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Thursday, 18 May 2017 18:13

Running and Your Feet

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Running or fast-paced walking on a regular basis is a great way for you to stay fit year round. Whether you are just starting out or already an expert runner, there are a few things that you can do to maximize the benefits and make running work for your body from head to toe. Most people know to stretch their legs and watch out for knee injuries, but only a handful know to give their feet the same attention and care. Feet are the foundation for the rest of your body and making sure they are healthy and strong can boost your performance and reduce your risk of injury.

 

What can you do to prevent common running related injuries or ailments?

 

1 .Wear the proper shoes.  Buying shoes that fit your feet properly are one of the most important things you can do for yourself. When shoes fit properly, you can avoid common problems such as blisters, calluses, numbness, bunions, pinched-nerve pain, and corns. Dr. Jeffrey Idol, Dr. Judith Olkaba and Dr. Ruth P. Devadas of Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland also suggests to get a thorough examination of your feet before purchasing shoes at a store. Store salesmen have a limited knowledge of their products and how they match with your feet. We can give you an in-depth analysis of which shoe and shoe features match your feet and help fix any minor or emerging shoe-related issues.

2. Keep your feet dry. Athlete’s foot (and other foot fungi) can be an unpleasant experience and shoes that are damp or moist with sweaty feet are the perfect breeding ground for foot fungi. By keeping your feet dry, you can prevent your feet from contracting a fungal infection in the first place so that you can avoid getting itchy skin, redness, and blisters on your toes and soles.  

3. Fix problems before they get worse. If you notice a blister, callus, or a sore spot, take the time to soothe your feet and address the problem before your next run or walk. Ignoring a problem early on can result in much more debilitating injuries in the long run. Also, if you notice blisters are occurring frequently, try switching up your socks or your shoes. Look for a solution that reduces the friction (and space) between your feet and the shoes.

4. Pamper your feet. This may seem like an indulgence, but a foot rub or a pedicure can be beneficial for your overall foot and body health. Pedicures are especially great for cleaning your feet thoroughly and keeping your toenails trimmed to a neat and healthy length.

 

If while running, you notice any pain or serious symptoms, stop right away and consult your doctor.  Contact us at one of our 4 convenient locations in Owings, LaPlata, Huntington and  Lexington Park so we can provide quality care, consultations and treatment for any foot related injuries. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 15:48

Blistery Conditions Ahead

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The nice weather has me thinking about time spent out on the water.  Time spent outdoors in general with sports, hiking, long walks… all things I associate with springtime.  However, one doesn’t usually think of blisters, right?!  Well, recently, a patient came into our office with terrible blisters on his feet.  When I asked him what he had been doing recently, he told me he had just gotten back from two days of hiking.  Hmmm… my first question was, “What kind of shoes were you wearing?”  To be followed with, “Do they fit well?”  It seemed strange that he should have so many severe blisters following his hike.

Typically we all experience a blister here and there- when we are wearing in a pair of new shoes, for example.  Or sometimes they occur because we are wearing shoes that don’t fit well, are too small, or too big.  The friction from them can cause blisters.  Sometimes blisters aren’t a big deal, if they’re small and go away quickly.  But when they are large and all over your feet, you must ask yourself how this happened to you!

My patient also disclosed that it was very hot when he was hiking, they didn’t take any breaks, and his feet were profusely sweating, causing his feet to be wet most of the time.  Now the pieces of the puzzle were coming together.  The combination of hot, sweaty, wet feet confined in shoes plus constant movement can certainly be a recipe for blisters.  In his case, it definitely was the recipe! 

If you are hiking long distances in hot weather, it is a smart idea to bring an extra pair of socks or two with you- so you can switch them out when they get wet.  It is also very important to wear good-fitting shoes.  Shoes without adequate support/cushion can lead to blisters galore.  NOT what anyone wants! 

