Our feet carry us everywhere!  Over a lifetime, our feet cover thousands of miles.  Although, they are often overlooked.  Typically, the only time we really pay attention to them is when they force us to pay attention, right?  When they feel tired, sore, dry, itchy, or even ulcerated, or afflicted with bunions, warts, or athlete’s foot- this is when we MUST attend to their needs.  When our tootsies aren’t in tip top shape, they can cause the rest of the body stress from being constantly irritated.  Usually, these problems stem from many different sources, ranging from dehydration, mineral deficiencies, heredity, and diabetes.  So, isn’t it great that we can treat some of our foot ailments with essential oils?

Here are some essential oils that can be used to help our feet, and what we should use them for:

  • Tea tree essential oil:  Can be used to deodorize and has anti-fungal properties.
  • Peppermint essential oil:  helpful in purifying the skin, increasing circulation, and promoting new cell growth… it also has a nice cooling effect-good for sweaty feet, or just a nice treat on a hot day!
  • Olive oil:  is rich in vitamins and minerals… it has wound healing properties and is a great disinfectant.
  • Tea tree oil:  has powerful antiseptic properties…it can clean, disinfect, and reduce pain when placed directly on cuts and scrapes… it can also be used for Athlete’s foot, blisters, fungal infections, cold sores, burns, infected wounds, rashes, warts and insect bites! The only down-side to tea tree oil is that is can cause skin irritation and drying in some instances, depending on the person’s sensitivity level.  It is a good idea to dilute it if you are sensitive…
  • German chamomile:  Has strong anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being analgesic… it can help with burns, inflammation, rashes and wounds on the feet.
  • Eucalyptus:  has anti-viral properties and is a very powerful bactericidal…it is great for helping with tired feet, as it’s great when massaged into sore muscles.

So, give some of these a try for your foot ailments, but when things are more serious and can’t be tended to at home, give Drs. James Ricketti and Stephen Skokan a call.  They are ready to help you at their convenient Hamilton Square, NJ office.

 

 

Do you wear shoes that hurt your feet in the name of fashion? Many people are guilty of this.  But what are the worst shoes for your feet out there?  The first shoes that come to mind when I think of foot pain are stilettos!  And these days, stilettos are getting higher and higher.  Stilettos are one of the obvious culprits for foot issues- they can lead to everything from ankle sprains to chronic pain.  High heels in general are notorious for leading to a bony deformity known as a “pump bump”.  High heels, no matter their height, often cause a painful knot on the back of the heel that leads to swelling, bursitis, blisters, and stress pain in the Achilles tendon.

When shoes cause pain to their wearer, it is typically because the shoe forces the feet into a position that puts stress on various areas of the feet.  Too much pressure can inflame the foot bones and the nerves that surround them.  Chronic stress to the foot bones can lead to things like hairline fractures.  A good idea if you are suffering from any of the above issues and you suspect your shoes are the cause- go low!  Choose heels that are no more than 2 inches high, and only wear them in moderation.  If you must wear high heels more regularly, try chunky heels.  Chunky heels have more surface area that distributes weight more evenly, and helps stabilize the foot.  They are better than stilettos, as they are sturdier.  Thicker heels still put stress on the ball of the foot, but they can reduce the tripping factor, which may avoid a sprain.

If you feel that your ankle may be sprained, you should go see a podiatrist.  A sprained ankle should be immobilized and may need physical therapy to heal properly.  If unattended, you risk developing osteoarthritis with a severe sprain or fracture of the ankle.

Dr. Ricketti and Dr. Stephen Skokan are conveniently located in Hamilton Square, NJ.  Call them for any foot or ankle issue you may be having, they are ready to get you back on your feet as soon as possible!

Growing up, my dad never liked to take his shoes and socks off.  It was due to the fact that he had terrible looking feet… deformed with hammertoes and claw toes.  That and the bunions and calluses on his feet really didn’t make for a pretty sight.  Knowing what I know now, though, I wish I could’ve encouraged him to see a podiatrist for his many foot afflictions.  He was one of the many out there who just deal with foot issues, and never have them treated.  If he had seen a doctor a few times, perhaps he would’ve been comfortable walking around barefoot once in a while!

So, what is a hammertoe or a claw toe?  Well, it’s a condition in which a deformity that happens to one of the toe muscles that becomes weak and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints.  This pressure forces the toe to stick up at the joint, and be misshapen.  There is usually a corn or callus on top of the deformed toe, as well.  The outgrowth can cause pain to the person when it rubs against the shoe.

Claw toes are hammertoes that are bent at the end joints, as well as the middle joints (hammertoes are bent only at the middle joints).  Your doctor will further categorize the form of hammertoe you have, based on whether the affected toe is flexible, semi-rigid or rigid.  If the toe is very rigid it is usually the most painful. 

