Items filtered by date: May 2018

Thursday, 31 May 2018 16:17

Busting Arthritis Myths

May is a busy month for health observances but here at Superior Foot & Ankle Center, there’s one more that we can’t let pass by National Arthritis Awareness Month. Why are we so concerned about sharing information about this condition with our patients? With 33 joints in each of your feet, the effects of joint pain, swelling, inflammation and decreased range of motion can spell extreme debilitation if they attack your feet. Many people have some outdated ideas about arthritis, so we’d like to take this opportunity to expose some common myths:

Myth: Arthritis is a joint disease.

Fact: Actually, arthritis is a description of an entire category of more than 100 joint diseases. Besides the two best-known kinds—osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis–many diseases you may be familiar with are considered forms of arthritis. These include chronic fatigue syndrome, gout, Lupus, Lyme disease and fibromyalgia.

Myth: Arthritis is an old person disease.

Fact: Approximately 300,000 babies, children and teens have arthritis. Although scientists are still trying to find out definitive causes of juvenile arthritis it’s thought that genetics and autoimmune diseases play a significant role.

Myth: Exercise is too painful if you have osteoarthritis.

Fact: Although patients with arthritis may worry that exercise will cause more harm to joints, it is the most effective non-drug treatment for improving movement and reducing pain caused by osteoarthritis. There are three types of exercise that are particularly beneficial: aerobic or endurance, flexibility and strengthening. Together these can greatly improve your range of motion and ability to move.

Myth: There’s no correlation between arthritis and the weather.

Fact: Although researchers have been skeptical in the past about the weather/pain connection, studies have confirmed that certain atmospheric changes do increase arthritis pain. Drops in barometric pressure and temperature cause greater joint discomfort. One study at Tufts University found that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in pain.

Myth: Arthritis is not a diet-related condition.

Fact: There are foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body and other foods that decrease inflammation. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight reduces the strain on the joints, particularly those in your feet and ankles.

To learn more about your risk for arthritis and the steps you can take to prevent it talk to our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley or Dr. Constance Omelas at your next appointment. And if you start to experience any pain, swelling or joint discomfort, contact our Long Beach office as soon as possible by calling: (562) 420-9800.

Thursday, 24 May 2018 16:16

Questions about Skin Cancer

May is Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month and we at Superior Foot & Ankle Care want to remind our patients that here in sunny Long Beach, CA we are exposed to the sun’s harmful rays for much of the year. Protecting your skin isn’t just something you need to think about when you’re heading to the beach for the day. Protecting the skin on your feet is just as important as the skin on the rest of your body. Did you know that between 3-15% of all melanomas occur on the feet? The sad fact about foot cancers is that they are often not detected in their earliest stages because patients don’t think to look for them there. Below are some common questions about skin cancer to help raise awareness about this disease:

Isn’t it better to get a base tan before vacation rather than spend more hours in the sun?

Using indoor tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma by 74%, squamous cell cancer by 67% and basal cell cancer by 29%. Tanning beds irradiate your body with ultraviolet radiation which is a carcinogen—whether it comes from the sun or a tanning machine. There is no safe level!

Is using a self-tanner safe?

Yes! And, it’s a great way to get the tan look you love without the danger of skin cancer. Self-tanning has come a long way. For a special occasion, you may want to splurge on a professional spray tan but there are plenty of home products that also produce a natural, even-looking tan. Remember to still apply sunscreen as self-tanners do not provide sun protection.

Do laser treatments cause skin cancer?

There are many different types of laser treatments available today that are used to reverse the effects of sun damage and also to treat wrinkles and fine lines. These do not increase the risk of skin cancer and in fact, can reduce risk by treating pre-cancerous lesions.

What are other good ways to prevent skin cancer on my feet?

Use a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours and always after swimming. Avoid being out during the hottest times of the day—10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Be diligent about checking your feet and the rest of your body for changes in spots or moles. Those that are multi-colored, asymmetrical, larger in diameter than ¼ inch, have irregular borders or have started bleeding, itchy or flaking should be reported to our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas immediately. Make an appointment by calling: (562) 420-9800.

May is National Osteoporosis Month and at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we want to offer 52 reasons—all the bones in your feet–why you should be concerned about this disease. Patients with osteoporosis make too little bone, lose too much bone or both. The end result is weakened bones that are more likely to fracture. Many people are unaware that they even have osteoporosis. In fact, when our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas diagnose a stress fracture in the foot it is often then osteoporosis is discovered.

