News

December 2015

Journal Club: TBD

November 2015
BCPMA exhibited at the 12th Annual Live Well with Diabetes Conference;Nov 20-22, 2015

October 2015

Wednesday, October 7
Location: Miku Restaurant
Time: 6:30 pm

September 2015

Wednesday, September 9
Sponsored by Lady Sport
Location: Lady Sport Vancouver, 3545 W 4th
Time: 6:30 pm

April 2015

Tuesday, April 21
Gait Retraining for the Podiatrists - Chris MacLean, PhD
Location: Romer's 'The Vault'
Time: 6:00 pm

March 2015

Journal clubs were held in Vancouver & Surrey

January 2015

BCPMA Iron Chef Challenge - photos in the members area
BCPMA participated at the RCMP Health Fair

October 2014

BCPMA Board of Directors hosted a board retreat

September 2014

Wednesday, September 24

July 2014

Volunteers from the BCPMA attended the Special Olympics event to help with the athletes
Journal Club sponsored by Valeant

June 2014

Annual Conference was held at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC

Shoe Renu Program

May 2014

Journal Club

The next ShoeRenu Podiatry Clinic is taking place on Saturday, November 29 from 9:15 am to 2:00 pm and we are needing volunteer podiatrists for this worthy cause.  You will be asked to provide evaluation, basic treatment and very basic documentation. Please bring basic foot care instruments.

 It's a great way to give back to the community and help those who really need it.  

Contact the BCPMA office if you are available.

The BCPMA participated at the ‘Health Fair 2013: Diabetes Prevention and Treatment’ on Sunday, September 15th, 2013.  The Health Fair 2013 was jointly organized by the Chinese Canadian Medical Society (BC), Chinese Canadian Dental Society of BC,  S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and iCON.  The theme of the Health Fair was diabetes prevention and treatment. 

http://www.healthfairbc.com/

Members of the BCPMA volunteered their services at the ShoeRenu Clinic in December 2013.  Formally the Harbor Lights/Salvation Army, the clinic was held at the Salvation Army Harbour Light location in the downtown eastside. This clinic provided foot care for the homeless and disadvantaged, as well as provided shoes for many.

The BCPMA will have a have a booth at The Wellness Show held at the Vancouver Convention Centre this February 14 – 16, 2014.  This event is the largest health and lifestyle showcase in western Canada with approximately 30,000 people attending.  We will also be hosting a workshop at the event on Sunday afternoon. 

http://www.thewellnessshow.com

The BC Podiatric Medical Association is pleased to announce our next Annual Scientific Conference 2013 at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa
Please click here to view the program.

Visit the BCPMA Conference 2013 to learn more.

Click Here for Online Registration Form.

The Ministry of Social Development has made increases to orthotics funding for eligible clients.  Please refer to the link below,

http://www.gov.bc.ca/hsd/

On this site, you will find news release from July 25, 2011, on the increase in orthotics funding.

This was done in part by the support and hard work by Dr. Tammy Gracen and Dr. Dana Alumbaugh.  Dr. Gracen petitioned the government when funding was cut April 1, 2010.  The increase and subsequent restoration of funding is due in large part to her efforts and contact with the media.

Excerpt from Vancouver Sun Article below.

B.C. increases orthotics supplement

By GERRY BELLETT, Vancouver Sun July 25, 2011

The ministry of social development has increased its orthotics program for British Columbia’s income assistance recipients.

Social Development Minister Harry Bloy has announced that recipients will be eligible for $450 worth of custom-made foot orthotics — up from the previous limit of $375.

Recipients will also be eligible to receive new orthotics every three years instead of four years.

Bloy said the updated policy also funds a greater range of medically necessary foot orthotics and footwear such as:

• off-the-shelf foot orthotics with no cost limit and no time limit on when they will be replaced.

• up to $250 for off-the-shelf orthopedic footwear to be replaced once a year.

• up to $125 a pair for off-the-shelf footwear to be replaced once a year (only for clients who need the shoes to accommodate a custom-made orthotic or brace).

