot is intricately complex, and the result of any structural complications can be very painful. This is the case with fallen arches.

What Are Fallen Arches?

The arches of the foot play an integral part in weight-bearing, absorbing pressure, and aiding in movement and stability. If the tendons and muscles in the foot weaken, the arches can collapse.

The weakening of the tendons that causes fallen arches can occur due to factors such as aging, genetics, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, or injuries to the feet. Other contributing factors include obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and involvement in high-impact sports.

Fallen arches are an adult flatfoot condition, where the soles of the feet almost touch the ground completely while standing. Another visible indication of fallen arches is that the feet become turned outward. This condition is often painful and uncomfortable. If your arches have fallen, you may also experience symptoms such as:

  • Ankle pain
  • Heel pain
  • Pain in your hips or knees
  • Swelling around the ankle
  • Pain or fatigue when walking or standing up

Treatment Options

Thankfully, there are many different methods to treating fallen arches and relieving the pain that they cause. In some cases, conservative treatment options are the right fit; in more severe situations, surgery may be needed. It really comes down to consulting with a podiatrist to best ensure that your individual needs are met, and that your flatfoot condition is diagnosed and treated properly.

For less severe cases, the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) may be used to ease the discomfort and reduce the inflammation. Even the simplest changes such as wearing orthotics or more supportive shoes have been known to provide pain relief.

Stretching exercises which strengthen the muscles are another approach to fallen arches treatment. Your foot doctor or physical therapist may recommend exercises that include actions such as lifting small objects with your toes in order to contract the arch.

Boots, braces, and casts are other common approaches to treatment. Inflammatory medications are also prescribed to provide pain relief.

Finding a Podiatrist Who Cares

Unfortunately, fallen arches are not taken as seriously as they should be. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, our expert podiatrists view surgery as a last resort and support instilling patient education, preventive methods, and proper foot health as the primary course of action. The care we offer is rooted in extensive podiatric knowledge, as well as our dedicated and sincere concern for our patients.

Fallen arches may have gotten your arches down, but we will help you take a step in the right direction to achieving happier, healthier feet. Contact us today for an appointment at our Long Beach office.

Being a parent involves caring for your child in every way you can. You make sure they are eating the right food, being nice to others, and staying out of any trouble. However, it is also important that you are watchful of their health, more specifically their foot health. Maintaining good foot health in childhood is important in preventing later conditions in life from happening. As children continue to develop, their feet require different techniques of care. Here are some various ways in which you can help your child’s feet stay healthy.

A baby needs a lot of care and attention overall, but the importance of their feet should never be forgotten. Before a baby turns one, their feet change and develop greatly. It is important that during this time, a mother avoids putting tight socks on their child. She should also encourage movement of their feet so the baby can begin to feel more comfortable using them.

As a baby enters the toddler years of his or her life, they are begin to walk around. When your baby begins to take those first steps, it is crucial that they are wearing protective shoes on their feet. As a mother that is observant of your child’s feet, you may notice changes in them. This is completely normal as the feet are becoming susceptible to the activity of walking. It is normal for a toddler to be a bit unsteady or to “walk funny” at first.

When your child grows out of their toddler years, it is important that you begin to show him or her how to care for their feet on their own. Practice with your child proper hygiene in order to prevent foot fungus or infection. Since children are constantly on the move, it is crucial to be cautious of any accidents or injuries that might occur. If an injury occurs, it is advised that you take your child to be examined by a doctor immediately. Since your child is still growing, particular injuries can shift the way in which a bone or other important part of the foot is developing.

Babies and kids are always changing and growing. Your job as a parent is to make sure they stay healthy and making sure they are properly maintained. This involves proper foot care and making sure the feet stay healthy. Following this guide, your child can live a long and happy life.

If you have sustained a sprain or a fracture to your ankle, it is important to let it heal properly in order to avoid permanent damage. Ankle sprains are incredibly common: over 25,000 people suffer them every day. A sprain occurs when one or more ligaments on the outside of your ankle are pulled or torn. As it is hard to differentiate a sprain from a fracture, it is imperative to seek medical attention so that your ankle can be x-rayed. Once your injury has been diagnosed, you’ll be able to give it the care it needs in order for it to heal properly. Here are some tips for properly caring for your ankle injury to ensure that it heals correctly:

For a Sprain

Depending upon how serious the sprain is, the sprain can be classified as grade 1, 2, or 3. The best way to treat a sprain is to utilize the R.I.C.E. method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. For a grade 1 sprain, you should rest your ankle by not walking on it as much as possible, only putting minimal weight on it. In many cases, an ankle brace will be given in order to help reduce the swelling and discomfort of a sprain, which may make it easier to put some weight on it if need be. However, if it is too difficult to bear weight, you may be given crutches. You can apply ice to help relieve the pain and swelling. When you ice your ankle, make sure that there is a barrier between the ice and your skin, such as a pillowcase or a towel. You shouldn’t ice your ankle for more than 20 minutes in order to avoid frostbite. Compression can help control the swelling, as well as provide your ankle with some support. Finally, you should elevate your ankle as much as possible by reclining and propping it up. It’s best to elevate your ankle either above your waist or your heart for optimal recovery.

With a grade 2 sprain, you would follow the same steps. While the grade 1 may take a week to heal, a grade 2 may take up to a month. Grade 3 sprains are rare and may require casting or surgery.

For a Fracture

If you fracture your ankle, your treatment will involve casting, taping, wrapping, or booting, depending upon the type and severity of the fracture. Much like a sprain, it is important to rest and elevate a fractured ankle. A fracture usually takes 4 to 8 weeks to heal. Once the cast comes off, you may have to follow the R.I.C.E. method until you regain strength in your ankle.

Rehabilitating Your Ankle

If you have a sprained or fractured ankle, you need to properly rehabilitate it in order to regain your full strength and flexibility. The first phase of rehabilitation is the R.I.C.E. method. The second phase is helping your ankle regain flexibility, strength, and range of motion by walking and putting weight on it. The last phase is exercising your ankle in order to strengthen the muscles and ligaments further.

Be sure to follow these steps to help your ankle heal properly. If you have any questions or concerns about your ankle injury, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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