Are Your Feet Happy and Healthy This Summer?

Together with walks on the beach, dips in the pool and cooling ice cream, the chance to show off your feet is an extra bonus of summer. The time has come to don strappy sandals and give your feet some air. But with that freedom also comes a new set of concerns. Today Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is sharing his tips to keep your feet happy and healthy all summer long.

Don’t forget the SPF. Most people don’t think about it, but your feet and hands are just as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of your body. And a sunburn on your feet can make shoes feel uncomfortable. Pay special attention to the tops of your feet when applying sunscreen and re-apply as needed.

Wash your feet daily. Keeping your feet clean in the summer is particularly important, especially if you spend time in thin-soled sandals or walk barefoot outdoors. Studies have shown that your feet can come in contact with as many as 18,000 different types of bacteria when wearing these types of shoes.

Don’t only wear flip-flops. Besides making it easy for you to pick up germs, flip-flops can also affect your posture and lead to orthopedic issues. When people wear flip-flops, they typically take smaller steps than they do in athletic shoes and use their toes to help keep them from sliding around. This can cause pain in the hips, lower back, and feet.

Air out your shoes. Athlete’s foot, which is characterized by flaky, peeling, itchy skin, is caused by a fungus that flourishes in damp, warm environments like sweaty socks or footwear. Let your footwear air out completely before putting them on, and wear fresh, cotton socks every day.

Avert and treat blisters. This is one of the most common difficulties people face when trying to maintain healthy, happy summer feet. The best prevention approach is to wear shoes that fit properly. If you do get a blister, resist the urge to pop it and see your podiatrist instead.

Exfoliate and moisturize your feet. A pedicure helps remove the dry skin that can harden, crack or cause uncomfortable calluses. Each day exfoliate your feet using a foot file, grainy foot scrub or pumice stone. Then moisturize them at day’s end with a moisturizing lotion to keep them hydrated.

Drink lots of water. When you don’t get enough water during the warmer weather, your blood thickens slightly, which impedes circulation and can lead to painful swelling. Always carry water with you, particularly when the weather is very hot and drink it even when you’re not thirsty.

Watch out for warts or growths. Examine your feet for warts or other growths. Warts are typically harmless and can be easily treated, but they should always be looked at by a podiatrist. Strange growths also need to be examined to rule out skin cancer.

If you want your feet to be the happiest and healthiest they can be this summer, contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists today at (425) 455-0936 to book an appointment or schedule an appointment online so we can schedule a checkup.

When It’s Time to See a Podiatrist for an Ingrown Toenail

If your big toe swells or feels sore, you may have an ingrown toenail. With this condition, skin grows over the edge of the nail, causing pain, infection, and swelling. Read on for more information from Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists regarding this common condition and how it can be treated – or better yet – prevented.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

Prevention begins with wearing shoes that fit properly. To ensure a correct fit, the toe of the shoe should provide adequate room so that your toes aren’t overcrowded, which is a common cause of ingrown toenails. When you stand up there should be at least a half inch of space between the tip of the shoe and your longest toe.

We also recommend that patients cut their toenails straight across with clean toenail clippers. Keep feet dry and clean and guard against injury by wearing shoes when necessary.

Seeking Medical Help For An Ingrown Toenail

Left untreated, ingrown toenails can become infected and worsen, leading to significant swelling and pain. It can also lead to serious complications, including gangrene and/or a bone infection.

Your ingrown toenail needs professional help from a podiatrist when:

  • It doesn’t show signs of improvement after two to three days of at-home treatments;
  • The pain becomes substantially worse;
  • Redness extends away from the toe;
  • Pus begins to form;
  • You have neuropathy in your feet from a different condition.

Treatment From Your Podiatrist for Ingrown Toenails

The treatment method your podiatrist chooses is dependent on the severity of the condition, how often they occur, and the reason they develop.

For mild cases, the nail is lifted by placing a wedge of cotton beneath it. This raises the nail above the skin, thereby eliminating the ingrown nail and permitting the skin to heal. Part of the toenail may also have to be removed.

In repeated cases, the side of the nail may need to be removed, including its root. A special medication is applied that destroys the nail root, preventing regrowth and averting future ingrown toenails.

While ingrown toenails may just seem like an annoyance, when left untreated, they can lead to serious medical issues. Don’t let that happen – contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists today at (425) 455-0936 to book an appointment or schedule an appointment online so we can discuss your treatment options.

Is Your Foot Pain a Sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and if you ask anyone living with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), they will tell you that it’s a devastating diagnosis to receive because it is an incurable disease that can cause joint deformity and severe pain. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is delving deeper into a painful condition.

The good news is that today the treatment options available are the most advanced they have ever been, and they are actually allowing many people with arthritis to live full and active lives.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet

With arthritis, the immune system assaults the body’s joint tissues, causing inflammation, which can result in gradual damage to affected joints. The immune system attacks the fluid within the joints as well as the joint lining, which then becomes acutely inflamed, causing a swollen and warm joint.

If left untreated, continued inflammation eventually causes bone and cartilage to erode, which leads to deformed joints and diminished range of motion. Additionally, the muscles, ligaments and tendons that surround and stabilize the joints may weaken.

Parts of the Foot Affected by Arthritis

When it comes to the feet, RA typically affects the toe joints, causing a gradual outward shift in the toes and bunions to develop. It may also cause the forefoot to shift, resulting in a loss of stability, which leads to conditions such as hammertoes.

These changes in toe-joint flexibility often cause calluses and pain under the ball of the foot and make finding comfortable shoes more difficult, resulting in the need for custom orthotics.

Other Foot Conditions Associated with Arthritis

Heel pain: This is a common problem for people with arthritis that can strike at the back of the heel resulting in plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or bursitis.

Nerve entrapment: When the joint lining becomes inflamed, the swelling can cause symptoms of a pinched nerve, also referred to as nerve entrapment.

Rheumatoid nodules: This typically appears as a bump located beneath the skin, usually over a bony lump or tendon. It can grow over the Achilles tendon or on the side of the big toe if a bunion is present.

Skin rash: The inflammation associated with RA can cause wounds or rashes on the lower legs.

A close relationship with Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists – who will work to stop joint damage, alleviate pain and inflammation, and improve your sense of well-being – will ensure the best possible outcome throughout the course of your disease. Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your next visit or schedule an appointment online so we can discuss your treatment options.