John Hollander, DPM

How to stay in the race with heel pain

Are you preparing for the upcoming Annadel Half Marathon in Santa Rosa, California next month or the Windsor Half Marathon in June? Wouldn’t it be devastating to have a chronic condition like plantar fasciitis or have an Achilles tendinitis flare up right before the big event?! If the unthinkable happens, extracorporeal shockwave therapy might be necessary to promote healing to your feet so that you can still run the day of the race.

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy, or ECSWT for short, is a therapy in which shockwaves are sent directly to the site of pain. It’s used when other more conservative treatments have failed, but before opting for surgical methods. There are different levels of shock waves; some that require a local anesthetic and others that don’t. This therapy offers many of the same results as surgery, but with less downtime and a much faster rate of recovery.

Podiatrists and patients alike prefer ECSWT to surgery, because of reduced healing times. You will probably notice, even after the first day of treatment, that the pain does not worsen. As the damaged cells begin to repair and new cells grow, you will notice that your pain is subsiding even more. After a session of this therapy, you will most likely notice soreness or possibly some bruising at the site of treatment. However, these effects are mild compared to those of a surgical intervention.

If you want to learn more about ECSWT, call Dr. John Hollander, DPM today at 707-578-1222 or schedule an appointment online. We want your feet to be as healthy as they can be. Faster, more effective healing means you’ll be ready for your next big race.

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9 Awesome Gifts for Anyone

Everyone has at least one ‘difficult to buy for’ person in their lives, or someone that has “everything”, so why not consider buying a gift that caters to their feet this year? After all, they play a significant role in our everyday lives!

You will be surprised at the number of options that you have to give them the gift of happy feet this Christmas.  Below is a list of gifts that anyone would be happy to find under their tree, many of which can be purchased in our office or at other local vendors!

Luxury Insulated Water Bottles

Everyone is loving the double insulated water bottles these days, but they are so boring looking.  Check out these luxurious and beautiful bottles by Bougie.  They come with straws too, so you don’t have to unscrew the top every time you need a drink. A must-have for me!  Purchase yours today at Bougie or check for a local retailer near you.

 

 

Nail Polish with Benefits!

Dr.’s Remedy Polish is Free of all the “bad stuff” and filled with all the “good stuff”. Containing lavender, wheat protein, garlic extract, tea tree oil and bioten, all things that help repair and hydrate, dry brittle nails, and keep existing nails healthy! It is also a 10-FREE product, so for your recipients that want organic, cruelty-free and vegan options, this is a fantastic option! You can purchase Dr.’s Remedy Polish in our office!

 

Pedicure at Home!

Barefoot Scientist offers a hydration pedicure kit that contains all the good things needed to hydrate even the dryest of feet (ergonomic foot file, intensive hydration cream, and special hydration socks). Hey, maybe you could provide the pedicure to your recipient too!?  Available at Ulta.  If you want to make your own pedicure kit, check out our last post on recipes to make foot soaks, scrubs, and heel balm!

Foot Cooling Lotion

This cooling lotion helps to invigorate and revitalize tired feet! Available at The Body Shop.

 

 

 

 

Wow them with Bombas Socks!

Bombas socks are amazing. They are super comfortable, come in amazing colors, and for every pair that is purchased, an additional pair is donated to someone in need.  You’re going to want to buy yourself some of the socks as well, they are just that awesome.  Note: for larger calves, consider trying the Merino Wool line, for it has a bit more stretch in the calf area. Bombas.com

 

CBD Therapy Pain Relief

Is your gift recipient in need of pain relief? Consider Medterra CBD Rapid cooling cream that provides relief for sore muscles and joints.  A powerful combination of CBD and certified organic ingredients, Medterra CBD Rapid Cream provides a rapid cooling feeling, perfect for sore muscles and joints. THC Free and made in the USA.  This product is available for purchase in our office!

 

Fashion Forward Slippers with Arch Support!

As podiatrists, we want everyone to have good arch support.  So here are two price points with Podiatrist approved sandals that your recipient is sure to love.

