Monday, October 10, 2011

Turf Toe: A Tough Injury to Overcome

With the fall weather comes football season – and unfortunately, with football season comes injury. Whether you find yourself at your local football field to cheer on your own football star, cheering on your high school team from the stands, watching the Buckeyes take the field on Saturdays or the Bengals or Browns on Sundays, chances are you’ll hear the expression “turf toe” at one time or another this season. The expression turf toe might lead one to believe that the injury is a minor ailment limited only to those wearing football helmets and jerseys; however, this is not the case. Turf toe often plagues dancers as well, and can actually impact anyone in the right circumstances as it is an injury to the soft tissue around the big toe joint that occurs when the toe is extended beyond its normal range of motion.

Turf toe isn’t a simple injury that pulls a player out of a game or a dancer out of a single performance. It can leave athletes sidelined for weeks in extreme pain.

The good news is that there are a few precautions you could take to limit your risk for turf toe. The number one recommendation is to wear shoes with support to prevent the toe joint from bending too far. Your podiatrist may also be able to recommend or prescribe special inserts for you that will help prevent this.
Particularly if you’ve had more than one battle with turf toe, it may benefit you to consult with a physical therapist or sports medicine specialist to see if there are steps you can take to help correct any problems with your natural gait or develop some ways to help reduce the likelihood of injury.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Feeling the Pinch this Autumn? Bunions May Be to Blame

With the curtain closed on summer and sandal season, fall is the season during which Community Foot Specialists sees an upswing in patients whose feet are feeling the pinch in their closed-toe footwear. This seasonal phenomenon seems to focus on women, although there are men who have this issue. The common culprit? Painful bunions that were given room to breathe during sandal season, but now face close quarters of a fall boot or shoe.

Bunions are abnormalities that form on the joint at the base of the big toe in the form of a bony bump. They occur when the big toe pushes against the other toes, which force the big toe joint in the opposite direction. As time passes, the abnormal positioning of the toe enlarges the joint. This further crowds the toes of the foot and causes pain and discomfort.

Bunions can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most common causes is tight shoes, although they can also come about as a result of an inherited structural or mechanical defect, a stress to the foot, or a medical condition.

To help avoid bunions, don’t wear pointed shoes. Choose footwear with a wide foot box to give all of your toes plenty of room. If bunions become so painful that they impede daily activities, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons recommends discussing surgical options with your podiatrist. However, please note that Community Foot Specialists firmly believes in exhausting the most conservative foot care treatment options first before considering surgery.

Community Foot Specialists can be reached at 937-426-9500. Or you may visit our website to request an appointment, view common conditions we treat, or get any other info you might need.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tips on Orthotics

If you have orthotics or are considering purchasing them, you may want to consider the following tips to ensure that you are getting the most for your money and doing the best thing for your feet. First, keep in mind that orthotics are not just for wearing with one particular type of shoe – they can be worn with athletic shoes, dress shoes, work boots, snow shoes – pretty much all types of shoes that have a back to them and provide some support at the base of the shoe.  

When going shoe shopping, be sure to bring your orthotics with you and wear them when trying on new shoes. You want to be sure that the shoe will work with the orthotic while providing comfort and the right kind of support for your foot. Likewise, you want to be sure that the orthotic will work with the shoe you have in mind.

Also, you will want to have the same shoes or stockings that you plan to wear with the shoes you purchase so that you can see how they work with your orthotics and your shoes. Make sure they are comfortable and functional.

Return to your podiatrist’s office for a follow-up evaluation of the functioning of your orthotics to ensure that they are working as they should with your feet. Your podiatrist will work to be sure that he or she has prescribed the orthotic to best meet your specific needs.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Moving to Electronic Medical Records

by Dr. Allen C. Guehl

Regardless of your opinion on health care reform and whether the U.S. will be able to convert all medical records into the electronic format by the 2014 deadline, there is no denying that in this technological age, movement toward electronic medical records is all but certain.

Community Foot Specialists wants to be a step ahead of all other Dayton Ohio podiatrists in terms of electronic medical records. We are already well on our way to achieving compliance ahead of the 2014 deadline.

So what does the shift to electronic medical records mean for our patients? Even if you are just visiting us for heel pain or ingrown nails, we will be asking all patients for updated allergy information, including information on the severity and type of allergic reaction you may experience. We will also be asking for your email address, so that you can also have access to your electronic medical records if you choose to. Electronic medical records will also allow us to send your prescriptions directly to your pharmacy, which we hope will be an added convenience for you. Although we will only be treating your feet, electronic medical records will also allow us to communicate your plan of care to your family doctor to help streamline your overall care.

