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How Women Can Pick Stylish and Safe Shoes

Often the most neglected part of the body, your feet have to absorb the stress of twice your weight every time you take a step.

It’s no surprise that eight out of ten people suffer from foot problems. One way to prevent foot problems is by picking the right shoe.

if you choose a shoe just for looks, you may be seriously damaging feet.  To find out which stylish shoes are feet-friendly, keep reading!

(picture by ok.co.uk)

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Getting Rid of Fungal Nails

Fungal nails are very difficult to cure, however there are many new options available to help rid your toes of the embarrassing discoloration and unsightly images that fungal nails are known for.  Below are three options available to you:

  • Laser Therapy- A painless, quick, and easy procedure carried out in-office that last only about 15 minutes.  It is a highly effective option that helps make those ugly, unsightly nails look great!
  • Keryflex- An instant, cosmetic fix to the embarrassing look of fungal nails.  It is a topical gel applied to the nails in-office, and is completely painless.  It takes effect immediately, making it the perfect summer accessory for fungal nails.
  • Formula 3- An at home treatment that is as simple as painting your nails.  It is a great option for continuing treatment in your own home.

Keep in mind that if left untreated, fungal nail infections can affect the entire nail and the surrounding skin, but with these simple options, having to find new ways to hide your toenails due to this unsightly infection shouldn’t be a problem!  Call Dr. K today for a free consultation regarding your fungal nails at 626.447.2184, and let us help you slip into some summer sandals without feeling embarrassed.

Are Orthotics Right For You?

Orthotics are custom fit shoe inserts that correct a persons abnormal or irregular walking manners. Often times we overlook these manners, until we begin to feel pain.  Pain that comes after a long day of walking or standing, normally at work or while you’re out for the day, like shopping or on family trip to the zoo.

Orthotics allow you to walk, stand, and run more efficiently and with less pain.  They absorb shock, increase your balance, take pressure off of sore spots, and decrease strain in your feet.  They are great for diabetics or people with arthritis or any deformities in their feet, but are they right for you?

Here are the top 11 most frequently asked questions about orthotics:

1.  Will orthotics make my tired feet feel better?

Most Definitely!  Orthotics support the arch of your foot and disperse your body weight over the entire surface of your foot relieving certain areas from “carrying all the weight” which normally causes them to become so tired and achy.

2.  Will custom orthotics correct my fallen arches?

Unfortunately orthotics do not correct fallen arches, however, they do position the structures in your foot to give you the best output, or functionality, which will reduce your chance for injury and help increase the performance of the mechanisms in your feet.

3.  Can orthotics help with my lower back pain?

Yes!  Many types of lower back pain can be improved by using orthotics which not only help balance out the foot motion from right to left, but also help absorb much of the added shock sent to the lower back from walking and running.

4.  Will my orthotics be comfortable?

Absolutely!  Our custom orthotics are designed using the finest materials, are conformed to the shape of your foot for a perfect fit, and are made specifically to give support and comfort to your feet.

5.  Can orthotics reduce painful plantar fasciitis?

Yes!  Custom orthotics are matched perfectly to fit the arches of your feet, and if used with certain types of physical therapy, healing time is reduced even while keeping active.

6.  Will orthotics help reduce my knee and hip pain?

Actually, Yes!  Often times, pain in the knee and hip can be affected by the abnormal or irregular biomechanics of the foot.  Along with stretching and strengthening, orthotics can relieve a great deal of this pain.

7.  How long will custom fit orthotics last?

Custom fit orthotics are designed to last for an entire year, and although many people report wearing them for much longer than a year, it is recommended to replace them annually.

8.  Will orthotics prevent injuries?

Yes!  In many cases injuries are incurred from overuse, such as plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, and tendonitis.  They are caused by repetitive motions and stress placed on the lower extremities.  Orthotics help control the motion of the foot and thus limit your exposure to these types of injuries.

9.  How do orthotics help diabetics?

Orthotics are an integral part of diabetic foot care.  They  help support the foot, disperse weight evenly, and limit movements which helps reduce the chances of blisters, infections, and other foot damage.

10.  How do I know if orthotics are right for me?

Everyone can benefit from orthotics at one time or another.  If you are a sports enthusiast, enjoy family outings, or are just looking for comfort in your everyday shoes for work or play, orthotics would be a great investment for a more balanced, pain-free life.

11.  How much do custom orthotics cost?

Custom orthotics are actually much cheaper than what most people would think, starting at about what you would pay for 2 or 3 generic over-the-counter brand orthotics that generally don’t even fit right, don’t help reduce the pain, and don’t last for more than a few months anyway.  If you come in for a free consultation, Dr. K would be more than happy to give you an assessment and show you the different options that might be available to you.

