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By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
April 18, 2018
Tags: Diabetes   Ingrown Toenail  

Sometimes referred to as “poor circulation,” peripheral arterial disease or PAD is a serious condition that affects your legs and feet (as well as the rest of your body). At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we want patients to be informed about this disease and to know the risks. Below are some facts about PAD:

  • PAD occurs when cholesterol and other material (known as plaque) stick to the walls of arteries, narrowing them and thus restricting blood flow (hence “poor circulation”).
  • Lack of circulation greatly slows and impedes the healing process. This means that even cuts, blisters, and minor foot ailments like an ingrown toenail can become a serious health risk. The injuries to the skin don’t heal and infection can easily set in.
  • Although PAD most often affects your legs and feet it can occur in other parts of the body and when blood flow is restricted to vital organs like the brain or heart there can be serious consequences such as stroke or heart attack.
  • PAD can develop on its own, but it is often associated with other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Risk factors for this disease include smoking, high cholesterol, being over age 50, sedentary lifestyle and a personal or family history of PAD.
  • Many patients with PAD have no symptoms when the disease is in its early stages. As arteries become more blocked the following symptoms may occur: leg cramps, numbness or weakness in the legs, change in skin color and loss of hair, legs feel cold, toenails become thickened and/or discolored. Another sign is sores on legs, feet or toes that do not seem to be healing.
  • There are both medical and surgical treatments available for PAD. In many cases, however, lifestyle changes such as improving diet, starting an exercise program and stopping smoking are the first lines of defense.

PAD can be dangerous. If you have any signs described above or if you have one or more of the risk factors for PAD, it’s important to talk to one of our podiatrists, Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah about assessing your potential for developing this condition and what you can do to prevent it. Contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office in New Jersey by calling: 732-662-3050.

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
April 11, 2018
Category: Foot Health

In April we celebrate Foot Health Awareness Month. At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we thought this would be a good opportunity to dispel some myths that can hurt your feet. Many times, patients act on erroneous information that can lead to serious harm to the feet and ankles. Below are some of the more common myths we hear:

MYTH: Sticking cotton under the toenail is a good way to treat an ingrown nail. Wrong! Neither is cutting a notch in the nail or trying to dig out the ingrown nail with a sharp instrument. “Bathroom surgery” can lead to serious bacterial infection and disfiguring injuries. Have one of our podiatrists, Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah examine and treat any foot problems you are experiencing. Forget folk remedies when it comes to caring for foot conditions.

MYTH: Once you know your shoe size you can save time and buy shoes without trying them on. Unfortunately, shoe sizes are not standard across brands. If you buy shoes without trying them on and they are uncomfortable, many people just end up keeping them, which can greatly harm your feet. Shoes that are too tight in the toe box or rub in the wrong spot at the back of your heel hasten the development of crippling deformities, such as bunions and Haglund’s deformity (pump bump). In addition, your shoe size can change as you age or if you are pregnant. It’s best to have your foot professionally measured when you shop for shoes and then take your time trying them on and walking around to ensure comfort and proper fit.

MYTH: If you can walk on it, your foot or ankle is not sprained or broken. This myth has caused the worsening of many feet and ankle injuries. Being able to bear weight on an injured foot does not at all mean that it is not damaged. Sprains and fractures, particularly stress fractures, can hurt off and on after the initial injury. If you believe you have injured your foot or ankle, it’s important that you contact our Monmouth Junction, Edison or Monroe office in New Jersey as soon as possible and allow one of our foot doctors to evaluate your injury. Chronic conditions such as weak ankles and arthritis are often the result of not promptly treating and fully rehabilitating foot and ankle injuries.

Contact us at 732-662-3050 for any foot pain, injury or questions about your foot and ankle health.

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
April 04, 2018
Category: Achilles Tendon

As the days finally begin to get warmer and spring makes a somewhat belated appearance, we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care know that many of our patients will see this as the perfect opportunity to start a new outdoor fitness program. This means we will likely be seeing a rash of injuries due to inappropriate preparation and unsound exercise regimens. One part of the lower extremity that is particularly vulnerable to these types of scenarios is your Achilles tendon.

Sources of Injury

Your Achilles tendon is a long band of tissue that runs down the back of your lower leg connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. It helps to raise the heel off the ground and makes walking possible. The Achilles tendon is the largest and one of the strongest tendons in the body. It can tolerate forces of 1,000 pounds or more. It is also the most commonly injured tendon.

