Nov 8, 2010

Holiday Gift Baskets for Foot-Weary Warriors

How to Put Together a Neat Gift for Your Favorite Nurse, Teacher, Chef, Postal Carrier, Police Officer, Sales Person, Waiter, Surgeon, Masseuse, Etc.

At Snyder-Stuart Podiatry Centers, we could not be luckier!

Much too often, our patients walk in our doors in pain. Some are in such agony, they are fighting back tears. Then about 90 percent of the time, they walk out of our Podiatry Centers better. Maybe not skipping, but decidedly better.

Of course, some problems take more time to heal than others, and certain difficulties may even require surgery. But finding answers and – at the very least – at path toward becoming pain-free is usually uplifting to our patients.

All of us at Snyder-Stuart Podiatry Centers feel very blessed that we regularly can help people feel better, and often return to their normal activities pain-free after treatment here! We do not take this for granted.

From our satisfied patients, we get a lot of requests this time of year for ways of sharing the “good feet” experience with others. Yes, we have gift certificates for a range of services at SSPC, but we’ve also pulled together several ideas for small gifts, or a gift basket, that you can put together fairly easily. Some of the products we carry in our offices, others can be picked up at a drug or department store, and some may be ordered online.

If you exchange gifts this holiday season with a friend, relative or colleague who spends a lot of time on his or her feet, read on. Here are some ideas and specific directions that might help anyone move to “Happy Feet” status!

1. SSPC Gift Certificate: We love gift certificates! It’s fun to be able to pick out exactly what you want, and on your own time frame. SSPC offers gift certificates for any amount you choose, they are valid for one year and they can be applied to any product OR service SSPC offers. If there is someone who you’ve been nudging to visit SSPC, this is a great incentive!

2. Shoes: At SSPC, we carry a range of casual, running, walking and diabetic shoes designed to protect feet as well as address certain problems. This is something that requires the assistance of our professional staff for the person who is going to be wearing the shoes, so they can’t really be picked out by a third party. However, we do offer gift certificates that can be applied to the purchase of any of our shoes.

3. Insoles & Pads: Obviously we are big believers in foot pads and orthotics, both to help with an existing condition and to prevent damage to the feet. However, again these are custom-fit products which require a professional. If you suspect your gift-receiver would benefit from orthotics, we’d suggest a gift certificate that he or she can apply in our offices.

Here are some suggestions for smaller items that could go in a gift basket or Christmas stocking:

4. Walk Healthy Hygiene Treatments: If you’re a fan of SSPC, then you’ve heard us lecture about the value of hygiene solutions. They are designed to treat existing foot problems and even prevent difficulties down the road. We have sprays for your feet and for your shoes. Both dramatically reduce the growth of bacteria, yeast, mold and a range of foot funguses. They run between $11 and $20, and our staff can help you pick the one that’s right for your purposes.

5. Walk Healthy Arnica Gel Plus: This is a great product for the athlete or runner who regularly gets little twists and sprains. It is a topical gel that reduces the swelling and bruising from an injury. The price is $20 for a 3.3 ounce tube and is available at SSPC.

6. Walk Healthy Exfoliating Lotion: This along with a good pumice stone is one of the best preventive things you can do for your feet. It’s a topical lotion that helps to dissolve calluses and the rough, dry areas on your feet and heels. It runs $20 for an 8-ounce bottle at SSPC.

7. Walk Healthy Moisturizing Crème: If you read our blog for runners and marathoners earlier this Fall, you know how helpful it is to keep feet moisturized and smooth. It cuts down on the formation of calluses and reduces the chance of blisters. The price is $20 for an 8-ounce jar.

8. Walk Healthy Foot & Shoe Powder: This is the best way to wick perspiration away from your foot, and to protect against athlete’s foot. The cost for 4 ounces is $10 and this is available as SSPC.

