Summer arrives in the Northeast as a relief from the long, cold months of winter. May patients head outside for hiking, running, exercise, and more. With all that outside activity you may find yourself in new shoes, or shoes that you haven’t worn or months, or perhaps a pair of inexpensive shoes that are attractive but don’t fit very well. After a day in those shoes, you may find yourself with painful blisters!
When skin repeatedly rubs against something else, such as the inside of a shoe or even another bit of skin, friction results. Heat builds up causing a burn and a blister, which may or may not contain fluid as it rises. Although they are uncomfortable and inconvenient, most small blisters go away on their own in just a few days. More severe cases are best treated by a podiatrist.
Dr. Craig Wexler recommends the following steps that you can take to prevent summer blisters:
- Practice excellent hygiene. Keeping your feet clean and dry during the day will improve all aspects of podiatric health, including blister prevention. Towel your feet off after your shower or bath and apply foot powder to keep them dry. Wash and dry your feet well before bed.
- Make good sock choices. Wool socks will stay dryer than cotton. Lightweight wool socks for summer are available at most sporting good stores. Thick, cushioned socks work well to prevent blisters, as does wearing two layers of thinner socks. Try both options to see what you prefer. Change your socks periodically during the day, especially after activity. Damp or wet socks will create more friction and will raise blisters faster than dry socks.
- Be smart about shoes. Buy shoes that fit correctly; shoes that are too tight or too big will lead to rubbing or friction at the heels and toes. If you exercise outside, choose proper footwear and take good care of it. Replace your running shoes after 6 months or 500 miles.
- Stop blisters before they form. A red spot on the skin, often at the back of the heel, the instep, or the toes is an early warning sign that a blister is forming. If you cover the spot with a bandage or tape as soon as you notice it, you can prevent a blister.
Don’t squeeze or pop a blister. If left alone, it will drain naturally before long. Wear open shoes that don’t further irritate your blister. Protect it with a bandage or a bit of padded tape. If your blister is still bothering you after a couple of days, or if it’s showing signs of infection, see Dr. Craig Wexler for help. Click here or call Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 to schedule a convenient appointment at our state of the art Newton office today.
What Is A Hammertoe?
When a toe muscle weakens and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints, the toe sticks up at the joint rather than lying naturally flat in line with the others. This deformity is called a hammertoe.
Hammertoes are most often seen on the second toe or the smallest toe. They are divided into three classifications:
- Hammertoes are bent at the middle joint only.
- Clawtoes are bent at the middle and end joints
- Mallet toes only affect the joint at the end of the toe.
Depending on the degree of deformity, any kind of hammertoe is classified as flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid. The more inflexible the toe, the more painful it will be. Complicating matters, hammertoes often cause uncomfortable corns or calluses to grow as the affected toe rubs repeatedly against the shoe.
What Causes Hammertoes?
There are three main contributing factors in the development of hammertoes:
- Genetics: People with high arches – and those with flat, flexible feet – are more at risk of hammertoes.
- Gender: Women develop all forms of hammertoes more often than men. This is probably because women are more likely to choose fashionable footwear including narrow, poorly fitting shoes with little arch support, high heels, and pointy toe boxes. Over time, these shoes damage the feet.
- HealthStatus: Are you in good health? Patients with chronic conditions including diabetes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, or neuropathy are at increased risk for the development of hammertoes, and are more likely to experience complications when they occur.
What If I Get A Hammertoe?
If you have a hammertoe, you can reduce discomfort by switching to sensible, comfortable shoes right away. Use a pumice stone on any calluses or corns regularly. Dr. Craig Wexler recommends that you never use a blade, razor, or grater on your feet as they can cause small nicks and cuts that allow bacteria to enter your body.
It’s possible that surgery will be required to correct your hammertoe. This is a relatively common procedure, and is often the most effective solution. Surgery will make shoes fit more comfortably, improve calluses and corns, and make your feet more attractive.
Do you think that you might have a hammertoe, clawtoe, or mallet toe? Call Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 or click here today to schedule an appointment at our convenient Newton office. Craig Wexler, DPM is expert in diagnosis and treating hammertoes and all other medical issues related to your feet, ankles, and lower legs. He can examine your feet to diagnose and treat your problem and get you back on your feet in no time.