 

New Study Proves Care by Podiatrists Dramatically Decreases Lower Limb Amputation
Research Results Presented at APMA’s 98th Annual Scientific Meeting  
Bethesda, MD – Essential foot care by a podiatrist has now been statistically proven to reduce hospitalization and amputation in adults with diabetes, according to a first of its kind study conducted by Thomson Reuters. The study was presented by Vickie R. Driver, MS, DPM, during the American Podiatric Medical Association’s (APMA) 98th Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, July 15-18, 2010. The presentation highlighted the dramatic impact that even a single visit to a podiatrist can have on patients with diabetes.
The study, which was sponsored by APMA, examined records for more than 32,000 patients with diabetes, ages 18-64, and compared health and risk factors for those who had podiatry visits to those who did not. Researchers found that care by a podiatric physician (defined as at least one preventative, pre-ulcer visit) was associated with a nearly 29 percent lower risk of amputation and 24 percent lower risk of hospitalization. Diabetic foot complications are the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation in the U.S. 
“The results of this study undeniably support visits to a podiatrist being critical to a diabetes patient’s health and well being,” said APMA member Dr. Driver. “No longer can care by a podiatrist be considered optional for those with diabetes, and the earlier a podiatrist is included in the diabetes management team, the better quality of life for the patient and greater health-care cost savings for all involved. This study clearly allows us to understand both the clinical and economic value of a podiatrist, in the team approach to saving diabetic patients’ feet.”
The study was conducted using Thomson Reuters’ MarketScan Research Databases, which house fully integrated, de-identified health-care claims data extensively used by researchers to understand health economics and outcomes. Studies based on MarketScan data have been published in more than 130 peer-reviewed articles in the past five years.
Lead researcher Teresa Gibson, PhD, director of health outcomes research at Thomson Reuters said, “Using the MarketScan Databases, we statistically matched patients with diabetes and foot ulcers who had visited a podiatrist with like patients who had not. The analysis of the data indicates that patients who had seen a podiatrist in the year prior to the onset of a foot ulcer had significantly lower rates of any amputation and hospitalization than those who had not.” For additional information on the study, visit www.apma.org/diabetesstudy.
Founded in 1912, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the nation’s leading and recognized professional organization for doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs).  DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg. The medical education and training of a DPM includes four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at an accredited podiatric medical college and two or three years of hospital residency training.  APMA has 53 state component locations across the United States and its territories, with a membership of close to 12,000 podiatrists.  All practicing APMA members are licensed by the state in which they practice podiatric medicine. For more information, visit www.apma.org.
Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Thomson Reuters combines industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world’s most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs 55,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.

Public Notification:

The College of Podiatric Surgeons was established under the Health Professions Act on July 1, 2010, to regulate the profession of podiatric medicine.


All Podiatrists listed on the BC Podiatric Medical Association web site are also members of the College of Podiatric Surgeons of BC.  More information on Professional Regulation is available on the Ministry of Health Services website.

Click here to view college site


The BC Association of Podiatrists warns that antibiotic-resistant foot infections can mean amputation for persons with diabetes.

Vancouver - The BCAP urges persons with diabetes to be aware of their risk for foot wounds known as ulcers that can become infected with hard to treat superbugs.

Superbug infections evolved as a result of overuse and misuse of antibiotics among the general public. Superbugs are bacteria that have developed a resistance to conventional antibiotic treatment. They can cause severe infections, extended hospital stays and the need for longer-term, last-resort antibiotic treatments that carry an increased risk for side effects.

"Superbug infections are not uncommon among my patients with diabetes-related foot complications" says Dr. Timothy Kalla, podiatrist. "Persons with diabetes are vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant foot infections, and if they are not treated promptly, amputation can sometimes be the result."

Persons with diabetes are at greater risk for superbug infections for several reasons. Elevated blood sugar levels result in lower immunity to infections. Many persons with diabetes have a history of recurrent or chronic foot wounds known as ulcers. Bacteria can enter the body through the foot wound and cause infection. Past use of antibiotics, combined with a chronic foot ulcer and lowered immunity to infection are ideal conditions for a superbug to take hold.

Elizabeth McClelland knows first-hand how devastating a superbug infection can be. A 67 year-old resident of Port Coquitlam, Elizabeth had been in and out of hospital for treatment of diabetes-related health issues for years. Three years ago, she picked up a superbug called MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) while receiving treatment for a diabetes-related ulcer on her foot.

"The virus [MRSA bacteriae] entered through the wound and then traveled through my body," she recounts. "It went into my lungs, my bladder, even my nose." She has been fighting the infection for years, but says, "It's very hard to get rid of. It has been more than three years and I'm still a mess."

