Ankle and Foot Centers Is Featured in May 2015 Edition of Nail Pro Magazine!

The cover story in the just-released issue of Nail Pro magazine is about pedicures, and the doctors and staff at Ankle and Foot Centers are proud to announce that our director, Dr. George Tsatsos, and a member of our staff, Leigh Andrea, are featured in a story about medical pedicures.

Take a look at the story by clicking here.

What is a medical mani-pedi? It’s a service we offer at our Roscoe Village and Elmhurst locations. Basically, it’s a safer, sterile, salon-style treatment that will leave your fingers and toes looking great without the risk of spreading disease or fungus.

All of our instruments go through a multi-step sterilization process, and are treated like any other surgical instruments.

All our mani-pedi tools such as nail files, buffers and tub liners are single-use only.
In addition, our mani-pedis have they following benefits:

• They’re sanitary with very low risk of fungal, bacterial and viral infection

• The process is sterile — Instruments are autoclaved and never re-used on another person

• It’s a relaxing, yet safe treatment that includes also includes an exfoliating scrub and callous removal

• The service is finished with polish in the latest colors and natural, anti-fungal products are used and available

For more information about this service, visit our website at thinkfeet.com or buy our Groupon and try one for yourself!

Get the Support You Need: Choosing the Right Running Shoes

The Doctors and staff at Ankle and Foot Centers are proud to share a blog that was just published on the website trustedchoice.com. It features advice from our chief clinician and surgeon, Dr. Svetlana Zats, about how to pick the right running shoes. The full text of the blog is below.

Whether you’re new to running or a seasoned athlete who has completed a dozen marathons, choosing the right pair of running shoes is essential to staying fit and avoiding injury out on the roads or on the treadmill. But not every running shoe type is right for everyone—and runners’ footwear needs can also change over time. “You have to look beyond appearance, color and brand to make sure you are getting the right shoe for you,” and this process can take time, says Kevin Purvis, a certified personal trainer and USAT-certified Level 1 triathlon coach who runs his own endurance-training firm, KP Training Systems.

Since selecting your next pair of running shoes probably won’t be a simple grab-and-go event, we consulted several experts on running and foot health for some tips on choosing the right ones for you:

1. Know your foot shape.
The natural shape of your foot can affect how you step and run or walk (also known as your gait) as well as what part(s) of your foot will require extra cushioning to prevent injury to your feet, legs, knees, or even your back. “You need to understand your foot shape and structure, such as having a narrow heel, a wide forefoot, a low or high arch, or a decreased fat pad (the [natural] cushion on the bottom of the foot),” says Dr. Svetlana Zats, a Chicago-based podiatric foot and ankle surgeon with Ankle and Foot Centers and a recreational triathlete. The shape of your feet can also affect whether you pronate or supinate your foot (roll it inward or outward) when stepping or if your gait is neutral, Zats adds.

There are different styles of running shoes for each foot type and gait, says John Honerkamp, running coach with New York Road Runners and former competitive running pro. “A neutral shoe is good for a forefront runner with a high arch who needs less support. A stability shoe is good for a runner with a flatter foot, or a heel striker. A maximalist shoe is for runners who need more support,” such as heavyset runners or beginning runners who rotate their feet more than experienced ones, he explains.

A quality pair of running shoes can cost anywhere from $80 to $250, depending on type and brand, our experts say.

“A maximalist shoe, like Hokas, will provide a lot of support and cushion, while a minimalist shoe, like Vibram 5 Finger, provides very little,” Purvis notes.

If you’re not sure what category your foot shape falls into, Purvis suggests this test. “Dampen your bare feet, step onto a surface that will show your wet footprint, squat down [with both feet], and step away and look at the print.” If you see half your arch, that’s considered a normal foot shape, he says, while if you see your entire foot, you have flat feet or fallen arches that will require motion control shoes. If you only see a tiny line between your forefoot and heel, you have high arches and will need a high-cushion (maximalist) shoe, Purvis adds.

Your running shoes should also be a half to a full size bigger than your street shoes to accommodate foot swelling while running, Zats points out.

