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What are these Bumps and Spots on My Child’s Feet?

A common condition that affects children and teens is warts, also know as varruca plantaris. Warts are caused by a virus and tend to like warm, moist environments like the feet. Our feet are enclosed in our shoes and socks all day long, creating the perfect breeding ground for warts. Additionally, gyms, locker rooms, showers, and pools are places that we may not be wearing shoes, and the environments in these places are typically warm and moist. Warts are common in children, as their immune systems are not as strong as adults. Parents often do not notice the warts until a child is limping or complaining of pain. Warts can look like any of the following: raised bumps, callouses, or red dots.

A podiatrist can tell you if the area is actually a wart. If there is a callous or hard skin over the wart, a podiatrist will trim this off to get a better look at the area. This is painless but often causes pinpoint bleeding of the very small blood vessels just under the skin. This is one of the signs of a wart. Additional signs of a wart include some or all of the following: discontinuation of skin lines, cauliflower appearance, dark spots, and pain with side to side pressure. Warts can be treated with a variety of topical medications, acids, freezing, lasers, and surgical excision. Occasionally, warts require a combination of treatments, and the treatment may take weeks or months. Warts can be prevented by keeping the feet dry: changing socks frequently, drying thoroughly after bathing, using powders or sprays to keep the feet dry, and spraying the shoes out regularly with lysol.

Dr. Bender is a podiatrist with Advanced Physical Medicine. She has 12 years of experience in private practice and has been a clinical instructor at William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine for the last 9 years. She practices at the Oak Park and Chicago/63rd St. locations. For an appointment, call 708-763-0580 or 773-776-3166.

The Warrior Diet & The Stay-At-Home Parent

The Warrior Diet, created by Ori Hofmekler, is, in short, a diet based on extended periods of daytime under-eating followed by brief periods of nighttime over-eating. The theory is that humans are, by their very nature, nocturnal eaters. Fasting during the day allows your body to detoxify and burn fat. The ‘warrior’ or prehistoric man HAD to eat this way. During the day, physical activity (exercise) was always necessary and the threat of danger was constant. At night, the ‘warrior’ could safely rest and enjoy one large daily meal.

So how does this translate to a stay-at-home parent? Let’s take a look.

1. It doesn’t disrupt family dinner time.

For many families, the 6pm (or 5pm, or 7pm) dinner hour is sacred. It is the one time of the day that everyone can count on. The older kids are home from soccer practice. The younger kids are awake from their naps. The spouse is home from a long day at work. It’s time to gather ‘round the table, break bread and talk about the day that has passed. Too many diets demand restrictions that affect this familial ritual. That is not the case with the Warrior Diet. Fast all day. Eat at night. That’s the deal. The precious family dinner is the perfect time to break your fast.

2. It doesn’t require special recipes.

The Warrior Diet doesn’t require specific foods, so much as it requires specific times to eat. If you’ve fasted all day, when it comes time to eat (around 6pm, give or take), you can enjoy as much of whatever you’d like. That means that family favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, stir fried chicken and pepperoni pizza can stay on your menu.

3. It actually increases your daytime productivity.

During your daytime fast, you’ll kick into gear your sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The SNS activates when emergencies occur, causing the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ reaction to stressful situations. Calling your fast an emergency is a touch dramatic. But the truth is, when your SNS activates energy is generated and fat is burned: both good things! Not only are you losing weight with the Warrior Diet, but your energy levels during the day will increase dramatically. Whoever says being a stay-at-home parent isn’t a full-time job has clearly never been one; extra energy is essential.

Diets are a dime a dozen. Each year another nutrition craze hits the media. The Warrior Diet is unique in its simplicity and accessibility. It’s not the type of diet that will make you miserable, broke or unhealthy. In fact, because it’s a lifestyle decision, not a temporary quick-fix, you’ll see results not only in your weight, but in your mental health as well.

Debunking 4 Popular Exercise Fads

Late-night television is jam packed with fitness solutions both realistic and ridiculous. In the end, good old fashioned hard work is the only thing that is guaranteed to get you into shape. But, for humor’s sake, let’s take a look at five of the worst exercise fads.

