A Step Ahead - Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists Blog

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Cracked heels are a common foot problem. In a survey over 20 percent of adults in the United States experience cracked skin on their feet. This can occur in both adults and children, and seems to affect women more often than men. (Women tend to wear less comfortable shoes....Fashion over function, right ladies?)
For most people, having cracked heels isn’t serious. It may cause discomfort when going barefoot, but in some cases, cracks in the heels can become very deep and cause pain. Read on to learn about the best home remedies for treating and preventing cracked heels.
Soak, exfoliate and moisturize your feet
  • Keep your feet in lukewarm water with epsom salt for up to 20 minutes.
  • Use a loofah, foot scrubber or pumice stone to remove any hard, thick skin.
  • Gently pat your feet dry.
  • Apply a heel balm or thick moisturizer to the affected area. These balms contain ingredients to moisturize, soften, and exfoliate dead skin. Look for the following ingredients;
  • Urea
  • Salicylic acid
  • alpha-hydroxy acids
  • saccharide isomerate
We recommend Revitaderm 
and it is available to purchase in our office. 
  • Put on socks to avoid spreading any lotion around. 
*If your cracked heels are painful or bleeding, make an appointment to see one of the doctors at Sole Foot & Ankle Specialists today!
Many people do not think about their feet when applying sunscreen, but did you know that the skin on your feet is highly susceptible to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer? Podiatrists and Dermatologists alike warn that skin cancer of the foot is prevalent and can even be fatal if not caught early. 
While all types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, can be found on the foot, the most common is the most serious form, melanoma. Symptoms can be as subtle as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle found anywhere on the foot, and often go unnoticed without routine foot exams.
Dr. Larson & Dr. Doyle offer these tips to keep your feet safe this summer:

  • Lather up with sunscreen from head to toe-literally-when at the pool or beach to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
  • Check your feet and toes regularly for symptoms such as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle anywhere on the foot - even under toenails and on your soles.
  • Look for moles or freckles that change in size or shape. If you notice anything suspicious, promptly schedule an appointment with your foot and ankle specialist to have the mark examined.
  • Schedule routine foot exams with one of the doctors at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists so they can keep track of suspicious, changing marks. Give us a call today (602) 938-3600.

When it comes to arthritis of the feet, it can be very painful, and difficult to get around without being in discomfort. Since the foot is responsible for supporting the entire weight of the body, it is involved with natural wear and tear, and highly susceptible to arthritis. You may have been prescribed medications for flare-ups and pain management, or even special bracing to help minimize the joint motion. However, did you know one thing that is important for people with arthritis is regular, proper exercise? While this does not sound ideal for a foot in pain, the appropriate amount of exercise is actually vital for your overall health, even with arthritis.

Benefits of Exercising with Arthritis

Arthritis can stiffen joints and make it painful to move. However, there are numerous reasons why exercising with arthritis can help improve the symptoms you may be experiencing.

  • Exercise reduces joint stiffness and pain – When people do not exercise as often as they should, the supporting muscles of the joint eventually weaken, and make it difficult for the joints to move. Exercising will help maintain the muscle strength and eventually help relieve the pain felt when trying to move the joints.
  • Exercise can improve balance and stability – Arthritis can cause imbalance and lack of stability due to the pain often experienced when putting pressure on the affected joints; this leads to decrease in muscle strength. When this happens, people tend to place weight on areas of their feet that are not normally done when standing. Since the body weight is not properly distributed on the foot, it leads to improper balance, and ultimately leads to an increase in fall risk. Exercising increases the strength of the foot and ankle muscles and contributes to improved balance and stability, thereby minimizing your risk of fall injuries.
  • Exercising promotes your mental well-being – In patients without arthritis, exercising is often a means of relieving stress. This does not have to change if you are experiencing arthritis. Exercise can greatly reduce anxiety, stress, restlessness, and can put patients in a better mood.

Types of Exercises

While exercising has numerous health benefits, there are also ideal ways to exercise, especially when people have arthritis. The number one cause of injury to the foot and ankle when exercising is overuse or doing too much, too soon, and too fast. The following are examples of basic exercises to perform with arthritis:

  • Joint Stretches – performing simple and gentle stretching of your foot and ankle is a great way to help increase the range of motion and relieving stiff joints. This can help increase your joint mobility and help minimize pain when performing daily tasks.
  • Cardio – high-impact cardio exercising has great health benefits. However, high-impact exercising such as running or high-impact sports can increase the risk of further joint destruction and should not be the primary exercise performed. Therefore, low-impact cardio exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga can provide pain relief by increasing joint mobility and overall exercise tolerance.

