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April 2, 2008 > Ladies, Mind Your Feet

Ladies, Mind Your Feet

Podiatrist Discusses Importance of Good Foot Care During Free Seminar

Let's face it, ladies. Most of us tend to hide our feet from the light of day with barely a look until the chilly winter months begin to recede making way for open-toed shoes. And still, our feet never seem to get the attention they deserve.
On Saturday, April 5, Washington Hospital Medical Staff podiatrist Dr. Bita Mostaghimi, D.P.M., will present a free seminar at the Washington Women's Center detailing some necessary and advisable steps for women to keep their feet healthy.
Dr. Mostaghimi's presentation will cover the basics of good foot health, including topics such as choosing proper exercise shoes, how women's feet differ from men's, pedicures, exercises for the feet and orthoses, which are commonly referred to as "orthotics."
What's so important about our feet?
"Our feet are the part of the body that take all the shock," Dr. Mostaghimi says. "When you have a good shoe, it supports the foot's ligaments, tendons and other structures."
Given that most of us walk on our feet each day and rely on them for transportation - and recreation - it's important that we take the time to learn about proper foot care, she adds.
"Most of us don't look at our feet. We just never look at them, but when you have good education about your foot, a lot of potential problems can be addressed," according to Dr. Mostaghimi, who is a member of Washington Hospital's Outpatient Wound Care Clinic that treats patients for wounds that don't heal normally.
Proper foot care is specific to each individual and depends on a woman's activities and her overall health, including certain medical conditions, she says.
For instance, many people today have taken up some form of hiking, which demands a lot of the foot, especially given uneven terrain and the shock from climbing and descending hills.
"I usually recommend, for example, when hiking that patients keep the nails very short - but not too short - because they can get ingrown nails, as well as fungal infections very easily," Dr. Mostaghimi says.
Regardless of activity level, though, most people spend a great deal of time on their feet.
Prevention preserves foot health
For women that know they have genetic tendencies for bunions, hammertoes, ankle sprain, or other foot conditions, it's very important they visit a podiatrist to talk about prevention.
"We cannot reverse these conditions, but patients can prevent many of them by wearing orthotics and taking other preventive measures prescribed by their doctor," Dr. Mostaghimi says.
Dr. Mostaghimi estimates that 90 percent of women patients that visit her are seeking treatment for bunions, hammertoes and ingrown toenails. These do not include the patients being treated for chronic conditions that contribute to foot maladies - most notably diabetes.
Trauma, fungal infection, the shape of the nails, pedicures as well as bony growths under the nail can all contribute to the development of ingrown toenails, she says. The primary causes of ingrown nails, she says, are:
* Trauma caused by cutting the nail too short, wearing a new shoe that fits too tightly, damage from a pedicure or if the foot was stepped on
* Removal of the cuticle and skin around the nail, which allows bacteria to get under the skin causing inflammation
Dr. Mostaghimi warns against trying to self-treat for common foot ailments, adding that patients can inadvertently cause more damage than they fix.
Learn how to treat your feet right
During her talk, she will discuss in greater detail issues such as proper shoe fit, the use of orthotics and whether or not pedicures in the salon are advisable - as well as how to protect the feet against infection.
Overall Dr. Mostaghimi says the best advice she can give patients that don't have any contributing health conditions is to pay regular attention to their feet by taking 15 to 30 seconds each evening to assess their condition for pain, cracks in the skin, blisters, growths or other problems. Assessing the feet nightly is even more crucial for patients that have diabetes, who should be under regular care from their physician.
All patients, she says, can benefit from annual visits to a podiatrist or foot and ankle specialist.
"If patients have any problems, they can be addressed during their annual visit," she says. "We can talk to them about appropriate socks and shoe gear and how to prevent aches and pains. Most problems occur when we ignore our body parts."
Join Dr. Mostaghimi for her talk, Foot Health Awareness - Putting Your Best Foot Forward, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 5. The talk will take place at the Washington Women's Center, located at 2500 Mowry Ave., Fremont.
Call (800) 963-7070 to register to attend.

WHAT: Washington Women's Center Saturday Program
TOPIC: Foot Health Awareness - Putting Your Best Foot Forward
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, April 5
WHERE: 2500 Mowry Ave., Fremont
CALL: (800) 963-7070 to register or (866) 608-1301/(510) 608-1356 for more information

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