1. 8-Minute Abs
Worst Exercise Fads AbsGet a six-pack in just 8 minutes a day? Yeah! Not so much. The fact is ab exercises alone will never get you a washboard stomach. Most of us already have a six-pack beneath a healthy layer of fat. Thus, getting the stomach you want means you need to be lean. Conditioning, including cardiovascular exercise and weight training, and a healthy diet are more effective than 8-minutes of crunches will ever be.
2. Sauna Suits

Failed Exercise FadsSure, you look ridiculous in that plastic bag, but at least you won’t need an umbrella in the rain. And that’s about all these silly suits are good for. The promise is that the suits will make you sweat out more pounds during your exercise routine. The problem is that you’re losing water weight, not fat. A glass of water will put the weight right back on. Furthermore, wearing the suit is actually BAD for you. In the worst cases, the body overheats and can lead to heat stroke, fainting and cramps.

3. Thigh Master

Unsuccessful Exercise FadsWho is the first person you think of when you think of the Thigh Master? Suzanne Somers, for sure. It should, however, be professional scammer Joshua Reynolds. Not only did Reynolds develop the Thigh Master, he was also the man behind the mood ring fad that swept the nation in the 70s and 80s. (Fun fact: he is an heir to R.J. Reynolds and all his cigarette money.) Does the Thigh Master work? The exercise might give the appearance of muscle if done in excess, but won’t actually increase strength. Simple squats are much more effective.

4. Vibrating Belts

Worst Exercise Fads

Preying on the laziness of late-night television watchers, these devices offered a completely exercise-less solution to weight loss. These belts supposedly use electronic muscle stimulation to trim down belly fat. The best part is, you don’t have to do anything but wear the belt. The commercial shows actors going about their daily business (cooking, reading, cleaning, working) all the while wearing their ‘shocking’ weight loss accessory. I’m amazed a single one of these things sold...well, no I’m not.

Getting healthy is important, of course. But, don’t waste time and money on silliness like these exercise fads. Instead, consult a personal trainer and develop a workout regimen that actually will work.

Why Smoking Is Bad For Your Feet

Day after day I treat smokers in my podiatry clinic, and they are shocked that smoking actually affects their feet.  They think that smoking may cause lung problems during thier lives but do not understand that it is the cause of their leg cramping, inability to walk for long distances (sometimes only a block or two), and in some cases, their severe foot and toe pain. Our heart pushes blood through a series of blood vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen to all areas of our body.  Thus, the feet get oxygen through this system of blood vessels.   Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow and the blood does not flow well through them.  The carbon monoxide in cigarettes kills the cells in the blood vessels,which allows fat to fill the walls of the vessels.  This contributes to thickening of the vessels or "hardening of the arteries."  When the arteries harden, they are no longer able to effectively and efficiently push blood throughout the body. 

If the feet do not get adequate blood flow (and oxygen), the following may happen:  thin, unhealthy skin; thick and irregular nails; pain;  cramping;  inability to walk for long distances; wounds that do not heal; and gangrene.  Poor circulation to the feet is a very dangerous situation and can lead to amputations when it gets severe. 

It is important to quit smoking, stay active, and maintain a healthy diet.  If you are diabetic, keeping your blood sugar within the normal range of 80-120 mg/dL is essential.  Additionally, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels will help keep your blood circulating.

Dr. Bender is a foot and ankle specialist at Advanced Physical Medicine.  She practices at the Oak Park and 63rd/Chicago locations.  Dr. Bender has 12 years of experience in private practice and specializes in diabetic footcare and limb saving techniques.  Please call 708-763-0580 or 773-776-3166 for an immediate appointment.

4 Tricks to get your Spouse to Lose Weight

It’s a tricky situation when your wife or husband starts packing on the pounds. It’s also a common situation. Most married couples put on a few pounds in the first few years following their nuptials. So, how do you get your spouse to lose the weight? Try these four tips to bring healthy (and sexy) back.

1. Have better snacks around.

The need for snacking will never go away. But, you can make healthy snacking just as easy as pulling open a bag of potato chips. Stock up on fruit and vegetables. More importantly, make them easily accessible. Peel and slice cucumbers, melon or apples (toss them in a little lemon juice to prevent browning), and have the bite-size snacks easily available in your fridge.

