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By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
September 11, 2014
Category: Skin Care

Are you ready for a Zombie Mud Run?Few races are as fun or as challenging as a Mud Run. These 5K obstacle courses push your strength and test your endurance, all combined with the fun of tromping through the mud. Now, imagine if you were being chased along a muddy course—by zombies! This Saturday, September 13, the Zombie Mud Run comes to Reading for a morning of dirty mayhem and zombie-escaping thrills. If you’re a runner, you don’t want to miss this event. If your feet are itchy and uncomfortable from skin allergies, though, you may find it hard to concentrate on running from the “undead!”

Allergies of the skin can create painful, itchy rashes on the surface of your feet. This irritation, called contact dermatitis, develops when you touch something your body is sensitive to. This could include natural things, like poison ivy, as well as chemicals, such as the materials in your shoes or detergents. The allergy may take a few hours to cause a reaction on your feet, but it usually appears within a day of exposure. Once your skin breaks out in a rash, you have to both remove whatever is aggravating your skin as well as treat the reaction.

This may mean changing your shoes, body soap, or laundry detergent, depending on what caused your feet to break out. Wash your feet completely to clean the irritant from your skin, then try one of these simple home solutions:

  • Oatmeal paste – Grind up two cups of uncooked oatmeal flakes until you have a powder. Mix it with a quarter cup of baking soda, then pour in water until you have a smooth, thick paste. Apply it to your feet and let it sit for a while.
  • Cool compresses – Dampen a wash cloth with cool water mixed with baking soda, then apply it to your feet. If you have blisters from the rash, leave the compress in place for 30 minutes. Do this three times a day.
  • Calamine lotion – Rub calamine lotion into the affected area and let it dry.

Skin allergies are uncomfortable, but you don’t have to suffer with itchy feet all day. If home remedies are not strong enough to relieve the rash, let our team at West Lawn Podiatry Associates help you. We serve the Reading, Wyomissing, Sinking Spring, and surrounding areas. Just call (610) 678-4581 or use our website to contact us for an appointment.

Photo Credit: OpenClips VIA pixabay.com

By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
September 04, 2014
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Warts   Skin Care  

Keep feet healthy and prevent those wartsOn September 7, the Heritage Center in Reading is celebrating Grandparents Day. Bring your grandkids out to the Heritage Center grounds for a scavenger hunt and a gentle walk along the Union Canal Towpath. Just make sure everyone wears appropriate shoes so they don’t scrape or injure their feet. Children bounce back from minor scrapes and bruises easily, but breaks in the skin can make feet vulnerable to plantar warts. They aren’t dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable and hard to get rid of, so it’s better to prevent them if you can!

Warts are caused by a virus that gets into your skin and causes a benign growth to develop. The virus is contagious and thrives in warm, damp environments, so keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your lower limbs every day and dry them thoroughly afterwards. Use fitted, moisture-wicking socks to draw sweat away from your skin, too.

Make sure you don’t share towels, footwear, or pedicure tools with people who have warts on their feet. The virus can easily pass from the skin to surrounding surfaces and still be infectious, so sharing can expose you to the pathogen. Pumice stones are the worst for this—the infected skin becomes trapped in the porous stone and spreads the virus easily. You should also wear shower shoes or sandals in public bathrooms or at pools, since the virus may linger on the moist floors.

Make sure you take care of and cover cuts and scrapes on your lower limbs, particularly on your soles. If you do develop the growth, don’t touch it or pick at it. You risk spreading plantar warts elsewhere on your feet as well as to your family. Instead, invest in proper wart treatment to eliminate the growth.

In some cases it may be impossible to entirely prevent plantar warts; however, you can take steps to minimize your chances of developing one. Keep your lower limbs clean and covered to make it less likely that pathogens can embed in your skin. If you’re concerned about developing skin growths, or would like one you already have eliminated, just let us know at West Lawn Podiatry Associates, serving Reading and West Lawn, PA. Call (610) 678-4581 or send us an online request to make an appointment with us.

Photo Credit: Hans via pixabay.com

By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
August 28, 2014
Category: Ingrown Toenails

Proper toenail trimming prevents ingrown toenailsSometimes trying something new, like dancing, is a great way to get active. The Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Reading periodically hosts community dances and offers lessons to anyone looking to learn—whether you’re graceful or have two left feet. Developing ingrown toenails could put a damper on your dancing, though, so make sure you take care of your digits before you have pain.

