Tag Archives: Symptoms

Seeking Immediate Medical Assistance vs Waiting for the COVID Vaccine

The news of a COVID-19 vaccine has thrilled the nation. People hope to resume their daily routines within a couple of months without potentially exposing themselves to COVID. This also means you now have to make a tough choice regarding your healthcare.

Will you seek immediate attention for a medical condition or will you wait for COVID to become less severe? Please keep in mind every situation is unique and only a qualified medical professional can make a final assessment. We, at Dr. Smith’s office, would like to provide a few thoughts on this topic from a podiatric perspective.

Pain Levels

The first step is to evaluate your pain level. Does the pain interrupt your daily life and normal activities or is it manageable in the short run? Are there alternative treatments to lower the pain? In any case, pain can be a serious indicator of an injury, so please call the office, explain your condition and ask for steps on moving forward. Self-medication often causes more harm than not and a simple phone call may give you the direction you need.

At-risk Patients

When calling the office, please consider telling us more about your COVID risk level. Patients with asthma, high blood pressure or obesity are more likely to suffer from more serious COVID complications. High-risk patients may be better advised to reschedule follow-up appointments or minor treatments. Knowing risk factors will also help us evaluate the risk of not seeking immediate treatment. Our goal is to weigh the benefits and risks of both actions against each other to come up with the most beneficial solution for you.

Chronic Conditions

The same applies to chronic conditions. Some patients have regular follow-up visits to evaluate progress of their treatment. In some cases, this evaluation may be done over the phone and could save you a trip to our office.

New Symptoms

You may experience new symptoms without exactly knowing whether these relate to a chronic condition, a known condition or to a completely new issue. Certain medications also have side effects, so check the label and give us a call with any questions before making an appointment.

Support Network

This element is often overlooked. Do you live with family who can help you out? Are you living in an assisted care facility with medical capacities? Are you living on your own without any direct support network? We recommend writing down a list of people close to you in case your situation worsens. These individuals may help you make the appropriate decision and call our office for more input. Make sure to communicate problems with loved ones, because a delayed diagnosis may cause non-reversible long-term damage and would outweigh the risk of a potential COVID infection.

Level of Exposure

Ask yourself if you have been exposed to individuals with COVID-19. The best protection for everyone is to wear masks and avoid large gatherings. Watching out for each other reduces exposure for all of us, so please make sure you are not accidentally exposing others when visiting the office.

In general, listen to your body and evaluate your situation with a trusted family member or friend. Keep in mind our office staff is doing everything in our power to keep the office hygienic and safe for you. When in doubt, please give us a call before making an appointment. Be transparent with your situation and ask for advice. We will be able to tell you if it makes more sense to make an immediate appointment or wait until the COVID exposure risk is lower. Your health is our number 1 priority, so please do not hesitate to reach out at any time.

Foot Protection – Winter Edition

Don’t let the weather have control over your feet. Whether you are shoveling, sledding, or simply walking through the snow it is important to make sure your feet are properly protected. Harsh winter conditions can often have a negative effect on your feet. Here are some tips on how to keep your feet protected and healthy this winter.

Proper footwear

Although this may seem obvious, it is extremely important to wear the correct shoes for winter. No matter what type of boot you decide to wear this winter, make sure they are waterproof. Snow and slush are unavoidable, so investing in a pair of waterproof boots is essential to keep your feet dry. It is also important to get your winter boots in a slightly larger size to be able to fit thicker socks and multiple layers. However, when participating in winter activities such as skiing or snowboarding, it is important to make sure your boots fight snug and comfortably. Boots that are too big can create instability and if your boots are too tight they can cause blisters.

Warm toes are happy toes

Not only are the type of boots you wear important, but so are your socks. This winter layering is your friend. A thin sock and an outer layer of a wool sock is a perfect combination for keeping your toes warm and comfortable. Although the temperatures can become extremely frigid, your feet still sweat. Avoid wearing cotton socks and look in to getting a pair of sweat-wick socks that won’t absorb your sweat like cotton socks do. This is a great way to avoid any problems of athlete’s foot this winter. Feet play a large role in body temperature, so make your feet a priority this winter

Keep your feet moisturized

One of the most common foot complaints in winter is dry skin, specifically cracked heels. Cracked heels, also known as “heel fissures” can be very uncomfortable and possibly painful. Like most other dry skin issues, apply lotion or moisturizing cream daily. Proper socks and footwear also play a role in protecting your feet.

Get a Grip

One way to avoid any nasty falls this winter is to make sure your boots have proper traction. Many winter boots are equipped with certain soles meant for gripping cold or wet surfaces. Generally made from rubber due to its water-proof ability, rubber soles are very effective when navigating slippery surfaces. So, do your research and make sure you’re properly equipped this winter.

Finally, always keep safety in mind. Wear proper boots, layer your socks, and take breaks to warm-up inside.

Athlete’s Foot – Do I have it?

Hot and humid summers are the perfect environment for a condition called Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis). Like most fungal infections, Athlete’s Foot thrives when sweat meets confined spaces, so athletes and individuals who like to wear tight shows are especially affected. It’s vital to recognize the first signs to prevent it from spreading further. The following symptoms are sorted from most common to least common.

  • Scaly red rash
  • Located in between toes, especially the smaller ones
  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Infection spreading to hands, toe nails or groin area
  • Dryness of the sole
  • Blisters
  • Ulcers

Symptoms depend on the individual affected and the type of Athlete’s Foot contracted. The inter-digital type primarily affects the clefts between the toes, the moccasin type often affects the sole of the feet, and the blistering type may lead to the formation of blisters.

Blisters caused by Athlete’s Foot are often overlooked and under-estimated, because most people do not realize these are different from the usual blisters you get from walking too much. The difference is that blisters caused by fungi often appear on the sole of the foot where the skin is thickest. They ooze pus, get crusty and may leave a red scaly border behind.  This kind of Athlete’s Foot also leads to a much higher risk for infection.

These symptoms commonly indicate Athlete’s Foot; however, a definite conclusion can only be drawn by a medical professional. Treatment plans vary depending on the kind of fungus, the severity of the condition and the condition of the individual affected. Please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Smith and Dr. Buckrop if you have questions about these symptoms.