DMFA Blog

Posts for: October, 2013

The Chicago Bears have the week off this Sunday, but did you know that three players on another NFL team – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – have been sidelined and made news in recent weeks for infections that began in their feet? 

Three Bucs players have been diagnosed with MRSA.  The list includes: lineman Carl Nicks, cornerback Johnthan Banks, and Lawrence Tynes, who was diagnosed in August. 

NFL.com reported that Nicks missed the first two games of the season, then returned to the field before an infection came back in his left foot.  Meanwhile, cbsnews.com reported, Tynes was sidelined with an ingrown toenail when he was diagnosed with MRSA.

 

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is sometimes called a “super bug” because this strain of bacteria has become resistant to most antibiotics.  

 

Here are some facts about the bacteria, commonly referred to as “staph infections,” from webmd.com:

 

·        Plenty of healthy people carry regular “staph” without being infected by it – 25 to 30 percent of the population has staph bacteria in their nose.

·        Staph can become a problem if it gets into the body, usually through a cut. Once there, it can cause an infection.

·        Staph is one of the most common causes of skin infections nationwide.  Most of the time, these are minor and don't need special treatment.  Less often, staph can cause serious issues such as infected wounds or pneumonia.

 

The Centers for Disease Control reports the risk of infection can be increased with activities that involve crowding, skin-to-skin contact and sharing equipment.  Folks such as athletes, students, members of the military in barracks may be at higher risk. 

 

This kind of skin infection can be spread through contact with an infected wound, such as showers or sharing towels, razors that touched infected skin.

 

Due to unnecessary overuse of antibiotics (such as taking antibiotics for a viral infection such as a cold,) or people not finishing the complete course of antibiotics, bacteria such as staph can mutate and become resistant to them.  MRSA is staph on steroids – standard penicillin and other types of antibiotics cannot kill it off.  When this happens, strong antibiotics may need to be infused through the veins, and the infected site may need to be surgically drained.  Left untreated, this bacteria can invade deeper into tissue and may pose a serious health risk. 

As podiatrists, Dr. Michelle Kim and Dr. Diana Emini suspect that walking barefoot in the locker room may have caused the spread of this nasty bug among the Bucs players.  Lesson learned:  Always wear shower shoes in public such as the pool or the gym! If you suspect you have any sort of foot infection -- an ingrown nail, a wart, or fungus – call DM Foot & Ankle Associates for an evaluation.

By Diana Emini

 

 

 

 


Halloween is almost here, and that means it's time to shop for costumes for both you, your kids and even your pets. According to Google Shopping's data, this year's top costume searches include: minions from “Despicable Me,” characters from the TV series “Breaking Bad,” Miley Cyrus – thanks (or no thanks) to her performance at MTVs Video Music Awards and flapper garb inspired by “The Great Gatsby.”

The kids may be saying, “Trick or Treat!”  But Dr. Emini and Dr. Kim are wondering, “What’s on your feet???”  Wearing well-fitting, supportive shoes while doing your rounds around the neighborhood is important for both you and the little ones and will help prevent foot pain.

Here are a few tips from the staff at DM Foot and Ankle when shopping for shoes:

· Get both feet measured for length and width while standing – not sitting.

· Be sure to buy for your bigger foot. When purchasing athletic shoes, its OK to go up to one size larger in order to have one thumb's width from your longest toe to the end of the shoe.

· Toes should not feel crowded in shoes. The shoe should fit the width of your toes and have enough depth.

* Footwear should not bend or twist in half. Pick a shoe with a leather upper, a stiff heel, a good amount of cushioning and flexibility at the ball of the foot.

· Shop for shoes at the end of the day. Your feet are likely to be swollen, which will measure your true size better.

· While trying on shoes, be sure to wear socks that are the same thickness as those you plan to wear with the shoes.

· After trying on shoes, walk a few laps and avoid carpeted floors. If shoes aren't comfortable in the store, that won't change at home. There shouldn't be a “breaking in” period.

· If you wear arch supports or inserts, bring them with you when shopping. A well-built shoe typically has a removable insole that can be replaced with your own inserts.

Dr. Kim and Dr. Emini also advise patients at DM Foot and Ankle to give their shoes a chance to breathe by rotating their use. They also advise against wearing hand-me-down shoes.  When shopping, be sure to look for the American Podiatric Medical Association's seal of acceptance, which has been given to a  variety of footwear.

So if your daughter is begging you to wear those cute plastic Disney princess heels, you can tell her it’s “doctor’s orders” to wear their pretty pink athletic shoes instead.  Have fun costume hunting!