9. PediFix Wart Stick: This is a popular product for our female patients. Warts on your feet can be painful, and are particularly annoying to those who shave their legs. This is a solid-base wart remover, meaning that the important wart-removal ingredient, salicylic acid, is applied through a wax-based applicator – an improvement over messy liquid products. This wart stick is $8.30, and you can pick it up at any SSPC location.

10. Dr.’s REMEDY Nail Polish: Finally, for the girly girl in your life, consider treating her to the best nail polish on the market today! We really support Dr.’s REMEDY Nail Polish. This product is enriched with naturally occurring antifungal ingredients such as garlic bulb extract and tea tree oil. Developed by a podiatrist, Dr.’s REMEDY has all of the good things and none of the bad!

Dr.’s REMEDY comes in many great colors and runs $20. This month, SSPC is offering a special: Buy three bottles and get the fourth free!

Additionally, if you’d like us to mail this gift to someone for you, we will ship them for free! (The available colors can be seen on our Web site at www.everythingforyourfeet.com)

We hope this gives you some ideas to shorten your holiday shopping list – and the wear and tear on your feet!

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Oct 21, 2010

SSPC’s Fabulous Foot Facials

What Are You Giving/Getting for Christmas?

Aesthetic podiatry. Unless you’re a devoted Allure magazine reader, you may not have heard of this emerging branch of medical foot care. After all, 90 percent of our patients first come to SSPC for strictly medical reasons: They are in pain and they need help. Whether it’s an ingrown toenail, an undiagnosed foot fracture, or excruciating heel pain, it is extreme foot discomfort that initially rushes people to our door.

Yet long before “aesthetic podiatry” emerged, we’ve performed certain procedures that fall more into the category of aesthetics rather than strictly medical. For example, foot funguses. This unattractive condition usually does not have powerful medical repercussions, but for those men and women who struggle with it, they often turn to podiatrist for a solution – and we have several solutions to offer our patients.

At SSPC, certainly our No. 1 goal is to provide you with exemplary medical treatment. But we wanted to go a step further beyond just pain-free. We think it’s OK to want your feet to look great as well as feel great. So, a few years ago, we “dipped our toe” into the field of aesthetic podiatry by introducing our SSPC Fantastic Foot Facial.

We were actually drawn to the idea of foot facials after literally thousands of patients over the years came to us to resolve a bad experience they had with an untrained pedicurist. Invariably, the problem was the result of someone who had massaged, manipulated, shaved, cut, trimmed, sliced or punctured the patient’s foot, which then led to bad things. We helped to resolve those problems.

But we got to thinking, “What could we do to go beyond fixing a foot problem to actually promote healthy feet?” Our solution? Fabulous Foot Facials!

What is a foot facial?
It involves a series of procedures, and just the way a good esthetician adjusts a facial to meet the needs of your face, we customize our Fabulous Foot Facials to address your particular needs.
Generally speaking, the SSPC Fabulous Foot Facial usually starts with exfoliation. After soaking in a warm bath, we remove dry, scaled skin and calluses. We may use a foot mask, or glycolic pads to soften and treat certain problem areas.

For “battle-worn” feet, we may do a deep-heated moisturizing mask. And where appropriate, we use creams that promotes the growth of collagen as it fills in fissures or cracks in the skin around the feet.

This all-important moisturizing step also gives us a chance to do a little massaging and make sure everything is in its proper place. Viola! You now have feet that look and feel 10 years younger!

There are additional procedures that we can do during a Fabulous Foot Facial for a separate charge. For instance, Nail Whitening is where we file and shape toenails, then bleach them, much like teeth whitening.

Botox treatments are available for the feet help to control exceptional foot odor and hyperhydrosis, a severe foot-sweating condition. (This is particularly popular with men and the results can last for up to a year.)

What aesthetic podiatry procedures do we not do?
We do not perform liposuction on the toes (yes, really), nor do we shave down bones to move a patient from a size eight to a size six (it’s called the “Cinderella procedure”). These are procedures that have limited demand in Hollywood – and that’s where you’ll have to go to find someone who will agree to do them. We do not.