If someone asked you to list all the ways that smoking negatively impacts your body, you might mention your lungs and your heart, but do you know that smoking is dangerous for your foot health, too?
Have you observed that your hands and feet feel cold first? Because they are farthest from your heart, your extremities don't receive as much blood circulation as other parts of your body. This diminished circulation is even more noticeable in smokers. Podiatrists can often tell which patients are smokers just by looking at the skin on their feet, which is typically thinner, shinier, and redder than that of other patients. Smokers also heal from surgery more slowly than others.
Raynaud’s Disease is an often temporary but uncomfortable condition in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet spasm and overreact to cold temperatures. Cigarette smoking is a contributing factor in the development of Raynaud’s. It also makes attacks more frequent and painful from those who suffer with the condition.
Not all smokers will get Buerger’s Disease, but almost everyone with the condition is a current or former smoker. People who smoke more than a pack a day are most at risk. Buerger’s Disease affects blood vessels in the arms and legs, causing them to swell. This can interfere with blood flow, and lead to clots, pain, tissue damage, and even gangrene.
If you smoke, be on the lookout for Buerger’s Disease. Your feet may appear pale, red, or blue. They may feel cold or painful. Skin changes, painful sores, or ulcers may be apparent. You may experience discomfort in the legs, ankles, or feet when walking, often located in the arch of the foot.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
When plaque builds up in your arteries, they become stiff and narrow, Peripheral Artery Disease develops, making it hard for blood to circulate, especially to your hands and feet. It’s possible for PAD to be asymptomatic, but you will probably notice changes in your body. You may feel leg pain while you're walking around, and you may notice that sores or injuries on your feet that heal poorly, if at all.
If you smoke, your risk of developing PAD is four times greater than if you don't. Smokers also tend to develop PAD earlier than non-smokers. If you are a smoker who also has diabetes
— another common cause of decreased podiatric circulation to the feet — the risk of damage to your feet is particularly high.
You can control your risk of the negative health consequences caused by cigarette smoking. Dr. Craig Wexler recommends that you cut down or quit as soon as possible. Your physician can prescribe medications to help you. To keep your feet feeling our best, call (973) 383-3115 or click here to make a convenient appointment in our Newton office today.
Good nutrition helps you maintain reasonable weight and maximizes heart health while minimizing the risk of illnesses including high blood pressure and diabetes. What about your feet? Can an improved diet improve their health, too?
Yes! Your food choices have a direct effect on your feet. Read on to learn about choices that cause and aggravate inflammation in the muscles and tendons, as well as those that promote strong, healthy bones. With just a little bit of planning and careful shopping, you can improve your foot health through better diet.
Avoid Foods that Contribute to Inflammation
Refined grains, sugars and trans fats contain chemicals that cause tissue inflammation, leading to pain and discomfort in your feet. Choosing whole grain and minimally processed foods and reducing your sugar intake will enhance overall wellbeing and improve foot health.
Eat More Calcium and Vitamin D
Bone mass is an essential component of long-term health and wellness. If you don’t get enough calcium to build density early in life, you are at higher risk for bone issues or even fractures later in life. Women tend to gradual bone loss after menopause, but adequate calcium intake maintains bone quality and prevents osteoporosis and osteopenia. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is why the two are often combined in supplements. You can also find them in many foods such as dairy products (including milk, yogurt, and cheese), sardines with bones, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens.
Reduce Sodium Intake
The higher your sodium levels in your diet, the more your body tends to retain water. This leads to swelling and inflammation. Further, your risk of high blood pressure increases significantly. You can reduce this risk by choosing fresh foods over packaged items, which typically contain higher quantities of sodium. Adding salt to food while cooking and eating also contributes to excess sodium in your diet. Do you like to dine with a saltshaker on the table? Remove it to reduce sodium intake.
Increase Foods Containing Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats are believed to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the feet. Fatty fish like salmon is a good source of this nutrient. Healthy omega-3 fats are also found in foods including:
- flax seeds
- soybeans and tofu
- cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts and cauliflower
To help maintain your foot health, visit a podiatrist regularly. Your podiatrist is the best doctor to care for your feet, ankles, and lower legs. Dr. Craig Wexler will examine your feet thoroughly to diagnose any issues and treat any issues that you may be experiencing and note any concerns before they become problematic. Call Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our Newton office.