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Posts for tag: trips and falls

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while the connection between your breasts and your feet may not seem obvious, those going through breast cancer treatment can tell you that one really does affect the other. Statistics suggest that 1 in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Unfortunately, breast cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women than any other cancer, but advances in treatment combined with early detection methods have reduced the number of deaths overall and mortality rates continue to fall.

One of the most common treatments for cancer still involves chemotherapy. Chemo is a full-body drug, meaning it can travel through your entire body and find and attack cancer cells. This also means however, that it can attack healthy cells and cause some unpleasant side effects. One such side effect is peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral Neuropathy is the loss of feeling in the toes, feet, fingers, or hands due to nerve damage – in this case, from chemotherapy drugs. Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness, tingling, and loss of sensation in the extremities. This can lead to missteps and falls or cuts or bruises that you can’t feel and therefore don’t attempt to heal. Neuropathy is a progressive disease so if you leave it untreated, it could lead to permanent nerve damage. The good news is that discontinuation of treatment with the drug causing the neuropathy can oftentimes lead to the symptoms disappearing.

If you are experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in your feet, there are a few things you will want to do to keep yourself safe. First, wear shoes or socks at all times, even when walking around the house. Make sure your shoes aren’t too snug though! Put non-slip mats wherever you can such as the bathtub, at the kitchen sink, or even in front of the washing machine. Sit down as much as you can and when you walk, make sure to pay attention to your feet to avoid tripping and falling. Look at your feet at least once a day and keep them clean and dry to avoid bacteria or fungus. You may want to talk to your podiatrist about getting special inserts for your shoes to help protect your feet. Also, avoid hot or cold extremes.

If we could magically kick every cancer cell out of your body and leave you happy and healthy we would, but unfortunately chemotherapy drugs are often a necessary part of breast cancer treatment. If you chemo drugs are giving you peripheral neuropathy, talk to your oncologist and then come see your podiatrist. You’ve got enough on your mind without worrying about your feet. Let us do that instead.

Being a dad is hard work as any father will tell you, but it can also be dangerous work! The average parent sustains 22 injuries per year. Let’s take a look at a couple of common parenting injuries and how we can avoid or treat them…

Toy-Covered Floor

When I think about the most painful injuries I could sustain in my living room, the thought of stepping on a Lego sticks out as the worst. Small toys underfoot can cause pain, cuts and bruises, and accidental falls. Luckily avoiding these is as easy as cleaning up (easier said than done usually). Consider an easy option such as a toy mat that keeps small pieces from going everywhere and can slide out of the way or fold up when not in use. For larger toys, a laundry basket works great for a quick pick-up and easy transportation. If you just can’t avoid the mess, make sure you don’t walk through the room in the dark to avoid any surprises underfoot.

Sports Injury

This category of injuries is a varied as the sports our dads teach us to play. Whether it’s tossing a ball in the backyard to help your little one start JR softball or running around the field with your teenager trying to keep up with her soccer drills, dads play lots of sports and that leaves them open to lots of injuries. Luckily, there are a few general rules of thumb that will help you avoid injury no matter what you happen to be doing. First, remember you aren’t that age anymore and sometimes you may not be able to keep up. No worries, your kids understand and are probably just glad you’re helping anyways. Second, be prepared. Stretching before exercising is crucial, as is wearing the right equipment for it. If your kid needs special basketball shoes to support his ankles as he jumps for a 3-pointer, maybe you should wear some too. Using common sense can be an easy way for dads to avoid a sports injury and make sure they can keep playing with their kids for years to come.

Aging

You may be thinking my kids are all grown up so I don’t have to worry about that stuff, right? Wrong. Aging can do any number of things to our health, especially after the active years of raising kids. Maybe those years left you with a constant pain in your heels or a stress fracture you used to write off as the pain of being a parent. Take care of these issues now. Taking care of existing problems now will help lessen the number of issues aging can bring on. As we say, healthy feet and ankles are the foundation of an active lifestyle. If you want to be sure you can keep up with your grown kids for years to come, it’s a good time to start taking care of your feet now.