"As a person with diabetes, managing your blood sugar to reduce the double risk of a lowered immunity and open foot wounds or ulcers is key," says Dr. Kalla. "And good foot health is a must to allow for exercise and a healthy lifestyle."

Persons with diabetes can find out more about maintaining their foot health and overall health at the Be Smart and Walk Well with Diabetes free public health fair, sponsored by the BC Association of Podiatrists. The health fair takes place on Sunday, November 4, 2007 and offers the public a wealth of information on managing their diabetes through diet, exercise and preventive health screenings.

From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Marriott Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver (1128 West Hastings St.), people can consult with medical practitioners, specialists, podiatrists and healthy living experts and get a free foot screening and blood glucose screening. Call 604-602-0400 or visit www.foothealth.ca for more information.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Hayden Jackson at 604-623-3007

The BC Association of Podiatrists warns that pregnancy can trigger lasting foot problems and offers tips for expectant mothers

Vancouver - Podiatrists recommend that pregnant women to take steps to prevent temporary or permanent foot problems caused by rapid weight gain and hormonal changes.

"Many women don't realize the effect a pregnancy can have on their feet." says B.C. podiatrist Dr. Julie Yee. "Those nine months of weight-gain and hormonal activity can cause foot problems that last a lifetime, but there are things you can do to minimize the risk."

Why is having a baby so hard on the feet? Pregnancy causes rapid weight gain and changes a woman's centre of gravity. That can put a lot of stress on hips, knees, ankles and feet. At the same time, hormonal changes weaken the ligaments in the body. Relaxin, the hormone that loosens the pelvic joints to make childbirth easier, relaxes the ligaments in the feet, causing the bones in the feet to spread. In fact, this spreading effect can permanently enlarge a woman's feet by up to two shoe sizes!

The relaxation of the foot structure can worsen any imbalances or structural issues in the foot. The most common result is pronation, a condition in which the arch flattens out under pressure and the foot rolls inward when the person walks. If left untreated, pronation can lead to a host of other potentially permanent foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and/or heel spurs (all of which cause heel pain), and metatarsalgia and/or bunions (pain in the ball of the foot).

Additionally, pregnant women are susceptible to edema, where excess fluid collects in the lower extremities. Edema causes the feet to swell, sometimes making it uncomfortable or even painful to wear shoes of the regular size. Poorly fitting shoes can also put stress on the feet and worsen structural imbalances.

Fortunately, there are steps pregnant women can take to protect their feet:

    * Wear shoes with a wide toe-box, broad-based heels, cushioning and proper arch support. Wearing poorly-structured or tight shoes during pregnancy can aggravate underlying foot issues.
    * Have your feet measured several times throughout your pregnancy to determine whether you need to wear larger-sized shoes.
    * Exercise regularly for overall health, and consider strength-training to improve posture and mobility.
    * Elevate and rest your legs and feet regularly. This will encourage fluids to drain from the lower extremities, reducing swelling and discomfort. See a podiatrist if you experience any foot pain. The sooner the problem is addressed, the less likely you are to experience permanent damage.

"Don't ignore foot pain during pregnancy," Dr. Yee advises. "Have it checked out with a podiatrist." She continues, "You'll need strong, healthy feet to chase after your toddler in a couple of years!"

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Hayden Jackson at 604-623-3007

The BC Association of Podiatrists says to check your toes for clues to health

Vancouver - When we pull off our woolen socks and winter boots and slip our feet into summer sandals, it's the perfect opportunity to take a good look at what our toes have been trying to tell us all winter. Misshapen nails, spots and moles can indicate anything from an irritating fungal infection to a life-threatening skin cancer.

"Throughout the winter months, our feet are 'out of sight, out of mind'," explains podiatrist Dr. David Brooks. "But the condition of our feet can reveal important clues to our general health. Even our exposed toes can tell us so much."

Here are some symptoms to look for:

Yellow or misshapen toenails
Toenails can become misshapen or discoloured for a number of reasons. If your nails are pitted, thickened, flaky and/or yellowed, it could indicate a fungal infection, but it could also be due to psoriasis eczema, or other skin diseases that can affect the nails. A podiatrist can confirm the presence of nail fungus with a lab test.

Spots on the toenails or skin of the foot
Dark spots anywhere on the foot or changes in the toenail could indicate a skin cancer such as malignant melanoma. "People forget to look at their feet, especially their toenails, when checking for suspicious moles," says Dr. Brooks. Because spots on the feet or toenails are often misdiagnosed or overlooked, the survival rate for malignant melanoma of the foot is only 56 per cent, compared to an 85 per cent survival rate for skin cancers on other parts of body. Dr. Brooks recommends that suspicious spots on the feet or toenails be biopsied.

