Browse the December 2010 Blog Posts from Your South Milwaukee Podiatrists | Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists
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Posts for: December, 2010

What is an Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a painfun condition characterized by the nail digging into the surrounding skin, leading to inflammation and possible infection of the toe. This is a serious condition for people with impaired circulation, diabetes, or other serious diseases.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails?

  • Heredity
  • Improper nail trimming
  • Trauma
  • Shoe Pressure
  • Poor foot structure

What Can You Do?

  • Trim toenails straight across as a preventative measure.
  • Select the proper shoe style and size.

What will a Podiatric Physician do for you?

  • Perform a physical exam.
  • Perfom x-ray evaluation when necessary.
  • Remove the ingrown portion of the nail.
  • Culture the nail.
  • Perform surgical correction of the nail when indicated.
  • Prescribe an antibiotic (when an infection is present).

Dry Skin & Winter Itch

Colder temperatures each winter bring many Americans one big problem: dry, cracked skin. Those itchy, dry patches are nature’s way of letting us know that the outer layer of skin, made up of dead skin cells, natural oils and lipids (fats), need help.

Cold weather and lower humidity as a result of indoor heating can strip away the skin’s natural protective layer and wreak havoc with our skin’s abilitiy to stay moisturized. In extreme cases, if not treated, some of these dry areas can deteriorate into painful cracked and bleeding skin, particularily around the feet and ankles. A quick trip to your local drug store will, however, prove that there is no limit to the number of products that are designed to alleviate dry skin.

If your skin is excessively dry and certainly if you have any cracking on your feet or heels, you should visit with your podiatric physician. Your doctor will diagnose and help you treat your feet so that you can get these conditions under control. Many podiatrists can dispense creams and lotions right in the office or make recommendaitons for the best products for your particular condition.

Skiing & Your Feet

Shush, Shush, Shush, That’s not the sound of a teacher asking the kids to be quiet–it’s the sound of your skis pushing through fresh powder as you head down the slopes. As with most other sports, you need to keep close attention to your feet when choosing ski boots and when preparing your feet for skiing.
Every pair of feet is different, and boot manufacturers design ski boots to fit a variety of feet. When choosing ski boots for either buying or renting, it is important to remember that the boots need to be comfortable. It is best to have a professional work with you to fit your boots. Try to find a technician who is familiar with foot types and boot lasts. This will ensure that you choose the right boot for your foot and for your ability.
Since ski boots do not allow normal gait and limit the flexion at the ankle, the orthotics that you wear every day are not appropriate for insertion into your ski boots. Special orthotics for skiing can be designed and developed by a podiatric physician when necessary. When purchasing new boots, you will need to bring those to your Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) so that your foot can be evaluated with the boot.

If you want to ensure that your feet stay comfortable and warm as you manage the moguls, consider purchasing toe heaters. The heaters have a small disk that can be placed in the sock or under an orthotic. combined with a rechargeable battery pack, these heaters can provide a heat source throughout the day.

Finally, the socks you choose can make the difference in how long you are able to tolerate the temperatures. When your feet are dry, they feel warmer. Look for socks with wicking ability.

Tips for Snowboarding:

Since boots for snowboarding differ from ski boots, here are a few tips to keep in mind when purchasing or renting snowboard boots:

  • In snowboarding, the heel drives everything. So a snug, firm fit is important. A boot that is too loose is a safety hazard. The heel should be stable in all directions in order to ensure maximum performance.
  • To determine a proper fit when trying on a snowboard boot, you must completely lace the boot and stand up in it. This will allow the heel to settle back into the boot.
  • Try on your boots while wearing a thin synthetic sock. Wearing a sock that is too heavy will prevent a proper fit. Synthetic socks are preferred to control moisture as well as prevent friction.

Fight Frostbite!

Did you know that nearly half of all frostbite cases involve the foot and ankle? That is a staggering figure, but avoiding frostbite and treating it quickly are both important lessons we can learn.

According to your podiatric physician, the most effective way of dealing with frostbite is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. If you know you will be exposed to the cold weather, following these tips can literally save your toes:

  • Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, and dress appropriately.
  • If you begin to feel pain, numbness or tingling in your feet, get out of the cold as soon as possible.
  • Seek professional help as soon as possible from your podiatric physician for any foot or ankle related concerns.

Prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures can lead to severe injury if proper treatment is not provided in a timely manner. Signs and symptoms of frostbite include:

  • Pain or prickling progressing to numbness.
  • Pale, hard, and cold skin with waxy appearance.
  • Flushing due to blood rushing to area after it is re-warned.
  • Burning sensation and swelling from collected fluid that may last for weeks.
  • Blisters.
  • Black scab-like crust, which may develop several weeks later.

Mild frostbite is treated by re-warming that affected are, washing it with an antiseptic, and applying a sterile dressing. If medical care is not available immediately, seek shelter and re-warm a mildly frostbitten area in a warm water (101-104 degrees F) or by repeatedly applying warm cloths to the area for 30 minutes. Never use hot water, fire, a heating pad, or other dry heat because these methods may burn the skin before the feeling returns.

Frostbite is a very serious injury that can involve significant damage to the feet. In severe cases, surgery may even be necessary, depending on the depth and extent of tissue damage. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and proper treatment by a podiatric physician is essential.