So, hopefully you don’t find yourself in the situation our patient was in.  But if you do, and your tootsies need some attention, Dr. Jeffrey Idol and his skilled team of board certified podiatrists can help!  Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland is home to three doctors:  Dr. Idol, Dr. Olkaba, and Dr. Devadas.  They have four convenient locations available to suit their patients’ needs… call them!

Wednesday, 03 May 2017 19:30

Nail Polish and Fungal Nails

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 This one is mostly for the ladies… so, who likes nail polish and wearing it on your fingernails and toenails on a regular basis?  You might be someone who never likes going without it!  Nail polish is a fun way to express oneself & beautify one’s hands and feet.  These days, though, there have been some questions as to the safety of nail polish in general. Some nail polish companies out there are now striving for safe polishes- void of toxic chemicals.  Not sure if I believe all the hype, but this topic got me thinking.  Especially about whether it’s a good idea or not to wear nail polish on your toenails if they are infected with nail fungus.

So, let’s see what the consensus is out there…  After reading many articles on this topic, I have found that most people say it’s not a good idea to wear nail polish on your toenails if you have a fungal infection.  Bad news, right?!  As most ladies would want nothing more than to cover up icky yellow toenails, and nail polish is a quick way to do that- it doesn’t help get rid of the fungal infection.  Unfortunately, since nail fungus thrives in moist dark places, nail polish provides a wonderful place for it to grow and thrive!  If you have toenail fungus, it is better to go without polish altogether, but there is some good news to be had. 

Apparently, there are now nail polishes that contain fungal suppressants!  Some nail polish on the market contains tea tree oil, which is a great fungal suppressant.  So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  At least there are some polishes out there that are okay to wear when fungus is a problem.  It’s also a very smart idea to Lysol your tub regularly, use anti-fungal powder, rotate your shoes, and be careful in public pool/shower areas! 

If you need help trying to get that fungus to hit the road, give Dr. Jeffrey Idol and associates a call!  They have four convenient Southern Maryland locations available for patients to visit.  

Thursday, 27 April 2017 14:12

A Dancer’s Foot Woes

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Ever think about dancers and how their sport/passion affects their feet?  Watching the dancers (the pointe dancers, to be exact) really got me thinking about how this kind of dance adversely affects the feet.  These girls are up on their tippy-toes performing for long periods of time.  Just watching them makes my feet hurt!

So, what are some of the foot problems that dancers face?  Apparently, the list is long.  From blisters to bruises, to broken nails, bunions, ankle sprains and hammertoes… these girls’ feet really take a beating.  The sad thing is, as common as these ailments are for the dancers, many dancers have no clue how to treat them.  Many simply throw a Band-Aid on and suck it up and continue to dance through the pain.  Now, that is dedication, huh?!

Sadly, though, not only do these girls not seek out the help of a podiatrist, they tend to suffer through the pain they experience.  If you, or a dancer you know has foot problems, lets delve into what’s happening, and what can be done to provide some relief.

Some of the biggest complaints dancers have are:

  • blisters from wearing pointe shoes
  • bruised toes and broken nails
  • bunions that can be painful while dancing
  • hammertoes that also get in the way of a comfortable dancing experience
  • ankle pain that never heals properly

These problems are commonplace for so many dancers, yet so few seek out professional help or even know how to remedy them in the short term. 

After some research on how many experienced dancers do deal with these problems, I have found some helpful hints to treat them at home.  If this article interests you, you’ll want to stay tuned for the next one, as I will get into the treatments that can be done to deal with dancer’s foot woes. 

Anyway, there are many foot problems that are commonly experienced not only by dancers, but by many people out there.  If you are among them, you shouldn’t hesitate to give Dr. Jeffrey Idol, Dr. Judith Olkaba, and Dr. Ruth Devadas a call!  Any of these board certified doctors are available to help at any of their four Southern Maryland locations located in Owings ,Lexington Park, LaPlata, and Huntingtown Maryland.  

Thursday, 20 April 2017 13:23

Can Toenail Fungus Be Treated at Home?

