Monday, December 24, 2012

Staying Fit During the Winter – Part 1

English: Nordic walking in winter in Kerava, F...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The winter months can be depressing with the snow and lack of sunshine at times. It can also be hard to stay in shape when it is cold outside or you just can’t find the energy to do anything after the holidays.

Don’t give up

Keeping fit is important. Whatever it is you do, do it. Maintaining a good level of fitness keeps your heart healthy, your weight down and your stress levels at a minimum. Find something that can work within your schedule and that you will enjoy doing.

Join a local gym and take in some classes. If that is not possible, borrow or invest in a treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical. They can be used in the warmth of your house at any time. Get a used TV and watch your favorite shows or movie to pass the time!

Find some buddies. Everything is more fun with company and it will keep you accountable. Find some neighbors and form a walking or running group or just sign up for a class together. It will keep you motivated and make things more enjoyable.

Take the winter as an opportunity to try something new. Maybe there is a winter sport or activity that would be fun to try. Skating, snowboarding and skiing are great ways to stay fit and fun things to do with kids as well.

Winter can bring its challenges and keeping your feet safe and healthy is also important. Whatever activity you choose, wear appropriate footwear and pay attention to any problems or pain.

See Dr. Tina Boucher, a foot specialist in Meriden, CT if you need treatment. Call our podiatric office today at (203) 238-3668 to schedule an appointment or visit us at
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Breaking Down Barefoot Running

English: Friction Blisters on Human foot due t...
Friction Blisters on Human foot due to running barefoot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Among the many fads and fashion statements that cycle through, a fairly controversial one has been that of barefoot running. It is controversial because there are two fighting sides to the issue. There are groups that fully support and encourage barefoot running as the only true way our feet were supposed to run. Others, however strongly oppose this activity for the reasons of foot health and injury.

The bottom line is that foot health is extremely important and needs to be a priority. If you are interested in barefoot running, you need to know the facts being given on both sides and make an educated decision that ultimately will keep feet safe in the long run.

The Pro’s

Some studies have shown that barefoot running can actually prevent injury and improve and enhance a runner’s stride. Supporters suggest that it encourages you to land on your forefoot, which helps strengthen your arch as a shock absorber. Barefoot running may work smaller muscles in your body that help improve balance and also strengthen muscles and ligaments in feet.

The Con’s

The underlying negative is that barefoot running can put foot health at risk. Feet can be exposed to dangerous debris such as glass and sharp rocks. Blisters and calluses can form from running without protective cushioning. Common injuries seen in podiatric offices from barefoot running include plantar fasciitis, Achilles strain and abrasions.

Before your bare feet hit the pavement, listen to trusted experts such as Dr. Tina Boucher, foot and ankle specialist in Meriden, CT. She can provide a thorough foot analysis and help decide if this activity is right for your foot health. To schedule an appointment or find further information, call our office at (203) 238-3668 or visit us at
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Following Up on Flatfeet

Flatfoot in a 55 years old female with ankle a...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Feet are just one of those things that we often don’t pay any attention to. Until they hurt that is. Is that true with you? They take us everywhere we want to go, help us do every activity we are involved in, but are often neglected and taken for granted! When pain arises, it can literally stop us in our tracks and make us realize the importance of taking care of our feet.

A common foot problem that some people face is flatfeet. They are usually associated with pronation, which is when there is a leaning inward of the anklebones. Many have no pain or problems with their flatfeet. Flatfeet are also normal for infants and young children, as arches are not yet developed.

When pain is present

Painful flatfeet are also known as adult-acquired flatfoot deformity (AAFD). The pain arises due to weakening or wear and tear on the posterior tibial tendon which helps support your arch. This tendon can become inflamed, stretched and even torn. Painful flatfeet can arise after an injury in some cases as well.

Interested to know if AAFD might be in your future? Aside from aging, the presence of obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, traumatic injury and high impact sports can all contribute to having AAFD. If you experience the symptoms of pain in your heel or arch and swelling on the inside of your ankle, it is time to get help. Toughing it out might feed your pride but it may also leave you with chronic pain and disability. No one wants that!

