John Hollander, DPM

Survival Tips for Keeping your Feet Warm

Whether you’re an avid winter sports enthusiast or one that prefers to stay indoors at any sign of cold or wet weather, it is important to know how to keep your feet warm and dry.  When venturing out into the elements you may need something more than just a rain boot or a fancy knee-high. Here are some easy survival tips to effectively keep your feet warm and dry this winter season.

 

  1. Wear a warmer shoe. Give your feet a head-start by keeping your shoes indoors where it is warmer.
  2. Wear shoes designed for your activity and weather. Avoid mesh running shoes. Instead, wear a hiking boot or trail shoe and something with a thicker sole, is water resistant or has water-proof features, especially around the toes and lower sides of the shoe.
  3. Wear a thicker sock. Aim for wool or synthetic fiber socks rather than cotton, which can absorb moisture quickly, dry slowly and pull heat away from your skin, making it a fabric to avoid when there might be snow involved.
  4. Waterproof clothing. If you’re going to be in cold conditions for an extended period of time, consider adding a liner between your sock layers, or even using plastic bags.
  5. Move your body. Starting to feel cold, walk faster, ski faster, run faster, do a few jumping jacks.  Physical activity increases body heat and helps to get the blood moving faster to your extremities which alleviates that cold feeling.

‘…On cold days, I grab a paper towel or Starbucks napkin and fold it over the top of my foot, toes, and under the toes. Then I put on my shoe. This provides a thin layer of insulation that is usually just enough for comfort…”

Remember that if you use toe warmers or do warm water soaks, then you’ll want to make sure the toe warmer or water is not too hot as you can easily burn yourself. If you have neuropathy then you need to check the temperature with your hand or forearm first, as you cannot rely on your feet to tell you if it is too hot.

“Don’t let cold feet keep you indoors during the winter. There is more to winter walking than just the treadmill. But your toes can get painfully cold, and you may even risk frostbite in bitter weather. You want to avoid getting sweaty feet, as that puts you at risk of developing a blister. You can protect your feet in cold weather with these tips.”

For further tips on keeping your feet dry and warm while outside in the cold, check out this article.

 

If you are experiencing cold feet with little to no relief, contact our office for an evaluation.  You may have a more serious condition. (707) 578-1222.

Stay active this winter and have fun enjoying the outdoors!

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How to tell if you have athlete’s foot or psoriasis.

Do you have athlete’s foot or psoriasis? This is a common question, because the signs and symptoms of both conditions are similar.  To help you figure this out we have put together a quick sign and symptom tree to help determine whether you have the fungal infection commonly known as Athlete’s foot, or a genetic condition known as Psoriasis. Answer each question and follow the corresponding path, which will lead you to the corresponding condition.

This sign and symptom tree is not designed to formally diagnosis or treat your skin conditions, but rather break down the common symptoms and differences that these two conditions have. There are other symptoms related to each condition that is not listed here.  If you have a concern about your skin or feet you should contact your health care provider. They will be able to give you a formal diagnosis and treatment plan for your specific needs.  If you have a concern about your feet, please call our office to set up an appointment.  We can be reached at (707) 578-1222.

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An Eco-Friendly Approach to Gift Wrapping

If you’ve been trying to reduce your carbon foot print this year, another method for doing so can be in the way you wrap your gifts.  While it is very temping to take advantage of the cute wrapping papers on sale, stop and think about what you have at home that could work in its place.  If you’re scratching your head, not to worry, we have complied a list of ideas to help you be greener, while also wowing your recipients with a beautiful and thoughtful presentation.

Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper

Newspaper. If you don’t get the paper, ask your neighbor or snag a free daily paper. Finish off with a lovely ribbon or twine.

Paper Grocery bag. Leave plain or decorate with stamps, doodles or decoupage colorful cutouts from a magazine.

Fabric. Do you have a stash of fabric? Take a beautiful square and use it to cover your gift. Tie the corners together or use a safety pin to secure. You might even add a few colorful beads onto the safety pin for extra pizzazz.

