Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Give Your Feet a Break

The holidays can be exhausting.  Cooking and cleaning preparing for your family and running around town trying to get all the gifts checked off your list can be a pain.  The extra chores may have you spending more time on your feet than usual and they may be starting to ache and maybe get a little bit more sweaty than normal.

Give your feet a healthy break with Pedifix Tea Tree Ultimates Soaking Crystals.  The soaking crystals combine with an exclusive blend of tea tree and peppermint oils, Epsom salt, and seal salt to get you back on your feet.  The soak relieves aching and itching feet and softens corns and calluses.  The soak also fights hard against bacteria and fungus while you relax.    

This product is available through our online product store (no need to brave the mall!).  If you experience any pain in your feet, be sure to see a podiatrist. Foot pain is not normal! Call us at 419-423-1888 to schedule an appointment with our doctor.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Children's Feet - Growing Pains

Parenting is no easy task.  It is especially hard if your child is in pain and you don't know what to do about it.  This blog is designed to help parents understand how to provide proper footcare to your children.

When a child complains of their feet hurting the parents usually take the child to the pediatrician. Usually they will hear "they will out grow it" The most common pain is if a child wakes up in the middle of the night with a leg cramp. This is called "growing pains." They should not be a concern if they occur infrequently. When it does occur just have the child stand and "walk it off." If it is a nightly occurrence then you should make an appointment with the pediatrician. 

The foot, ankle, and leg pains that young children report are associated with growth plate centers.
Thin, flat, crescent - shaped growth centers separate bone and cartilage in younger children. As a child nears puberty, these growth centers close and ossify, the process by which cartilage becomes bone.

As a child becomes more active in sports or dance, a child may begin to complain of pain or parents may notice limping. Severe pain behind the heel is the most common complain and it stems from overusing the foot and ankle in intense training.

Growth center pain is even more common among children who have flat feet, toe-in or have other foot problems. An orthotic, a splint or soft cast is usually enough to properly position and strengthen feet and ankles, and prevent future pain and injury.

If treatment is pursued early, pain only lasts a short period of time and surgery is rarely needed.  However, if growth center injury  is left untreated it can require long term treatment.  It can even result in fracture or dislocation of the growth plate, chronic pain, muscle imbalance, reduced range of motion, or joint deformity. In extreme cases, a total joint replacement may be necessary.

It is important to not allow your child to play through pain.  Schedule an appointment with us if your child is experiencing chronic growing pains.  Call us at 419-423-1888 or schedule an appointment online.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Prevent Falls

Good news!  You can help prevent falls.  Falls are one of the main causes of injuries in people over the age of 65.  Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent yourself or a loved one from falling or recurring falls.  First, let's assess you or your loved one's risk level.

Grab a pen and paper and make this list.

  • Are you a woman?
  • Have you fallen or stumbled in the last 6 months?
  • Ar you over age 65?
  • Are you ever dizzy or lightheaded?
  • Do you have a hard time getting in and out of the bathtub or on and off the toilet?
  • Do you lean on objects to help you get around? Or do you use a cane or walker?
  • Do you need new glasses or hearing aids?
  • Do you have two or more long-lasting (chronic) medical conditions?
  • Do you take three or more medications?
  • Have you felt depressed recently?
  • Have you had more trouble with your memory in recent months?
  • Are there hazards in your home that might cause you to fall, such as loose rugs or poor lighting?
  • Do you have a pet that jumps on you or might trip you?
  • Have you stopped getting regular exercise?
Make a check mark next to any of these that apply to you.  If you have any checks, you should take steps to reduce the risk of a fall. 1 to 3 checks you are at a lower risk, 4 to 5 moderate risk, and 5 to 6 you are at a higher risk.  The Step Alive Center offers a fall prevention class that specializes in balance and exercise. 

Start now.  It is natural to be afraid of falling, especially if you have fallen before.  However, the fear of falling may make you more likely to fall!  You may become less active and lose strength and balance.  Fearing a fall may also lead to isolation, depression, more medication, or alcohol all of which are contributing factors to falls.  Take care to remove things from your house that could prevent falls and protect against falls by educating yourself about prevention. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

What is a Callus?

Calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that build up when your skin is trying to protect itself from friction.  Calluses may develop on your toes, feet, fingers, or hands.  A callus is characterized by a thick, rough area or skin, a hardened or raised bump, tenderness or pain under your skin, or flaky, dry, or waxy skin. 

There are several factors that may cause a callus to develop.  Poorly fitted shoes and socks may cause a callus to develop on your feet.  If your shoes are too tight or too loose they can squeeze your feet or cause your feet to slide around in the shoe or rub against the shoe.  If you do not wear socks or the proper type of socks with your shoes it may cause friction and cause a callus to develop.  If you work with your hands often, the friction from tools may cause calluses to develop. If you have bunions, hammertoes, or other deformities of the feet you are at greater risk of developing a callus on your feet.

Treatment for calluses is only necessary if the callus is causing you pain or if you have diabetes or any condition that causes poor circulation to your feet. If you suffer from any of these conditions, a callus may cause some complications and you should discuss a treatment plan with your doctor. 

Treatment often includes wearing properly fitted shoes or protective pads in your shoes.  A doctor may be able to trim your callus, apply a patch using salicylic acid, anti-biotic medication, shoe inserts, or in rare cases surgery may be performed to correct a structural problem that may be causing the calluses.

Home remedies for patients without diabetes or any underlying problems include....

  • Over the counter pads. Try Dr. Jill's Callus Cushions, available through out product store.
  • Soak hands or feet
  • Thin thickened skin
  • Moisturize hands or feet
  • Wear comfortable shoes and socks
To prevent calluses from developing wear properly fitted shoes and socks, protective pads if you are prone to friction in your shoes, or wear gloves while working with your hands.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sunscreen for your feet?

Yesterday marked the first day of summer, and it sure felt like it with temperatures climbing into the 90s.  The summer sun is great but it is very important to keep your skin protected from the harsh UV rays, even the skin on your feet.  Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, including your feet.  Learn the ABCD's of melanoma and monitor your feet. If you notice a mole or bump on your skin that has any of the following characteristics, see your podiatrist immediately.

A- Assymetry (If the lesion is divided in half, the sides don't match)
B- Borders (Borders look scalloped, uneven, or ragged)
C- Color (There may be more than one color. These colors may have an uneven distribution.)
D- Diameter (The lesion is wider than a pencil eraser)*

What Are Skin Cancers of the Feet?
Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, including in the lower extremities. Skin cancers of the feet have several features in common. Most are painless, and often there is a history of recurrent cracking, bleeding, or ulceration. Frequently, individuals discover their skin cancer after unrelated ailments near the affected site.*
We often view the sun’s harmful rays as the primary cause of skin cancer; the condition is often found on parts of the body that receive the most sun exposure. Skin cancers of the feet, however, are more often related to viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, or inherited traits. Unfortunately, the skin of the feet is often overlooked during routine medical examinations, and for this reason, it important that the feet are checked regularly for abnormalities that might indicate evolving skin cancer.To prevent skin cancer from developing on your feet, limit sun exposure and be sure to apply a sunscreen to your feet and ankles when outdoors and feet are exposed.* 

Call our office (419-423-1888) or visit our website to request an appointment.

*source: APMA.com

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Foot Health Self-Assesment Quiz

We all know having healthy feet is very important.  But do you know how health your feet are? Visit the Step Alive Center website to learn all about how to keep your feet healthy and you can even take the self-assesment quiz and check back here for your results!


0-20 Points: Congratulations! Your feet and ankles are very healthy and you can maintain your active lifestyle and/or exercise regimen. With proper attention and care your feet and ankles should remain healthy; however, you may want to schedule an annual exam with a podiatric physician to ensure their long-term health. Furthermore, if you scored points for questions 4, 5, 9, 11 or 12 you should consider visiting a podiatric physician in the near future for a check-up.

21 - 40 Points: Pay Attention. Your feet and ankles are showing signs of wear, placing you in the moderate risk category. Although you can continue your normal activities, you should strongly consider visiting a podiatric physician for a check-up. If you participate in a rigorous exercise regimen on a regular basis or plan to - or if you scored points for questions 4, 5, 9, 11 or 12 - you should visit a podiatric physician soon to safeguard your foot and ankle health.

