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Staten Island, NY 10314

swimming3This past July the Minneapolis metro area hosted the 2015 National Senior Games where nearly 12,000 seniors ages 50 and older completed in high activity events such as basketball, swimming, and volleyball. Despite many of these participants having previously suffered from foot and ankle injuries, making them even more susceptible to injury at this stage, the event was still a success. Health professionals do recommend, however, that seniors take extra precautions when participating in high impact activities such as tennis, golf, or running since these activities can have negative influences on the lower extremities.

Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. For more information, consult with Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew J. Birch from New York. Our doctors will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

The Elderly and their Feet

As we age we start to notice many changes in our body, but the elder population may not notice them right away. Medical conditions may prevent the elderly to take notice of their foot health right away. Poor vision is a lead contributor to not taking action for the elderly.

Common Conditions

Neuropathy – can reduce feeling in the feet, and can hide many life threating medical conditions.

Reduced flexibility – prevents the ability of proper toenail trimming, and foot cleaning. If left untreated, it may lead to further medical issues.

Foot sores – amongst the older population can be serious before they are discovered. Some of the problematic conditions they may face are:

Gouging toenails affecting nearby toe

Shoes that don’t fit properly

Pressure sores

Loss of circulation in legs & feet

Edema & swelling of feet and ankles

Susceptible Infections

Diabetes and poor circulation can cause general loss of sensitivity over the years, turning a simple cut into a serious issue.

If you have any questions please contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Elderly and Feet

corns2While the National Football League seeks to prepare for the upcoming season, the preseason injuries continue to rack up. In 2011 the labor agreement within the NFL was changed so that practices were less often and less intense, but it appears as though that did not have much of an effect on the amount of injuries. From knee injuries (Jordy Nelson) to broken toes (Logan Paulsen) no team is left without injured players. Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison states, “Football is about preparation, you’ve got to go out there and do it time and time again. Sometimes people get hurt.”

A broken toe can be very painful and lead to complications if not properly fixed. If you have any concerns contact Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew Birch of New York. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What to Know About a Broken Toe

Although most people try to avoid foot trauma such as banging, stubbing, or dropping heavy objects on their feet, the unfortunate fact is that it is a common occurrence. Given the fact that toes are positioned in front of the feet, they typically sustain the brunt of such trauma. When trauma occurs to a toe, the result can be a painful break (fracture).

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

  • throbbing pain
  • swelling
  • bruising on the skin and toenail
  • the inability to move the toe
  • toe appears crooked or disfigured
  • tingling or numbness in the toe

Generally, it is best to stay off of the injured toe with the affected foot elevated.

Severe toe fractures may be treated with a splint, cast, and in some cases, minor surgery. Due to its position and the pressure it endures with daily activity, future complications can occur if the big toe is not properly treated.

If you have any concerns please feel free to contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about a broken toe.

childrens feet17Fifteen years ago, Dipa Karmakar was a flat-footed six-year-old participating in gymnastics when Coach Bishweshwar Nandi decided to take her on. Today the partnership has corrected her flat foot and Karmakar has recently won the bronze medal at the Asian Championships in Japan. “I still remember Dipa coming to see me as a flat-footed kid, which is not good for a gymnast. It affects the spring her in jump,” stated coach Nandi. Since the fix, Karmakar has had a variety of successes including becoming the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth medal at the 2014 Glasgow games on the Vault table.

Most arches will develop in children after a certain age. If you suspect that your child has the condition, speak to Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew Birchof New York. Our doctors will answer any of your foot and ankle related questions and attend to all of your podiatric needs.

What are Flat Feet?

Flat feet are a condition in which the arch of the foot is depressed and the sole of the foot is almost completely in contact with the ground. Standing about 20-30% of the population generally has flat feet because their arch never formed during growth.

Conditions & Problems:

Having flat feet makes it difficult to run or walk because of the stress placed on the ankles.

Alignment – The general alignment of your legs can be disrupted, because the ankles move inward which can cause major discomfort.

Knees – if you have complications with your knees, flat feet can be a contributor to arthritis in that area.  

Symptoms:

Pain around the heel or arch area

Trouble standing on the tip toe.

Swelling around the inside of the ankle.

Flat look to one or both feet.