Why do people get these things?!  Typically genes play a big part.  The foot type you’re born with predisposes you to developing this type of joint deformity over a lifetime.  An underlying medical condition or your shoes can also make you susceptible to developing one of these deformities of the toes.

 So, what can you do if you have them?  Surgery is the best way to permanently fix a hammertoe.  The simple procedure your podiatrist does straightens the toe, which makes shoes fit better.  Your foot will also be getting a “make-over”, so it will definitely look more attractive after the procedure!  Other things you can do besides surgery are: 

  • wear sensible shoes
  • use a pumice stone
  • foot exercises that your podiatrist can recommend

 If you are suffering from hammertoe or claw toe and the unfortunate by-products of these conditions, suffer no longer!  Call Drs. James Ricketti and Stephen Stokan.  Their convenient Hamilton Square location in New Jersey is easy to get to and their hours are very patient accommodating.  Don’t feel embarrassed by your feet any more ­- Drs. Ricketti and Stokan can help!

Many people enjoy many different sports.  Some are walkers, some run, some play basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, ice skating, skiing, gymnastics, etc. etc. etc.  The list is long of the various sports people enjoy!  Sports are a great way to get our energy out and keep fit.  However, there are common foot injuries that occur from the strain on our feet and ankles due to many of these sports.  What to do?!  Take some easy precautions to begin with, as the fear of hurting one’s feet will not stop most people from engaging in the sports one loves- (nor should it!)

So, there are some smart moves that athletes can make to avoid common foot injuries from happening in the first place!  Many of them relate to choosing appropriate footwear for the specific sport they are engaging in.  Here are some recommendations for appropriate footwear related to the sport you are doing:

  • Basketball, Tennis, and Volleyball:  wear thick, stiff soled shoes that provide support for impact.  They should have high ankle construction that supports the ankle!  They should also be lighter, and have less midsole support (for volleyball).
  • Soccer: wear shoes with a good quality foot-bed, which provides proper support for the arch.  The stud type should be suited for the ground that will be played on most often on: soft, hard, firm, or turf.  The cleats should be molded rubber.
  • Football and Lacrosse:  Appropriate footwear should have a good amount of high ankle support!  They should allow for proper traction on a grassy field (which isn’t always dry!)  It’s a good idea to stay away from hand-me-downs in this case (with cleats) as ill-fitting cleats increase the risk of ankle injuries to the wearer.
  • Baseball and Softball:  Footwear should offer support to prevent arch pain, sometimes customized shoe inserts can help alleviate pain.  It’s a good idea to try “multi-cleats” for kids that are within the 11-15 yr. old range, to avoid heel pain.
  • Running:  Footwear should provide excellent shock absorption to help runners avoid injury.  Footwear should match your foot’s arch type- your podiatrist can measure your feet to let you know what type to look for.  Running shoes should be replaced every 6-8 months or so.

If you follow these guidelines for proper footwear according to sport-type, you will hopefully avoid foot injuries.  However, if you find yourself with a sports-related foot injury (or any foot injury or issue, for that matter), Drs. James Ricketti and Stephen Skokan are here to help.  Call us for an appointment at our conveniently located Hamilton Square, NJ location.

Do your feet hurt?  Is the pain sharp and acute, coming and going when it’s least expected? Or is it constant, dull, and annoying?  Foot pain can rear its ugly head in either of those two forms, and either way it shares one thing in common…It affects the sufferer’s life.  You may find yourself laying around, feeling lazy and unmotivated- when you are normally an active person.  You may make excuses not to go places because you’re worried you will have to walk too much or stand on your feet for too long.   People tend to try to ignore their foot pain, but it often gets the best of them anyway! Stop missing out on the fun because foot pain is plaguing you!

 Dr. James Ricketti and Dr.Stephen Skokan are here to help.  They often see people come to them after suffering from foot pain for way too long.  Sometimes they have had pain for months and months on end. Instead of coming in after a reasonable amount of time, and having the source of the pain identified and treated, they choose to suffer.  It is always sad to see people in this situation.  When you visit our convenient Hamilton Square location, our doctors will diagnose the source of the injury, and formulate a treatment plan to get you back on your feet, literally!  Sometimes it is a simple solution, involving the use of orthotics, or a change in footwear.  Doing ice regimens for a few days can often alleviate swelling and foot pain.  There are many in-office treatments and at-home treatments that can really help get rid of that troublesome pain. 

 Although, sometimes foot pain can be a sign of a deeper, more serious underlying issue.  This is why it is so important to contact us when you are suffering from any condition.  Either way, the problem should be addressed, so your pain in the foot doesn’t keep being a big old PAIN IN THE NECK!  So, call Dr. Ricketti and Dr. Skokan and suffer no longer!     

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