August 2011 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Five Fun and Safe Ways to Detox

Feeling a little toxic lately? You don’t need to go a on a crazy diet to feel fresh again. Here are five fun and simple ways you can detox your body in no time.

1. Eat clean

It is no secret that most fruits and vegetables contain harmful pesticides. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns against the harmful effects of pesticides on the skin, eyes and nervous and endocrine systems. Some of the most pesticide-laden foods include apples, celery, strawberries, spinach and peppers. Choosing the organic option for these foods is essential for your detox.

2. Get moving

Exercise is another great way to cleanse and protect your body. In fact, recent studies suggest that exercise may reduce the ongoing damage done to cells, tissues and organs. The more your body undergoes these detrimental changes, the more likely you are to develop conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Exercise is also responsible for increasing your immune system, which will help you ward off viruses and bacteria, as well as some forms of cancer. So put on your gym shoes and get moving.

3. Hydrate

Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to flush your body of toxins and improve its ability to transport nutrients. If drinking water is difficult for you, try incorporating more water-based foods and drinks into your diet such as lettuce, broccoli, watermelon, milk and orange juice.

4. No smoking

Smoking tobacco introduces many chemicals and toxins into your body. Over 4,000 chemicals are found in tobacco, including 19 that are proven to be cancer causing. Still hesitant to quit? The benefits of quitting begin almost immediately after you stop smoking. Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your body returns to normal temperature and pulse rate. If you make it five years without smoking, your risk of dying from lung cancer is 50 percent less than moderate to heavy smokers.

5. Lay off the booze

Though consuming small amounts of alcohol may be beneficial to your health, it is still important to remember that alcohol is a toxin and can pose serious health risks. Alcohol dehydrates your body and makes it difficult for your stomach to absorb essential nutrients, making your body more likely to become malnourished.

So go ahead, give it a try and reboot your body to optimal health.


Ingrown Toenails- Ouch!

My toenail is hurting me!

An ingrown toenail occurs when the toenail curves into the surrounding skin. On some occasions, it just punctures or pushes on the skin, causing pain. However, if it progresses, it can break the skin (often from a sharp piece on the nail), and this can cause the skin to get infected. Infected skin can become red, hot, swollen, and have pus coming from it.

Why did I get this?

Ingrown toenails can be caused by several things: trauma, cutting the nails incorrectly, fungal infections in the nail, bunion deformities, shoes that do not fit properly, or genetic (or inherited) causes.

What do I do?

It is important that you see a podiatrist to handle this condition. Trying to treat it by yourself can make it worse because it is hard to see, you do not have the correct or sterile instruments, and because you are not able to get out the problematic piece of nail.

What will your podiatrist do?

Occasionally, the nail can be cut out without anesthetic. However, in most cases, the ingrown nail can only be removed by numbing up the toe with anesthetic. If the toe is numb, the whole edge of ingrown nail can be more easily removed by your foot doctor. It is important that all of the offending nail is removed because the condition will not improve if there is still sharp nail cutting into the skin.

What will I have to do to take care of it when I go home?

Your podiatrist will give you soaking and bandaging instructions to perform each day for the next week. Usually, over the counter pain medication and resting (and elevating) are enough to handle any pain you will have. On occasion, there may be a severe infection that requires antibiotic pills or stronger pain medication. However, this is not required in most cases.

Will it come back?

Ingrown toenails can return. It takes 9-12 months for the whole nail edge to regrow. If the condition comes back, your doctor can talk to you about permanent procedures, so that this does not occur again.

If you have this condition, please call for an appointment with Dr. Bender, an Oak Park and Chicago podiatrist. 708-763-0580 Oak Park office

Dr. Bender is in private practice at APM and teaches at Dr. Scholl's School of Podiatry in Chicago.

Mary Ann Bender, DPM
Foot and Ankle Specialist
Advanced Physical Medicine

Four Exercise Tips for a Bad Back

Back pain is one of the most prevalent types of chronic pain. When experiencing this type of pain, it is easy to get discouraged about exercising or even stop altogether. Though you may never feel 100 percent, there are several important factors to keep in mind about exercising with back pain. Here are four exercise tips that will keep you feeling fit without furthering your pain.

1.  Know what to avoid

Certain exercises can worsen your back pain. Some of the worst exercises for your back are toe touches, leg lifts and sit-ups. Remember, for any exercise, there is a variation. For instance, instead of sit-ups, try partial crunches. A personal trainer or fitness instructor can help tailor your exercise routine to include exercises that will help ease your back pain.

2.  Keep up with your aerobics

Researchers at UCLA found that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day is better for relieving back pain than regular back exercises. The reason why aerobic exercise works better is because people have a tendency to perform exercises incorrectly, which can worsen their back pain. Aerobic exercise is not only a safer option, but it also keeps your heart pumping and increases your cardiovascular fitness. Good aerobic activities include swimming and walking.

