A Step Ahead - Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists Blog

Children’s feet are very delicate and require special attention. As your child grows, the leg undergoes many changes in length, and position to help them walk properly. Therefore, parents should begin learning about these changes, and how abnormal changes can occur, especially in the feet. These abnormal changes can become larger problems later in life and affect your child’s walking ability. There are several tips for parents follow to help take care of their child’s feet and ensure they stay healthy:

  • Essential Nutrition: Ensuring your child is receiving essential nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and protein is crucial to healthy development of your child. These nutrients will help with bone and muscle development, and to avoid nutrient-deficient conditions (i.e. Rickets).


  • Buy Properly Fitted Shoes: When buying shoes, it is vital that your child’s shoes are not too tight or too loose, as this can cause foot pain, and other issues. Shoes that are too tight can distort the position of your child’s toes, and cause pain. Having distorted toes can also cause changes in your child’s walking pattern and have an impact on muscle development in the leg. It is also important to buy shoes that appropriate for your child’s activities (basketball shoes for playing basketball, boots for hiking, etc.)


  • Proper Foot Hygiene: It is important to make sure your child’s feet are properly cleansed daily and that they are not excessively moist. You can prevent infections from growth of bacterial and fungal organisms in your child’s feet by keeping the feet clean, dry, and lightly moisturized.


When to see a Podiatrist

If your child is walking awkwardly or is not walking at all (withdrawal from activities), it could be due to pain caused by an underlying foot, or leg condition. Your child should see a podiatrist to determine the cause and prevent further injuries.

If you notice irregularities with your child’s feet and have concerns, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona, and have all your treatment options presented to you and ensure you and your child maintain healthy feet.

Summer is here in Arizona and there are numerous chances to enjoy the sun and  have fun. However, summer can also impose health risks on the feet, and it is important to make sure you properly take care of your feet this summer. The following are several tips for you to be aware about for the summer:

  • Minimize how much you go barefoot – Since the weather is nice and sunny, it can be tempting to go barefoot or wear flip-flops most of time. However, when you are barefoot, your feet are vulnerable to injuries, including trauma to the toes, and sunburns.
  • Always wear appropriate shoes – Even though flip-flops are nice and convenient, they are not meant to be worn for long-term, but can be okay for short-term wear. However, if you have excessively sweaty feet, flip-flops can be a great way to minimize fungal infections by ensuring your feet have exposure to air and drying. Wearing properly fitted and supported shoes will remain vital to the health of your feet this summer to minimize injury. For more information on flip-flops, check out the link to our blog for Flip-Flops – How they can affect your foot health.
  • Whenever you are barefoot, apply sunscreen to your feet – even though getting proper sun exposure is important for vitamin D intake, it is also a risk for developing burns on your feet.
  • Ensure you keep yourself and your feet hydrated – with continual heat exposure, it is easy to become dehydrated. Staying hydrated helps tremendously with circulation, swelling, and preventing cracking of the skin. The heels and in between the toes are especially susceptible to dehydration and cracking.
  • Properly clean your feet and nails daily, especially if you have diabetes – When outside enjoying the weather, if your feet are not properly protected, they are susceptible to injury. For people with diabetes, it is important to properly inspect and clean your feet daily since many commonly have a loss of sensation and can be unaware if they have an injury.
  • Watch out for fungal infections – If some individual sweats excessively, they are more prone to developing fungal infections on your feet. Ensure the footwear worn allows the feet to breath, such as mesh lined shoes, or flip-flops if they are worn short-term. Having at least two pairs of shoes to rotate through will allow the other shoes to air dry and minimize excessive moisture in the shoes.

If you have concerns about your foot health this summer, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment options to available to you to help improve your foot health this upcoming summer.

There are several types of masses of tumors the foot can develop for numerous medical reasons. When people hear the words “mass” or “tumor”, it can be concerning since people often associate them with cancer. However, there are numerous foot masses involving the soft tissues that are benign, and not affiliated with cancers or any serious ailments. These masses can, however, cause discomfort when walking, standing, or sitting. The most common benign soft tissue tumor of the foot is a lipoma.

About Lipomas

Lipomas are soft tissue tumors that occur in the subcutaneous tissues just beneath the skin. They are growths of fat cells, contained in a fibrous capsule, and are generally small (usually less than 5 centimeters in diameter). These often present as a small, palpable, and rubbery mass on the foot. These lesions grow slowly and are not considered to be harmful. While they are not usually accompanied with pain, lipomas can cause pain if they are compressing nerves or other structures in the foot. The exact cause of lipomas is not known, but are commonly seen in patients who are middle-aged and obese. Lipomas are generally classified as being one of two types: superficial or deep.

  • Superficial lipomas are more common and well-circumscribed; this makes it easy to distinguish from similar surrounding structures.
  • Deep lipomas are not as well-circumscribed and can be difficult to distinguish from other surrounding soft tissue structures; this can make it harder to excise if treatment is needed.