Birkenstock Zermatt Slippers — $100.00 Podiatrists love Birkenstocks’ footbeds for their comfort and arch support. This pair has a deep heel cup that keeps your natural cushioning under the heel bone, longitudinal arch support along the sides of the footbed for stability, and a raised toe bar that encourages the natural gripping motion of your feet.

L.L. Bean Women’s & Men’s Mountain Slippers — $69.00.  These slippers have a cozy fleece lining to keep your toes nice and toasty, a rubber bottom that provides traction, and—of course—good arch support. The insole can be removed should you want to wear your custom orthotics in them. Men’s pair, Women’s pair.

 

 

Small Ball, Big Impact!

If you’ve never used a foot massage ball, then you need to get one as a gift for yourself as well!  This little ball works wonders on tired and achy feet! The little bumps can also provide pinpoint pressure on your heels with minimal effort! This is a BIG deal for those with thick calluses!  Check them out at FleetFeet.

 

Medical Pedicures!

Did you know that we offer medical pedicures in our office?  Medical pedicures are wonderful for everyone, but especially for our diabetic and high-risk patients.  Having a pedicure performed in our office means you have a doctor nearby and trained medical assistants that specialize in foot care, treating your feet.  Take a look at our spa menu and how you can pick up a gift certificate.

 

We hope this list inspires you and that your gift recipients (or you) enjoy the thoughtful items.

**These are NOT paid endorsements/advertisements of these products, just simply a few fun ideas to help you get your holiday shopping completed!

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Make Your Own Luxury Foot Soaks, Scrubs & Balms

Have you ever considered making your own foot care products?  They are very easy to make using ingredients that are found in most stores. They also make wonderful and inexpensive gifts! By using beautiful jars and bows you can create a unique gift that comes straight from the heart.  What’s even better when making your own recipes is that you know exactly what ingredients are used and you can take pride in knowing your completed product is cruelty-free and organic (should you choose to use organic).

Dry skin can occur for several reasons and often becomes most prevalent during the summer and winter months where the air is most dry.  Removing dead skin cells helps to relieve the appearance of dry skin, encourage new cell production, as well as, prime the skin for moisturizers which help lock in moisture.  This is why we think that making your own foot soaks, scrubs, and heel balms are a great idea.  Feel free to experiment with different scent combinations in these recipes.

Once you have made your foot soak, scrub, or heel balm, you will need to present it in packaging that will wow the recipient.  There are many types of containers you can use, though glass or tin are best.  Consider repurposing an empty candle jar, mason jar, or unique tin to hold your product.  Decorate the container with the use of twine, ribbon, or flowers.  You may even want to paint an image on the jar or use vinyl cutouts to make it even more special.  Be sure to add a beautiful spoon or stick to allow them to stir up the mixtures before use. Here are a few visuals to help inspire you:

Photo Credits: HGTV.com, Fairlamblavenderfarm.com, ouibyyoplait, Neiman Marcus website

ADDITIONAL TIPS: Immediately after exfoliating your skin, be sure to apply your favorite moisturizer.  Coconut oil with lavender and orange essence is a lovely combination but do note that it can leave the skin feeling a tad bit greasy.

Remember to avoid using salt scrubs on your face and on sensitive skin areas, such as freshly shaved legs as it will be too abrasive on the skin*.

If you are not seeing the relief in your dry skin after a week or two of self-care, you may need to see a doctor.  Chronic dry skin can be a sign of something more serious.

Happy exfoliating!

*If you are a diabetic, please consult with your doctor prior to using at-home remedies for your dry skin.

If you are not finding relief for your dry skin, please call Dr. Hollander at (707) 578-1222 to schedule an appointment today. And if you’re not big on making your own foot care products, consider purchasing a gift certificate for one of our amazing medical pedicures!

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9 Most Common Foot Problems in Patients Over 40

Foot problems are not age specific, they can happen to anyone, but there are conditions that seem to show up more often for those that are over 40. Today we will discuss the 9 most common foot problems that patients over 40 tend to experience, what causes them, treatment options, and prevention methods. Life in your 40s is wonderful, but if we can learn about potential conditions that come with this age range, we can be more proactive in prevention and treatment.