However, if you are looking for a special gift for a soon-to-be bride, a husband whose feet are shredding your sheets, or a secret indulgence for yourself, give us a call. We can set up an appointment, or arrange for a gift certificate for an SSPC Fabulous Foot Facial!

Oct 21, 2010

The New Injectables: Foot Padding

An Alternative Solution to Lessen High-Heel Foot Pain

All month long we’ve been writing about foot pain – a subject we’re intimately familiar with here at SSPC! Recently, we looked specifically on the pain that comes from wearing high heels (“Treating High-Heel Addiction: Five Ways to Lessen Self-Inflicted Foot Pain”), and we hope many of those suggestions have worked for you.

In this blog, we’re focusing on a new, and in some circles slightly controversial procedure: Injectable foot padding. This is where an injectable substance, either fat, collagen or an hyaluronic acid, is injected in the balls and/or heels to add plumpness and cushion to the feet. This procedure is not painless, it is not cheap, and it is not for everybody.

Having said all that, for some women (men are not as prone to this problem), it is an appropriate solution when others have failed.

What is valuable to understand here is that for nearly all of us, the padding on the bottoms of our feet starts to deteriorate after the age of 40. For feet that are exposed to exceptional pressure, such as the pressure that comes from standing for long periods (like surgeons, nurses, chefs, retail associates, teachers, etc.), certain kinds of athletics, such as runners, and devoted high-heel wearers, the loss of natural padding is accelerated. In fact, even young and slender women in their 20s can start to lose their natural padding if they are die-hard high-heel wearers.

The result of losing one’s natural foot padding is pain. It’s much like walking around barefoot without the protection that shoes provide.

One solution? Injectable derma fillers in the foot.

While there are several to choose from, the filler we use most often at SSPC is the popular wrinkle filler, Restylane®. Originally developed in Sweden, the Restylane filler is a clear, non-animal-based, biodegradable gel that is composed of hyaluronic acid, a substance that naturally occurs in the body. Whether used on the face or the feet, Restylane lasts between six- and nine months for most patients.

Nevertheless, injectable foot padding falls under the category of an invasive procedure, and like any procedure, it carries some risk. However, our experience is the risk of complications is fairly low.

If you think you might be a candidate for injectable foot padding, please give one of our SSPC offices a ring and set up an appointment. We can help you decide the best course of action!

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Oct 12, 2010

Tips For Fall Marathoners: Start With Good Equipment for Long-Distant Running

Ever since the Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman movie, The Bucket List (2007), came out, I’ve noticed more of my patients have mentioned that running a marathon was on their lifelong “To Do” list. Bravo if you’re considering this! And, of course, I’m going to assume it’s with your primary care physician’s approval, right?

As a runner myself, I know the great things running does for your body and soul. As a podiatrist, I also know how hard it is on your feet. So, let’s talk a little foot care, shall we? There are several things you can do to protect your feet so they are in good shape to take you where you want to go.

The first thing is toenails. I can always tell a runner by his or her toenails. They are usually thicker than normal, and either yellow or black. The change in color and/or texture comes from running downhill, and unfortunately, it’s a fact of life for dedicated runners. It is usually not a health issue, just a cosmetic one that we can address in our office if it interferes with your career as a shoe model.

If you’re looking for an excuse to have a pedicure, here’s your chance. A runner’s toenail should be cut straight across, and a bit on the longer side. If you’re prone to ingrown toenails, the shape should be gently rounded out with a file.

Calluses, as you know, are a hardening of the skin. Blisters are soft pockets of fluid that form when friction rubs against the foot. Calluses and blisters are preventable, but keep in mind that both are defense mechanisms attempting to protect your foot.

