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~ Dr. Phil Pinsker

 

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Podiatrist - Washington
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
(724) 225-9469 - fax

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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 18, 2017
Category: Foot Pain
Tags: corns   bunion   hammertoe  

At Philip S. Pinsker, DPM we see an increase in visits from women with a variety of foot complaints. This is no random coincidence. During the summer months many of our female patients have been wearing open sandals with low heels and flips flops. When cooler temperatures require the return to closed toed shoes and heels at work, problems arise.

The Trouble with High Heels

High heels pose several difficulties for your feet. First, they pitch your feet at an unnatural angle, forcing them downward and putting pressure on the toes and forefeet and creating unnatural muscle imbalance. Often designed with narrow toe boxes, high heels also squeeze toes together. In addition, the height and width of the heel can create instability and increase the risk of falls. The end result of these shoes is a number of potential foot problems including:

  • Bunions—the squeezing of the toes can force the big toe joint to move out of place and start drifting toward the second toe, producing the telltale bunion bump on the side of the foot
  • Hammertoe—repeatedly being pushed up against the front of the shoe can cause a long toe to start to curl under
  • Corns and calluses—these form in response to areas of the foot that are experiencing friction from rubbing against the shoe or pressure
  • Ankle sprains—particularly walking in areas of uneven terrain (which occur in both urban and rural settings) can increase the risk of ankle sprains if you’re basically walking on stilts

Collateral Damage

In addition to the obvious foot ailments high heels can cause, there are other long term issues that can affect quality of life. Having foot problems can prevent you from working out and doing exercise that requires running or squatting. This in turn can lead to weight gain, less energy and a lower level of fitness. Foot pain from heels that is ignored may create a condition that eventually requires surgery, derailing a patient’s life for some period of time. Weakened foot muscles and chronic pain can also occur.

If you experience any symptoms of the above problems, contact our Washington office today for an appointment by calling:  (724) 225- 7410. Our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, will evaluate your toes, feet and ankles and determine the proper steps for relieving pain and preventing further damage. One of them will be to switch to shoes with lower heels and roomier toe boxes. Don’t let today’s fashions ruin your active lifestyle tomorrow!

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 06, 2017
Tags: Osteochondritis  

Osteochondritis is a condition that occurs in a joint—usually the ankle, knee or elbow—where a piece of bone and/or cartilage comes loose from the end of a bone and this impedes the normal action of the joint. It is most commonly seen in children and adolescents and at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM, we find that it can be a little tricky for parents to figure out just what is going on. Below are some questions to help you determine if your child may have this condition:

Is your child complaining of pain or odd sensations in his or her ankle? Common feelings associated with osteochondritis include pain, stiffness, the feeling that the joint is “popping” or is locked in place. Your child may also say it feels like the ankle may “give way” at any moment.

What does the ankle look like? Often times there will be swelling around the ankle joint. It will also be tender to the touch and your child may have difficulty moving the ankle in all the ways they are normally able to.

When do symptoms seem most noticeable? Osteochondritis symptoms are often triggered by activity. In fact, even though the cartilage comes loose due to a decrease in blood flow to the area, it is thought that an injury or repetitive trauma to the area (such as occurs in intensely practicing one sport) is the root cause.

Has your child’s activity level increased or decreased? More intense workout drills or practices or increased frequency in an activity can precede osteochondritis as stated above. Conversely, in younger children who are not always the best at explaining their symptoms, parents may notice that a child doesn’t want to participate in activities that they normally enjoy or complain that they feel tired. Limping or favoring one foot over the other is also a sure sign of pain.

Seek Treatment Promptly

If you do see any of these symptoms in your child it is important to make an appointment at our Washington office sooner rather than later by calling: (724) 225-7410 so that our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, can examine the ankle and determine the cause of the pain and discomfort. Usually, osteochondritis will resolve on its own as a child grows but monitoring and treatment to prevent joint damage as well as minimize pain is still necessary.

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 04, 2017
Category: Foot Care

October is National Physical Therapy Month and here at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM, we want to highlight the importance of this mode of treatment when it comes to the health of your feet.

Benefits of PT

Physical therapy has a wide range of uses and may be prescribed by the foot doctor to help treat numerous foot problems both acute and chronic including: arthritis, accidents, osteochondritis, injury, plantar fasciitis and many other conditions. Some ways that physical therapy can help include:

  • Strengthening muscles. One of the primary reasons for repeated ankle sprains is failure to fully rehabilitate the injured ankle. In addition to helping restore the elasticity of damaged ankle ligaments, physical therapy helps build up the muscles that support the ankle ligaments, giving them extra protection. Many patients make the mistake of stopping therapy when the pain goes away but miss the benefit of this muscle strengthening which actually can help prevent another sprain.
  • Improve mobility. Foot disorders that limit your range of motion, such as arthritis, hallux limitus and gout can be helped with physical therapy. Gentle movement and exercises specifically aimed at stretching and increasing reach can have a lasting impact on your ability to get around and maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Decrease pain. Opioid use is at an all time high in our country. Using these types of pain relievers can lead to addiction, depression and other health problems. Physical therapy provides a safe alternative method of pain relief. Through therapeutic massage, stretching, exercise, ultrasound and other physical therapy modalities patients can experience pain relief without the harmful effects of opioid drugs.
  • Avoid surgery. In many cases, physical therapy treatments can help patients improve a foot condition to the point that surgery is no longer necessary. This allows patients to avoid the loss of work days and downtime that comes with surgery as well as avoiding anesthesia and the risk of infection.