9 Most Common Foot Problems in Patients Over 40      

Gout- Gout is a condition that occurs from the buildup of uric acid mainly around the big toe joint.  People with gout will experience a red hot toe and sensations that feels like pins and needles.  Certain foods and beverages increase the potential of having a gout flare up. If you can minimize these foods, you can help prevent a flare up. Treatment of gout includes an anti-inflammatory and diet change.  Gout is most common in men between the ages of 40-50 and post menopausal women.

Calluses- Callus build-up can be caused by friction from shoes or how one walks, but it can also be caused by a reduction in estrogen levels which impacts the body’s ability to maintain moisture. Calluses can be treated with urea foot moisturizers, pumice stones, and manual debridement.

Metatarsalgia– Metatarsalgia is pain in the ball of your foot that is sharp, achy or a burning sensation.  This condition can be caused by several different factors including, excess weight putting pressure on your metatarsals, stress fractures, Morton’s neuroma, and even by loss of fat on the bottom of our feet.  Treatment can range from rest with icing the foot, wearing shock-absorbing insoles, or using non-invasive treatments like ECSW Therapy or MLS Laser Therapy .

Heel Pain– When you experience heel pain it could be from heel spurs or plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs are bony protrusions that form at the front of your heel. These bony growths are caused by calcium deposits. They are often treated with cold compresses, medication, and sometimes surgery. Plantar Fasciitis is another common condition in those over 40. It starts with a sharp or stabbing pain with your first steps out of bed in the morning, which may be when your pain is the worst. After walking around for awhile, the pain may decrease. The pain may also be present with long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position. Treatment includes stretches, splints, medication, orthotics or ECSW Therapy.

Ingrown Toenails- When the toenail grows inward toward the skin it creates what we call, an ingrown toenail.  Ingrown toenails can be genetic, caused by trauma or by improper nail trimming. Often when the nail grows into the skin, the toe can become red, tender and even infected. Treatment varies on the severity of the ingrown nail. You can help prevent them by wearing properly fitting shoes and cutting your nails straight across.

Bunions- When you see someone with a large toe that is bending inward and over (or under) their second toe, they have what is called a bunion. Bunions occur when a bony bump forms on the joint at the base of the big toe, and then pushes it against the next toe. The main causes of bunions are wearing tight shoes, foot stress, and arthritis. The main symptoms are bone deformity, pain, and stiffness. Treatments include changing shoes, padding the foot, and pain medications. Painful bunions can be removed surgically.

Hammer toes- A hammer toe is a toe that is deformed, with the end of the toe bending downwards. It usually affects the second, third or fourth toe, and appears to look like a claw. A corn may form on the top of the toe, and a callus may form underneath it. It may be caused by a muscle imbalance or by poorly fitting shoes, when toes are unable to be fully extended. A flexible hammer toe can be manually straightened out while a rigid hammer toe cannot be pulled straight. Treating a hammer toe before it becomes “fixed” in position is essential. Orthotics, splints, or wearing shoes with roomy toe-boxes may help non-severe cases of hammer toe. In severe cases, surgery may be performed.

Claws toes- Having a claw toe refers to the “clawing” down motion of the toe. This position of the toe often causes painful calluses. A claw toe can be caused by poorly fitting shoes, trauma, or nerve damage from conditions such as diabetes or alcoholism. Treatment includes changing your shoes and stretching and exercising your toes. Without treatment, the condition can become permanent.

Osteoarthritis-  Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage of a joint begins to break down and eventually is lost. The lack of cartilage leads to pain and the grinding of joints. This is a disease that affects millions of Americans. It is considered a wear-and-tear disease due to repetitive use. It can also occur from trauma and abnormal foot mechanics, but in most cases it is the first cause. Thankfully there are several methods for managing this disease.

As you can see, many of these conditions can be prevented through the action of wearing properly fitting shoes and being proactive about your podiatry care. If you notice something different about your feet, how they feel or how they look, don’t put it off. Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist and talk to them about your concerns before it become unmanageable. If you don’t have a podiatrist, your primary care physician can refer you one. Dr. John D. Hollander is accepting referrals and would be happy to discuss your concerns. Give us a call today at our Santa Rosa office (707) 578-1222.

