Good Podiatric Care for Elderly Patients

Professional Foot Care for SeniorsIf you think about how many miles we put on our feet in a lifetime it is no wonder foot problems so often emerge as we age. It is helpful for everyone to have basic knowledge of podiatric care for elderly people.

Caregivers of older adults need to be mindful of good foot care and make it a priority as part of daily routine. Even seniors who are otherwise able to care for themselves often need some help in this area, just because of the difficulty of seeing and reaching their feet. Some simple care pays huge dividends as good podiatric care helps the elderly remain comfortable and mobile.

The basics for caregivers:

  • Caregivers need to be particularly attentive because even slight sensory losses over the years can make people less aware of problems with their own feet. When these problems are noticed as they emerge they are easily addressed. Knowing what to look for, and taking the time to check will help catch these problems early on.

  • Care is relatively simple. It starts with simple observation – be sure to check feet at every cleaning for any changes. Keep an eye out for circulatory problems, ingrown toenails, ulcers, fungal conditions, or other irregularities. Be especially mindful of podiatric conditions for diabetic people as these can progress rapidly and become serious if untreated.

  • Be sure to help keep the feet clean, dry, and warm. Clean with a mild soap, dry thoroughly and gently, and use lotion as needed to help skin remain healthy. Cut nails straight across, being careful not to curve back at the edges which would allow the nail to get under the skin.

Smart daily practices:

  • Once feet are clean and dry, encourage the use of clean cotton socks and properly fitted shoes. This will help prevent spurs, calluses, corns, and even fungal infections.

  • Maintaining good circulation in the feet and legs can be a special challenge, especially for diabetic patients. Keeping the feet elevated while sitting for any length of time is helpful, so make sure a footstool is available at each favorite seat. Also, discourage crossing the legs, which impedes circulation.

If you have any concerns or questions about foot care, please contact your Marlborough podiatrist for sound advice.


Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tips to Prevent Running Knee Injuries

Treatment for Running InjuriesRunner’s Knee is a common injury among runners often caused by the following: overuse, misalignment of the bones, weak muscles, or a direct blow or trauma to the knee. Although you always risk injury when you run, many injuries, such as runner’s knee can be prevented. Here are some tips to prevent knee running injuries.

  • Strengthen Muscles:

    Strong core, hip and leg muscles keep your body aligned while you run. All of these muscles, especially the hips, prevent knee injuries. When your hips are weak or tight, the movements of your knees become limited. Running without this knee mobility forces your body out of alignment and strains the ligaments surrounding your knees. Incorporate light strength training in your workout regimen of these areas.

  • Stretching:

    As mentioned above, flexibility in your hips can save your knees a great deal of pain. Stretching not only gives you the flexibility needed for running, but it strengthens and warms up your muscles. Stretch the back of your legs lightly before and deeply after your run. These muscles tend to get tight during a run which creates pressure and strain on your knees.

    A great stretch to protect your knees is called “The Chair”. The Chair opens up your hips and strengthens the back of your legs and the ligaments surrounding your knees. To enter this position, stand with your feet forward, six inches apart. Stretch your arms over your head while you sit back into an imaginary chair. Bend your knees. Your back will arch and your torso will lean forward. Breathe through the stretch. As you become more flexible, you will eventually be able to bring your thighs parallel to the floor.

  • Cross Train:

    Running is hard on your knees. So to prevent knee injuries, introduce other exercises in your weekly routine. Pick exercises that are low impact on your knees, as the goal here is to give your knees a break. Try swimming or biking. The key is to listen to your body. If a certain body part is sore or tired, choose an exercise that doesn’t rely on those muscles. This way your body can recover, while you are still being active.

Always remember…if you experience any discomfort in you feet or ankles before or after a run you should contact your Marlborough podiatrists.


Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Toenail Fungus and How To Treat It

Treatment for Toenail FungusAs part of our feet, our toenails can really take a beating. Our feet are also the area we tend to neglect. Many of us tend to wear improper footwear and usually injure our toes often. It is very important to take care of our feet and toes. Fungus is easily developed through improper care and exposure to public elements. If you develop a toenail fungus it is important to treat it right away.

Toenail fungus is easily picked up in public places where water tends to collect such as public pools, gyms and locker rooms. These moist environments are the perfect breeding ground for fungus. Easily avoid picking up toenail fungus by wearing the proper footwear when you are in these areas.

Another reason a person may get toenail fungus is due to some kind of injury to the toenail. Damaged nails are prone to bacteria and infection. Fungus can get underneath damaged nails and into the exposed area. You may notice a purple coloration forming, this is due to bruising and the rooting of potential fungus. This area under your toenail can provide the perfect warm and moist environment for growth of fungus, especially when you wear socks and shoes. If your toenails have been injured, the effected area may also swell and become very painful.

Another possible cause for toenail fungus is the use of tight shoes and ingrown toenails. Wearing the wrong shoes can cause your toenails to grow inward thus causing poor circulation and swelling. By cutting off the circulation to your toes the toenail can start to die leaving it vulnerable to toenail fungus. Ingrown nails also cause swelling as well as pain around the toenails. If left untreated, or if you don’t properly treat them, it can lead to infection.

