DMFA Blog

Posts for tag: DM Foot and Ankle

By Diana Emini
February 10, 2014
Category: sports injuries

Sports fans around the world have likely been watching the Winter Olympics unfold in Sochi, Russia. And as the games progress, there's sure to be plenty of action – from skiing to bobsledding to hockey.

But perhaps one of the most popular events is figure skating. Although many fans were looking forward to seeing reigning men's gold medalist (and Naperville native) Evan Lysacek compete again, he announced in December that he isn't taking part in the games because of a hip injury.

Although it's full of grace and beauty, Lysacek's situation shows skating can be hard on the body, including the feet and ankles. Whether you're gliding across the ice for fun at a local rink or are serious about the sport, here are just a few ways it can harm the feet:

  • Bunions. This is an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. Basically, the bones change position and cause the big toe joint to dislocate. Over time, the bony bump can get bigger and crowd the smaller toes. According to usfigureskating.org, bunions are noted in up to 57 percent of skaters.

  • Hammertoes: This is a buckling of the toe joints. This can give a toe a curled or claw-like appearance and also come with pain or swelling. U.S. Figure Skating's website says this is found in 18 percent of skaters – the toes curl to try holding the shoe or skate on the foot.

  • Plantar fasciitis: The band stretching from the heel bone to the toes, the plantar fascia, supports the arch and absorbs shock. When it get irritated, it can create stabbing or burning pain under the heel.

    Whether you skate competitively or just for fun. Here are a few tips to avoid injury:

  • Always warm up to stretch so your muscles aren't stiff on the ice

  • Make sure to have proper instruction and training before you try anything on skates

  • Wear proper clothing and don't forget to tie back long hair. Avoid jewelry and baggy clothes.

  • Don't skate if you're already suffering from an injury.

  • Seek medical care if you suffer from pain or an injury.

We hope you stay safe on the ice this winter, but if you suffer from an injury, call us at DM Foot and Ankle. Dr. Michelle Kim and I can see urgent cases same-day in our Lemont office. Stay safe and enjoy cheering for Team USA during the Olympics!

By Diana Emini

By Michelle Kim
January 20, 2014
Category: warts

It's January, and that means many folks around Lemont are likely working on New Year's resolutions that include getting in shape and incorporating exercise into their routines.

This time of year is often busy at gyms and fitness centers, so if you're spending the winter burning calories at the Lemont Park District's CORE fitness facility or at gyms such as Cardinal Fitness or Curves, don't forget to take care of your feet to avoid ending up with something such as a wart.

One way people tend to get warts is by going barefoot in public places such as showers, pools, gyms and locker rooms. A wart is a non-cancerous skin growth caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) that gets into the skin through small cuts, cracks or abrasions.

Over time, warts develop into hard, rough growths on the surface of the skin. They have their own blood supply and nerves, which is why a wart can be painful when there's pressure. The most common warts are those on the bottom of the foot – called a plantar wart – but they can grow on top of the foot as well.

If left untreated, warts can spread to other parts of the feet and hands. They can be hard to treat and can often come back, but fortunately, my partner, Dr. Diana Emini, and I offer a variety of options at DM Foot and Ankle.
 

Treatment options include:

  • Topical medication: These attempt to break down the wart by applying strong acid. This treatment may need to be repeated every few weeks until the wart is gone.

  • Oral medication: Vitamins that boost the immune system can also be recommended as part of treatment.

  • Laser: We offer a laser in-house to remove stubborn warts. To lessen the pain, a local anesthetic is typically used.

  • Cryotherapy: This freezes the wart with nitrous dioxide to help destroy wart tissue.

  • Surgical excision: The wart can be removed surgically under local anesthetic.

    To prevent warts from happening in the first place, remember to change your shoes and socks daily, keep your feet clean and dry and disinfect your shoes and shower after each use.

    Don't hesitate to seek the help of a podiatrist if you notice any suspicious growths. At DM Foot and Ankle, we can diagnose such problems and get you on the path to health.

