Posts for: April, 2017
Choosing summer footwear that looks and feels great
So long, snow boots—warm weather is here at last! But while you’re skipping through summer in your saucy sandals or padding through the sand in your favorite flip-flops, what toll will your seasonal footwear take on your hardworking feet? Nearly eight of every 10 Americans have experienced foot problems caused by wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
“Many of us increase our activity levels in the summer, and that could mean an increased risk of foot and ankle discomfort or even injury,” says Steven Gordon, DPM, a podiatrist at Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers and APMA member. “Plus, many of the shoes we enjoy wearing during warm weather, like flip-flops and sandals, may not always be the best choice in terms of foot health.”
Once considered only beach wear, flip-flops have gone fashionable, now showing up in offices, classrooms, and social events when warm weather arrives. But some styles may be more harmful to your feet than others and can cause blisters and foot pain. Remember the following tips when shopping for flip-flops:
Forego vinyl or rubber and look for high-quality, soft leather, which will minimize the potential for blisters and other irritations. APMA certifies some footwear products with its Seal of Acceptance, which tells you a team of APMA podiatrists has evaluated the footwear to ensure it allows the most normal foot function and promotes foot health. View the list of products by visiting www.apma.org/seal.
Like all shoes, the flip-flop should bend at the ball of the foot. Don’t buy it if the flip-flop bends completely in half.
Straps should fit comfortably but not be too loose or too snug. Your foot should not hang off the edge of the flip-flop. The thong between the toes should not be irritating.
If last year’s flip-flops show severe signs of wear, toss them and buy a new pair.
Don’t wear flip-flops for long walks; even the sturdiest styles don’t offer sufficient arch support and shock absorption for extended wearing. And never wear them when doing yard work or playing sports.
“If you suffer from heel pain or diabetes, avoid flip-flops altogether,” says Dr. Gordon.
As popular as flip-flops, sandals are versatile options for warm weather footwear, but you don’t have to sacrifice foot health to look good in them. You should choose a sandal as much for its comfort and support as its fashion appeal. Fortunately, following a few simple steps can ensure your feet look and feel good in the summer’s hottest fashion sandals:
Flats and slides are comfy and convenient, but prolonged wearing and inadequate support and cushioning may lead to arch and heel pain. Use cushioned inserts to improve sandals’ support, and choose styles that have soles that don’t twist excessively.
Gladiator sandals are back in step this season, but some styles may irritate the toes and cause calluses on the heels. “Choose natural materials like soft, supple leather,” Dr. Gordon suggests. Toes and heels should not hang off edges.
Platforms and high heels may make your legs look great, but they can also put you at risk of foot and ankle injuries. Opt for heels less than two inches high, which offer more stability.
Rubber soles with good traction are a must for anyone wearing wedges or espadrilles.
Peep-toe sandals can put a lot of pressure on your feet, causing bunions and hammertoes over time. Wear them for short periods only, and use toe inserts to improve comfort.
Ankle-wrap sandals often lack true ankle support, and friction from the straps may cause blisters. Choose sandals with straps made of soft, breathable material like leather, cotton, or satin. Never wrap the straps too tightly.
If you experience persistent foot pain, see a podiatrist. Feet shouldn’t hurt all the time, and if they do, it may indicate injury, irritation, or illness.
Shoe shopping with teens? Sanity-saving tips for parents
Many parents agonize over making just the right choice for their baby’s first pair of shoes. In one important way, however, picking infant shoes is easier than choosing for an older child: Babies have nothing to say about what style or brand you put on their feet. Teens, however, have strong opinions about fashion—opinions that extend all the way to their toes. That could be why six out of 10 teens today experience foot pain, and two out of every 10 who suffer from foot pain experience it because they’re wearing high heels or other uncomfortable footwear, according to a 2012 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
“Foot health is incredibly important to a person’s overall health and well-being, especially in the teen years when feet are still growing,” says Steven Gordon, DPM, a podiatrist at Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers and APMA member. “While our survey found that half of teens see feet as important to their overall health, many are still living with foot pain. It’s vital that we educate teens and their parents on how to properly care for their feet.”
With kids of all ages—including teens—heading back to school, parents will be buying a lot of shoes in the coming weeks. APMA offers these tips for choosing teen-friendly footwear that is good looking, stylish, comfortable, and smart:
Sports are the top cause of foot pain in teenagers, APMA’s survey found. Seventy-five percent of high school students play a school or recreational sport, and nearly 40 percent of that group has injured their feet while playing, according to the survey.
When buying an athletic shoe, parents should consider what activity the teen will use the shoe for. Different sports require different shoes, and choosing one made specifically for that sport can help prevent injury. Shop at a store that specializes in athletic footwear and have the shoe fitted professionally.
Price is not indicative of quality, but all good athletic shoes need to offer plenty of support and cushioning. Shoes should be stiff across the middle, but bend at the ball of the foot. Like all shoes, athletic shoes should be comfortable right away, without any “breaking-in” period required for comfort.
