Your Guide to Healthy Feet

At Step By Step Family Foot Care, we enthusiastically encourage our patients to be proactive about the health of their feet. Your feet are the foundation of your body. We take them for granted most days, but healthy feet enable you to stand, walk, run, work, shop, and do almost every other activity you love. There is much you can do to keep your feet fully functioning and prevent podiatric disorders. Let’s take a closer look.

Choose Your Shoes Wisely

Shoes that are well-made and fit properly are essential to maintaining your feet’ health. Get your feet professionally measured. Don’t be surprised if one foot is larger than the other – this can happen! Always buy shoes to accommodate the larger foot. Choose footwear styles with these features:

  • Roomy toe box (you should be able to wiggle all your toes freely)
  • Heel heights of two inches or less, but not completely flat
  • Good arch support
  • Cushioned insole and heel cup

Your shoe choice can minimize your risk of bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, and other foot problems, so choose carefully!

Don’t Neglect Daily Foot Care

Washing your feet daily with warm, soapy water and drying feet completely can go a long way toward preventing bacterial and viral infections like athlete’s foot. Apply talcum or anti-fungal powder in the morning and a thick moisturizer at night. Keep nails trimmed, and be sure that the nails are not growing into the skin of the nail bed and becoming ingrown.

Never Ignore Your Pain

Pain, numbness, burning, swelling, bruising, and tenderness in your feet are all your body’s way of telling you there’s a problem. Putting off seeking treatment can often lead to worsening the condition and even developing secondary disorders. Contact us if you are concerned about an issue with your toes, feet, or ankles.

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

Diabetes and Your Feet

Diabetes

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month! Our feet do so much for us, and we often take that for granted. If you suffer from diabetes, it’s especially important to keep a close eye on the health of your feet and put extra time and effort into taking care of them. Amputation and surgery may be your only solution if you aren’t careful. How can you prevent it? Let’s take a closer look.

The Trouble with Diabetes

With diabetes comes high blood sugar. Over time, this can damage your nerves and blood vessels, primarily in your feet. Nerve damage creates numbness, tingling, pain, or even loss of feeling in your feet. If you can’t feel any pain in your feet, it’s hard to tell when a potential problem will show up. You might be walking around with a wound or infection for weeks without realizing it, especially if it’s occurring on the underside of your foot!

Pay Close Attention

Even small cuts or blisters can become serious foot ailments when it comes to diabetes. One of the best ways you can prevent that is by regularly checking your feet for unusual findings. Here are some things to look out for:

Wounds can get infected, and because diabetes affects the way you heal, it’s easy for complications to arise. Infections and poor blood flow can lead to gangrene. In worst-case scenarios, amputation and surgery are necessary. If you spot anything questionable, contact your podiatrist as soon as possible!

Keep Your Feet Safe

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent a worst-case scenario situation. Controlling blood sugar is at the top of the list, as it will help lessen damage to your blood vessels and nerves. Alongside that, here are other ways to keep your feet healthy:

  • Check your feet every day.
  • Wash your feet every day.
  • Work alongside a podiatrist to keep your feet pain-free.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes and clean socks.
  • Never walk barefoot.
  • Look into orthotics.

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

What Is Gout?

Gout

Over 3 million Americans are affected by gout each year, making it a very common condition that not many know much about. So, what is it? Gout is a painful form of arthritis, with the big toe joint usually being most affected. It can create tenderness, inflammation, and redness, making it difficult to walk and participate in our everyday activities. Gout has a lot to do with what we eat and with March being National Nutrition Month, we thought it was the perfect time to go over some quick facts.

All About Gout

As stated above, gout is a form of arthritis that normally affects the big toe joint, but it can affect other joints, too. It begins when your body has abnormally high levels of uric acid.

Our bodies naturally produce uric acid, but we get it from different foods, as well. When our bodies have excess levels of uric acid, it creates sharp crystals in our joints, tissues, and bloodstream. This can be disastrous for our joints, which is where gout comes in. With gout, you’ll likely experience severe pain, swelling, and redness in your joints.

What About Uric Acid?

