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

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Posts for: September, 2017

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.

 


By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
September 13, 2017
Category: Toe Pain

A condition that we at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM see appearing with more frequency once the temperatures drop is the ingrown toenail. In patients that are prone to these, going from open toed shoes and flip flops to closed shoes, some perhaps with too narrow toe boxes, can cause an ingrown toenail to develop.

If the Conditions are Right…

When the toes are squeezed tightly together it makes it more likely that a nail being pressed into the skin around the toe will start to grow inwardly. Other causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Heredity—some people’s foot structure encourages ingrown nails and this can be passed on
  • Improper nail care—toenails that are cut too short or that are rounded instead of cut and filed straight across have a greater tendency to grow back into the skin
  • Injury
  • Fungal toenail infections
  • Repetitive pounding of the toe and nail into the shoe, such as long distance runners experience

Signs and Symptoms

Ingrown toenails are usually fairly obvious. First the affected area will get hard, swollen and tender. Left untreated, they may become very painful and red and once the nail actually penetrates the skin and an infection can develop. Signs of this are discharge coming from around the nail and a foul odor.

Treatment

In the early stages, you can try to back an ingrown nail out of the skin by soaking your feet in warm soapy water several times a day. After soaking when the skin is softer, gently try to massage the nail out of the skin. Never attempt to cut or dig the nail out with clippers or other sharp instruments. This can lead to a much worse injury.

If you are unable to work the ingrown nail out with soaking, make an appointment to see our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker. The foot doctor will examine your toenail and determine the best way to remove the nail. In severe cases, a partial nail plate avulsion may be recommended, which involves using local anesthesia and cutting out the ingrown part of the nail. The podiatrist will also prescribe an antibiotic if the nail has become infected.

The bottom line is that “doing nothing” will not get rid of an ingrown nail. Don’t suffer. Contact our Washington office for an appointment today by calling:  (724) 225-7410.

 


Did you know that one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese? Childhood obesity increases the risk of several serious health problems in children, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. It also has a negative impact on the health of your feet. Being overweight increases the risk for and severity of several health problems such as stress fractures, sesamoiditis and metatarsalgia. In addition, being overweight leads children to be less active, which in turn increases the likelihood of being overweight. At Philip S. Pinsker, DPM, we want to help break this vicious cycle. Below are tips to help combat childhood obesity:

Make Healthy Eating a Family Affair

Obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight should not be about dieting but rather about eating healthy all the time. Make small changes a little at a time. Some to try:

  • Switch to low fat  or nonfat dairy products—milk, cheese and yogurt with all the calcium but without all the calories
  • Serve appropriate sized portions—buy smaller plates to help change the perception of the right amount of food
  • Encourage everyone to drink more water and eliminate sugary sodas and fruit juices. If cutting fruit juice is difficult, try diluting with seltzer to create a “healthy” soda type beverage that is low in calories

Limit Screen Time

Today’s children and teens lead a more sedentary lifestyle partly due to the amount of time spent on computers, cell phones, gaming systems, etc. Set strict time limits on the amount of time per day or week that children can use those devices and encourage them to substitute physical activities.

Encourage Savvy Snacking

Read labels—many pre-packaged snacks are packed with sugar, trans fat and calories. Keep healthy snacks available, such as fresh fruit, baby carrots or bell peppers with hummus, or a small portion of almonds or walnuts. Try to limit a snack to 100 calories.

Turn Fitness into Fun

Getting exercise doesn’t have to be hard and boring. In fact, it can be an opportunity for families to spend enjoyable time together. Look into hiking, biking, roller or ice skating, kayaking and other activities that your children enjoy and they’ll be begging to do them rather than whining and complaining.

We want your child to have healthy feet and a healthy body. If he or she is experiencing any foot pain or discomfort, contact our Washington office at: 724-225-7410 to schedule an appointment with our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker.