We’ve seen a lot of feet in our day, but the Framingham Foot Study could give us a run for the money. It was one of the largest foot condition studies in history, examining more than 6,000 feet and types of footwear (we’d call that a pretty busy day at the office). One of the study’s findings was that conditions like bunions and high arches tend to run in families. “Foot disorders have high heritability,” said study author Mariam T. Hannan of Harvard Medical School, adding: “That’s important, especially for younger people, as there are things you can do to slow the rate of progression and even to prevent many of these problems in the first place.” Our NYC podiatrists have a few suggestions.
Caroline Stillman could never find the right shoes. If you have a common foot size, you might occasionally experience this problem when you go shopping and your size is sold out. But Stillman’s problem was that she couldn’t find shoes in size 11. We’ve heard the same frustrations from many women with large feet. She’s not alone. It’s hard to watch from the sidelines as your friends slip into dainty heels that are dwarfed by your big toe. But Stillman has hatched a plan to help women who share her problem.
We recommend that every American add a podiatrist to their team of health care experts. People come in to our NYC Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine for everything from foot pain and sprained ankles to fungus toenails and plantar warts. It’s a wild world out there, but it behooves you to take care of your feet so you can enjoy the best possible mobility for years to come. Here are five proper foot care tips you can learn from a podiatrist.
I’ve been a migraine sufferer since I was a little girl. I see flashing lights, my hands go numb, I can’t stand noise, and I feel like my head’s going to explode. Migraines are quite common, 25% of women and 8% of men will have one in their lifetimes, but little is known about the potentially debilitating disorder. We don’t know what causes them or why. We know they’re characterized by an electrical storm in the brain but how that storm starts, where it comes from, and why some people are susceptible while others aren’t remains a mystery. What does this have to do with feet, you might ask? It turns out, quite a lot.
It’s a good thing we have toenails, or, at least, it used to be a good thing. Back before we were human beings, when we were some earlier version of ourselves, finger and toenails were thicker, more like claws and hooves. They were good tools and helped protect our early ancestors. But what about these days? What purpose do toenails serve now? There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of information on the subject. Surely they evolved from claws, that seems clear enough. But whether we need them now is another question. Some argue that they protect the foot bones, but people without toenails typically manage just fine. I would suggest that these days the most important role toenails play is as a diagnostic tool. The nails offer a window into overall internal health. Vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, circulation problems, and fungal infections all paint a picture on the toenail.
Chemotherapy is an incredible thing. It has saved countless lives, bringing very sick people back from the brink of death. It has allowed mothers to raise their children, and children to become adults. There is no doubt, without chemotherapy our world would be a much sadder, much more desperate place. We hear about the side effects of the treatment and we think, “yeah, well, that’s what it takes to live.” Having never been through chemotherapy myself (and hoping never to have to, knock on wood) I feel totally unqualified to make a judgment call about cost and benefit. There are hundreds of potential side effects that can occur when your doctor pumps you full of radiation, and many of them are more painful than the cancer itself. One of these troubling side effects is peripheral neuropathy: pain, numbness, coldness, and cramping in the feet caused by nerve damage. (This condition can also result from uncontrolled diabetes.)
We’ve all heard it before: the size of a man’s feet are directly proportional to the size of his… You know the rest. It’s a silly clichéd saying from romantic comedies and singles bars the world over. A few years ago there was even a whole huge art piece about this at Burning Man. It’s a pervasive saying and one of those things I never actually take seriously, just laugh off politely (or impolitely, depending on the circumstances). But recently I came across some actual science on the subject. Every now and then scientists delve into the lighter questions, putting aside the God Particle for a moment to find the truth behind some quirky social assertion. In this case the investigation (from all the way back in 2002) was resurrected by a lawsuit filed by the musician Chubby Checker against Hewlett Packard over an app that purported to estimate a man’s endowment based on his foot size. What a world.
I’m not a big sports fan so I wasn’t paying much attention when it was announced that Pierre Garcon, the Redskins wide receiver, was out with an injury. I did perk up my ears, however, when I heard that he had a plantar plate tear. The reason? Unlike many foot injuries suffered by high-impact athletes running at each other like freight trains, plantar plate tears can happen to anyone. In Garcon’s case, the initial injury was sustained early in the season and, after just a few missed games, he was back on the turf, only to injure himself more severely by going back too soon. Now, months later, he’s still undecided about surgery. It’s true, the recovery time is long, but what is the alternative? Let’s explore Garcon’s options.
When you think of professional dancers you may conjure ballerinas on pointed toe; modern dancers in their strange, muscular poses; or tap dancers rapping out a beat across the stage. But the topic of today’s foray into the entertainment business is the ballroom dancer: the movie, television, and dramatic dancer who almost always appears in impossibly high heels. These shoes are essential to the art form. They are a necessary part of the dance itself, influencing the movements and posture of the female dancer. And yet, as regular readers know, heels are extremely damaging to the feet. A career of energetic, high-impact dancing in heels often causes irreparable damage, extreme pain, and debilitation. So why do they do it? What is it about the dance that makes the heels worth the pain?
“I am so grateful for having had Dr. Geldwert perform bunion surgery on both of my feet. I have complete confidence in him and continue to see him for other sports related injuries. I was cautious about having surgery for the first time, but his knowledge, patience, and skill made me completely comfortable in trusting him. And I couldn’t be any happier with the results!! When anything else feels wrong with my feet, I love that I now know to go immediately to him. He is my top choice for anyone searching for the best foot fixer/surgeon/sports doctor in NYC! Thank you, Dr. Geldwert!!!”
– J. M., Manhattan, NY
Manhattan Office 111 East 88th Street New York, NY 10128 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Westchester Office 10 Mitchell Place Suite 105 White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 328-3400 See map here
Manhattan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine 57 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Dr. Josef J. Geldwert DPM, Dr. Katherine Lai DPM, Dr. Ryan Minara, DPM, and Dr. Mariola Rivera DPM serving Westchester County, White Plains, Ardsley, Bronxville, Harrison NY, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye, Scarsdale, Rye Brook, Chappaqua, and the surrounding area.
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