April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, so Medical Center Barbour sat down with Dr. Rona Green, the podiatrist who sees patients in the MCB Specialty Clinic, to discuss the importance of foot health.
What foot problems can you treat through the MCB Specialty Clinic?
Heal pain, nail fungus, warts, bunions, hammer toes, diabetic foot care, non-healing wounds, foot injuries, and ingrown toenails.
What are the most common?
The top three issues I see are ingrown toenails, diabetic foot care, heel pain.
Why do you see so much heel pain?
In the Eufaula area, many people are factory workers and plant workers, so they are on their feet a lot. That tendon on the bottom of the foot, known as the planter fascia, is overused and causes heel pain and heel spurs.
How can someone prevent that?
They can prevent that by having a podiatrist fit them with arch supports. It’s a very easy fix. But the sad thing is that many people will work in the plant for 20 years without knowing about that and then years down the road they are in so much pain that unfortunately, many times they will have to have surgery. But it is preventative, and I wish that the companies would enforce that- just like they enforce the rule to wear steel-toed shoes- that they would enforce going to the podiatrist to be fitted with arch supports. It should be mandatory- if you work in the plant, you wear arch supports.
What are other things you can to do to prevent foot problems?
To prevent foot problems, I recommend investing in proper shoes, especially for athletes like runners. But I also stress that diabetics should have annual foot screenings. Diabetes is a multi-system disease, and it does affect the foot and the nervous system and causes a person to lose feeling in your feet, which can lead to unfortunate events like stepping on something and not knowing that your foot is injured. And then secondly, with diabetes, the immune system is compromised, causing your healing to be impaired; just a little nick from doing your own foot care like cutting your own nails can lead to a crisis. Vision is an issue with diabetes, so if patients are trying to cut their own nails and can’t see properly, it can lead to those kinds of issues. Feet are one of the first to be affected with diabetes. I highly recommend that diabetics see their podiatrist 3 to 4 times a year.
What are some products that you would recommend to your patients to promote healthy feet?
Most of the products I use, I get through a medical supplier. But foot moisturizers, foot socks, along with cushioned insoles are all great products that you can get at Wal-Mart. Biofreeze pain reliving gel is also a great go-to product.