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By Dr. Jade Gittens
September 08, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Health  

Looking for a safe, easy and inexpensive way to stay healthy, increase your energy level and improve your figure? Start walking! Walking is one of the easiest and most popular forms of exercise, and, when done properly, it can significantly improve your health.

The most basic kind of walking for exercise, often called healthwalking, can be done almost anywhere and at any time, year around. And for individuals with a long history of inactivity or problems with obesity, walking is an excellent way to begin an exercise program.

If the Shoe Fits - Get Walking!

Footwear plays a vital role in the duration of your walking routine, and shoes that don't fit properly or that lack support can lead to foot pain or injuries, such as blisters, corns, calluses, nail fungus and plantar fasciitis. These problems can, in turn, discourage you from exercising, thus achieving the opposite of what you wanted!

Not sure which shoe will offer you the most support? Come into our office for an examination. We can help determine the best shoe for your feet based on your arch, walking experience and foot mechanics. Your shoes should be well-cushioned and stable, offering you comfort and fit that enables you to walk smoothly and without discomfort.

Keep Your Feet Healthy

To gain the most health benefit from walking, it's important to pay close attention to your feet. Trim your nails regularly, keep your feet clean and dry, and inspect your feet for signs of sores, blisters, corns, calluses or other infections. Serious foot ailments, such as bunions or hammertoes, should be checked by our office before you begin your exercise regimen.

Once you're ready to hit the road, set appropriate goals based on your overall health and walking experience. Start slow and build up your distance gradually. And don't forget to stretch in order to prevent injury and keep muscles loose.

Walking is meant to be safe, easy, and fun, but in order to do so, you must have healthy feet. Experiencing foot pain and discomfort isn't normal. Talk with a podiatrist if you encounter any problems while walking.

Every step you take is one step closer to a healthier lifestyle. So what are you waiting for? Take a stroll in the mall, walk your dog in the park, or grab a friend and go for a leisurely walk around your neighborhood. It's easy and fun, and, when done regularly, can lead to a healthier you!

By Dr. Jade Gittens
August 30, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: bunions  

Your left foot really aches. You see a bump on the side, right at the base of the big toe. You notice that when you stand or walk a lot during bunionsthe day, the pain increases. What could be happening? Visit Premier Foot & Ankle Center for an accurate diagnosis and correction of your problem. Your Somerset, NJ, podiatrist, Dr. Jade Gittens, treats a wide array of issues related to the lower extremities. If she suspects your foot problem is a bunion, you'll receive proper care to relieve your pain and normalize your mobility.

The details on bunions

A bunion is a bony bump that forms when the big toe moves toward the second or even third toe because of pressure from:

  • Being overweight
  • Shoes that are too tight and too narrow in the toe box
  • Standing on hard floors for long periods of time

The Harvard Medical School says that older women (56 and up) are prone to bunion formation. Additionally, while bunions themselves are not inherited, the foot anatomy that helps create this deformity runs in families.

Left untreated, bunions cause disability and an inactive lifestyle because sufferers limit their activities to try to avoid the pain. Corns and calluses often form as does excessively thickened skin on the bottom of the foot. Hammertoes and other foot deformities occur when the patient does not address his or her bunion.

Treating Bunions

Your Somerset podiatrist performs a complete exam when she suspects a patient has a bunion. Dr. Gittens visually inspects the foot, takes X-rays and other kinds of diagnostic imaging if needed. Then, she may advise one or more of the following treatments:

  • Stretching exercises
  • A change in footwear (to shoes that support the foot well and have adequate room in the toe box)
  • Removal of corns and calluses
  • Padding within the shoes to alleviate pressure points
  • Splints are worn at night to correct joint deformity
  • Bunionectomy surgery
  • Orthotics, or custom-made shoe inserts which support and stabilize how a person walks

You can be treated

If you are having bunion symptoms, please contact Premier Foot & Ankle Center for an appointment. Bunions are very common, and you can get the relief you deserve. Call (732) 412-1282 today.

By Dr. Jade Gittens
August 02, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Footwear   High-heeled Shoes  

While high-heeled shoes may look stylish or complement your favorite outfit, they are rarely the best option for a woman's feet. According to a study by the American Podiatric Medical Association, 39 percent of women wear high heels every day; of the women who wear heels daily, three out of four reported foot problems. Despite these numbers, many women continue to underestimate the health risks associated with high heels.

