Blog
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 00:00

Quit Smoking Now to Improve Foot Health

 

Any former smoker will tell you that quitting isn’t easy. Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM know that giving up cigarettes is a challenge, but they encourage you to get support and quit smoking today. Tobacco use is dangerous for your heart and your lungs and can shorten your life. Less alarming, but also important is the effect of smoking on your feet: because smoking negatively affects circulation, it also puts your podiatric health at risk.

Because your hands and feet are farthest from your heart, it’s hardest for the heart to pump blood out to them. Consequently, they don't receive as much circulation as other parts of your body. This lower blood flow is why they’re often cold. This situation is common in people of both genders and all ages. It’s especially prevalent among smokers, as smoking further diminishes blood flow.

Podiatrists can easily tell which of their patients are smokers. The tip off is the skin on their feet, which is often thinner, shinier, and redder than that of other patients. Recovery from surgery is another clue: it typically takes smokers longer to heal than non-smokers.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) occurs when plaque builds up in arteries, causing them to become stiff and narrow. It becomes difficult for blood to circulate, especially to the extremities. If you smoke, your risk of developing PAD is four times greater than if you don't. Continuing to smoke after a diabetes diagnosis puts you at particular risk.

Symptoms: Be on the lookout for leg pain and for sores or injuries on your feet that heal poorly, or not at all.

Buerger’s Disease

Buerger’s Disease causes blood vessels in the arms and legs to swell, interfering with blood flow and causing clots, pain, tissue damage, or gangrene. Almost everyone with the condition is a current or former smoker. The risk is highest for people who smoke more than a pack a day.

Symptoms: You should see your podiatrist right away if your feet become pale, red, blue, cold, or uncomfortable, if you experience pain in the arch of your foot when walking, or if there are painful sores or ulcers on your feet.

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s Disease is a condition in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet spasm and overreact to chilly temperatures. This is temporary, but can be uncomfortable. Cigarette smoking causes and worsens Raynaud’s Disease.

Symptoms: Cold, pale feet. White or blue toes.

Quitting is easier now than ever before, with new medications to help you. Until you’re ready to take that step, regular visits to the podiatrist are especially important. Call 443-872-7052 or click here to make a convenient appointment to see Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova in our Pikesville today.

Thursday, 15 June 2017 00:00

All About Hammertoes

A hammertoe is a deformity of the foot that occurs when one of the toe muscles becomes weak and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints, forcing it to stick up at the joint rather than lying naturally flat in line with the others. Hammertoes most often occur on the second toe or the smallest toe. 

Three main factors lead to hammertoes:

$11.     Your genetics may be the culprit. On one hand, people with high arches are more at risk of hammertoes. On the other, those with flat, flexible feet are at risk as well.

$12.     Do you prefer fashionable footwear? Women develop all forms of hammertoes more often than men do, probably because women often choose narrow, poorly fitting shoes with little arch support, high heels, and pointy toe boxes. Over time, these shoes damage the feet.

$13.     Are you living with a chronic health condition? Patients with diabetes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, or neuropathy are at increased risk for occurrence of and complications from hammertoes.

There are three kinds of hammertoes:

$1·      Hammertoes are bent at the middle joint only.

$1·      Clawtoes are bent at the middle and end joints

$1·      Mallet toes only affect the joint at the end of the toe.

Depending on the degree of deformity, any kind of hammertoe is classified as flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid. The more inflexible the toe, the more painful it will be.  Complicating matters, hammertoes often cause uncomfortable corns or calluses to grow as the affected toe rubs repeatedly against the shoe.  

If you have a hammertoe, you can reduce discomfort by switching to sensible, comfortable shoes and regularly using a pumice stone on your callus or corn. Never use a blade, razor, or grater on your feet. These can cause small nicks and cuts that allow bacteria to enter your body.

If surgery to fix your hammertoe is required, it’s a relatively procedure, and often the best way to permanently solve the problem. Surgery will make shoes fit better, improve calluses and corns, and make your feet more attractive.

Do you think that you might have a hammertoe, clawtoe, or mallet toe? Call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 or click here today to schedule an appointment at our convenient Pikesvilleoffice.  Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova are experts in diagnosis and treating hammertoes and all other medical issues related to your feet, ankles, and lower legs. They can examine your feet to diagnose and treat your problem and have you up and running in no time.

