Posts for: October, 2019
It’s almost time for Halloween and at Connecticut Foot Care Centers we’d like to make our contribution to this scary season by discussing some symptoms of foot conditions that might give you a fright.
Oozing—it’s never a pretty sight when skin or toenails show signs of discharge, particularly if it’s foul-smelling or looks like pus. This is not a symptom to ignore. With some disorders such as athlete’s foot, it means the infection is progressing with an increased risk of spreading to other parts of your body. If pus is present, there’s a good chance an infection has developed. If the area feels warm and tender and/or you have a fever, as well, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Black toes—although looking down and seeing that your toenail is black may be alarming, it’s not usually a reason for concern. The black that you see is most likely blood that has pooled under the nail, often as a result of an injury or trauma such as a heavy object falling on the toe. This is also a common condition for runners, dancers and other patients who participate in an activity where the toe repeatedly rubs up against the front of the shoe.
Lumps—the tricky thing about
Foot conditions can be tricky to diagnose by appearance alone. It’s always best to get suspicious symptoms checked out promptly to get the proper treatment.
At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we know that swollen ankles can be uncomfortable and even painful. Thanks to gravity, your ankles and feet are prime areas for excess fluid in your body to collect. The reasons behind the swelling--known as edema in the medical world—can range from something minor to a major medical concern. Below are seven possible causes of swelling in your ankles.
- It’s the beginning of arthritis. Not just a single disease, arthritis is an umbrella term that covers over 100 conditions that can negatively affect the health of your joints. Joint inflammation can result in swelling. You may also feel pain and experience redness and heat around the joint.
- You’re not moving—simply standing or sitting in one place for too long can cause ankles to swell.
- You’ve put on a few extra pounds. Being overweight can put extra stress on your joints and trigger fluid retention. In severely overweight or obese people, extra fat cells contain excess
hormones whichcan also cause your body to retain water.
- You have high blood pressure or heart disease. Swelling in your ankles (and your feet and legs) can be a sign that your heart is not pumping properly.
- You’ve got a bacterial infection. Although it’s possible to have an infection develop from a wound in or near your ankle joint, any bacteria that
entersyour bloodstream can end up causing an infection in any of your joints. Telltale signs of infection include heat and redness around the joint and also a fever.
- It’s your medication. There are several medicines, both prescription and over the counter that can cause fluid retention and swollen ankles. These include certain blood pressure medications, some antidepressants, hormones and anti-inflammatory steroids. Even NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can cause ankles to blow up.
- Your veins aren’t working the way they should. Over time,
veinscan stretch out and valves in them can start to leak, resulting in blood pooling your ankles and feet. This is more likely to happen if you are over the age of 50 and female.
Ongoing swelling of your ankles or swelling that gets worse suddenly or is accompanied by other serious symptoms like fever, shortness of breath or feeling lightheaded requires immediate medical attention. Contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices and our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M.
At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we know patients are able to readily identify a hammertoe by its characteristic bent shape causing it to resemble a hammer. However, they often don’t know much about what causes them or what treatments are available. Below are some facts about this common
FACT: Hammertoe is actual a deformity of or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toe. It is caused by a muscle imbalance.
FACT: Hammertoes are a progressive condition. This means they will get worse over time unless treatment intervenes with the progression. In their early stages, hammertoes are still flexible and the toe can be straightened using conservative measures. Left untreated, the hammertoe will become rigid and unable to bend. At that point, surgery is the only option for correcting the deformity.
FACT: In addition to examining your toe and foot, the podiatrist will likely order an x-ray of the foot. This will be used to assess the severity of the deformity and also to monitor its progression in the future.
FACT: A secondary condition that often accompanies hammertoes is painful corns. These develop on the top and front of the toe as a result of rubbing and pressure from footwear on this part of the toe that is exposed due to the
FACT: There are several effective treatment options for hammertoes. These include:
- Changing your shoes to styles made of soft materials with roomy toe boxes
- Doing exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles
- Straps to realign the bent toe
- A custom orthotic device to help correct the muscle imbalance and foot position
- Icing and oral medications
- Pads to cushion and protect corns if they have formed
If you have noticed your toe appearing to be bending oddly at the joint, don’t delay. Contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices so that our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M.
Ah, that crisp fall air and leaves changing colors—that’s autumn in Connecticut and a time when many of our patients at Connecticut Foot Care Centers enjoy going hiking. And while hiking is a great way to take in the beauty of fall, it can also be injurious to the health of your feet if you fail to take the proper precautions. Below are some reminders to consider before you hit the trail.
Do Your Homework—before setting out on a hike, study the trail you are considering. Note how long it is as well as the degree of difficulty. Determine the type of surface you will be walking on and the elevations. Remember, a mile around your neighborhood is vastly different from a mile hiking up a mountain!
Get the Right Shoes—like all activities, your feet need to have the right footwear for maximum comfort and safety. Hiking boots should be made of sturdy material, well-insulated and moisture-proof and have steel or graphite shanks. If you have chronic weak ankles, choose a high-top style for added ankle support. Proper hiking boots protect your feet and reduce tendon and muscle fatigue. Your hiking shoes/boots should have a good tread to help compensate for loose rock and natural material on the trail.
Pair with Good Socks—even with the right shoes, the wrong socks can ruin your hike. When feet sweat, friction between foot and footwear is increased and this means a greater likelihood of getting blisters. A good strategy is to wear two pairs of socks: One thin, synthetic sock to help keep feet dry and then a pair of wool socks over them to add warmth and cushioning. Look for materials that wick moisture away from your feet. Damp feet are more prone to fungal infections.
Stock Your Pack—while you don’t want to be weighed down, a few small items will go a long way toward making your hike more comfortable. Pack moleskin and apply to any spot on your foot as soon as it begins to feel sore or irritated to prevent blisters. Bring an extra pair of socks and of course a water bottle, which will help you stay hydrated and reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.
If you do sustain an injury while hiking or are experiencing foot pain after you return, be sure 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.