Scaly skin and rashes
Scaly, flaking skin or rashes between the toes or on the sole of the foot can indicated a fungal infection, but these symptoms can also be one of the first signs of diabetes. People with diabetes often experience dehydration that can cause dry skin on their legs, feet and elbows. A podiatrist can perform a lab test to confirm the presence of a fungal skin infection.

Don't hide your feet away in winter shoes for another season without taking a good look at those toes poking out of your sandals during the summer months. "The bottom line is, if you notice a change in your feet, see a podiatrist," says Dr. Brooks. "A podiatrist can test or biopsy your skin or toe nails if necessary to make the right diagnosis."

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca. -30-

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Hayden Jackson at 604-623-3007

B.C. podiatrists promote Foot Health Month with a free hotline and charity shoe drive

Vancouver - May is Foot Health Awareness Month and the BC Association of Podiatrists encourages you to "live a little and get a little" by taking part in two events drawing attention to foot health. Get free foot-health advice on the Ask a Podiatrist hotline, or give your gently used shoes to charity at any podiatrist's office during the Share Your Soles shoe drive.

"We want to spread the message that no-one needs to live with foot pain," says Dr. Scott Schumacher, president of the B.C. Association of Podiatrists. "Whether you're young or old, male or female, athletic or not, a podiatrist can help you stay active, healthy and pain-free."

Ask a Podiatrist hotline
Each year, the BC Association of Podiatrists hosts a hotline that allows people all over B.C. to call in for free advice on their foot pain or general foot health. This year, the Ask a Podiatrist hotlines will be open on Saturday, May 12th, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. "Everyone is encouraged to call," says Dr. Schumacher, "especially people in remote communities, who might not have access to a podiatrist's services." B.C. residents can call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) toll-free for professional advice on any foot-related issue.

Share Your Soles shoe drive
Throughout the month of May, you can drop off your gently used shoes at podiatry offices throughout B.C. during the Share Your Soles shoe drive. "Share Your Soles is a great way to clean out your closet while helping a worthwhile cause," says Dr. Stern. "Most of us have a pair or two that don't fit our feet or our style any more. As long as they're clean and in wearable condition, we're happy to take them off your hands-or feet!" Donated shoes are polished up and given to the Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline program.

To find the podiatry office nearest you, visit the BC Association of Podiatrists' web site at www.foothealth.ca or call the association at 604-602-0400 or 1-866-FEET (3338).

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Hayden Jackson at 604-623-3007

The condition is hereditary, but B.C. foot doctors can help you avoid your fate

Vancouver - The B.C. Association of Podiatrists recommends looking at your parents' feet to see if you're at risk for developing bunions, a painful, debilitating abnormality in the bones of the big toe.

"There's definitely a hereditary component with bunions," says Vancouver podiatrist Dr. Gregory Laakmann. "But just because your parents had them, doesn't mean you'll get them too. The key to prevention is an early diagnosis."

Bunions can have a profound effect on a person's health and mobility. If left untreated, a bunion can lead to a serious arthritic condition of the joint or even dislocation of the big toe. It can be a very painful, ugly condition that prevents people from even being able to walk comfortably. In advanced cases, surgery may be required.

Bunions themselves are not inherited, but the foot type that is susceptible to bunions can be passed down for generations. The foot type includes a tendency towards joint weakness, a low arch and pronation (the foot rolls inward so the inner edge of the soles bear most of the weight). Bunions can often be prevented if the inherited tendency is identified and treated early by a podiatrist.

There are also non-hereditary factors that increase your chances of developing bunions: poor posture; wearing ill-fitting or narrow shoes; having arthritis; sustaining a foot injury; having one leg longer than the other; having a neuromuscular disorder, such as cerebral palsy; and standing or walking a lot at work. Women are more likely to develop bunions because the ligaments holding the bones of their feet in place are weaker, and because they often wear high heels that put pressure on the front of their feet.

"The best time to treat a bunion is before the first symptom appears," explains Dr. Laakmann. "If anyone in your immediate family has bunions, see a podiatrist even if you don't have any foot problems right now. We can examine your feet, and assess whether you're likely to develop them down the road."