2.  Eat out less. Eat out better.

It’s most effective to avoid eating out as much as possible. Cooking at home means you can control portion size, ingredient quality and overall health components. However, social gatherings and the occasional need for convenience means you’ll probably have to eat out a few times a month. When possible, try and choose a cuisine that lends itself to healthy options (think sushi, not Italian). At the very least, pay close attention to what you’re eating--order healthy and light, and chances are your spouse will notice and take a look at their own ordering habits.

3. Get active together.

If you have the means, the time and the gumption, you can certainly join a gym together, but that might not be a reasonable option for you or your spouse. Try starting small. Take a half hour walk each evening after dinner. Not only is it good for both of your health, but taking the time to chat through the dusk is great for your relationship.

4. Go see the doctor.

Encourage your spouse to get a check up. Get blood work done to check overall health factors like cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Surely, if your spouse is overweight, the doctor will be the straightforward ‘bad guy’, and tell your loved one about his or her weight problem. It’s tough to hear, but a health scare is a reminder of mortality that might be just the motivation your spouse needs to drop a few pounds.

These tips should help your efforts in helping your spouse to lose a bit of weight. But, the best thing you can do is be supportive and encouraging. Tell your husband or wife that you’re proud of their progress and that you love them. A little kindness goes a long way.

Probiotics: What They Are, How They Work and What To Eat

What are ProbioticsAmerica is fat. We all know that. And sure, more exercise and less food typically leads to weight loss. In fact, there are countless diets and workout routines dedicated to getting that swimsuit body. But what if the chemical makeup of our bodies--specifically the levels and types of bacteria and viruses--affects how our bodies metabolize and store fat.

Meet probiotics.

In Greek, probiotic is a compound word: pro, meaning “for” or “in support of”, and biotic, meaning “life”. Probiotics are live bacteria found in food and supplements. These so-called "friendly bacteria" live in the digestive tract of the body, namely the intestines.

Probiotics change your brain, affecting weight loss.

What? Your brain? Yes. Here’s the skinny: if your gut is full of unhealthy bacteria, you will likely have a higher level of stress and anxiety. Higher stress means higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Studies--lots of them--show that life’s inevitable stressful events trigger the release of cortisol into the body, and thus leads to the onset of chronic gastrointestinal disturbances. Elevated cortisol levels (and the ensuing stomach problems) make the body insensitive to insulin.

The American Journal of Physiology conducted a study on cortisol levels, insulin sensitivity, and visceral belly fat in men. The result, in short? Fat men = more cortisol and less insulin sensitivity. They put the overweight men on a high-protein diet, supplemented with probiotics for six months. The health improvements were significant across the board: less belly fat, less total body fat, less cortisol and improved insulin sensitivity.

Here are five foods rich in probiotics.

1. Yogurt - One of the best and most well-known probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt. Be sure to check the label. Look for goat milk yogurt, and avoid yogurts filled with high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.

2. Kefir - A cousin to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of goat milk and fermented kefir grains.

3. Sauerkraut - Go ahead and have that reuben sandwich! Typically made from fermented cabbage, sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but also vitamins B, A, E and C.

4. Dark Chocolate - A healthy dessert? Indeed. It’s not in all of it, but probiotics can be added to high-quality dark chocolate (up to four times the amount of probiotics as other dairy products).

5. Pickles - Believe it or not, the common green pickle is an excellent food source of probiotics. There are lots of easy ways to make your own too.

New research concerning probiotics is coming out constantly. Stay informed. Stay healthy. And good luck with probiotics!

Top 10 Fitness Blogs to Bookmark in 2013

Best Fitness Blogs of 2013You may be one of the millions who made a new year’s fitness resolution. You may be one of the millions who has long made fitness a daily goal. Regardless, the support and solidarity available on the web is more prevalent and relevant than ever. Check out our top 10 fitness blogs to bookmark in 2013.

Fit Bottomed Girls

Fit Bottomed Girls is really four blogs in one. Erin, Jenn, Kristin and Tish offer their unique but like-minded views on fitness, including slice-of-life ‘Workout I Did’ segments, healthy recipes and product reviews. A recent MTV Cribs’-like tour of each woman’s home writing space exemplifies what sets the Fit Bottomed Girls apart. It’s fun and personal--like getting support from a friend.

