Surely, you’ve heard the old saying, “It’s not the years, it’s the miles!” The average American will have walked over 100,000 miles before their 80th birthday. Of course, as you age, those miles will take their toll on your feet.
When you are young, your feet are pudgy and soft, protected by naturally occurring padding made up of a combination of tissues called collagen, elastin, and adipose. Unfortunately, all of these diminish as you age. The resulting loss of cushioning can make standing or walking painful, especially first thing in the morning and at the end of a long day.
Custom orthotics can replace your body’s natural cushioning and provide comfort to your aching feet.
Arthritis is a painful, chronic disease that causes inflammation in the joints. It is especially common in older patients. It’s especially likely that, if you develop arthritis, symptoms will appear in your feet and ankles because there are more than 30 joints to be potentially affected. You may notice stiffness in the morning, pain when you stand or walk, or a limited range of motion.
Arthritis cannot be cured, but symptoms can often be relieved with over the counter or prescription medications.
A hammertoe is a foot deformity that happens when one of the toe muscles becomes weak and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints. This pressure forces the toe into an atypical shape and causes it to stick up at the joint. Often, the misshaped toe leads to rubbing, causing the formation of an uncomfortable callus or corn.
Reduce your risk of hammertoes by choosing practical, comfortable shoes. If you have a hammertoe, those new shoes might help, or surgery might be the best option.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Diabetes can cause a diminished blood flow to your extremities. You may notice that your feet feel cold frequently or that small nicks and cuts may take longer to get better than you expect, or even turn into a wound that won’t heal.
Cigarette smokers experience PAD earlier, more frequently, and more severely than people who don’t smoke. If you still smoke, please consider cutting down or quitting today. It’s never too late to stop – or even reverse – the damage to your health.
The same loss of collagen that makes standing and walking uncomfortable can make the skin on your feet dry and flaky as you get older.
Moisturize twice a day with a quality product, especially after showering or bathing. Pay special attention to your heels, where skin can get especially dry and painful cracks can occur. Prevent falls by putting on socks and shoes or getting right into bed as soon as you’ve finished the job.
The best thing that you can do to take care of your feet as you age is to form an ongoing relationship with a podiatrist. Your podiatrist is the most qualified professional to take care of your feet. He can notice changes, diagnose concerns, and treat issues. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here for a convenient appointment see Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein in our Hartford or Rocky Hill offices. Our doctors will examine your feet and work with you to create an individualized plan that will keep them feeling great for a lifetime.
Find out how a podiatrist could help ease your heel pain and swelling.
If you are an avid runner then you may, at some point during your lifetime, fall victim to plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition that often rears its ugly head when certain ligaments in your feet have been overworked. What is plantar fasciitis and how is it treated? Our Rocky Hill and Hartford, CT, podiatrists, Dr. Robert Rutstein and Dr. Eric Kosofsky, have the answers you’ve been looking for.
What is plantar fasciitis?
There is a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that runs from the heel bone along the soles of the feet all the way to your toes. This ligament, which is actually the largest ligament in the body, supports your arches. When the ligament has been strained or overworked, it can lead to irritation and swelling. When this happens, stabbing heel pain sets in.
How is plantar fasciitis treated?
While many people will find relief from resting and avoiding certain activities, our Rocky Hill and Hartford foot doctors may also recommend other options including:
Performing certain foot stretching exercises every day can help strengthen the ligaments, tendons and muscles in the foot and improve function, mobility and range of motion. For example:
Stand at the edge of a step and hold on to the railing as you place the ball of your foot on the step and let your heel hang off the edge. From there, you will push the heel down until you feel that stretch in your calf. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat on the other foot and do this 10 times per side for up to three times a day.
Here are some other great exercises to incorporate into your daily routine.
If at-home care isn’t helping to ease your pain then we may recommend getting shockwave therapy. This treatment only takes about 15-25 minutes to complete. During your treatment, these shockwaves will be sent to the plantar fascia to improve blood flow to the area and to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.
Advanced Pain Laser Therapy
Those patients who want to avoid taking medications or getting surgery for their chronic or persistent heel pain should talk to us about laser therapy, which uses special wavelengths to stimulate tissue repair and improve blood flow to the area while also reducing pain and inflammation. Treatments only take a few minutes and pain relief will last long after your session. Of course, you may require multiple sessions in order to experience relief.
If you are finding heel pain difficult to treat despite at home remedies and care, then it’s time you turned to the experts at The Hartford Podiatry Group. Don’t let heel pain keep you from the activities you love. Let our Hartford and Rocky Hill, CT, podiatric specialists get you back on your feet.
Your feet offer a great deal of information about issues that are occurring other places in your body, including your cardiovascular and endocrine systems. It’s important to pay attention to your foot health and to be aware of changes because larger illnesses are often revealed through symptoms in the feet and ankles.
Morning Foot Pain Can Be a Symptom of Plantar Fasciitis or Autoimmune Disease
If your feet hurt when you first step out of bed in the morning, you might have Plantar Fasciitis, a common problem that occurs when a ligament in the foot becomes irritated. Less frequently, morning foot pain can also indicate Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by inflammation in the joints.
Spooned Nails Can Be a Symptom of Malnutrition or Autoimmune Disorder
“Spooned nails” (koilonychias) is a phrase that podiatrists use to refer to toenails with a depression in the center big enough to hold a drop of water. This can be a sign of insufficient or excess iron in the body or of lupus, another serious autoimmune disorder.