Preventive treatment may include wearing the right kind of regular or orthopedic shoes and/or orthotic devices. Other forms of treatment may include padding and taping to minimize pain and keep the foot in a normal, healthy position; anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections; and physical and/or ultrasound therapy. New surgical procedures are offering people excellent outcomes in terms of pain relief and improved quality of life. A survey by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons found that 92 per cent of patients surveyed after surgery report significantly decreased pain levels and an increase in activities such as walking, golf, tennis and exercise.

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Hayden Jackson at 604-623-3007

Winter weather, locker rooms give toehold to athlete's foot and fungal toenails

Vancouver - The B.C. Association of Podiatrists wants to remind people to be aware of fungal infections such as athlete's foot and fungal nails that can cause problems during the winter months.

"The tiny fungi that cause foot infections such as athlete's foot and fungal toenails love warm, damp places," says Dr. Randy Gerber. "Arriving to work in heavy or wet footwear and sitting in a heated environment all day can create problems. So can the increased use of indoor gyms, where showers and locker rooms are a primary breeding ground."

Fungal infections can be passed between people easily; tiny abrasions in the skin allow the fungus to enter and infect the area. Once caught, a warm, dark, moist environment will cause the infection to take hold and spread. That's why feet, enclosed in shoes for most of the day, are so susceptible.

Athlete's foot is a skin disease that causes drying skin, itching, scaling, inflammation and blisters. It's an unsightly and painful condition, with the itching and burning sensations increasing as the infection spreads.

When a toenail is affected by fungi, the nail often becomes darker in colour and starts to smell bad. The nail may develop white marks and the infection can spread from one toenail to the others, and even to the fingernails. Injuring the nail bed or suffering from a chronic disease such as circulatory problems or immune-deficiency conditions makes people more susceptible to fungal nails. Fungal nails can also be signs of medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, psoriasis, or cancer.

Athlete's foot and fungal nails are painful and embarrassing, and won't go away without treatment. If you show symptoms of a fungal infection, make an appointment with a podiatrist so he or she can restore your feet to good health.

Tips for preventing infection or re-infection include:

    * keeping your feet, socks and shoes clean and dry
    * wearing plastic sandals in public showers, changing rooms and pool areas
    * changing your socks or hosiery more than once a day
    * wearing socks made of synthetic fibre that wick moisture away instead of natural fibres, which stay wet longer, and
    * wearing lighter shoes made of breathable materials.

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Rhonda Trenholm 604-623-3007

To lose weight, start from the ground up and get your feet into shape

Vancouver - Is losing weight or getting in shape part of your New Year's resolution? If so, the B.C. Association of Podiatrists suggests you start with your feet.

"You may have a great resolve to exercise, but if your feet start hurting, you're not going to be as motivated to head to the gym or go for a walk. And your New Year's resolution goes out the window," says B.C. podiatrist, Dr. Roy Mathews.

According to Dr. Mathews, almost half of all Canadians and 26.4 per cent of British Columbians are overweight. He says poor foot health definitely contributes to obesity and weight gain.

"If your feet hurt, your activity levels are going to drop. If your activity drops, you're more likely to gain weight. The more weight you gain, the more likely you are to have foot pain. And you're caught in this vicious cycle," says Dr. Mathews. "The longer you're overweight, the more likely you are to suffer health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and other serious health threats."

Podiatrists urge people who are overweight to think of foot health as a part of their weight-loss program, especially if they already have chronic foot or ankle pain. Structural problems won't go away with rest; they require the intervention of a podiatrist, who can minimize pain and damage by helping to modify the way the patient's foot moves. Podiatrists can identify and treat the source of the problem to help the patient get ready to exercise and lead a more active lifestyle.

Many causes of foot pain can be relieved through stretching exercises, orthotics (custom shoe inserts) and wearing athletic shoes with good shock absorption and support during physical activities. If a bunion, heel pain or other condition requires surgery, it doesn't mean the patient will have to sit on the sidelines during a lengthy recovery. Surgical techniques have improved and recovery times are shorter. During their recovery, patients are encouraged to do non-weight-bearing activities, such as riding a stationary bike, swimming or weight training.