Because they’re still growing, teens should always get their feet measured before buying new shoes. Feet are usually not the same size, so buy for the larger foot. Because feet expand throughout the day, shop later in the afternoon, when feet are at their largest.
While many teen boys virtually live in athletic shoes, girls may be more inclined to vary their wardrobe and wear dressy shoes, including high heels. More girls than boys suffer from pain due to uncomfortable shoes, and high heels are the most painful, with 64 percent of girls surveyed reporting they’ve experienced pain from high heels.
Good shoes support both the front and back of the foot. While high heels are okay for special occasions, teenage girls probably shouldn’t be wearing them all day long. Instead of a high heel, consider flats, or—if a teen simply must have the added height—platform or wedge heels. Keep in mind if a heeled shoe is uncomfortable when the wearer is just standing in it, it’s not likely to feel any better when she’s walking in it.
For both boys and girls, choose dress shoes that offer plenty of support and cushioning. Opt for breathable materials, like leather or canvas. Shoes should only bend at the ball of the foot; the sole should never be twistable or bend anywhere else. Look for plenty of room for toes and opt for shoes with wide, round, or square toe boxes. Pointed shoes can pinch toes, leading to a host of foot problems.
Teens who experience foot pain shouldn’t ignore it, Dr. Gordon warns.
“Fewer than two out of 10 teens have ever seen a podiatrist to treat foot problems,” He says. “Any kind of foot pain is not normal. Teens experiencing foot pain should visit a podiatrist who can help diagnose and treat their problem.”
You can see a list of podiatrist-recommended children’s footwear by visiting www.apma.org/seal and selecting “Find Products by Type” then “Footwear, Children’s.”
Follow these helpful tips if you want to avoid dreaded athlete’s foot.
Nothing can put a damper on summer like athlete’s foot. Of course, with flip-flops being standard footwear during the warmer months you are putting your feet at an increased risk for athlete’s foot. Our Reston, Manassas and Leesburg, VA, podiatrists offer up some helpful hints for how to keep your feet healthy and athlete foot-free all summer long.
There are a lot of myths surrounding athlete’s foot. You may think that only athletes get this condition or that only people with bad hygiene come down with this foot problems, but these are just myths. Fungus is all around us and they love warm, dark areas. This means that your gym’s locker room and shower, as well as your local pool could be teeming with fungus just waiting to attack.
So, what can you do?
Wearing protective shoes that fully cover the feet is one great way to avoid athlete’s foot. Sure, it’s not the most stylish look but you’ll be happy you packed those flip-flops with you when you don’t develop a nasty bout of athlete’s foot.
It’s highly advised that you wear shoes in public areas like bathrooms, lockers rooms, gyms, saunas and even the local swimming pool, because you never know who might also have athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot can also be spread from person to person.
How do you protect yourself if someone in your household comes down with athlete’s foot? First and foremost, it’s important that they are getting proper treatment, whether from over-the-counter or prescription anti-fungal medications from our Reston, VA, foot doctors. Don’t just let a fungal infection fester, as it may only continue to spread.
To protect yourself from catching athlete’s foot make sure to never share towels, socks or shoes with an infected person. Also, make sure the tub or shower is thoroughly cleaned after the infected family member has taken a shower or bath. The same approach goes for any linens or bath mats. Make sure bath mats are thoroughly cleaned and removed from the bathroom until the infection has completely cleared.
Are you dealing with itchy, uncomfortable athlete’s foot? Looking for the proper relief to treat your summer feet? Then call Reston Foot and Ankle Center today.
Spring is ankle sprain season in (CITY or REGION)
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 4/7/2017) Spring is sports season for many amateur athletes and weekend warriors in the Northern Virginia area. It's also ankle sprain season for one area foot and ankle surgeon.
Shaun Hafner, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, says ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries he treats this time of year.
"As people emerge from their winter hibernation and start to get active again, they can injure their ankles playing sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis and soccer," he says.
Anyone who injures an ankle requires prompt medical treatment, whether it's their first sprain or their fifth. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.) can reduce swelling and pain until the ankle can be evaluated and treated by a foot and ankle surgeon. A sprain may not always be a sprain; the ankle could be fractured.
Hafner notes that many athletes develop chronic ankle instability from repeated ankle sprains, causing their ankle to frequently "give way." In some cases these players may require surgery. Proper rehabilitation of an ankle sprain reduces the likelihood of developing chronic ankle instability.
Dr. Hafner shares three spring ankle sprain prevention tips from FootHealthFacts.org:
1. Perform warm-up stretches and exercises before playing sports.
2. Wear the right shoes for the sport. For example, don't wear running shoes for sports that involve a lot of side-to-side movement, such as tennis and basketball.
3. Wear an ankle brace if you're recovering from an injury or have repeatedly sprained your ankle.