High-heeled shoes disrupt the body's alignment, crowd the toes and force the body's weight onto the ball of the foot. Wearing heels can contribute to a variety of foot and ankle problems, including:

  • Achilles tendonitis: The Achilles tendon and calf muscles tighten and shorten as the front of the foot moves down in relation to the heel. This causes stress and painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon.
  • Bunion:. Narrow-toed shoes can cause a bony growth on the joint at the base of the big toe. The bunion forces the big toe to slant in toward the other toes, resulting in discomfort, blisters, corns and calluses.
  • Hammertoes: A narrow toe box crowds the smaller toes into a bent, claw-like position at the middle joint.
  • Metatarsalgia: Continued high heel wear can lead to joint pain in the ball of the foot as a result of heels forcing the body's weight to be redistributed.
  • Ankle injuries: Because heels impair balance and increase the risk of falling, ankle sprains and fractures are common.
  • Pump Bump: The rigid back of a pump-style shoe can cause pressure that irritates the heel bone, creating a bony enlargement known as Haglund's deformity.
  • Neuromas: A narrow toe box and high heel can compress and create a thickening of tissue around a nerve between the third and fourth toes, leading to pain and numbness in the toes.

Still not willing to ditch the heels? There are ways to relieve some of the damaging effects of high heels.

  • Avoid heels taller than 2 inches
  • Choose thicker, more stable heels. Thicker heels are still stylish, plus they lessen the stress on your feet and provide better shock absorption.
  • If you must wear heels, wear your gym shoes or flats for commuting and change into your heels once you arrive to your destination.
  • Stretch and massage your calf, heel, and foot muscles. This helps relax the muscles and tendons and prevents them from tightening and shortening.
  • Avoid shoes with pointed toes

High heel shoes can cause pain and foot deformities that can last a lifetime. So the next time you go to slip on your heels for a long day at work or a night out, consider the consequences and rethink your options. If foot pain persists, visit us for treatment.

By Dr. Jade Gittens
July 03, 2017
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Toenail Fungus  

Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus can be painful, irritating and embarrassing. When you experience trauma to your nail, the nail bed is lifted, allowing fungus to invade. Without treatment, this fungus can grow and spread, particularly in dark, warm, moist environments, such as socks and shoes.

Common signs and symptoms of toenail fungus include:

  • Discoloring or yellowing of the nail
  • Thickening or crumbling of the nail
  • Swelling around the nail
  • Disfigured nails
  • Streaks or spots down the side of the nail
  • Foul-smelling debris under the nail
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Complete nail loss

Prevention is Key

Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is more difficult to treat because toenails grow more slowly. Because removal of the fungus is challenging, prevention plays an important role in treatment.

  • Keep nails neatly trimmed.
  • Practice good foot hygiene, including daily washing with soap and water, drying feet and toes, carefully, and changing shoes regularly.
  • Always wear shoes in public areas, such as showers, locker rooms and pools.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that aren't too tight.
  • Avoid wearing nail polish for long periods, as it prevents the nail from breathing and can seal in fungus.

Treatment of Toenail Fungus

If you do develop toenail fungus, especially if the infection has become painful, visit our office. People with a chronic illness like diabetes should always see a podiatrist if they notice any changes in their nails, as it may be an indication of a more serious issue.

To eliminate the fungus, a podiatrist may remove as much of the infected nail as possible by trimming, filing or dissolving it. Oral or topical antifungal medications may also be prescribed to treat the infection. Laser treatment options are also sometimes available.

It’s only for severe, chronic infections that surgical removal of the nail might be recommended. Our office can help diagnose the cause of your toenail troubles, and make the best recommendation for treatment.

By Dr. Jade Gittens
June 27, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: heel pain  

Heel pain often develops gradually, but as the pain progresses it becomes almost impossible to ignore. This is especially true if you spend a lot Heel Painof time on your feet due to work or athletics. Every step you take requires adequate support from your heels, so this isn’t a problem to take lightly. Get help with your heel pain from a foot doctor at Premier Foot & Ankle Center in Somerset, NJ.

Heel Pain Causes
There are several possible reasons why you may be experiencing heel pain. One of the most common causes is the type of shoes that you choose to wear each day. For instance, people who wear flip flops for long periods of time can develop an irritation of the plantar fascia ligament, which affects the heel. Someone who is flat-footed can also have this problem. Some women who wear high heels often have heel pain due to friction from the back of their shoes. Another possible cause is an injury from jumping and landing on the heels while playing sports.

Relief from Suffering
The more you continue with your same habits, the worse the heel pain will become. That’s why it’s important that you seek treatment from a foot doctor in Somerset ASAP to reverse the symptoms. Common solutions include:

- Stretching exercises to help heal ligaments
- Orthotic inserts to improve the shape and form of the foot
- Ice therapy and medications to ease pain
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (a laser stimulates healing)

Better Choices for Your Feet
After your foot doctor helps relieve your heel pain, there are actions you can take going forward to ensure that it doesn’t reoccur. Observe these simple tips:

- Change your footwear. If you like to wear high heels, avoid wearing them every day and use heel cushions recommended by your foot doctor
- Use custom orthotics created by your podiatrist every day
- Exercise your feet even when you’re not walking. Flexing and stretching while resting can help restore health to the plantar fascia ligament

Call for a Heel Consultation
It’s time to give your heels some relief and see a foot doctor. Call Dr. Jade Gittens at (732) 412-1282 today to schedule an appointment at her office in Somerset, NJ.

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