It’s summertime and living is easy but at Patrick Fettinger, DPM, one area where less is really not better is when it comes to summer shoes. Many patient’s footwear of choice during the summer season are flip-flops. This style of shoe has only one good use and that is to protect your feet from viral, bacterial and fungal infections that can be picked up by direct contact at community pools and changing areas/restrooms at beaches and lakes. The minimal construction of traditional flip-flops leaves your feet open to several potential problems, including increased risk for:
When choosing summer shoe styles, look for these design features:
Arch Support—after wearing flat shoes for a long duration you are likely to notice that your arch and your heels are hurting. That’s because the plantar fascia—a long band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from heel to toes—becomes inflamed if you have no arch support. This is the cause of a common condition known as plantar fasciitis.
Molded Footbeds—these will help keep your feet firmly in place in the shoe. Less movement means reduced risk of friction that can cause blisters and also protection against ankle sprains and injuries.
Breathable materials—good air circulation around your feet reduces the risk of bacteria mixing with sweat and producing a bad odor. Keeping feet dry will also help prevent fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
Cushioned insole—a layer of cushioning between your foot and the sole of the shoe will act as a shock absorber. This not only makes shoes feel more comfortable with every step but also reduces the stress of repetitive pounding on your foot, decreasing the likelihood of foot pain and discomfort.
Back strap—a strap around the back of your foot, while not a necessity if the rest of the shoe is properly made, will increase stability and further reduce the chance for injury.
Improper footwear is one of the top causes of foot pain and chronic podiatric problems. If you are experiencing pain in your feet or ankles, make an appointment at our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger can examine your feet and determine the source and proper treatment of your foot discomfort.
Summer is a time when many people go on vacation and we at Patrick Fettinger, DPM LLC want all of our patients to enjoy this time of rest and relaxation. A foot injury or flare-up of a chronic podiatric condition can definitely disrupt your vacation. Below are some tips for avoiding foot problems when you travel.
Off to a Good Start—if you’re flying to your vacation destination be sure to wear comfortable shoes and socks to the airport. Getting to your gate and making connections can require a significant amount of walking (or running!). Trying to catch your flight in high heels may result in an ankle sprain. Wearing socks will help protect your feet from fungal infections if you are in an airport that requires you to take off your shoes during security checks. If your flight is long, you may want to consider compression stockings to improve circulation and prevent blood clots forming in your legs.
Choosing a Shoe Wardrobe—be sure to have at least two pairs of shoes with you so you can switch off if one pair begins to hurt your feet. It’s best to avoid bringing brand new shoes as they can be stiff and cause blisters. If there’s a possibility that your vacation will involve hiking or other physical activities, bring the appropriate footwear.
Stretch It Out—whatever mode of transportation you are taking to get to your vacation, be sure to take breaks to stand, walk and stretch. This will help maintain good circulation and prevent cramps and muscle pain from being in one position for too long.
Pack Foot Essentials—there are a few items you should add to your suitcase that won’t take up much space but could have a big impact on the comfort and health of your feet. These include:
- Moleskin to apply to any spot that feels sore to help prevent blisters from forming
- Anti-fungal cream or powder to help avoid athlete’s foot and fungal toenails. This is particularly important if you are staying at a resort or hotel with a pool.
- Small first aid kit—some saline (eye solution), a small tube of antibiotic cream and a few bandages or some gauze will be useful to have if you get a scrape or minor cut. If you sustain a puncture wound or more serious injury, it’s important to seek medical help promptly.
If you are in any pain or discomfort when you return from your vacation, make an appointment at our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger can examine your feet and determine if any treatment is needed.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and at Patrick Fettinger, DPM LLC we know our patients will soon be enjoying sunny summer days on Fairfield County lakes and beaches. When it comes to skin cancer, most people don’t think about their feet. For this reason, when cancer is found on the sole of the foot or between the toes it is often at an advanced stage. Fortunately, skin cancer is the most preventable form of cancer. Nearly 90% of all cases are a result of exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Below are 4 steps you can take to protect your skin.
- Inspect the skin on your feet (and the rest of your body too) regularly. Know the warning signs of moles that may be cancerous: irregular borders, multi-colored, asymmetrical and diameter of larger than the end of a pencil eraser. Any mole on your foot that’s changing—getting larger, crusting over or bleeding, etc. is cause for an examination by our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger. Contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office for an appointment.
