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Parents can prevent a common childhood foot problem by following some simple recommendations.

Ingrown toenails are one of the most frequent conditions treated in children. Many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. An ingrown nail can break the skin and lead to dangerous infections.

Tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect nail trimming is to blame in most cases. In others, the children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve. The following tips may help prevent ingrown toenails:

Teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don't cut them too short.

Make sure children's shoes fit. Shoe width is more important than length. Make sure that the widest part of the shoe matches the widest part of your child's foot.

If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, reduce the inflammation by soaking the child's foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold.

The only proper way to treat a child's ingrown toenail is with a minor surgical procedure at a doctor's office. Parents should never try to dig the nail out or cut it off. These dangerous "bathroom surgeries" carry a high risk for infection. Antibiotics may also help infected ingrown toenails.

How can we help you?

The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000. 

 

April 11, 2018
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Well-heeled: Tips for picking high heels that are better for your feet

High heels are the No. 1 culprit of foot pain for women, according to an American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) survey. Nearly half of all women wear heels, and 71 percent of heel-wearers say those shoes hurt their feet, APMA reports. With many types of heels, like very high stilettos, foot pain is hard to avoid. But it is possible for women to find a happy mid-point between great looks and great pain.

APMA offers some basic guidelines for choosing better-for-you heels:

·Nearly half of heel-owners admit to wearing heels three inches or higher. That height, however, shifts body weight forward and puts great pressure on the ball of the foot and the toes. Avoid heels higher than two inches.

·A high stiletto with a pointy, closed toe is the worst type of shoe for your feet. Instead, choose heels with a generous toe box area and extra cushioning at the front of the shoe. A slight heel or wedge encourages your arch to lift.

·Consider wearing supportive shoes during your commute and changing into high heels after you arrive at the office. This simple step will help minimize the time your feet spend in heels.

·Kitten heels are a good-looking, foot-friendly option for heel wearers. With a heel height typically less than one inch, kitten heels deliver a bit of height without the pressure that higher heels can cause.

·Be extra careful when wearing platforms or wedges, as these styles can compromise your balance and stability. Very high shoes may lead to ankle rolls and falls. Choose lower platforms and wedges that secure with ankle straps.

·During warm weather, peep toes tempt women to show off pretty pedicures. Be aware, however, that peep toes can cause toes to slip forward or overlap, and may even push nail edges into skin, causing an ingrown toenail.

·Review a list of podiatrist-approved women’s footwear that has earned APMA’s Seal of Acceptance at www.apma.org/seal.

Finally, even if you own several different pairs, don’t wear them every day. Daily heel-wearing can cause the Achilles tendon (the strong tendon at the back of your ankle) to shrink, increasing your risk of an injury while doing activities in flat shoes, including exercise.

If you experience persistent foot pain, see a podiatrist. Feet shouldn’t hurt all the time, and if they do, it may indicate injury, irritation, or illness.

How can we help you? The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000.  

Heel Pain in Youth Athletes: A Warning Sign

Surgeon Urges Prompt Treatment for Growth Plate Injuries

Indoors and outdoors, youth athletes stay active year-round in competitive sports, and for many of them heel pain has become “just another part of the game.” But when a child complains of heel pain, it should be diagnosed promptly because it may be a warning sign of a serious foot problem.  

Heel pain occurs frequently in children ages 6 to 14 as their feet grow and the heel bone develops. As children become more active in sports they increase their risk for growth-plate injuries and subsequent heel pain.

New bone forms in an area behind the heel, known as the growth plate, and cartilage is vulnerable to severe inflammation from strain or stress. With repeated stresses and strains from over activity, the heel becomes very painful.

Even though growth-plate trauma is the leading cause of heel pain in young people, the condition can be difficult to diagnose. Parents should be concerned if a child has pain in the back or bottom of the heel, limps, walks on the toes, or seems to have difficulty participating in normal recreational activities. The condition is diagnosed by a thorough examination of the child’s feet and legs and possibly medical imaging tests to rule out other serious causes of heel pain, such as bursitis, tendonitis and fractures.

In most cases, mild or moderate heel pain can be treated successfully with shoe inserts to soften the impact on the heel, anti-inflammatory medications, stretching and physical therapy. In severe cases, the foot and ankle will be immobilized in a cast and, in some instances, surgery may be necessary.

Heel pain in young people often returns after treatment because the growth plate is still forming until the age of 14 or 15. However, the risk for recurrence can be lowered by choosing well-constructed shoes with good support and restricting use of spiked athletic shoes, especially on hard fields. It also is advised that young athletes avoid competition that exceeds their physical abilities.