By Michelle Kim


On Sunday, Oct. 13, roughly 40,000 runners will lace their athletic shoes and cross the start line as the sold-out Bank of America Chicago Marathon gets underway. (Remember to avoid driving into downtown that morning!)

Thousands of spectators are expected to watch as runners pass through Chicago's neighborhoods – the Loop, Boystown, Pilsen, Chinatown, Old Town and more – as the masses make their way toward the finish line in Grant Park.

The race is sure to leave many runners with feelings of pride and accomplishment – and likely, plenty of sore muscles and feet. One common foot pain issue Dr. Diana Emini and Dr. Michelle Kim see among runners and others at DM Foot and Ankle Associates is plantar fasciitis – commonly known as heel pain.

For more than 2 million folks – runners to everyday Joes – the first steps in the morning can result in shooting pain in the heel or arch.

The plantar fascia – a band on the bottom of the foot – connects the heel bone to the toes. It works like a rubber band to support the arch. When this band gets irritated, pain under the heel can result.  A heel spur may or may not be present and is not the cause of your foot pain, but it definitely can contribute.

There are several causes of the condition. Among them:

·         Activity overload: Too much physical activity can stress the heel bone and surrounding tissue, especially with prolonged activity on hard surfaces.

·         Improper shoes: Footwear with think soles doesn't properly absorb shock. Force goes into the foot as a result.

·         Sports with quick turns: Cutting movements in activities such as tennis and basketball can place increased stress on the heel and surrounding tissue.

·         Pregnancy: Hormones released during pregnancy relax the ligaments, which reduces support in the feel.

·         Age: The plantar fascia loses elasticity as people age and can't always bounce back.

·         Being overweight. Extra pounds cause breakdown of the heel padding and flattening of the arch.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available.

·         Medication to reduce inflammation

·         Custom arch supports and supportive shoes

·         Nigh splints that hold the band in a fixed position

·         Cortisone injections

·         Physical therapy

·         Shockwave therapy

The majority of patients can get back on their feet with DM Foot and Ankle's personalized treatment plan WITHOUT surgery.  Early treatment can help you get back to walking, shopping, or whatever activities make you happy much sooner. You should never live with foot pain – choose to be pain free.

By Diana Emini


It's officially fall!  That means leaves will start changing,and Halloween and Thanksgiving are just down the road.  On weekends, there's plenty to keep sports fans entertained, whether it's watching the Lemont High School Indians play football on Friday nights, seeing the Chicago Bears meet their opponents at Soldier Field,or anticipating the first games of the new seasons for the Chicago Bulls and the Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks.

As cool-weather sports get underway, one thing that can keep any player benched are issues such as ankle sprains. One risk factor that can lead to sprains is high-impact sports such as basketball, tennis, soccer or running on uneven surfaces.

A sprain happens when the ankle is forced out of its normal position, beyond the control of surrounding ligaments. This can lead to one or more ligaments overstretching and possibly tearing.

Sprains are a common injury that Dr. Michelle Kim and Dr.Diana Emini see at DM Foot and Ankle Associates. Situations that can lead to ankle sprains include:

* A fall that causes the ankle to twist. Injuries where the foot rolls away from the body are most common.

* Awkwardly planting the foot after jumping, pivoting, getting out of bed, or stepping off a curb.

* Sports where a player steps on another player, such as in basketball.

* Walking or stepping on uneven surfaces, such as stepping into a hole.

Those who suffer from sprains feel pain when they get injured, and may have a hard time walking and putting weight on that foot during the healing process.

In severe cases, surgery might be needed, butfortunately the majority will heal with the following treatments:

* Medications to reduce pain and inflammation

Soft casts to compress and immobilize the ankle

* Doctor-prescribed ankle braces to decrease rotation of the foot and ankle

* Custom arch supports and proper shoe gearto control foot motion and prevent future injuries

* Physical therapy for rehabilitation, full healing,and to reduce the chances of another ankle sprain

* Cortisone injections for stubborn pain and swelling

Those suffering from a sprained ankle should get X-rays to rule-out a broken bone. Although no bone may have been broken, soft tissue injuries will take just as long as bone to heal – usually around six to eight weeks. Sprains left untreated can leave the ligaments permanently stretched out, which can then lead to repeated sprains. Avoid re-injury by following the proper treatment given to you by your doctor. 

At DM Foot and Ankle, we have on-site digital X-rays and same day appointments – so skip the emergency room and hop on over to our clinic for immediate foot and ankle care.

 

By Michelle Kim