Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 05 Jan, 2018

Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50 years of age according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Is it little wonder, then, that foot pain affects daily activities- walking, exercising or standing for long periods of time- of a majority of Americans?

 

APMA offers advice for keeping feet healthy in common winter scenarios:

Winter is skiing and snowboarding season, activities enjoyed by nearly 10 million Americans, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Never ski or snowboard in footwear other than ski boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure your boots fit properly; you should be able to wiggle your toes, but the boot should immobilize your heel, instep and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (foot devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.

Committed runners don’t need to let the cold stop them. A variety of warm, lightweight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. However, some runners may compensate for icy conditions by altering how their foot strikes the ground. Instead of changing your footstrike pattern, shorten your stride to help maintain stability. And remember, it’s more important than ever to stretch before your run. Cold weather can make you less flexible in winter than you are in summer, so it is important to warm muscles before running.

Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp, sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more susceptible to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot-care regimen this winter.

Be size smart. It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for children in a slightly larger size, thinking they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. But unlike coats that children can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.

 

Finally- and although this one seems like it should go without saying, it bears spelling out- do not try to tip-toe through winter snow, ice and temperatures in summer footwear.

 

MORE THAN ONE NEWS SHOE ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAS AIRED IMAGES OF PEOPLE IN SNEAKERS, SANDALS AND EVEN FLIP-FLOPS DURING OUR CURRENT SEVERE COLD SNAP. EXPOSING FEET TO EXTREME TEMPERATURES MEANS RISKING FROSTBITE AND INJURY. CHOOSE WINTER FOOTWEAR THAT WILL KEEP YOUR FEET WARM, DRY AND WELL-SUPPORTED.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 14 Dec, 2017

Women’s winter boots with high, spiked heels and narrow, pointed toes may seem like the epitome of haute couture but these boots can make feet and ankles unstable on snow and ice covered surfaces.

Falls from high-heeled winter boots can lead to a number of injuries depending on how you lose your balance. If your ankles roll inward or outward, they can break. If your ankles twist, ligaments can be stretched or torn, causing an ankle sprain. Slipping or falling in high-heeled boots can also cause broken toe, metatarsal and heel bones.

Shop for a low-heeled boot this winter and be sure to scuff the soles of new boots or buy adhesive rubber soles to provide greater traction.

No matter what style of boot you decide to wear this season, if you suffer a fall in Cincinnati or Southwest Ohio, call my office for prompt evaluation and treatment and follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol:

REST. Stay off the injured foot since walking can cause further damage.

ICE. To reduce swelling and pain, apply a bag of ice over a thin towel to the affected area. Do not put ice directly against the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.

COMPRESSION. An elastic wrap (Coban) should be used to control swelling.

ELEVATION. Keep the foot elevated to reduce the swelling. Your foot should be even with or slightly above the level of your heart.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 22 Nov, 2017

1.       If the shoe fits, wear it. When hitting the dance floor or shopping malls this holiday season, do not compromise comfort and safety when choosing the right shoes to wear. Narrow shoes, overly high-heeled ones or shoes not often worn, such as dress shoes, can irritate feet and lead to blisters, calluses, swelling and even severe ankle injuries. Select a shoe that has a low heel and fits your foot in length, depth and width while you are standing.

2.       Do not overindulge in holiday cheer.   Did you know your feet can feel the effects of too much holiday cheer? Certain foods and beverages high in purines, such as shellfish, red meat, red wine and beer can trigger extremely painful gout attacks, a condition in which uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in and around your joints. The big toe is most often affected first since the toe is the coolest part of the body, and uric acid is sensitive to temperature change.

3.       Be safety - conscious about pedicures. Nail salons can be a breeding ground for bacteria, including MRSA. To reduce your risk of infection during a pedicure, choose a salon that follows proper sanitation practices and is licensed by the state. Also, consider purchasing your own pedicure instruments to bring along to your appointment.

4.       Watch for ice and snow . Holiday winter wonderlands can be beautiful but also dangerous. Use caution when traveling outdoors and watch for patches of ice or snow along your trail. The ankle joint can be more vulnerable to serious injury from falling on ice. If you experience a fall, take a break from activities until you can be seen in my office. Use RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) to help reduce pain and control swelling at the site of the injury.

5.       Protect your feet from cold temperatures . Wear insulated, water-resistant boots and moisture-wicking socks to prevent frostbite, chilblains-an inflammation of the small blood vessels in the hands or feet when they are exposed to cold air- or other cold weather-related injuries to the feet and toes.

