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~ Dr. Phil Pinsker

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Podiatrist - Washington
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
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Posts for category: common foot conditions

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
January 17, 2018

If you are like many people getting into better shape may have been on your list of New Year’s resolutions. At Philip S. Pinsker, DPM, we find that in mid to late January we see an increase in a number of common injuries and disorders that are related to fitness and sports. Don’t let your resolution to get in shape get derailed by one of these problems:

  1. Achilles Injuries—the Achilles tendon is the long band of tissue that runs down the back of your lower leg between your calf and the top of your heel. In fact, it is the strongest tendon in your body and yet, it is also the frequently injured. You can aggravate your Achilles tendon and cause it to become inflamed resulting in Achilles tendonitis or you may actually partially or completely rupture the tendon. The cause of injury to this tendon is overuse or a sudden increase in force on the tendon such as pushing off intensely or running hills. Achilles tendon injuries often occur when people who have been inactive for a long period of time start up an exercise program that is too intense for their level of conditioning. You can avoid aggravating the Achilles tendon by stretching and warming up properly before working out and also by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your routine.
  2. Blisters—the most common cause of this minor but painful problem is improper footwear. Before beginning a new sport or exercise routine make sure that you have footwear that is designed specifically for the activity you are engaging in. Shoes should fit well with adequate room to wiggle your toes. Laces provide a better fit and the heel should be snug to avoid excess movement of the foot which can cause the friction that leads to blisters.
  3. Shin Splints—pain on either side of the bone in your lower leg is actually a result of muscle or tendon inflammation. Shin splints can be caused by a collapsing arch or a muscle imbalance in your leg. Stretching before and after exercise and corrective shoes or custom orthotics may provide relief from shin splints.

If you have recently started a new fitness routine and are experiencing foot pain our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, can help track down the cause of your discomfort and prescribe the correct treatment so you can get back on track fast. Contact our Washington office for an appointment by calling: (724) 225-7410.

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
August 24, 2017

When temperatures are high, we at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM tend to get more inquiries about foot odor problems. Hot weather can kick up the perspiration production of the 250,000 plus sweat glands that call your feet home causing them to secrete up to half a pint of sweat a day. Interestingly, that sweat alone is not what smells. The foul odor is produced by bacteria that feed off the sweat. 

While there is a physical condition that causes excessive sweating—called Hyperhidrosis—it results in sweaty feet all year round. In addition to elevated temperatures, excessive perspiration can also be caused by certain medications, stress, body changes and fluid consumption. In some cases, a bacterial or fungal infection may be the source of the smell. For this reason if, after trying the suggestions below you are unable to eliminate the bad foot smell, contact our Washington office for an appointment by calling: (724) 225- 7410 so that our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, can examine your foot and get to the bottom of what’s causing the foot odor. But first, try these odor eliminating tips:

  1. Start each day with a fresh pair of socks made of cotton or other absorbent material. Change them when they get damp—even it means you have to wear several pairs in one day.
  2. Alternate your footwear. Shoes are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria—dark, warm and damp. For this reason, you should avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Allow shoes a day to air out. 
  3. Choose footwear that is made out of natural, breathable material that allows good air circulation.
  4. Always wear socks with closed shoes.
  5. Develop a good daily foot hygiene routine. Wash feet using warm water and a mild soap. Dry completely. Apply a foot powder to help absorb sweat. 
  6. Try a foot soak. Use one part vinegar to two parts water and soak feet for 30 minutes. This will close up the pores and kill bacteria. Other recommended soaks include black tea or Epsom salts. 
  7.  
By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
July 05, 2017
Tags: arthritis   Orthotics   Bunions   calluses   corns  

Although bunions are a common condition that patients bring to us at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM, they are one for which many misconceptions exist. Below are some questions about bunions that we hear most frequently:

Q: It looks like a big, ugly bump popping out of my big toe but what exactly is a bunion?

A: A bunion is actually a bone deformity that occurs when the first joint at the base of the big toe moves out of place and starts moving towards the second toe. This inward leaning causes the joint to jut out and form the bump that is visible on your foot.

Q: What causes bunions?

A: Poor foot mechanics, which are usually hereditary, are the cause of bunions. An imbalance in the way weight is distributed over your foot causes the joint to become unstable and move. However, even though foot structure may be the root cause there are several factors that can cause the bunion to actually develop and worsen. These include:

  • Injury
  • Wearing shoes with high heels and pointy toes
  • Arthritis

Q: If I have a bunion is there a chance it will disappear on its own?