Thursday, 15 June 2017 00:00

All About Hammertoes

A hammertoe is a deformity of the foot that occurs when one of the toe muscles becomes weak and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints, forcing it to stick up at the joint rather than lying naturally flat in line with the others. Hammertoes most often occur on the second toe or the smallest toe. 

Three main factors lead to hammertoes:

$11.     Your genetics may be the culprit. On one hand, people with high arches are more at risk of hammertoes. On the other, those with flat, flexible feet are at risk as well.

$12.     Do you prefer fashionable footwear? Women develop all forms of hammertoes more often than men do, probably because women often choose narrow, poorly fitting shoes with little arch support, high heels, and pointy toe boxes. Over time, these shoes damage the feet.

$13.     Are you living with a chronic health condition? Patients with diabetes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, or neuropathy are at increased risk for occurrence of and complications from hammertoes.

There are three kinds of hammertoes:

$1·      Hammertoes are bent at the middle joint only.

$1·      Clawtoes are bent at the middle and end joints

$1·      Mallet toes only affect the joint at the end of the toe.

Depending on the degree of deformity, any kind of hammertoe is classified as flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid. The more inflexible the toe, the more painful it will be.  Complicating matters, hammertoes often cause uncomfortable corns or calluses to grow as the affected toe rubs repeatedly against the shoe.  

If you have a hammertoe, you can reduce discomfort by switching to sensible, comfortable shoes and regularly using a pumice stone on your callus or corn. Never use a blade, razor, or grater on your feet. These can cause small nicks and cuts that allow bacteria to enter your body.

If surgery to fix your hammertoe is required, it’s a relatively procedure, and often the best way to permanently solve the problem. Surgery will make shoes fit better, improve calluses and corns, and make your feet more attractive.

Do you think that you might have a hammertoe, clawtoe, or mallet toe? Call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 or click here today to schedule an appointment at our convenient Pikesvilleoffice.  Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova are experts in diagnosis and treating hammertoes and all other medical issues related to your feet, ankles, and lower legs. They can examine your feet to diagnose and treat your problem and have you up and running in no time.

Thursday, 08 June 2017 00:00

Preventing and Treating Blisters

In the warm months, most of us enjoy extra time exercising and recreating outside. The problem is that sometimes we’re wearing new shoes, or shoes that we don’t wear very often, or inexpensive shoes that are attractive, but don’t fit very well. Next thing we know we’re dealing with blisters on our feet.

A blister is caused by friction between the skin something else – perhaps the inside of a shoe or clothing, or even by rubbing repeatedly against another bit of skin. Heat builds up causing a swelling under the skin, which may or may not have fluid in it as it rises. Typically, small blisters are uncomfortable and inconvenient and will go away on their own. Occasionally, blisters can be more severe and require the attention of podiatrists like Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM.

Preventing Blisters

$1·      Taping: The first sign of a blister is usually a red spot on the skin, possibly at the back of the heel, the instep or toes. This is known as a hot spot and is an early warning sign that a blister is forming. If you cover the spot with a bandage or tape as soon as you notice it, you can prevent a blister.

$1·      Keep feet dry: Keeping your feet clean and dry and changing your socks regularly is important to all aspects of podiatric health, including blister prevention. Damp or wet socks will cause more friction and faster than dry socks. Use powder to ensure dry feet when exercising.

$1·      Socks:  Some people prefer thick, cushioned socks; others wear two layers of thins socks. The second layer stops the first one from rubbing against the skin. Try both to find what works best for you. Remember: wool socks will stay dryer than cotton. Lightweight wool socks are available for summer.

$1·      Shoes: Take care of your footwear. Buy shoes that fit correctly. Poorly fitting shoes that are either too tight or too big will increase rubbing or friction at the heels and toes. Running shoes should be replaced after 6 months or 500 miles.

Treating Blisters

Don’t squeeze or pop a blister. It will drain on its own soon enough. Wear open shoes if you can, or a pair that doesn’t bother the blister. Cover the blister with a bandage or use a bit of padded tape with a hole cut out to protect the blister.

If your blister is very tender or if you have more than one, you don’t have to suffer. Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova can help with expert bandaging or sterile draining. Click here or call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 to schedule a convenient appointment at our state of the art Pikesville office today.

You already know that good nutrition promotes reasonable weight and heart health while minimizing the risk of illnesses including high blood pressure and diabetes. Have you ever taken a moment to consider what a proper diet can mean for your feet?