Here are some foot health tips from the B.C. Association of Podiatrists for a successful exercise and weight loss program for people who are overweight or who have foot pain:

    * Consult with a podiatrist before starting an exercise routine.
    * Wear the right shoes for the right activity. Look to your podiatrist for guidance on the right type of shoe for you.
    * Avoid high-impact activities such as aerobics, step classes or running. They can put pressure equal to four times your body weight on your feet!
    * Start slowly with a low-impact activity. Walking is the best exercise for your feet!
    * Use the 10-per-cent rule. Increase the amount or intensity of your workout by only 10 per cent over the previous week.
    * Avoid treadmills and elliptical machines to minimize pounding and stress on joints.

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Rhonda Trenholm 604-623-3007

Charcot foot causes bones of the feet to suddenly disintegrate

Vancouver - B.C. Association of Podiatrists wants to help people with diabetes identify and understand the early symptoms of Charcot foot, a condition in which the bones of one or both feet suddenly break, crumble and collapse.

While rare among the general population, the condition can affect between five to seven in every 100 people with diabetes and neuropathy (nerve damage).

"The damage can happen very quickly and, because Charcot is rare, it may go undiagnosed," warns Dr. Timothy P Kalla, an operative podiatrist who specializes in diabetes foot care at Providence Health Care's B.C. Foot and Ankle Clinic. The problem is that healing occurs in a random, haphazard manner that leaves severe foot deformity. It can lead to open sores, misshapen feet that can't fit into regular shoes, disability and even amputation."

Kalla says the best hope for minimizing damage is early recognition and treatment, including casting and rest, which may be required for up to nine months. Some people may even need surgery.

The exact cause of Charcot foot is unknown, but it is linked to diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that between 60 and 70 per cent of people with diabetes will develop over time.

"The nerves in your feet regulate blood flow much like a tap regulates water flow through a garden hose," explains Dr. Kalla. "Having neuropathy is like having a broken tap that is stuck wide open."

The increased blood flow to the feet can weaken the bones making them prone to spontaneous breaks. The Charcot process may be triggered by a minor injury such as a sprain or strain - something as minor as a long walk. Sometimes it develops spontaneously without an injury. Because neuropathy also damages the pain sensors in the feet, the broken bones may be painless and go unnoticed. Foot swelling and increased warmth are often the only signs of early Charcot.

Dr. Kalla follows this general rule: "In a person with diabetes, a red and hot or warm swollen foot is Charcot until proven otherwise; a red and hot swollen foot with an open sore is infection until proven otherwise. Both are serious and need immediate treatment, even if the patient feels no pain."

"If you have diabetes and you notice any heat and/or swelling of one or both feet, don't wait even a day," says Dr. Kalla. "Get off your feet. Visit a podiatrist or your family doctor immediately, explain your symptoms and specifically enquire about Charcot foot and infection."

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Rhonda Trenholm 604-623-3007

Live Well with Diabetes brings the public together with a wide range of health specialists for a unique, interactive public health fair

Vancouver - The public is invited to learn to Live Well with Diabetes at the third annual public health fair devoted entirely to diabetes, held Nov. 5 at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel in Vancouver.

The B.C. Association of Podiatrists, the Canadian Diabetes Association and UBC Continuing Professional Development and Knowledge Translation are hosting the free event on Sunday, Nov. 5, followed by the fifth annual diabetes awareness dinner. A conference for health professionals will take place over the same weekend.

"Diabetes is a disease that affects the entire body. So, ideally, diabetes management includes a team approach - with both the person who has diabetes and every health practitioner involved in his or her care," says Dr. Timothy Kalla, an operative podiatrist who specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating diabetes-related foot problems, one of the leading causes of hospitalization for people with diabetes.

"The health fair brings together specialists and healthy living experts-optometrists, podiatrists, vascular specialists, kinesiologists, dieticians, and more-to learn from each other and educate the public about this disease. Teamwork is the key to maintaining good health for people with diabetes" says Dr. Kalla. "This year, there's even a tax specialist who will be discussing the Disability Tax Credit and how it applies to people with diabetes, who must manage this costly condition."

The health fair also promotes a "hands-on", interactive approach to learning, with free screenings for blood glucose levels, foot health and retinal (eye) health, as well as blood pressure tests and healthy cooking demonstrations.

Live Well with Diabetes Public Health Fair - Sunday, Nov. 5, 2-6:30 p.m.
Marriot Pinnacle Hotel, 1128 West Hastings St., Vancouver
Meet one-on-one with diabetes experts during this free event. The third annual Live Well with Diabetes health fair offers foot screenings, blood glucose screenings, retinal (eye) screenings, blood pressure tests, healthy cooking demonstrations, a disability tax seminar and more. Visit www.foothealth.ca for more information or call the Diabetes Information Support Centre at 604-732-4636.