6.       Listen to your feet . Inspect your feet regularly for any evidence of ingrown toenails, swelling, blisters, dry skin or calluses. If you notice any pain, swelling or signs of problems, call my wonderful office staff to make an appointment to see me.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Oct, 2017

Is the surgery painful? The level of pain experienced after bunion surgery is different with every patient. Most patients will experience discomfort for three to five days. However, if you closely follow the postoperative care instructions, you can help minimize pain and swelling after your bunion surgery. As part of my protocol, I utilize a MLS robotic laser both prior and subsequent to the procedure to reduce pain and inflammation and promote self healing.

What type of anesthesia is used? Most bunion surgeries involve local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. This means your foot will be numb and you will receive medications to relax you during the procedure.

How soon can I walk after surgery? You may be asked to avoid driving for three to six weeks depending upon the procedure selected for you, which foot you use to drive, how quickly you heal and other factors.

Can the bunion return? Yes, some cases have a risk of bunion recurrence. You can help prevent recurrence by following any instructions to wear arch supports or orthotics in your shoes.

If screws or plates are implanted in my foot to correct my bunion, will they activate metal detectors? Not usually. It depends upon the device chosen for your procedure as well as the sensitivity of the metal detector.

To learn more about what to expect during bunion surgery, consult with a foot and ankle surgeon by calling my office to schedule a consultation with me.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 18 Sep, 2017

Follow these six tips to help protect your children from serious foot and ankle injuries this fall:

1.       Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to cartilage injuries, your child might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with my office if you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner long-term instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can safely get back into the game.

2.       Have a foot and ankle surgeon check old sprains before the season begins. A checkup at my office can reveal whether your child’s previously injured foot or ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive brace during competition.

3.       Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should never substitute baseball cleats for football shoes.

4.       Child athletes should begin the season with new shoe gear. Old shoes can wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat.

5.       Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports related foot and ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. This is why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

6.       Encourage stretching and warmup exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging prior to competition, help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing risk for foot and ankle injuries.

If you would like a foot and ankle surgeon to evaluate your child’s feet, ankles or athletic shoes, contact my office for an appointment.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 10 Aug, 2017

This thickening and enlargement of the tissue surrounding the nerve in the ball of the foot is the result of irritation and compression caused by repeated pressure. Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma usually begin gradually and may disappear temporarily by massaging your foot or by avoiding shoes or activities that irritate it. Symptoms will become progressively worse over time as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

If you suspect you have a Morton’s neuroma, make an appointment with my office as soon as symptoms develop. Early treatment with padding, orthotics or medication can help you avoid the need for more invasive therapies.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Jul, 2017

With warm weather in full swing, most of us have been enjoying the outdoors, whether that means tending to our yards and gardens, playing recreational sports or spending time at the beach. However, it takes just one wrong step for summer fun to turn into a painful ankle sprain or fracture. Walking, running and playing on uneven surfaces, such as grassy lawns, beaches and hiking trails, leave us susceptible to ankle trauma. Lightweight,  unsupportive summer footwear, such as sandals or flip-flops, make it even more difficult for us to regain balance on uneven surfaces.

 Sprains are one of the most common ankle injuries, but how can we tell if ankle pain is a sprain or a fracture? An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more of the ligaments in the ankle. These ligaments are like rubber bands that stabilize the ankle and limit the side-to-side motion. When these ligaments are stretched or torn, which can happen, for example, when the ankle is suddenly twisted, a sprain results. A fracture can also occur when the ankle is rolled under and the ankle is twisted. In this case, one or more bones may break or the ligament may pull a piece of bone off when it tears.

 When you have an ankle sprain, rehabilitation is crucial and it starts the moment your treatment begins. Treatment of ankle fractures depends on the type and severity of the injury. If you suffer from an ankle injury, follow the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol and contact my office for a proper evaluation or seek care at your local Emergency Department after hours. In some case, surgery may be necessary to repair the fracture and other soft-tissue related injuries, if present.


  If you or a family member suffer a sprained or fractured ankle this summer, follow these steps:   

  1.       Stay off it. Walking with a sprain or fracture can cause further damage.

2.       Ice It.   Make an ice pack by wrapping a bag of frozen vegetables in a lightweight towel. Do not apply the ice pack for more than 20 minutes each hour.

3.       Wrap It.   A loosely applied elastic bandage can help stabilize the ankle and can reduce swelling.

4.       Elevate it.   Lie with the leg on a pillow so that the ankle is above the level of your heart. This will help with pain and swelling.