Foot Pain and Obesity

Obesity is a serious problem in America for both children and adults.  Weight gain can lead to other problems in the body such as heart disease, diabetes and foot pain. Indeed, as Americans get heavier they are literally crushing their feet.

Studies show that foot and ankle problems can be linked to a person’s weight and body mass index (BMI). People who have a higher BMI have a significant increase in foot and ankle problems.

While foot problems in obese people vary, foot and ankle pain often occurs in weight bearing areas, including tendons and ligaments. Common foot problems include posterior tibial tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and arthritis.

Studies show that pressure and foot pain in the ball of the foot is far greater in obese people. In addition, obesity damages the joints of the foot and ankle. People carry approximately four to six times their body weight on the ankle when climbing up stairs or walking on inclines.

Obesity increases the stress and strain on the foot undergoes as it supports the body during walking and standing. The heel takes on more pressure, the arch and sides of the feet stretch out more, there is foot pain on side of foot, bones are more apt to develop stress cracks and shoes don’t fit as well.

In time, if the structures within the foot are not relieved from this excessive weight and pressure, they will “give,” allowing the bones and joints of the feet to shift and collapse, causing the arch to become flat.

When the arch is flat, or has collapsed, it cannot function properly. Without treatment, this will lead to a completely collapsed foot, which cannot function as a shock absorber for the rest of the body. This foot pain in the arch can lead to chronic pain in the shin, knee, hip, and lower back.

Foot pain and obesity can actually create a vicious cycle. Foot pain can increase obesity when it limits a person’s ability to exercise. The foot pain and obesity cycle will make weight loss difficult, if not impossible.

There are several ways to lose weight without placing undue strain on your foot.  Swimming, for example, is an excellent exercise that places no pressure on the foot. In fact, most water-related sports or activities would fall under this category. Changes in one’s diet can also contribute to weight loss.

Most importantly, though, you should always consult an experienced foot specialist if you are experiencing any pain in your foot. Pain in the foot indicates some type of stress or injury and needs to be examined.  Foot pain is never normal, regardless of weight. Call 626-447-2184 to speak an expert foot specialist today.

Laser treatment for fungal toenails, is it worth the money?

About 25 million Americans live with toe fungus, which causes the toenail to become thick and turn yellow.  While ugly to look at and embarrassing in public, toenail fungus can also lead to serious infections for people with diabetes and immune disorders. The invisible spores that cause toenail fungus can easily be caught while someone is walking barefoot in wet environments such as nail salons and locker rooms, even while changing shoes and socks.

Toenail fungus can also be caused by several factors: an abnormal PH level of the skin, injury to the nail or poor foot hygiene. Fungi are typically attracted to dark, damp areas under and around the toenail. Once the fungus gets under a toenail, it can be difficult to fix because it is embedded deep under the nail.

Is there a cure for toenail fungus? Antifungal pills and topical creams are the most common types of treatments for toenail fungus, but they are not always successful. As a result, some people are looking to lasers for toenail fungus treatments.

Approved by the FDA, the laser cure for toenail fungus has been available in the United States since September 2008.  This painless procedure takes less than 30 minutes. When zapping the toe fungus, a doctor follows a grid-like pattern, passing a laser over the toenail to kill the germs and microbes that are causing the infection, leaving the nail and surrounding tissue intact. The laser does not damage healthy tissue.

Is it worth it?

Americans spend more than $1.2 billion a year on pills and ointments to cure toenail fungus. That is in addition to millions spent on unproved home remedies such as tea tree oil, Vicks VapoRub, Listerine and Clorox. Topical ointments are reportedly 8 percent effective, while pills, such as Lamisil, are 50 percent effective, but can have side effects on the liver.  Toenail fungus laser treatments, which have no side effects, have been reported to be 87 percent effective.

Laser treatments have previously been used for cataract, dental and hair removal treatments, so this treatment for toenail fungus is simply another use for lasers in the medical field. Nomir Medical Technologies has developed the Noveon laser to treat antibiotic-resistant staph infections and toenail fungus, while PathoLase Inc. markets the PinPointe FootLaser system, which PathoLase says is 88 percent effective in treating toenail fungus.

While toenail fungus laser treatments are very effective, they are not covered by most insurance and cost about $1,000. Laser treatment for toenail fungus is an in-office procedure and the patient is awake the entire time; another plus is that there is no recovery period or down time after a laser treatment.  If you’re looking for an effective way to treat toenail fungus, you should ask your doctor about trying a laser cure for toenail fungus.

How early can parents detect if their baby has Clubfoot?

A clubfoot deformity is when a foot is short in appearance, the heel points down and the front half of the foot (forefoot) turns inward. In adults and babies with clubfoot, the heel can appear narrow and the muscles in the calf are smaller compared to a normal lower leg. Inside the foot, the Achilles tendon is tight.

