After a beautiful and temperate autumn, winter has arrived here in the Northeast. Those of us who live in Connecticut and other New England states are get used to wearing plenty of layers, piling on blankets, and taking a variety of other steps to stay comfortable in the cold months. For most of us, this is merely inconvenient. Skiers and others who enjoy outdoor activities even prefer the season. But for a small percentage of patients, coping with the cold weather is extremely challenging. Are you one of the few who suffers until spring because nothing seems to keep your hands and feet warm enough?
It’s most difficult for your heart to pump blood to your extremities – the hands and feet – because they are farthest away. That’s why your fingers and toes often get cold first and feel the cold more intensely than other parts of your body. Typically, that chill isn’t hard to manage. Wool mittens and socks help. Running your hands or feet under warm water is usually a quick fix.
But what if those tricks don’t do the job or your feet don’t warm up when you’re inside? What if your feet are still cold even when the weather is warm or the heat is turned up? They might be trying to tell you something. Cold feet can be a sign of hypothyroidism.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated in your throat. It is responsible for boosting your energy, warming your body, and activating your immune system. When the thyroid is functioning normally, you won’t be aware of it at all. But if the thyroid becomes underactive, you might experience fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, unexplained weight gain, muscle aches and pain, joint pain or stiffness, or thinning hair.
Are you living with cold feet that just won’t warm up? It could be hypothyroidism, or even another medical condition like Peripheral Arterial Disease. It’s time to see your podiatrist. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein are board-certified podiatrists. They are experts in diagnosing and treating all illnesses and injuries of the feet and ankles. Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM can determine the source of your discomfort and the best course of action for moving forward, and then provide excellent treatment and follow up care. Call Hartford Podiatry Group today at 860-523-8026 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our comfortable Hartford or Rocky Hill offices.
Before modern medicine, people invented numerous fictions about our bodies and how they work. For example, mercury, one of the most toxic substances known to man, was once thought to have healing properties, and was used in everything from salves to suppositories! Can you imagine? Thanks to modern medicine, we now know that most of these old myths are untrue, but some misperceptions about our feet hang on. How many of these do you still believe?
FICTION: Foot problems are a natural part of the aging process.
FACT: Podiatric issues become more common as we age, but they are not inevitable. As the old saying goes, “It’s not the years, it’s the miles,” or in this case, “…it’s the shoes.” Wearing high heeled footwear with cramped toe boxes and rigid backs is often to blame for modern-day foot problems. Save your fancy shoes for special occasions and choose sensible footwear with a wide, low heel and a comfortable toe box for everyday use.
FICTION: It’s best for my feet if I go barefoot as much as possible.
FACT: If you want to kick off your shoes for a while, only do so inside your home. Going barefoot outside isn’t a good idea. It leaves you vulnerable to wounds and infections. In public places such as locker rooms, it’s easy to pick up bacteria and viruses, including those that cause plantar warts and toenail fungus. Further, if you have plantar fasciitis, wearing supportive footwear is essential. Going barefoot can exacerbate your heel pain.
FICTION: I don’t have to put sunscreen on my feet.
FACT: Sunburn and skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, including on the legs and feet. It can even be found between the toes. If you want to spend time in the sun, you must apply sunscreen to every part of your body (including your feet) every two to three hours. Reapply more often if you’re sweating or in and out of the water.
FICTION: It’s safer to get a pedicure at the salon than to do it myself.
FACT: While a salon pedicure is a wonderful way to spend an hour, it’s not a risk-free option. Bacteria and fungus abound in salons. You can reduce your risk of contracting infections by purchasing and bringing your own instruments and asking the nail technician to use them. Insist on a clean bowl or basin, preferably with a disposable liner that is changed before you sit down. Refuse to allow the tech to use any sharp instrument or razor on your feet.
If you’re living with pain or another issue related to your feet, ankles, or lower legs, Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM can provide relief. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here today to schedule an appointment in our comfortable and convenient Hartford or Rocky Hill offices. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein will thoroughly examine your feet, carefully diagnose your problem, work with you to create a state of the art treatment plan, and provide comprehensive follow up.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for “excessive sweating.” As many as 3% of the population deals with this condition, routinely producing more perspiration than is considered typical. Sweating can happen for the usual reasons – nervousness, exercise, etc. – or for no reason at all. It can happen any time, anywhere: underarms, palms, feet, or other areas. When the feet regularly become unusually sweaty, podiatrists call that plantar hyperhidrosis. This condition can create other problems, including chilly feet, toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, and foot odor.
Hyperhidrosis -- Causes
There are three notable risk factors for hyperhidrosis:
- Family history: Your odds increase if your parent or sibling has been diagnosed.
- Gender: More men than women are treated for hyperhidrosis.
- Age: more young people are diagnosed that older individuals.
Many factors can trigger a hyperhidrosis episode, including nervousness, warm weather, and illness or fever. Wearing synthetic fabrics is also believed to be a contributing factor.
Hyperhidrosis -- Prevention
If you notice that your feet are frequently sweaty, start keeping a journal of your episodes – when they happen, where you are, and what you’re doing. This will help your podiatrist identify triggers that you can then avoid. Together, you’ll be able to make a plan to get your hyperhidrosis under control.
Here are five valuable tips from Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM to get you started on the path to dry and odor-free feet:
- Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene! Wash your feet at least twice daily. Use warm, soapy water. Dry your feet thoroughly with a towel to prevent odor-causing bacteria from proliferating.