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Treating Cuts & Blisters While Camping & Hiking

Ah, the joy of getting out into nature, breathing in the fresh air, exploring the wide-open spaces, stomping through rivers, and sometimes treating the occasional cut or blister. Following the best practices for wound treatment and having the right medical supplies on hand for camping and hiking, will allow you to treat your injuries in a manner that will help you to get right back on your feet so you can enjoy the great outdoors.

Treating Foot Cuts

Sharp rocks, thorns, pointy sticks, etc. are the common culprits in a cut to the foot.  The first method of treatment should be to clean the wound.  You can use soap and water, or pour some hydrogen peroxide over it.  You can even use rubbing alcohol, but due note that it will cause stinging! After cleaning the wound, apply clean gauze with pressure to stop any bleeding.

Once the bleeding stops, apply bacitracin cream (first aid antibiotic) to the wound to help prevent an infection.  It’s always a good idea to squeeze the medication onto a clean cotton swab or bandage rather than directly onto the wound, for it could contaminate the container of medicine.

Next, apply your bandage.  Be sure to use a bandage that can flex with the motions of your foot, otherwise, the bandage may fail and come off.  For larger cuts, a gauze square and bandage tape work well.  If you are out of bandage tape, duck tape can do the trick, but keep in mind that the glue could cause skin irritation.

Keep your wound dry until it has healed.  Healing can take a few days or more depending on the severity of it.  Change your bandages daily or whenever they get wet.

If you end up getting a deep cut that may need stitches, or you step on a rusty nail, it’s best to have a friend drive you to the nearest doctor or urgent care.  Deep cuts need more than a daub of bacitracin to heal.  They will probably require stitches and a stronger antibiotic medication.  And rusty nail punctures should be thoroughly cleaned out and followed by a tetanus shot if you are not up to date on them.

Treating Foot Blisters

Poorly fitting shoes and prolonged shoe-wearing often cause painful blisters.  Blisters are small pockets of fluid that form under the upper layers of skin.  There are a few things you can do to treat them depending on the severity of the blister.   First and foremost, do not pop your blister! Doing so can quickly expose your body to bacteria which could lead to an infection.  Covering the blister with a cushion of gauze, waterproof bandage, or a hydrocolloid bandage can help reduce discomfort while it heals. Should the blister pop on its own, keep it clean and dry.  Medication is not needed to treat a blister, but it doesn’t hurt to apply an antibiotic should you wish to.

Cuts and blisters are common and often easily treatable. Be sure to pack a first aid kit for your next outing so that you can treat your foot wounds effectively while you are away from home.

Here is a list of items to keep in your first aid kit for treating cuts and blisters:

  • Fabric bandages
  • Waterproof bandages
  • Hydrocolloid bandages
  • Gauze squares
  • Roll of Bandage Tape
  • Bacitracin (first aid antibiotic) cream
  • Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol
  • Soap
  • Tweezers
  • Cotton Swabs

 

If you have a foot injury that is not healing, call Dr. John D. Hollander, DPM for care at (707) 578-1222 at our Santa Rosa, Ca office. We are here for you!

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Accessory Bones of the Foot

When you hear the word accessory, we tend to think of using pretty necklaces, rings or belts to enhance our outfits. But with accessory bones, they aren’t enhancing anything, but rather showing up in our x-rays as extra bones.

What is an accessory bone?

When we are born, most of our bones are cartilage that fuses and hardens over time.  In some cases, pieces of cartilage do not fuse together, but continue to harden into bone.  This lack of fusion and hardening is what causes an accessory bone.  Accessory bones are considered normal skeletal variations. In fact, there are up to 24 variations of accessory bones in the foot alone!

How do I know if I have an accessory bone?

Most people do not know that they have an accessory bone until it shows up on an MRI or X-ray, or foot pain is presence after a fracture, dislocation or more pressing conditions like osteoarthritis or tumors.   Unless the accessory bone itself is damaged, it will most likely be just be noted in your chart as an incidental finding.

How do you treat an accessory bone?

