Ladders are helpful tools around the house. We all need to pull one out occasionally, perhaps to change a light bulb or reach something stored on a high shelf, but it’s important that we practice good ladder safety when we do. Ladder falls are a common cause of sprains and fractures of the feet and ankles. Stay safe this summer with these simple recommendations from Craig Wexler, DPM.
1. Use the Right Ladder for the Job
If you need a 10-foot ladder to get the job done, don’t stand on top of a shorter ladder and stretch! Stepladders should never be propped against a wall. They're designed for use only with the spreaders open and locked in place. Cutting corners is risking a fall.
2. Look Before You Climb
Before each use, check carefully for damage or cracks on the rungs and side rails, and look for missing safety feet. On extension ladders, also inspect the latches that secure the extension when it's fed out to full length. Take the ladder out of service if it has any damage. Government safety regulations ensure that all ladders come with information on their sides, providing information about their specifications, warnings, and directions for use. Read these ladder-safety basics before you climb.
3. Climb Safely
Always place your ladder on a secure, solid surface. Follow the 4-to-1 guideline for stability: for every 4 feet of elevation, the ladder's base should be set 1 foot out. Only one person should be on a ladder at any time. Follow the three-point contact rule for climbing: only one foot or hand should be out of contact with the ladder at any time. Never stand on the top three steps of a straight ladder or the top two steps of a stepladder.
4. Invest in a New Ladder
If your ladder is more than 20 years old, please consider purchasing a new one that is compliant with current regulations and offers modern safety features such as slip resistant rungs and mechanisms that keep it locked in place when open.
Have you sprained or fractured your foot or ankle in a ladder fall? Call Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 or click here to make an appointment to see Dr. Craig Wexler in our convenient Newton office as soon as possible. He will diagnose the problem with state of the art technology and determine the most appropriate course of treatment to help you heal quickly and recover completely.
Foot and leg cramps, also known as “Charley Horses,” happen when a muscle gets involuntarily stiff and can’t relax. They occur more frequently in older patients. While they are rarely harmful or indicative of a more serious problem, they are uncomfortable and it’s a good idea to know how to stop them.
What Causes Foot Cramps?
Whether day or night, your foot and calf muscles – or any other muscle in your body – can spasm or cramp. Common causes of muscle cramps include:
- Dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Poor nutrition. Eat a variety of foods with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.
- Medication side effects. Some medications can also cause muscle cramps. Did your cramps start suddenly after you began taking a new medication? Talk to your health care professionals.
- Insufficient stretching. Take time to stretch each day to keep muscles strong and supple. This is especially important before and after exercise.
- Poor circulation. If you have diabetes or another problem that causes poor circulation in your extremities, you are more at risk for leg and foot cramps.
- Bad shoes. Choose practical shoes with a low, wide heel and plenty of arch support for everyday wear. Save those gorgeous high heels for special occasions.
Stop Cramps Before They Start
Here are some tips from Dr. Craig Wexler to help keep your foot and leg cramps to a minimum:
- Stay well hydrated. Water is best! Avoid caffeine and sugary beverages.
- Stretch each day, especially before you exercise
- Limit or avoid alcohol
- Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens and bananas, which provide important trace minerals that help minimize muscle cramps.
Stopping a Cramp in Progress
There are some simple ways to deal with leg and foot cramps as they are occurring:
- If you are lying down, try to stand up and move around the room. This is often enough to relax the cramping muscles.
- Use a hot water bottle or heating pad to increase circulation to the affected muscles and to relax it. A warm bath can also help.
- An over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen might ease the discomfort.
If muscle spasms in your legs and feet are cramping your style and you aren’t able to manage them on your own, Craig Wexler, DPM can help. Call Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 or click here today to schedule an appointment in our comfortable and convenient Newton office.
Some people grow old with little to no physical changes, but they are the exception. It’s much more likely that, as you age, you will notice changes throughout your body. Many of these changes will manifest in your legs, ankles, and feet.
Arthritis is a chronic disease common in older patients that causes painful inflammation in the joints. You may notice stiffness in the morning, pain on standing or walking, or a reduced range of motion.
While arthritis cannot be cured, symptoms can be relieved with prescription and over the counter medications.