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Podiatrists see many people with toenail fungus issues.  Usually, we see them after they’ve had the fungus for a long time, and it has affected multiple toes.  When toenail fungus is severe, the nail can turn completely yellow and separate from the nail bed. Not a pretty sight. 

So, are there things you can do to try to get rid of toenail fungus from the comfort of your own home?  Some people say “absolutely!”  They swear by certain at-home remedies and their effectiveness.  None of these have been proven in any medical way, but they are not harmful, so you may want to consider giving them a try.  Here are the most common things I have found that people use at home to get rid of nasty toenail fungus: 

  • Baking soda and vinegar soak:  it is recommended that you use apple cider vinegar that is unprocessed (and contains “the mother”).  You should soak your feet in both solutions twice a day.  Some people mix the combo together in a soak, others use a vinegar soak first and then follow it with a baking soda soak. 
  • Tea tree oil:  tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant, which has anti-bacterial and fungicidal properties.  It can be used directly on the nail or in a foot soak, either way it’s recommended to dilute it.   This, too, should be done twice a day.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a great way to combat fungus without using harsh chemicals.  The fatty acids in the coconut oil penetrate the fungal membrane, which can ultimately lead to cell disintegration and the ultimate destruction of the fungus.  You can apply it directly to the toenail or toenails that are affected, and do so 2-4 times daily.  (Just be careful to wash hands between applications or apply with different fingers if putting on multiple toes). 

These are a few popular at-home treatments for toenail fungus.  If these at home remedies do not work than we recommend you to schedule an appointment with

Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland. If medical attention is needed for this or any other foot or ankle issue, Dr. Idol and his team of board certified podiatrists are available to help.  He and his colleagues have 4 Southern Maryland locations conveniently located for you to visit!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017 21:09

Hippety Hoppety Heel Spurs Go Away!

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It’s April…  Spring is springing!  The Easter bunny is on its way.  It’s time to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. Planning on getting out with the kiddos for those egg hunts or jaunts in the park, but getting impeded by heel spur pain?  Well, there are some things you can do to help the pain go away.  Basically, a heel spur is a deposit of calcium on the bone that forms the underside of the heel.  It usually looks like a small bony protrusion on the heel bone.  Typically, a lot of people develop heel spurs at a certain point in their life, and never even realize it!  How do they not realize?  Well, sometimes they aren’t painful or symptomatic.  However, other times, you will be aware if you get one, as it can be rather painful.

So, if you want to be out and about enjoying yourself, but a pesky heel spur is stopping you, have no fear- relief is near!  First of all, avoid wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes!  Try wearing only sneakers for a while.  If you don sandals, heels, sling backs, or even canvas ked-like shoes they can be damaging to the sole and heel of the foot.  

Also, watch your weight and diet!  Maintaining a healthy weight and a diet rich in vegetables is helpful.  If you have a lot of stress in your life, try performing daily stretching and meditative exercises.  Also, give those tootsies some special treatment!  Pamper them!  A blend of essential oils in a foot soak can be very helpful to get rid of heel spurs.  Even better, make a blend and apply to affected area twice daily until the bone spur is gone, and continue for two weeks afterward for good measure.  An example of a bone spur remover blend by Hazel Correll is:

  • 4 drops Wintergreen
  • 4 drops Eucalyptus
  • 4 drops Marjoram
  • 4 drops Cypress
  • 4 drops Helichrysum
  • 4 drops Peppermint
  • 4 drops Frankincense
  • 10 drops coconut oil or Emu Oil

Good luck getting rid of that pesky bone spur… But if you find you need the help of a podiatrist, Dr. Jeffrey Idol and his team of board certified doctors are available to treat any of your foot or ankle needs.  Contact us at any of his 4 convenient Southern Maryland locations. Take care of those tootsies!