When it comes to toenail fungus treatment it is very important to always wear the proper shoes that are the right size and provide proper comfort. When seeking treatment it is important to contact your Boston podiatrist first. Antibiotics are a possible treatment for toenail fungus but usually left for more severe case as the use of antibiotics is taxing on the liver and kidneys. Most commonly a topical treatment is preferred such as tea oil. In some cases the partial removal or complete removal of the affected toenail is done to prevent further fungal infection. The best course of action is to keep your toes clean and dry. Keep toenails trimmed and avoid pulling and ripping the area around the nails.

Types of Toenail Fungus Treatment

Treatment for Toenail FungusToenail fungus is a common problem that can turn into a painful situation. Once the fungus is contracted it develops and grows underneath the toenail. This can cause the toenail to become discolored, thick and have an unnatural appearance. The good news is that there are a variety of toenail fungus treatments available.

Symptoms

Initially toenail fungus can appear as a white or yellow spot located underneath the tip of the nail. Over time the toenail becomes thick and distorted as the infection grows and spreads. Eventually the infected toenail can separate from the toe. It can cause pain on the tips of the toes and even provide a horrible odor.

Contracting Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus, or Onychomycosis, is found most often in dark, heated and moist environments. This means people can get the fungus from showers, gym locker rooms, swimming pools and more. People who have diabetes, previous cases of athlete’s foot, or auto-immune deficiencies have a greater chance of being infected. Toenail fungus will usually enter the body through a cut in the skin or an opening in the toenail.

Non-Surgical Treatments

There are anti-fungal creams people can obtain over the counter. Their effectiveness has always been uncertain. A Boston foot doctor could provide oral anti-fungal medications. They come with a minor risk of side effects that range from skin rashes to liver damage. They are more effective than creams, but usually must be taken for several weeks. Another way to handle toenail fungus is with nail lacquer. It is painted directly onto the nail each day for a week. Then the layers are wiped off with alcohol and the process is repeated. This can be done for twelve months but has a very low success rate.

The newest form of non-surgical treatment is laser treatment for toenail fungus. This involves targeting a laser beam on the affected nails. The laser beam generates heat to vaporize the fungus without causing damage to the nail or underlying nail bed. The results aren’t instantaneous, the new healthy nail grows back normally only after the fungus is destroyed. Unlike some medications the laser treatment for nail fungus does not have any of the undesirable side effects.

Surgical Treatments

In severe situations the infected toenail may need to be completely removed. In a non-surgical procedure, urea ointment is applied to the nail to make it soft and causing it to dissolve. In a surgical procedure, the toenail and a small amount of tissue is removed. Surgical procedures are seldom necessary.

If you have toenail fungus and want to have it examined by our Boston podiatrists, contact our office today.


Matthew P. Butler, DPM, LLC is a Boston podiatry office that specializes in the treatment of toenail fungus.

Why Choose Custom Foot Orthotics

Foot OrthoticsHave you been contemplating the purchase of over-the-counter shoe inserts? If so, stop a moment and compare your feet with that of a loved one. There is a 99.9% likelihood that beyond having 10 digits, your feet will vary greatly from one another. That is not only perfectly normal; it’s the chief reason why you shouldn’t act on your original intentions. Instead, you should contact our Boston podiatry office and choose custom foot orthotics. Here’s a quick peek at the top advantage you’ll gain by doing so:

As we progress through life, our age and health have a significant impact on our feet. For example, it is not uncommon for the padding on our feet to thin or harden into calluses. We may also develop plantar fasciitis or lose range of motion in our joints. Sometimes, those changes may even indicate the existence of a health problem that we may have not been previously aware of. A good example of this is claw toe, which is sometimes caused by uncontrolled diabetes.

By visiting your Boston podiatrists and having a custom foot orthotics fitting, you’ll have an opportunity to learn what your feet reveal about your health. Furthermore, your Boston foot doctor may be able to work with your primary care physician to address any health problems that show up during your podiatry visit. Take our previous example of diabetes related claw toe for instance.

Matthew P. Butler, DPM can create a custom foot orthotic to prevent exasperation of the condition as well as periodically monitor your feet for signs of diabetic neuropathy. They can then share their findings with your primary care physician. Your physician could then use the podiatrist’s findings to change your diet, medications and testing schedule. You obviously wouldn’t get that type of comprehensive care by merely buying shoe inserts at the local drug store.

Understandably, there are many other advantages to be gained by obtaining custom foot orthotics. To learn more about those advantages, please contact your local Boston podiatrists today and arrange for an initial consultation.

Boston Office
1153 Centre Street
Suite 5C
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 983-1900
Marlborough Office
340 Maple Street
Suite 405
Marlborough, MA 01752
(508) 303-8188
Middleton Office
191 South Main Street
Suite 102
Middleton, MA 01949
(978) 774-2800
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