May is Older Americans Month, and at Connecticut Foot Care Centers that gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate our senior patients. It’s a myth that getting older automatically means foot pain and problems. Many conditions that affect the feet of seniors, including diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes as well as common foot and ankle problems can be prevented with proper care. Below are six simple ways to protect your feet as you age.
- Don’t ignore foot pain. At any age, foot pain is not “normal.” The best outcomes for podiatric disorders occur when problems are diagnosed and treated promptly. If you experience pain or discomfort, contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices for an appointment.
- Boost your calcium intake. The bones in your feet carry your entire body. To stay strong, they need ample amounts of this mineral. Obvious sources are dairy products, but if you are lactose intolerant, turn to leafy greens, seeds, canned fish like sardines and salmon, fortified breads, juices and cereals or supplements to meet your daily requirement.
- Keep moving. Exercise has many benefits to your feet. It helps maintain range of motion and flexibility as well as aiding you in maintaining an appropriate weight.
- Practice self-exams. Get in the habit of regularly inspecting your feet or ask a family member or caregiver to do it for you. Look for growths, lumps, changes in toenails, rashes, bruising or swelling and let our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. know if you find anything concerning.
- Fall-proof your home. Do a walk through with a family member or friend and evaluate areas that could increase the risk of falls and fractures. Some things to check include: loose carpets or throw rugs, clutter or electrical cords on the floor, poor lighting in stairwells and hallways, bathrooms that need grab bars or no stick surfaces in tubs, railings on both sides of the stairs.
- Get your feet measured. Shoe size can change when you get older. Buy shoes that are sturdy with non-slip soles and roomy toe boxes.
Helping you care for your feet so you can continue to live the active life you love is our goal. If you have questions about foot health care, contact us today.
Do you suffer from ongoing ankle pain or stiffness? Do your ankles feel weak and do they frequently twist or give way when you are walking or standing? At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we know that chronic ankle problems can be very debilitating and prevent you from leading the active life you love.
Tracking Down the Cause
The first step if you are experiencing uncomfortable ankle symptoms is to contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices for an appointment. One of our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M., will do a complete examination of your ankle and foot. The foot doctor will want to get information about previous ankle sprains and injuries as part of a complete medical history. The podiatrist may order x-rays (which can be done in office) or other imaging studies in addition to physically checking your ankle for signs of tenderness, pain or swelling.
The most common cause of chronic ankle pain and instability is a previous sprain that was not fully rehabilitated. Too often patients don’t complete all the sessions of physical therapy or other treatment recommendations of their podiatrist because the pain stops, and they think they are ready to resume all their regular activities again. But, in addition to the ligaments being healed, surrounding muscles also need to be retrained and strengthened to give the ankle the full support needed to prevent further sprains. Other possible sources of ankle pain and weakness include:
- An undetected stress fracture
- Nerve compression (tarsal tunnel syndrome)
- A biomechanical defect affecting the structural alignment of the foot and ankle
Relieving Painful Symptoms
Once the podiatrist has determined the source of the symptoms you are experiencing with your ankle, the proper course of treatment can be determined. There are several options available including bracing, physical therapy, exercises, and surgery. The foot doctor will discuss the best choice for you. Don’t delay seeking treatment for chronic ankle problems. Contact us today.
Here in greater Hartford and Middlesex Counties, lawns are getting green and that means that the spring and summer chore of mowing the grass will soon be starting up again. At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we know that thousands of people sustain serious foot and toe injuries every year from mower accidents. What’s worse, most of these injuries could have been avoided. Below are some simple precautions that we’d like all of our patients to take to prevent mower injuries this season.
Get off to a safe start—have your mower checked and serviced before the first cut of the season to avoid malfunctions. If you are buying a new mower, make sure you get one with a switch that shuts off the machine automatically if your hands leave the mower. Read the user’s manual completely before using a new mower.
Wear protective shoes—don’t even think about mowing your lawn barefoot or in flip flops or other open shoes. Even if it’s hot out, work boots are your best choice. Mower blades whirl at 3,000 rotations per minute—that’s powerful enough to cut through sneakers and canvas shoes.