Swollen Ankles and Feet
Many older people experience swelling in their ankles and feet. You may notice the swelling after you stand for a long time, eat too much salty food or sit for extended periods without exercising your legs, such as when traveling in an airplane or car. Typically, the swelling is caused by edema, an accumulation of water in the body that causes swelling of the soft tissues under the skin, but it can also be a sign of more serious illness.
Examination by a podiatrist like Craig Wexler, DPM is necessary to determine the cause of your swollen ankles and feet.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Patients with diabetes may experience a reduced blood flow to the extremities, putting their feet at risk of numbness, chill, and diminished sensation.
Smokers experience PAD sooner, more often, and more severely than people who don’t smoke. If you still smoke, please consider cutting down or quitting today. It’s never too late to reverse the damage.
Loss of Padding and Softness
When we are young, your feet are protected by naturally occurring tissues called collagen, elastin, and adipose that keep our feet well-padded and soften the skin. The quantity of all of these tends to diminish as you age, making standing or walking painful, and causing dry, flaky skin.
Custom orthotics are can replace your body’s natural cushioning and make wearing shoes, standing, and walking much more comfortable. Moisturizing twice a day, especially after showering or bathing will prevent and heal dry skin.
As you age, the best thing that you can do to take care of your feet is to see your podiatrist regularly. Your podiatrist is the most qualified professional to take care of your feet. He is trained to notice changes, diagnose concerns, and treat issues. Call Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 or click here for a convenient appointment see Dr. Craig Wexler in our Newton office. He will work with you to create a plan to keep your feet feeling great for a lifetime.
You might be surprised to learn that your feet can reveal a great deal about what’s going on throughout your body. Early symptoms of systemic illnesses often manifest in the feet and ankles. It’s important to be alert to changes in your foot health to ensure your overall well-being. Craig Wexler, DPM recommends that you be seen by a doctor right away if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Dry, Flaky Skin
Sometimes dry skin is just that and needs a bit of moisturizer, especially in the winter. Dry, flaky skin at the heel or the ball of the foot can also be a sign of and excess or insufficient activity in your thyroid, a critical gland in your throat that produces hormones to manage your metabolic rate and nervous system functions.
Foot Numbness or Bald Toes
Everyone has a foot go numb occasionally, perhaps after sitting in one position for too long or sleeping in an awkward position. That’s nothing to be worried about. However, if you regularly experience “pins and needles” in one or both feet, it can be a sign ofperipheral neuropathy. Anyone can get neuropathy, but it’s especially prevalent in smokers and people with diabetes.
Even women have fine hairs on their toes. A lack of hair on the toes can be another sign of poor blood flow caused by PAD.
koilonychias. This can indicate a mineral imbalance. It can also be a sign of lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting tissues and organs.
Morning Foot Pain
If your feet hurt when you first get up in the morning, you might have Plantar Fasciitis, an easily addressed problem that occurs when a ligament in the foot becomes irritated. It should be noted, however, that early morning heel pain can also be a sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis, an auto-immune disorder characterized by inflammation in the joints.
Has something about your feet changed recently? Are you concerned about what those changes might mean? If something doesn’t look or feel right, trust your instinct. Make an appointment to see Dr. Craig Wexler for examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Call the friendly staff at Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 or click here to schedule an appointment in our convenient Newton office today.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that negatively affects the peripheral nerves that connect the core of your body with your limbs. When these nerves are damaged, you may experience decreased or abnormal sensation in your feet and toes. Mobility may become diminished as a result.
Peripheral neuropathy most commonly presents as a complication of diabetes. 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy at some point. For some people diabetes precedes neuropathy. For others, it’s the opposite – they make an appointment to see their doctor because of uncomfortable neuropathy symptoms, and then they find out that they have diabetes.
Diabetes is not the only cause of peripheral neuropathy. Other causes include:
- , especially when the spine is involved
- injury to the peripheral nerves
- , including some chemotherapy drugs
- , cramping, or twitching
If you are experiencing unusual or unpleasant sensations in your feet, you should call Wexler Foot Center at (973) 383-3115 or click here today to set up an appointment with Craig Wexler, DPM in our conveniently located Newton office. Dr. Craig Wexler will examine your feet, diagnose the problem, and work with you to determine an effective treatment plan that will help you feel better quickly.