Podiatrist Blog

By Hartford Podiatry Group
May 25, 2017
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What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s Foot is the lay person’s term for tinea pedis, a fungal infection most commonly found on the feet.  Athletes, who spend a lot of time walking in locker rooms and wearing sweaty socks, often find themselves dealing with tinea pedis, but anyone can get it. 

For most patients, athlete’s foot isn’t a serious issue, although it can be challenging to cure. However, for patients with diabetes or a weakened immune system, athlete’s foot can be more than an inconvenience.  Regardless of your health status, if you suspect that you’ve picked up the fungus, you should visit the podiatrist right away so that it doesn’t spread or affect others.

What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?

There are many possible symptoms of athlete’s foot. Inspect your feet often and keep an eye out for one or more of the following symptoms:

  • cracking and peeling skin, especially between the toes and on the soles
  • itching, stinging, or burning between the toes or on the soles
  • tiny, itchy blisters
  • unusual dry skin
  • red, raw skin


Preventing Athlete’s Foot

Like HPV, the virus that causes warts, tinea pedis thrives in warm, moist environments and is commonly found in showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools. You can catch tinea pedis by touching contaminated surfaces or through direct contact with an infected person. Robert Rutstein, DPM and Eric Kosofsky, DPM recommend the following steps to minimize your risk of infection:

  • Practice good hygiene! Wash your feet with soap and water daily. Dry them well. Pay attention to the spaces between the toes.
  • Use antifungal powder on your feet every day, especially if your feet get sweaty often.
  • Don’t share socks, shoes, or towels.
  • Wear sandals in public showers, around public swimming pools, and in other public places where people commonly walk barefoot.
  • Choose socks made out of breathable fibers, such as cotton or wool, or made out of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Change your socks daily, more often when your feet get sweaty
  • If possible, vary your footwear daily to give your shoes time to dry out.


What If I Get Athlete’s Foot?

At Hartford Podiatry Group, we see patients with athlete’s foot every week. Diagnosis is often done through a simple exam, although a lab test is occasionally called for. Treatment is typically as easy as routine application of antifungal cream or ointment, but oral medication may be necessary.

Call us at 860-523-8026 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our Hartford or Rocky Hill offices without delay. Dr. Robert Rutstein and Dr. Eric Kosofsky and the friendly staff are here and ready to help your feet feel and look their best.

By Hartford Podiatry Group
May 18, 2017
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Your feet are your body’s foundation. Taking care of your feet and paying special attention to their health is important at every age and becomes more and more critical with every passing year.

It’s funny when a cartoon character slips and falls on a banana peel, but real life falls are no joke. Anyone – even the young and the healthy – can break bones or worse in a fall. The risks increase among the elderly and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, gout, or osteoporosis. While many falls result from tripping or stumbling, current scientific thinking is that foot health and strength play large roles in stability.

Many factors can contribute to a fall, including:

  • advanced age
  • overall health and wellness
  • excess weight and obesity
  • frequent or chronic foot pain
  • poor footwear

Gentle exercise programs can help keep you safe from falls. Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM recommend trying the following at-home routine, based in yoga and tai chi, to promote balance and stability:

1. The Flamingo: Stand on one foot while holding the back of a stable chair or touching a wall. Count to 10. Repeat on the opposite foot. Do this four times on each foot. Gradually increase the count and the number of sets over a period of time. Try letting go of the support of the chair or wall. This is a great exercise that you can do anywhere, even while standing on line at the grocery store or waiting for your turn at the bowling alley. Just lift one foot an inch off the floor, and touch it to the opposite ankle.

2. Crane Lift: Put a small item, such as a pen or a spoon, on the seat of a chair. Balance on one foot and lean forward to pick it up, keeping your back straight. Straighten up, put your item in your other hand, and put it back on the chair seat using the same motion that you used to retrieve it. Try not to touch your foot to the floor! Do this 10 times on each foot.  As you get better at this exercise, place the object lower and lower until you can pick it up off the floor.

3. Sock It To Me: This is a tough one: Try putting on your socks while standing up. While you’re getting the hang of it, stand touching your bed or sofa so you have a soft landing pad if you need one.

Of course, the best way to maintain great foot health is to visit your podiatrist regularly, not only when you’re concerned about a possible problem. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein are board certified experts with decades of experience helping all kinds of people. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here to make an appointment today. 

By Hartford Podiatry Group
May 15, 2017
Category: Foot Health
Tags: flat feet  

If flat feet are causing you pain, find out what you can do to alleviate discomfort.flat feet

While most people can look at their feet and notice the sleek curves of their arches, there are others who don’t have arches at all. If you don’t have arches then chances are pretty good you have flat feet. Luckily, most people can go through life with flat feet and never have issues; however, if you are experiencing discomfort due to flat feet, then our Hartford podiatrists Dr. Robert Rutstein and Dr. Eric Kosofsky offer up some ways to manage your issues.

First and foremost, we will need to determine just how severe your symptoms are and if they are truly the result of flat feet. If you have flat feet but you don’t experience any problems then, as you may already be able to guess, treatment won’t be necessary; however, if you are dealing with pain, achiness, back or leg pain, or feet that feel tired or sore easily, then you may need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and visit our Hartford foot doctors.

By and large, most treatments for flat feet are pretty simple, non-invasive and straightforward. Pain and other symptoms can easily be managed every day by:

  • Resting your feet whenever you aren’t walking around or standing up
  • Considering prescription orthotics, which can be placed into your shoes to provide additional protection, stability and support for your feet and fallen arches. It can also help with shock absorption, so your feet aren’t taking on so much pressure when walking or running.
  • Incorporating certain foot exercises into your daily routine. We would be happy to show you some everyday stretching and strengthening exercises you can do to help improve your symptoms.

