Displaying items by tag: Foot Problems

At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we know many of our Los Angeles County patients can’t wait to take a vacation. After a year plus of Covid restrictions, you’ve got places to go and people to see! Our goal is to make sure a painful foot problem doesn’t slow you down. Below are four potential pitfalls you’ll want to avoid on your summer vacation.

  1. Not Wearing Socks with Sandals—Yes, you read that right. While normally wearing socks with sandals would be a fashion “faux pas,” if your trip starts with an airplane flight it’s highly encouraged. Most security checks require you to remove your shoes. Every person who walks with bare feet through the scanner machine has the potential to leave behind bacteria or fungi that can result in athlete’s foot, fungal toenails or another infection which are passed on by direct contact for the people who follow them.
  2. Getting New Shoes for Vacation—It’s great to find the perfect pair of shoes to go with your new shorts and sundresses, but packing them before wearing them can be a big mistake. Even though you should always try on both shoes when purchasing and spend some time in the store walking around, new shoes can still surprise you with blisters or rubbing in places you didn’t expect. Try them out at different times (your feet are largest and most swollen at the end of the day) for a day or two before you go to make sure they are comfortable and pain-free.
  3. Being a Bare-Foot Beach Bum—With the sun beating down on it, the sand at the beach can heat up to over 100 degrees F. Even a few steps from the parking area to your beach blanket can result in dangerous blistering burns to the soles of your feet. If you like to take walks on the beach, a pair of water shoes can also help you avoid sharp objects that can cause puncture wounds and other hazards like jellyfish that have washed up on the shore.
  4. Forgetting to Pack Foot Care Essentials—Even if you’re only traveling with a carry-on bag you should have room for a few small items that can make a big difference in foot comfort while on vacation. If our podiatrists, Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas, have prescribed a custom orthotic, don’t leave it home! It’s also a good idea to bring moleskin to prevent painful blisters, foot powder, nail clippers, and an emery board.

We hope you and your family have a great vacation this summer. If you find a foot or ankle is hurting you when you return, or you notice other unusual symptoms in your feet, be sure to contact our Long Beach office at (562) 420-9800 office promptly for an appointment.

Published in Summer Foot Health
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 15:06

Foot Problems Caused by Staying at Home

At Superior Foot & Ankle Care we’ve seen an increase in foot pain among our Los Angeles County patients in recent months. For many, this is the result of the shutdown due to the pandemic. Many people have had their normal fitness routine interrupted. In addition, a simple at-home habit has had a surprising consequence. Going barefoot or wearing slippers or flip-flops around the house may be normal after work—but what about when you don’t leave the house to go to work? The increased amount of time in this type of footwear leads to several common conditions including:

  • Flat feet
  • Heel pain and plantar fasciitis
  • Arch pain

Re-Entering an Active Lifestyle

As you begin to get back to your normal routine there are some steps you can take to help ease the transition and reduce foot discomfort.

  • Wear good quality, supportive shoes, even when home. The trouble with going barefoot is that the arch of the foot is not supported. As your arch flattens, it puts strain on the plantar fascia (the long band of tissue that stretches across the bottom of your foot). This can cause both arch and heel pain. A cushioned insole is also helpful in preventing podiatric pain.
  • Change positions frequently. Working from home means you’re not even walking to the car or going out at lunch. Be sure to get up at least once an hour if you’re sitting at a desk or try standing to work if you can find a counter that is the correct height. Stretch and rotate your feet and wiggle your toes throughout the day to stay flexible and keep up good circulation.
  • Gradually increase activity. While it may be tempting to jump into an exercise program at full speed, it’s better to start slowly. You’re more prone to injuries if you try to push your body too far too fast after a period of being inactive. Walking is a great way to re-enter a more active lifestyle. Try fitting in a walk during lunch or at the end of the workday.

If you’re experiencing foot pain that you can’t explain or you start to have uncomfortable symptoms in your feet or ankles as you become more active, contact our Long Beach office at (562) 420-9800 and schedule an appointment with our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas.

Published in Foot Problems

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

While an ingrown toenail might happen to some people more than others due to hereditary factors, the fact is that an ingrown toenail can happen to anyone. Simply put, an ingrown toenail occurs when a nail grows into the flesh rather than over it, occurring most often in the big toe. The nail will irritate the skin, causing pain and even infection should it break into the skin. (An infected ingrown toenail will be red, swollen, hot, and painful). Ingrown toenails can become very painful conditions, but only because patients are often unaware of what the condition is and how it occurs.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

A number of factors might cause an ingrown toenail:

  • Wearing shoes that are too small. This is most common among teenagers.
  • Hereditary traits like thick or curved nails will make a person more prone to ingrown toenails.
  • Socks that are too short or tight will force the toes toward each other and encourage the nails to grow into the skin.
  • Athletic people are also more prone to ingrown toenails. Excessive sweating makes the skin and nails softer and easier to split. Those split nails can easily puncture the skin.
  • Trauma – such as stubbing, jamming, or dropping something on a toe – can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails.
  • Active people who participate in activities like running, soccer, or ballet will need to be pay special attention to the signs of an ingrown nail.
  • A common cause of ingrown toenails, improper nail trimming will encourage the skin to fold over the nail.

How to Treat an Ingrown Toenail

If caught in its early stages, an ingrown toenail may be prevented or even cured by taking the following steps:

  • Soak the affected toe in water for 10 minutes. This will soften the folds of skin around the nail.
  • Using a Q-tip, push the skin fold over the ingrown nail down and away from the nail. Start at the root of the nail, then move toward the end of the nail.
  • Repeat every day for a few weeks and allow the nail to grow.
  • Once the nail has grown forward far enough, place a tiny piece of cotton wool or dental floss under it. This will prevent the nail from growing into the skin. Change the wool or floss every day after soaking the foot.
  • Continue to let the nail grow forward until it is over the end of the toe. Cut the nail straight across – not rounded off at the ends.