If you have concerns about your foot arthritis and want to get a handle on it, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with  Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment and exercise options to available to you to help improve your foot health and properly handle your foot arthritis.

Arizona is known for having intensely hot days in the summer and people look for ways to cool down. Most often, they choose to head out to their local swimming pool to spend quality relaxing time with the family and enjoy their summer days. This can be a great idea for you and your family’s health due to the many positive health benefits swimming brings, including foot health. However, there are also several health concerns to be aware about and prevent.

Health Benefits of Swimming

Moving about and being active is one of the best things a person can do to for their body. However, it is understandable that sometimes being on your feet all day and walking from place to place can lead to unbearable foot and leg pain; this makes it difficult to engage in many activities. Going for a swim is a great alternative due to many health benefits it employs, especially if it is difficult to participate in other activities. The following are some of the health benefits to swimming:

  • Relieving foot and leg aches – when compared to hiking or running, people place much less weight on their feet when casually swimming in water. This can provide pain relief to the foot and leg and help minimize inflammation.
  • Improving blood circulation – being active promotes blood circulation and can sometimes be difficult. However, swimming promotes blood circulation by the working of your muscles as you tread through the water, efficiently providing blood flow back to your heart. This is very beneficial in individuals with reduced circulation, such as people with diabetes, or heart disease.


Health Concerns of Swimming

While swimming has its health benefits, there are also a few things to watch out for when deciding to go for a relaxing swim or are an avid, athletic swimmer. The following are some concerns and guides on how to take care of them:

  • Excessive moisture in the skin – when people are in the water too long, excessive moisture (especially between the toes) occurs, and can lead to cracking and peeling of the skin; this makes it easy for bacterial and fungal infections to occur. To help minimize this, make sure to take breaks from the water if you spend larges amount of time there, and carefully dry your feet each time you get out.
  • Muscle cramps and tendonitis – while this is not as much of a concern in casual swimming, it can occur in individuals who swim athletically, or competitively. Individuals who swim athletically often complain of cramps in their feet due to excessing pointing of their toes as they swim laps. Tendonitis can also occur due to the amount of kicking done as they swim. To help minimize this, proper stretching of the Achilles tendon, toes, and relaxation of the feet before actively engaging in swimming should be performed. Also, drinking water before and after swimming will help minimize cramps; being in water for long periods of time does not provide the hydration need compared to when you are drinking water.


If you have concerns about your foot health this summer, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with 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.

You are walking down the street one day and feel as if you are stepping on a pebble. However, when you go to remove your shoe, you notice there are no rocks in there. You keep walking and still feel as if you are walking pebbles. Finally, you decide to take off your sock and notice what look like several calluses on the bottom of your foot, but with black dots – you could have a case of plantar warts.

About Plantar Warts

Plantar warts (verruca plantaris) are skin lesions occurring on the bottom of your feet and are caused by specific strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) from viral entry through small cuts, or other breaks in your feet. These particular warts considered to be an epidermal lesion (only of the superficial later of skin) and are common to find in areas of the foot where pressure and friction are increased (i.e. heel, ball of the foot). As a result, these warts can become tender and painful to walk on. Plantar warts have unique features to help distinguish it from other foot ailments such as:

  • Tiny black dots (commonly called “wart seeds”), indicating a small, clotted blood supply – these could cause a small amount of bleeding

  • Well-defined edges around the wart – your normal skin lines will not appear on the wart, but instead be moved aside

  • More than one wart in the same region of your foot or in multiple areas

  • The wart(s) may have the appearance of a cauliflower vegetable or present as a mosaic pattern

  • The wart(s) could be more tender when you push it on the sides rather than directly on the top

At-Risk Groups and Treatment Options

People of all age groups can develop plantar warts but are most commonly seen in children and teenagers, people who have previously had plantar warts, and people with weakened immune systems.

Finding the right treatment for your plantar warts can be a challenge due to chance of recurrence of the warts. However, there are a large number of treatments options available to those who have plantar warts, ranging from at-home treatments to laser or surgical excision depending on the needs of the patient.

When to See Your Podiatrist

  • When you or your family members have warts and desire to have them removed

  • It becomes painful to walk or you notice bleeding, redness, and swelling

  • The warts reappear after previous treatments have not worked

If you or your family members think you might have plantar warts, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona, and have all of your treatment options presented to you to ensure you continue to maintain happy, healthy feet.


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