Items filtered by date: June 2012

Varicose veins affect primarily women as they age and veins become tortuous and enlarged. While this may be less concerning during the cold Columbus winters when legs are covered, varicose veins pose a cosmetic problem in the summer when shorts and bathing suits place them prominently on display. While varicose veins may be a cause of increased self-consciousness, they can more importantly be a cause of serious health problems in the foot and ankle year round.

Varicose veins occur in the leg when increased blood pools and disrupts the function of valves that normally keep blood flowing in the correct direction. This allows excess blood to accumulate in the vein and greatly enlarge the vessel’s diameter, causing it to appear more prominently. Aside from being cause for cosmetic concern, these veins can become painful. One condition that can be caused by varicose veins in the ankle is called “tarsal tunnel syndrome”. The nerve passing through the ankle into the foot becomes impinged upon by the enlarged vein. When the nerve is impinged it causes pain, and burning or tingling that may radiate into the foot and toes. This burning foot pain will typically increase with activity, and be lessened with rest. Numbness in the foot and weakness of the foot muscles may also occur.

When blood accumulates excessively in a blood vessel, fluid will lead out into the surrounding tissue causing swelling, or edema. When edema occurs in patients with varicose veins for an extended period of time, tissue breakdown and ulcers can develop in the foot. In addition, varicose veins will often cause the surrounding tissue to be pruritic, or itchy. Chronic scratching with weakened tissue compounds the risk of developing ulcer and infection. This is of especially important concern in individuals with diabetes who are already predisposed to infection and ulceration if they have some loss of sensation in the feet.

Luckily, patients can work to prevent and slow the development of varicose veins. Exercising and weight control are two ways to keep the leg and foot veins open and flowing properly. In patients already developing varicosities and slowed venous blood flow, their podiatrist can recommend specific types of socks called compression socks or stockings that help to better circulate the blood and keep it from pooling in the legs. Other treatment options including a special type of soft cast may also be required if severe swelling and heightened risk of ulceration develop.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, OhioColumbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Bug bites are seemingly inevitable when spending time outside and feet and ankles are a sweet spot for many insects to latch on to. While a mosquito bite can often be easily spotted (especially if you catch the critter in the act!), other insect bites on the lower extremity may be a bit more irritating or worrisome.

Ticks causing Lyme disease frequently transfer the disease to human through a bite on the ankle or lower leg region. If you have been bit by a tick that did transfer the disease, a small raised lesion initially appears at the site of the bite. This small bump will then spread to for a ring of redness with a central area of clearing that may be the color of normal skin or slightly blue. This bulls-eye shaped lesion is a characteristic of Lyme disease called “erythema migrans”. Symptoms that occur along with the rash in the initial stage of Lyme disease that occurs days to weeks after the tick bite resemble the flu. If the disease is not caught early, typically by knowledge of being bit by a tick or the appearance of a bulls-eye rash that is most commonly seen on the ankles and legs, it may progress to the brain and heart. Preventative measures should be taken when going into the woods to avoid tick bites. Using tick-repellent bug spray and wearing appropriate shoe gear and pants to keep the feet and ankles protected can help avoid bites.

Even if you don’t own a dog or cat, a visit to Alum Creek State Park Beach or other Columbus area beaches can cause you to acquire bites on your feet and ankles from an unlikely suspect this summer. The same fleas the bite pets will also humans, and these fleas can be found at beaches. These bites typically occur in a linear pattern of three or four bites on the foot and ankle as the flea “samples” several areas while feeding. Raised bumps will occur that may have a center that bleeds. These bumps are extremely itchy and irritating to the flea’s victim. Topical medications can be prescribed to lessen the itchiness until the bumps resolve if your podiatrist diagnoses you with this type of bite. Excessive scratching of an irritated bite can lead to open wounds and infection and should be avoided.

