Moisture, Moisture, Moisture
Need we repeat ourselves? Moisturizer is going to be your feet’s best friend, particularly during the wintertime. It’s time to lather on an emollient-rich moisturizer immediately after stepping out of the shower or tub when your skin is best able to lock in moisture. Hydration is key to preventing dry, cracked skin. Some moisturizing creams also offer other great skin perks such as anti-inflammatory and self-repair properties. If you are particularly prone to dry feet, you may choose to moisturize 2-3 times a day.
One way to keep that dry skin at bay is to use a scrub or a pumice stone on your feet so dry skin doesn’t even have a chance to build up. Make sure to soak your feet in warm water for several minutes to soften the skin before exfoliating. You may choose to do this yourself, or if you have a condition such as diabetes you may want to turn to a podiatry professional to have your feet properly cared for to prevent complications. Using a pumice stone and exfoliating your feet regularly can prevent the development of painful and unsightly calluses.
Don’t Forget Your Toenails
Your poor toenails often get overlooked, especially during the winter months. Don’t get lazy on us! It’s important to keep toenails properly cared for to prevent issues such as ingrown toenails and fungal infections. Make sure that you are clipping your toenails properly. Regularly apply cuticle oil around the nails to help lock in moisture and to strengthen the nails. Don’t have cuticle oil? Coconut oil also works great!
Be kind to your feet this winter. If you have questions or concerns about your feet, it’s important to turn to a podiatrist who can provide you with the care you need.
You are dealing with persistent heel pain
Heel pain is a common complaint and most often the result of an overuse injury such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. The good news is that heel pain will usually go away on its own with rest and home care; however, if the heel pain is severe or persists for weeks without getting better than it’s time to see a podiatrist and find out what’s going on.
You’re dealing with a sprained or fractured foot
If you are dealing with a new foot and ankle injury that you’ve never experienced before, then it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist who will be able to examine it to determine the extent and severity of the sprain or break. Since untreated or improperly treated injuries can lead to long-term foot and ankle pain and instability, it’s a good idea to get proper podiatry care when you sustain an injury.
You have been diagnosed with diabetes
People with diabetes know that they are also at an increased risk for other foot-related complications including neuropathy, ulcers, and infections. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes it’s a good idea to have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular care, especially when problems arise. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you should still see your podiatrist once a year for a routine checkup.
You’re dealing with regular joint pain and stiffness
While there are many reasons why someone may deal with a bout of joint pain, if this is a persistent problem, you may be dealing with arthritis. Since arthritis is progressive, it’s important to diagnose this problem early when medications and treatments can help to slow the progression of joint damage.
If you are experiencing a foot or ankle injury or experiencing symptoms that have you concerned, it’s best to consult foot care professionals for comprehensive podiatry care.
What are orthotics?
These specialized shoe inserts are a little different from the ones you can find at your local drugstore. Orthotics are special, custom-made shoe inserts designed and fabricated by your podiatrist to specifically fit your foot and its unique needs. There are many reasons why a podiatrist may recommend orthotics.
Sometimes orthotics are used to alleviate symptoms and improve common foot, leg, or even back problems, while other times your podiatrist may recommend them to improve the support and health of your feet to prevent problems in the first place.
Do I need orthotics?
Orthotics is just one way to treat foot and leg problems and your doctor may recommend orthotics if you are dealing with,
- Leg, hip, or back pain
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Plantar fasciitis
- Certain injuries to the foot or ankle
Orthotics can help people of all ages and backgrounds, from athletic kids and adults to those who are overweight and seniors. Feet continue to change as we get older, and as aches and pains set in, custom orthotics could be what you need to help make getting around as easy as it once was.
Types of Orthotics
There are many different kinds of materials that can be used to create orthotics. The type of condition you are dealing with will most likely help your podiatrist determine which material to use.
Orthotics range from soft and flexible to hard and rigid. Those with plantar fasciitis or diabetic feet are more likely to benefit from the cushioning and additional support of soft orthotics while athletes and those who often wear dress shoes are more likely to benefit from rigid orthotics.