Being a dad can certainly have its pains, but your kids appreciate every minute of it…or at least they probably will when they get older and look back on it. Give your father a big hug this Sunday and make sure you don’t step on his toes or knock his noggin while you’re doing it. Happy Father’s Day!


You'll be seeing a lot of green tomorrow and that's because it's St. Patrick's Day; a holiday based around drinking and dying lots of random things green. There are a lot of reasons to stay extra safe and drink responsibly on St. Patty’s Day,but this year, do it for your feet. In terms of major holidays, St. Patty’s Day isn’t celebrated as much as you’d think, but those who do celebrate tend to do so with a lot of green beer so safety should still be a priority. Alcohol related foot and ankle injuries can’t be avoided by the luck of the Irish, so make sure you know what to look out for this St. Patty’s Day.

Trips and Falls

Most people worry about trips and falls in the winter when conditions aren’t at their best. However, even if conditions are perfect, if you aren’t walking at your best, you could be risking a serious fall and potential injury. Alcohol is a factor in about 1/3 of all fall related injuries treated at hospitals. While it’s in the minority, detailed studies of these patients reveal that the severity of the injury increases significantly when alcohol is involved. A bruised ankle is much quicker to heal than a fractured one and DUI accidents result in more fatalities than non-alcohol related accidents. Be aware of your footing throughout the day and know when you’ve hit your drink limit before you surpass it. If you think your bar tab is high, just wait until you get the hospital bill from your alcohol related emergency room visit.

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis and symptoms are triggered when people eat or drink foods high in purines. Beer is chock full of purines and should be avoided completely by those who have been diagnosed with gout. Patients who drink one beer daily are 1.5 times more likely to get gout symptoms than those that refrain. Don’t think you’re home free with other types of alcohol either. Alcohol is filtered through the kidneys and causes a rise in uric acid, leading to gout symptoms that include purple or reddish discoloration, limited joint movement, and severe pain and sensitivity in the toes, particularly the big toe. If you have been diagnosed with gout, or experience any of these symptoms within a few hours or a few days of drinking, it may be best to avoid the green beer and stick to water instead.

Alcoholic neuropathy

You probably won’t have to worry about this one if you only drink on major holidays, but long-term alcohol use can lead to nerve damage in the limbs. Those with alcohol neuropathy have permanently damaged their peripheral nerves and this leads to tingling sensations and pain in their hands and feet. Alcohol is not the only contributing factor. Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to these symptoms, but symptoms will worsen with alcohol consumption. Luckily, abstaining from alcohol can help restore most nerves back to a healthy state and vitamin levels to normal. Some damage however, may be permanent. The easiest way to avoid alcoholic neuropathy is to consume alcohol only in moderation.

Don’t Forget to Tip your Bartender

If you decide not to tip your hardworking bartender, you may be directly jeopardizing their foot health. Bars tend to open earlier and stay open later on St. Patty’s day, meaning much longer shifts for the staff. Do you know what it’s like to be standing and running around serving drinks on your feet for 10 hours at a time? They do and let me tell you, their feet are punishing them for it by the end of the night. Just the added stress of standing longer can lead to a myriad of other foot problems, all resulting in foot pain. Tip them well; they are sacrificing their health for you.

Follow these tips and maybe you can avoid a trip to the podiatrist this St. Patty’s Day. However, if you do need help with a foot or ankle injury, don’t forget that the FAAWC has walk-in hours for instant access to our doctors. Be safe and wear green to avoid a day of playful pinching.

                                                 

The now super famous (and infamous) Pokémon Go app was released to the public on July 17th and it’s going to be a great thing for podiatrists…. though not really for their patients.

For those who don’t know, Pokémon Go is a free downloadable app for iPhone and android devices that brings hunting for Pokémon to the real world around you. Users are encouraged to go outside and walk their neighborhoods and cities to find Pokémon, pokestops (areas of interest around the city, usually pieces of art), and meet other Pokémon players. The theory behind this game is brilliant (and I must admit, the game itself is fun). Never before has a video game encouraged its users to be so active and social. However, with special incubators that hatch Pokémon eggs only after you walk certain distances (either 2km or 5km), millions of people who are used to a sedentary gaming lifestyle are suddenly getting up and walking around. And this means big changes for their feet.