We ask for your patience and understanding as we transition. We are hopeful that this change to electronic medical records will be beneficial for all of our patients and for us as your doctors. If you have any questions or concerns about electronic medical records, please let us know. Your privacy and health information is very important to us, and we take your concerns very seriously. Thank you.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Study: More Americans Having Bouts with Gout

A new study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism reveals that 8.3 million Americans suffer from the incapacitating condition of gout – up from 6.1 million Americans 20 years ago.

Gout is caused by high uric acid levels in the bloodstream, causing crystals that precipitate in joints of the foot. Gout pain typically affects the joint of the big toe. (This is true in just about 75% of cases.) As uric acid levels increase, so does the likelihood of gout pain. Gout pain typically manifests in episodes – called gout attacks or gout flares. During a gout attack or gout flare, a person feels an extreme amount of pain and experiences severe swelling and redness in the big toe. A gout attack or gout flare can last just hours or days, but over time they can last longer, occur with greater frequency, or even become more painful.

These attacks or flares may occur only at certain times of the year. Typically they start during the night without warning. Patients sometimes complain that it hurts to even have a sheet touch the inflamed area when lying in bed. A number of triggers have been identified which are responsible for gout attacks. They include alcohol, dehydration, certain medications, stress, certain diets that are high in purines from meat and fish, and rapid lowering of uric acid levels with medication.

Treatment of gout is usually done with anti-inflammatory medication and steroids. Lifestyle changes – such as the avoidance of alcohol, diet low in purines from meat and fish, and even exercise – can be helpful in lessening the likelihood that you will suffer from gout attacks.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Worried about warts? Here's what you should know.

With the beautiful summer weather comes more time by the pool. And with more time by the pool comes more foot ailments – particularly plantar warts.

This is because plantar warts are caused by a virus. They are fairly common, occurring on the sole of the foot. They are more prone to develop in areas on the sole where there is more pressure and friction.

The wart develops on the superficial, outermost area of the skin and appears as a thickened growth – almost like a callus. While normally not painful, if the wart is located on an area that is subjected to pressure it can become quite tender.

It is important to know that because warts are caused by a virus, they are contagious. In summer, it is common to see a number of patients with plantar warts picked up from walking barefoot at the pool or using the pool showers without wearing flip flops or water shoes. While plantar warts can be seen in all age groups, they are most common among children 12-16. We also see an upswing of plantar warts in the fall when college students head back to the dorms.

Since warts are common among children, it is important to make sure your children understand the importance of wearing footwear whenever possible, even when walking around the pool and especially in the shower/locker room area. Also, you should make a point to ask your child about their feet periodically or check their feet yourself for any evidence of warts or other foot conditions. Sometimes they may be embarrassed to tell you about a problem, think it is normal, or not even notice that there is a problem. However, if they are walking barefoot in your home, they could be spreading the virus on your floors and putting other members of your family at risk for warts.

And finally – please do not try any do-it-yourself fixes to rid yourself of the warts. At Community Foot Specialists, we’ve seen patients who have tried cutting the wart from your foot or the duct tape remedy you read about various places on the internet. Resorting to such methods may lead to infection. We have a few different methods available to treat the affected area. Contact our office for details.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Make Sure Wedded Bliss Doesn't Spell Agony for Your Feet

Are you taking a walk down the aisle anytime soon? Invited to a wedding where you plan to dance all night? Make sure you say “I do” to wearing appropriate foot wear for the occasion – and your feet will thank you.

If you are the one making the trip down the aisle, don’t make your shoes your ‘something new’ for the day. Take some time to break in new shoes prior to your wedding day. Wear them around for the length of time you would be wearing them on that particular day to put them to the comfort test (and acclimate your feet to them). If they are not comfortable enough to wear for as long as you would want them to, you may want to consider getting two pairs – one fancier pair to make it through the ceremony and formal photos, and another more comfortable pair to kick up your heels in at your reception. Flip flops tend to be a popular reception shoe, but most do not provide much in terms of support. And if you are wearing a long gown, flip flops might prove a tripping hazard.

Also, if you are the bride, you may want to suggest that your bridesmaids change into more comfy shoes at the reception so you will have more company on the dance floor as you dance the night away.

If you are a guest to a friend or family member’s nuptials, do not overlook comfort when selecting your footwear – particularly if you plan to join the bride and groom on the dance floor for much of the evening. There are numerous styles of formal footwear that you could choose that would provide both the necessary support and the welcome comfort to ensure that your feet will be feelin’ fine.