How can we help you?
The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000.  

Getting help for the most-common, most-ignored type of pain

If our teeth ache, most of us will head quickly to the dentist for treatment. But if your feet hurt, do you just chalk up the pain as a discomfort of modern life? Sadly, most of us do. Most Americans say they have foot pain at least some of the time, and more of us have pain in our feet than in any other part of our bodies we consider vital to health, such as skin, teeth, or even the heart, according to a 2012 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Yet feet rank lowest on the list of body parts and functions that Americans consider important to their health, the APMA study shows.

Additionally, many Americans don’t seek foot care from a podiatrist—a doctor specially trained to care for feet. Foot health directly affects the quality of our lives. When our feet are healthy, feeling good, and working well, they can enable us to go about our normal routines. But injured, ill, or just plain sore feet can undermine the foundation of our good health.

Feet are often indicators of our overall health; signs of arthritis, diabetes, and nerve and circulatory problems can all be detected in the feet. People suffering from foot pain are also more likely to suffer from a variety of other health issues, including back, knee, and joint pain, and weight and heart problems.

So how do you know if your foot pain is just annoying, or serious enough to merit a visit to a podiatrist? Persistent pain or sudden, severe pain should definitely raise warning bells. Beyond that, keep in mind that there are many sources of foot pain, and many foot ailments that can be treated best by a podiatrist. These conditions can include:

·       arthritis;

·       athlete’s foot;

·       bunions—an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe;

·       foot and ankle injuries;

·       heel pain, especially if it is chronic;

·       nail problems, including nail fungus;

·       peripheral arterial disease—a blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the legs;

·       pinched nerves;

·       skin cancer;

·       warts; and

·       wounds or nerve damage due to diabetes

Today’s podiatrist is a true expert, trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. The country’s 15,000 practicing podiatrists work in a variety of disciplines, from sports medicine and pediatrics, to dermatology and diabetes. Podiatrists can:

·       perform surgery;

·       provide complete medical histories and physical exams;

·       prescribe medicine;

·       set breaks and treat sports-related injuries;

·       prescribe and fit appliances, insoles, and custom-made shoes;

·       order and provide physical therapy;

·       order and interpret X-rays and other imaging scans; and

·       work as a member of your health-care team

How can we help you?
The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000. 

Ten timely tips to get feet ready for spring

From slogging through snow, ice, and slush to being confined in heavy boots to fight the cold—if your feet could talk, what a tale of winter woe they might tell. You may be tempted to pull your sandals out of the closet and stuff your heaviest hosiery to the back of the sock drawer, but before you set your soles free to savor spring, some preparation is in order. Being cooped up in cramped footwear during winter months can cause feet to suffer from a variety of ailments, from dry, flaky skin and discolored toenails to pesky corns and unsightly calluses. Pampering your feet in preparation for warm weather can help feet look and feel their best when warmer weather calls for donning flip-flops and peep-toe shoes.

Caring for your feet not only promotes good hygiene, but it can also alert you to any problem areas that may need attention before slipping into sandals this spring. Plus, it’s a good way to relax and de-stress after a tiring winter. When your feet feel good, you’re more likely to feel good all over.

APMA offers these 10 tips for getting your feet spring-ready:

1. Start with a soak. Immerse your feet in warm water with Epsom salts, herbal soaks, or oils for at least 10 minutes.

2. Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove thickened, dead skin build-up (calluses) around the pre-soaked heels and the balls and sides of the feet. Never use a razor, as it removes too much skin and can easily cause infection or permanent damage if used incorrectly.

3. Eliminate dry, flaky winter skin on the soles, sides, and tops of the feet by using an exfoliating scrub.

4. Massage a generous amount of emollient-enriched skin lotion all over your feet. The lotion hydrates the skin, and the massaging helps to promote circulation. Be sure to remove any excess moisturizer from under your toenails or between toes as build-up in those areas can provide a breeding ground for bacteria.

5. Use a straight-edged toenail clipper to trim nails to just the end of each toe to ensure nails don’t become curved or rounded in the corners.

6. Help lock in moisture by wearing a pair of poly-cotton blend socks at bedtime.

7. Forgo nail polish if your nails are not healthy. If you have healthy nails, remove polish regularly to keep them in top condition.

8. Wash your feet daily with soap and water. Dry carefully, paying extra attention to the areas between your toes.

9. Inspect last spring and summer’s footwear. Throw away any shoes or sandals that appear worn.

10. If any skin or nail problems exist, see a podiatrist for a medical diagnosis. Today’s podiatrists are physicians, surgeons, and specialists trained to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.

How can we help you?
The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000.  





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