Old Ankle Sprains Come Back to Haunt Baby Boomers

A Willoughby Hills, Ohio foot and ankle surgeon has a message for Baby Boomers getting back into fitness and sports: Get your ankles checked for chronic instability caused by injuries that might not have healed properly years ago.

Atta J. Asef, DPM, FACFAS, says many Boomers who have suffered ankle sprains in their younger years could be at risk for more serious damage as they age and try to stay active. It is estimated that one in four sports injuries involves the foot or ankle, and a majority of them occur from incomplete rehabilitation of earlier injuries.

“Pain isn’t normal in the ankle, even if you’re just getting back into shape,” says Dr. Asef.

HE says swelling is another symptom these previously-injured Boomers may experience. Both amateur and professional athletes often misunderstand how serious a sprain can be, and they rush back into action without taking time to rehabilitate the injury properly.

“A sprain that happened years ago can leave residual weakness that isn’t noticed in normal daily activity, but subjecting the ankle to rigorous physical activity can further damage improperly healed ligaments, and cause persistent pain and swelling,” He said.  “For anyone hoping to regain past athletic fitness, it’s recommended that you have that old ankle injury checked out before becoming active again.”

Some sprains are severe enough to strain or tear the tendons on the outside of the ankle, called the peroneal tendons.  Research shows that more than 85 percent of athletes who had surgery to repair a torn peroneal tendon were able to return to full sporting activity within three months after the procedure.

“Peroneal tendon tears are an overlooked cause of lateral ankle pain,” said Dr. Asef. “Although surgery for athletically active patients shouldn’t be taken lightly, surgical repair of the peroneal tendons is proving to be very successful in helping athletes with serious ankle problems return to full activity.”

Dr. Asef added that persistent pain and tenderness after a sprain, especially if the individual felt a ‘pop’ on the outside of the ankle and couldn’t stand tiptoe, might be a warning sign that the tendon is torn or split.  The injury is best diagnosed with an MRI exam.

If you are suffering from ankle issues, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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Children’s Soccer Linked To Ingrown Toenails

Foot and ankle surgeon Atta J. Asef, DPM, FACFAS, says He treats many soccer-playing children for ingrown toenails. He blames improper toenail trimming, snug soccer cleats and repetitive kicking for creating this painful problem.

“Many kids wear hand-me-down cleats that don’t fit,” says Dr. Asef. “Older children like tighter cleats. They believe it gives them a better feel for the ball and the field.”

Dr. Asef has offices in Willoughby Hills Ohio and Euclid, Ohio and is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He says there are steps soccer moms and dads can take to prevent their children from suffering a painful ingrown toenail. First, teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short. Second, make sure cleats fit properly.

“A child’s shoe size can change within a single soccer season,” Dr. Asef reminds parents.

If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, soaking their foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold can reduce the inflammation. But Dr. Asef warns parents against home treatments, which can be dangerous. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons lists myths about ingrown toenail home treatments on its Web site, FootHealthFacts.org.

“If your son’s or daughter’s ingrown toenails show signs of infection, it’s definitely time to seek medical care,” says Dr. Asef.

A foot and ankle surgeon like Dr. Asef can remove a child’s ingrown toenail, and prevent it from returning, with a simple, 10-minute surgical procedure. During the short procedure, the doctor numbs the toe and removes the ingrown portion of the nail. Various techniques can permanently remove part of a nail’s root too, preventing it from growing back.

“Most children experience very little pain afterwards,” says Dr. Asef, “and can resume normal activity the next day.”

For more information on ingrown toenails and other pediatric foot problems, contact Dr. Asef’s office at 440-953-3668 or MySolePerfection.com.

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Diabetes Patients Urged To Take Simple Precautions To Help Save Their Feet

Taking a minute or two every day to inspect your feet and observing a few simple rules can make the difference in sparing diabetes patients from a preventable outcome of the disease – a foot amputation.

“Of all diabetes-related complications, a serious foot ulcer and subsequent amputation might be the most preventable with proper care and vigilance in checking the feet at least once a day for small cuts and other abrasions,” says Atta J. Asef, DPM, FACFAS, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).  “Even those with good control of their blood sugar can experience foot ulcers, especially if neuropathy, a frequent diabetes complication, has caused decreased feeling on the bottom of their feet.”

Loss of sensation inhibits the body’s normal pain response. As a result, walking can apply repetitive, unfelt pressure to a wound, making it larger and deeper. Left untreated, diabetic ulcers lead to serious infections, which may result in amputation.

Dr. Asef says foot and ankle surgeons use a variety of surgical and non-surgical methods to heal diabetic ulcers, but stressed early intervention yields the most favorable outcomes.

“Daily self exams are the best protection. Too often, patients fail to check their feet for small cuts or punctures that over time will ulcerate and become infected,” He says. “If you have diabetes and see anything suspicious on your feet, consult a foot and ankle surgeon for diagnosis and treatment. Even a few days can make a difference in preventing serious foot problems from developing.”