Make sure conditions are right—never mow a lawn that hasn’t completely dried out after a rainstorm. Losing control of a mower on a slippery lawn is the top cause of emergency room visits resulting from lawnmower injuries. Also be sure that your yard is cleared of debris, sticks, toys, and rocks that can be picked up and shot out of your mower causing serious injury to bystanders.
Keep children at a safe distance—teach youngsters not to set foot on the lawn while you’re mowing. Never give a child a ride on a mower. Too many tragedies occur when small feet get stuck under a mower climbing up or down.
Mow smart—for hills, mow slowly back and forth. Don’t go up and down and never try to pull a running mower backward. Make wide turns. Avoid mowing the lawn when you are tired or don’t feel well.
If you do sustain a non-emergency injury from a mower blade or twist an ankle on a slope, contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices. Our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. will examine your injured foot and make sure that your foot injury receives the proper treatment.
As the weather in Connecticut starts to warm up, we at Connecticut Foot Care Centers expect to start seeing more patients with fungal toenails. Patients may have a fungal toenail for a long time and not do anything about it because it may not cause any pain or discomfort. They are, however, unsightly. Fungal toenails are usually discolored, thick, brittle and crumbly at the edges. When it’s time for open-toed shoes and sandals, that’s when many patients decide to contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices. Our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. will examine your toenails and determine the source of the problem. We offer the latest, cutting-edge laser treatment for fungal toenails which can quickly restore your nail to its natural beauty. To avoid fungal toenails in the future, follow these suggestions:
DO: practice good podiatric hygiene. Wash feet daily with soap and dry completely.
DO: keep toenails trimmed straight across and do not allow them to extend beyond the tip of your toe.
DON’T: go barefoot in public places such as pools, beach changing areas and rest rooms, gyms, nail salons or anyplace else where people may walk with bare feet. Use shower shoes or flip flops.
DON’T: wear shoes or socks that are too tight. Choose breathable materials and look for socks made of synthetic fibers that wick away moisture from your feet.
DO: check that your nail salon sanitizes whirlpool foot baths and all nail tools properly after each customer.
DON’T: share emery boards, nail clippers, socks, shoes, towels or any other items that touch another person’s foot or toe.
If you suspect you may have a fungal toenail infection, it’s important that you get it diagnosed and treated. Fungal infections can spread to other parts of your body and may also lead to secondary infections in the nail bed. Contact us today to make an appointment.
A condition that we treat frequently at Connecticut Foot Care Centers is bunions. We find that most patients are able to easily identify a bunion by its telltale bump on the side of the big toe, but often don’t know much more about this disorder. Below are some facts to help you better understand bunions and what to do about them:
FACT: A bunion is a deformity in the bone which occurs as a result of an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe. The toe moving out of place and moving towards the second toe is what produces the bony protrusion on the side of the toe. In some cases, the toe will even overlap the third toe or rotate and twist. Bunions can lead to additional deformities as well, such as hammertoe.
FACT: Unfortunately, by the time a bunion is visibly obvious, it has progressed to a more severe state. The best time to evaluate and treat a bunion is in its earliest stages. If you notice even a slight appearance of your toe beginning to look crooked or out of place, or if you start to feel pain or numbness in the toe, that’s the time to contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices. Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. will quickly examine your toe and diagnose the source of your discomfort.
FACT: There several conservative treatments available for bunion sufferers, including:
- Modifying footwear and choosing styles with low heels and roomy toe boxes
- Custom orthotic devices to help correct the position of the foot and stabilize the joint
- Exercises and physical therapy to maintain range of motion and joint flexibility
- Night splints to realign the toe and joint
- Padding, if friction and pressure are causing pain to the toe
FACT: Although bunions are not inherited, the biomechanical defect that predisposes a patient to develop a bunion can be passed on. One of the best ways to prevent bunions is to limit time spent in footwear with high heels and narrow pointy toe boxes. Other conditions such as flat feet and neuromuscular problems can also lead to bunions. Taking care of your feet and not ignoring the pain and other symptoms can also lower your risk of bunions.
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