41 Points or Higher: Caution. Your feet and ankles are at high risk for long-term medical problems and you should contact our office as soon as possible. If you exercise, you should pay particular attention to your feet and ankles until you are seen by our practice. If you have not begun exercising, it is advisable to contact our office before undertaking any type of exercise.

Now that you've assessed the health of your feet and ankles, you are armed with knowledge that will enable you to maintain their health over a lifetime.

Please note: Even if you scored well, this self assessment is not a substitute for a physical exam.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rid Yourself of Stinky Feet

All this excessive heat is bound to make you sweat.  Unfortunately, we can't be at the pool all day everday cooling off.  The excess heat that causes your body to sweat may be taking an extra toll on your feet!  Feet have more than 250,000 sweat glands and each foot can produce up to one pint of sweat a day.  However, excess sweating in the feet is a condition called, plantar hyperhidrosis.  If you are suffering from excessively stinky feet during these summer months and think you should see the doctor, call our office(419-423-1888) or visit our website to request an appointment today. You can also try some of the products designed to combat foot odor in our product store, for example the SteriShoe.

The innovative SteriShoe® shoe sanitizer kills the germs that reside inside shoes with a special germicidal ultraviolet light (UVC). With the first treatment, SteriShoe destroys up to 99.9% of the microorganisms in shoes, including the bacteria and fungi that cause toenail fungus (onychomycosis), athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and offensive foot odor. SteriShoe is also an excellent choice for those who have diabetes or are concerned about their feet's hygiene.

Don't let foot odor slow your summer down!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Arch Pain?

If summer sandals have your feet aching, help is on the way.  Our product store offers several products to relieve arch pain as well as stylish and supportive sandals from Aetrex.  Flat worn out flip flops can cause several problems in your body, not just foot pain so think before you slip into your favorite worn out pair. 
Sandals can cause heel pain, tendonitis, ankle problems, knee problems, and increase your risk for accidents. 

If sandals are causing you arch pain slip into our product store.  The store features several pain relieving and soothing products including the Thera-Band Foot Roller.  The site also features products like Orthaheel Orthotic Sandals for beach buffs who can't kick the sandals.

The Thera-Band® Foot Roller is used to provide temporary relief from pain associated with plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and tired feet. Patients with plantar fasiciitis can use the roller as a device to stretch the plantar fascia and increase flexibility. Those experiencing soreness from tired feet will find the massaging benefits of the roller pleasant and therapeutic. In all applications, the Foot Roller can be chilled or frozen to help reduce inflammation.  It also includes instructions for foot massage and stretch.

Orthaheel unisex kinetic orthotic sandals are designed to provide orthotic treatment and comfort in a stylish and sporty Flip Flop Sandal. (Stylish & Healthy Flip Flops For Men and Women). Features a soft, padded fabric toe poes.  These sandals are made for walking in comfort.  The sandals have built in lightweight orthotic footbeds to help reduce pain and pronation along with soft EVA orthotic midsoles.  Replace your worn out sandals with these to reduce your arch pain.

If your feet are causing you pain, don't hesitate to call our office at 419-423-1888 and schedule an appointment.  You can also go to our website at http://www.vailfoot.com/ to request an appointment.  No one should suffer through the summer with aching feet.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


A neuroma is the swelling of nerve that is a result of a compression or trauma. They are often described as nerve tumors. However, they are not in the purest sense a tumor. They are a swelling within the nerve that may result in permanent nerve damage. The most common site for a neuroma is on the ball of the foot. The most common cause of neuroma in ball of the foot is the abnormal movement of the long bones behind the toes called metatarsal bones. A small nerve passes between the spaces of the metatarsals. At the base of the toes, the nerves split forming a "Y" and enter the toes. It is in this area the nerve gets pinched and swells, forming the neuroma. Burning pain, tingling, and numbness in one or two of the toes is a common symptom. Sometimes this pain can become so severe, it can bring tears to a patient's eyes. Removing the shoe and rubbing the ball of the foot helps to ease the pain. As the nerve swells, it can be felt as a popping sensation when walking. Pain is intermittent and is aggravated by anything that results in further pinching of the nerve. When the neuroma is present in the space between the third and fourth toes, it is called a Morton's Neuroma. This is the most common area for a neuroma to form. Another common area is between the second and third toes. Neuromas can occur in one or both of these areas and in one or both feet at the same time. Neuromas are very rare in the spaces between the big toe and second toe, and between the fourth and fifth toes. Neuromas have been identified in the heel area, resulting in heel pain.
A puncture wound or laceration that injures a nerve can cause a neuroma. These are called traumatic Neuromas. Neuromas can also result following a surgery that may result in the cutting of a nerve.