Calluses form over time, and are easy to spot and eliminate with a pumice stone after every shower. Blisters are more problematic since they have the potential of becoming infected. Once a blister forms, you can swab the area with rubbing alcohol, then take a sterile pin or needle and drain the blister. Leave the skin intact since this forms a protective layer over the sensitive area of skin. Bandage with antibiotic ointment.

To prevent blisters, many runners coat their feet with Vaseline or some kind of lubricant to form a protective shield. (Remember, dry skin is prone to friction.) You can also wear two pairs of socks for extra protection, or invest in blister-free synthetic socks that will wick moisture away. Avoid the white, all-cotton athletic socks because they retain moisture.

Shoes are probably the biggest and most important investment a runner can make. As I’ve said with other shoe-shopping expeditions, it’s best to pick out shoes later in the day when your feet are more swollen. Bring your own runner’s socks with you, as well as any insoles or orthotics. All of these will help the salesperson calculate a better fit.

Try several different manufacturer’s shoes on, and in different sizes. There should be almost an inch between your big toe and the end of the shoe. I also recommend having two pair of running shoes so you can switch off each day. Here at Snyder/Stuart we are big fans of Aetrex running shoes. In fact, I have mine on right now! We carry them here in our office or you can now order them online, at our doctor-run site, www.everythingforyourfeet.com.

Also, the way you lace your running shoes matters. There are several ways to lace shoes to either avoid or compensate for certain problems like high insteps, wide or narrow feet, bone spurs or simply something rubbing you the wrong way. Runner’s World’ online magazine (www.runnersworld.com) has great videos to show you precisely how to tie laces so you avoid certain difficulties.

Orthotics and insoles are two of my favorite subjects when it comes to foot health – I’d prescribe them for flip flops and bedroom slippers if I could! Here is what you need to keep in mind: The insole is the cheapest part of any shoe. Do you really want to be slamming hundreds of pounds of pressure on your delicate foot with very little cushioning between you and the pavement?

Here is what I can offer to inspired runners: If you are serious about running, bring your new (unworn) running shoes into SSPC and let us check them out for you. We can check the fit, they way their laced, the stress points, and if you need professional orthotics to further protect your feet.

Also, you may want to check out the line of men’s and women’s Aetrex running shoes that Snyder Stuart Podiatric Centers carries. After years of research, we chose to carry Aetrex because it represents the highest standards in comfort, breathability and performance. I wear them myself, as do many on our staff. We like the way Aetrex provides stability and shock attenuation in a high-performance shoe. And we’ve seen that the advanced technology and materials the company incorporates goes a long way toward keeping feet healthy, dry and cool while running.

Drop in and see us at SSPC. We’d love to show you a running shoe!

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Sep 20, 2010

How to Avoid Barefoot AND Pregnant!

Five Tips on Buying the Best ‘Maternity’ Shoes For You

OK, just to clarify, we won’t be going into how to avoid the “pregnant” part, just the barefoot (as in you can’t stand a single shoe in your closet) while pregnant. After all, any woman who has been there knows that sooner or later, you reach the point where the only shoes an expectant Mom can tolerate usually have bunny ears and can be machine-washed.

With everything medical science knows about pregnancy and pre-natal care today, there are certain “distractions” that still plague pregnant women worldwide. Near the top of the list — largely because it shows up early and lingers weeks after your bundle of joy has appeared — are swollen feet. Known as edema (swelling) of the feet and ankles, foot pain is disturbing even when you’re not pregnant. The good news is there are several things you can do to reduce and even avoid this kind of pain.

When you’re pregnant, three things to happen that strongly affect your feet. The first two are (1) the normal retention of fluid during pregnancy and (2) the equally normal weight gain. Third, literally all the joints in your body, including your feet, are loosened up by the higher levels of hormones as your body prepares for delivery.

All this means is that your belly isn’t the only thing expanding during pregnancy. So are your feet, and for many women, their shoe size permanently goes up about one full size after pregnancy. Please don’t cry. Think of this as a rare opportunity to buy a whole new wardrobe of shoes!

