My Blog
By Oakton Foot
July 27, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Footwear   Shoes  
The Right ShoesWhen was the last time you bought new shoes? When was the last time you threw out shoes that were old and worn out? We often keep shoes long past the point where we should have retired them. Of course, other factors such as our age also play a role in the health of our feet, including our risk factors for developing certain conditions and also our footcare needs. Our feet have different needs and require different care as we get older. Here’s how to choose the appropriate shoes for all stages of life:
 
How Your Feet Change Over the Years

As we age, our feet will change shape and size, which can also predispose them to certain problems. This also means that your foot needs will change, particularly concerning footwear. Here’s how your feet will change:
  • Loss of fat pads
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • The development or worsening of certain deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
  • Widening or lengthening of the feet
  • Loss of bone density (which can increase your risk for fracture)
  • Changes in gait due to certain conditions such as neuropathy or arthritis
  • Diabetic-related foot problems
  • Issues with balance
Everyday Footwear for Aging Feet

You must look for shoes that provide proper cushioning and supportive insoles so that your feet can tackle the day-to-day activities. If you have foot problems or issues with gait, then you’ll want to turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Together, you can decide the proper footwear and whether prescription orthotics can also provide your feet with additional support and cushioning that footwear alone can’t.

You should turn to a specialty shoe store where they can analyze your gait, properly measure your feet, and determine whether the shoes you’re getting may require additional modifications including orthotics. For example, some shoes and brands adjust to foot swelling throughout the day, while others provide enough space to place orthotics.
 
There are also certain types of shoes that aging feet should avoid. Those include:
  • Any shoes with pointed toes
  • Shoes with heels over 2 inches
  • Shoes that aren’t non-slip
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Shoes that don’t have a firm sole (including your slippers)
  • Old, worn shoes (that simply need to be tossed)
  • Shoes with rocker soles (particularly if you have gait problems)
If you are having trouble finding the right shoes to fit your needs, or if you are interested in learning more about custom orthotics and how it could provide additional support for your feet, turn to your podiatrist today for the care your feet deserve.
Ingrown NailWhile minor aches and pains in your feet probably won’t have you rushing to the podiatrist’s office for care, certain seemingly innocuous foot problems might require a professional’s touch. Take ingrown toenails, for example. While you may be able to soothe and ease the pain on your own, it’s also important to recognize when an ingrown toenail may require treatment from a podiatrist.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.

When should I see a podiatrist?

If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
  • Increased pain, swelling, or redness
  • Skin that’s hard to the touch
  • Odor
  • Pus or drainage coming from the nail
If the ingrown toenail hasn’t gotten better in a couple of days this also warrants seeing a podiatrist. People with compromised immune systems, diabetes, or nerve damage in their feet should come in right away for care (and should not try to simply treat the problem themselves). Ignoring these issues when they occur could lead to more dangerous infections or complications.

Can you prevent ingrown toenails?

There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
  • Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
  • Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
  • Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
  • Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
If you are experiencing symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail, or if you have never dealt with an ingrown toenail before, turn to your podiatrist for a proper evaluation and treatment plan. No problem is too small for a foot and ankle specialist to tackle.
By Oakton Foot
July 01, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Sprained Ankle   Sprains  

Sprained Ankle

Whether you simply stepped down awkwardly or you were in a sports-related accident, it could have left you with a painful, swollen ankle. Could it be a simple strain, or could you have sprained your ankle? If you even suspect that you might have a sprained ankle, or if you’ve never experienced an ankle injury before, it’s always a good idea to play it safe and to turn to a podiatrist right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How to Treat Sprained Ankles

Most minor sprains can be properly managed through simple at-home treatment and care. Conservative treatment is typically the first line of defense against minor ankle and foot problems, including minor sprains. While more moderate to severe sprains will require more aggressive attention and treatment options, the RICE method is ideal for most ankle sprains. Here’s what RICE stands for:

Rest

No matter the severity of your sprain, your podiatrist will be the first to tell you to stay off the ankle and to rest as much as possible to give the ankle time to heal. If the sprain is more moderate or severe, your podiatrist may recommend wearing a protective boot or using crutches to help stabilize the foot and ankle and take pressure off the ankle while standing or walking.

Ice

Especially for the first 72 hours after an ankle injury, it’s a good idea to use ice as much as possible to reduce swelling and pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the ankle for up to 20 minutes at a time. You can continue to do this every few hours throughout the day.

Compression

Your podiatrist can also show you the proper way to wrap and bandage your ankle, which not only promotes proper circulation and blood flow to the area to aid in healing but also can provide additional support and stabilization for the ankle. It’s important to know how to properly wrap your ankle to make sure it’s providing the very best support and your podiatrist can easily show you how.

