September 2019 Newsletter Updates

West Coast Podiatry Team Podiatry Newsletter

Plantar Warts: Annoying Growths That Need Professional Treatment

Plantar warts are not just annoying growths on the bottoms of your feet – they can be extremely painful when standing or walking.

A plantar wart most often comes from the human papillomavirus, or HPV. This virus can enter the body when there is a tiny cut or break in the skin of the feet. Although not very contagious from person to person, the virus thrives in moist, warm environments like public pools, gyms, locker rooms and spas.

Many plantar warts go away by themselves, but if you have a persistent one that is really painful, please see a podiatrist for a diagnosis and treatment.

One word of caution for those with diabetes: If you notice anything unusual during your daily foot exam, for example, a cut, scrape, puncture wound or wart, please make an appointment with us right away to prevent worsening of the problem.

Symptoms and Risks for Plantar Warts

To spot a plantar wart, look for a small, rough, grainy growth on the sole of the foot. A callus may have developed over the spot where a wart has grown inward.

When the wart gets larger, it will cause tenderness or pain with weight-bearing.

Anyone can pick up a plantar wart, but they are most likely to affect teenagers, children and those with weakened immune systems.

Treating Plantar Warts

It’s best to seek treatment for a plantar wart. Left untreated, the pain when
weight-bearing may cause you to alter your normal gait or posture unconsciously. This change may lead to muscle or joint discomfort.

We have several treatments for plantar warts:

  • Medication with salicylic acid to peel the wart away. This prescription-strength topical medicine will remove the wart layers slowly.
  • Cryotherapy or freezing. We will numb the area first, and then apply liquid nitrogen to the wart, which will freeze it away.
  • Minor surgery to cut away the wart. After numbing the area, we will destroy the wart or cut it out.

You Can Help Prevent Plantar Warts

Reduce your risk of these painful warts by:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching a wart, even your own.
  • Wear flip-flops or shower shoes whenever you are in a locker room or swimming pool.
  • Wash feet daily. Keep dry with clean socks every day and alternate your shoes.
  • Don’t scratch or pick at warts to avoid spreading them.

What Is Causing Your Heel Pain?

One of the most common complaints that we hear at our office is heel pain. Anyone can suffer from heel pain and there are many possible causes.

Two of the most common causes are plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. These are related – sort of. Read on to learn how:

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. When this tissue becomes inflamed due to tiny tears, plantar fasciitis is the result.

Plantar fasciitis usually is most painful first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. The pain can be severe but will ease up as you walk more and can feel worse after exercise.

Risk factors that can increase your risk of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Age (between ages 40 and 60)
  • Being overweight
  • Stressful activities such as running, jumping and aerobic dance
  • Being flat-footed or having an extra-high arch
  • Standing on hard surfaces for long periods

To treat plantar fasciitis, we will begin with conservative methods such as
anti-inflammatory medications, stretching and strengthening exercises, wearing a night splint to keep the fascia stretched out and custom-fitted orthotics to redistribute pressure more evenly.

If the pain does not respond to conservative approaches, we will discuss injections or surgery with you.

Heel Spurs

A heel spur is bony calcium growth on the underside of the heel bone that can reach as much as one half-inch. A heel spur can cause heel pain, but not always – only 5% of patients with heel spurs will experience pain.

Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis. Because the heel spur usually is not painful, the heel pain can be treated without removing it.

Heel spurs are caused by foot muscle and ligament strains or stretching of the plantar fascia and are commonly seen in athletes who run or jump. Risk factors include running on hard surfaces, wearing shoes without arch support or that are badly worn, obesity and walking gait abnormalities.

If a heel spur is painful, treatments are similar to those for plantar fasciitis.

Other Causes of Heel Pain

There are many other conditions and diseases that can cause heel pain including sprains and strains, fractures, tendonitis, bursitis and arthritis.

Be sure to visit us for an accurate diagnosis as to what is causing your heel pain. We will develop a treatment plan specific to your condition to heal your heel pain fast.


Take the Right Steps to Stop Foot Odor

Our feet are little engineering miracles. Each foot has 26 bones, so the two of them contain 25% of all the bones in our bodies!

Here’s another big number – 250,000! That’s how many sweat glands are in a pair of feet. No wonder they sweat so much!

Sweat by itself doesn’t smell. Rather, it’s the dark, damp environment that our feet usually live in with socks and shoes that can trap odor-causing bacteria.

Blame the bacteria that love to hang out on your sweaty feet and multiply. Some people have extra-sweaty feet – called hyperhidrosis – where bacteria really thrive and create excessive foot odor.

How to Stop Smelly Feet

It’s easy – reduce the sweating and you’ll reduce the foot odor and discourage bacteria:

  • Wash your feet every day with soap.
  • Dry thoroughly after washing, especially between the toes.
  • Apply over-the-counter anti-fungal powder to further dry the feet.
  • Wear socks that wick away moisture such as wools and special athletic knits.
  • Change your socks every day and even mid-day if they get damp.
  • Alternate your shoes, letting them dry out for a whole day.
  • Spray shoes lightly with a disinfectant spray to kill germs, and then let dry in the sun.
  • Wash sneakers regularly and let dry completely before wearing.
  • Wear shoes made of breathable materials such as leather or canvas. Avoid plastic shoes.
  • Go barefoot whenever possible, but always protect your feet from injury and from outdoor bacteria.
  • Soak your feet in warm water with 3 tablespoons of baking soda or 2 bags of black tea.

If you still suffer from excessive foot odor, please ask us how we can help.


Recipe of the Month:
Cumin Pumpkin Soup

Here’s a great soup for a cool autumn night. Garnish the soup with popcorn and pumpkin seeds for added crunch.

Ingredients

  • (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • Popcorn and pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Directions

In a medium saucepan, whisk together pumpkin, broth, milk, and cumin. Add bay leaves and set pan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; remove bay leaves and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Garnish with sage, popcorn and pumpkin seeds before serving.

Recipe courtesy of FoodNetwork.com


History FootNote

The Bata Museum in Toronto is the only North American museum dedicated to shoes.

More than 1,000 shoes and artifacts are displayed regularly covering 4,500 years of footwear.


Celebrity Foot Focus

Standing “pigeon-toed” on the red carpet – Gwyneth Paltrow started it and celebrities Katie Holmes and Amal Clooney have followed.


Foot Funnies

How does a frog feel with a broken foot? Un-Hoppy.


Trivia

“But the days grow short, when you reach September” Is a line from which famous song?

A. September Song
B. Farewell To Summer
C. Back To School
D. The Autumn Melody


Answer is A. September Song by Frank Sinatra