Posts for: October, 2014
60 seconds to stomp out cancer
Foot melanoma is the deadliest cancer, but routine foot self-exams can increase early detection, survival
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 10/24/14) The next time you clip your toenails, take a closer look at the rest of your feet. An extra 60 seconds could save your life.
Shaun Hafner, DPM, AACFAS, is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). The Northern Virginia foot and ankle surgeon says routine self-examinations of the feet are an important way to find skin cancer early, when it’s easiest to cure. Half of the people who learn they have melanoma of the foot die within five years because the cancer had already spread throughout their body by the time it was diagnosed.
Nearly 60,000 people will learn they have melanoma this year. It’s not known how many of those cases will involve the foot, but more than 8,100 melanoma patients will die… nearly one death every hour. If melanoma is detected in its earliest stages, 92 percent of patients are alive after five years.
Unlike many other types of cancer, melanoma strikes people of all age groups, even the young. Caucasians are 10 times more likely to develop melanoma than African Americans. But studies suggest more than half of melanoma cases in African Americans involve the foot, where late diagnosis leads to a higher death rate. Routine foot self-exams increase the likelihood of noticing suspicious moles, freckles or other spots.
Dr. Hafner recommends focusing on the three most common areas for foot melanoma: the soles, between the toes, and around or under the toenails. He notes melanoma can develop anywhere on the body including areas that receive little sun exposure, such as the feet and ankles. If a mole, freckle or spot starts to change over the course of a month and becomes asymmetrical or changes its border, color, diameter or elevation, contact Dr. Hafner’s Reston office at (703)437-6333, the Manassas office at (703)368-7166, or the Leesburg office at (703)777-2101 immediately. Those are the ABCDEs, or signs, of melanoma.
For more information on malignant melanoma of the foot, visit the ACFAS patient Web site FootHealthFacts.org.
Physician offers mothers-to-be remedies for aching feet
Oh my aching feet” is a phrase you hear often from pregnant women. But, are sore feet a symptom they just must deal with during pregnancy? According to Manassas, VA foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS the answer is “no.” There are many remedies available to help alleviate foot pain.
Dr. Gordon states women often experience foot pain during pregnancy because of increased weight, foot instability and swelling. “In the last five years, I’ve seen an increase in pregnant women with foot pain because more women than ever before are active, even running marathons, during their pregnancies,” Dr. Gordon says. He recommends the following guidelines to help reduce foot pain during pregnancy.
Painful, Swollen Feet—Pregnant women often experience throbbing, swollen feet due to excess fluid build up (edema) in the feet from the weight and position of the baby. To reduce swelling, put feet up whenever possible, stretch legs frequently, wear wide comfortable shoes and don’t cross legs when sitting.
Arch Pain—Pain in the arch can be due to both arch fatigue or over pronation (or the flattening of the arch). Over pronation causes extreme stress to the ligament (the plantar fascia) that holds up the arch of the foot. The best way to prevent arch pain is to stretch daily in the morning and before and after any exercise, don’t go barefoot and wear supportive low-heeled shoes.
Ingrown Toenails—Excessive stress from tightly-fitting shoes causes painful ingrown toenails. Give your feet a break: wear wider shoes during the last trimester of pregnancy to avoid ingrown toenails. If you do experience an ingrown toenail, avoid attempting “bathroom surgery.” Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. It is best to seek treatment with a foot and ankle surgeon.
It is also not uncommon for women to experience a change in their foot size during pregnancy. “A permanent growth in a women’s foot, up to half a size, can occur from the release of the same hormone, relaxin that allows the pelvis to open to deliver the baby. It makes the ligaments in your feet more flexible, causing feet to spread wider and longer,” Dr. Gordon adds.
Pregnancy and pending motherhood should be a joy. If foot pain persists, call Dr. Gordon’s office at (703) 368-7166. He can provide relief with conservative treatments such as physical therapy, foot orthotics, supportive shoes and minor toenail procedures.
For more information on foot and ankle conditions, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ Web site FootHealthFacts.org.
Study links this condition to painful foot maladies
(Reston, Manassas, Leesburg, VA, 10/3/2014) -- — Treatment and prevention of adult flatfoot can reduce the incidence of additional foot problems such as bunions, hammertoes, arthritis and calluses, and improve a person’s overall health, according to research published in an issue of the Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery.
Overweight males in white-collar jobs are most apt to suffer from adult flatfoot disorder, a progressive condition characterized by partial or total collapse of the arch, according to the research. FootHealthFacts.org, the consumer website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, notes that symptoms of adult flatfoot include pain, swelling, flattening of the arch and an inward rolling of the ankle. But because flatfoot is a progressive disorder by nature, the study suggests that neglecting treatment or preventive care can lead to arthritis, loss of function of the foot and other painful foot disorders.
“Flatfoot disorder may gradually worsen to the point that many of the tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle are simply overworking, often to the point where they tear and/or rupture,” says Northern Virginia foot and ankle surgeon Shaun Hafner, DPM, AACFAS.
In many cases, flatfoot can be treated with non-surgical approaches including orthotic devices or bracing, immobilization, physical therapy, medication and shoe modifications. “In some patients whose pain is not adequately relieved by conservative treatments, there are a variety of surgical techniques available to correct flatfoot and improve foot function,” Dr. Hafner added.
“As in most progressive foot disorders, early treatment for flatfoot disorder is also the patient’s best route for optimal success in controlling symptoms and additional damage to the feet,” continued Dr. Hafner. “The goal is to keep patients active, healthy and as pain free as possible.”
If you suspect you have a flatfoot disorder or have foot discomfort, call Dr. Hafner’s Reston office at (703) 437-6333, the Manassas office at (703) 368-7166, or the Leesburg office at (703) 777-2101 for an evaluation.