Issues involving the Achilles tendon include:

  • Tendonitis—the inflammation of the tendon
  • Tendonosis—the progression to degeneration of the tendon characterized by microscopic tears
  • Rupture—a partial or complete tear of the tendon

All of these types of injuries are caused by overuse and sudden force applied to the tendon. Some common reasons for Achilles tendon issues include:

  • Over-zealous exercise-if you attempt to go from couch potato to track star overnight without gradually building up stamina and muscle, you are setting the scene for an Achilles injury
  • Not stretching or warming up adequately before and after exercise
  • Hill running and stair climbing
  • Trauma to the tendon from a very hard or sudden contraction of the calf muscles, which could result from a sprint or a sudden start
  • Wearing inappropriate footwear for the activity you are doing or for your feet--patients that tend to overpronate are more likely to sustain an Achilles injury

Signs of Achilles Trouble

Symptoms of Achilles tendon issues may start out as mild pain or stiffness along the tendon after running or exercising but will steadily progress to severe pain. Swelling, morning tenderness and sluggishness in your lower leg may also be present. Any recurring pain in the tendon area should be evaluated by our podiatrists, Dr. Ben Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah. There are several treatment options available but it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid possible long-term consequences to the tendon. If you are experiencing ongoing pain or stiffness in your Achilles tendon, contact our New Jersey offices today in Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction by calling: 732-662-3050.

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 28, 2018
Tags: stress fracture   bunion  

Before March is history, we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care want to recognize Women’s History Month by offering some important podiatric health care information about conditions that particularly affect women.

  1. Bunions—this deformity is caused by a biomechanical problem that encourages the big toe to move out of place at the base joint and drift toward the second toe. Why, then, is this more of an issue for men than women? While both sexes may have the faulty foot structure (which is often inherited), women are far more likely to have the condition progress to the point where the telltale bump forms on the side of the foot causing pain and making it difficult to wear shoes. This is due largely to shoe choice. High heels and narrow, pointy toes forcibly squeeze the toes together and put pressure on the big toe, aiding in its dislocation. There are, however, both conservative and surgical measures that can help slow the progression or correct a bunion.
  2. Stress fractures—these tiny cracks in the surface of a foot bone, most often on the top of the forefoot, are frequently the way that a woman learns that she has osteoporosis. This condition will ultimately affect 1 in 2 women over the age of 50. Adequate amounts of calcium, as well as weight-bearing exercise done regularly, can help prevent this order. It’s important to realize that symptoms of a stress fracture may be intermittent and not appear very serious at first. Pain and swelling that cannot be explained by an injury require an evaluation by the foot doctor.
  3. Morton’s neuroma—this disorder is particularly prevalent among runners. Pain, tingling, and burning sensations in the ball of the foot or the feeling that there is a pebble in your shoe all the time are signs of this nerve irritation. What gives women runners a greater likelihood than men for developing this condition is that in addition to the repetitive stress on the ball of the foot from running, wearing platform or high heeled shoes also applies pressure to the same part of the foot.

In all of the above situations, there are measures that can be taken both proactively and in the early stages of the disorder that can greatly decrease the chance of disability or surgery. Let our podiatrists, Dr. Ben Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah examine your feet and diagnose your pain sooner rather than later. Contact our New Jersey offices in Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction at 732-662-3050.

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 20, 2018
Category: heel pain
Tags: Plantar Fasciitis  

One of the most common foot problems that we see patients for at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care is heel pain. Heel pain can be extremely disabling, making it difficult to participate in activities you enjoy and even to complete daily tasks. Tracking down the cause of heel pain, however, is not always easy. When pain is not the result of a visual or surface issue such as heel fissures or Haglund’s deformity but is felt deep within the heel, our podiatrists Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will need to do some investigating to get to the source of the pain. The foot doctor will start by examining your feet and ankles and getting your complete medical history, including any previous foot or ankle injuries you may have had. The podiatrist may also want you to have an x-ray, MRI, bone scan, or other imaging studies to get a better look at the inside of your foot to pinpoint (or rule out) possible reasons for your pain. In addition, you may be asked questions about your work, daily, and leisure activities.

In many cases, heel pain is not directly caused by a problem in the heel. Below are three common causes of heel pain where this is the case:

Plantar Fasciitis—the plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. This band can become inflamed due to arch problems (overly high arches or flat feet), overuse issues, inappropriate shoe choice or being overweight. The strain on the plantar fascia puts stress on your heel, causing pain and discomfort. One telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is sharp, stabbing pain when you first get out of bed or after you’ve been sitting for a while.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome—with this disorder a compressed nerve is the source of heel pain. The tarsal tunnel is a structure at the inside base of your ankle that houses the posterior tibial nerve (along with arteries, veins, and tendons). When the tunnel is squeezed (either due to injury, a foreign or enlarged object in the tunnel, such as a cyst or varicose vein, or a biomechanical problem), the nerve gets compressed and causes heel pain.

Back Issues—if you are experiencing pain in both heels and the foot doctor cannot find a problem with your feet or ankles, another possibility is that the pain is being caused by a back issue. Nerves that go down to your heels can be affected by spine disorders.

If you are experiencing heel pain, it’s important to make an appointment at our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office in New Jersey. We can help you find the cause of the pain and get started on a treatment plan that will alleviate it and prevent permanent damage. Contact us today by calling: 732-662-3050.





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