2. Have your running gait analyzed.
Both new runners and seasoned runners who are altering their distance or training programs should have their running gait professionally analyzed before choosing shoes, experts say. You can visit a medical professional, like a doctor trained in sports medicine, a podiatrist, or a physical therapist—or you can go to a specialty running store with staff who are trained in the proper fitting of running shoes. “They…not only analyze your foot and stride, but [physical therapists] can also suggest exercises for injury prevention so runners start off on the right foot (no pun intended) with their training,” says Alice Holland, DPT, a running physical therapist and director of Stride Strong Physical Therapy in Portland, OR.

Both medical professionals and professional running-store staff will watch you run a short distance in a pair of neutral shoes, usually on a treadmill, and will often record the run on video for further analysis before recommending a shoe type, Holland adds. “Runners can never tell what their running stride and pattern is like,” she stresses, noting that even as a running professional herself, she still consults other professionals for gait analysis.

3. Find a quality running store with knowledgeable staff.
When it comes to finding the right running shoes, it’s best to go in person to a local specialty store that specializes in running and running shoes, rather than visiting your local mall or browsing the Internet, Honerkamp stresses. “They know feet and running shoes,” he says, adding you should give yourself at least one or two hours of shopping, gait analysis, and try-on time when choosing a new pair.

Holland agrees. “I would not recommend going to a [general] sporting goods store—the staff just isn’t trained enough in running shoe fitting, and the selections they carry tend to be popular brands or aesthetically pleasing but functionally useless models,” she says. (Specialty running stores can also help fit you with ergonomically designed running socks and other equipment, such as easy-to-carry water bottles and running attire that won’t chafe your skin.)

If you live in a rural area or other place without a local running store, Purvis suggests Road Runner Sports, a specialty online retailer that focuses on running supplies. “They have a guided purchasing process as well as liberal exchange policies to make sure you get the right shoe,” he says.

4. Try before you buy.
Quality running retailers will usually offer a trial period to get used to your shoes and will also let you return them after use if they are the wrong fit for you, experts say. Honerkamp suggests doing the first one to three runs in new shoes on a treadmill or indoor running track to see if they’ll work out for the long term. “As long as the shoes are not dirty, most running shoe stores will take them back,” he says.

Holland takes it a step further. “I know a runner who bloodied up a pair with blisters, and still managed to exchange them,” she says. “The [running] store would rather keep a customer for life and sacrifice a pair than have a bad reputation for ill-fitting shoes.”

5. Monitor changing needs.
Your shoe needs may change over time as you develop as a runner. You may need to switch from general running shoes to trail-running shoes if you begin training regularly on rough dirt or gravel trails instead of on pavement or a treadmill, or you may require less foot support as your running gait improves. Or you may develop aches and pains as you age that will require special attention.

If you’re a naturally heavy person or have recently gained weight due to inactivity or increased muscle mass, you’ll need more cushioned shoes, says Andrew McMarlin, DO, a Mount Pleasant, SC-based physician and former Olympic rower who is board-certified in sports medicine and family practice. “Ground reaction forces increase as a runner’s weight increases,” McMarlin explains. “Heavier runners need to be aware of this additional demand on their joints and choose properly supportive shoes.” Runners with knee osteoarthritis should also consult with a physician or physical therapist about which shoes or shoe inserts can help reduce stress on their knees, he adds.

And if you’re ever planning to switch from traditional shoes to minimalist “barefoot” shoes, you should phase them in to prevent injury to your Achilles tendons and insteps. “I recommend walking in them for 20 to 30 minutes [at a time] for a few weeks before running in them,” McMarlin stresses.

A quality pair of running shoes can cost anywhere from $80 to $250, depending on type and brand, our experts say. “While that might seem pricey to the first-time buyer, remember your shoes are the only thing between your foot and the ground,” Purvis cautions. “Saving a few dollars short-term could lead to much higher costs in the long run.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jill Elaine Hughes has been a professional writer in both corporate and mass media/journalism environments for 20 years, covering health/wellness, technology, science, and consumer/financial topics. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Consumers Digest magazine, the Washington Post, DailyWorth.com, and many other media outlets. Follow her on Twitter at @JillEHughes.