Unless the bone is injured or causing pain, there is no need to treat or remove it.  If there is pain, your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication, rest, ice, steroid injections or physical therapy.  In some cases, surgical removal of the bone may be needed.

The next time you have an x-ray of your foot and discover an accessory bone there is no need to worry. Instead, embrace that little extra piece that makes you, you!

If you ever experience foot pain, contact your doctor if pain persists. Foot pain is not normal, and you don’t have to suffer through it. Call our office Monday through Friday at (707) 578-1222.

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Summer BBQs Lead to Painful Gout?

The Summer season brings out a variety of celebratory traditions, including, campouts, pool parties, and fireworks.  Another common one is the outdoor cookout.  Families and friends gather in backyards and on porches to enjoy grilling and eating together. However, for anyone with gout, this tradition could set them up a painful attack later.  You can still grill this summer, but you should keep in mind that certain foods can encourage a gout attack or flare up.

Foods that are high in purines can increase the production of uric acid in your body, making it more likely the crystals will collect in your joints—especially your feet—and cause pain.  By avoiding these foods and drinks, and eating other healthy choices, you can decrease your odds of developing an uncomfortable problem.

Reduce your intake of meat, including poultry and fish.  Watch your fat consumption, too, since saturated fats impair your ability to eliminate uric acid.  Instead, choose low-fat options, especially for dairy products and snack foods like potato chips.  Limit the snacks you consume with high-fructose corn syrup as well.  This may mean skipping the soda or sweetened juice.  You should also avoid alcohol, especially beer, since it seems to have a link to gout attacks.

Instead, get extra protein with beans or legumes.  Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and look for whole-grain and starch-rich carbohydrates.  Rice, potatoes, oats, barley, and other whole grains are good options.  Choose water or a 100% juice to drink over other drink alternatives.

Changing your diet now is better than waking up at night with a painful gout attack.  This may mean eating only one burger or hot dog, saying no to the beer, and looking for fruits and veggies to fill up your plate.  Pay attention to what you consume and watch for the foods to avoid that contribute to gout.  If you experience a gout flare-up, contact John D. Hollander, DPM, in Santa Rosa, CA. You can call (707) 578-1222 to reach us Monday-Friday or after-hours for urgent matters.

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7 Ways to Clean and Freshen Up Your Sandals

The moment the weather heats up our sandals are put into use.  Sandals are exposed to all sorts of conditions, sweat, sun, sand, oils, bacteria, and dirt. And with all that exposure to grit and grime, they can get dirty and smelly fast!  By cleaning your sandals you can help extend the life of them and keep them looking great!  Here are a few tips on ways to clean your sandals.

 

  1. Mild Soap and Water. For synthetic fiber shoes, a generous scrub of warm water and mild soap can quickly and easily clean up your favorite sandals.
  2. Clean magic eraser. This magic eraser can make quick work of cleaning up the dirtiest of shoes.  We don’t recommend using this tool on leather sandals as it may scratch the material.
  3. Baking soda. Mix together 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 tablespoon of water to create a paste.  Use an old toothbrush to scrub the paste onto the footbed of the sandals in a circular motion.  Wipe off the baking soda paste with a warm damp cloth and then allow your sandals to completely dry in a cool place (this is especially important for leather sandals, you don’t want to keep them in a hot place as this can damage the fibers).
  4. Sandpaper for suede. Using a 125 or 150 grit sandpaper sheet, gently scrub the suede sections of your sandals in a circular motion until the dirt and grime are gone.
  5. Vinegar is tough on grime but gentle enough for leather.  Mix equal parts vinegar to water and apply the solution to your sandals with a soft sponge or washcloth.  Allow the shoes to completely dry before wearing them again.
  6. Rubbing Alcohol. Wipe down the footbed of your sandals with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.  This will not only remove dirt and grime, but it will also kill any bacteria on the sandal.  Be sure to rinse off the rubbing alcohol with a damp clean cloth and allow the shoes to dry.  This method is best for synthetic materials as it can have a drying effect on the leather.
  7. Footbed cleaner*. For a convenience factor, there are products available on the market that is made for cleaning sandals.  Sandal Rescue is a textured wipe that scrubs away dirt and oil build-up and comes in a convenient package you can take with you anywhere.  Vionic Footbed Cleaner is applied with a clean cloth, sponge, or brush and wiped off with a dry cloth.