Loner Socks. Depending on the size, have fun by using a colorful sock tied off with ribbon. This is a great option for your loner socks! Maybe hold off on using the ones with dark stains on the foot though 😊.

Shoe box. Don’t spend money on another box for your gift, look in your closet! Your shoe box makes a wonderful container. Just cover with your favorite Eco-friendly wrapping material.

Jars. Do you have a beautiful old (or new) jam jar laying around? This could make a beautiful presentation for a handmade gift of candies, bath salts or just another fun way to gift smaller items like enamel buttons or beads for your crafting friend!

Toilet Paper Rolls. Don’t throw those rolls out just yet! Bend the ends inwards to create an instant jewelry gift box! Finish off with a pretty ribbon.

Reusable Shopping Bags. Have you stocked up on a hefty stash of reusable shopping bags? If one has a pretty pattern on it, use that as your gift bag. Then, your recipient can start using the bag for their shopping! Win-win all around!

Pringle Cans. Reuse your favorite chip can to hold fresh baked cookies or colorful socks. Just wash out the can and then cover it with brown paper.

Reuse your gift bags. Don’t throw away a gift bag or tissue paper. It they are still in good condition, fold them up and store for future use.

Don’t have ribbon? Use an old plastic bag! Stretch the bag thin to create “string” and tie a bow around your gift.

Don’t have a bow?  Use fallen leaves, twigs, an old ornament or make your own bow out of paper.

Don’t have a crafty side?  Purchase wrapping paper that is made from 100% recycled paper and uses natural dyes. Wrappily uses 100% recycled newspaper and Green-Field Paper Company uses soy-based inks. Take a look on Etsy as well, for smaller productions.

We hope these Eco-friendly gift wrap suggestions inspire you in your future gift-giving and have you re-thinking the materials that can be used in place of traditional gift wrap. Not only will you be helping the earth, but you’ll be helping out your wallet as well!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Sonoma County Foot and Ankle Center!

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How to Relieve Dry Skin with Exfoliants Found at Home

Dry skin, it happens to the best of us.  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.

Try these simple exfoliants, that are typically found in your kitchen, the next time you experience dry skin on your arms or legs.

Take a Milk Bath.  Milk contains lactic acid which acts as an exfoliant and may also increase your skin’s ability to hold in moisture.  If one specific area is dry, soak a washcloth in cold milk and place the washcloth on the dry area for five minutes. Gently wash off the milk to allow for some of the lactic acid to remain behind.  If you are feeling dry all over, add a quart of milk to your bath. For additional benefits, you could even add a few tablespoons of honey or oatmeal to the water. Don’t have milk, try plain yogurt- though we don’t recommend using it in your bath.

Take a Salt Bath. Yes, you heard that right. Add two cups of Epsom salt to your warm bath and soak.  Take a small handful of additional Epsom salt and use it to scrub the areas of skin that are dry.  For a softening affect, add dried seaweed to your bath.

Make a Sugar Scrub. Perfect for showers, a sugar scrub can be applied quickly to your legs, arms and belly.  Take a cup of sugar and mix in a ¼ cup of coconut oil.  Add your favorite essence if you’d like.  Apply the scrub to your skin in a circular motion and rinse off with warm water.

Baking Soda.  There is nothing easier than mixing baking soda and water to make an exfoliant.  Baking soda is great for sensitive skin and delicate areas such as your face and neck.  Simply mix water into a handful of baking soda to make a paste consistency. Apply with circular motions and rinse off with warm water.

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.

If you are not seeing 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 the sign of something more serious.

Happy exfoliating!

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Fall Leaf Porcupine Craft!

 Children enjoy animals and collecting things, so why not take this opportunity to make a fun porcupine from all of the fallen leaves they collect?

Print out our spike-less porcupine on card stock here —-> PorcupineCraftpage then, head outside to collect your favorite leaves.  Attach your leaves to the porcupine with your favorite white glue and let dry. To help keep the leaves flat, try covering them with a magazine and then a book for weight.  You could even add some glitter to the leaves if you wanted to jazz him or her up a bit!