It makes sense to realize that your food choices have a direct effect on the wellbeing of your feet. It’s important to make choices that promote strong, healthy bones while avoiding those that cause and aggravate inflammation in the muscles and tendons. It takes only a little bit of planning and some careful shopping to eat right for foot health.

$11.     Reduce Sodium Intake

When the sodium levels in your diet are high, your body tends to retain water and inflammation levels increase. Further, you are at significantly increased risk of high blood pressure. Choose fresh foods over packaged items, which typically contain large quantities of sodium. If you usually add salt to food while cooking and eating, you are probably getting too much sodium in your diet. Reduce your intake by taking that salt shaker off the table!

$12.     Avoid Foods that Lead to Inflammation

Refined grains, sugars and trans fats contain chemicals that cause tissue inflammation. This inflammation can cause pain and discomfort in your feet. To improve foot health, choose whole grain products and reduce your sugar consumption.

$13.     Eat More Calcium and Vitamin D

Building bone mass while you’re young is important for long-term health and wellbeing. If you don’t get enough calcium early in life, you are at higher risk for bone issues or even fractures later in life. While you are growing, your body needs calcium to build strong bones. Women experience gradual bone loss after menopause, but getting enough calcium helps to maintain bone quality. You continue to need calcium for healthy bones at all stages of your life, especially if you develop osteopenia or osteoporosis. For people with osteoporosis, getting enough calcium can help to lower the risk of a fracture. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is why the two are often combined in supplements, but they are also found in many foods such as:

$1·      dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese

$1·      sardines with bones

$1·      green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens

$14.     Increase Foods Containing Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fats are thought reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the feet. Fatty fish like salmon is a good source of this nutrient. You can also find these healthy fats in foods including:

$1·      flax seeds

$1·      walnuts

$1·      sardines

$1·      beef

$1·      soybeans and tofu

$1·      shrimp

$1·      cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts and cauliflower.

To help maintain foot health, visit a podiatrist regularly. Your podiatrist is the best doctor to care for your feet, ankles, and lower legs. Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova will examine your feet thoroughly, diagnose any issues, note potential concerns, and treat any issues that you may be experiencing. Call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our Pikesville office.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 00:00

Prevent Falls With Improved Foot Care

One in three Americans over 65 will experience a fall this year, many of which will result in hospital and nursing home admissions.  Young, healthy people can break bones or worse in a fall. Senior citizens and those with underlying conditions such as diabetes or osteoporosis are at increased risk for fractures and hospitalization.

Many factors can contribute to a fall including:

$1·      advanced age

$1·      overall wellbeing

$1·      excess weight

$1·      frequent or chronic foot pain

$1·      poor footwear

$1·      poor nutrition

$1·      excessive consumption of alcohol

While some falls result from tripping or stumbling, current research indicates that foot health and strength play a larger role in stability than previously thought. Your feet are your body’s foundation. Taking care of them and paying special attention to their health is important at any age, and becomes more and more critical with every passing year.

Many non-traditional exercise programs such as tai chi and yoga promote balance and can help keep you safe from falls.  Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova recommend the following gentle exercises that you can try at home:

1. The Flamingo: Stand on one foot for a count of 10 seconds while holding the back of a stable chair or touching a wall. Repeat on the opposite side. Begin by doing this four times on each foot. Gradually increase the number of sets and the length of the count over a period of weeks, and eventually try to step away from the chair or wall. The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it anywhere, even while standing on line at the grocery store! It’s easy: just lift one foot an inch off the floor, and touch it to the opposite ankle.

2. Crane Lift: Put a small item, such as a pen or a coin, on the seat of a chair. Pick it up while balancing on one foot and leaning forward with a straight back. Stand up, put your item in your other hand, and put it back on the chair seat using the same motion that you used to retrieve it. Do this 10 times on each foot.  As you get better at this exercise, place the object lower and lower until you can pick it up off the floor.

3. Sock It To Me: This exercise is the toughest of the three: Try putting on your socks while standing up. While you’re getting the hang of it, stand touching your bed or sofa so you have a soft landing pad if you need one.

Of course, the best way to maintain great foot health is to see your podiatrist for regular visits. Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM are board-certified experts. They have many years of experience working with patients of all ages. Call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 or click here to contact us today. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

Is That Foot Pain a Gout Attack?

What Is Gout, Anyway?