Worried about ankle pain leaving you sidelined this spring? Take our tips for sports injury prevention.

After a long winter, the weather has warmed, meaning spring is the perfect time for folks across Chicagoland to be active outdoors.

But as the podiatrists at Ankle and Foot Centers know, spring and summer is often the busiest time of year for treating ankle and foot injuries.
During the warm months, our doctors everything kids who sprained an ankle in Little League to runners who suffered injuries while training along Lake Michigan for October’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
To avoid injury this spring and summer, follow these tips:

• Warm up before working out
Before exercising or going on a run, stretch or warm up with five to 10 minutes of cardio such as jogging or jumping jacks to warm up the muscles.

• Choose the right shoes
Especially with running, it’s important to wear shoes for your foot type. Visit a podiatrist to evaluate the biomechanics of your foot, do a gait analysis and advise you about the type of shoes to purchase.
For instance, over-pronators have feet where the arch flattens or rolls inward, distributing weight unevenly. People with this foot type need shoes with support in the front and under the arch. The heel/back of the shoe must be stable.
Other people have neutral feet, where the foot and ankle maintain a straight line, distributing weight evenly.
Once you know your foot type, your podiatrist can educate you about the shoes that fits your needs that you can buy online or at a sporting goods or specialty running store.

• Replace shoes regularly
Don’t wear the same shoes for years. Runners especially should replace shoes after 300 to 500 miles of use. If you have trouble keeping track of how worn your shoes are, there’s are even apps for that. For instance, shoe-selling site Zappos and training app MapMyFitness teamed up to create a feature called Gear Tracker in the MapMyFitness app for iPhone users. The feature lets users estimate when their shoes need to be replaced and gives the option of ordering a new pair from the fitness tracking app.

• Obey your body
If your feet or ankles start hurting while playing a sport, stop or alter your activity until the pain eases.
If you do suffer pain or injury, try the PRICE method to avoid further injury:

1. Protect – Wrap your ankle and avoid use. Wear a brace around the affected ankle, and limit movements that aggravate pain.

2. Rest — This speaks for itself. Avoid using the ankle when possible.

3. Ice – Apply cold as much as possible for up to 72 hours after pain or injury strikes. Ice should be applied for 45 minutes on the ankle and 15 minutes off.

4. Compress – Use an Ace wrap or an ankle sleeve on the foot that’s bothering you.

5. Elevate – Doing this as needed for should help if the ankle throbs or swells.
Follow this method for at least three days, then do only do so as needed. Using this method, pain and swelling should ease after four to six days.

If not, seek the help of a podiatrist or other health care professional. The podiatrists at Ankle and Foot Centers are experts in sports injuries and can help guide your back to health.

For more information about our doctors, our services or our hours and locations in the West Loop, Roscoe Village, Ukrainian Village, Elmhurst and Bartlett, go online to thinkfeet.com.

Do Feet That Turn In Warrant A Trip to the Doctor?

Q: I’m a 20 year old female, and I’ve always had a strange gait. My parents even had me checked out when I was a toddler, but the issue was diagnosed as typical intoeing (where the feet turn inward instead of straight ahead,) so there was nothing to worry about.

However, lately my mother noticed my gait has gotten worse. My right foot has started turning in more than usual, and my overall gait looks off.

This has happened before, but after a few weeks, my gait returned to my normal level of intoeing. I normally in-toe, and sometimes my feet knock my ankles when I walk or run.

In addition, my right shoulder is slightly higher than my left, and my arm doesn’t naturally stay in place — it hangs out a couple inches to the side. I can force it to the side, but it isn’t natural like with my left arm.

My doctor has never noted anything such as scoliosis in my spine.

My mom thinks I should get the gait issue checked by a doctor or a podiatrist, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts about this, or think it’s worth getting checked out?

A: This orthopedic podiatrist located in Chicago’s West Loop (60661,) Roscoe Village (60618,) Elmhurst (60126) and Bartlett (60103) says…

It’s a good idea to have your gait checked out by a doctor and see what is causing these issues. From what you’ve told me, it sounds like you may have some scoliosis, and the in-toeing may be compensatory as a result.

In cases like this, orthotics (specialized shoe inserts) may help, or postural exercises might fix the issue.
My advice is to make an appointment to see a good osteopath or a board-certified podiatrist. For instance, the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers can perform a gait analysis and can outfit you with a pair of pre-made or custom orthotics that might be able to help you, or recommend exercises.
Just remember that even though you appear to be symptom free, can’t hurt to practice preventive medicine.

We hope this helps, and good luck!
For more information, visit thinkfeet.com!

Ankle N Foot Center docs and staff

Feeling De-feeted When Buying New Running Shoes? Take Our Tips To Heart While Shopping.

Winter is over and spring is ushering in warmer weather, which means more people in Chicagoland are going to get outdoors and get active.

As many may know, Chicago has a huge running community. In fact, over 37,000 people participated in the city’s first big running event of the season, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle — a five-mile race through downtown that started and ended in Grant Park.

During the warmer months, the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers see many runners in our offices. And we know this is the time of year when many prepare by shopping for new shoes.

Our West Loop director – Dr. Svetlana Zats, who incorporates running into her training for triathalons – recently spoke with the website TrustedChoice.com about what to keep in mind when buying running shoes. Here’s some of her advice.

What should novice runners know about buying shoes?
Not all running shoes are the same. Just because a shoe has a brand name, that doesn’t always mean it’s a quality running shoe. A shoe may be heavily advertised, but it doesn’t guarantee the company that made it spent money on research and development that’s needed to produce structurally sound footwear. The most reliable way to buy a pair of running shoes is by going to a specialty running store. There — in addition to their feet being properly measured — customers can get a free gait analysis to evaluate their running pattern. From there, the sales staff can recommend the types of shoes that would work best.

If someone lives in an area without a professional running store, what can they do?
Make an appointment with a specialist. Podiatric physicians, sports medicine doctors and chiropractors can evaluate the biomechanics of the foot, do a gait analysis and advise patients about the types of running shoes to purchase.
Once a patient knows his or her foot type and pattern (for example, over-pronators — where the foot arch flattens or rolls inward, distributing weight unevenly – or neutral, with the foot and ankle maintaining a straight line, distributing weight evenly, etc.,) they can look online for a shoe that fits their needs, or look for that type of shoe at a sporting goods store.

What do good running typically cost?
A good pair of running shoes usually falls in to the $130 to $150 range. Those who are looking for lower-cost options can try purchasing the previous year’s model of the same shoe online (running stores usually only carry the newest or current year’s model.) While most shoes don’t undergo a drastic price reduction in one year, they are often 10 to 20 percent cheaper.

What’s the process of getting fit for running shoes?
The first step is getting an accurate measurement of the foot — including the width. From there, choose a shoe that’s half to a full size bigger to allow for foot expansion while running.
If you are at a running shop, the sales specialist will then watch — and possibly video-record — you running to determine if you are a neutral runner or if you over-pronate. This information will determine the shoe model you need.
From there, you can try on different brands of shoes that fit your biomechanics and chose which pair feels most comfortable.

Can Acupuncture Help Heal Heel Pain?

Q: Last fall, I developed heel pain (plantar faciitis,) probably from wearing cheap running shoes on pavement. I had this once before in the same foot, and an X-ray revealed a small heel spur.

Since then, I’ve used a night sock to eliminate morning stiffness, while three cortisone shots killed most of the pain. My doctor says I have to wait a few months to get another shot if I need it.

Now, I can only walk for a few minutes and can’t run, so it’s really limiting my ability to exercise.

I wanted to try acupuncture — it worked well for a knee meniscus tear — but a clinic I called recommended I start with shock wave therapy.

What do you think?