Generally, persistent and troublesome symptoms should be brought to a doctor’s attention. The situation becomes urgent if the patient has diabetes or a poor immune system, since the infections must be treated immediately.

Patients with diabetic neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease, or those who have otherwise lost the nerves or feeling in their feet should see a doctor ASAP.

Additionally, patients that take are on chemotherapy or any immunosuppressant medications must see a doctor immediately.

These conditions make it difficult to sense problems like deep infections, requiring monitoring and assessment from a podiatrist.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

  • Cut nails straight across, being especially careful not to cut too short or low at the sides. The corners of the nails should be visible above the skin. Cutting nails after a shower is easiest, since the nails are softer.
  • People who see a pedicurist should ensure that they are trimming straight across.
  • Patients with poor blood flow may not be able to trim their nails on their own, and should therefore see a podiatrist regularly for trimming.
  • Toenails should be kept even with the tips of the toes. Trim too short, and pressure from shoes might lead the nail into the tissue.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly. People with nerve problems or chronic ingrown toenails may need to visit a shoe store that specializes in people with foot problems.
  • Wear protective footwear, especially in a warehouse or other environment where foot injuries are common.
    Keep feet clean and dry, and air them out as much as possible.
  • Avoid tight shoes. Use cotton socks and not synthetic.
  • Diabetics must take extra care when cutting nails, and pay special attention for the symptoms of ingrown toenails.
  • Cut the nails straight across, following the shape of the toe. Do not cut too low at the sides.
  • Gently file away sharp edges.
  • See a podiatrist for nail trimming if loss of feeling in the feet occurs.
  • Patients with poor vision should see a chiropodist to trim their nails.

For more information about feet and nails, or to schedule an appointment, please visit Dr. Vikki.

Published in Health Tips
Tagged under

Treating Your Blister

Although most blisters eventually heal on their own, the recovery time required isn’t a feasible option for those who are active or experiencing pronounced pain. It is important to know the right methods of treatment to remain healthy and to prevent your blister from getting worse.

What Causes a Blister?

Blisters occur when temperatures rise, causing the feet to swell and sweat. This results in additional friction formed between the feet and shoes, creating a fluid-filled sac around the affected area.

Treating An Unbroken Blister

The treatment method depends on where the blister is located and its level of severity. An unbroken blister or a blood blister will heal on its own. All that is required is a bandage to protect it, and avoidance of the activities which caused or may aggravate it.

For a small blister on a weight-bearing area (such as the heel, or the ball of the foot a doughnut-shaped felt pad should be applied. Leave the area above the blister open as much as possible.

In most cases, popping a blister at home is not advised. If it is too painful, however, follow these steps to drain it safely:

  • Wash both your hands and the blister with soap and warm water.
  • Swab the blister with iodine.
  • Take a needle or a straight pin and wipe it with rubbing alcohol.
  • Gently puncture the edge of the blister.
  • Press the fluid toward the hole to drain it out.

Never drain a blister, no matter how small it may be, if the following is true:

  • You have diabetes, cancer, HIV, heart disease, or another condition which increases the risk of infection.
  • You have reason to believe that the blister was caused by a contagious disease, such as chickenpox. If you drain this type of blister, the virus may spread to other people.

Treating a Torn (Or Drained) Blister

Once the blister has torn or drained, follow these steps:

  • Wash the area with soap and water – not alcohol, iodine, or any other cleanser.
  • Leave the flap of skin over the blister, unless there is dirt or pus under it. Smooth the flap over the exposed layer of skin.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin or Triple antibiotic ointment and then a clean bandage. If an itch or rash develops, discontinue the ointment, since there may be a skin reaction.
  • Change the bandage whenever it becomes wet or dirty, and remove it every night so the affected area can dry. If you are going to remain active as the blister heals, you may find Band Aid blister cushions or 2nd Skin blister pads particularly helpful.

When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor if the following occur:

Monitor the area closely for signs of an infection. These may include: increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth surrounding the blister; red streaks extending from the blister; drainage of pus; or fever.

Call your doctor if you notice these symptoms:

  • A crusty blister which drains honey-colored fluid.
  • Signs of illness, such as shaking chills, fever, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle or joint aches, headaches, or a vague sense of illness.
  • Symptoms do not improve, or increase in severity and/or frequency.

Preventing Blisters

Since blisters are caused by the friction between your feet and your shoes, wear shoes that fit well. This means that you should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoe. Your feet swell later in the day, so try on shoes in the afternoon or the evening.

Moisture-wicking socks help reduce the swelling of the feet and friction associated with blisters. There are other socks and insoles designed to prevent blistering as well.

Applying moleskin to an area of the shoe where your feet rub may also help. Dust the inside of your shoe with talcum powder.

Avoid contact with plants like poison ivy, oak, or sumac.

Avoid contact with people who have infections that can cause blisters, such as:

  • Viral illness like chickenpox, shingles, genital herpes infection, and cold sores
  • Bacterial skin infection
  • Scabies mite infection
Ask the Expert

To learn more about keeping your feet healthy, read the 15 Steps to Fabulous Summer Feet.

For the best in foot care, schedule an appointment with specialist Dr. Vikki or Dr. Connie at the Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center today.

Published in Pain Relief

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