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Posts for: December, 2017

By Crofton Podiatry
December 29, 2017
Category: Arthritis

You may have heard older loved ones talk about how the weather affects their joints. Days characterized by poor weather seem to make symptoms worse, especially when it’s raining or cold. For those who struggle with arthritis pain, even the day-to-day can be difficult; so when the winter chill rolls in, joint pain management can be more challenging. And of course, the many joints present in the feet and ankles are also prone to feeling more achy, stiff, and/or painful.

We mentioned some ways you can care for your arthritic feet in a previous post, but the following are some additional tips for foot care and pain management in the cold winter weather:

  • Dress warmly. Always wear socks when you go outside – double up if you get cold easily. If your feet get cold easily, even indoors, wear socks or slippers (with non-slip grips on the bottom for smooth floors; smooth bottomed socks and slippers for carpet).
  • Eat nutritiously, including vitamin D supplements, especially if you have osteoarthritis. Less hours of sunlight and winter weather can mean a vitamin D deficiency for many. Also be sure to add plenty of sources of omega-3 fatty acids for joint health.
  • Stay physically active, both inside and outside. Taking brisk walks and doing aerobic exercises (on an exercise mat) are great ways to keep your blood pumping and your feet and ankles engaged.
  • Keep up with physical therapy, if that is part of your arthritis care. It may even be beneficial to start physical therapy during the weather for worse symptoms. Talk to your physician or our podiatrist for more information.
  • Wear safe shoes and be careful with winter activities and sports. Over-the-counter orthotic inserts may help, but you may need custom orthotics to reduce painful symptoms. If you must go outside in the cold or snow, be sure to wear warm shoes that have non-skid outer soles.
  • Stay hydrated to help with circulation. Some studies suggest that dehydration can make you more sensitive to pain!
  • Take warm baths and get foot massages. Warm baths, hot tubs, or warm water swimming pools can be helpful in relieving arthritis pain. Additionally, find relief by pampering your feet with a foot soak and massage.

If the winter weather has got your feet or ankles in pain, consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry to make sure it isn’t something else causing the pain. Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505. Our team is ready to assist you at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding areas of Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie, MD.


By Crofton Podiatry
December 18, 2017
Category: Feet Safety

When you think about it, there are some clearly identifiable dangers to your foot health, such as blunt trauma and sports injuries. But did you know that some of your everyday habits might be posing risks as well? While some are a bit more obvious than others, we encourage you to review the following risk factors to see how much you know about what can be affecting your foot health!

Where you walk:

  • Outdoors – For those who like to be barefoot, you can have exposure to disease and sharp objects.
  • Indoors –When walking on smooth surfaces, you want to be careful of slipping. Older adults, in particular should wear non-slip socks or slippers. However, when walking on carpet, you do not want non-slip soles since they can trip you up.

The Way You walk:

  • Gait – Depending on the way you roll your ankles, the way the feet touch the ground, you may be more prone to having heel or ankle pain. You may want to get a gait analysis done by our podiatrist to screen for risks.
  • Heavy stomping – If you tend to have “lead” feet when you walk, you may be more prone to ankle, knee, and hip pain from the impact on hard floors. Wearing cushioned slippers can reduce the impact experienced by your legs.

Shoes you wear:

  • Size matters! – Be sure that you and your children wear shoes that fit appropriately. If shoes are too small, feet will be crammed and can develop corns and calluses. If shoes are too big, feet can slide around inside and they have to work harder to stabilize you, resulting in sore muscles.
  • Flats, flip flops, high heels, and pointy toe shoes – These do not have adequate support and can lead to injury as well as strained muscles and tendons as your feet and ankles work overtime to keep you stable. High heels put excessive pressure on the balls of the feet as well as cram the toes. This can lead to bunions and other foot deformities, as well as arch and heel pain.

Your workouts:

  • Not stretching your ankles and calves, sudden increases in workout, and high impact activities can all be causes of injury due to your physical activity routines. Overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis are typical foot problems from your workouts. 

Lifestyle and other Risk Factors:

  • Being overweight or obese and/or having a sedentary lifestyle can lead to poor circulation and excessive strain on the feet.
  • Smoking – Among a host of other health problems, you have a higher chance of developing Peripheral Artery Disease, in which plaque builds up in your arteries, making it hard for blood to reach your feet. Your feet can begin to feel pain and be slower to heal injuries.
  • Drinking excessively – This can lead to alcoholic neuropathy, in which there is weakness, pain, and tingling in the hands and feet. Eventually, nerve damage can result in loss of sensation and poor circulation, which means poor healing.