5.       Call my office.   Prompt diagnosis and treatment are important in a successful recovery.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 14 Jun, 2017

  1. Wear comfortable shoes to the airport. You never know how long you will wait in line, how far you will walk to a terminal or if you will need to run to make a connecting flight. Loose fitting flip-flops and sandals increase your risk of tripping, falling and spraining your ankle. Sprains should be evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist within 24 hours to ensure proper healing.
  2. Wear socks with your comfortable shoes.   Not only do socks protect skin from shoe friction that can cause blisters and calluses, they also keep you healthy. Walking barefoot through an airport metal detector exposes your feet to bacteria and viruses that could cause plantar warts and fungus.
  3.   Avoid bringing new shoes on vacation.   If your vacation includes walking tours, hiking or dancing, wear worn-in shoes that support and cushion your feet.
  4. Check your children’s shoes for fit and comfort.   Make sure their shoes are not too big or too small and ensure that they provide proper arch support and shock absorption.
  5. Pack flip-flops or sandals and wear sparingly. Use them in place of walking barefoot in locker rooms and around pools, where you may pick up athlete’s foot, a plantar wart infection or toenail fungus.
  6. Pack an antifungal cream or powder.   Use an antifungal product to help prevent athlete’s foot if you are staying in a hotel or swimming in public pools.
  7. Place a towel on the floor before entering the shower or bathtub.   The towel will help prevent slipping when you exit and will also help dry toes and protect them from infection.
  8. Stretch your legs and pump your feet if you are traveling more than two hours.   This will help circulate your blood to prevent dangerous blood clots in your legs known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  9. Consider wearing compression socks on the aircraft.   These can help prevent blood clots and DVT by pushing the blood through the legs and back to the lungs and heart.
  10. Pack a small first-aid kit. If you develop a blister on your foot, clean your foot with saline solution, apply a small amount of antibiotic cream to the blister and cover it with a Coverlet bandage, Band-Aid or gauze. If you suffer a puncture wound, see a foot and ankle specialist within 24 hours for professional cleaning of the wound to prevent infection and other complications.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 22 May, 2017

What lies hidden in the grass, dirt or sand can definitely wreak havoc on bare feet. From nails, shards of glass, slivers of wood, pieces of seashell at the beach, thorns from trees and plants or sometimes discarded toothpicks, each can puncture the skin of the foot and cause serious injury. Even after the object has been completely removed from the foot, any dirt or bacteria pushed into the wound from the puncture can lead to an infection, painful scarring or even a cyst. Any puncture wounds should be promptly treated in my office within 24 hours.

Besides hidden dangers, “everyday childhood injuries” can also interrupt a summer break. Protect your children’s feet from traumatic injuries, such as bicycle injuries and lawn mower accidents, by making sure they wear sturdy shoes while riding a bike or when cutting the grass.

Do not discount sunburn on the feet. Protect your children’s feet from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of their feet. Feet, like shoulders, burn faster than the rest of the body since they are most perpendicular to the sun’s rays. Not only is sunburn of the feet painful, it can also cause skin cancers that often go unnoticed until they become very serious.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Apr, 2017

Competitive youth sports often require many athletes to transition from winter activities to spring activities without considering the increased risk of incurring a foot or ankle injury. Moving from indoor to outdoor playing surfaces with varying impact can stress a young athlete’s feet and ankles. Going from sport to sport without allowing time for muscles and bones to rest can cause overuse injuries.

If your child plans to participate in a sport this spring after playing through the winter sports season, follow these six tips:

  1.       Get a preseason health and wellness checkup. A medical evaluation before the season begins can help identify any health concerns that could possibly lead to injury.

2.       Take it slow. Ask the coach to gradually increase children’s playing time during practice to avoid pushing them full throttle. Your child’s feet and ankles need to become accustomed to the activity level required for a sport.

3.       Wear proper, broken-in shoes.   Different sports require different shoe gear. Wearing the appropriate, well-fitting, broken-in athletic shoes can eliminate heel and toe discomfort.

4.       Check your child’s technique. Watch for any changes in your child’s form or technique. Ask the coach to notify you if your child is placing more weight on wide side of his/her body or limping.

5.       Insist on open communication if your child has pain. Express to your child athlete that s/he should inform you and the coach of any pain or discomfort as soon as it occurs. Overuse injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and shin splints, can be subtle and develop over time.

6.       If an injury occurs, remember RICE. An injured foot or ankle can often be healed with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). If your child complains of foot or ankle pain, s/he should take a break from playing and allow time for recovery.

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Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 05 Jan, 2018

Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50 years of age according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Is it little wonder, then, that foot pain affects daily activities- walking, exercising or standing for long periods of time- of a majority of Americans?

