My Blog
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
July 29, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Footwear   Shoes  
The Right ShoesWhen was the last time you bought new shoes? When was the last time you threw out shoes that were old and worn out? We often keep shoes long past the point where we should have retired them. Of course, other factors such as our age also play a role in the health of our feet, including our risk factors for developing certain conditions and also our footcare needs. Our feet have different needs and require different care as we get older. Here’s how to choose the appropriate shoes for all stages of life:
 
How Your Feet Change Over the Years

As we age, our feet will change shape and size, which can also predispose them to certain problems. This also means that your foot needs will change, particularly concerning footwear. Here’s how your feet will change:
  • Loss of fat pads
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • The development or worsening of certain deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
  • Widening or lengthening of the feet
  • Loss of bone density (which can increase your risk for fracture)
  • Changes in gait due to certain conditions such as neuropathy or arthritis
  • Diabetic-related foot problems
  • Issues with balance
Everyday Footwear for Aging Feet

You must look for shoes that provide proper cushioning and supportive insoles so that your feet can tackle the day-to-day activities. If you have foot problems or issues with gait, then you’ll want to turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Together, you can decide the proper footwear and whether prescription orthotics can also provide your feet with additional support and cushioning that footwear alone can’t.

You should turn to a specialty shoe store where they can analyze your gait, properly measure your feet, and determine whether the shoes you’re getting may require additional modifications including orthotics. For example, some shoes and brands adjust to foot swelling throughout the day, while others provide enough space to place orthotics.
 
There are also certain types of shoes that aging feet should avoid. Those include:
  • Any shoes with pointed toes
  • Shoes with heels over 2 inches
  • Shoes that aren’t non-slip
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Shoes that don’t have a firm sole (including your slippers)
  • Old, worn shoes (that simply need to be tossed)
  • Shoes with rocker soles (particularly if you have gait problems)
If you are having trouble finding the right shoes to fit your needs, or if you are interested in learning more about custom orthotics and how it could provide additional support for your feet, turn to your podiatrist today for the care your feet deserve.
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
July 21, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Ingrown Toenail   Podiatrist  
Ingrown NailWhile minor aches and pains in your feet probably won’t have you rushing to the podiatrist’s office for care, certain seemingly innocuous foot problems might require a professional’s touch. Take ingrown toenails, for example. While you may be able to soothe and ease the pain on your own, it’s also important to recognize when an ingrown toenail may require treatment from a podiatrist.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.

When should I see a podiatrist?

If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
  • Increased pain, swelling, or redness
  • Skin that’s hard to the touch
  • Odor
  • Pus or drainage coming from the nail
If the ingrown toenail hasn’t gotten better in a couple of days this also warrants seeing a podiatrist. People with compromised immune systems, diabetes, or nerve damage in their feet should come in right away for care (and should not try to simply treat the problem themselves). Ignoring these issues when they occur could lead to more dangerous infections or complications.

Can you prevent ingrown toenails?

There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
  • Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
  • Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
  • Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
  • Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
If you are experiencing symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail, or if you have never dealt with an ingrown toenail before, turn to your podiatrist for a proper evaluation and treatment plan. No problem is too small for a foot and ankle specialist to tackle.
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
July 06, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Sprained Ankle   Sprains  

Sprained Ankle

Whether you simply stepped down awkwardly or you were in a sports-related accident, it could have left you with a painful, swollen ankle. Could it be a simple strain, or could you have sprained your ankle? If you even suspect that you might have a sprained ankle, or if you’ve never experienced an ankle injury before, it’s always a good idea to play it safe and to turn to a podiatrist right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How to Treat Sprained Ankles

Most minor sprains can be properly managed through simple at-home treatment and care. Conservative treatment is typically the first line of defense against minor ankle and foot problems, including minor sprains. While more moderate to severe sprains will require more aggressive attention and treatment options, the RICE method is ideal for most ankle sprains. Here’s what RICE stands for:

Rest

No matter the severity of your sprain, your podiatrist will be the first to tell you to stay off the ankle and to rest as much as possible to give the ankle time to heal. If the sprain is more moderate or severe, your podiatrist may recommend wearing a protective boot or using crutches to help stabilize the foot and ankle and take pressure off the ankle while standing or walking.

Ice

Especially for the first 72 hours after an ankle injury, it’s a good idea to use ice as much as possible to reduce swelling and pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the ankle for up to 20 minutes at a time. You can continue to do this every few hours throughout the day.