3.  Strengthen your abdominals

Just as people with bad knees should strengthen their thigh and leg muscles, people with bad backs should work out their abdominal muscles. Abdominals comprise the body’s core. A weak or imbalanced core can translate into back pain, especially in the lower region. A great way to get a good core workout is Pilates. Taking a class is your best bet because the instructor will explain variations for specific weaknesses including back pain. This way you can strengthen your core without further injuring your back.

4.  Don’t underestimate stretching

Stretching your back muscles helps soften the tissues and mobilize the spine. Keeping up with a stretching routine will ease the pain and allow greater range of motion in your back. Remember to get proper instruction when stretching so you are sure to avoid further injury. Taking a yoga class is an excellent stretching option because the instructor will help you with your form. The benefits of yoga go above and beyond simple stretching.

So get out there and get moving. There is no reason why a bad back should prevent you from feeling your best.


Athlete’s Foot

Why are my feet itching and scaling?

The most frequent cause of itching, scaling, and sometimes blistered feet is called Athlete’s Foot or Tinea Pedis. This is a fungal infection of the skin of the feet and can be very annoying if not treated appropriately.

Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, like our shoes and socks. Additionally, they love gyms, pools, and locker rooms because they are, again, typically hot and humid.

How is this treated?

The best way of treating this condition is to get a prescription from your foot doctor for a cream or ointment that kills the fungus. Over the counter agents that can be purchased at local drug stores only stop the fungus from multiplying, so this might not work in clearing up your condition.

How is it prevented?

1. Keep your feet dry by changing your shoes and socks regularly, especially if you tend to have sweaty feet.

2. Use over the counter antifungal sprays or powders each day.

3. Spray your shoes out with Lysol to kill germs.

4. Wear shower shoes in locker rooms or around pools.

5. Do not go barefoot.

Why do I need to treat it?

1. Fist, it is annoying, and treatment can make you more comfortable

2. The condition can progress if untreated, requiring oral antifungal medication (pills) or antibiotics (pills) if a secondary bacterial infection occurs from the open sores or blisters on the skin.

3. It can lead to fungal infection of the toenails. This causes the nails to become thick, discolored, and crumbly.

If you feel that you have this condition, contact Dr. Bender, a podiatrist in Oak Park and Chicago, for an appointment to see what treatment is best for you. 708-763-0580 Oak Park office.

Three Simple Tips for Smart Snacking

Contrary to popular belief, snacking is not bad for you. It’s actually very good for maintaining a healthy metabolism and helps prevent overeating during meals. You just have to know how to snack the healthy way.  Here are three simple tips for smart snacking.

1.  Make it healthy and nutritious

The best snacks incorporate protein and carbohydrates to satisfy your hunger and provide you the energy you need. Unhealthy snacks tend to give you an initial burst of energy, but leave you feeling dull and ready for a nap within 20 minutes. Stick to simple, unprocessed snacks with few ingredients and incorporate different food groups. Some of the best choices for snacks include an apple with peanut or almond butter, veggies and hummus, yogurt and granola and cheese and whole grain crackers.

2.  Practice mindful eating

When you are glued to the TV or computer, you are less likely to realize how much you are consuming. The best way to remain mindful when eating is to eliminate any distraction around you. Focus on the smell, texture and taste of your food. This will help you pay closer attention to your hunger cues and will lessen the likelihood that you will overeat.

3.  Don’t eat your feelings

Staying mindful will also help you determine whether you are eating out of hunger or emotion. Take note of your mood before you grab that snack. Are you stressed? Upset? Sad? These can all be reasons for you to comfort yourself by indulging in a treat. Emotional eating usually consists of unhealthy choices, which is another reason to be aware of why you are eating in the first place. So if you figure out that you are actually not hungry, find something else to do instead. Take a walk or treat yourself with something other than food, such as a movie or shopping.

So don’t think twice about grabbing a midday treat. Just take our advice and snack right.

How to Get the Most out of Physical Therapy

No one said the road to recovery is easy. Full recovery from an injury or surgery can take up to a year or longer. That’s why it’s important to be diligent about your physical therapy routine. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your rehabilitation program.

Pay attention

Be attentive while your physical therapist demonstrates exercises. If you are not sure you will be able to remember, take notes or draw a guide for yourself. Practice the exercises with your therapist to be sure you are performing them correctly.

Do your homework

Remember is to complete the assigned exercises as advised by your therapist. Doing more or less could hinder your recovery.  Keep a log so you have a record of when you completed your exercises. It is also beneficial to record any new or remaining aches and pains you may have.

Keep up with your appointments

Attend all appointments you have scheduled with your therapist. This is when your therapist can evaluate your progress and give you any new exercises.  Appointments are also a good time for you to ask questions and address any concerns.

Stay focused

Most importantly, keep a positive attitude and stay focused on your recovery. Remember that the healing process takes time so don’t get discouraged. Take your recovery one day at a time and always continue to give it your all.

So keep these tips in mind, put forth your best effort and you will be free from any roadblocks to recovery.

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