We hope you enjoy this craft time with your kiddo!  Be sure to share your creations with us on our Facebook page or on Twitter!

Happy crafting from all of us at Sonoma County Foot and Ankle Center!

 

*This image is for personal use only.

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Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is upon us and in just a few short days the streets will be filled with the familiar sounds of laughter and greetings of “trick or treat”.

Halloween is all about having fun. Getting outside, dressed as your favorite super hero, goblin or ghost or humorous theme.  Let’s keep the holiday fun by following a few safety tips!

  1. STAY ON THE SIDEWALK.  Keep the roads for the cars and utilize the sidewalk whenever possible. This keeps everyone safe and happy.
  2. WALK IN A GROUP. They say there is safety in numbers. And besides, isn’t it always more fun to trick or treat with your best buds.
  3. STAY VISIBLE.  Wear bright colors or reflective tape on your costumes.  Grab a few glow sticks or a flashlight too!  It is dark at night, and having lights can help keep you from tripping and for others to see you.
  4. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. As a podiatrist office, it is our duty to suggest you wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes at all times- especially on Halloween!  Sneakers are a great option! Don’t forget your orthotic inserts if you use them.  And it’s always a good idea to double knot your shoelaces too!
  5. INSPECT YOUR CANDY. Keep an eye open for choking hazards for little trick or treaters.  Don’t eat handmade goodies (you never know their cleaning habits).  And if a candy looks opened, it’s probably best to toss it.
  6. DRIVE SLOWLY. Take this one night to drive a smidgen slower than the speed limit, especially in the neighborhoods.  Kids get so excited, that sometimes they forget to look for cars. Help them, by keeping an eye out for them as you drive.

We wish you all a fun, happy and sppppooooooky Halloween night!

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Lisfranc Injuries- A Common Misdiagnosis

Some say that Lisfranc injuries are rare, but that may be due to the fact that up to 20% of Lisfranc injuries are misdiagnosed as a sprain by physicians. The reason for this may be the methods for determining the type of injury the patient has based on first evaluation. The different types of tests a physician can use, usually all result in some level of discomfort in the foot region which can lead to a misdiagnosis.  That is why further investigation is necessary in the form of medical imaging.  Medical imaging will allow the physician to look for fractures in the metatarsal bones, widening between joints or dislocation of the joints in the mid foot[1].

What exactly is a Lisfranc injury?

Second metatarsal fracture w/ dislocation of third through fifth tarsometatarsal joints.

Lisfranc (midfoot) injury is when the bones of the midfoot become broken or dislocated, or the ligaments that support the midfoot have been torn.

This type of injury can occur from a simple twist and fall, to direct impacts by falling from high elevations or car accidents.

Symptoms of a Lisfranc injury include:

  • Swelling & pain of the midfoot
  • Decreased or inability to bear weight on the foot
  • Bruising on the top of the foot and especially the bottom of foot
  • Pain that worsens with standing, walking or bearing weight on the foot

A proper diagnosis of a Lisfranc injury is crucial.  “When one misdiagnoses Lisfranc injury as a sprain or renders insufficient treatment, complications such as osteoarthritis and midfoot pain result. The outcome of Lisfranc injuries depends on the severity of injury to the cartilaginous joint surface with the most common outcome being midfoot arthritis.[2]” There is also a chance of one developing a flat foot if proper treatment is not taken.

The treatment of Lisfranc injuries depend upon the severity of the injury.  It can vary from applying a compression bandage and ice, to wearing a short leg splint or boot, a brace with compression wrap, or surgery.

If ice and rest do not provide your foot with relief please make an appointment with your podiatrist for an evaluation, the sooner the better!

