Posts for: August, 2017
Dry, cracked heels are not only unsightly, but they can also be a source of pain and embarrassment. When the fissures in your heel become so dry and cracked that they bleed and hurt when you walk, it’s time to seek professional care from your podiatrist. Left untreated, heel fissures can become so deep and painful that they lead to an infection.
Cracked heels are most commonly caused by splitting of the skin as a result of severe dryness or thickening of a callus on your heel. Severe cases of dry, cracked heels can occur for numerous reasons, including:
- Cold winter weather or dry climates
- Having diabetes
- Scrubbing feet too harshly
- Soaking in a hot bath or shower for too long or too frequently
- Not moisturizing the feet
- Increased weight
- Walking barefoot or wearing open-backed sandals or shoes
- Prolonged standing at work or home
- Chronic skin problems, such as eczema or psoriasis
Here are a few tips for keeping heels from cracking:
- Moisturize your feet daily.
- Avoid walking barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes.
- Opt for mild soaps that won’t dry out your heels.
- Increase your water intake to keep your body hydrated.
- Limit time in the shower as hot water dries out the skin.
- Use a pumice stone or file as directed by your doctor to gently decrease thick calluses.
When to Visit Our Office
Cracked heels may begin as an annoyance or simple cosmetic issue, but they can lead to pain and serious infection if not managed properly. Most cases of dry, cracked heels will get better with a little foot pampering or over-the-counter foot cream.
When your heels are severely cracked or painful and conservative treatments have proven ineffective, visit our office. People with diabetes are at an especially high risk for health problems, and should not wait to have dry feet cared for. Severely cracked heels need moisture to avoid pain, bleeding and infection. A podiatrist can work with you to relieve your cracked heels, and get you back on your feet again.
Bunions affect your ability to walk, stand and participate in your usual activities without pain. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ease your painful symptoms with the help of our Vineland, NJ, podiatrist, Dr. Jeffrey Belancio.
Go shoe shopping
Pressure from your shoes can worsen bunion pain. When you shop, look for shoes that not only support your foot but also offer plenty of room in the toe box area. If you're accustomed to wearing tight shoes or high heels, switching footwear is a must.
Pad your bunion
Applying self-adhesive pads to your bunion can reduce pressure on the bump and pain when you wear shoes.
Inflammation and redness, common symptoms of bunions, can often be managed with over-the-counter pain medications that decrease inflammation, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Ice packs can also be helpful in decreasing inflammation.
Extra pounds place additional pressure on your feet. Losing even 15 or 20 pounds can bring about a noticeable improvement in pain.
Orthotics, custom-made shoe inserts designed for you in our Vineland office, reduce bunion pain by repositioning your foot and decreasing pressure on your bunion.
Stay off your feet
Standing, walking, running or any activity that requires significant time on your feet may increase pain. Avoiding these activities or making modifications to them may improve your comfort level.
Schedule an appointment with the foot doctor
Although home care methods can decrease your pain, they won't get rid of your bunion. Surgery is the only way to realign the bones, tendons and ligaments in your foot, eliminate your bunion and end your pain. Although surgery can be helpful if you have severe pain or can't do the things you need to do due to your bunion, we also offer other treatments that may reduce pain, such as night splints that improve the alignment of your joint, exercises to increase toe mobility and corticosteroid injections that decrease inflammation in the fluid-filled sac around your joint.
Bunion treatment offers an effective way to reduce your pain. Call our Vineland, NJ, podiatrist, Dr. Belancio, at (856) 839-0579 to schedule an appointment.
The summertime is a great time to show off your new sandals and allow your feet to breathe. But since the warmer months can be rough on your feet, it's important to give your feet a little extra care to keep them looking great and feeling healthy. Here are a few tips for keeping your feet in tip-top shape during the summer.
Keep feet clean
The best line of defense against fungal infections is proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes. Wash feet with soap and water daily, and dry them thoroughly to prevent infection. Wear shower shoes in public places, like pools and locker rooms. And to prevent ingrown nails and toenail fungus, keep toenails trimmed straight across.
Avoid walking barefoot
Walking outside in the summertime without shoes increases the risk of injury and infection. You never know what’s sitting out on the beach, and the last thing you want is to unexpectedly step on a sharp rock or piece of debris and cut your foot.
Protect feet from the sun
Wearing sunscreen is extremely important in the summertime - and that means lathering up the exposed skin on your feet and ankles too. If you’re a habitual sandals wearer, make sure to put sunscreen on before putting your feet in your shoes!
Keep your feet fungus free
Coupled with good foot hygiene, you can also prevent toenail fungus by alternating your shoes. If you suspect a fungus infected nail, visit us right away for early treatment.
Treat your feet to a pedicure
Eliminate rough, dead, winter skin and improve the appearance of your toenails with a pedicure. Do it yourself, or pamper yourself with a professional pedicure for attractive summer feet you'll be proud to show off.
The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends getting your pedicure in the morning, when salon foot baths are at their cleanest. Don’t shave your legs prior to your pedicure, even if you’re tempted to! When your legs are freshly shaven, they can have small cuts that allow bacteria to enter. Also, ensure you or the person performing your pedicure does not cut your cuticles, because they are your nail’s barrier to infection.
After the pedicure, don’t leave nail polish on all summer long. Remove it periodically to allow your nail bed to breathe, and then you’re free to swap to another festive summer color!
Prevent painful blisters
Sandals and flip-flops can lead to irritating blisters when they rub against your bare skin. Use padding or bandages to prevent and reduce friction.
Examine your flip flops
Flip flops are great for allowing your feet to breathe all summer long, but thong sandals can result in sore feet and ankles due to their lack of support. Choose styles with arch and heel support to keep feet healthy and pain-free.
Following these easy steps during the summer months can go a long way in keeping your feet looking and feeling their very best. Inspect your feet daily, and if you encounter any unusual foot problems or experience pain, contact our office for a thorough evaluation.