By cleaning your sandals, you not only extend the look and life of your sandals, but you also will help keep your feet clean and odor-free.  If you are experiencing extreme foot odor or have thick or brittle nails, visit our website for more information on our successful methods of treatment. To schedule an appointment at our Santa Rosa office, you can reach us at (707) 578-1222.

 

*This is NOT a paid advertisement for Sandal Rescue or Vionic.  We only wish to provide our patients with effective solutions to their shoe care needs.

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Peripheral Arterial Disease

Have you ever noticed muscle pain or weakness in your legs or feet after you’ve started walking, but then stops within minutes after resting? You may have PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease).

PAD is a condition in which the arteries in the legs become narrowed or blocked by the buildup of fatty deposits called plaque.  This narrowing or blocking of arteries reduces blood flow from the heart to the extremities which causes poor circulation and often pain.

PAD  has many risks factors including:

  • Family history and genetics
  • Age (you can develop PAD at any age, but most commonly found in those age 65 and older)
  • Lifestyle habits (smoking, stress, diets high in saturated fats, lack of physical activity)
  • Having certain medical conditions can increase your risk for PAD (diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, chronic kidney disease)

Those with PAD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Foot or toe pain that makes it hard to sleep
  • Fatigue, tiredness or pain in your legs, thighs, or buttocks that happens when you walk but then goes away when you rest
  • Foot ulcers that are slow to heal (taking longer than 6 weeks to heal)
  • Pale, discolored or blue leg or foot
  • Lack of growth of your toenails and leg hair
  • One foot feeling colder than the other

Treatment for PAD really depends on the severity of your PAD and what complications may develop or may already have developed.

Your doctor will recommend making heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as, quit smoking, managing stress, aiming for regular physical activity, and encouraging you to get your weight into a healthier range.  Your doctor may also prescribe medications to treat and prevent complications related to PAD.

If lifestyle changes and medications do not work well enough to treat your PAD, your doctor may recommend an angioplasty procedure where they insert a small mesh tube called a stent, into the artery which is designed to reduce the artery from narrowing again.    In more severe cases, you may need bypass surgery which is where the doctor will use a healthier blood vessel or an artificial vessel to create a new path around the blocked artery in your leg.

 

PAD is a lifelong condition, but you can manage and minimize complications with lifestyle changes and keeping open communication with your doctor about your feet.

 

If you are experiencing pain in your legs or feet when you perform physical activity, ask to be seen by your doctor right away.  PAD is not a condition you want to put off.  Early care and maintenance are important.  If you would like to speak to a doctor about your feet call (707) 578-1222.

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Sports and Foot Pain in Children

Foot Pain in ChildrenFoot pain in children can be very common, especially when they are active in sports. Spring is here and that means baseball and soccer season. Some sports injuries can be avoided with a little extra care and knowledge. Other conditions just seem to be a part of growing up. Fortunately, your child should grow out of them over time.

One of the most commonly seen causes of foot pain in young people is Sever’s disease. This is when the growth plate in the heel becomes inflamed and swells, which results in pain and discomfort. The most common time for this problem to occur is during their growth spurt at the beginning of adolescence. Most children, by the age of 15, will have grown out of this condition because their feet will have reached their adult size. The fact that the growth plate grows faster than the leg muscles, along with the stress and pressure put on the feet during physical activity, leads to Sever’s disease.

Another common cause of pain in the feet is growing pains. This type of discomfort is typically felt more so at night than in the morning. This pain usually comes and goes and may last for weeks or months, but they will grow out of it. To ease growing pains you could try massaging your child’s legs and feet or help them to stretch the muscles themselves. Heating pads are also a good source of pain relief for your child’s sore muscles. A doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory, but always make sure the correct dosage is giving and that your child has no allergies.

For more information about foot pain in children call Dr. John Hollander at (707) 578-1222 to schedule an appointment in our Santa Rosa, CA office. We want your children’s feet to be pain-free so they can enjoy being young and staying active.