Have You Checked Your Feet for Skin Cancer?

  • By Ruth Ann Cooper
  • 13 Jun, 2016

You’re vigilant about checking your face, scalp, limbs and torso for suspicious moles, but do you also check your feet? Skin cancer is on the rise in the U.S. and right here in Cincinnati, Ohio, with one of the most serious forms of skin cancer- melanoma- ranking as the most common foot malignancy. Melanomas on the feet are often misdiagnosed and more dangerous because they go undetected and untreated longer than those in easier-to-spot locations. Most people know that podiatrists save limbs but I have also saved a few lives.

Melanomas can occur anywhere on the foot, including under the toenail. They most often appear as pigmented lesions. Similar to other skin cancers, excessive unprotected sun exposure, a family history of skin cancer, numerous moles on the body and having fair skin, blue eyes or red hair can put you at greater risk. Even people normally at low risk for skin cancer can develop melanomas on their feet.

If you notice any pigmented or unusual lesion on your foot, under a toenail or on the bottom of your feet, make an appointment immediately with my office. To be safe, moles or lesions on the feet that change color and shape should be removed and biopsied. Left untreated, melanomas can have serious consequences.

The ABCDs of Melanoma Detection

A.    Asymmetry. The shape of one half doesn’t match the other half.

B.    Border. The edges are often ragged, notched, blurred or irregular, and the pigment may spread to the surrounding area.

C.    Color. The color is uneven or varies from one area to another. Shades of black, brown and tan may be present. Areas of white, red, pink, gray or blue may be seen.

D.    Diameter. Melanomas are usually larger than the eraser of a pencil (6mm)

Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

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.

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