July 2011 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Have a Blast with These 5 Outdoor Workouts

Are your workouts putting you to sleep? It’s time to get creative. And what better way to do so than by taking your workout outdoors. Here are five fun outside exercise ideas that will keep you motivated and wanting more.

1.  Makeover your run

Incorporate your run into everyday activities like the beach, zoo or even street festivals. Challenge yourself by running hills. Running a more exciting route will make the miles fly by. Up for a little competition? Participate in a 5K or any race for that matter.


2.  Get wet

Try swimming at an outdoor pool. Feeling a little adventurous? Take your swim to the beach. If swimming is not for you, play a game of water polo or engage in some water aerobics. Other creative ways to burn calories in the water include surfing, wakeboarding, kayaking and rowing.


3.  Go wild in the wilderness

Take a nature walk through the woods. Observe different types of trees, animals, rocks, whatever interests you. Hiking is another great outdoor workout because it incorporates cardio and resistance training. Surrounding yourself in nature also has a calming effect that can help reduce stress and anxiety.


4.  Practice yoga outside

Don’t stay cooped up in a studio. Get the most out of your yoga practice by taking a class outside. Many communities offer yoga classes outside or even on the beach. Outdoor yoga gives you the opportunity to become more aware of your natural surroundings and increases the relaxation benefits of yoga.

5.  Join a team

Playing sports is one of the easiest ways to workout while having fun. Choose a sport you enjoy and sign up for an intramural team or create your own. Intramural sports range from softball and beach volleyball to ultimate Frisbee and outdoor paintball.

Now get outside and kiss exercise boredom goodbye.


  Plantar Fasciitis

          Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the band along the bottom of the foot becomes irritated or inflamed.  Patients often say they have heel pain after rest or when they first step down when they wake up in the morning.  The pain often gets somewhat or completely better after walking around for a period of time. 
Weight changes-especially increased weight
Activity changes
Flat Feet
Lack of supportive shoes
Often many different conservative treatments must be used to treat this condition.  Studies show that greater than 90 percent of patients do not need surgery, and in my practice, I rarely perform surgery for this condition. Some patients respond quickly to treatment for this condition, and others spend several months incorporating the conservative treatments to feel better.  Conservative treatment options include the following:
Ice-a minimum of three times per day for ten minutes each time
Stretching-a minimum of three times per day
Arch supports or special pads for shoes
Supportive shoes
Oral medications to reduce inflammation-such as motrin or a one week oral steroid
Pain relieving gels
Prescription Crocs (not over the counter)
Night splints
Injections (only three permitted in the heel per year)
Physical therapy-must attend at least twice per week for a minimum of one month
            -massage, muscle stimulation, ultrasound, strengthening, stretching
It is important that patients do not walk barefoot or in stocking feet with this condition.   Supportive shoes with an arch support or orthotic device are needed when walking (even when at home).  Slippers rarely offer enough support to the feet.
If you are in the Chicagoland area, please call 708-763-0580 (Oak Park) or 773-776-3166 (Chicago) for your appointment!

Dr. Bender is in private practice and teaches at Dr. Scholls School of Podiatry

How to Stick to Your Weight-Loss Plan While on Vacation

Don’t let your vacation stop you from reaching your weight-loss goals. Here’s how you can stay on track and still enjoy yourself while on vacation.

Jot down your goals

Write down your weight-loss goals. Keep this list with you during your trip as a reminder for you to stay on track. Put the list in your suitcase or have it saved into your phone. Just make sure it’s somewhere you will see.

Be conscientious

Let’s face it. Vacations are filled with opportunities to over-indulge, whether it’s on gourmet meals or specialty cocktails. The most important way for you to stick to your weight-loss plan is to keep track of what you are consuming. This does not necessarily mean writing everything down. Just take a mental note. Set limits for yourself beforehand so you know when to say no.

Allow yourself some leeway

It is important to stay on track, but it is equally important to treat yourself. After all, it is your vacation. Just remember to do so in moderation. That prime rib you’ve been eyeing on the menu? Split it with someone and order a side salad. The crème brulee cheesecake you spot across the restaurant? Order it and share with the table. Cut your portion first and put it on a separate plate before you start eating.

Keep moving

Squeeze in some exercise during the day. You don’t have to go to the hotel gym. Take a walk. Go swimming. Any activity that keeps you moving will do. Just be sure you are not sitting around all day.

No excuses

Do not allow yourself to eat everything in sight just because you are on vacation. Giving into temptation will only make getting back on your weight-loss plan more difficult.

See… It’s not that hard after all. Sure, it takes some willpower, but you know the results are worth it.


Warts-What are they and how are they treated?


Warts, also known as verrucae plantaris , are caused by a virus. This is an important topic for the summer because warts like warm, moist environments like our shoes and socks. Most people are more active during the warmer months, so our feet may sweat more than usual. This is the perfect setting for the virus that causes warts. Additionally, they can invade the feet at the pool because of the warm, wet environment.