While these are only two types of bites that commonly occur on the foot and ankle with increased frequency in summer months, many others exist. Regular self-examination of your feet can help catch a more serious bite, such as from a lyme-disease carrying tick, early on in the disease process. If irritating rashes, bites or unusual swelling are found on the feet contact your podiatrist to obtain a correct diagnosis and learn how to treat the irritation and avoid future bites.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, OhioColumbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

As I was getting ice cream at Graeter’s near the Dublin Columbus Podiatry and Surgery office this past week, I realized that season of summer and ice cream has arrived. And that both ice cream and summer bring foot bone health and osteoporosis to mind.

Summer should be a time of enjoying the outdoors injury free. However, for those suffering from osteoporosis they may have to be a bit more careful to protect the bones in their feet and elsewhere in the body. One in five American women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis and is at increased risk for fractures in the lower extremity. Foot fractures following minimal or no traumatic event may be the initial sign of severely decreased bone density. Often times, before a fracture occurs, osteoporosis can be a silent disease with no signs or symptoms of the serious bone weakening occurring. Some of the signs that may present as the disease progresses include a loss of height and a Dowager’s hump, a curve in the spine that occurs from decreased vertebral support.

Commonly known risk factors for developing osteoporosis include not getting enough calcium, vitamin D, having a family history of osteoporosis. What many people do not know is that diabetes is a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis. Once an individual with diabetes has osteoporosis, they can be at risk for additional damaging bone diseases in the foot including Charcot foot. One of the ways to decrease your risk of osteoporosis, as well as many other foot problems such as ulcers and infection, is to gain control of your blood glucose levels and avoid the development of diabetes. Other ways to take care of your bones include having a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and to take part in daily weight bearing exercise. Low fat ice cream and yogurt can be a great source of calcium, as well as a refreshing treat in the summer! Weight bearing exercises such as walking are better for strengthening your bones that non-weight bearing activities like biking or swimming. If foot pain is holding you back from a daily walk, be sure to contact your podiatrist as soon as possible. Many painful foot deformities including bunions, hammer toes and pump bumps can be fitted with a custom padding to alleviate pain and foot orthotics may be recommended to slow further development of the deformity.

So remember the next time you are feeling guilty about indulging in a scoop of ice cream, you are actually eating to keep your foot bones strong and healthy (as long as it’s in moderation)!

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, OhioColumbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

It has been a big few weeks for runners and fitness enthusiasts in the Columbus area. While National Running Day was a day of celebrations for many, the recent settlement in the lawsuit against Sketcher’s Shapeup Shoes have left those looking for an extra boost in their run less enthused. Back in February 2011, our blog “The Truth about Toning Shoes” discussed this style of shoe, but they have remained a source of both intrigue and confusion. Keeping your feet healthy and choosing shoes that help you to do so is the best way to ensure that you will be enjoying national running day for years to come.

Sketcher’s is not the first so called “fitness” shoe claiming to tone your legs and thighs almost magically just by wearing them. Reebok was also forced to dole out a refund to customers who had purchased their “EasyTone” sneakers that, similar to the Sketcher’s shape up, had made claims about the shoes’ health benefits that had not been evaluated or proven true in any clinical tests. While the claims that these shoes firm your legs and bottom may not have been true, these shoes may actually increase the risk of foot and ankle injury for some people. Most toning shoes create instability that the wearer’s foot and leg muscles must counteract in order to remain balanced and upright. For some people, this can be outright dangerous. For example, an individual with peripheral neuropathy from diabetes may be unable to compensate for the imbalance and find themselves more likely to sprain their ankle or even fracture a foot bone. Even a healthy individual with no nerve problems who chooses this style of shoe to run in may be more likely to stumble, or strain a muscle while running from the unnatural motion the shoe creates.

When it comes to running shoes other than “Shape up” or “Toning” shoes, every runner needs to ensure that the shoe they select fits comfortably to their own foot. Improperly fitting running shoes can result in blisters, calluses, tendonitis and even stress fractures if they cause the wearer’s bone to experience excessive pressure over time. Even the best fitting shoe may not be sufficient for some runners to prevent injury. Custom orthotics can be used to help a foot function better and prevent injury inside of a properly fitting running shoe. Even if you are not a runner, but are involved in walking, aerobics or other sports, custom orthotics can help keep your feet pain free and healthy.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, OhioColumbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

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