If you are dealing with persistent or serious foot pain then it’s time you turned to the experts in foot care for help. Call Hartford Podiatry Group today to find out if flat feet are responsible for your foot pain.

By Hartford Podiatry Group
May 12, 2017
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What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood. This acid forms sharp, needle-like crystals in a joint and causes sudden, intense episodes of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth and swelling. Because gout attacks can be triggered by eating rich food or consuming too much alcohol, it was once known as “the disease of kings.”

Your Risk of Gout

4% of American adults have gout. Are you at risk? Read on to learn about some risk factors:

  • Are you obese? Obese people are at a higher risk for gout. Their first gout attacks typically occur at a younger age than people of average weight.
  • Do you eat a lot of meat? Too much red meat and shellfish in your diet increases the risk of gout.
  • Do you drink a lot? An average of more than two liquor drinks or two beers a day means a higher risk of gout.
  • Are you a soda drinker? Sugary drinks have recently been linked to increased gout risk.
  • Is there a family history? You’re more likely to develop gout if a close relative has had it.
  • Are you living with other health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease? These increase your gout risk.
  • Consider your gender and age. Are you male or female? Over or under 60 years old? Until age 60, gout occurs more commonly in men than women. It is believed that naturally occurring estrogen protects women up to that point. After 60, the split between men and women is more even.

Symptoms of Gout

Gout causes severe attacks of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling in some joints. The signs and symptoms of gout almost always occur suddenly — often at night and without warning. They include:

  • Intense joint pain, typically in the big toe
  • Lingering discomfort
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Limited range of motion

Stages of Gout

When uric acid levels spike or previously formed crystals are jostled, a “gout attack” occurs. Gout typically affects one joint at a time, but may cause problems in numerous spots. Symptoms most commonly occur in the big toe, but the knee, ankle, and foot or even occasionally the hand, wrist, and elbow can suffer in a gout attack as well. The symptoms typically get better after a few days and tend to go away within a week without any intervention. Gout attacks can be triggered by overconsumption of red meat, seafood, beer, liquor, or sweetened beverages, and by dehydration or surgery.

The time between attacks is known as “interval gout.” It’s important to note that although there’s no pain during interval gout, the gout isn’t gone. It’s just dormant. Low-level inflammation is still present and may be causing permanent damage to joints. It’s at this point that Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein recommend lifestyle changes, possibly accompanied by medication.  

When uric acid levels remain high over a long period time, chronic gout develops. Attacks become more frequent and the pain may become harder to control. Permanent joint damage, leading to mobility loss, can occur. With proper management and treatment by Eric Kosofsky, DPM and Robert Rutstein, DPM, gout patients can avoid this stage entirely.

Do you suspect that you might have gout? Have you recently experienced what you think may have been a gout attack? Get help before it gets worse. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein have years of experience diagnosing gout symptoms and treating gout pain. Call 860-523-8026 or click here to schedule an appointment in Hartford Podiatry Group’s convenient Hartford or Rocky Hill offices today.

By Hartford Podiatry Group
May 03, 2017
Category: Proper Foot Care
Tags: Untagged

We all know that eating right and maintaining a reasonable weight promotes heart health and minimizes risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, but have you ever considered what a proper diet can mean for your feet?

Your diet has a direct effect on your feet. After all, your feet are part of your body! You need to make choices that promote strong, healthy bones while avoiding foods that cause and exacerbate inflammation in the muscles and tendons. With a bit of thought and careful shopping, you can eat right for foot health.

Eat More Calcium and Vitamin D

While you are young and growing, your body needs calcium to build strong bones. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb the calcium, which is why you will often find the two combined in supplements. Building bone mass while you’re young will help you in your future. If you don’t get enough calcium during this time, you are at higher risk for bone issues or even fractures later in life. You continue to need calcium for healthy bones at all stages of your life, even if you develop osteopenia or osteoporosis. Women do experience gradual bone loss after menopause, but getting enough calcium helps to maintain bone quality. For people with osteoporosis, getting enough calcium can help to lower the risk of a fracture.

Foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D include:

  • dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • sardines with bones
  • green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens

Avoid Foods that Lead to Inflammation

Refined grains, sugars and trans fats contain chemicals that cause tissue inflammation. This inflammation can cause pain and discomfort in your feet. To improve foot health, choose whole grain products and reduce your sugar consumption.

Increase Foods Containing Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the feet. You can find these healthy fats in foods including flax seeds, walnuts, sardines, beef, soybeans, tofu, shrimp, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Fatty fish like salmon is also a good source of this nutrient.

Reduce Sodium Intake

High levels of sodium contribute to high blood pressure and can lead to water retention and inflammation in the body. Packaged foods contain large quantities of sodium. If you typically add salt to food while cooking and eating, you are probably getting too much salt in your diet. Reduce your sodium intake by avoiding pre-packaged foods and by cutting back on the amount of salt you add while cooking. Take that saltshaker off the table!

To help your feet look and feel their best, visit a podiatrist regularly. Dr. Eric Kosofsky and Dr. Robert Rutstein will examine your feet thoroughly, diagnose current or potential problems, and treat any issues that you may be experiencing. Call Hartford Podiatry Group at 860-523-8026 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our Hartford and Rocky Hill offices.

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