Know Your Risk

Osteoporosis affects half of all adults over the age of 50. One in four men and one in two women will break a bone in their lifetime as a result of osteoporosis. For women, that incidence is higher than the risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined! Factors that put you at greater risk include:

  • Early menopause
  • A family history of osteoporosis or frequent fractures
  • Body type—thin, small people are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis

Build Stronger Bones

Fortunately, there are ways you can greatly reduce your risk of osteoporosis and future fractures:

  • Start by talking to the foot doctor about your risk, particularly if you have already broken a bone in your foot or ankle. The podiatrist can refer you to testing and medical professionals that can help assess your risk.
  • Up your intake of calcium and vitamin D. You can do this by including more dairy products or those fortified with calcium and vitamin D (juices and cereals, for example) in your diet. You can also add more leafy greens and fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel and other non-dairy foods that are rich in calcium to your meals. Supplements are also available.
  • Make exercising regularly a priority. Both weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises should be part of your fitness routine if you want to build and maintain bone strength in your feet, ankles and the rest of your body.
  • Don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess—these are both known to weaken bones and also lead to nutritional deficits which can further decrease bone mass.

Take measures now to ensure that you can keep taking steps and living an active life for many years to come. If you have questions about the health of your foot and ankle bones, contact our Long Beach office by calling: (562) 420-9800.

A pedicure at a professional salon is a relaxing treat that leaves nails looking pretty in sandals and open shoes. A fungal nail infection or a case of athlete’s foot, however, is not such a pleasant experience and one that we often see at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, as a result of poor sanitary practices at a salon. We want our patients to enjoy this “me time” activity safely. Below are some do’s and don’ts for ensuring you get a pedicure that will not harm your feet.

Do: Check out a salon you are considering for a pedicure before committing to an appointment. Visit first and observe the overall condition of the salon. Reputable salons are licensed and that certification from the state health or cosmetology department should be clearly displayed. Cleanliness should be a priority for the entire establishment. If restrooms are not clean, the floor is unswept, window sills are dusty or the cosmetologists themselves don’t have clean hands and nails, take the hint and go someplace else.

Don’t: use a whirlpool foot bath that has not been sanitized after the client before you. Some salons now have plastic inserts that can be thrown away after each customer.

Do: bring your own pedicure tools—clippers, files etc. Ditto for flip flops which should be worn at all times in the salon. If you do need to use the salon’s tools be sure that they come out of individually wrapped packages or are sanitized properly in a machine or with sanitizing solution.

Don’t: allow the nail technician to use razors to remove calluses or dead skin on your feet. This can create a cut that can lead to an infection.

Don’t: shave your legs right before your pedicure appointment. Better that you have hairy legs and avoid bacteria entering the skin through the tiny cuts caused by shaving.

Do: Make an appointment at our Long Beach office by calling: (562) 420-9800 if you do notice any signs of fungal infection, such as itchy, red patches on the skin of your feet or between your toes or nails that are getting thick, discolored or are starting to peel and crumble around the edges. Infections will not clear up on their own and can spread if left untreated.  Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas will examine your feet and nails and prescribe the correct treatment if an infection has occurred.

Thursday, 03 May 2018 16:09

Mower Safety Tips

Did you know that each year over 25,000 Americans are injured while using their power mowers? The majority of these injuries occur to the lower extremities, hence our concern here at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center. It’s easy to get complacent when doing repetitive tasks and we’d like to offer the following safety tips and reminders when mowing your lawn:

  • Never mow a lawn that is wet. The number one cause of foot injuries by power mowers is the loss of control of the mower on slippery, wet grass.
  • Okay, you wouldn’t think we’d have to say this, but emergency room reports say otherwise: don’t mow your lawn wearing sandals, open-toed shoes or barefoot! Even sneakers do not provide much protection against blades whirling at 3,000 revolutions per minute. Work boots or other heavy shoes are your best bet.
  • For lawns that slope, mow crosswise, not up and down.
  • Do not take small children for “rides” on the lawn mower or let them sit on your lap when mowing. Many tragic accidents occur when a child tries to get on or off the machine and their feet can’t clear the blades.
  • Pick up large sticks and any other debris in your yard before mowing to avoid projectile injuries from objects being kicked up by the mower.
  • Don’t pull a running mower backward.
  • Make sure you know where your children are when you are mowing and teach them not to try to come out and talk to you when mowing. The noise of the mower will prevent you from knowing they are approaching.
  • Use a mower that has an automatic shut off when you release the handle.

Even if you sustain what appears to be a superficial wound from a lawnmower blade it’s essential that you stop and immediately clean the area, apply an antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage. If you notice any heat or redness around the wound within a few days following the injury or you just are not sure it is healing properly, contact our Long Beach office to make an appointment by calling: (562) 420-9800. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley or Dr. Constance Ornelas will examine your injured foot and prescribe any additional treatment needed.

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