 

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in people when uric acid in your blood builds to atypically high levels. The acid creates sharp, needle-like crystals in your joints. Sudden, episodes of intense discomfort occur. There are numerous references to what we now know to be gout in the literature and historical documents of the past.  Eating rich food or consuming too much alcohol can lead to a gout attack.  Because such indulgences were once available only to the upper classes, gout was known as “the disease of kings.” Now everyone is at risk.

 

How to Identify Gout

Gout causes severe attacks of pain, redness, warmth, tenderness, and swelling in joints. The signs and symptoms of gout almost always occur suddenly — frequently overnight — and without previous indication that an attack is imminent. These symptoms include:

$1·      Intense joint pain, typically in the big toe

$1·      Limited range of motion

$1·      Inflammation and redness

$1·      Lingering discomfort

 

Your Risk of Gout

4% of American adults have gout. Your health history and lifestyle influence your level of risk.

$1·      People who are very overweight are at a higher risk for gout. These people typically suffer first gout attacks at a younger age than people of average weight.

$1·      Those who high levels of red meat and shellfish in their diet are at increased risk of gout.

$1·      Heavy drinkers increase their risk of gout. Those who consume an average of more than two liquor drinks or two beers a day are at higher risk.

$1·      Put down that soda! Sugary drinks contribute to increased gout risk.

$1·      Did Mom or Dad have gout? Those with a family history of gout are more likely to develop the disease.

$1·      Health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease increase your gout risk.

$1·      Age and gender are risk factors. Up to age 60, gout is more prevalent in men than in women. Doctors aren’t sure why this is true, but it is believed that naturally occurring estrogen protects women up to that point.

Stages of Gout

 

If uric acid levels spike or previously formed crystals are jostled, you might experience a “gout attack.” Gout attacks can be triggered by overconsumption of red meat, seafood, beer, liquor, or sweetened beverages, and by dehydration or surgery…or they can be “idiopathic,” meaning there’s no identifiable trigger.  The symptoms typically get better after a few days and tend to go away within a week without any intervention.

The time between attacks is known as “interval gout.” Although there’s no pain during interval gout, the gout isn’t gone. It’s waiting to strike again. The long-term presence of low-level inflammation may be causing permanent damage to joints. Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM recommend lifestyle changes, possibly accompanied by medication, at this point.

Chronic gout develops when uric acid levels remain high over a long period of time. Attacks become more frequent and more severe. Permanent joint damage, leading to mobility loss, can occur. This stage can be avoided with proper treatment.

Get Help for Gout

 

Have you recently experienced pain that may have been a gout attack? Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care can help before it gets worse. Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova have years of experience diagnosing gout symptoms and treating gout pain. Call 443-872-7052 or click here to schedule an appointment in our convenient Pikesville office today.

Friday, 12 May 2017 00:00

All About Bunions

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a deformity in the bones of your foot. Bunions form when your big toe pushes against the toe next to it for a period of time, forcing the joint of your big to grow and protrude.  Smaller bunions (called bunionettes or “tailors’ bunions”) can develop on the joint of your little toe.

What Causes Bunions?

Although the exact cause of bunions is unknown, there are many theories about how they develop. Scientists do know that women are affected more often than men, and that some factors can be pinpointed:

  • Poorly fitting shoes: Frequent wearing of shoes that are too tight, too narrow or too pointed create the specific situation that leads to the development of bunions. There are mixed opinions about the relationship between high heels and bunions.
  • Arthritis: Inflammatory conditions make people more susceptible to bunions.
  • Heredity: The tendency to develop bunions might be because of an inherited structural foot defect.

$1·      Congenital foot defects: Some people are born with foot deformities that lead to bunions.

Symptoms of Bunions

Although bunions can develop without symptoms, it’s more likely that signs will be present for you to notice. Bunion symptoms can include:

$1·       Noticeable changes in your foot shape

$1·       A bulge or bump on the outside of the base of your big toe

$1·       Redness, swelling or tenderness around your big toe joint

$1·       The development of corns or calluses where the first and second toes overlap

$1·       Persistent or periodic discomfort

$1·       Decreased movement of your big toe or foot

$1·       Difficulty finding shoes that fit your feet comfortably

What Can I Do About a Bunion?

You’ll need to begin with a visit to a podiatrist like Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova to have your feet examined and your problem diagnosed. If you have a bunion, conservative treatment including icing, over the counter medication, and padding or splinting may help. If not, surgical intervention might be necessary.