Thursday, 06 April 2017 18:08

Swollen Feet and How to Calm Them

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Swollen feet can be cumbersome and painful.  There are a lot of reasons feet can swell, and the accompanying pain can cause a lot of discomfort.  Pregnant women are some of the biggest sufferers of edema, as they are carrying a lot of extra weight their feet are not accustomed to!  Luckily, though, there are some things you can do at home to help alleviate the swelling.  Here are some ideas:

  • Soak your feet in an Epsom salt foot bath in a shallow bucket of warm water, for at least 15 minutes.  Epsom salts are inexpensive and available at your local drugstore.  They are great for swelling, and are good for overall foot health. Because they are made of magnesium sulfate that is absorbed through the skin, they not only reduce swelling but improve blood circulation, as well.  They are also good for reducing foot odor and soothing dry skin.
  • Do yoga.  Yoga is great for encouraging blood circulation, as well, which stops blood from pooling in certain areas- like the feet and ankles.  By stretching and flexing the feet and toes, you get that blood flowing, which can alleviate some of the swelling. 
  • Take magnesium supplements.  If you tend to suffer from edema on a regular basis, you may want to consider taking magnesium supplements.  Oftentimes, a magnesium deficiency can be the culprit of the edema.  Even if you don’t have a magnesium deficiency, supplements might still be a good idea, as extra magnesium in one’s diet is known to help.
  • Elevate your feet whenever possible.  Inverted gravity can be a great friend to swollen feet and ankles.  Prop up your legs using pillows, so that your feet are elevated above your heart.  This encourages fluid to drain away, and be absorbed back into the body, or eliminated through our urine.
  • Get a foot massage.  A foot massage is one of the best remedies for swollen feet and ankles!  (And probably the most pleasurable!)  It is a win win…
  • Hydrate!  Drink lots of extra fluids…  Oftentimes, just drinking more water throughout the day will help alleviate swelling in the feet.  The ingestion of extra water throughout the day will help dilute sodium and caffeine, which are major contributors to inflammation.

So, as you can see, there are many ways to alleviate foot swelling (aka edema).  However, if you have any foot problem that you need help with, Dr. Idol, Dr. Olkaba, and Dr. Devadas are at Family Footcare of Southern Maryland ready to see you.  Call them for an appointment.

Thursday, 30 March 2017 15:31

Foot Problems You Should NOT Ignore

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Throughout our lives our feet serve us well.  They are the foundation for all movement.  They hold our bodies, move our bodies, and support all our weight.  However, sometimes they HURT.  You’re not alone if you’ve had foot pain that you ignored, in the hopes that it would just go away.  And sometimes it does.  Yet, there are some foot pains that should not be ignored, as they are indications of other problems going on with our bodies!

Since our feet are complex in their anatomical structure, they are sensitive to health problems that occur in the body. Our feet can tell us a lot about hidden health problems if you pay attention.  These are some symptoms your feet may be experiencing that you should not ignore, and should have checked out by your podiatrist:

  • A Sore that won’t heal:  if you have a sore on your foot that is an abscess, and won’t heal, you may have diabetes.  If that’s the case, the uncontrolled glucose levels in your blood can cause nerve damage that affect your feet.
  • Foot cramping:  this can indicate a smaller issue, like you’re dehydrated and lacking nutrition in the body.  A bigger issue that foot cramping can indicate is that you may have nerve and circulation problems.
  • Constant cold feet:  When your feet are always cold it can often mean you have hypothyroidism.  This condition can cause weight gain, exhaustion, hair loss, and depression.  So if your feet are always cold, go get a blood test to see if you have it!
  • Stiffness and foot pain:  If you are elderly, this could mean you have osteoarthritis.  You may also have rheumatoid arthritis.
  • An enlarged, painful big toe:  This affliction can be a sign that you have gout.  Gout can be managed through your diet, but is often painful.
  • Heel pain:  Can be an indication of planter fasciitis.
  • Burning pain:  Extreme burning pain of the foot and base of toes could possibly indicate that you have Morton’s neuroma.   

As you can see, many foot symptoms can indicate much deeper problems.  If any of the above is hitting home, and you need to have your foot problem checked out, contact us. Dr. Idol , Dr. Olkaba, or Dr. Devadas have four conveniently located Southern Maryland offices to visit and are here to help.