A: This orthopedic podiatrist located in Chicago’s West Loop (60661,) Roscoe Village (60618,) Elmhurst (60126) and Bartlett (60103) says…

For your heel pain, see a podiatrist and find out the biomechanical cause of your plantar fasciitis. The spur is evidence of the heel pain, not the cause. The cause may be obesity, tight calves, a change in shoes or more. For example, a simple heel lift will alleviate the pain if it’s tight calves. Orthotics will work for low arches and diet is needed if the pain is the result of weight gain.

The podiatrists at Ankle and Foot Centers are experts in treating this issue. Come see us at one of our locations in the West Loop, Roscoe Village, Elmhurst or Bartlett if you need help.

For now, skip the shock wave therapy and acupuncture until you know the cause. Then treat the cause, not the pain.

We hope this helps, and good luck!

For more information, visit thinkfeet.com!

Ankle N Foot Centers docs & staff

How Long Is Too Long For A Sprained Ankle To Heal?

Q: I suffered from ankle pain for a few weeks before deciding it might be something severe that might not go away on its own.
I made an appointment with a physician assistant in my sports medicine doctor’s office. She said since there was no bruising and it mostly hurts when I turn my foot inward that it was likely a sprain, and an X-ray wasn’t necessary.
She prescribed an ankle brace and 500mg of Naproxen, and suggested I raise my leg above my heart level for a couple hours each day. I didn’t have an accident that led to the injury, but she suggested I might have had bad footing on the edge of a curb and over-stretched.
Generally speaking, how long to sprains last? I’d like to have an idea of when I should make another doctor’s appointment if it doesn’t start to improve.

A: This orthopedic podiatrist located in Chicago’s West Loop (60661,) Roscoe Village (60618,) Elmhurst (60126) and Bartlett (60103) says…
If your foot is sprained, it should feel better every day and dramatically improve within a week or so. If it gets worse, go see a board-certified podiatrist.
The PA you saw likely does not have the same expertise as a specialist to correctly diagnose your condition — and in fact, an X-ray might be necessary.
If there is pain in your ankle, you need to work with a health care provider to determine the cause. In this case, it doesn’t sound like that was done.
As for the drug you were given, Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Avoid take if it makes you dizzy and if that happens, call your doctor and ask to be prescribed something else.
The doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers are experts in sports medicine, and we offer digital-X-rays on site to help determine the cause of foot and ankle pain. Come see us if you need advice.
We hope this helps, and good luck!
For more information, visit thinkfeet.com!

Ankle N Foot Center docs & staff

Cures for toe cramps can include everything from steam to stretching to bananas

Even though spring is officially just a few weeks away and your feet are still likely swathed in snow boots or Uggs, the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers want to make sure you take care of your feet during these final days of winter so you can enjoy the great outdoors once the weather warms.

One way to take care of your feet is my treating any toe cramps you may have with at-home remedies. Our West Loop director, Dr. Sveltlana Zats, recently offered some tips on this topic to the website Healthline.

Toe cramps can come from a variety of causes – everything from improper diet to wearing the wrong kind of shoes.

Here are a few of Dr. Zats’ tips for taking care of cramps:

• Especially at night, toe cramps can be caused by several factors, including structural deformity of the toes (also known as hammertoes,) electrolyte imbalance, an increase in perspiration or shoes that don’t fit properly.

• If a patient has a hammertoe deformity, try conservative, at-home care that includes everything from wearing wide-toe-box shoes to performing massage or doing gentle hold-stretching.

• On the other hand, if cramps are the result of increased perspiration or an electrolyte imbalance, drinking Gatorade or taking a hot shower that produces a lot of steam can often be helpful.

• Another option is reaching for beverages that contain Quinine (one example is tonic water,) and eating foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas, to nourish the body and ease cramping.

If these at-home measures do not relieve cramping — or if toe cramps become more frequent or the intensity of cramps doesn’t decrease — seek the help of a foot and ankle specialist.

The doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers can care for cramps — and almost any other issue — at our locations in Chicago’s West Loop and Roscoe Village neighborhood, as well as at our suburban locations in Bartlett and Elmhurst.

Don’t hesitate to see a podiatrist for toe cramps. Constant, severe toe cramps could be a sign of a more serious medical condition. If you are suffering from cramps, don’t hesitate to call our office for an appointment. For more information about our services, go online to thinkfeet.com.