When we eat foods rich in purines, our bodies are more likely to develop gout. Which foods have high levels of purines? Things like…

  • Red meat
  • Shellfish
  • Beer
  • Red wine
  • Brandy
  • Food and drinks high in fructose sugar, like soda

To prevent gout, limit your intake of purine-rich foods, exercise daily, and maintain a healthy weight.

Treating This Condition

If you have gout, you’ll likely have to take some sort of medication to combat your symptoms. Some will reduce any inflammation you have, while others prevent pain from gout attacks by lowering the amount of uric acid in your bloodstream.

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

Is It Time to See Your Podiatrist?

Podiatrist

Visiting your doctor isn’t a particularly fun activity, even if the visit is necessary. These days people prefer the comfort and flexibility of at-home treatments and over-the-counter medications versus professional treatment for their affliction or injury. In some cases, seeing your doctor in person isn’t required and you can successfully recover at home. But other times, it’s best to call your podiatrist for help. Here are some of the top circumstances in which scheduling an appointment with your foot doctor is especially important.

You Have Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you likely deal with daily numbness and poor circulation in your feet from nerve damage. When this happens, it becomes harder to tell if you’ve injured yourself, due to loss of feeling. Foot and ankle ailments frequently go undetected and can lead to long-term damage. This is why it’s crucial to see your podiatrist daily when you have diabetes! Frequent visits will not only help keep your feet in check, but your foot doctor will also be able to help you with any side effects you’re experiencing. Orthotics and insoles are a popular choice for diabetics, which you can get fitted for right in our office.

You Play Sports

Athletes are no strangers to injuries. While some injuries are unavoidable, some can be avoided with special precautions and a good foot care routine. Trying to treat an injury at home can do more damage to your feet, which is why you should always call your podiatrist if you suspect you have one. If you play a sport or work out frequently, taking good care of your feet and ankles can not only help with your performance but keep you active for years to come. A podiatrist can help ensure you’re in the best foot health you can be in.

You Have a Fungal Infection

Despite its name, not only athletes catch athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is one of the most common fungal infections you can have. Even though there are a wide variety of at-home treatments available, foot or toenail fungus can be difficult to treat on your own. If you suspect you have a fungal infection, call your foot doctor!

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

Winter Foot Pain

Foot Pain

As we get into the thick of the winter, many are experiencing some frustrating foot pain that seemingly has no root cause. You may be wondering why this is occurring. Foot pain is unfortunately common during the winter and there are a range of reasons why! Here’s a breakdown of where cold weather foot pain comes from and what you can do about it!

Where It’s Coming From

If you’re not actively healing an injury and practicing daily foot care habits, you may be confused as to why you have mild to moderate pain. But it’s not that strange! Here are some of the top reasons why this could be happening to you:

  • Cold weather: Bitter winds are known to lead to sore, achy limbs. Cold weather causes your body to slow blood circulation to your arms and legs in an attempt to preserve your body’s core temperature. This can result in cold feet and joint pain!
  • Gaining weight: It’s important to eat well and enjoy yourself during the holidays. But did you know that weight gain can lead to poor foot health? Extra weight can put more pressure on your feet, leading to more wear and tear.
  • Wearing the wrong shoes: One of the biggest causes of foot problems is wearing ill-fitting shoes. If you don’t take good care of your feet by wearing comfy, supportive footwear, you can end up with blisters, bunions, and hammertoes. Winter is a time when a lot of people go skiing or ice skating, which can be fun, but if you don’t wear the right kind of boots, you can easily injure yourself.

Lessening The Pain

So, what can you do to help ease the stress? Here are some of our best tips for treating cold-weather foot pain:

  • Call your podiatrist if you’re experiencing ongoing or severe pain
  • If you run into a minor injury, follow R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
  • Stretch your feet daily
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Bundle up with thick socks and insulated boots
  • Maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

Recovery From an Ankle Sprain

Ankle Sprain

It doesn’t take much to get an ankle sprain. Whether you roll your ankle during a workout or step wrong on uneven ground, accidents happen all the time. When you overstretch one of the ligaments in your ankle, it results in a sprain. Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries you can face in your lifetime and podiatry offices are no stranger to them. Most people stick to at-home treatments for their injuries, which can work in some mild cases.

