Items filtered by date: September 2017

Friday, 29 September 2017 14:48

What’s Behind Childhood Obesity?

At Superior Foot & Ankle Center we know the importance for your feet of maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity puts added strain on the muscles, joints and ligaments of your feet and is a risk factor for several foot disorders. September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and we want to help families create healthy habits now so that children will grow into healthy adults.

Contributing Factors

Thankfully, the incidence of obese and overweight children appears to have leveled off over the last decade after steadily rising for several decades before. However, we still have a long way to go. Nearly 1/3 of children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese. The lifestyle of the average child has changed dramatically from even 2 or 3 generations ago. Some reasons for the increased weight in young people include:

  • Easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary drinks
  • To much time spent being sedentary and inactive
  • Lack of sleep
  • Increase in cost of healthy foods
  • Decrease in community-oriented opportunities for physical activity

If you consider the number of “screens” most children own, the amount of pre-packaged and process food they consume and the decrease in time and opportunity to simply play outdoors or in the neighborhood, it’s easy to see how the increase in overweight children has occurred.

Ways to Help

There are many options for helping young people attain and maintain a healthy weight, including:

  • Get rid of junk food and sugary sodas and snacks. If it’s too much for your family to go “cold turkey,” you can start by swapping in healthier versions of their favorite: frozen yogurt for ice cream, granola bars for cookies, baked chips instead of fried.
  • Cook more meals at home. This way you control the ingredients. This is also a great opportunity to get your children involved in learning about healthy meals and helping to plan, shop and cook them.
  • Get everyone a water bottle and encourage them to keep it filled. Drinking enough water everyday helps control hunger and will take the place of sweet drinks.
  • Make fitness and exercise a priority for the whole family. It doesn’t have to be boring! Ice skating, rollerblading, skiing, hiking, bicycling and team sports are all good and fun choices.

By preventing obesity now when your children are young you will be helping them avoid serious medical conditions down the road which can impact their feet and entire body: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and more. If you have additional questions about how to be proactive about your child’s foot health, our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas will be happy to answer them. Contact our Long Beach office by calling: 562-420-9800.

Thursday, 21 September 2017 14:36

5 Exercises for Your Toes

Are you taking your toes for granted? At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we find many patients do. Your toes help you maintain your balance and enable you to push off when your walk. If toes hurt or become deformed it can lead to serious disability. Below are 5 simple exercises that will keep toes flexible and help ease foot pain for conditions such as hammertoe, bunions, toe cramps, plantar fasciitis and more:

  1. Big Toe Pulls: In a seated position, place feet next to each other and place a thick rubber band around the two big toes. Pull them apart, moving each toe toward the little toes. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  2. Put a Cork in It: Take small corks and place them between each of your toes on one foot. Squeeze toes together and hold for 5 seconds. Do 10 repetitions with each foot.
  3. Marble Pick-Up: Sitting in a chair spread 20 marbles on the floor in front of you. Pick up each marble, one at a time, with the toes of one of your feet and deposit them in a bowl. After you pick up all 20 marbles, spread them back on the floor and pick up with the other foot.
  4. Towel Curls: While sitting, spread towel on the floor in front of you. Using the toes on both your feet pick up the towel by curling it toward you. Repeat 5 times. Relax toes and rest a few seconds between repetitions.
  5. Golf Ball Massage: When you’ve finished the above exercises, reward your feet by place a golf ball on the floor and rolling it under each forefoot for 2-3 minutes.

Of course toe exercises are not a cure or solution to chronic foot pain. If you are experiencing discomfort in your feet or toes, make an appointment at our Long Beach office so that our foot doctors, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas can examine your feet and arrive at a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your foot or toe pain. Contact us by calling: 562-420-9800.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 14:36

Be Proactive about Preventing Falls

Each year a quarter of all adults 65 and older fall. For some this will mean a serious injury that leads to disability or even death. For others, the injury isn’t so much physical as mental as they become fearful and depressed and unwilling to life the active lifestyle they once loved. In honor of Falls Prevention Day which occurs on September 22nd, we at Superior Foot & Ankle Center want to let patients know that they can decrease the risk of falling. Here’s how:

Build up strength and balance—regular exercise—walking being one of the best options—helps keep muscles and bones strong and keeps ligaments and tendons flexible. Feet that are functioning well are less likely to stumble. There are also several types of exercise, such as Tai Chi, that specifically focus on increasing balance. Look for one in your community.

Eat for strong bones—talk to your doctor about your bone density. It is now known that many people don’t fall and break a hip, but rather the hip breaks and they fall. Your doctor can tell you how much calcium you should have on a daily basis. Diets rich in dairy products, leafy greens (like spinach and kale) and certain fish (sardines, salmon, perch) will help you reach your daily calcium goal. Fortified juices and cereals as well as calcium supplements are also available.