Good news!

There is help if you suffer with painful flatfeet. Dr. Tina Boucher at Central Connecticut Footcare Center can create a treatment tailored specifically for your flatfeet. There are many conservative options to treat your pain such as anti-inflammatory medicines, icing, taping, bracing and physical therapy. Custom orthotics may be very effective in alleviate your symptoms as well. Don’t suffer with pain from flatfeet any longer than you need to. Call Dr. Boucher (203) 238-3668 or visit our website at and find relief.
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Don’t leave your toes out in the cold!

snow, cold weather, umbrella, two persons, 20
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Colder temperatures can be cruel to your feet. We don’t often think about the risks associated with exposing our feet to the cold winter elements. Exposed feet means going barefoot, wearing heels or wearing any open toe shoe where skin is exposed. What’s considered winter weather? When most people hear the term they think snow, ice, sleet and wind. That’s not always the case! Even if none of these conditions exist, make sure to check the temperature outside so you can select the proper footwear to keep your toes warm and toasty!

One of the most well-known cold weather culprits is frostbite. If you expose your feet to cold weather for a prolonged period of time, you may be at risk for this serious condition. Frostbite’s first symptom is a painful, burning sensation in the exposed areas. Numbness in the toes or feet and changes in your skin color occur next. Your skin can change from a pale, red color to a bluish-gray or black. If you’ve had frostbite before, watch out! People with a history of this condition are more susceptible to suffer with it again in the same location on the body!

If you think you’re suffering from frostbite, first and foremost get yourself out of the cold as quickly as possible! However, keep in mind not to expose your feet to extremely hot temperatures. If you do this, you will just end up burning your flesh. Make sure to keep your feet dry and it’s important to gradually warm them. Most importantly, seek emergency medical care as soon as possible!

If you have any questions regarding frostbite and your feet or general foot care, contact us at Central Connecticut Footcare Center, LLC by calling (203) 238-3668 or visiting our website!

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Healing Charcot Foot - The Need for Speed!

Of all the foot conditions that can affect your ability to lead a normal and active life, Charcot foot is probably one of the most difficult to deal with. This condition begins with peripheral neuropathy, which is loss of feeling in the feet. Your inability to feel pain allows this condition to worsen because without the pain sensation, you may not recognize that a problem exists. Continued weight bearing causes bones to begin to break and splinter, then heal improperly and causing deformity. It is possible for you to break bones and damage joints and not even be aware of it. Early diagnosis and treatment is the only way that the damaging effects of Charcot foot can be set right.

Never underestimate the importance of rest. Stopping weight bearing activity is crucial to successful treatment and in addition to total rest for the foot while it heals, your doctor may recommend a special device such as a cast, wheel chair, crutches, walker or brace. Listen to your doctor. The fact that you do not process pain is a major concern. You may feel fine and think you are well, but if the healing process is not complete, you will cause more damage.

If you continue walking on your foot, the deformity may cause ulcers to develop. Infection or amputation is possible.

Dr. Boucher will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Call (203) 238-3668 for an appointment. If you seek early intervention, treatment methods may consist of elevation, icing, casts or braces. A delay may cause severe complications and result in the need for surgery or amputation. Stay on the winning side of foot health by learning to examine your feet daily, carefully looking for signs of warmth, swelling and redness. Hustle in to see your doctor if you notice something amiss.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Toenail Fungus Requires Rapid Response

Feet with polished nails
Feet with polished nails (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Procrastination is the enemy when dealing with toenail fungal infection. The call to action requires a quick response in order to avoid the spread of this common problem.

Symptoms of a nail fungal infection, or onychomycosis, may first start as a small white or yellowish spots under the tip of your nails. If left untreated, it may progress to cause brittle, crumbling and darkening nails. The build-up of fungus may cause the nail to become yellow and thickened, eventually to the point that it becomes irregular and leads to pain. Toenail fungus may lead to other infections with serious medical ramifications if you are in an at risk group such as diabetic or someone with a weakened immune system.