Thursday, 23 March 2017 15:58

Benefits of Reflexology

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Reflexology… what is it about?  How many people out there are familiar with this type of foot massage?  Some, I’m sure… but I would guess many of you don’t know much about it.   Reflexology is a beneficial type of massage that is based upon stimulating various pressure points in the feet, which inadvertently improves many aspects of peoples’ health. 

One of the biggest benefits of reflexology is its ability to stimulate nerve function.  From this stimulation of nerve function, a person’s energy is boosted, as is their circulation.  Reflexology induces a deep state of relaxation, eliminates toxins, & stimulates the central nervous system.  It also cleans up urinary tract conditions, speeds recovery after injury or surgery & can prevent migraines!!        

The list is very long for the benefits of reflexology.  Since so many of us find ourselves on our feet all day, we really put a lot of weight and strain on them.  This weight and strain leads very often to pain.  People have a lot of pain in their back, on a regular basis, which is why massage is so popular.  So, it would make the same sense that people should get foot massages.  Reflexology is probably the most beneficial of foot massages, so if you haven’t tried it, it may be a great time to do so…  Especially if you suffer from any of the health conditions mentioned above.  Reflexology isn’t always accepted in the medical world, but thousands of alternative physicians around the world have been using reflexology with surprisingly positive results.  These are some of the claims that people say reflexology can do for us! 

  • Improves energy levels
  • Improves nerve function
  • Improves circulation
  • Eases side-effects of cancer, like chemotherapy
  • Helps to improve cognitive health
  • Aids in elimination of toxins from the body
  • Speeds the healing of wounds
  • Improves metabolism
  • Stimulates nervous system
  • Reduces the severity of migraines and headaches
  • Gives relief from stress, anxiety and insomnia
  • Beneficial during pregnancy and reduces the risk of post-partum depression

So, reflexology is an interesting option to try when looking to help any of the aforementioned conditions.  However, if you need more traditional podiatric help for foot pain or any foot or ankle condition that is bothering you, Dr. Idol and his skilled team of podiatrists are available to help.  Dr. Idol has four Southern Maryland locations conveniently located… call him if you need him.  You can always try reflexology massage & see a professional podiatrist concurrently to help foster your overall health, feet first!! 

Thursday, 16 March 2017 15:26

To Run or Not to Run… Barefoot, That Is!

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 So, is it a good idea to run barefoot?  People like to run without shoes to produce a more natural stride.  Some runners wear no shoes at all (I envision running barefoot on the beach), and others wear minimalist shoes that are designed to duplicate a barefoot experience, but still offer some protection.  The “barefoot running” trend has become quite popular in recent years… but do we really know whether it is good for us or not??

Well, let’s weigh the pros and the cons to this experience.  The pros are: that it makes the runner feel free and natural, without the constraints of shoes.  The cons would include: risk of injury, and wear and tear on the feet and ankles.  Barefoot running can be particularly dangerous for people who don’t know how to properly adapt to running without adequate shoe support.  Although, it is said that barefoot running can strengthen muscles and reduce injury, but there is really no proof to this claim.  

Barefoot running seems to be well-suited to people who are already in excellent physical shape.  However, some people should definitely steer clear of it- people with diabetes, or a history of past foot injuries, for example.  And if you do choose to run barefoot, you should be very careful where you’re running and what surfaces you’re running on.  Obviously, stepping on a sharp object or rough surface could not only be painful, but could lead to wounds on the feet, which could end up being serious if untreated. 

The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) says due to lack of evidence about the safety and risks of barefoot running, people should consult with a podiatrist first before starting a barefoot running regimen.  Dr. Jeffrey Idol and his team of doctors- Dr. Judith Olkaba, and Dr. Ruth P. Devadas have a lot of experience treating athletic injuries, and would be happy to advise you before you begin barefoot running.  They have four convenient Southern Maryland locations available for appointments.  Contact us or request an appointment so that we can help with any foot and ankle related advice or problems you may be experiencing.