Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nigella Lawson's Unappetizing Bunions

You have to feel sorry for these celebrities who's bunioned feet end up all over the news. I wish that we could gather them up, take them in for surgery, and fix their problem! In the past Victoria Beckham and Oprah Winfrey have receive media attention for their protruding bunions.
Britain's famous television chef, Nigella Lawson, also known as the "Domestic Goodness", was out shopping in Sydney last week, minding her own business, when photographers caught her in Fit-Flops (a good choice, by the way) with her bunion. Lawson has admitted to being an avid high heel wearer, even saying that she will wear them to bed and use them seductively.
High heels are among the worst culprits of causing bunion problems, as when wearing them your body weight goes forward and puts pressure on the big toe joint. It is important to remember however, that not all wearers of high heels will later in life have bunions. What determines if you are going to have bunions is your foot type, passed down through families or the way you walk.
You will know you have a bunion when your big toe joint starts to jut out from the rest of your foot. Oftentimes bunions are extremely painful; the worst cases are corrected through surgery. You will find it difficult to wear shoes without pain. At the first sign of pain you should seek podiatric attention.

Dr. Tina A. Boucher, DPM
Central Connecticut Foot Care, LLC
Podiatrist Meriden CT
Order your free copy of our books "Why Do My Feet Hurt?" and "Heal My Heel!" today!

When to See a Podiatrist

Every local drugstore has aisles of "do-it-yourself" medical fixes. For your feet they have blister and corn pads, insoles, fungus sprays, and nail clippers. So when you have foot and ankle problems, how do you know when to deal with them at home using over-the-counter(OTC) products and when to see the podiatrist?
  • Blisters on your feet can often be handled at home without professional intervention. If the blister pops, cover it with a sterile dressing or Band-Aid and watch it carefully to make sure it heals properly.
  • If you suspect that you have an ingrown toenail, it is best not to use OTC products. See your podiatrist as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of infection. The doctor can safely remove the ingrown nail and may be able to alleviate the problem entirely for the future.
  • OTC wart removal medication is relatively mild but can cause ulcerations if left on too long. You can try to alleviate warts on the feet with these products, but the podiatrist has more effective medications and can also do simple procedures to rid you of warts. Wart removers should never be used if you have neuropathy except under the supervision of a podiatrist physician.
  • Despite numerous blogs and articles about treating onychomycosis (fungal nails) and warts with Vicks Vapo-Rub, duct tape, bleach, white vinegar, and other household items, there are no scientific data or evidenced-based research studies to support these treatment options.
  • Sprains and strains can be treated at home initially with the "RICE treatment"- rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If swelling is persistent, a visit to the podiatrist's office is in order to determine if there are any broken bones.
Occasionally, home remedies can cause a new problem or make existing problems worse, so use them all in moderation. Anyone with diabetes or a peripheral vascular disease (PVD) who has foot and ankle problems should always opt to visit the podiatrist for even minor concerns. People who do not have diabetes or PVD should also be wary of pain, color changes, drainage, swelling, heat, or open areas in or on any part of the foot or ankle. These signs warrant a professional's experience in dealing with the problem.

Dr. Tina A. Boucher, DPM
Central Connecticut Foot Care, LLC
Podiatrist Meriden CT
Order your free copy of our books "Why Do My Feet Hurt?" and "Heal My Heel!" today!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fungal Nails: No More!

Fungal nails are an unsightly infection causing thickened, brittle, yellow, discolored nails, and can be sometimes painful. It is very difficult to cure. It is caused by one of several microscopic organisms, similar to those that cause Athlete's Foot (dermatophytosis). These are plant-like organisms that thrive in a dark, warm, moist environment, such as within shoes and stocking. They grow in the nail bed, beneath your nails, and live off Keratin, the protein in the nail. The condition usually begins toward the far end of the nail and may cuase white or yellow-white areas that appera to be rotten or dead. If the infection continues to the base of the nail, it can invade the nail root (matrix) and cause the nail to grow thickened and deformed. Many people complain of a foul odor associated with this condition. It can also spread to other nails.
Sweaty tennis shoes and moist socks create the perfect conditions for them. The fungi thrive in a warm, moist, dark environment and they eat protein keratin that our skin produces. Although fungi may be present in the skin around the nails, it may not develop a nail infection without history of injury, such as bruised toenails from short shoes, inflammation from an ingrown toenail, or from cutting the nails incorrectly or too short. In other words, the organisms do not invade intact, healthy, normal skin or nails. Other contributing factors would be excessive perspiration, and Dermatophytosis (Athlete's Foot), which is caused by similar fungi.
If left untreated, fungal nail infections can affect the entire nail and surrounding skin. Thankfully, there are several options available to rid your toes of unsightly and embarrassing colors or images. Formula 3 is as simple and easy as painting your nails. Oil-soluble, it gets through the nail bed and treats the fungus right away. Most people see a difference in their nails in 6 weeks. Dr.'s Remedy Nail Polish is similar to Formula 3, but is a nail polish with color options. There are a wide variety of colors and it hides unsightly nails during sandal season. SteriShoe Sanitizer is an option to rid your shoes of harmful bacteria. You may think it's enough to tret your feet, but you also need to treat your shoes as well. SteriShoe uses ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms in your shoes.

