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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. 

Thursday, 09 March 2017 22:57

Pedi-pity party!

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So, you are invited to a party.  You’re excited, right? Sounds fun! Well, what if the party I’m talking about isn’t oh-so-fun, and takes place at the nail salon?  Confused yet?  

I am referring to what happens when you try to go get a pedicure, and your feet are in not-so-pretty condition!  Are you one of the sad people who go to get a pedicure and the ladies look at you with pity in their eyes?!!  Yes, it sure feels like a pity party!  I don’t know about you, but this is one party I can do without! There have been times when I visited the pedicure-giving ladies, and they looked at me that way.  Not a good feeling.  But, sometimes, who can help it?!

Feet issues happen!  Foot conditions come and go.  They affect everyone, young and old.  Some are mild. Some are SEVERE.  After all, our feet are our foundation.  They take A LOT OF ABUSE!  POOR THINGS!  The toenails can get “funky”… the calluses can get out of control, bunions can form.  Heel spurs can form.  Athlete’s foot can be present, wreaking havoc on the foot’s natural flora and fauna. Never mind if you have any major issues.  The feet can reach a very unhealthy state.  

When that happens, it’s time to seek out a professional!  This is when your podiatrist can be your best friend (wink, wink).  Dr. Jeffrey Idol, Dr. Judith Olkaba, and Dr. Ruth Devadas specialize in solving foot issues, and getting those tootsies back to “things of beauty” (well, at least “things that aren’t pity-provoking”).  At Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland our team of professionals can be reached at four convenient Southern Maryland locations in Owings, LaPlata, Huntingtown and Lexington Park.  

So, if you are suffering from any not-so-pretty foot issues, you can rest assured that help is only a phone call away.  Contact us or request an appointment.

Thursday, 02 March 2017 13:27

Got the Pregnancy Foot Blues?

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Do you have foot pain due to pregnancy?  If you’re pregnant or have ever been pregnant, you are probably living with this, or have probably lived this reality in the past.  Pregnancy triggers so many changes in a woman’s body and can especially affect your feet.   The natural weight gain that happens when a woman is carrying a baby (or two, or three!), her poor feet bear the brunt of all the extra pressure the extra pounds bring.  A woman’s center of gravity is completely altered during pregnancy, which adds pressure to her knees and feet.  Her feet often swell and shoes that were once comfortable now don’t even fit! Women experience two very common foot problems during pregnancy… edema and over-pronation.  These issues lead to many aches and pains that she may have never experienced before.  Pains in the arch, ball of the foot, and heel are just to name a few.  Many women also experience leg cramps (aka Charlie-horses) and varicose veins.

Over-pronation, otherwise known as flat feet, is caused when a person’s arch flattens out from weight bearing and their feet roll inward when walking.  This action causes extreme stress and/or swelling on the plantar fascia (the fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the forefront).  Flat feet can make walking very painful.  Many pregnant women suffer from this because of the added pressure on the body, mainly the feet, as a result of weight gain.  Edema, the other common pregnancy affliction women experience with their feet, makes the feet swell, and is typically seen in the latter part of pregnancy- when the weight load really takes its toll! It happens from the extra blood and fluids required in the body for pregnancy, with gravity adding to the equation.  At Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland we can offer some tips for you.

A good way to deal with these pregnancy foot woes is to elevate the legs with the feet propped up, covered in ice packs several times a day.  This helps alleviate the swelling and pain a bit, as does moderate exercise.  Sweating out some of the extra fluids in the body helps these conditions, and has the added benefit of increasing circulation to the extremities.  So, ladies, to deal with these conditions, try the following:

  • Drink plenty of water, and avoid salt as much as possible!
  • Exercise!  Just don’t over-do it…
  • Elevate feet whenever possible… and ice when feet really swell up!
  • Support your feet- wear supportive insoles inside your shoes, and wear COMFORTABLE, roomy footwear that offers good arch support.
  • Don’t stand on your feet for long periods of time!

If you are unable to cope with foot pain from pregnancy, or feel that it is beyond the norm, Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland is here to help.  Just contact us at any of our four convenient locations in Southern Maryland and our team of doctors  will get you feeling comfortable and ready for your new arrival. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017 16:38

The Diabetic Foot

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As if having diabetes isn’t hard enough… always checking your blood sugar, watching what you eat, etc. etc.  Well, if you have diabetes, you most likely have experienced diabetic foot pain symptoms.  The most common cause of foot pain in diabetics is related to nerve problems.  This is known as peripheral neuropathy- the diabetes causes damage to the nerves throughout the body, which, therefore, causes pains in the feet, as well as other areas of the body.  Typically, this happens to half of all diabetes sufferers.  If you are amongst the unfortunate half, you may have experienced this pain, which, as you know, can be severe!  The only up-side to this condition is that it can also cause numbness in the feet- which dulls the pain, and actually keeps the sufferer from feeling anything!  This condition is complex- however, thankfully, there are drugs that can treat this kind of foot pain. 

