Tag Archives: Tips

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.

4 Common Practices Damaging Your Nails

With spring and summer like weather many folks bring out their favorite sandals, flip-flops and open toed shoes in rebellion to the confines of the shoes we typically wear in the winter. What better way to show off your favorite open toed shoes than with a new manicure and pedicure? Nail polish is a great way to accessorize, but some polish chemicals and techniques can be highly detrimental to your nail health. Toenails grow at just a fraction of the rate of your fingernails, which means any damage caused can hang around a lot longer than you think.

  • Using Polishes with the ‘Toxic Trio’

Most polish manufacturers are beginning to move away from these chemicals, because of their health risks.  However, formaldehyde, toluene and dibutylphthalate are still present in some products on the market. All three of these chemicals are known for their carcinogenic or toxic effects, so it’s always a good idea to check the label on your favorite polish to see what is being applied. Don’t be afraid to ask your pedicurist what polishes they are planning on using on your feet or hands.  Pedicurists work with a wide variety of products everyday and should be able to recommend brands with natural or non-toxic ingredients.

  • Give Your Nails a Break….So they Don’t!

Over time, heavy use of polishes, acrylics and gels can cause your nails to yellow and dry out. Much like your skin when it comes to makeup, your nails need time to breath, refresh and rehydrate in order to stay in top shape. Heavy nail treatments act like a varnish, sealing them away from air and preventing some of their natural restorative cycles. Plus, chemicals, like those mentioned earlier, can draw nutrients out of your nail leaving them thin and easy to break or tear.

  • If You Change Colors, Avoid Acetone

There are thousands of different colors of polish these days and each goes perfectly with a different scenario, so it can be really tempting to want to change your polish color frequently. Be careful! Many of the solvents commonly used to quickly remove polish, like Acetone, are extremely harsh on your nails leaving them dried out and easy to damage. 

  • Don’t remove polish with your fingers

Now, I know I said you should be careful using solvents to remove polish from your nails, but you shouldn’t chisel color off with your fingers either. When you pick and peel your nail polish or lacquer off, you’re not just removing the color, you are also removing the top layer of your nails. This might seem harmless at first, but it can significantly weaken the nail and leave it susceptible to other abrasives or damage.

5 Tips to Avoid Toenail Fungus this Season

Toenail fungus is becoming more common this time of year since it’s warming up. This irritating condition is a hassle to deal with, which is why we collected our top 5 tips to prevent toenail fungus:

1. Change your socks

Nail fungus loves moist and dark environments, so sweaty feet and wet socks are the perfect environment for toenail fungus. No matter whether you go hiking or have a stressful day at the office, make sure to have an extra pair of socks with you. Your colleagues will appreciate it as well!

2. Clean your toes

Just like your teeth, your toenails need to be cleaned. The more regular you clean, the lower the chance of getting toenail fungus! Once a day is probably more than enough, but twice a day makes sense when going to the gym or engaging on any other physically challenging activity.

3. Wear sandals

Talking about the gym: public showers and locker rooms are filled with bacteria and moisture, so wear sandals to protect your feet when going to the gym or local pool.

4. Use antifungal sprays or powders

Some people naturally sweat more than others, so control sweat by spraying antifungal sprays/powders inside your shoes and on your socks.

5. Wear shoes that fit

If your shoes are irritating your toes, they are most likely irritating your toenails. Any irritation increases the risk of getting toenail fungus, so make sure your shoes don’t touch your toenails. Alternate the shoes you wear so that they can air out before you wear them again.

Let’s all try to prevent toenail fungus for happier healthier feet, and keep your eyes open for upcoming blogs about toenail fungus detection and treatment options.

Toenail Fungus

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.

Insurance Card Updates – Presented by our own Sarah Mueller

There have been some slight changes when it comes to the use of insurance cards, so we want to update you right away! Acting as our guide is Sarah Mueller. Sarah is a Quad City native who has been a terrific part of our office for three years now. She loves what she does, so she has been kind enough to explain these recent developments.

Medicare and many other providers have updated their insurance cards to make them more secure for patients. Because of this change, we are asking all of our patients to bring in their updated insurance card, as well as their most recent list of medications with dosages to their appointments. This allows us to bring you the best care possible, seamlessly and easily. We are not alone in this update, many medical offices across the country are participating in this new practice.

Sarah reassures us that if you don’t have your new card or an updated list on hand, they are easy to organize! For a new card, simply contact your insurance provider or employer if your insurance is through them, and ask them. Some patients will have received them already and some might still be waiting for them to arrive, so your provider will be able to tell you where you are in this process. For a recent list of medications with dosages, you can contact your primary care physician, or in some cases your pharmacy, and they can provide you with that information. Do not worry if you forget your medication list at your next appointment, in most cases we are able to call your physician and acquire it that way, but this takes more time.

Don’t worry about billing! All of the same documentation will be used as before, and by providing your new card, we can ensure you will see no lapses in coverage, billing or care. Our goal in this update is to continue to provide you with top-tier foot care and pain treatment in the most secure way possible. By bringing your new insurance card and up-to-date medication list, you are helping us ensure we are giving you the most effective course of treatment and putting the spring back in your step as quickly as possible! Of course, if you ever have any questions, feel free to drop by the office or give us a call at (309) 762-7919.