Compression

Your podiatrist can also show you the proper way to wrap and bandage your ankle, which not only promotes proper circulation and blood flow to the area to aid in healing but also can provide additional support and stabilization for the ankle. It’s important to know how to properly wrap your ankle to make sure it’s providing the very best support and your podiatrist can easily show you how.

Elevation

Whenever you at resting (which should be most of the day!), it’s a good idea to prop your injured ankle up above your heart to reduce inflammation and bruising. You should elevate your ankle for at least a couple of hours each day!

If you are in pain, over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers can be great for reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. For more severe sprains, your podiatrist may prescribe something stronger. Patients with more moderate-to-severe sprains may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to help rebuild and strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the ankle.

Knowing you have a proper treatment plan in place can provide you with the peace of mind you need to know that your ankle will heal properly. Don’t ignore any foot or ankle injuries. Turn to your podiatrist right away for sprained ankles, or any other problems you may be facing.
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
June 16, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Shoes   Socks  
Right Socks for Your FeetYou probably don’t think too much about the socks you wear but maybe you should. After all, just as it’s important to have shoes that fit properly and provide ample cushioning and support, there are also criteria that you should be following to find the ideal pair of socks. Want to find your “sole” mate? Follow these helpful sock-shopping tips.
 
Find the Perfect Fit
This might sound obvious but it’s important to find socks that offer the perfect amount of snugness for your feet. There shouldn’t be added material that can bunch up, as this can cause friction and blistering; however, socks shouldn’t be so tight that they put too much pressure on your feet. The seams of the socks should not rub against your feet or irritate.
 
Wear the Right Shoes
When going sock shopping you must be wearing the shoes to which you’re trying to match your socks. After all, it’s important to see how the socks affect the fit of your shoes. If your shoes are already tight, the socks you think are perfect may actually be too uncomfortable to wear with the shoes.
 
Different Socks for Different Activities
The socks that you wear for work are going to be different than the socks you’ll wear if you’re running, hiking, or working out. It’s important to find socks that fit your needs. Moisture-wicking socks can be great for athletes and those who like to work out. How much padding your socks offer is up to you. Personally, some athletes love a little additional padding while others may not. The extra padding could be great if you find that your feet get tired and achy easily during activity.
 
Don’t Forget Esthetics
If you’re simply shopping for socks for more day-to-day wear, then you can be a little more lenient about what you’re looking for. For one, style can play a bigger role in the types of socks you choose. You may want to go for something bolder or bright or with a fun pattern. While shopping for casual, everyday socks can lead to catering to your style you don’t want to ignore the fit or comfort of the pair you choose.
 
If you have special foot needs or you have concerns about the health of your feet, then you may have questions about the right type of shoes for you. That’s okay! This is where a podiatrist can help. Your podiatrist can answer any questions you have about shoes and sock recommendations, along with how to properly care for your feet.
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
June 07, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Thyroid Disease  
Thyroid Disease and FeetThe thyroid gland releases and regulates hormones and is responsible for everything from heart rate to peripheral nervous system functions. So, you may be surprised to discover that this same disorder that may make you feel tired and brain foggy can also cause changes in your feet. In fact, your feet may be trying to alert you that something might be wrong with your thyroid.
 
You have dry, cracked feet

While we know that there are a lot of reasons why someone might have dry, cracked feet including being on your feet all day, long-distance running or winter weather, your thyroid might also be playing a role. Many people with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, complain of dry, cracked skin on the soles of their feet, particularly the heels. You may also notice that you get deep, painful fissures or that your skin seems almost leathery in thickness and appearance. This could be a sign to have your thyroid checked.
 
Your feet (and hands) always seem cold

Since your thyroid is responsible for your metabolism it’s not too surprising that an underactive thyroid slows the metabolism, which in turn causes the body’s temperature to drop. This is why you notice that your feet and hands always seem to be cold to the touch. You may notice that this problem is made worse during cold weather. Some people with hypothyroidism deal with a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the feet and hands are so cold that they go numb and turn blue or white.
 
Your feet are swollen

Again, there are a lot of things that can lead to swollen feet; however, if you notice swelling in your feet and ankles rather regularly then you may want to have your thyroid checked. Since people with hypothyroidism are also prone to developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated, you must have a podiatrist you can turn to for regular care if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.
 
If you notice any changes in your feet and you’d like to take a closer look, your podiatrist will be the best specialist to turn to. Should they suspect that a thyroid disease might be at play you can also speak with a primary care doctor for blood work.




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