Having your shoes feel uneven when worn

Treatment:

If you are experiencing pain and stress on the foot you may weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs around the inside of the ankle.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and treatments for your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Flat Feet

childrens feet14With summer and summer sports in full swing, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) reminds parents and coaches that increased involvement in outdoor sports can also increase the likelihood for foot and ankle injuries to occur. This applies particularly to kids who play field sports. Ten percent of all injuries seen in emergency departments are ankle sprains alone. Parents and coaches should therefore make sure to recognize the signs of foot and ankle injuries and to seek treatment early.

Looking out for potential foot and ankle injuries is vital in maintaining proper development in children’s feet. If you have any concerns contact Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew J. Birch of New York. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Keeping Children's Feet Healthy

Having healthy feet in childhood can help prevent medical problems later in life, namely in the back and legs. As children grow, their feet require different types of care from birth to school-age.

Although babies do not walk yet, it is still very important to take care of their feet.

  • Avoid putting tight shoes or socks on his or her feet
  • Allow the baby to stretch and kick his or her feet to feel comfortable

As a toddler, kids are now on the move and begin to develop differently. At this age toddlers are getting a feel for walking, so don’t be alarmed if your toddler is unsteady or ‘walks funny’. Be sure the child wears comfortable and protective shoes so that they can grow into their feet properly.

As your child gets older, it is important to teach them how to take care of their feet

  • Show them proper hygiene to prevent infections such as fungus
  • Be watchful of any pain or injury
  • Have all injuries checked by a doctor as soon as possible
  • Comfortable, protective shoes should always be worn, especially at play

Children of all ages are constantly developing and growing, and as a parent you want to make sure that nothing is hindering their maturation.

If you have any concerns feel free contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about keeping children’s feet healthy.

broken foot4George Dawson suffered from pain due to his diabetes for many years and has been dealing with a stiff Achilles tendon due to the pressure placed on his foot. The stiff Achilles tendon meant that the weight was not evenly distributed on his foot and Dawson would need to have the tendon surgically lengthened to relieve the pain and heal properly. Dawson’s podiatrist split his Achilles tendon where it would typically meet the calf muscle, giving it more slack and providing ease to the foot. For nearly two years, George Dawson has not had foot pain since.

Achilles tendon injuries and problems need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns contact Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew Birch of New York. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can cause severe difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.

What are the symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?

There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms

- Inflammation

- Dull to Severe Pain

- Increased blood flow to the tendon

- Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

- Extreme pain and swelling in the foot

- Total immobility

Treatment and Prevention

Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:

- Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise

- Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Achilles tendon injuries.

orthotics5In the past, the New York-based orthotics manufacturer, Sols, launched a mobile app that helped produce custom 3D-printed insoles. With a network of 500 medical professionals, the company was able to cater to a wide medical market. This fall Sols is looking for a more direct-to-consumer approach with a new feature called photogrammetry, in which a customer takes six photos of their feet to create a virtual model of the foot from which an insole can be created. The insole is ultimately 3D-printed at the company’s facility in Austin, Texas and completed in New York. The entire process reportedly takes only six to eight business days and can be used to create insoles for various kinds of footwear.

Orthotics can help provide support and prevent injury to your feet. If you have any questions contact Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew Birch of New York. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What are Orthotics?

Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain, but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.

Over-the-Counter Inserts

Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct over arched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.

Prescription Orthotics

If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you, or if you have a more severe foot issue, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and more severe heel pain.

If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist on the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain free.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technologies to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Orthotics.

fungal toenail2In the past, gout was known as the King’s disease that would typically affect the rich because of its association with the consumption of alcohol, red meat, and seafood. While this is less true today, the incidence of gout has doubled over the past two decades. Approximately 5 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the gout. In modern times, the reason for gout’s increase can be linked to dietary changes, longer lives, organ transplants, and the increase in hypertension along with the use of diuretics for its treatment, end-stage kidney disease, rapid increase in the incidence of the metabolic syndrome, and the common use of low-dose aspirin.

Gout is a foot condition that requires certain treatment and care. If you have any concerns regarding gout, consult with Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew J. Birch of New York. Our doctors will assist you with all of your foot and ankle needs.

What is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. It often develops in the foot, especially the big toe area, although it can manifest in other parts of the body as well. Gout can make walking and standing very painful and is especially common in diabetics and the obese.

People typically get gout because of a poor diet. Genetic predisposition is also a factor. The children of parents who have had gout frequently have a chance of developing it themselves.