Treatment Options

Since these lipomas are benign and do not transform into cancer, removal is not always necessary unless there is nerve compression, uncertain diagnosis of another lesion (i.e. ganglion cyst or plantar fibroma), or if the patient has cosmetic concerns. If treatment is needed, surgical excision can be done to remove the mass. Since the lipoma has a capsule, a local extracapsular excision is performed to remove the mass, and minimize damage to the surrounding tissues. Alternatively, the lipoma can also be removed by making an incision over the mass, and manually squeezing the lipoma through the incision.

If you have a suspicious mass on your foot and have concerns, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona, and have all your treatment options presented to you and ensure you and your family maintain healthy feet.

When changes occur to the toenails, they can be an indication of various underlying medical conditions. These changes can occur due to trauma, infections, biomechanical abnormalities, diseases, nutritional deficiencies, genetic factors, and overall effects of aging. Since the nails can undergo specific reactions, it is possible to predict the changes occurring over time. These changes are often associated with specific health conditions that may not always be noticed. The following are examples of several nail pathologies and their commonly associated underlying conditions:

  • Anonychia – These are absent nails and are commonly seen in patients with a genetic condition such as nail-patella syndrome (underdevelopment of the nails and kneecaps) or due to trauma or previous surgery of the nails (i.e. stubbing nails, previous nail removals)
  • Brittle Nails – This is often a result of disturbances in proper nutrition, aging, decreased thyroid activity (hypothyroidism), or excessive exposure to water or certain chemicals. The result are brittle, soft nails that can easily be cracked, split, or chipped with minimal effort
  • Koilonychia – The nail has a spoon-shaped appearance, causing a concave in the nail, and is commonly seen in people with iron deficiency anemia
  • Onychauxis – Abnormal thickening of the nail bed and may be caused trauma to the nail bed or due to an infection caused by certain bacteria or fungi
  • Nail Clubbing – Enlarging tips of the fingers and toes with an increased curving of the nails and is commonly seen in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD)
  • Onycholysis – Aptly described when the nail separates from the nail bed and is commonly found in people with psoriasis, fungal infections, or because of drug interactions

These are just a few examples of how toenails can give clues to other possibly underlying, undiagnosed conditions. When putting on shoes, showering, or taking off your shoes, be sure to take the time to properly inspect your toenails for any abnormal changes. Changes you want to look out for would be: unusual nail shapes (i.e. concavity, excessive growth, pitting), color changes, pain, swelling, or any tenderness when touching, standing, or walking. 

If you have noticed any unusual changes to your toenails and have concerns, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona, and have all your treatment options presented to you and ensure you and your family maintain healthy feet this holiday season.

With how much walking we do, our footwear undergoes wear-and-tear, especially running shoes. All footwear has a limited lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced. When shoes are beginning to wear down, their stability begins to fade, and makes feet susceptible to various injuries. Knowing exactly when to replace shoes can be difficult and as well as knowing what signs to look for on shoes that are wearing down. The following are signs you should consider replacing your current shoes:

  • They no longer fit comfortably: Feet can change sizes, especially when people undergo weight loss or gain, (i.e. dietary or pregnancy) and will need properly fitted shoes to accommodate the changes. People who have suffered foot recent injuries (such as sprains) can have swelling and may need to temporarily have larger shoes to help accommodate swelling if it is not healing.


  • Worn down shoe treads: When the tread begins to wear down, they lose traction, and increase the chance of falling, and increase the risk of suffering other foot and ankle injuries. Treads often wear down at the heel and ball of the foot more so than other areas of the shoe due to increased application of weight in these areas.


  • The shoes become unstable: To test whether your shoes are unstable, bend your shoes at the ball of the foot, twist the shoe (the more it twists, the less stable the shoe has become), and check the firmness of the shoe’s heel counter where your heel sits. Each of these helps test the shank rigidity of the shoe and new shoes should be purchased if the shoes have increased flexing and twisting.


  • How many pairs of shoes you own: Having more than one pair of shoes that you can rotate will help prolong the lifespan of your shoes and prevent rapid wear-and-tear. If you are constantly wear one pair of shoes, the shoes will wear down faster, and need to be replaced. This is important, especially if they are running shoes, or shoes you wear to work every day.


When You Should See a Podiatrist

If you are experiencing foot pain and it is not relieved by new footwear, then it is important to see your podiatrist to identify the cause of your foot pain. Your podiatrist can also help you select shoes appropriately fitted for you and minimize the risk of injuries later.

If you are currently experiencing foot pain, it could be caused by worn out shoes, and need to be replaced. If you have recently replaced your shoes and are still experiencing foot pain, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona, and have all your treatment options presented to you to ensure you maintain healthy feet.

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