However, there are plenty of complications that can arise if your sprained ankle is more severe, and you don’t seek treatment. Without proper rest and recovery, you can expect it to not heal well and create long-term issues as you age. Not only are you more susceptible to further injury and repeated sprained ankles, but you’ll likely have a limited range of motion and ongoing pain.

Diagnosing a Sprained Ankle

How can you tell if you’ve sprained your ankle? For a diagnosis, it’s best to seek out the help of a professional. Contact your podiatrist if your ankle doesn’t feel better after 2-3 days of rest – they can help heal your injury. But if you want to have a better understanding of what you could be dealing with, look for these signs and symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Joint instability
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Difficulty putting weight on your ankle

Recovery From Your Injury

So, you’ve been diagnosed with an ankle sprain (or suspect you will be). What’s next? You’ll likely be working alongside your podiatrist for up to a few months, depending on the severity of your injury. They’ll give you an x-ray to rule out further damage and injury to your foot, bones, and tendons.

Your foot doctor will determine a specific treatment plan depending on your injury. This usually involves applying the RICE regime (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), using bandages or splints, and certain foot and ankle exercises after you’ve healed. For more severe cases, surgery or a physical therapist may be recommended.

If you suspect you have a sprained ankle, it’s crucial to seek help from a podiatrist ASAP! Letting it “heal” on its own without proper treatment is a recipe for disaster. Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

Five Ways to Say Thank You to Your Feet

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope your start to the holiday season is enjoyable. Thanksgiving is naturally a time when people like to reflect on their everyday life and consider what they’re most grateful for. Our feet do so much for us, but they’re often neglected when it comes to self-care. This Thanksgiving, we’re encouraging everyone to spend some time giving their feet extra TLC. What better way to show gratitude and appreciation for your feet than with an at-home foot care routine? We’re sharing five of the best ways you can give your feet some love this November!

Trim

First things first. Are your toenails trimmed properly? For the best results, cut straight across the nail and file down any rough spots with a file. Rounding the edges or cutting too short can cause ingrown nails! If trimming your nails is difficult, see if your podiatrist offers this service or go to your local nail salon. Another thing to keep in mind – never share nail tools with others!

Soak

What’s better than a nice foot soak? Foot soaks have so many benefits. Not only are they great for moisturization, decreasing inflammation, and getting rid of odor, but they’re the perfect way to relax after a long day. Fill your tub or a big bucket with lukewarm water up to your ankle. Next, add Epsom salts, black or green tea bags, vinegar, or essential oils to amp up the experience and benefits. Allow your feet to soak for up to 30 minutes before drying.

Exfoliate

With the weather cooling down, dry skin may seem to be inevitable. But exfoliation is one of the ways you can keep your feet itch and flake-free! Use a gentle washcloth or sponge and some mild soap during your shower. Alternatively, you can get a pumice stone if you suffer from calluses.

Massage

The best treat for your feet? Daily foot massages! This is especially helpful for those who deal with foot conditions that cause soreness, pain, or inflammation. For even more benefits, consider reflexology.

Moisturize

Incorporate some lotion into your foot massage or apply it after your shower! Moisturizer can not only help with dry feet but calluses and corns as well. Just be sure to avoid applying in between your toes!

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

Living With Arthritis

Arthritis

We know arthritis can limit your activity and prevent you from enjoying the things you love. With no cure for your condition, you might begin to feel hopeless. But hope is not lost! With the help of a trusted podiatrist, there are plenty of ways you can treat and overcome arthritis. Here’s your simple guide on how to live with arthritis.

Switch Up Your Daily Routine

Making some minor lifestyle changes can drastically help ease any pain and discomfort you feel from arthritis. Minimizing any activities that aggravate your condition is highly recommended. For those who love to run, limit your activity to a short walk. Always pay attention to how your body responds and adjust from there. Swimming and cycling are also great alternatives to high-impact sports. Staying active despite your arthritis is recommended; maintaining a healthy weight can help put less stress on your joints.

Ask About Physical Therapy

There are plenty of specific exercises that help increase flexibility and strengthen muscles. Your podiatrist can come up with a personalized exercise routine that fits your needs. In most cases, physical therapy is a great way to lessen pain from arthritis. But for others, exercise and movement can lead to more pain. If this is the case, let your podiatrist know.