 

APMA offers advice for keeping feet healthy in common winter scenarios:

Winter is skiing and snowboarding season, activities enjoyed by nearly 10 million Americans, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Never ski or snowboard in footwear other than ski boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure your boots fit properly; you should be able to wiggle your toes, but the boot should immobilize your heel, instep and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (foot devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.

Committed runners don’t need to let the cold stop them. A variety of warm, lightweight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. However, some runners may compensate for icy conditions by altering how their foot strikes the ground. Instead of changing your footstrike pattern, shorten your stride to help maintain stability. And remember, it’s more important than ever to stretch before your run. Cold weather can make you less flexible in winter than you are in summer, so it is important to warm muscles before running.

Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp, sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more susceptible to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot-care regimen this winter.

Be size smart. It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for children in a slightly larger size, thinking they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. But unlike coats that children can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.

 

Finally- and although this one seems like it should go without saying, it bears spelling out- do not try to tip-toe through winter snow, ice and temperatures in summer footwear.

 

MORE THAN ONE NEWS SHOE ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAS AIRED IMAGES OF PEOPLE IN SNEAKERS, SANDALS AND EVEN FLIP-FLOPS DURING OUR CURRENT SEVERE COLD SNAP. EXPOSING FEET TO EXTREME TEMPERATURES MEANS RISKING FROSTBITE AND INJURY. CHOOSE WINTER FOOTWEAR THAT WILL KEEP YOUR FEET WARM, DRY AND WELL-SUPPORTED.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 14 Dec, 2017

Women’s winter boots with high, spiked heels and narrow, pointed toes may seem like the epitome of haute couture but these boots can make feet and ankles unstable on snow and ice covered surfaces.

Falls from high-heeled winter boots can lead to a number of injuries depending on how you lose your balance. If your ankles roll inward or outward, they can break. If your ankles twist, ligaments can be stretched or torn, causing an ankle sprain. Slipping or falling in high-heeled boots can also cause broken toe, metatarsal and heel bones.

Shop for a low-heeled boot this winter and be sure to scuff the soles of new boots or buy adhesive rubber soles to provide greater traction.

No matter what style of boot you decide to wear this season, if you suffer a fall in Cincinnati or Southwest Ohio, call my office for prompt evaluation and treatment and follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol:

REST. Stay off the injured foot since walking can cause further damage.

ICE. To reduce swelling and pain, apply a bag of ice over a thin towel to the affected area. Do not put ice directly against the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.

COMPRESSION. An elastic wrap (Coban) should be used to control swelling.

ELEVATION. Keep the foot elevated to reduce the swelling. Your foot should be even with or slightly above the level of your heart.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 22 Nov, 2017

1.       If the shoe fits, wear it. When hitting the dance floor or shopping malls this holiday season, do not compromise comfort and safety when choosing the right shoes to wear. Narrow shoes, overly high-heeled ones or shoes not often worn, such as dress shoes, can irritate feet and lead to blisters, calluses, swelling and even severe ankle injuries. Select a shoe that has a low heel and fits your foot in length, depth and width while you are standing.

2.       Do not overindulge in holiday cheer.   Did you know your feet can feel the effects of too much holiday cheer? Certain foods and beverages high in purines, such as shellfish, red meat, red wine and beer can trigger extremely painful gout attacks, a condition in which uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in and around your joints. The big toe is most often affected first since the toe is the coolest part of the body, and uric acid is sensitive to temperature change.

3.       Be safety - conscious about pedicures. Nail salons can be a breeding ground for bacteria, including MRSA. To reduce your risk of infection during a pedicure, choose a salon that follows proper sanitation practices and is licensed by the state. Also, consider purchasing your own pedicure instruments to bring along to your appointment.

4.       Watch for ice and snow . Holiday winter wonderlands can be beautiful but also dangerous. Use caution when traveling outdoors and watch for patches of ice or snow along your trail. The ankle joint can be more vulnerable to serious injury from falling on ice. If you experience a fall, take a break from activities until you can be seen in my office. Use RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) to help reduce pain and control swelling at the site of the injury.

5.       Protect your feet from cold temperatures . Wear insulated, water-resistant boots and moisture-wicking socks to prevent frostbite, chilblains-an inflammation of the small blood vessels in the hands or feet when they are exposed to cold air- or other cold weather-related injuries to the feet and toes.

6.       Listen to your feet . Inspect your feet regularly for any evidence of ingrown toenails, swelling, blisters, dry skin or calluses. If you notice any pain, swelling or signs of problems, call my wonderful office staff to make an appointment to see me.

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