Warts are common in children, the elderly, and individuals with a chronic condition (cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, etc). They can present on the top or sides of the feet as a raised lesion. On the bottom of the feet, they resemble a callous, with thickened skin covering them. They may appear white in color or have tiny black spots throughout.

Warts can be spread to other parts of the body or to other people, so it is important to get them diagnosed and treated. They are treated in a variety of ways: trimming, acid, freezing, medications, surgical excision, and laser treatment. The treatment may take several months.
Posted by Dr. Mary Ann Bender, Advanced Physical Medicine, 6931 W. North Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302, 708-763-0580

What’s in an SPF?

Nowadays it seems we cannot get enough SPF. Companies such as Neutrogena have even come out with an SPF 100+. But to what extent are such high levels of SPF really necessary? Here are a few points to clear up some common misconceptions about SPF.

The numbers are misleading

Contrary to popular belief, SPF 100 does not provide twice the protection as SPF 50. For example, SPF 15 shields about 94 percent of UVB rays while SPF 30 shields about 97 percent of rays. Likewise, SPF 45 only blocks about one percent more rays than SPF 30.

Don’t forget the UVA rays

A high SPF does not necessarily ensure adequate protection against UVA rays. UVA rays are those that pass through window glass and penetrate deep into the skin. Wrinkles and aging are attributed to UVA rays. UVB rays, on the other hand, cannot pass through window glass and only affect the top layer of skin. Skin damage from UVB rays is characterized by redness and sunburn. Products containing helioplex in addition to avobenzone/Mexoryl SX are most effective at blocking UVA rays.

Apply and reapply

SPF has nothing to do with how long the sunscreen will last. No matter what the SPF, always reapply your sunscreen every 60-80 minutes. Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant and reapply more frequently when in the water or exercising.

So remember, SPF 100 does not mean 100 percent protection.


Ninety percent of skin cancer is caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Skin cancer has become increasingly more common and deadly. The three types of skin cancer include the following: Malignant Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. The most serious and dangerous form is malignant melanoma.

Skin cancer can affect all races of people and may present in surprising places, such as under toenails or on the bottoms of the feet. Any form of skin cancer can occur on the feet, so it is essential to check your feet regularly. If you notice any changes or warning signs, please call 708-763-0580 for your foot check up!

It is essential to pay attention to the ABCs when monitoring changes on your skin. These are warning signs for skin cancer. If any of the following abnormalities are present on a mole or spot on the skin, it is essential to have it checked out by a doctor.


The spot is cannot be divided equally into halves.

B- Border/Bleeding:

The edges are irregular or bleeding.

C- Color:

Spots that have color changes within them need to be checked by a doctor.

D- Diameter:

If it is larger than a pencil eraser, it should be checked by a doctor.


The lesion is raised above the rest of the skin.

How to prevent skin cancer?

1. Avoid outdoor activities when possible between 10 am- 4 pm, when the sun rays are most intense.

2. Wear sunscreen all year (not just in the summer) and use at lease SPF 15. It does not protect against all the UV rays, but it certainly helps to protect you.

3. Wear protective clothing to cover the skin when outside, and wear sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays.

4. Be aware that certain medications can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun’s rays. Consult your pharmacist about any medications you are taking to see if they make the skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays.

5. Check your skin regularly for any abnormal or new changes.

6. Avoid tanning beds.

This information is presented by Dr. Mary Ann Bender, Advanced Physical Medicine. 708-763-0580. If you have any concerns about skin changes on your feet, please call for an appointment.

4 Exercise Tips for Bad Knees

Don’t let bad knees stop you from exercising. There are plenty of ways to stay fit without putting strain on your knees. Here are some tips on how to get in a good workout if you have knee problems.

1.  Keep it low on the cardio

Engaging in low-impact cardio exercise is key if you have bad knees. Biking, swimming and walking are a few of your best options for cardio. If you’re at the gym, try using the elliptical trainer. Just be sure to keep the intensity level on low so you do not overexert your knees.

2.  Don’t skip strength training

One of the best ways to decrease knee pain is by strength training your lower body. Building your leg and thigh muscles (i.e. calves, quadriceps and hamstrings) will improve shock absorption and will also place less strain on your knees. Hamstring curls, leg lifts and wall squats are great knee-saving exercises.

3.  Run smart

Contrary to popular belief, running is not necessarily bad for your knees. The type of surface you run on is often the cause of knee pain. Cement, concrete and other pavement are the least forgiving to your knees. Grass, synthetic track and the treadmill offer the best shock absorption. Make sure you have proper running shoes and replace them every three months or 300-500 miles.

4.  What to avoid

Certain exercises are known to cause or intensify knee pain. Lunges and deep squats are especially problematic to your knees because they place a large amount of stress on them. If performed incorrectly, these two exercises can cause a knee injury. During these exercises it is extremely important that you never extend your kneecap past your toes. Jumping and kickboxing, both high-impact, are other exercises to be avoided.

So next time you’re having knee pain, follow these tips and put your knees at ease.

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