If you are interested in orthotics and how they could help you, talk with your podiatrist to learn more.
Whether we are walking, running, or jumping, it is our heel that first makes contact with the ground. This means that it bears the full impact of the shock as well as carry the entire weight of our body. So it is not surprising that many people will experience heel pain at some time in their lives.
Mild heel pain should be gone overnight. But it could easily worsen with prolonged standing or walking. If you have yet to visit your podiatrist at Oakton Foot and Ankle Center here in Fairfax, VA, Dr. Steven Vetter or Dr. Jugal Dharia, here are some easy guidelines to alleviate your symptoms.
Simple Home Treatments for Heel Pain
- Rest and Stretch. When the cause of the pain is overuse or over fatigue, resting the affected foot may suffice. Combine resting your foot with stretching exercises to prevent pulling and tightening of the plantar fascia.
- Proper Footwear. The simple case of wearing proper fitting footwear that supports the biomechanics of your foot will be a big help in relieving heel pain. This prevents stressing the tissue at the bottom of your foot so it won’t get stretched and irritated.
- Wearing a Splint. Bracing the foot and ankle stretches the plantar fascia to alleviate pain and maintains its proper position while sleeping.
- Healthy Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is another way to relieve heel pain.
When Heel Pain Continues
Regardless of whether these home treatments work or not, the moment the pain continues or becomes chronic, it is time to visit your podiatrist in Fairfax, VA. There will be some procedures or treatments that your podiatrist can recommend to relieve heel pain. These might include a mix of the following:
- X-ray or MRI. An X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging will ensure that the cause of the pain is not a stress fracture or spur.
- Prescription pain relievers may be given for pain and inflammation.
- Physical Therapy and Orthotics. Physical therapy that includes stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia will be taught to strengthen the lower leg muscle. This may be accompanied by the use of custom-fitted orthotics so that the pressure on the feet can be distributed more evenly.
- Steroid medications can be injected into the tender areas to relieve pain.
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy. Sound waves are used to stimulate healing of the pain associated with chronic plantar fasciitis.
- Usually the last resort of podiatrists, surgery may be needed to relieve heel pain.
Contact Us for More Information, Questions, or Concerns About Heel Pain
Set an appointment with your podiatrist, Dr. Steven Vetter or Dr. Jugal Dharia, here at Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, by calling (703) 352-8888.
When to See a Podiatrist for Orthotics
Orthotic devices are also known as shoe inserts or insoles. They are designed to stabilize the feet and ankles and reduce pain in the joints. You may not be even aware that you could benefit from orthotics, read on to find out how they might help you.
Dr. Steven Vetter and Dr. Jugal Dharia are podiatrists at Oakton Foot and Ankle in Fairfax, VA. They can examine your feet and ankles and discuss how orthotics may help you.
Signs That you May Benefit from Orthotics
Fairfax residents may need to see a podiatrist for orthotics for the following reasons:
- You spend more than five hours a day on your feet: If you have a job that necessitates hours of standing, you are at risk of plantar fasciitis. This is a painful disorder that arises when the plantar ligament (connecting the heel to the toes) becomes overstretched.
- The soles of your shoes wear down unevenly: If the tread on your shoes is worn down on one side more than the other, this can be a sign that your feet have a tendency to turn inwards or outwards. Orthotics can correct this problem, helping you avoid foot pain.
- You have no arches or high arches: Either of these issues can prevent your shoes from providing the foot and ankle support that you need. Orthotic devices can offer support and regulate the balance of your feet.
- You are experiencing persistent pain in one or both feet or heels: If the pain is severe, or tends to hurt more during the morning, you may be suffering from a condition such as plantar fasciitis.
Don’t avoid seeking help for your foot pain. If you live in Fairfax, VA and you would like to find out more about how orthotics can help your foot and ankle pain, call Dr. Vetter and Dr. Dharia at (703) 352-8888 to schedule an appointment.
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