You should see a doctor at the first indication of nail fungus because they are persistent, and difficult to get rid of. A fungal nail infection can easily spread to other toenails. Your doctor will need to begin you on a treatment of medication in order to eliminate this infection.

The tiny organisms that make up this fungus do not require sunlight for survival. In fact, they thrive in dark, warm and moist environments. Inside your tennis shoes is the perfect breeding ground.
Knowing you are at risk and taking the appropriate precautions is about all you can do as far as prevention goes. You are at increased risk to contract the fungus if you are:
  • Male
  • Prone to other skin problems such as psoriasis
  • Perspire heavily
  • Work in warm and damp environments
  • Barefoot in public pool or shower areas
  • Diabetic with poor circulation
Nail infections are resilient to many of the over the counter preparations and even if you were to think it was cured, the infection is apt to sneak back. Oral medications may be prescribed, but there are risks to these antifungal medications including skin break-outs and liver damage.

What can you do to prevent nail fungus?
  • Keep nails short, dry and clean.
  • Wear moisture wicking socks.
  • Allow shoes to air out and dry between wearings.
  • Don’t go barefoot in public showers or pool areas.
  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly.
At the first sign of nail fungus, make an appointment with Dr. Boucher at (203)238-3668. She will be able to determine the type of infection. She can also start a treatment plan to cure and prevent spreading, thereby avoiding more serious medical complications.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Good Boots, Good Fit and Happy Feet!

English: Boot with wooden sole and leather upp...
Boot with wooden sole and leather upper, made by the Danish company Sanita. Colour wood and light blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As cooler weather approaches you are probably looking for that must have pair of boots to go with almost any outfit. You want something versatile, warm and outrageously sexy. You can get all three in one pair if you do some looking, but the important thing to keep in mind is function over fashion. You always want to consider the overall welfare of your feet.

When contemplating what would be the perfect pair to complement your winter wardrobe, you may want to consider the following:
  • Color
  • Shaft height
  • Heel height
  • Construction
  • Heel and sole composition
The style that most adequately answers this call to duty is the leather riding style boot. They are well constructed and easily water-proof for protection against wet and salt. Also, it is easy to re-treat them as needed. The leather riding style boots are durable and function well.

If you are more of the cowboy boot type, they are a great boot for autumn, but don’t carry through to winter well because of the smooth leather soles. They come in an endless variety of colors and designs and are great with jeans, slacks and just about all casual wear. They are great for both guys and gals, but there are some fitting details you should be aware of.
  • Make sure the shank fits your foot. The break in the boot should coincide with your arch.
  • The ball of your foot needs to settle into the widest part of the boot.
  • Try the pinch test for width. Try to pinch leather between your thumb and forefinger across the foot top of the boot. There should be a small allowance for movement, but not enough excess material to grasp.
Inappropriate and poor fitting shoes can cause a multitude of foot problems. Never force your foot to fit the boot. Boots needs to conform to your foot. Also, shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are apt to be a bit swollen. Don’t think footwear will feel better once they are broken in. If they don’t fit in the store, the situation will not improve at home. As heel height increases, so does the pressure on the ball of the foot and toes. Keep heel height to two inches or less. Dr. Boucher has other excellent shoe fitting advice on her website -

If you have foot pain, call Dr. Boucher for an accurate diagnosis at (203)238-3668. She can send you home feeling better than when you walked in. Getting help for your foot pain is a first step in the right direction.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Diabetic Foot Care - First Line of Defense!

US Navy 100811-N-8361C-002 Dr. Dawn Bell expla...
US Navy - Dr. Dawn Bell explains the importance of proper foot care to a group of diabetic children (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Did you know that as a patient, being the only one attached to your feet, you play a vital role in your own foot care? As Fall is here, there are a few additional concerns that you need to be aware of. As the seasons change, you need focus on the needs of your feet and become aware of what could potentially become a big problem.