While not a complete list, these are risk factors that you should check often when considering foot health. If you have found that one or more of these may be affecting your foot health, consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505 to receive a thorough assessment. Contact our dedicated team at our Crofton office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie, MD areas.

 


By Crofton Podiatry
December 13, 2017
Category: Bunion

Not only do bunions run in the family, they are more likely to affect women because of the types of shoes they wear. Just ask some famous women who are known for sporting the high heels: Amal Clooney, Victoria Beckham, and Jennifer Lopez. These celebrities have been spotted with the big toe joint deformity and as with everyone else, need to take care of them.

The usual treatment options for small or newly forming bunions include:

  • Bunion pads to cushion the bump from irritation in shoes,
  • Splints to keep the big toe forward instead of turned in toward the other toes,
  • Changing to shoes without high heels and with a roomier toe box,
  • Orthotic inserts to relieve pressure on the big toe joint, AND
  • Cortisone injections for pain relief.

However, for some, bunions can just keep getting worse, with a bony spur developing to the point where it’s difficult to find shoes that will fit properly. The symptoms associated with the deformity can be debilitating, to the point of not being able to walk without pain. It can even lead to other problems with the feet as the deformity causes other problems like corns and calluses, and hammertoes.

When bunions get in the way of your living your life, our podiatrist may turn the conversation toward bunion surgery. Here’s what you should know:

  • Bunion surgery is usually a last resort after all other options have been explored.
  • It is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.
  • The bunion can be surgically corrected by removing bony spurs or by cutting and realigning the big toe joint.
  • Other procedures may be required, depending on the extent of the bunion problem. If the bunion is due to arthritis or other joint problem, screws or metal plates may be needed to replace the joint.
  • It takes many weeks to recover. Rest is important so the foot should not bear weight. Using crutches and wearing a boot or cast is necessary for protection. There will probably be swelling for a few weeks.
  • The time it takes to heal properly will depend on the procedure and how well you adhere to rehabilitation steps (such as physical therapy).
  • This is not necessarily a one-time fix. Bunions can recur, especially if you go back to old habits that made it worse in the first place.

If bunions have affected your lifestyle, and have been a persistent problem for you, consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505 to receive a thorough assessment to see if surgery is the answer. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding areas of Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie.


By Crofton Podiatry
December 06, 2017
Category: Proper Footwear

The cold weather has come and it looks like it’s here to stay! We’ve talked about “Keeping Your Feet Warm” and “Winter Foot Care for Diabetics” in previous posts, but another important aspect of winter foot care includes choosing the right footwear during these cold months. The following are some questions to consider when choosing your winter boots to keep your feet injury and pain-free:

What is the condition of any winter boots that you already own?

  • Do they still fit you, and are they comfortable when you put them on? Do they support your arch and heels, or do the insoles feel flat?
  • Also, check the outer sole. One of the most important parts of winter boots are their non-skid properties, so if tread on the outer sole has worn down (and if the other parts of the shoes are worn out), it’s important to get a new pair. 

What is the weather like where you live?

  • Do you get a lot of snow (and need non-slip tread) or are you more likely to encounter ice (in which case you may need ice grip attachments)? Maybe everything becomes slushy, so your priority is waterproofing.

What activities will you be performing?

  • If you won’t be performing any winter-related sports activities or trekking out into the wilderness, it’s likely that regular winter boots – comfortable, warm, with good tread on the outer sole – will do the job.
  • However, if you will be participating in activities like winter hiking, ice fishing, or even ice climbing, you’d better have the appropriate shoes that are specifically designed to keep you safe during those activities. They will have features like built-in liners, laces that you can tighten (as opposed to slip on boots), and waterproofing to keep your feet warm and dry. During most of these activities, you’ll likely be in very cold temperatures, so even the slightest bit of wetness in the shoes can lead to frostbite!

What kind of socks will you be wearing?

  • Especially when trying on new activity-specific shoes, make sure to wear the socks (or ones of the same thickness) that you plan to wear with them to ensure a good fit. If you change the socks, it can affect the fit, either leaving too much room in the shoes or being too tight. This could affect performance, restrict blood flow to your toes, or cause your feet to slide around inside, reducing agility.
  • For everyday winter boots, you should still wear socks with your shoes, even if they are fur-lined. While they may be warm, the warmth can actually cause your feet to sweat and increase foot odor. Beyond that, you can bring germs like bacteria and fungus into your shoes, which can live in your warm boots. Wear clean socks each day to prevent infection.

Do you have concerns about how your winter boots fit? You may need custom orthotic inserts, especially if you have previous foot or ankle issues. Consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. Make an appointment at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas. Call (410) 721-4505 today to receive a thorough assessment by our dedicated podiatric team.





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2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25
Crofton, MD 21114

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