Some other diabetic issues which cause diabetics foot pain symptoms are:

  • Sensory Neuropathy- in which the sufferer experiences pain that is directly related to touch… even putting on socks can be intensely painful if you are suffering from this condition.
  • Motor Neuropathy- this condition causes the sufferer pain in the foot in which the muscles become weak, and ache, which happens because the feet are not receiving messages effectively from the nerves to make them work as they should.
  • Autonomic Neuropathy
  • Blood Sugar levels affecting feet by causing foot and heel pain
  • Blood circulation problems, which can cause extreme pain at times
  • Muscle and joint pains, which lead to foot, ankle or heel problems- this can lead to trouble walking.
  • Infections of the feet which happen due to the major changes that are constantly happening in a diabetic’s body

At Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland we address diabetic foot issues, and always try to identify the underlying issue before making any treatment plan. Contact us or request an appointment today.  You should always be proactive about your diabetes and our team of doctors are here to help you accomplish this goal! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017 20:30

Snack Attack, Swollen Feet are Back!

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Ever experienced the strange sensation of looking down at your ankles and feet, and not recognizing them as your own?  It happens, unfortunately.  Sometimes this happens from eating too much salt… hence the title of this blog.  Other times it can happen from travel, pregnancy, surgery, and being on your feet for long periods of time.  Diabetics often experience this, as well, which leads them to seek out podiatric help.  At Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland, we treat people suffering from joint swelling and many other foot and ankle ailments.

Swelling of the ankles and feet is uncomfortable, and can sometimes affect mobility.  However, if you are experiencing swelling of the feet and ankles it’s all about getting through the day, not so much finding a cure.  There’s nothing that’s necessarily curative for this condition, however, you can prevent it in some cases!  Some preventative measures are:

  • Don’t eat too much salt!  Limit salty food consumption! Those snack attacks can be the culprit… so if and when they happen, try not to eat too many salty foods!
  • Elevate your legs… prop your legs up on an ottoman or table to help decrease swelling.  Doing yoga poses in which you lay on the floor with your legs raised and pressed against the wall, can help alleviate the swelling.
  • Exercise!  Standing on your feet for too long can increase swelling.  Same goes for sitting in one place for too long.  Extending your legs back and forth and flexing your ankles can help if you’re stuck in a seat for a long period of time.
  • Swimming is a great non-weight bearing exercise that can help alleviate swelling.
  • Soak your feet and ankles in a cool bath filled with Epsom salts… this can alleviate swelling-associated pain.
  • Lose weight!  Sorry to say, but carrying extra weight (results of the infamous snack attack ) can put extra pressure on your feet and ankles, which can result in swelling.

That being said, Dr. Jeffrey Idol and his team of doctors are readily available to help with any feet and ankle issues you may be experiencing.  Our four convenient Southern Maryland locations give easily accessible options for getting the care you need.  Contact us or request an appointment,  we’re here to help!

Friday, 10 February 2017 14:48

Winter Foot Blues?

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Dry, scaly, itchy feet plaguing you?! In the winter, our patients often complain that their feet are itchy and scaly, dry and calloused.  Sometimes this is due to lack of air circulation in closed, confined shoes.  Other times, we find that our patients are suffering from an affliction known as Athlete’s Foot.  Athlete’s foot can usually be treated with over-the-counter creams and sprays.  However, sometimes, a stronger prescription medicine needs to be prescribed.  Other times, we find that our patients may be suffering from skin conditions such as: psoriasis of the feet.  In this instance, prescription creams are necessary.  At Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland, we offer four convenient locations to cater to your podiatry needs:  Owings- (410) 257-2242, LaPlata- (301) 934-3345, Huntington- (410) 535-1719, and Lexington Park- (301) 863-6601.  Our skilled doctors, Dr. Jeffrey Idol, Dr. Judith Olkaba, and Dr. Ruth P. Devadas are here to help.

  In the interim, before you are able to get in to see us, these are some helpful home remedies you can turn to that will help minimize the itchiness and dryness associated with the above mentioned conditions: 

  • Wash and apply cream to the feet whenever possible.
  • Some examples of very rich, hydrating creams are: Aquafor, Vaseline, and any body butters.
  • If you have very calloused feet, you can apply the creams at bedtime “under occlusion”, which means to cover the feet with plastic wrap after applying the cream, and sleep with the cream covered, plastic             wrap covered feet overnight.  Often putting socks on top, helps keep the plastic wrap in place.
  • Put baby powder on your feet before putting shoes and socks on.  Also sprinkle some in your shoes to minimize sweating and foot odor.