The diagnosis of Neuromas is made by a physical exam and a thorough history of the patient's complaint. Conditions that mimic the pain associated with Neuromas are stress fracture of the metatarsals, inflammation of the tendons in the bottom of the toes, arthritis of the joint between the metatarsal bone and the toe, or nerve compression or nerve damage further up on the foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back. X-rays are generally taken to rule out a possible stress fracture or arthritis. Because nerve tissue is not seen on an x-ray, the x-ray will not show the neuroma. A skilled foot specialist will be able to actually feel the neuroma on his exam of the foot. Special studies such as MRI, CT Scan, and nerve conduction studies have little value in the diagnosis of a neuroma. Additionally, these studies can be very expensive and generally the results do not alter the doctor's treatment plan. If the doctor on his exam cannot feel the neuroma, and if the patient's symptoms are not what is commonly seen, then nerve compression at another level should be suspected. In this instance, one area to be examined is the ankle.
Just below the ankle bone on the inside of the ankle, a large nerve passes into the foot. At this level, the nerve can become inflamed. This condition is called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Generally, there is not pain at this site of the inflamed nerve at the inside of the ankle. Pain may instead be experienced in the bottom of the foot or in the toes. This can be a difficult diagnosis to make in certain circumstances. Neuromas, however, occur more commonly than Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.


Treatment for the neuroma consists of cortisone injections, orthotics, chemical destruction of the nerve, or surgery. Cortisone injections are generally used as an initial form of treatment. Cortisone is useful when injected around the nerve, because is can shrink the swelling of the nerve. This relieves the pressure on the nerve. Up to three cortisone injections can be given over a twelve-month period. Cortisone may provide relief for many months, but is often not a cure for the condition. The abnormal movements of the metatarsal bones continue to aggravate the condition over a period of time.
To address the abnormal movement of the metatarsal bones, a functional foot orthotic can be used (pictured below is a noncustom foot orthotic). These devices are custom-made inserts for the shoes that correct abnormal function of the foot. The combination treatment of cortisone injections and orthotics can be a very successful form of treatment. If, however, there is significant damage to the nerve, then failure to this treatment can occur. When there is permanent nerve damage, the patient is left with three choices: live with the pain, chemical destruction of the nerve, or surgical removal of the nerve. So if you have having any simial symptoms if is important to see your podiatrist. Our office can be reached at 419-423-1888 or you can visit us on the web at www.vailfoot.com . Our website has a link to our online store where you can find the Powerstep foot orthotics.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Care for your feet this winter

The cold weather can really take its toll on your feet and hands.  Most of us tend to ignore our feet during the winter months.  When it's cold outside, we tend to cover our feet with warm comfy socks and thick winter boots.  The dry air in our homes and work places also tend to be hard on our skin as well.  This tends to make our skin dry, itchy and flaky.  Here are some tips to help keep your feet happy and healthy all winter long.

Maintain a steady temperature and don't expose your feet to any extreme heat or cold.  This is very important for people who are diabetic and frequently develop neuropathy in their feet and are unable to feel pain.  Even if you are just running outside to pick up the mail or to take the dog outside, you need to make sure you wear both socks and shoes.

It is also recommended that you only wear dry footwear.  If your socks or shoes get wet, take them off immediately.  Dry your feet completely and put clean and dry ones on.  When your shoes are wet, leave them to set out and dry for a couple of days before putting them back on.

You should also get in a good routine everyday to take care of your feet.  Look at it as a way to pamper yourself in these long winter months. 