If you’re a regular SSPC patient, then you already know to buy your shoes with a little “wiggle” room inside. Many of your sandals, clogs, soft fabric and good leather shoes might be salvaged. But as you’re pulling together your maternity wardrobe, why not invest in some dedicated “maternity” shoes?

Depending on the season and your lifestyle, you may be able to get by with one pair of dress shoes and one casual. For your dressier shoe, the first thing you must do is to semi-retire your four-inch pumps. Stick to shoes with a two-inch heel or less while you’re walking with a baby on board.

Look for shoes with non-skid soles and plenty of space for your feet to spread out. Shoes made of canvas or leather are the most “breathable” materials for your feet. The shoes to avoid are flip flops (they’re dangerous and offer no support) and shoes with shoelaces. Remember, the time will come in your pregnancy when you won’t be able to see your feet, much less tie shoelaces.

For a casual shoe, we like clogs, particularly German-made leather clogs (NOT the ones for $7 at Wal-Mart). These are favorites among surgeons, nurses, chefs, etc., who have to stand for long periods of time. They’re a little hard to run in, but that’s probably something pregnant women should avoid anyway.

As always, orthotic inserts are an especially good idea for pregnant women. When you’re pregnant, your center of gravity changes as you gain baby weight. Inserts help correct your newly distorted center of gravity. This not only lessens foot problems, it also reduces back and leg pain, too! By Month 8, you’ll be really glad you made the investment!

There are two kinds of inserts for pregnancy, one for the first two trimesters and one for the home-stretch. If you give SSPC a call, we can help you pick the inserts right for you.

Finally, we’re often asked if support hose can help reduce or eliminate foot and leg pain for pregnant women. Yes, but only during the early months. Just be sure that the foot of the pantyhose is not tight on your foot. Even if you have to go up a size, you never want to cut off the blood flow in your feet.

Now, that’s not hard to avoid barefoot and pregnant, is it?

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Aug 24, 2010

The New Butt-Firming Shoes: Do They Work?

Squats. When it comes to analyzing the pros and cons of the new butt-firming shoes, probably the real villain here is everyone’s powerful dislike of squats. After all, if we liked doing squats, who’d need the shoes? Everybody wants a glorious butt; no one wants to earn it the old-fashioned way.

So, can a specially designed shoe reward you with an impressive tush? As a podiatrist, I’ve had several patients recently ask me about the virtues of the new line of athletic shoes that are specifically designed to tone leg and buttock muscles. Sorry, but the short answer is “No.” In fact, the potential injuries stemming from these shoes can range from inflamed Achilles tendons to broken ankles.

Here’s the important thing to understand about the design of these new butt-firming shoes: The principle is to throw you off-balance. It is your body’s struggle to regain its balance that gives the illusion that the shoes are “working” your muscles.

This isn’t exercise, it’s your body in crisis-management mode.
“The instability built into [butt-enhancing shoes] makes a wearer work harder to maintain his or her balance – effectively giving muscles a more rigorous workout, shoe companies say,” writes USA Today’s Michael McCarthy in his June 30, 2010 article, “A revolutionary sneaker, or overhyped gimmick?”

This same principle is at work when you wear six-inch high heels. Again, your body is rushing to keep from toppling over, thus that energized feeling in your legs, which, BTW, I’m told wears thin rather quickly.

All shoes, even the new butt-firmers, change a person’s gait. This is why I regularly suggest to my male patients that they switch up their shoes and not wear the same pair every day. (Women seem to do this without much encouragement.) The idea is to switch around the pressure points on your feet. But routinely alternating shoes is a long way from trying to throw you off balance.

Here’s what I can enthusiastically recommend to those seeking a better butt: Skip the donut at breakfast and (in appropriate shoes) walk an extra block each day. The results will be the same, yet you will avoid (1) the cost of the shoes, (2) a trip to the emergency room, and, even better, (3) no squats!

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