Dry, Flaky Skin Can Be a Symptom of Thyroid Disease
If you have a hard time controlling the dry skin on your feet, you may have an illness affecting your thyroid. Located in your throat, the thyroid is a gland that produces hormones to manage your metabolic rate and nervous system functions. Watch out for dry, flaky skin or cracks that don’t respond to over the counter moisturizers, especially at the heel or the ball of the foot.
Foot Numbness Can Be a Symptom of Diabetes
Occasional numbness in your feet happens to everyone after sitting too long in one position or spending time outside in cold weather. If you regularly experience a tingling sensation or numbness in one or both feet, it can be a sign of peripheral neuropathy, a frequent complication of diabetes, which can compromise circulation. Neuropathy also causes the wounds of diabetics to heal slowly, if at all, leaving them particularly susceptible to infection. Be on the lookout for small cuts that don’t get better.
Bald Toes Can Be a Symptom of Arterial Disease
Everyone has fine hairs on their toes, even women. If they disappear, it can be a sign of poor blood flow caused by Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which is especially common in smokers.
Be alert to changes in your feet. If something begins to look or feel different, call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here to make an appointment to see Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein in our convenient Hartford or Rocky Hill offices as soon as possible. Our doctors will draw on their decades of experience as they examine your feet, diagnose the issue, and determine a course of treatment to help you feel better.
Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when the peripheral nerves that connect the core of the body with the periphery are damaged and they don't work the way they should. Patients with peripheral neuropathy may experience decreased or abnormal sensation in their feet and toes, possibly leading to mobility issues.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy most commonly occurs as a complication of diabetes. 60 to 70 percent of patients with diabetes will develop neuropathy within their lifetime. For some people, diabetes comes first, and neuropathy follows. For others, uncomfortable neuropathy symptoms bring them in to the doctor’s office, and examination reveals that they have diabetes.
Injury, advanced age, family history, and arthritis can also lead to peripheral neuropathy.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy in the lower body typically begins with numbness, prickling or tingling in the toes. Eventually, one or both feet are involved. The ankles and legs can be affected as well. You may feel ongoing or intermittent burning, freezing, throbbing and/or shooting pain, and you may notice it worsening at night. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms appear suddenly in some people, while others feel it progressing slowly over months or even years.
Be aware of the following symptoms. They can indicate the onset of peripheral neuropathy, especially if you are living with diabetes:
- Numbness or limited sensation in the feet
- Sharp pain, often described as jabbing or shooting
- Difficulty sleeping because of foot and leg pain
- Decreased balance and coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Cramping or twitching
- Problems walking
- The feeling that you are wearing an invisible glove or sock
- Sensations of extreme temperature -- burning or freezing pain
- Unusual or increased sensitivity to touch
If you are experiencing unusual sensations in your feet, don’t put off an examination. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here to set up an appointment with Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM in our conveniently located Rocky Hill or Hartford offices. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein will examine your feet, diagnose the source of your discomfort, and create an effective treatment plan to get you feeling better as soon as possible.
What Is A Hammertoe?
A foot deformity called a hammertoe occurs when a toe muscle weakens and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints. This stress causes the toe to stick up at the joint rather than lying naturally flat in line with the others.
Typically, hammertoes are seen on the second toe or the pinkie toe. They are divided into three classifications:
- Hammertoes are bent at the middle joint only.
- Clawtoes are bent at the middle and end joints
- Mallet toes only affect the joint at the end of the toe.
All varieties of hammertoes are referred to classified as flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid, depending on the degree of deformity. This lack of flexibility correlates to the degree of discomfort hammertoe sufferers experience: the more rigid the toe, the more painful it will be. Hammertoes often cause uncomfortable corns or calluses to grow as the affected toe rubs repeatedly against the shoe, which make the situation increasingly intolerable.
How Did I Get a Hammertoe?
When it comes to the development of hammertoes, three main factors come into play:
- Your Health Status: Protect your health through careful diet and regular exercise. People with chronic illnesses including diabetes, neuropathy, and Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) are at increased risk for the development of hammertoes. Further, these conditions make you more likely to experience complications when hammertoes occur.
- Your Gender: Women develop all forms of hammertoes more often than men, probably because they are more likely to choose narrow, poorly fitting shoes with little arch support, high heels, and pointy toe boxes. Over time, these shoes damage the feet.
- Your Genetics: Both people with high arches and people with flat, flexible feet are at increased risk of hammertoes.
What If I Have A Hammertoe?
If you have a hammertoe, switch to sensible, comfortable shoes right away. If a callus or corn develops, use a pumice stone regularly but you must never, ever use a blade, razor, or grater on your feet. These dangerous implements can cause small nicks and cuts and allow bacteria to enter your body leading to warts or infection.
Surgery may be the most effective treatment for your hammertoe. This is a relatively simple procedure, and is often the best long-term solution. Surgery will make shoes fit more comfortably, improve calluses and corns, and make your feet more attractive.
Do you think that you might have developed some kind of hammertoe? Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment at our Hartford or Rocky Hill offices. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of hammertoes and all other medical issues related to your feet, ankles, and lower legs. They can get you back on your feet in no time.
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