Some patients with diabetes have two strikes against them right off the get go - nerve damage a.k.a. Neuropathy and poor circulation. Neuropathy takes away your ability to feel and may therefore make detecting injury more difficult. If circulation is reduced, your body’s ability to heal is reduced. Both of these situations combine to pose a big risk to your health.

So what is your role?
As champion umpire of your own feet, you need to know what’s going on at all times. You represent the first line of defense. The best way to accomplish this is to conduct daily foot exams. However, if this is too difficult for you, get someone to help or use a mirror. Look for:
  • Blisters
  • Calluses
  • Corns
  • Nail problems
  • Pressure points
  • Puncture wounds
  • Cracked skin
Any of the above mentioned concerns, if gone unaddressed or untreated, can result in serious complications and could possibly lead to loss of foot or life.

With the approaching cooler weather, you should be more mindful of keeping your feet appropriately warm and dry. Warmth is good, but you should avoid direct heat sources such as stoves or radiators. You could accidentally burn your feet and not realize it.

Make sure you check your shoes before you put them on for objects or irritants that could cause injury. Make sure your shoes provide protection from the elements such as cold and rain, and wear socks that are synthetic to wick perspiration and keep feet as dry as possible.

As the colder weather approaches, skin tends to dry out. After bathing, apply an emollient rich lotion to your feet, but avoid between the toes.

Dr. Boucher can help you in so many ways. She has access to the latest technology for healing the most stubborn wounds, and is a genius at preventing small problems from becoming catastrophes. Call Dr. Boucher at (203) 238-3668 to schedule your regular foot check-ups and to report injuries. She will work with you and other health care providers to ensure your foot health and safety. Using proper foot care and treatment is the best kind of preventive medicine and will help ensure that your feet will last a lifetime.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Sock It to Me

Eight girls wearing toe socks
Eight girls wearing toe socks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Socks are a vital part of foot health and safety. If you look for a great pair of socks and expect a quick find, think again. You will have to consider what activity you are participating in, then select socks that meet all the criteria necessary for a pleasant experience. Outdoors can be tough on your feet, so let’s walk that walk first.

There are 250 thousand sweat glands on your feet. All operate at peak performance meaning your socks better be up to a lot of moisture wicking capability or else you will drown in your shoes. Well, probably not, but you will need to choose a sock that is either merino wool or synthetic, or a combination of both. This will allow you with the moisture wicking properties necessary to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters.

Socks will need to fit your foot because if they are too long they will bunch in the toes causing discomfort, and if they are too short they will slide down into your shoe. If you’re hiking you will have to get socks that come just above your boot tops, which will prevent abrasion from boot tops. Socks can be manufactured with extra padding or cushioning at the heel and ball of foot. This increases the density of the stitches PSI or you can weave in tough, long wearing material like acrylic. Make sure socks, with all their extra cushioning, fit into your shoes or boots without feeling tight.

As a review, please remember that a great pair of general purpose outdoorsy type socks will include:
  • Keep your feet dry. Dry feet will prevent blisters and provide comfort in a variety of situations. Your best fabric selections are merino wool, synthetic or a combination. Avoid the old cotton tube socks because they absorb sweat, are quick to saturate, and slow to dry.
  • Have protection for your feet. Provide a little cushioning so your feet do not feel the impact of running and hiking.
  • You need a perfect fit. Fit your feet properly with socks. If your socks are, too long or too short, a foot injury is likely to result.
You probably don’t think of socks in the “high tech” sense, but advancements in fabrics and design allow the creation of an entire line of specialized socks. Such socks include liner socks, waterproof socks, heated socks and toe socks. Toe socks are like a glove for your foot. When designed with seamless construction, they prevent blisters from occurring between the toes. They may not be ideal for all pursuits, but try them for running and hiking. You can learn more about specialized socks at your local sporting goods retailer.

Before you get off on the great adventure, make sure your feet are in shape. Call Dr. Boucher at (203) 238-3668 and address any outstanding foot concerns with her.


