Posts for tag: Raynaud’s Disease
More than 50 years have passed since the Surgeon General first warned Americans about the dangers of cigarette smoking. By now, you know that smoking is dangerous for your heart and your lungs but do you know that smoking is bad for your foot health, too?
Podiatrists can often tell which patients are smokers just by looking at the skin on their feet, which is typically thinner, shinier, and redder than that of other patients. It also takes smokers longer to heal from surgery than others.
Additionally, smoking is a major factor in the development of a variety of vascular health issues. Because they are farthest from your heart, blood doesn’t circulate as easily to your hands and feet as to other parts of your body. That’s why they’re often cold. This problem is made worse if you smoke.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
When plaque builds up in your arteries, they become stiff and narrow, making it hard for blood to circulate, especially to your extremities. This is Peripheral Arterial Disease. While it’s possible to develop PAD without symptoms, you will probably notice changes in your body. Typical symptoms include leg pain while standing or walking, or sores and injuries on the feet that heal poorly, if at all.
Everyone is at risk for PAD. However, smokers’ risk of developing this condition is four times greater than non-smokers’. Smokers also tend to develop PAD earlier and more severely than non-smokers. Diabetes is another common risk factor for decreased circulation to the feet. The risk of podiatric damage in diabetic smokers is particularly high.
Raynaud’s Disease is a condition in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet periodically spasm and overreact to cold temperatures. This situation is temporary, but uncomfortable. Cigarette smoking contributes to and exacerbates Raynaud’s Disease.
Buerger’s Disease causes blood vessels in the arms and legs to swell, interfering with blood flow, leading to clots, pain, tissue damage, and even gangrene. Almost all patients with the condition are current or former smokers. People who smoke more than a pack a day are most at risk.
The most common podiatric symptoms of Buerger’s Disease are:
- Pain in the legs, ankles, or feet when walking or standing
- Pale, red, blue, cold, or painful feet
- Skin changes, sores, or ulcers on the feet
You can control your risk of the negative health consequences caused by cigarette smoking. Dr. Dr. Jeffrey Kahn recommends that you cut down or quit as soon as possible. New medications are available to help you. To keep your feet feeling their best, click here to make an appointment in one of our offices in Rocky Hill, Bristol, Middletown, Glastonbury, Newington, and Kensington today.
Many people live with extremely dry skin. Dry skin on the feet can lead to with cracked heels, also known as heel fissures. Heel cracks can be unsightly and embarrassing especially if you want to wear sandals or other shoes that expose your feet. Even worse, a tiny crack can cause a great deal of pain.
Circulation issues, including Raynaud’s Disease and problems caused by diabetes are the most common cause of heel cracks. Other factors include:
- Weather: as humidity goes down, heel cracks go up. This is why you’re more likely to get them in the winter than in the summer.
- Long hours standing at work or at home, especially on hard wooden or tiled floors.
- Obesity: the heel expands to support increased weight and this can cause the skin to split.
- Spending excessive amounts of time barefoot or in open shoes while indoors.
- Badly fitted shoes that don’t offer good support to the heel.
- Poor hygiene.
- Deficiency of vitamins and minerals.
- Hormonal imbalances.
Jeffrey Kahn, DPM offers the following tips to prevent heel cracks:
- Use a pumice stone to reduce and remove the buildup of calluses.
- Moisturize your heels twice daily.
- Use an exfoliating lotion weekly.
- Keep feet covered with socks and shoes.
- Keep yourself well hydrated inside and out. Drink plenty of water.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet rich in essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 acids.
If the skin on your feet gets very dry and a small crack develops, help it heal with this simple, 4-step bedtime solution:
- Take a bath or shower, or soak your feet in a tub of warm water.
- Dry your feet well.
- Apply a thin layer of heavy cream or petroleum jelly.
- Put on a pair of cotton socks overnight.
Are you concerned about heel cracks or anything else about your foot health? Dr. Jeffrey Kahn and the staff at Connecticut Foot Care Centers, LLC are here to help. Click here to make a convenient appointment in our Rocky Hill, Bristol, Middletown, Glastonbury, Newington, or Kensington offices today. Our offices are equipped with state of the art equipment and our doctors have years of training and experience. They can remove calluses, heal those cracks, and get your feet feeling better right away.