What’s Beyond Heavy?

Dana McMahan in her own words: “I travel, I eat, I write. And I lift things up and put them down.” How pithy. To elaborate, Dana is a food writer turned powerlifter (until an injury derailed that career) turned world traveler and fitness blogger. If that brief bio doesn’t sell you, consider this: each month Dana is chronicling her commitment to trying and learning a new sport (like kayaking or rock climbing) in an effort to find her new fitness passion.

Fitness Black Book

Rusty Moore, who launched Fitness Black Book in 2007, wants to help you get that lean, sexy, muscular ‘Hollywood’ look. The exercises are plentiful and laser specific in their end goal. This is the ultimate site for summer swimsuit readiness.

Mark's Daily Apple

This website has a mascot of sorts. His name is Grok. He’s an ancient hunter and gatherer--lean, ripped, agile--the pinnacle of physical vigor. Yes, it’s a little silly, but Grok represents Mark’s fitness philosophy. We can learn from pre-agricultural man how better to eat, exercise, think and live. His posts are always consistent and always informative: “primal living in the modern world.”

Sweat Science

As the name implies, Sweat Science (written by Scott Hutchinson, a former physicist and national-class runner) is about the laboratory finds in the fitness world. You’ll find the latest studies on all topics related to the science of fitness, ranging from neuroscience to nutrition, More importantly, you’ll learn what the science does (and doesn’t) tell us about how to run faster or live longer.

Fit Mom’s Blog

Rachel is a marathon runner, bike racer, and an avid crossfitter--she’s also the mom of two boys. Certainly there are challenges to remaining a fit parent: lack of time, pregnancy weight gain, constant distraction. While, the blog provides appropriate advice in these areas, the niche is that Rachel preaches having a fit family. Tales of family activities abound, including cross country skiing, cycling and even “flying paper airplanes for hours on end”.

Nerd Fitness

The blog looks like a comic book and references Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, video games--pretty much all things nerd. Steve Kamb wants readers, no matter their social predilection, to step away from the computer and make daily progress toward getting in shape.

Well from The New York Times

One of the world’s great news sources provides Well, a full coverage health, wellness and fitness blog from Tara Parker-Pope, a science journalist and author. The fitness section alone features wide ranging posts from “How To Live As Long As An Olympian” to “Why Afternoon May Be The Best Time To Exercise”.

Zen To Fitness

Focused and simple, like the art of Zen, this blog offers weekly fitness posts that take less than five minutes to read. Training blogs are specific, easy to understand and often include videos. Ancillary blogs on nutrition are equally useful. I mean, what’s more Zen than a post entitled “The Importance of Water”?

Bummfuzzled Jane

She’s funny. She’s real. And she’s completely unqualified to write a fitness blog. Meaning, she’s a lot like the rest of us. Her posts are heavy on pontifications and short on specific workout descriptions, but she’s certainly motivational in her rants. She’s also a big fan of those viral ‘postcards’ with a 50’s-esque sketch of a man or a woman and a quippy quote like: “Oh you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support groups for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.”

Here’s to hoping a few minutes daily reading one of our favorite blogs will get (or keep) you motivated to be fit and healthy in 2013.

Haglund’s Deformiy

Ouch-  I have a bump on my Heel!

A Haglund's Deformity is a bump on the back of the heel in the area  where the Achilles tendon inserts on the  heel.  It can be red, swollen, irritated, and painful.  This region of the heel has two important structures: a bursa or fluid filled sack is present behind the heel bone and next to that is the location where the Achilles tendon attaches on to the heel bone or calcaneus. The bursa is present to reduce pressure in this area of the heel.   Excess friction or pressure caused by  a tight Achilles tendon, rigid shoe backs, ice skates,  or a high arched foot can contribute to this condition.  This is also a common condition in serious runners.

The diagnosis for this condition is often made clinically and with the help of conventional x-rays.  On occasion, MRI may be needed to check the integrity of the Achilles tendon in this area.  Tears at the insertion of the Achilles tendon  on the heel bone can also cause this type of discomfort.