Clubfoot is a “multi-factorial trait,” which means the causes of clubfoot are believed to be genetic and environmental. On the genetic end, a clubfoot deformity happens to boys twice as often as girls and occurs more often in families with a history of clubfoot.  It is environmental in the sense that the fetus is not actually born with a clubfoot, but rather will develop the clubfoot while in the mother’s womb.

No one knows for sure what exactly causes a clubfoot deformity, but it occurs in 1 of every 1000 births. It may have something to do with the position of the baby in the uterus. Sometimes babies with clubfoot will have serious neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida. Another sign of a clubfoot deformity is the decreased amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus in the uterus during pregnancy.

The good news is that many babies with clubfoot can be diagnosed before birth with a simple painless ultrasound. Studies show that 10% of clubfoot cases can be discovered as early as 13 weeks.  At 24 weeks into a pregnancy, about 80% of clubfoot cases can be found; this number steadily grows until the baby’s birth.

It is important to note that there is approximately a 20% false positive rate based on ultrasound diagnosis. Still, if a diagnosis of clubfoot is made before birth, then it’s a good idea to talk to an orthopedic surgeon on how to fix your baby’s clubfoot after it is born. Once the baby is born, diagnosis of the clubfoot may also include an x-ray or a CT scan.

Treatment for clubfoot should begin very soon after the baby is born. This is because the baby’s tendons, bones and muscles are still developing and can be moved around, including their feet, into the correct position. That’s why it is very important to see a doctor and start a treatment of clubfoot soon after birth; there is no time to waste.

The most frequent and effective treatment for clubfoot is the Ponseti method.  This treatment for clubfoot is when a doctor gently places the babies foot (or feet) into tiny casts, slowly moving the clubfoot (or feet) into the correct position. This is done gradually and the baby feels no pain.  Every week, for about eight weeks, the foot is moved closer to the correct position and placed in a new tiny cast.

There may be some minor surgery done to the baby’s Achilles tendon as well. After the casting is finished, the baby’s foot  (or feet) is started on a program of splinting, using a special shoe, and physical therapy.

The Ponseti method is the most frequently used treatment of clubfoot. Most babies with clubfoot can be fixed in 2 to 3 months. The success rate is very high for this treatment for clubfoot and parents should discuss it with a doctor before birth, if possible.

What to Look For in a Good Shoe

  • Avoid shoes that have seams over areas of pain, such as a bunion.
  • Avoid shoes with heavy rubber soles that curl over the top of the toe area (such as seen on some running shoes), as they can catch on carpets and cause an accidental fall.
  • Flat shoes (with a heel height of one inch or less) are the healthiest shoes for your feet.  If you must wear a high heel, keep to a heel height of two inches or less, limit them to three hours at a time and take them off coming to and from an activity.
  • Laced, rather than slip-on shoes, provide a more secure fit and can accommodate insoles, orthotic devices and braces.
  • Look for soles that are shock absorbing and skid resistant, such as rubber rather than smoother leather.

Bunions

What are Bunions:

Bunions are those unsightly enlargements or bumps that occur on the inside areas of your feet. The visible bump actually demonstrates changes in framework of the front section of the foot. With a bunion, the big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This moves the bones out of alignment, producing the bunion’s “bump”.

A bunion deformity can cause a wide range of problems and consequently can involve a varied approach to treatment. An important point to consider in the understanding of this problem is that it is a progressive deformity. In other words, a bunion will in most cases worsen with time. No one can predict how fast the deformity will progress or to what extent it will cause debility or symptoms, but most doctors would agree that sooner or later, it will worsen.

Bunions, by nature, can cause pain in certain shoes, become a common site for arthritic changes, lead to other problems such as hammertoes or pain in the fat pad area of the foot, or they may cause serious aesthetic or shoe wear concerns for some individuals. Whatever the extent of involvement, a bunion deformity should warrant consideration and should be brought to Dr. K’s attention for evaluation.

What Causes Bunions:

Improper footwear and heredity are the main causes of bunions.

1. Improper Footwear- Tight, or small shoes can causes bunions, especially in women. Many more women experience bunions than men, mostly due to foot wear including high heels, tight flats, or shoes that are too small.

2. Heredity – Bunions can be handed down from generation to generation.

What are the Common Symptoms for Bunions:

1. Pain or soreness

2. Inflammation and redness

3. A burning sensation

4. A protruding “bump” on the foot

5. Possible shift of the big toe towards the other toes

What is the Treatment for Bunions:

The first line of treatment for bunions involves shoe modification; changing the style or type of shoes, using custom fit orthotics, or changing orthotics.  In most cases, shoe modification, rest, ice, and medications help alleviate the symptoms, but they don’t always correct the actual deformity.  If symptoms persist and discomfort is severe enough, or if correction of the sight of the deformity is desired, Dr. K would recommend surgical treatment.  Call us today to set up an appointment with Dr. K for an evaluation.