If you want to know if physical therapy can help you, discuss it as a treatment option with our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, when you are diagnosed. Don’t put off seeking help for foot pain. Physical therapy and other options are available to bring relief. Schedule an appointment at our Washington office by calling: (724) 225-7410.

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
September 27, 2017

As our Washington County hills change colors and the leaves put on their annual color show, we at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM know that many of our patients will be heading out on fall hikes. While these outings can be invigorating and beautiful, they can also be the cause of foot pain and injury. In an effort to preserve foot health on these hikes, we offer the following tips:

Do: check your hiking boots before hitting the trail. Make sure the fit properly—feet can increase in size as you age. Also, be sure that they are not showing signs of wear and that they are well made. Hiking boots should be moisture proof and well insulated. They should have graphite or steel shanks to increase ankle support and reduce muscle and tendon fatigue.

Don’t: Choose a hiking trail that is beyond your ability or current level of physical conditioning. Most trail maps will tell you the length and also the elevation of the hike. A mile around the track is vastly different from a mile climbing a mountain. Overdoing it can lead to blisters, Achilles tendonitis and ankle sprains. Start gradually and work your way up to more strenuous and longer trails.

Do: pack necessary supplies. Moleskin is essential. Apply to any spot on your feet or toes that feels sore or irritated. Don’t wait for a blister to form. Also bring a water bottle. Staying hydrated is important to your feet (as well as the rest of your body) because it helps reduce edema or swelling.

Do: Layer your socks. Wear a synthetic pair closest to your skin to help keep feet dry and reduce the friction caused by sweat that creates blisters. On top of those add a wool pair that will add warmth, wick moisture away from the skin and add a layer of comfort within your boots.

Don’t: ignore your feet’s warning signals. If you begin to experience pain in your feet or extreme fatigue, end the hike as soon as possible. Continuing on when your feet are telling you to stop is a surefire way to invite injury or an overuse condition that could sideline you for days afterwards.

If you do find yourself in foot pain after a hike, contact our Washington office so our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker can examine your foot. If you have sustained an injury, the foot doctor will prescribe the correct treatment to help you get back on your feet safely as soon as possible.

 

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
September 20, 2017
Category: Senior Foot Care

As patients age certain foot care issues become more prominent. Our feet (just like the rest of our bodies) begin to show signs of wear and foot pain may become more common as fat pads wear down and the cartilage between joints deteriorates. In addition, certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis may first show signs in the feet. At Philip S. Pinsker, DPM, we believe there is much senior patients can do to be proactive in the care of their feet. Below are some suggestions to help you continue to live an active lifestyle free from foot pain and discomfort.

Practice good basic foot hygiene—wash your feet daily with warm water and a mild soap. Dry feet completely (especially between the toes). Use a rich moisturizer to prevent dry, cracking skin on the soles and heels. If your feet tend to perspire heavily, use a foot powder to help absorb moisture.

Avoid going barefoot—this will greatly reduce the risk of injury from cuts and punctures and also of getting a fungal infection (since these are spread by direct contact).

Wear good shoes—your shoes play a huge role in the health of your feet. Wearing shoes with good arch support can help prevent flatfeet and heel pain. Firm ankle support can keep ankles from twisting. Keep heels low and toe boxes wide to avoid aggravating deformities such as bunions and hammertoes. Do not keep shoes that are worn out.

Reduce the risk of falls—September 22nd is Falls Prevention month. Check out the Council on Aging’s website: www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness-day/. It offers many tips on how to avoid falls, which can damage your lower extremities and are the number one cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults.

Engage in healthy habits—your feet will benefit from an overall healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly for fitness, stamina and balance. Eat a diet that is rich in bone-strengthening calcium, fruits and vegetables and strive to maintain a healthy weight. Don’t smoke because it has a negative impact on your circulation.

Don’t ignore foot pain—if your toes, ankles or feet hurt, make an appointment at our Washington office by calling:  (724) 225- 7410 so that our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, can examine your feet and find the problem. Diagnosing foot problems in their earliest stages prevents falls and long term disability. It also usually results in less invasive treatments and more successful outcomes.

 





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