There are many conservative treatments for this condition:  icing, stretchng, anti-inflammatory medications, lifts in the back of the shoe to decrease , pads or cushions to reduce friction (moleskin), physical therapy, orthotic devices to control abnormal motion, and different shoegear.  More complicated cases may require immobilization in a walking boot, or surgical intervention is indicated if all other treatments have failed.

6 Tips to Keep Yourself Alive for Longer!

We often hear the sayings ‘life is short’ and ‘you only live once’, so why don’t we make the most of what we have been given? We have been given a chance to live a great life, so why not start by improving your lifestyle to ensure you live a life that is longer and more enjoyable than you would expect. Here are 6 tips to keep yourself alive for longer!

- Exercise More

This is an obvious tip whenever anyone mentions improving lifestyle choices. But it is one of the most important and useful tips you can receive. Not only does exercising more keep you physically healthy, it can also keep you mentally healthy; people who exercise more do not stress as much. The great part about exercise is that there is so much choice, so you can choose something you love!

- Stop Smoking

We all know that smoking has terrible health effects, even if you don’t want to admit it. So why put yourself through the risk of horrible illnesses, such as lung or throat cancer? Quitting smoking is not the easiest thing to do; however, it is worth it if you want to live a long and happy life. Within a few weeks of quitting, you will notice great differences, including better breath, whiter teeth and less coughing. Not to mention the other benefits, such as greater life expectancy and more money.

- Limit Alcohol Intake

Many people drink alcohol fairly regularly and people nowadays begin drinking before they are even legal. Many 15, 16 and 17 year olds do go out and drink without being aware of the health risks, but how are they supposed to know the risks when adults don’t either? Many people are unaware of what alcohol can really do; I’m not asking you to stop drinking completely, but limiting your alcohol intake can really improve your health. Alcohol can cause a variety of diseases including heart disease. If you want to stay looking younger, then don’t drink as much.

- Don’t Take Harmful Drugs

There are so many harmful drugs out there that many people seem to be trying out, including cannabis, cocaine and even ecstasy. The people using these harmful drugs are not aware of the risks to their health; they can cause anxiety, paranoia, lung disease, heart problems and so many more things. According to the NHS, cannabis is the drug most used in the UK and around 2.2 million people used cannabis last year.

- Stop Stressing

Stress can increase your blood pressure and even cause depression, so start relaxing and you will notice you are a lot happier. According to the BBC, stress can lead to long-term problems, including heart disease and stroke.

- Eat Healthier

Along with exercise, this is another tip that you would expect to find in an article like this, but again, it is truly important to your health. Stick to a balanced diet and you will really notice the difference! If you do not have a healthy diet, then you are at a higher risk of obesity and diabetes, which can both be fatal, so if you want to live a long life, then you need to be eating healthier.

If you consider the 6 tips above, then you will have a better chance of living a longer and healthier life. Living a healthier life really does allow you to do more and make the most of the time you have. Also, it doesn’t matter how old you are because it is never too late to improve your lifestyle.


About the Author: Candy is very health conscious and she loves to write about anything that might help others improve. Live is short and you never know what is going to happen, so preparing a will is very important.


Basketball Foot and Ankle Injuries

As college basketball moves forward toward March Madness, injuries to the elite college players are more concerning to many basketball programs.  Duke player, Ryan Kelly, suffered a foot injury this week which has him sidelined for an indefinite period of time.  He injured the same foot that he previously had surgery on.  Basketball players are prone to foot and ankle injuries due to the frequent jumping and rapid and speedy movements along the court.  These same type of injuries can happen to any of us that enjoy playing basketball, whether it is a pick up game  or playing in a league.

Before any type of exercise or sport, it is important that you stretch, wear supportive shoes, and have adequate water to remain hydrated during the activity.  If you do injure your foot or ankle during the game, it is important to ice, rest, wrap (ace) your foot or ankle, and elevate.  If the condition does not improve, it is essential that you make a podiatry appointment to make sure that the injury has not caused a fracture/break in a bone or a tear in a ligament of tendon. Conventional x-rays and possibly more advanced imaging may be ordered to determine the extent of the injury.

Dr. Bender is a podiatrist at Advanced Physical Medicine.  She practice at the Oak Park and Chicago/63rd Street locations.  Dr. Bender has been in practice since 2001, and is an instructor at William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.  For an appointment, please call, 708-763-0580.


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