An estimated seven in 10 diabetes patients have nerve damage that impairs feeling in their feet. Fifteen percent eventually will develop a foot ulcer. Among those with ulcers, one in four will lose a foot. Each year more than 86,000 amputations are performed as a direct result of diabetes, and studies show half of those who have one foot or leg amputated will lose the other within five years. Proper diabetic foot care, says Dr. Asef, prevents foot loss.

In some cases, amputation might be the preferred option. If vascular and podiatric surgeries can’t improve blood circulation and foot function, resolve infection or restore foot function, amputation may be the only solution that enables the patient to heal. Today, advances in prosthetics make it possible for patients to return to an active lifestyle, a necessity for keeping diabetes under control.

Foot problems are not an inevitable consequence of diabetes. The risk can be lessened significantly by following a few simple precautions:

  • Keep your blood sugar under control to help minimize cardiovascular and blood circulation problems
  • Lose weight, don’t smoke and adhere to prescribed dietary, medication and exercise regime   At least once a day, examine your feet for cuts and other small wounds you may not feel
  • Never walk barefoot, outdoors and indoors
  • Cut nails carefully – straight across and not too short; never trim corns and calluses yourself
  • Wash your feet every day in lukewarm water; dry carefully
  • Choose comfortable shoes with adequate room for the toes
  • Wear clean, dry, non-bulky socks; change daily
  • Shake pebbles or bits of gravel out of your shoes before wearing
  • Seek treatment from a foot and ankle surgeon if minor cuts and sore spots don’t seem to be healing

If you are suffering from diabetic foot issues, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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Pedicure No No’s

  • Resist the urge to shave your legs before receiving a pedicure. Freshly shaven legs or small cuts on your legs may allow bacteria to enter.
  • If you are receiving a pedicure and manicure, don’t use the same tools for both services as bacteria and fungus can transfer between fingers and toes.
  • Don’t round the edges of your toenails. This type of shape increases the chances that painful ingrown toenails will develop.
  • Emery boards are extremely porous and can trap germs that spread. Since they can’t be sterilized, don’t share nail files with friends and be sure to bring your own to the salon, unless you are sure that the salon replaces them with each customer.
  • Don’t use any sharp tools to clean under nails. Using anything sharp makes it easy to puncture the skin, leaving it vulnerable to infection.
  • Be sure that you don’t leave any moisture between toes. Anything left behind can promote the development of athlete’s foot or a fungal infection.
  • Because cuticles serve as a protective barrier against bacteria, don’t ever cut them. Cutting cuticles increases the risk of infection. Also, avoid incessantly pushing back cuticles, as doing so can make them thicker.
  • If you suffer from thick and discolored toenails, which could be a sign of a fungal infection, don’t apply nail polish to cover up the problem. Nail polish locks out moisture and doesn’t allow the nail bed to “breathe.” Once you fix the underlying issue, then it is safe to paint nails. If the problem persists, be sure to visit your podiatrist.

If you are suffering from toenail problems, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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FIVE Tips for Avoiding Falls on the Ice

Winter is here with its frigid temperatures, howling winds and snowy, icy conditions.  Falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures. Following are some tips to keep you safe this winter season.

  • Wear low-heeled boots or overshoes with good traction.  High-heeled boots may be in style, but for walking on snow and ice it’s best to forego fashion in favor of safety.
  • Watch for ice and snow: Holiday winter wonderlands can be beautiful but also dangerous—watch for ice or snow patches along your trail. The ankle joint can be more vulnerable to serious injury from falling on ice as it accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma since the foot can move in any direction after it slips.
  • As soon as you get inside, remove your boots or dry them well. Snow and ice can remain on shoes, leading to falls indoors.
  • If you do experience a fall or injury, call a podiatrist for prompt evaluation and treatment. Use R.I.C.E. therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) to help reduce the pain and control swelling around the injury in the meantime.
  • Falls happen quickly. On average less than two seconds elapse between the beginning and end of a fall, so be aware of what you can do to protect yourself in that time. If you fall on an icy spot and hurt your ankle, the best advice is to seek medical attention immediately to aid in early diagnosis and proper treatment and reduce the risk of further damage.

If you suffer from an injury to your foot or ankle, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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A Handy Guide To Prepare You For Your Appointment With Your Podiatrist

Is this the first time you have visited a podiatrist? Don’t worry. This handy guide will prepare you for your appointment and help make the most of your time with the foot and ankle expert.

Before Your Visit:

Make a list of your symptoms and questions. Make a list of all medications and any previous surgeries. Gather and bring important medical records and laboratory test reports from other doctors or hospitals (including X-rays, MRIs, and lab results).  Check with your insurance provider to see if a referral is needed.  Call before your visit to tell the office if you have special needs. Bring a friend or family member if you think it will be helpful. If your problem involves walking and/or exercise, bring your walking/exercise shoes with you to the appointment.

During Your Visit:

Go over your list of questions. If you do not understand an answer, be sure to ask for further explanation. Take notes and listen carefully. Discuss your symptoms and any recent changes you may have noticed. Talk about all new medications. Ask why it has been prescribed, and how to take it. Describe any allergies. Tell your podiatrist if you are pregnant or if you are trying to get pregnant. Let your podiatrist know if you are being treated by other doctors.