We have talked in the past about protecting our feet while we exercise and slowly ramping up levels of activity, but let’s take another look at a few key things that may affect all you Pokémon Go players out there who are suddenly getting active:

  1. Stress fractures

This is a real concern for gamers who may not be used to heavy exercise or may underestimate the distances they are going and the impact on their feet. First of all, we need to make sure that everyone is wearing proper footwear for exercise, and no, that does not mean flip-flops. Increasing the daily impact on your feet through walking increases stress on our bones. As we discussed in March, a stress fracture is a small crack in a bone due to overuse or repetitive strain. This can easily happen to those walking long distances in bad shoes. The time it takes to lace up a pair of tennis shoes is about 30 seconds; the time it takes to recover from a stress fracture (and lose out on all that walking and Pokémon collection in the meantime) is several weeks to months depending on the severity. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the 30 seconds to tie my shoes.

  1. Fungal Infection

For those gamers who were intuitive enough to put on athletic shoes before venturing out, you have a different set of worries than our flip-flop users. You need to worry about foot cleanliness and fungal infections. Fungus likes to grow in warm, moist, and dark places, and all three of those conditions exist inside your shoes. In order to avoid lovely conditions such as athletes foot, I would recommend avoiding excess sweating inside your shoes (using a product like Bromi-lotion may help), changing your socks immediately after they get sweaty, and airing out or even disinfecting your shoes on a regular basis. Changing a key factor of your health, such as walking additional distances every day to catch Pokémon, can greatly impact your feet and their health. Be sure to wash your feet thoroughly and maintain appropriate cleanliness for your shoes. It may save a trip to the podiatrist.

 

  1. Trips/Falls

 

Perhaps the biggest complaint so far concerning the Pokémon Go game is that it takes our eyes off of our environment and onto our phonescreen. This creates a whole new set of concerns when it comes to our feet. YouTube videos are popping up all over the place of Pokémon Go users falling down stairs and running into poles. While these can be funny to watch, those gamers may be doing serious damage to their feet. Every time our foot twists in the wrong way or our toes stub hard against something, we are risking major damage to our feet. If you are walking through the local park and only looking at your phone screen, you can easily step into a hole and twist your ankle or even break a bone. The app alerts you each time you start it up to remain aware of your surroundings, but reports have shown that gamers ignore these warnings and that is how they get into trouble with their feet.

Overall, I support the Pokémon Go app for the major shift it is causing in gaming culture, but I sure hope at least one gamer reads this article and thinks twice about their foot health before venturing out to catch their latest Pokémon. Only time will tell if gamers heed my warning.

No matter what your plans are for Halloween, make sure to think of your feet. They will thank you for it!

  1. Plan out your trick or treating route

If you are going trick-or-treating on Saturday, make sure you plan out your route. Wherever you happen to be, there is bound to be a lot of walking. You don’t want to end up at the complete opposite end of your neighborhood after hours of walking and have to face the long walk back in the dark while you are already tired. Try making a roundabout route that will end you at your own house. If that’s not possible, then walk straight to the farthest point of your plan and work your way back to your house or car.

  1. Plan for the weather

Make sure to check the weather report to see what to expect for Saturday. If there is rain, wind, or cold expected, then plan accordingly. Is it going to be hot? Try a sweat wicking sock. Socks not the right look for your costume? Find some tights or footie socks that will give you that added protection against your shoes.

  1. Wear socks/insulation

No matter what the weather situation is or what sort of plans you have, wear socks! If it’s going to be cold and you will be outside, make sure your socks are insulated, such as a thick wool sock. If you are going to be inside dancing the night away, look for socks that offer padding for the toes and heels. Make sure whatever you wear is appropriate and comfortable.

  1. Remember, the shoes don’t really matter

For most costumes, what you actually wear on your feet won’t make or break the aesthetic. If the costume calls for shy high red heels, try opting for bright red flats instead. There is always a practical way to look good. Besides, who is really looking at your feet?

  1. Spend extra time to find the right shoes (size too)

If the shoes will break the outfit, then spend the extra time to try and find the right ones. Don’t just settle for shoes two sizes too small because they are the first ones you find in the right color. Go to the next store, drive across town, search the internet. If the shoes really matter, then make sure they are perfect!