- Absorb sweat with foot powder or corn starch. Sprinkle it on your clean, dry feet and in your shoes.
- Try applying deodorant or antiperspirant to your feet. It’s your choice whether or not to invest in a product specifically marketed for podiatric use. The same brand you use under your arms will do the job.
- Clean, dry socks are critical. Change them whenever they’re sweaty, even if that means going through several pairs a day. Keep extra pairs in your car, in your desk, in your pocketbook, and in your gym bag.
- Soaking your feet can help keep them dry, and may help control odor. Many natural options have been shown to reduce sweating and odor. Try adding some tea, baking soda, vinegar, or essential oils to your soaking water.
Are you suffering with hyperhidrosis? Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein have been treating patients just like you for many years and they can help you. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here today to schedule a convenient appointment in our Hartford or Rocky Hill offices.
According to the Centers for Disease control, more than 36.5% of American adults are clinically obese, with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, many of which are considered among the leading causes of preventable death in the United States.
Obesity-Related Conditions and Their Effect on Podiatric Health
When plaque accumulates in the arteries, it sticks to the walls of the blood vessels and Peripheral Arterial Disease occurs. The passageways narrow and blood flow is reduced. In the feet and legs, this can lead to numbness and a loss of balance. According to the American Heart Association, obesity is a preventable PAD risk factor.
Men and women who are overweight are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes. Complications of this incurable illness include leg and foot pain. Even worse, older people whose diabetes is not well managed may lose sensation in their legs and feet, leading to ulcers and infection.
Gout develops when uric acid crystals accumulate in your joints, especially in the knuckle of your big toe. Gout is very much a lifestyle disease and it can be prevented. Painful gout attacks are known to occur after consuming large quantities of rich foods, shellfish, and alcohol. Eat and drink sensibly and in moderation.
Mitigating the Effects of Excess Weight on Your Feet
Over time, excess pounds cause increased wear and tear on the joints, tendons, and muscles of the hips, knees and ankles, creating potential problems for your feet. Connective tissues stretch out, natural fat pads on the bottom of your feet become compressed, and muscles are over-taxed. Numerous studies have conclusively linked increased BMI and painful foot conditions including arthritis, Achilles tendonitis and heel pain.
It’s especially important that overweight patients choose footwear that provides support to the feet and ankles. Proper, professionally-fitted shoes keep the feet properly aligned and support the arches while absorbing shock. Sensible shoes made of breathable fabric and with a wide, low heel and a comfortable toe box can help you stand and walk without pain, especially when used in combination with custom orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist.
Are you ready to lose some weight? Great! You’ll need to focus on two key components: diet and exercise. Make small changes to what you eat, moving away from highly processed choices and toward more simple foods such as lean protein options, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Begin an exercise regimen with low-impact activities, such as walking, water aerobics, or gentle yoga.
If excess weight is making it uncomfortable for you to stand, walk, or move, Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM can help. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 today or click here to schedule an appointment in our convenient Hartford or Rocky Hill offices. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein will gently and thoroughly examine your feet and expertly diagnose any issues, then provide appropriate treatment and ongoing follow up as necessary.
Children and adolescents are not just “little adults.” They have unique mental, emotional, and physical needs. When it comes to their health care, we take them to pediatricians and family care practitioners – specially trained physicians. Similarly, children with issues of the feet, ankles, and lower legs are best served by a podiatrist like Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM. Contrary to conventional wisdom, kids don’t just outgrow their podiatric issues. Catching and treating problems now will save your child a lot of pain and difficulty later. Read on to learn more about four common reasons to bring your child to see a foot doctor.
1. Foot and Ankle Injuries
Whether it’s time outside with friends after school or participation in team sports, playing is an important part of childhood. This high level of physical activity leads to a high risk of foot and ankle injuries in children. Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist immediately if you notice a decrease in your child’s interest in sports or other physical activities, especially if it’s accompanied by pain, limping, or cramping.
2. Gait Abnormalities
Until a child is approximately 3 years old, they typically walk with a wide-based stance and rapid, short steps. As your child grows, he or she should develop a more mature way of walking. The most common types of gait abnormalities in young children are turning the toes in, turning the toes out, walking on the toes, and limping. If you are still seeing any of these by the time your child is ready for preschool, a consultation with your podiatrist is in order.
3. Ingrown Toenails
A child with an ingrown toenail is likely to experience uncomfortable swelling and tenderness. There may even be pus present if the problem continues. Managing nail and cuticle care is a learned skill. Unfortunately, until they mature, kids are likely to pick at their toenails – or even bite them! This can result in painful ingrown toenails. Until your child is old enough to handle the job reliably, trim his or her toenails yourself. Always use a clipper, rather than a scissors, and trim straight across without rounding the corners. Along with improper trimming, the most common cause of ingrown toenails is poorly fitting shoes. Be sure to take your child for a proper fitting each time he or she needs new footwear. It’s likely that he has grown since you bought the last pair.
4. Warts and Fungal Infections
The virus that causes plantar warts and the fungus that leads to toenail infections thrive in the kinds of warm humid environments where kids are found barefoot, such as locker rooms and public pools. Purchase a pair of inexpensive shower shoes for your son or daughter, and encourage their use. Remind your child never to share socks or shoes with anyone, even trusted friends or family members.
If you have a concern about the health of your child’s feet or ankles, our foot doctors can help. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein have years of specialized training and experience in diagnosing and treating young people. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here today to schedule an appointment in our conveniently located Hartford or Rocky Hill offices.
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