My Blog
By Jay Mermelstein, DPM
November 27, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Toenail Fungus  

Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.

What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?

A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.

Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.

Treating Toenail Fungus

The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.

There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.

A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.

Other treatment options include:

  • Medicated nail polish
  • Laser fungal treatment
  • Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)

If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.

By Jay Mermelstein, DPM
November 04, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Foot Care   Baby Feet  

A child's feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half of their adult foot size. This is why podiatrists consider the first year to be the most important in the development of the feet. Proper care at a young age is essential for healthy development.  Since many adult foot ailments develop in childhood, periodic visits to your child’s podiatrist and basic foot care can help minimize these problems later in life.

A child’s feet are formed from soft, pliable cartilage which makes them more susceptible to deformities. A young child can be affected by foot conditions such as:

  • Intoeing
  • Out-toeing
  • Flat feet
  • Warts
  • Heel pain

Tips for Parents

Parents can help promote normal, healthy foot development for their baby.

  • Examine your baby’s feet regularly. If you detect anything unusual, contact your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist right away.
  • Encourage exercise.  Lying uncovered allows the baby to kick and move feet and toes freely so not to inhibit normal development.
  • Cover feet loosely. Tight clothing or covers restrict movement.
  • Alternate your baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in one spot may place unnecessary strain on the feet and legs.

Growing Up

As your baby continues to grow and develop, so will the feet. It may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months, as tight-fitting footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. After your child takes their first steps, you should also carefully observe walking patterns. Intoeing, out-toeing, and gait abnormalities can be corrected when they are detected early.

A baby’s feet will carry them throughout life, so it’s important to begin good foot care at a young age. Neglecting your child’s foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the back and legs. Whether you have questions about your child’s foot health or suspect a problem with the development of your child’s feet, please contact our office. We want every step your child makes toward adulthood to be pain-free and easy!

By Jay Mermelstein, DPM
September 27, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Bunions  

With the ability to cause nagging discomfort throughout the day and prohibit daily movements as simple as walking, bunions can quickly turn from a barely noticeable bump on your toe, to a painful deformity that detracts from your over wellbeing. Fortunately, if caught early, you can prevent this podiatric issue from developing into a serious problem. Read on to learn if you could be suffering from this condition, and whether you should take a visit to your local podiatrist.

 

Signs That You May Have a Bunion

Generally forming on the side of your big toe, bunions are hard, bony lumps that are often caused by wearing poorly-fitted shoes (especially high heels), having genetic predispositions, or experiencing a foot injury. If you think that you may have a bunion, be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • A bony protrusion at the base of your toe
  • A generally red discoloration
  • A feeling of tightness in previously comfortable shoes

The above-listed symptoms describe the beginning stages of a bunion, a point during which your podiatrist will likely recommend a conservative approach to treatment. However, you may require more extensive medical care if you begin to notice these signs:

  • Persistent pain and swelling
  • Periodic numbness of the foot
  • Restricted and slowed movement of the toe/foot

 

Treatments

For less serious bunion cases, ones in which there isn’t pain yet and movement is still unrestricted, your podiatrist may recommend:

  • Soaking your foot in warm water
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin
  • Wearing appropriate shoe inserts
  • Avoiding tight-fitting footwear

In severe bunion cases, your podiatrist will likely recommend a more rigorous treatment approach in order to alleviate pain and increase mobility. Some of these options include:

  • Custom-made orthotics to maintain toe alignment
  • Regular physical therapy and a specialized exercise regiment
  • Bunionectomy, a surgery to remove the bunion and realign the foot (this is only necessary in the most extreme of cases)

 

Concerned? Contact Us

If you feel that bunions are disrupting your life, then take the pro-active approach and schedule an appointment at our office to learn how to regain your health.

By Jay Mermelstein, DPM
August 30, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Foot Odor  

The feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, which means they have the ability to sweat profusely. With your feet encased in your shoes all day and the sweat unable to evaporate, bacteria will begin to grow rapidly. Bacteria then begins to break down the sweat, generating an unpleasant odor. Other factors can contribute to increased perspiration, including anxiety, hormonal changes, medications and various skin conditions.

Foot odor is a common problem, especially among those who perspire excessively, but it can be both embarrassing and physically uncomfortable. If you suffer from foot odor, rest assured that simple lifestyle changes and improved personal hygiene can help reduce and eliminate the smell.