 

           By Michelle Kim

For many people, getting their fill of cold weather sports may not be limited to watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Plenty of locals from Lemont are sure to make ski or snowboard trips this winter to places such as Four Lakes in Lisle or Villa Olivia in Bartlett – not to mention resorts in Wisconsin or Michigan.

Skiing is great exercise, but can also damage the feet. Here are a few tips for the slopes from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. After all, your feet and ankles act as shock absorbers and brakes while skiing – make sure they are protected.

Blisters and bruises

It may sound minor, but a bruise or blister can keep you off the slopes! The ankle, toes, top of the foot and front of the shin can get rubbed by ski boots – even those that fit well. Plus, moisture held against the foot can cause friction and cause blisters.

Remember not to pop a blister. If it breaks naturally, apply antiseptic and cover it with a bandage. Skiers who are prone to blistering in a specific area might consider dabbing Vaseline on that spot before skiing.

 

Foot conditions

Ski boots have potential to aggrivate pre-existing issues such as bunions, while diseases such as diabetes – which can impact circulation – can get worse by the cold and footwear that doesn’t fit right. Before skiing, people with these conditions should consult a podiatrist such as Dr. Michelle Kim and myself at DM Foot and Ankle. For many conditions, keeping the feet warm and dry is the best prevention.

 

Good boots

Boots should fit snugly – if they’re too loose, the feet and ankles can slide around. Meanwhile, the pressure and motion of skiing could lead to sprains, strains and fractures.

Your boots should be rigid enough to keep your feet, ankles and heels in place, with enough room for your ankle to flex. The toe should not be too tight.  Check the fit of your boots by kicking your heel, then your toe, against the ground. If your foot slides forward and back, the boot is probably too loose.

Try on several pairs and wear them around the shop before deciding on a boot.

 

Socks

A good sock will keep your feet dry by wicking moisture from the feet while keeping them warm.  Take your socks with you when you try on boots. Both podiatrists and ski experts recommend thin socks. 

By Diana Emini

Let's face it, the weather has been near-Arctic (remember those single-digit temps during the recent Bears-Cowboys game at Soldier Field?) And you're probably not going to hit North Avenue Beach anytime soon. But even when you are swaddled in Uggs and slippers, you still need to take measures to avoid toenail fungus.

Even during the cold months, fungi can invade your skin.

Here are a few daily habits that can go a long way in preventing fungus and other infections on the feet:

  • Carefully wash and dry your feet every day, and dry them completely after a bath or shower. Be sure to pay careful attention to the area between the toes. Foot powders, deodorants and soaks can reduce moisture and balance the pH of your skin.

  • Change socks daily. Try socks with Dri-Max fiber to wick away sweat or antimicrobial socks with silver and copper.

  • Switch shoes so you don't wear the same pair every day. Try shoes made of breathable materials such as leather or canvas. Disinfect your shoes each day with sprays or UV lighting.

  • Beware of bare feet. Wear flip-flops in public places such as pools or locker rooms – never go barefoot. And don't forget to disinfect these shoes as well.

  • Polishes and pedicures: Nails need to breathe, so keeping them constantly polished means a fungal infection could flourish. We suggest keeping nails bare or using anti-fungal polish (our nail tech uses this in the mani-pedis offered at our office. Our nail treatments are designed to avoid the spread of fungus or infections!) When getting pedicures, whirpool tubs should cleaned with medical-grade disinfectant and instruments should be properly sterilized (we follow these guidelines with our pedicures as well.)

Remember, a fungal toenail can take up to a year to grow out after treatment. At DM Foot and Ankle, Dr. Michelle Kim and I help many patients with fungal nails – we offer a top-of-the-line laser with a success rate of 85 percent, a figure that's much higher than that of topical or oral treatments.

If you suspect you have a fungal nail, don't keep hiding your feet. Call our office and we will be happy to start you on a path to having fungus-free feet.

 

By Diana Emini