Do a home inspection—take a walk through your home with a critical eye for fall hazards. Clear clutter from the floors, remove loose throw rugs and be sure stairs have railings on both sides. Bathrooms should have rails for showers and toilets if necessary and non skid treatments on the floor of the shower and tub. Be sure all areas of the home are well lit (inside and out).

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to healthcare—stay current with medical appointments. Regular eye exams will reduce the risk of falls due to poor vision. Keeping with your schedule of medical appointments will help ensure that your medications are appropriate for your weight and condition and that there are no interactions between prescribed drugs that can cause dizziness or blurred vision.

Of great importance is not putting off making an appointment with our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas, at our Long Beach office if you are experiencing foot, toe or ankle pain, as well as monitoring existing podiatric conditions. Discomfort in the lower extremities can cause you to compensate and walk in unnatural ways that can lead to trips and falls. Contact us by calling: 562-420-9800.

Friday, 08 September 2017 14:34

Athlete’s Foot 101

Although the risk for athlete’s foot is high during the summer due to the fact that patients go barefoot more often in public places, at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we see just as many cases as we move into the fall. Part of the reason for this is that the fungi that causes this infection (also known as tinea pedis) love warm, moist, dark places—like inside closed shoes and sweaty socks.

How do You Know if You Have It?

The symptoms of athlete’s foot are severe itching, burning and redness, along with dry scaly skin. The infection often begins between the toes but can also develop on the arches, soles or the sides of the feet. Left untreated, blisters may form and the condition can progress from annoying to painful. What’s tricky, however, is that the symptoms of athlete’s foot can mimic other conditions, such as psoriasis. In addition, there are different fungi that cause athlete’s foot, which may affect treatment. For those reasons, it’s important to get a skin rash on your foot looked at sooner rather than later. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas will examine the skin on your feet and make an accurate diagnosis of the condition.

Treatment and Prevention

Both topical ointments as well as oral medications are available to treat athlete’s foot. The foot doctor will prescribe the treatment that will be most effective depending on the type and severity of your infection. Of course, the best scenario is not to get athlete’s foot in the first place! Some tips for avoiding athlete’s foot include:

  • Do not share shoes, socks, towels or any other items that touch another person’s feet.
  • Keep your feet from coming in contact with fungus by wearing shower shoes or flip flops in gyms, locker rooms, showers and other public places where people walk barefoot.
  • Keep feet dry. Change your socks more than once a day if you tend to perspire heavily.
  • Wash feet daily and dry completely, being sure to get the space between the toes. Apply a foot powder before putting on socks to help keep feet dry.

If you are concerned that you may have contracted athlete’s foot, contact our Long Beach office for an appointment by calling: 562-420-9800.

Friday, 01 September 2017 14:27

Why Does My Toe Hurt?

Most of the time we don’t think much about our toes. They are, however, quite necessary for providing the balance and assistance needed to support the weight of your body and for common activities like walking and running. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we find patients pay attention to their toes when they hurt and stop functioning as they should. Below are some common reasons for toe discomfort:

Hammertoes—with this condition, which can be caused by a genetic muscle problem, faulty foot mechanics or an abnormal bone length, one or more toes curls downward causing the namesake “hammer” appearance. In the early stages, the toes remain flexible but if left untreated they will become rigid, unable to be straightened. Corns, calluses and more severe disability can occur. There are a number of conservative and surgical treatment options available depending on the severity and progression of hammertoes.

Toe Spurs—this is a bone spur that occurs in your toe. It may form as part of another foot problem and can cause quite a bit of pain when walking. Usually a minimal incision surgery is needed to eliminate the spur.

Curled Fifth Toe—usually an inherited condition, the pinky toe curls downward and moves under the next toe. This results in your bearing weight on the side of your toe instead of the bottom—ouch! In addition, curled fifth toes cause nail problems and corns. This problem can be surgically corrected.

Turf Toe—this is actually a sprain of the joint at the base of the big toe. It is usually caused by a sudden pushing off injury or a “jamming” of the toe, such as when a player’s foot gets stopped on artificial turf but the rest of the body continues moving forward. Turf toe can also be caused or exacerbated by repetitive pushing off actions common to sports such as football.

As you can see, the causes of toe trouble are varied and the treatment will depend on the diagnosis. For this reason it’s essential that you let one of our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas, examine your toes and find out the cause of your pain. To get relief from your toe pain contact our Long Beach office sooner rather than later for an appointment by calling: 562-420-9800.

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