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Capsulitis: Take Time Now and Get it Treated

English: Right knee.
Right knee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two bones coming together in the body form a joint. Joints are what allow the body to move. Capsular ligaments surround the joint. They are tough cord like structures that are similar in strength to tough leather. They hold the bones together in alignment and allow the joint to move within its appropriate range. Bones are tougher than ligaments and have strength more in the range of low grade steel. With ligaments holding the joint together, if a traumatic injury occurs, since the ligaments are the weaker of the two structures, they give way first. Faulty biomechanical structure can also cause stress that results in an injury.

Activities done every day may contribute to stress that leads to injury. Some of the day to day activities that you do that may be contributing factors include:
  • Stooping while gardening
  • Squatting down frequently
  • Climbing ladders
  • Working close to the ground or floor
  • Wearing high heels
All of these activities force the body into a position where the toes are excessively bent and a great deal of pressure is placed on the toes. Eventually, this constant overstretching occurs and capsulitis sets in. If the aggravating activity continues the injury becomes more serious and takes longer period of time to heal.

The pain caused by capsulitis is a continual nagging discomfort. At times the pain may closely resemble that of Morton’s neuroma, making it difficult or somewhat confusing to diagnose. A clear history of prior foot injuries, complaints and activities may assist Dr. Boucher with her evaluation, so a patient should be prepared to answer questions. You should contact Dr. Boucher if you suspect you have capsulitis.

Fortunately, there are conservative treatments that should help with the discomfort. These may include:
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • Cortisone injections
  • Topical analgesics
You need to avoid the aggravating activity as much as possible and protect your feet by wearing shoes that have a more durable sole. Avoid flip-flops, high heels, boat shoes, skimmers and flats. These shoes have flimsy soles and will not protect your feet. Call Dr. Boucher at (203) 238-3668 if you suspect you have capsulitis. A delay in treatment will worsen the condition and extend the recovery time.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Contact Dermatitis - Calls for Rash Measures

English: Hand foot and mouth
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you ever experienced a breakout on your feet with inflammation and itching, and not understood what was happening? It was probably contact dermatitis. It’s not serious or life threatening, but it is annoying and may drive you crazy.

Symptoms of this condition may include:
  • Red rash or bumps
  • Itching
  • Dry cracked red patches
  • Blisters
  • Pain and tenderness
Causes of contact dermatitis are varied and may include soaps, chemicals and poisonous plants as well as other substances your skin may be exposed to. Two types of dermatitis are recognized - irritant contact and allergic contact. Irritant contact occurs when a substance damages the outermost layer of skin. In some instances a single exposure can result in an aggravating outbreak. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is exposed to a substance that sensitizes it. Exposure to an allergen may cause an outbreak of red rash, bumps and sometimes blisters. Common offenders are natural rubber, metals such as those found in costume jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes and poison ivy. You may not develop an immediate allergic reaction to the offending substance, but it may build up until you suffer an immune reaction. It may take years, but once you have an allergic reaction, you will always have that allergy.

Although the two categories of dermatitis provide a guideline, there are substances that may cross the line and become both. Some of the known offenders include:  
  • Antibiotics or other medicinal compounds found in ointments that you may apply to your skin
  • Fragrances found in lotions
  • Nickel
  • Shoes and socks
  • Natural rubber
  • Adhesive tapes
Bacterial and fungal skin infections may appear as a complication because of constant scratching. Moist and draining blisters provide a haven for bacteria and fungus. People with diabetes need to be especially aware of the potential risks of contact dermatitis. If you have diabetes and experience an outbreak should contact Dr. Boucher immediately.

If you are able to identify the substance which has caused your reaction, and remove contact, symptoms may resolve within a couple of weeks. Cold compresses and over-the-counter anti-itch medication may help, as well as, foot soaks in mild solutions of salt water, vinegar or betadine. However if you have attempted home treatment and your condition has not improved, contact Dr. Boucher at (203) 238-3668 and let the healing begin.

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