A: No! Bunions are a progressive condition that will only get worse. The more the toe moves out of place the greater the pressure that will be exerted on it by your shoes. This will make walking increasingly painful and you’re likely to develop corns and calluses on the toe as well.

Q: I don’t want to have surgery—are there any other treatments available?

A: Actually, there’s quite a bit you can do for a bunion to help slow its progression and reduce pain to your foot. First, choose shoes that have roomy toe boxes and are made of soft, flexible materials. Avoid high heels and pointy toe boxes that squeeze the toes uncomfortably together. In some cases an orthotic device for your shoe will help correct foot position and relieve the pressure on the joint.

The key to success of these non-surgical options is catching a bunion it its early stages. If you notice a small bump forming, don’t delay. Make an appointment at our Washington office to see our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker. The foot doctor will evaluate your bunion and prescribe the best treatment to ensure maximum comfort and health for your foot.

 

 

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
November 16, 2016

The temperatures are dropping and winter is quickly approaching. At Philip S. Pinsker, DPM we know that means we can expect to see an increase in several common foot problems. We’d like to help our patients learn how to prevent these issues with a few simple steps.

1. Fungal Infections—colder weather means warmer socks and shoes and hotter and stores. This combination can lead to increased perspiration for your feet and longer periods of time in damp socks and closed shoes—the perfect conditions for bacterial and fungal infections to breed, resulting in athlete’s foot and/or fungal toenails. Be prepared to change your socks more than once a day if necessary to keep feet dry. Consider a talcum or anti-fungal foot powder as well. Winter weather also causes many patients to move exercise and fitness activities indoors. Gyms, locker rooms, health club showers are all prime areas for picking up a fungal infection. Be sure to wear flip flops or shower shoes at all times in public places.

2. Blisters—sweaty skin also means more friction between skin and socks and an increased risk of blisters. If you feel your skin beginning to get irritated, cover with a bandage or a piece of moleskin and try to switch to a different pair of shoes for a few days. If  a blister does form, do not pop it as this can lead to an infection. Cover with a bandage until it goes away.

3. Xerosis—this is just a fancy word for very dry skin—another winter woe that results from increased heating and dehydration of the skin. Moisturize your feet a few times a day with an extra-emollient cream and avoid overly hot showers.

Although all of these are seemingly minor foot annoyances they can turn into serious problems if left untreated. If despite all your precautions and care a foot condition does not appear to improve or is worsening contact our Washington office for an appointment. Our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker will examine your foot and prescribe the correct treatment to get you back on you track as soon as possible.

By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
September 22, 2016
Tags: Diabetes   ingrown toenails  

A painful problem that we commonly treat at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM is an ingrown toenail. When the edge of the nail grows downward and into the skin it is said to be “ingrown.” Test your knowledge of this condition and how to prevent and treat it:

The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improperly trimming toenails.

TRUE: If toenails are cut too short or the edges are rounded they are more likely to curve down and grow into the skin or to have the skin surrounding the nail bed to fold over them and encourage ingrowth.

Ingrown toenails can be hereditary.

TRUE: A tendency toward ingrown toenails can be genetic. Other causes for this condition include: injury to the toe, wearing socks and shoes that are too tight and sports or activities that put pressure on the toes such as soccer, running or ballet.

An ingrown nail is not a medical threat.

FALSE: Since ingrown nails penetrate the skin, they create an entry point for bacteria and can become infected. You can recognize an infection by the following symptoms: pus or other drainage around the toe, a foul odor and the toe may be red, swollen and warm.

It’s not necessary to have a podiatrist treat an ingrown toenail.

TRUE and FALSE: If there are no signs of infection and the ingrown nail is just starting, you may try soaking your foot in warm, soapy water several times and day and gently massaging the side of your toe to try to loosen the nail away from the skin. If you are a patient with diabetes, however, you should make an appointment at our Washington office immediately and allow our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker to examine and treat your ingrown toenail. The risk of infection and ulcers to diabetic patients is too high and the consequences too great to take a chance at self treating.

If you have an ingrown toenail that seems to be getting worse or any other condition of the toe, ankle or foot, contact us by calling: (724) 225-7410.