Easy Ways to Eliminate Foot Odor

Since most foot odor is caused from excess sweat and the growth of odor-causing bacteria, it's relatively easy to control and reduce foot odor on your own. Start by taking the following preventative steps:

  • Keep your feet clean by washing them with an antibacterial soap on a regular basis to minimize bacteria.
  • Keep feet dry as moisture enables the growth of bacteria.
  • Alternate shoes and avoid wearing the same pair for multiple days in a row.
  • Choose open shoes such as sandals when possible, allowing air onto the feet which evaporates sweat and slows the growth of bacteria.
  • Wear cotton socks which wick away moisture and absorb perspiration.
  • Apply foot sprays and powders to the feet. Ask your podiatrist for recommended products.
  • Disinfect, wash and discard foul smelling shoes as necessary.

The causes of foot odor are typically not harmful to your health, but do create an environment for the growth of fungus and bacteria. It's not unusual for infections such as toenail fungus and athlete's foot to develop as a result.

When improving your foot hygiene doesn't help reduce the smell, you may need to visit your podiatrist, as persistent foot odor can indicate an infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating. In these cases, a prescription ointment may be required to treat the problem. Visit our office, and we'll work with you to determine the cause and most effective treatment for your condition!

By Jay Mermelstein, DPM
July 31, 2019
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Sprained Ankle  

Signs and Treatment for Sprained Ankles

Do you have a sprained ankle? Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries. Ankle sprains sprain occur when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. Ankle sprains can be very painful and incapacitating. If you have an ankle sprain, it's a good idea to see your podiatrist. Read on to to learn about the signs and treatment for sprained ankles.

Signs You Have a Sprained Ankle

1. Pain: An ankle sprain can be painful and can make it hard to carry out your day-to-day activities. You may also feel discomfort when you place weight on the affected area. The pain may worsen when the area is pressed and during standing or walking.

2. Redness: A sprained ankle can cause warmth and redness around the affected area. If your ankle is warm, red, and swollen, it is inflamed. Warmth and redness is caused by increased blood flow to the area.

3. Swelling: When an ankle is injured with a sprain, inflammation occurs. Swelling is the body’s protective response to an injury. Inflammation occurs because of increased fluid in the tissue. This is a normal reaction of the body and is the start of the healing process. However, sometimes the body produces more swelling that necessary.

4. Bruising: A sprained ankle causes bruising around the affected joint. A contusion, commonly known as a bruise, is made up of blood beneath the skin. A bruise results in a discoloration of the skin. Bruising is a result of injury to the blood vessels in the skin.

5. Stiffness: A sprained ankle causes limited range of motion and stiffness. Inflammation and pain often limit movement after the injury. Your podiatrist may advise against moving the ankle to allow your ankle to heal. Your podiatrist may also design an exercise program to reduce stiffness after the injury.

Treating a Sprained Ankle

1. Rest your ankle: All ankle sprains require a period of rest. Resting your ankle will allow the healing process to begin. Stay off your feet to allow your ankle to heal. Gently exercise your ankle on a regular basis to reduce stiffness. Avoid strenuous activites, such as running and aerobics, until you can walk without it causing any pain.

2. Elevate your ankle: Keep your ankle raised above the level of your chest for several days after injury. Use pillows to keep your foot elevated. Keep your foot elevated for a few hours per day until your ankle stops swelling. Elevation is important after an injury as it helps to reduce the amount of blood flow to the injured area. This helps to reduce the inflammation, bruising, and pain.

3. Ice your ankle: Ice treatment can help decrease pain, swelling, bruising, and muscle spasms. To make an ice pack, fill a freezer bag with ice. Put an ice pack on your injured ankle for 10 minutes every 2 hours. Wrap an elastic medical bandage around the ice pack to hold it in place. You should not use ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. If you have circulation issues or diabetes, talk to your doctor before applying ice.

4. Compress your ankle: Apply a compression bandage from the toes to above the ankle. Wrapping your ankle will help to avoid bruising and swelling. Wrap the bandage around your ankle and foot, and secure it with medical tape. Make sure the bandage doesn't restrict blood flow to your toes or make the pain worse. Do combine compression with elevationa and rest whenever possible.

5. Take a pain reliever: If you have severe pain, a narcotic pain reliever can make you feel better. An OTC pain reliever may also help reduce the pain and swelling. Most medical professionals recommend anti-inflammatory medicines such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or ketoprofen. You can also take acetaminophen for pain, although this medicine does not reduce inflammation. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

6. See a doctor: A podiatrist can diagnose and treat an ankle sprain. Your doctor may order x-rays to determine if you have a broken bone in your ankle. You may receive an ankle brace to keep your ankle from moving and allow ligaments to heal. Your doctor will also give you medications to reduce swelling and pain. Once you can bear weight without increased pain, your doctor will add strengthening exercises to your treatment plan.

Whether your goal is getting back to work, hobbies, sports, the gym, or just enjoying life, a podiatrist can help. If you have an ankle sprain, search for a podiatrist in your area and schedule an appointment. A podiatrist can help you get back on track in no time!





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