- Use sunscreen any time you’ll be outside. Even shopping or running errands in sandals exposes your skin to the harmful rays of the sun. For beach or pool days, apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 15 or higher. Reapply every two hours or after swimming.
- Never use tanning beds! These increase your risk of melanoma dramatically.
- Try not to spend prolonged time outside when the sun is at its strongest. That is normally between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have to be out then, keep feet covered or seek shade as much as possible.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have an unusual spot on your foot or concerns about an existing mole or freckle.
During the month of May, we at Patrick Fettinger, DPM LLC recognize National Arthritis Awareness Month and want to take this opportunity to explore this important health issue and the effect it has on your podiatric health.
Arthritis is actually not just one disease but rather an umbrella term for over 100 different disorders that cause joint pain and discomfort. It affects over 50 million adults and 300,000 children. There are several different categories of arthritis, including:
- Degenerative—this is the type of arthritis that people are most familiar with. It occurs as a result of cartilage wearing away over time. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of degenerative arthritis and most often affects adults over the age of 50.
- Inflammatory—in this kind of arthritis an immune system malfunction causes the body to attack its own joints with severe inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are two examples.
- Infectious—in some cases a virus, fungus or bacterium can invade a joint and trigger inflammation.
- Metabolic—gout is the best example of metabolic arthritis. It is caused by the body being unable to properly process and control levels of uric acid in the body. When uric acid builds up in joints—particularly in the big toe, foot and ankle—it can crystallize and cause extreme pain.
Good Choices for Joint Health
There are a number of ways that you can lower your risk for developing arthritis.
Weight—extra pounds put excessive stress on lower extremity joints. Maintaining an appropriate weight (or losing weight if necessary) can help protect your joints.
Exercise—regular, weight-bearing exercise helps keep joints flexible and strong. Specific exercises can be prescribed by our podiatrist, Patrick Fettinger, DPM to help relieve the symptoms of some types of arthritis.
Injuries—arthritis often develops in joints that have experienced a trauma or injury in the past. Wearing properly fitting footwear designed specifically for the activities you do is one way to help prevent foot injuries. Exercising caution when using ladders, driving and doing other common activities can also lower your risk for damaging feet and ankles.
Of course, there are also risk factors such as genetics or gender that you can’t change. If you do experience any joint pain, stiffness or changes in the normal range of motion of any joints in your feet or ankles, contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office for an appointment.
At Patrick Fettinger, DPM LLC we know that spring sports are heating up in Fairfield County and lots of young athletes are getting out on the fields and courts. Too often, however, we see injuries and chronic foot disorders as a result of sports. The good news is that many of these can be prevented and parents can play a key role in ensuring that their child enjoys a safe season.
Check Up on Young Feet
Before your child suits up for a new sport, an examination at our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office is a smart idea, especially if there has been a previous foot or ankle injury or an ongoing podiatric condition. Our foot doctor, Patrick Fettinger, DPM will analyze your child’s foot and determine if there are any special needs or accommodations necessary for safe sport participation. Protection against disorders like chronic ankle instability and heel pain will prevent injury and help your child play pain-free. A service we offer that is particularly helpful in sports medicine is computerized gait scan. This tool can help diagnose biomechanical dysfunction and improve athletic performance.
Choose the Right Footwear
No matter what sport your child plays, the equipment that is most important is the same: their shoes. Appropriate footwear prevents injuries. Shoes should:
- Fit properly—get feet professionally measured at a sports shoe store
- Be designed for the specific sport your child plays
- Have good ankle and arch support
- Not be hand me downs
The final component for a safe and successful season is a sound program. Your child should be coached by a qualified person who understands the sport and the conditioning necessary to play it. Practices should emphasize proper technique and drills should include appropriate time for stretching and warming up as well as a cool down period at the end. Training should start slowly and gradually increase in intensity and duration to prevent lower extremity injuries like Achilles tendonitis and shin splints. There should also be days off and periods of rest to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures and Sever’s disease.
If after starting a sport your child experiences foot or ankle pain, never encourage them to “play through it.” Contact us for an appointment so that we evaluate your child’s condition and prescribe any necessary treatment.
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