Consider Orthotics and Inserts

One of the best ways you can manage arthritis is by wearing custom orthotics and shoe inserts. Orthotics are designed to be worn inside your shoe, providing support, and lessening the pain of the condition you’re dealing with. For arthritis, they can also put less pressure on your joints and increase mobility.

Seek Surgery

If your arthritis pain and discomfort impact your life daily, it might be time to talk with your podiatrist about surgery. There are numerous types of surgery, all based on where your arthritis is located and the impact it’s had on your joints.

If you suffer from arthritis, getting treatment is crucial. Contact your podiatrist and discuss your pain. Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

It’s Falls Prevention Month! Stay Safe With These 5 Tips

All of September, we’d like to bring attention to Falls Prevention Awareness Month. Falls can put you at serious risk for injury and it’s important to do all you can to prevent that. Here at Step By Step Family Foot Care, we want you to stay safe every month with this simple guide:

  1. Visit your doctor’s office to assess and discuss your risk of falling. This includes any past falls, conditions you have that may increase the likelihood of falling, medications you’re taking, and their side effects.
  2. Exercise is an important factor in preventing a dangerous fall. Walking, swimming, and any other gentle exercises can help improve your strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination. If exercise makes you nervous, look into monitored exercises.
  3. Wearing comfortable shoes is key to maintaining healthy feet. They also play a role in fall prevention. Choosing well-fitting, sensible shoes for everyday use can lessen your risk. Flip flops, sandals, and heels are more dangerous to walk in and can easily lead to an accident. Instead, choose flat shoes like sneakers.
  4. It’s common to fall in your own home, either by tripping over furniture or slipping on the stairs. Take a look around your house and assess your risk. Ensure that there aren’t any power plugs or cords laying loose on the floor. Place furniture in your rooms with enough space to walk through without bumping into tables or decor. Secure any loose rugs to the floor and fix any tricky floorboards or carpeting. If something spills on your floor, clean it up right away to avoid slipping. You can also invest in non-slip rugs and mats for your bathroom and kitchen.
  5. Be sure that you keep enough lights on in your house to be able to see where you’re going. Bring a flashlight with you if you’re walking outside in the dark, this way you can clearly survey your surroundings.

Prevention is necessary for those at an older age, but it doesn’t hurt to keep these tips in mind, since falls can happen at any point in your life.

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.

Keep Your Feet Beautiful with These Simple Tips

If you missed out on August 17th’ National I Love My Feet Day, this is the perfect time to remind you to show some gratitude to your feet.  Our feet do so much for us, from carrying our entire body weight to carrying groceries. One way to show your feet some love is to keep them beautiful. The first step is to rid yourself of dry skin and keep your feet moisturized. Here are some easy tips to do that.

Use gentle soap in the shower. Harsh soaps can make dry skin worse. When buying soap try to look for words like “For Sensitive Skin” and “Moisturizing.”

Keep it warm. When you shower or bathe, it’s best to stick with lukewarm water. Hot water can dry out skin even more.

Scrub off dead skin with an exfoliant. Using a pumice stone works great. You can also use a simple foot file. Another option is to use a liquid foot scrub that is designed to exfoliate. Rub it on in the shower and wash it off.

Soak your feet. Try a mixture of 1 part Listerine, 1 part vinegar, and 2 parts warm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes.

Seal in moisture. Apply a lotion after you bathe or shower. Showering and bathing can dry out your skin. Try applying lotion to lock in the moisture that showers can take out.

Put on cream at night. Applying cream to your feet when you go to bed can also help.  To keep it sealed in, try pulling socks on over the cream.

Avoid open-backed shoes.  They can cause increased weight and increased friction from the back of shoes resulting in cracked heels. Dry cracking skin can also be a subtle sign of more significant problems, such as diabetes or loss of nerve function (autonomic neuropathy).  Heels should be kept well moisturized with a cream to help reduce the cracking. If an open sore is noted, make an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon for evaluation and treatment.

If you have any issues with foot health, contact Step by Step Family Foot Care in Parsippany, New Jersey. Our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Debra B. Manheim, offers treatment for foot and ankle disorders, biomechanical analysis, and functional orthotic fabrication. For more information and answers to your questions and to schedule an appointment, contact us at (973) 917-3785.