If these tactics don’t provide enough relief, we are here to help!  Come make an appointment, so our skilled team can diagnose and treat your problem at any of our convenient four locations at Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland.

Monday, 09 January 2017 12:36

Understanding Bunions

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bunions10Up to 60 percent of older adults are affected by a foot disorder, including bunions. Known as one of the more common foot disorders, bunions form as a bony bump on the side of your foot, near the base of the big toe. Bunions can be caused by genes or by wearing ill-fitting tight shoes for long periods of time. Preventing the progression of your bunions involves wearing properly-fitting shoes that accommodate your toes, are not too high in heels, and have good arch support.

Bunions can be very troublesome if they are not treated correctly. If you are having problems with your bunions contact one of our podiatrists from Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs by the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.

Why do Bunions Form?

  • Genetics – susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary
  • Stress on the feet – poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can cause bunions to form

How are Bunions Diagnosed?

Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.

How are Bunions Treated?

  • Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
  • Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
  • Orthotics or foot inserts
  • Surgery

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Maryland. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Bunions

Monday, 02 January 2017 00:52

Foot and Knee Injuries Affect Overall Health

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foot pain4Understanding your body is crucial toward treatment and prevention of knee and foot injuries. Knee and foot injuries can occur as a result of any physical activity, such as running or even just walking. The knee joint in particular is a complex joint, surrounded by ligaments, allowing us to walk and run. Knee injuries can become especially severe if left untreated, potentially leading to a loss of muscle strength and mobility over time. It’s recommended to seek the advice of your podiatrist and possibly follow up with physical therapy treatment. Surgery is also a potential treatment option, depending on the severity of the injury.

Regardless of season or weather, everyday foot care should be practiced year round. For more information about everyday foot care, contact one of our podiatrists from Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Everyday Foot Care

Often, people take care of their bodies, face and hair more so than they do for their feet. But the feet are a very important aspect of our bodies, and one that we should pay more attention to. After all, without our feet, we would not be able to perform most daily tasks. It is best to check your feet regularly to make sure there are no new bruises or cuts that you may not have noticed before, for example.

For dry feet, moisturizer can easily be a remedy and can be applied as often as necessary to the affected areas. Wearing shoes that fit well can also help you maintain good foot health, as well as making it easier to walk and do daily activities without the stress or pain of ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or even flip flops.

Also, wearing clean socks with closed shoes is important to ensure that sweat and bacteria do not accumulate within the shoe. Clean socks help to prevent athlete’s foot, fungi problems, bad odors, and can absorb sweat.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Maryland. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.
Read more about Everyday Foot Care

Monday, 26 December 2016 05:34

Ingrown Toenails: Causes and Preventions

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ingrown toenailIngrown toenails can occur when too much pressure is exerted on the toenails, typically on the big toenail. Ingrown toenails, if left untreated, are painful and can potentially lead to infection. Understanding your daily routine is vital to prevention. If you exercise often or wear high heels, take heed of your shoes. Improperly-fitting shoes and socks can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails. Make sure to take proper care of your toenails, keep your cuticles intact and cut your toenails straight across.

Ingrown toenails can be an easy fix if treated properly. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, contact one of our podiatrists from Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.


  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition


Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.


Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Maryland. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read More about Ingrown Toenails

Monday, 19 December 2016 02:07

Morton’s Neuroma Painful, but Treatable

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mortons neuroma2Morton’s neuroma affects about 30 percent of people, and exists as a condition in which the foot’s second toe may be larger than the big toe. Because of this irregularity, this can lead to overpronation as we do everyday activity, resulting in inflammation of the nerve between the second and third metatarsals. This is known as Morton’s neuroma. Treating your Morton’s neuroma involves seeing your doctor, wearing prescribed orthotics and possibly injections or surgery as a last option.

Morton’s neuroma can be a difficult condition to contend with. If you are experiencing symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma, contact one of our podiatrists from Family Foot Care of Southern Maryland. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Morton’s Neuroma
Morton's neuroma is a painful foot condition that commonly affects the areas between the third and fourth toe and the ball of the foot, although other areas of the foot are also susceptible to this condition. Morton’s neuroma is caused by an inflamed nerve in the foot that is being squeezed and aggravated by surrounding bones. Women are more likely than men to have an occurrence of this foot condition.

What Increases the Chances of having Morton’s Neuroma?
-Ill-fitting high heels or shoes that add pressure to the toe or foot area.
-Jogging, running and any sports that involve constant impact to the foot area.
-Flat feet, bunions, and any other foot deformity may put you at a higher risk for developing Morton’s neuroma.

If you suspect that you may have this condition, you should visit your podiatrist. A podiatrist will first conduct a thorough physical examination to check for palpable masses between the bones of the foot.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Maryland. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more on Morton’s Neuroma