Enjoy the final frosty days of winter, and be sure to get your feet outdoors and active this spring!

Keep winter toes in tip-top shape with our winter skin care tips

It’s bitter cold, and while people across Chicagoland have plenty to keep them entertained this month – from the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony to the ongoing Chicago Auto Show to the recent “Saturday Night Live” 40th Anniversary Special, the cold weather is likely doing a number on many people’s skin.

From dryness to fear of frostbite, there’s plenty to be concerned about when keeping skin healthy and looking good this winter.

One of our podiatrists, Dr. Mariano Rivera – who serves as director of Ankle and Foot Center’s Roscoe Village location – recently shared some skin care tips for the feet with The Daily Makeover website.

To read the full story, click here.

Here are some more winter foot-care tips from Dr. Rivera. More information can also be found online at www.thinkfeet.com.

* Dry skin — and cracking skin on the feet — is fairly prevalent this time of year. To combat this, people can apply lotion to their feet once to twice a day, and in severe cases, it should be applied several times a day. Be sure to avoid applying lotion in between your toes, as this area is usually too moist to be in need of moisturizer.

* Winter boots can often irritate the toenails if they are not well-trimmed — so make sure to get regular pedicures or trim your nails at home. Also, avoid wearing snow boots for a long period of time because the feet tend to sweat more in boots. If you notice excessive sweating from wearing winter boots, you can apply foot powder to help prevent moisture.

* Keep in mind that fungus loves moisture and dark environments, so prolonged use of boots makes people more susceptible to athlete’s feet and fungal toenails. For prevention, try using an anti-fungal nail solution from your podiatrist’s office to help block toenail fungus. Anti-fungal creams may also be used for prevention of athlete’s foot.

* Remember to keep your toes warm and to avoid staying in out in the cold for too long. Why? The cold can affect the small blood vessels in our toes, which may leave you at risk for frostbite. If your feet or toes have been exposed to cold, warm them gradually at low temperatures (do not exceed 80 degrees to prevent thermal damage.) As temping as it might be — don’t place cold feet by a fire or heater to warm them — the toes can still be numb and it’s easy to sustain thermal damage this way.

* If you have any specific concerns about your feet during the winter, it’s best to visit your local podiatrist for tips to care for your foot type.

When a slip on the ice causes ankle agony, try PRICE

Q: Recently, I slipped on some ice and strained my inner ankle. Now, it’s stiff when I wake up in the morning. It loosens up during the day but it is tender between the inner ankle bone and the Achilles. What’s between the two and what would best to help treat it – rest, cold or heat?

A: This orthopedic podiatrist located in Chicago’s West Loop (60661,) Roscoe Village (60618,) Elmhurst (60126) and Bartlett (60103) says…
You may be suffering from an ankle sprain and possible injury to your posterior subtalar joint – that’s the area between the inside ankle and the Achilles tendon – it’s the back of the joint between the heel bone and the ankle bone.
To avoid further injury, try using the PRICE method:

Protect – Wrap and stop using your ankle. Wear a brace around it ankle and limit movements that aggravate it.

Rest — This speaks for itself. Perhaps try resting it during the weekend or days when you are off work.

Ice – Apply cold as much as possible for up to 72 hours as much as possible. (Ice should be applied for 45 minutes on the ankle and 15 minutes off.) Afterward, ice as needed for pain and swelling.

Compress – Use an Ace wrap or something similar, such as an ankle sleeve, on the foot that’s bothering you.

Elevate – Doing this as needed for swelling should help if the ankle throbs or swells at the end of the day.

Follow this method for at least three days, then do only do so as needed.
Don’t use heat on the ankle until the pain goes away – which will likely take four to six days if you follow the PRICE method.

This time of year, the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers are seeing quite a few patients with ankle injuries as a result of icy falls — so you’re not alone. If the pain or swelling gets worse or doesn’t improve within a few weeks, go see a board-certified podiatrist.

We hope this helps, and good luck!

For more information, visit thinkfeet.com!

Ankle N Foot Center docs & staff