 

[1] Weatherford, B. M., MD. (2017, September). Lisfranc (Midfoot) Injury – OrthoInfo – AAOS. Retrieved October 5, 2018, from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/lisfranc-midfoot-injury/

[2] Shah, N. N., MD, & DeMeo, J., DPM. (2016). Keys To Diagnosing And Treating Lisfranc Injuries. Podiatry Today,29(4), 60-67. Retrieved October 5, 2018, from https://www.podiatrytoday.com/keys-diagnosing-and-treating-lisfranc-injuries

 

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How to Clean and Disinfect Your Nail Tools at Home

Raise your hand if you are guilty of not cleaning your nail clippers or callus removing tools after each use?  Do you think that just rinsing them off with hot water is enough? Sorry guys and gals, it is not!  We as humans carry bacteria on our bodies that when exposed to a cut in our skin, can potentially cause painful or life-threatening infections.  This is why it is required by law for nail salons to follow specific sanitizing and disinfecting procedures with their equipment.  Today’s blog is going to teach you how to take care of your tools at home by cleaning and disinfecting them, so that you don’t find yourself (or a family member) with an unwanted infection.

Cleaning your tools

Always start off by washing your hands with soap and water. Place your scrub brush into a bowl and pour 70% to 90% Isopropyl Alcohol over it until the brush is completely submerged. Allow your brush to soak for 5 minutes.  Once you know your brush is sanitized, you can use it to clean your other tools.  Add antibacterial soap to your brush and use it to scrub your nail clippers, glass nail files and callus removing tool. Your goal it to remove debris build up.  Once you are done scrubbing, rinse off the tools with hot water until all of the soap is gone.

Disinfecting your tools*

Place your nail clippers, glass nail files and callus removing tool into a clean bowl.  Again, using the Isopropyl Alcohol, cover your tools completely.  Allow them to sit in the solution for 30 minutes. If you do not have Isopropyl Alcohol, you can boil your metal tools in water for 20 minutes.  Be sure to wash your hands before picking up the disinfected tools. When soaking is complete, allow them to dry on a clean paper towel.

Storing your clean tools

Always store your clean tools away from other tools and supplies.  Never place them in a plastic bag or storage container as that can create a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria. Instead, keep them wrapped in a clean paper towel, in a designated “clean” drawer or makeup bag specifically for your nail tools.

*Please note these techniques are not directions for nail salons. Nail salons should refer to the cleaning and disinfecting requirements of their specific state, which in California can be found on the Department of Consumer Affairs barbering and cosmetology page.

If you have a red, tender or hot spot on your foot or around your toenail, don’t wait to get it treated. Call our office today or schedule an appointment online to see one of our dedicated podiatrists.

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Do I Have a Callus or a Corn?

Every summer my feet tend to get dry and I develop thick and sometimes cracked calluses. But another symptom I have regularly when my calluses get thick, is pain on the outer pad of my foot, you know, the area under your pinky toe? I find that when I have a pedicure appointment and request the “Callus treatment” my feet feel a lot better and pain is eliminated.

This got me to wondering, is the area of pain solely a callus, or could it also be a corn? This led me to do some research.

Calluses and corns are areas of thick skin caused by pressure or friction. They can be found on your feet, between your toes or even on your hands.

“Calluses and corns are caused by repeated pressure or friction on an area of skin. The pressure causes the skin to die and form a hard, protective surface. A soft corn is formed in the same way, except that when sweat is trapped where the corn develops, the hard core softens. This typically occurs between toes. Calluses and corns are not caused by a virus and are not contagious.”

Calluses can be found on the bottom of your foot where as corns are usually found on the top of your foot or in between your toes. Walking barefoot or wearing improper fitting shoes will increase your chance of forming a callus. “Calluses and corns often form on bunions, hammer, claw, or mallet toes, or on the bumps caused by rheumatoid arthritis.”

Callused skin is typically hard, thick and may be discolored yellow or grey. You may or may not feel pain from the callus or corn while walking or wearing shoes. Sometimes, when you apply pressure by touching or squeezing the callus it can cause pain or discomfort. The pain is often described as walking with a pebble in your shoe or taped against your foot. They can become very uncomfortable. If left untreated then the callus will increase in size and may cause the skin to split and become very painful.

So, there we have it!  My particular issue is callus build up!

There are several conservative treatment options to help maintain callused skin. Schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists today and they can discuss them with you, 707-578-1222.

Sarah, VMD

Additional information can be found at: https://www.apma.org/Patients/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=1346

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