Posts for: December, 2014
There is a common misconception that athlete's foot only affects athletes, after all, that’s what its name infers, right?
Wrong. Athlete’s foot can affect anyone who doesn’t keep their feet protected. At DM Foot & Ankle Associates, Dr. Emini and I treat many people who aren’t aware of the many ways that they can contract athlete’s foot and how important it is to protect your feet in public places. With this cold winter weather, the type of socks and shoes that we are forced to wear often times create the perfect environment for fungus to thrive.
So how do you get it?
Well for starters, athlete’s foot is contagious and is often spread in places where people go barefoot such as public showers or swimming pools. It grows in warm, wet places such as in between the toes. This is why it’s important to wear flip flops in places like the gym showers, public pools, saunas, locker rooms and all other common public spaces.
How do I know if I have it?
The condition ranges from mild scaling and itching to painful inflammation and blisters. It usually starts between the toes or on the arch and may spread to the bottom and sides of the foot. If untreated, skin blisters and cracks caused by athlete's foot can cause bacterial infections.
What should I do if I have Athlete’s Foot?
The treatment of athlete's foot depends on the type and extent of the fungal infection, so it is important to consult a doctor before choosing a therapy. Depending on the type of infection you have, various kinds of medication may be used in treating your fungal problem. Successful treatment usually involves a combination of medication and self-care. If your condition is mild, over-the-counter powders, lotions, or ointments can often help treat the condition. Foot soaks may help dry excessive perspiration. However, over-the-counter medications are generally weak and a prescription strength antifungal is more effective in moderate to serious conditions.
If you or someone you know thinks that they have contracted athlete's foot, make sure to seek professional care before you spread it to someone else! At DM Foot & Ankle Associates, Dr. Emini and I can assess your condition and get your skin healthy again. The same fungus can spread into the toenails, so be sure to get checked before this difficult to cure condition happens!
BY: Michelle Kim
We have all tried to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office at one time or another. In fact, many people avoid the doctor altogether. Have a cold?... Grandma’s old soup recipe should help. Broken Finger? …Dad can reset it. Bleeding profusely? …No worries, mom’s got this. Need a leg amputated? …Youtube.
Whether it’s not having enough time, avoiding the wait, or just thinking that we know better, most people would rather try and solve the problem themselves than take a trip to the doctor’s office. There are certain minor cases where that’s okay, but most of the time, it’s in your best interest to see a trained professional that can give you proper treatment. Here at DM Foot & Ankle Associates, we see many cases of home treatment gone wrong, especially with ingrown toenails. We even have a special name for this: Bathroom Surgery!
Dr.Kim and I treat many people with ingrown toenails and find it very common in children and young adults. An ingrown toenail can be a onetime happening or it can be reoccurring problem. It is the result of a nail growing into the skin that is surrounding it, usually on the big toe. This can produce pain, swelling, redness, as well as infection with drainage of pus, blood, or clear fluid. The pain can be at the tip of the toenail or all the way down to the base.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the high risk factor involved with snipping out part of the ingrown toenail themselves, which is why we advise against this. If the problem is mild, then it can be solved by simply soaking the foot in warm, soapy water several times a day and avoiding wearing tight shoes or socks. But, if the toenail turns into an infection, then it’s time to seek medical attention.
At DM Foot & Ankle Associates, we have several ways of treating the ingrown toenail. If the nail is not infected, then Dr.Kim and I can properly trim away the ingrown corner without anesthesia which will provide temporary and immediate relief.
If the nail is infected, then the ingrown portion of the nail must be removed in order to relieve the infection. The nail will eventually grow back. If the problem is recurrent, then we recommend permanent removal of the offending nail border. Both of these are performed under local anesthesia in the office.
While you can cross your fingers and try to treat an ingrown toenail at home, your best option is to get safe, proper treatment for it here at DM Foot & Ankle!
By: Diana Emini
A question kids may be asked in school is “Which objects can float?” Immediately coming to mind may be answers such as a balloon, a boat, or a rubber ducky. What has never probably crossed one’s mind would be aTOE!
However in the podiatry world, we have seen numerous patients with a second toe that “floats” up and won’t lie flat. Causes of this floating toe are usually due to biomechanical and structural issues that have worsened over time. Bunions, Hammertoes, and improper foot structure can cause the joint to dislocate over time. This dislocation can cause weakening of the tissue under the joint known as the plantar plate. Previously, this condition was extremely difficult to treat. There was no consistent way to get this floating toe to stay flat and fix the plantar plate adequately. The main reason was due to difficulty accessing the small joint space and lack of proper tools to do so.
In the last few years, different methods have been performed to repair this hard-to-reach plantar plate. However, just a few months ago, Smith and Nephew released a trio of instrumentation dubbed their “Hat Trick” systems. One of these techniques provides a way to fix this plantar plate consistently with stellar results.
Dr.Diana Emini and I had the privilege of being the first physicians in the Chicagoland area to use this new surgery technique! We were excited to give this new surgery a try, and we were extremely happy with the results. For the first time, we feel as though there is a true long-term solution to correct this problem. If you suffer from this condition, also referred to as subluxation of the 2nd MTP joint or ruptured plantar plate, then there is an answer for you. And the answer to “Which objects can float?” should not be a toe.
BY: Michelle Kim
Whether it’s because of those cute, unsupportive ballet flats or those 3 inch stilettos, you may become a victim to bunions! It is estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries. Even though bunions are a common foot deformity, there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding them. Many people who have bunions may suffer unnecessary pain for years before seeking any kind of treatment. Bunions progressively get worse over time and eventually may need surgery, which is why at DM Foot & Ankle, Dr. Kim and I believe in educating our patients to be proactive about bunions so they can be halted in the early stages.
What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. Bunions form when the toe moves out of place.
How do you recognize a bunion?
The big toe joint appears enlarged and may stick out from the edge of the foot. It can be sensitive to shoes which may result in pain. The big toe usually leans in, and points towards your other toes, instead of pointing straight. In some cases, the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities such as hammertoes.
What causes bunions?
Bunions can be caused by several different factors. Wearing shoes that are too tight is the leading cause of bunions. Another cause is faulty foot structure, which tends to run in families. Foot injuries, neuromuscular problems, flat feet, and pronated feet can contribute to bunion formation as well.
How are bunions treated?
First, the pressure and pain from irritations must be relieved. Second, any progressive growth of the bunion must be stopped. Here are some common ways to treat bunions- keep in mind, these treatments may alleviate the pain, but will not correct the existing bunion:
- Protective padding to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
- Removal of corns and calluses on the foot.
- Changing to footwear that is designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
- Orthotics—to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in a more optimal position for walking and standing.
- Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
- Toe Splints to help the toes and joint align properly while you sleep.
- Surgery – removing the bunion surgically, aka a bunionectomy; this is the only way to correct an existing bunion.
At DM Foot & Ankle, we offer comprehensive and effective treatment for bunions. Dr. Kim and I find that many people wait too long to see a doctor about their bunions and end up having permanent damage by the time they get it checked out. We advise our patients to start treatment as soon as possible to avoid further enlargement and pain. If you or someone you know may have a bunion, Dr. Kim and I encourage you to stop by DM Foot & Ankle to see if we can start a treatment process that best suits your needs!
BY: Diana Emini