Next Step: Foot Care In Connecticut

Posts for: May, 2014

IBM researchers and a team in Singapore have taken a common plastic and turned it into a nanomedicine that is 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand and can be used to kill fungus that is resistant to antibiotics.

So for everyone who suffers from athlete's foot and toenail fungus, this is good news.

This new nanomedicine represents technology that was created in 2011 at the IBM Almaden research facility in San Jose, California, and at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore to attack bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics. The researchers believe they can take this nanomedicine and use it to only attack the bad cells within a body. This breakthrough in anti-fungal treatment will likely be commercialized, and has large ramifications for infections that affect over a billion people each year. 

They were able to have precise targeting because the researchers can create an electrical charge on the nano particles that is only attracted to fungi cells. The nano particles then attach themselves to the fungi cells and chemically combine with them, wiping them out.

Researchers are hopeful for this treatment option because it physically attacks the membrane wall of the fungus, and kills the cells before they become immune.

James Hedrick, an advanced organic materials scientist at IBM's Almaden center, said in an interview with VentureBeat that the nanomedicine can be made from plastic materials like polyethylene terephthalate and turned into non-toxic biocompatible materials that are made especially to attack fungal infection. 

"This was a continuation of work in the antimicrobial space," Hendrick said. "It's a new molecule that fights fungal infections, which are similar to mammal cells in that they are very hard to target. Normally, drugs indiscriminately attack fungi and healthy cells together."

Hedrick reiterated that the new nano particles are pathogen-specific and target set fungi, not healthy cells. IBM has labeled this research as a battle of Ninjas vs. Superbugs.

Over 1 billion people each year are affected by a fungal infection of some sort, not just on the feet. The body is more susceptible to these infections when it has an illness like HIV/AIDS, cancer, or when taking antibiotics. Traditional antifungal drugs get inside a cell to attack the infection, but have a difficult time breaking down the membrane wall. As well, drugs cannot differentiate between fungi cells and mammal cells.

Reference: Venture Beat

If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.

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Sinus tarsi is a syndrome specific to the sinus tarsi, also known as the eye of the foot, which is an opening outside the foot between the ankle and heel bone.

This syndrome was first described by Dr. Denis O'Connor in 1957. He created a surgical procedure, called the O'Connor procedure, that involves the removal of all or portions of the contents of the sinus tarsi.

Sinus tarsi syndrome can be caused by an inversion (rolling out) ankle sprain or a pinching or impingement of the soft tissues of the sinus tarsi due to an extremely pronated foot.

Patients typically complain of localized pain in the sinus tarsi region with a sense of instability and aggravation by weight bearing activity. These patients usually have a difficult time walking on grass, gravel, etc. A physical examination shows pain to palpation of the sinus tarsi with pain increasing on turning in or turning out. The foot and ankle joints may also be loose or instability.

Your podiatrist will examine the foot and order X-rays, a bone scan, CT scan, and/or MRI evaluation. However, this can be a difficult diagnosis to make, as other conditions and syndromes are often ruled out first.

Your podiatrist may recommend anti-inflammatories, stable shoes, periods of immobilization, ankle sleeves, and orthotics for decreasing the pain. Cases that are proving resistant to non-invasive treatment may require oral steroids, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Surgery is rarely necessary, but if unavoidable, open surgery through an incision or closed surgery via arthroscopy may be considered.

Sinus tarsi syndrome commonly happens after an ankle sprain or in someone who has a severely pronated foot. It is important to get a correct diagnosis so the root problem can be addressed

Reference: American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine

If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.

Connecticut Foot Care Centers

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In a new correlation study, those who have foot or ankle injuries are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D. This new relationship between vitamin D deficiency and the risk for foot and ankle injuries may help with dietary advice for seniors, athletes, and others with a propensity to have bone damage. 

Vitamin D has a dual purpose in our bodies: first to act as a nutrient and second to be a hormone. Traditionally it has been a main factor in helping to build and repair bone. Other research shows that vitamin D can reduce chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancers, multiple sclerosis, and infectious diseases. 

However, getting the amount of vitamin D you would need to promote your health is difficult. Dairy products and fatty fishes contain vitamin D, but most Americans do not consume enough of these to meet their daily intake requirements. Some foods now, like breakfast cereal, fortify their products with vitamin D. It is possible to get vitamin D through sun exposure, but one would have to sit outside every day for 15 minutes to receive the proper benefit. 

Those who do not receive enough vitamin D through their food intake will often be told by their physician to take a vitamin supplement. 

There is a debate going on among medical professionals as to how much vitamin D a person should acquire in a day. A 2010 study says that the USDA guidelines should be tripled to 600 IU per day. This is a level higher than what the average multivitamin contains, typically at 400 IU. It is unclear as to how much vitamin D is needed for optimum health.

The recent study published by Foot And Ankle International looked at the relationship between vitamin D and foot and ankle injuries. The study involved 75 people, all whom had suffered a foot or ankle injury. 47 patients had levels of vitamin D that would be considered insufficient (less than 03 ng/mL) and 13 percent were found to be vitamin D deficient. The study also found that those who had suffered a fracture had significantly less vitamin D than those who only sustained a sprain.

However, this was just a correlation study and there is no evidence to support the idea that vitamin D causes foot and ankle injuries or visa versa. Further studies would be needed with supporting evidence to prove this claim. 

Reference: Liberty Voice

If you believe you have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.

Connecticut Foot Care Centers

Podiatrists in CT

Visit our website, like our page on Facebook, and follow our tweets on Twitter.