Dr. Tina A. Boucher, DPM
Central Connecticut Foot Care, LLC
Podiatrist Meriden CT
Order your free copy of our books "Why Do My Feet Hurt?" and "Heal My Heel!" today!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Common Women's Foot Problems

Let's admit it ladies. We abuse our feet. We put a lot of stress and strain on our lower extremities, and we don't take nearly as good care of them as we should. Based on our need to be fashionable, we often wear shoes that don't fit well or are just not designed for walking and standing for long periods of time. Even Oprah admits that she only wears her highest heels once she's seated during an interview. It's no wonder that those stilettos and peep-toes are causing us pain- they are designed for beauty, not comfort. Women have some of the same foot problems as men, but mostly, our feet have many more "issues".
Bunions are enlargements of the joint at the base of the big toe- the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint- that form when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. Bunions are a symptom of our foot's development due to the way we walk, our inherited foot type, our shoes, or for other reasons. Although bunions tend to run in families, it is the foot type that is passed down- not the bunion. Since the MTP joint carries much of the body's weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated. Podiatric medical attention should be sought at the first indication of pain or discomfort.
Stress fractures are tiny or incomplete cracks in a bone often caused by overuse. Stress fractures occur most frequently in the foot and ankle and can be caused by a number of factors. An unusual increase in activity causing strain in the foot (fatigue fracture) is one of the most common causes, while weak bones (insufficiency fractures) are caused by medical conditions such as osteoporosis, can also be a factor. Medications such as steroids can lead to stress fractures, as can a sudden increase in activity levels. All of these causes can and should be evaluated by your podiatrist when you notice pain or swelling, which are the symptoms of a stress fracture.
A neuroma, also referred to as a "pinched nerve" is a painful condition involving irritation and/or thickening of the nerve tissue between the toes, most commonly the 3rd and 4th toes. The condition brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. Your podiatrist can offer a number of treatment options for a neuroma.
Ingrown toenails are a common ailment seen by podiatric physicians. An ingrown toenail is one whose corners or sides dig painfully into the soft tissue of the toe, often leading to irritation, redness, and swelling. Usually, toenails grow out straight, but sometimes one or both corners or the sides will curve and grow into the flesh. The big toe is the most common site for this condition, but other toes can also become infected.
Ingrown toenails may be caused by any one or more of the following: improperly trimmed nails, shoes that are too tight, trauma, and activities with repeated pressure on the toe (such as running or kicking). There are other causes as well, but this painful condition can usually be esaed with one or two visits to your podiatrist's office
Women may also have a tendency to develop blisters, corns, calluses, and heel pain. All of these conditions can be treated by your podiatrist, and a number of treatment options are available. Once we all realize that our feet don't have to hurt, life will be that much more enjoyable, ladies.
Dr. Tina A. Boucher, DPM
Central Connecticut Foot Care, LLC
Podiatrist Meriden CT

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shoe of the Month: Kitten Heels

April's Shoe of the Month is the kitten heel. Modest and practical, the kitten heel can stand out in a crowd without overdoing it. Kitten heels not only give extra height, but are also a great alternative to reducing pressure on the ball of the foot often caused by a higher heel. Because a kitten heel is typicaly not high than one inch and is a bit wider than the average heel, it offers more comfort and stability. Keep in mind, a heel that is three inches heel creates seven times more stress than a one inch heel.
Dr. Tina A. Boucher, DPM
Central Connecticut Foot Care, LLC
Podiatrist Meriden CT
Order your free copy of our books "Why Do My Feet Hurt?" or "Heal My Heel!" today!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Right Shoe for the Right Sport

April is Foot Health Awareness Month and the American Podiatric Medical Association has teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign, "Let's Move" to shine the spotlight on childhood obesity and the importance of keeping children active and healthy. This new campaign launched by APMA is called "Today's Podiatrist Keeps America Moving". Sports and physical activities are an excellent way for children to stay active and healthy. Check out this video from APMA:

One of the tip sheets APMA has provided is aimed at helping parents pick out the right shoe for their child's sport. Selecting the proper shoe for the sport goes above and beyond just heading to the athletics section of the shoe store. To help your child free from serious foot and ankle injuries purchase a shoe that fits not only their foot but the activity as well.
This is often the first organized sport children will get involved in and it's important to start them off with the right shoe that helps them perfect their basketball handling skills and prevents injuries.
A basketball shoe should:
*Have a thick, stiff sole that helps give support while running and landing from jumps to the basket.
*Incorporate high ankle construction that supports the ankle during quick changes in direction.
*Have the strongest support on either side of the ankle.
Outdoor sports like baseball, softball, soccer, football, and lacrosse keep children's feet moving. This type of footwear should help prevent tripping and falling.
A shoe with cleats should:
*Fit snugly but comfortably on a child's foot- about one thumb width or less from the toe to the end of the shoe. Oversized soccer shoes can affect balance and cause blisters.
*Feature a rubber sole, to keep prevent slipping and injury, and a leather upper material.
*Cleats on the sole should be regulation length.
Court shoes for tennis and raquetball may look like any other athletic sneaker, but it's what's on the inside that makes the difference on a child's feet.
A tennis shoe should:
*Support both sides of the foot, due to the quick lateral movements and weight shifts in court sports.
*Provide a flexible sole for fast changes of direction.
Running shoes come in several different styles that support feet with different arch types.
A running shoe should:
*Provide maximum shock absorption to help young runners avoid ailments such as shin splints and knee pain.
*Control the way a child's heel strikes the ground, so the rest of hte foot can fall correctly.
*Fit your child's specific arch type. To determine arch type, see a podiatrist.
For a list of sports-related footwear with APMA's Seal of Acceptance, visit: and click on Seal of Acceptance and then on Children's Foot Products.
Dr. Tina A. Boucher, DPM
Central Connecticut Foot Care, LLC
Podiatrist Meriden CT