First, you should exfoliate your feet everyday.  A good product to use for this is the Footbuffer Pro.  This double sided buffer sponge effectively exfoliates and removes dry dead skin and moisturizes the underlying normal skin.  Plus, it is available in two invigorating scents:  Lavender tea-tree or citron-eucalyptus.

Next, choose your favorite lotion.  You will want one with a kind of moisturizer in it.  Apply liberally to each foot.  Then put your socks on.  When you put socks on your feet, this helps lock the moisture from the lotion and keeps your feet smooth and silky.

Now if you have the time, you should purchase a foot soak.  Soaking your feet before you exfoliate and lotion will help keep the moisture in.

Try doing this routine every morning and night, and don't forget your hands.  If you are only doing this at night and can't sleep with socks on, do your routine an hour prior to bedtime. When you are ready for bed, you can then take the socks off. This should give plenty of time to allow the lotion to soak into the skin.

Before you know it, your feet will be soft and smooth.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the health of your feet during the winter months, call 419-423-1888 or visit our website at http://www.vailfoot.com/ to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vail.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Protect your ankles while you walk.

The ankle is actually a joint that's made up of bones and held together by ligaments, which allow motion within a certain range.  When the ligaments are stretched beyond their range of motion, this is when a sprain occurs.
Sprains are relatively common and typically occur when there is a sudden change in direction or when a person is running, jumping, or steps on an uneven surface.  Generally, more ankle sprains occur in the springtime when people are more engaged in physical activity, but they can occur anytime.
There are three degrees of sprains.  A first degree sprain, most commonly known as a "twisted ankle", is when the ligament can be stretched or weakened but not actually torn.  A second degree sprain is when the ligament is partially torn, but without significant or chronic instability.  A third degree sprain is when the ligament is completely torn with significant ligament damage and chronic instability.  A third degree sprain may require surgery depending on the extent of the injury.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your ankles protected from injury.
  • Give your body a good stretch.  Stretching is one of the best ways to prevent ankle injuries.  It helps to increase blood circulation, warms up the muscles and reduces tension on the tendons that connect to the ankles.  The stretching exercises you should perform in order to protect your ankles include:  calf and hamstring stretches as well as arm, quad and groin stretches to protect the rest of your body.  Remember to drink plenty of water before you stretch as well as warm up.  You should give yourself at least 5 minutes of warm-up time by doing jumping jacks, jump rope or run in place before you begin.
  • Wear proper footwear.  Wearing the proper shoes will not only protect your feet and ankles, but your legs and back as well.  Make sure your shoes are in good condition, once they start to break down you should replace them.  You need shoes with the proper arch and ankle support since your feet hold the weight of your entire body.  If you are prone to ankle twisting, you may want to consider a pair of high-top sports shoes.  They will give you more support where you need it most.
  • CMO Figure of Eight Ankle Brace
  • A brace can be your new best friend.  If you have suffered an ankle sprain or tend to have weak ankles, an ankle brace will add further support where your shoes cannot.  When putting on your brace, make sure it is on tight but not too tight that it will stop or inhibit circulation.  Signs that your brace is on too tight are your toes become either red in color or they become numb.  If you do not feel comfortable in a brace, try using a cotton-elastic wrap for your foot and ankle.
  • Walk heel to toe.  When you walk, make sure your steps land heel to toe and roll your foot gently to the ground.  Rolling your foot as you walk ensures a stable landing and increases your body's ability to sense any obstacles you may encounter such as rocks or divots which may cause you to turn your ankle.  Don't always rely on the heel to toe method for averting hazards, you also need to keep an eye on your surroundings.
  • R.I.C.E.  This acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  If you have suffered from an ankle injury, you can protect yourself from further damage by following these techniques.  When walking, take a break and apply ice for 20 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours.  In between icing, wrap your ankle tightly with a cotton-elastic bandage and keep your foot elevated above your heart.  This will ensure proper healing of the ankle tendons and prevent future sprains.
If you are encountering any ankle or foot problems that are hindering your daily walks, please contact our office at 419-423-1888 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Vail, or visit our website at www.vailfoot.com for more information.