Do you need to consult a Podiatrist?  North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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Program Promotes Balance To Help Prevent Falls Among Elderly

According to the National Council on Aging, an older adult is seen in an emergency room for a fall-related injury every 15 seconds. One in three older Americans falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for people aged 65 and older.

Many falls among the elderly are related to bad balance caused, in part, by poor foot health. A special edition of the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (JAPMA) explores a promising new virtual reality program designed to address these issues by improving balance and stability, helping to keep elderly patients on their feet.

The innovative virtual reality program uses wearable sensors that provide interactive visual feedback in real time.

The researchers have seen dramatic improvement among participants, diabetes patients with peripheral neuropathy. The exercises are done for 20 minutes, twice per week for four weeks. In that time period, researchers have seen balance improve more than 35 percent, and gait velocity and gait stability improve almost 20 percent.

JAPMA’s special issue on falls prevention also addresses some of the critical questions on the correlation between foot problems, footwear, and falls among older adults. The studies included in the special issue demonstrate multifaceted podiatry interventions that reduce the risk of falling, including lower extremity exercise, nonslip socks, special footwear, and surgical foot deformity correction.

If your balance is affected by foot and ankle issues, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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Sprained Ankles Are Very Common Injuries

Ankle sprains are very common injuries. There’s a good chance that while playing as a child or stepping on an uneven surface as an adult you sprained your ankle—some 25,000 people do it every day.

Sometimes, it is an awkward moment when you lose your balance, but the pain quickly fades away and you go on your way. But the sprain could be more severe; your ankle might swell and it might hurt too much to stand on it. If it’s a severe sprain, you might have felt a “pop” when the injury occurred.

A sprained ankle means one or more ligaments on the outer side of your ankle were stretched or torn. If a sprain is not treated properly, you could have long-term problems. Typically the ankle is rolled either inward (inversion sprain) or outward (eversion sprain). Inversion sprains cause pain along the outer side of the ankle and are the most common type. Pain along the inner side of the ankle may represent a more serious injury to the tendons or to the ligaments that support the arch and should always be evaluated by a doctor.

You’re most likely to sprain your ankle when you have your toes on the ground and heel up (plantar flexion). This position puts your ankle’s ligaments under tension, making them vulnerable. A sudden force like landing on an uneven surface may turn your ankle inward (inversion). When this happens, one, two or three of your ligaments may be hurt.

If you are suffering from a sprained ankle, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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Are You Suffering From Hyperhidrosis of The Feet?

Although sweating is normal for everyone, excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is a specific condition that can be caused by a variety of different reasons. Gender, the amount of exercise you do daily, your diet habits, and the consumption of diuretic drinks like alcohol are all common factors that can lead to excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis can also be caused by a medical condition, and there are two types of hyperhidrosis to look out for. Primary focal hyperhidrosis has no specific cause and can occur more in certain areas on the body than others, while secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is caused by a medical condition and occurs across the body.

Hyperhidrosis of the Feet

Hyperhidrosis is a rare disorder that can cause people to have excessive sweating of their feet. This can usually occur all on its own without rigorous activity involved. People who suffer from hyperhidrosis may also experience sweaty palms.

Although it is said that sweating is a healthy process meant to cool down the body temperature and to maintain a proper internal temperature, hyperhidrosis may prove to be a huge hindrance on a person’s everyday life.

Plantar hyperhidrosis is considered to be the main form of hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis can refer to sweating that occurs in areas other than the feet or hands and armpits. Often this may be a sign of it being related to another medical condition such as menopause, hyperthyroidism and even Parkinson’s disease.

In order to alleviate this condition, it is important to see your doctor so that they may prescribe the necessary medications so that you can begin to live a normal life again. If this is left untreated, it is said that it will persist throughout an individual’s life.

A last resort approach would be surgery, but it is best to speak with your doctor to find out what may be the best treatment for you.

If you are suffering from Hyperhidrosis of the feet, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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Hammertoe Implant Helps Expedite Recovery

Hammertoe exists as a deformity of the toe, which is acquired when your toe constantly rubs against your shoes. Because women often wear smaller-fitted shoes, hammertoe seems to occur more in women. One possible solution for hammertoe is surgery. One such surgery involves drilling in an implant, which will help grip the toe and hold the foot together. A hole is drilled by the surgeon, then the implant is inserted into the toe and clipped. Following the implant surgery, patients should be able to return to their normal lifestyles and go back to wearing regular shoes.


Hammertoe is a painful condition that affects the second, third and fourth toes involving different joints of the toe and foot. Hammertoe can be caused by many other conditions such as RA (rheumatoid arthritis), osteoarthritis, trauma or injuries to your foot, it can be hereditary and it can also be caused by a cerebral vascular accident. If you wear shoes that are too narrow or short for your feet, it may exacerbate any pain you already have.

It is really important to your overall well-being to seek out medical attention at the first signs of foot pain or anything that may hinder your ability to walk in a normal manner. Taking care of your feet is one of the first steps to being able to live a full and healthy life.

If you are suffering from foot problems, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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