Preventing this problem largely revolves around paying attention to your nails and to your footwear. Good nail care and properly fitting shoes that don’t put unnecessary pressure on the digits can go a long way in helping prevent painful problems. Here are a few important tips to remember:

Nail Care:

  • Clip your nails regularly so they don’t get too long.
  • Trim them so they stay roughly even with the ends of your toes. Too-short nails can also cause problems for your feet.
  • Cut the keratin straight across so the edges are left intact. This makes it less likely that one side will curl as it grows out.

Footwear:

  • Avoid shoes with pointed toes and high heels. These can pinch the ends of the toes, or shove the digits into the front of the shoe, and cause nail damage.
  • Make sure footwear is the correct length, so you have roughly half an inch between your foot and the end of your shoe.
  • Avoid socks and stockings that squeeze the end of the foot. These may encourage the keratin tissue to curve.
  • Wear footwear that is appropriate for your activities, so you’re less likely to injure your toes.

Taking care of your digits is worthwhile in the end. It’s much better to prevent pain from ingrown toenails than to have to deal with the discomfort! If you develop nail problems, the sooner you take care of them, the easier it will be to manage the pain. Let us help you here at West Lawn Podiatry Associates, serving West Lawn, Reading, and the surrounding areas. You can make an appointment with us by calling (610) 678-4581 or submitting a request through our website.

Photo Credit: ponsulak via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
August 18, 2014
Category: Heel Pain

Heel Pain Relief with StretchingRunning is a fantastic form of exercise that unites enthusiasts around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people jog on sidewalks, dirt roads, treadmills, and city streets. It’s a versatile activity, too—it costs very little get started and you don’t have to already be in shape to begin. If you’re struggling with heel pain, however, you may have a hard time enjoying this sport. Stretching for heel pain may offer you some of the relief you need, especially if your condition isn’t a chronic problem yet.

Here are a few basic stretches that may benefit your lower limbs:

  • Calf Stretches – Face a wall with one foot several inches behind the other. Keeping the back knee straight, bend the front knee and lunge forward until you feel the pull in your calf. Repeat the stretch with both knees bent.
  • Heel Drops – Stand on a stair step with your heels off the edge. Slowly lower your heels until you feel a stretch, then return to your normal position and repeat.
  • Sole Massage – Take a frozen water bottle or ball and set it on the floor. Roll it underneath your feet, massaging your sole.
  • Plantar Stretch – Sit with one foot crossed over your knee. Flex that foot and gently pull your toes back toward your shins until you feel the pull in your sole and calf.
  • Marble Pick-Ups – Place several marbles or other small objects on the ground in front of you. Sitting in a chair, carefully pick up each one with your toes and drop it in a bowl or cup.

These exercises work to relax tightened tissues that may pull on your heel bone and causing your discomfort. Stretching for heel pain may help keep your feet pain-free for daily runs and potential races alike. If you continue to struggle with foot discomfort, or you notice increasing pain as you run, contact West Lawn Podiatry Associates, the Center for Foot and Ankle Care for an appointment. Call (610) 678-4581 or use our website request form to reach us.

Photo Credit: Satit_Srihin via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
August 11, 2014
Category: Bunions

Dr. Paul C. LaFata Performing a Bunion ExamIn the summer, you see them peeking out the sides of sandals and strappy heels. Bunions are a problem for many people, especially those who are particularly fond of fashion sharp—but foot unfriendly—shoe styles. If the problem progresses enough, bunion surgery may be your only option for relief, as fashion icon Victoria Beckham now knows. She took the plunge on the procedure last year.

Surgery can be a big step, especially if you’ve been dealing with your condition for some time. Many people are afraid of it, and the many myths and misconceptions about bunion procedures specifically keep people from seeking or receiving the help they need. Here are a few common beliefs and the truths behind them.

Belief: Bunion surgery is more painful than other procedures.

Truth: A bunion correction isn’t worse than other procedures, though you may need to be more intentional about your post-operative care. Since your feet are below heart level, they may be prone to swelling.

Belief: Bunions will come back after surgery.

Truth: Only rarely do bunions come back after being corrected. Usually, realigning the bones is all you need to stabilize the foot and eliminate the deformity; however, some people have biomechanical issues that cause the bump to return later.

Belief: The procedure causes significant scarring.

Truth: While any surgery on the body has the risk of scarring, bunion procedures have advanced enough that incisions can be minimized and methods can be used to hide scars.

Bunions can be uncomfortable and make everyday shoes and walking more difficult. If your foot isn’t responding to conservative methods, don’t avoid seeking help because you’re afraid of surgery. It may be your best option for relief.

Request more information about the procedure from West Lawn Podiatry Associates, the Center for Foot and Ankle Care here in Reading and Berks County by calling (610) 678-4581 or using the online contact page.





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