Elevation

Whenever you at resting (which should be most of the day!), it’s a good idea to prop your injured ankle up above your heart to reduce inflammation and bruising. You should elevate your ankle for at least a couple of hours each day!

If you are in pain, over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers can be great for reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. For more severe sprains, your podiatrist may prescribe something stronger. Patients with more moderate-to-severe sprains may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to help rebuild and strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the ankle.

Knowing you have a proper treatment plan in place can provide you with the peace of mind you need to know that your ankle will heal properly. Don’t ignore any foot or ankle injuries. Turn to your podiatrist right away for sprained ankles, or any other problems you may be facing.
By Oakton Foot
June 16, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

Hammertoes are easily identified by their irregular shape, and while not uncommon or dangerous, the condition can be uncomfortable, especially after long days of wearing uncomfortable work shoes.

The condition, sometimes hereditary, occurs when the toe joint is bent and deformed, leading to pressure and friction. The resulting pain can leave you wary to walk or even stand, but your podiatrists, Dr. Steven Vetter and Dr. Jugal Dharia of Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, can help you find relief.

What causes hammertoes?

Hammertoes may be genetic, due to a muscle or tendon imbalance, or caused by lifestyle habits such as frequently wearing shoes that have pointed-toe boxes, high heels, or a narrow cut.

What makes hammertoes so painful?

The toe itself doesn't cause discomfort, but rather the pain results when the toe rubs or pushes against your shoe, which can lead to corns, calluses, sores, redness, or swelling.

How can I treat my hammertoes?

Depending on the severity of your hammertoes, your podiatrist may advise simple changes like switching to low-heeled, supportive shoes with a roomy toe-box, using a cushioned shoe insert, or putting padding on any calluses and corns that have developed to prevent pain.

Your podiatrist may recommend corticosteroid injections or taking anti-inflammatory medications, to relieve pain and inflammation. If your hammertoes are severe, you may need surgical treatment. The operation, done at our Fairfax, VA, office, involves cutting the tendons and ligaments so your podiatrist can straighten your toe. A portion of the bone may also need to be shaved away. You will need to wear a special shoe for a few weeks as your toe heals, but within several weeks you will be pain-free for good.

If hammertoes are keeping you in pain, make an appointment with your podiatrists, Dr. Vetter and Dr. Dharia of Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, by calling (703) 352-8888.

By Oakton Foot
June 14, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Shoes   Socks  
Right Socks for Your FeetYou probably don’t think too much about the socks you wear but maybe you should. After all, just as it’s important to have shoes that fit properly and provide ample cushioning and support, there are also criteria that you should be following to find the ideal pair of socks. Want to find your “sole” mate? Follow these helpful sock-shopping tips.
 
Find the Perfect Fit

This might sound obvious but it’s important to find socks that offer the perfect amount of snugness for your feet. There shouldn’t be added material that can bunch up, as this can cause friction and blistering; however, socks shouldn’t be so tight that they put too much pressure on your feet. The seams of the socks should not rub against your feet or irritate.
 
Wear the Right Shoes
When going sock shopping you must be wearing the shoes to which you’re trying to match your socks. After all, it’s important to see how the socks affect the fit of your shoes. If your shoes are already tight, the socks you think are perfect may actually be too uncomfortable to wear with the shoes.
 
Different Socks for Different Activities
The socks that you wear for work are going to be different than the socks you’ll wear if you’re running, hiking, or working out. It’s important to find socks that fit your needs. Moisture-wicking socks can be great for athletes and those who like to work out. How much padding your socks offer is up to you. Personally, some athletes love a little additional padding while others may not. The extra padding could be great if you find that your feet get tired and achy easily during activity.
 
Don’t Forget Esthetics
If you’re simply shopping for socks for more day-to-day wear, then you can be a little more lenient about what you’re looking for. For one, style can play a bigger role in the types of socks you choose. You may want to go for something bolder or bright or with a fun pattern. While shopping for casual, everyday socks can lead to catering to your style you don’t want to ignore the fit or comfort of the pair you choose.
 
If you have special foot needs or you have concerns about the health of your feet, then you may have questions about the right type of shoes for you. That’s okay! This is where a podiatrist can help. Your podiatrist can answer any questions you have about shoes and sock recommendations, along with how to properly care for your feet.




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Oakton Foot & Ankle Center, PLLC

Fairfax, VA Podiatrist
Oakton Foot and Ankle Center
10721 Main St., Suite #3500
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 352-8888
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