Gout can easily be identified by redness and inflammation of the big toe and the surrounding areas of the foot. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, joint pain, and running high fevers. Sometimes corticosteroid drugs can be prescribed to treat gout, but the best way to combat this disease is to get more exercise and eat a better diet.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and holistic treatment protocols for all your individual foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Gout

stretching2During Kim Kardashian’s first pregnancy, she was known for wearing high heels despite suffering from extreme edema, or swollen feet. However, it seems she has learned her lesson and will opt for more comfortable shoes during her current pregnancy.  The reality star recently posted to photo sharing app Instagram featuring her husband’s new sneaker line stating, “So happy I ran back inside to grab these! Lifesaver on these long flights! Most comfy shoes in the world!”  

A supportive and comfortable shoe is the best choice for feet during pregnancy. If you have any concerns contact Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew J. of New York. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What foot problems can arise during pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is over-pronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward. This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy, but tends to occur in the later stages.

How can I keep my feet healthy during pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in New York. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about pregnancy and feet.

stretching3Dr. Braxton Littles appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the negative impacts flip-flops have on the feet. In addition to causing many trips and falls among the shoe wears Dr. Littles states that flops are the cause of many heel and arch problems due to their lack of support. Without providing the foot with the support that it needs problems such as plantar fasciitis, muscle fatigue, and pain within the rest of the body may arise. Littles states that if you must wear flip-flops, it is best not to wear them regularly to avoid foot pain.

Flip-flops can cause a lot of damage to the feet and rest of the body. If you have any concerns about your foot and ankle needs contact Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew J. Birch of New York. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Flip-Flops and Feet

Flip-flops are not only very popular, but very convenient, especially in the warmer weather. They allow your feet to breathe and let you move your toes freely. They also go with most attire and can be worn with many different clothing styles. Unfortunately, these type of shoes also have a disadvantage, as they can cause harm to your feet in more ways than you think. These symptoms include:

  • Ball and arch problems in the foot
  • Changes to the body’s natural gait
  • Blisters
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Higher risk of infection
  • Higher risk of scrapes and cuts to the feet
  • Issues in the lower back, legs and ankles

To avoid these symptoms (and minimize your risks), select a pair of flip-flops made of high quality materials that can offer protection. Purchase flip-flops from a reliable manufacturer and be sure to replace them every three to four months. Be sure the soles are firm and not ‘floppy’, or that they don’t bend or wiggle a lot when lifted from the floor.

You can still wear your favorite pair of flip-flops if you so choose, just don’t wear them for extended periods of time, and especially not every day. However, it would be far wiser to purchase a more expensive pair of flip-flops or to refrain from wearing the shoe at all for the sake of your foot health. While these shoes are comfortable, the risks included with wearing them are not.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Brooklyn and Staten Island, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about flip-flops and feet.

feet3Jarryd Hayne, returner/running back of the San Francisco 49ers, recently shared that he would be undergoing surgery after the team’s mandatory minicamp. On the morning following his surgery Hayne posted a picture of his bandaged foot onto Instagram, sharing his desire to once again be active. Hayne reportedly had surgery for a cyst on the arch of his foot. Even with the cyst present on his foot, Hayne was a full participant in the 49ers’ minicamp. Recovering from the surgery means that Hayne will be facing an uphill climb for a roster spot as he heads into training camp.

Foot surgery is sometimes necessary to fix a foot ailment. If you have any concerns about your foot and ankle needs contact Dr. Gregory Birch and Dr. Andrew Birch of New York. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Foot and ankle surgery is generally reserved for cases in which less invasive, conservative procedures have failed to help with the problem. Some of the cases in which surgery may be necessary are:

  • Removing foot deformities like bone spurs and bunions
  • Severe arthritis that has caused bone issues
  • Cosmetic reconstruction

What Types of Surgery Are There?

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the nature of the problem you have. Some of the possible surgeries include:

  • Bunionectomy for painful bunions
  • Surgical fusion for realignment of bones
  • Neuropathy decompression surgery to treat nerve damage

Benefits of Surgery

Although surgery is usually a last resort, it can provide more complete pain relief compared to non-surgical methods and may allow you to finally resume full activity.

Surgical techniques have also become increasingly sophisticated. Techniques like endoscopic surgery allow for smaller incisions and faster recovery times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about foot surgery.

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