Are you experiencing pain around your big toe?  Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM see patients with bunions every week. They can diagnosis your condition and work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. Call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 or click here to make a convenient appointment at our Pikesville office today. 

Wednesday, 03 May 2017 00:00

Preventing and Treating Athlete’s Foot

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

“Athlete’s Foot” is the common term for tinea pedis, a fungal infection most commonly found on the feet.  Because they often walk barefoot in locker rooms and wear sweaty socks, athletes often find themselves dealing with tinea pedis, but it’s not just for sporty types…anyone can get it. 

For most patients, athlete’s foot is a mere inconvenience, although it can be uncomfortable and difficult to cure. For patients with diabetes or a weakened immune system, athlete’s foot can lead to greater infection and should be taken seriously.  If you suspect that you’ve picked up the fungus, you should see Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova for diagnosis and treatment right away so that it doesn’t spread or affect others.

 

Preventing Athlete’s Foot

Tinea pedis thrives in warm, moist environments. It is especially common in public showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools.Touching contaminated surfaces or direct contact with an infected person leads to transmission. Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM recommend the following steps to minimize your risk of infection:

$11.     Practice good hygiene! Wash your feet with soap and water every day and dry them well. Pay special attention to the spaces between the toes.

$12.     Use antifungal powder on your feet every day, especially if your feet get sweaty often.

$13.     Don’t share socks, shoes, or towels with others.

$14.     Wear sandals in public showers, around public swimming pools, and in other public places where people commonly walk barefoot, such as hotel rooms.

$15.     Choose socks made out of breathable fibers, such as cotton or wool, or made out of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your skin.

$16.     Change your socks daily and more often when your feet get sweaty.

$17.     If possible, vary your footwear daily to give your shoes time to dry out between use.

What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?

Have you noticed any of the following recently? If so, you might have athlete’s foot.

$1·      cracking and peeling skin, especially between the toes and on the soles

$1·      itching, stinging, or burning between the toes or on the soles

$1·      tiny, itchy blisters

$1·      unusual dry skin

$1·      red, raw skin

 

What If I Get Athlete’s Foot?

At Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care, we see patients with athlete’s foot often. We can usually diagnose your infection through a simple exam, although a lab test is occasionally called for. Treatment is typically as easy as application of antifungal cream or ointment for a few days, but oral medication may be necessary if the infection is severe.

Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova and the friendly staff are here to help your feet feel and look their best and we can get your athlete’s foot infection cleared right up.  Call us at 443-872-7052 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our Pikesville office without delay. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 00:00

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

What Is an Ingrown toenail?

 

An ingrown toenail is a common cause of foot pain. For most people, an ingrown toenail is just a nuisance. For people with diabetes or other circulatory issues, however, an ingrown toenail can lead to significant issues. 

How Will I Know If I Have an Ingrown Toenail?

 

If you have an ingrown toenail, you’ll know it! The area will feel uncomfortable and irritated. You will probably notice swelling. The affected toe may grow red and pus may become obvious.

Can I Prevent Ingrown Toenails?

 

Definitely! There are several simple steps to prevent ingrown toenails:

$1·      Clean your toes and toenails frequently. Good foot hygiene is the first building block of good foot health.

$1·      Inspect your feet often. Become aware of their natural state so that you can notice of potential problems as they arise.

$1·      Keep your feet well-maintained. Don’t let your toenails grow too long.

$1·      Trim toenails so that they’re even with the tips of your toes, neither longer nor shorter.

$1·      Trim toenails straight across. Don’t round the corners, as you might on your fingers.

$1·      If the corners of your toenails still feel sharp after you trim them, use a nail file to smooth them.

$1·      Use a clipper specifically designed for the job to trim toenails. These clippers are typically wider than a fingernail clipper and can handle wide, tough toenails with ease.

$1·      Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova do not recommend scissors for toenail trimming. However, if you prefer them, use a few short movements rather than a single sweeping cut.

$1·      Never cut or pick at your cuticles.

$1·      Make sure your shoes are not squeezing your toes.

I Think I Have an Ingrown Toenail…What Do I Do?

 

If you think that you have an ingrown toenail, don’t pick at it or try to take care of it on your own. You can easily create worse problems, including infection. Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM are specialists in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgery of the feet and ankles. They treat ingrown toenails every day. Call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 or click here to make an appointment at our conveniently located Pikesville office. Our team will have you back on your feet before you know it.

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