Live Well with Diabetes Health Professionals Conference - Nov. 4 & 5
UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson St., Vancouver
This 1.5-day conference for health professionals will provide a highly relevant and applicable update on the most important topics and latest developments in the care of patients with diabetes. For information, contact UBC Continuing Professional Development and Knowledge Translation at 604-822-7301 or www.cpdkt.ubc.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Rhonda Trenholm 604-623-3007

Study shows men also at risk for early-stage bone disease

Vancouver - If you experience unexplained, stress fractures in your feet, you may be at special risk for osteoporosis warns the B.C. Association of Podiatrists.

"Stress foot fractures are often the first outward sign of bone loss," says B.C. podiatrist Dr. Marc Lindy. "Diagnosing osteoporosis early is the key to successfully treating and managing it, so you shouldn't ignore foot pain - it could be your early warning system."

More than 1.4 million Canadians suffer from osteoporosis, a disease that leads to low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. It leads to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture, especially to the hips, spine and wrists. While osteoporosis can be both painful and crippling, it is often called "the silent thief" because, at the early stages, bone loss occurs without any visible or felt symptoms. Many diagnoses of osteoporosis are not made until after a hip is broken, which is usually too late to stop or reverse the deterioration.

"That's why being able being able to link foot fractures to osteoporosis is such a breakthrough," says Dr. Lindy.

A study conducted by researchers in the department of orthopaedics at Ohio State University found that 90 per cent of test subjects, all of whom had been diagnosed with fractures in the bones of their feet, also had early or clinical signs of osteoporosis. Study participants weren't just the frail and the elderly, but included men and women of all shapes, sizes and ages. This means that even groups considered to be at a lower risk for osteoporosis, such as younger people or males, should be aware of the warning signs.

Sometimes a foot fracture will go undiagnosed because people don't realize what's happened, says Dr. Lindy.

"A fracture can occur even with low-impact, every-day activities. The person may recall feeling a sharp snap while walking, or they'll have a nagging pain in their bones of their feet. People who ignore foot pain are risking their health. Foot pain is not normal, and can often reveal underlying conditions and disorders," says Dr. Lindy.

"Now that we know how to identify osteoporosis early enough to make a difference, it's just one more reason to pay attention to your feet."

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Rhonda Trenholm 604-623-3007

B.C. podiatrists urge people to take common foot arch problems seriously

Vancouver - People who ignore foot pain associated with an abnormally high or flattened arch are setting themselves up for problems in the future, warns the B.C. Association of Podiatrists. "Most people have no idea that high or fallen arches can be a serious problem," says B.C. podiatrist Dr. Scott Schumacher, whose main practice is in Surrey. "Both can lead to some very painful conditions that can keep you from enjoying an active lifestyle. And both can be signs of other disorders."

Abnormalities in the arch can cause the foot to fall out of alignment, causing pain and mobility issues. If left untreated, the condition can lead to arthritis in the foot and ankle joints, strained or even ruptured tendons and connective tissues. Pain from high or low arches can travel to the knees, hips and low back. If arch problems are left untreated, the chance you'll need more involved medical or surgical treatment increases dramatically.

High arches can be hereditary, but they can also indicate an underlying neurological (nervous system) or orthopedic (skeletal) disorder, and they often worsen over time. Flat feet can also be hereditary, but factors such as repeated impact or trauma, arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders can also cause arches to flatten. People who lead active lives or who have occupations that require them to stand or walk a lot - restaurant wait-staff or mail carriers, for instance - tend to acquire flat feet.

"It's important to contact a podiatrist any time you experience foot pain," urges Dr. Schumacher. "If the pain doesn't go away in a day or two, make an appointment. A podiatrist can tell you what the pain means and if preventive measures are required."

Treatment for problematic flat feet can include prescription orthoses (custom shoe inserts), anti-inflammatory drugs or even wearing a cast. Treatment for high arches can require cushioning and support products or prescription orthoses. Podiatrists can also refer patients to neurologists, rheumatologists, or other medical practitioners if required.

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating foot pain and foot disorders both medically and surgically. Patients do not need a referral from their family doctor to see a podiatrist. For the location of a podiatrist near you, call 1-866-611-FEET (3338) or visit www.foothealth.ca.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Rhonda Trenholm 604-623-3007