Balance Foot & Ankle - Ask a Podiatrist

Video: Ask a Podiatrist with Dr. Charles Hastings

Ask a Podiatrist with Dr. Hastings

Ever wondered about the things people ask Podiatrists on the Internet? Join Balance Foot & Ankle specialist, Dr. Charles Hastings DPM, FACFAS, FFPM RCPS (Glasg) on an expedition to answer the Internet’s burning questions about all things foot and ankle health!

Let us restore your balance.

If you notice the discomfort in your heels persisting, our trusted team of podiatrists at Balance Foot & Ankle can work with you to alleviate the pain by customizing a treatment plan to your lifestyle.

Schedule your appointment today!

Balance Foot & Ankle - Yoga for Foot & Ankle Strength

Stabilize Your Step: Yoga for Foot & Ankle Strength

Stabilize Your Step: Yoga for Foot & Ankle Strength

Yoga is a practice that has been used for centuries to improve flexibility, mental clarity, and overall awareness of the body. In the field of podiatry, we often recommend yoga stretches to help improve the strength and stability of our feet and ankles. Our feet are the foundation of our body, support our weight throughout the day, and provide balance and stability. However, due to inactivity, improper footwear, or injuries, our feet and ankles may become weak, leading to pain, discomfort, and instability. 

We’ve outlined a few simple poses you can practice to enhance your stability, and hopefully, help you relax and restore.

The Balanced Solution

Mountain Pose 

Mountain pose is excellent for improving posture and grounding the body. It helps to strengthen the feet, ankles, and legs while improving balance and stability: 

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart
  2. Keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet
  3. Engage your leg muscles and lift your kneecaps
  4. Lengthen your spine and keep your shoulders relaxed
  5. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute


Warrior III 

Warrior III is a powerful pose that strengthens the legs, hips, and ankles: 

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart
  2. Shift your weight to your left foot and lift your right leg off the ground
  3. Extend your right leg behind you while keeping your hips square
  4. Reach your arms forward and keep them parallel to the ground
  5. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat on the other side

Tree Pose 

Tree pose is an excellent pose for improving stability. It strengthens the feet, ankles, and legs while improving focus and concentration: 

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart
  2. Place your right foot on your left inner thigh
  3. Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh into your foot
  4. Bring your hands to your heart center or raise them above your head
  5. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat on the other side

Half Moon Pose 

Half Moon pose is a pose that helps to stretch the vertebral column while engaging the ankles and legs: 

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart
  2. Shift your weight to your left foot and place your left hand on the ground
  3. Lift your right leg off the ground and extend it behind you
  4. Rotate your right hip open and stack your right foot on top of your left foot
  5. Raise your right arm toward the sky
  6. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat on the other side

Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-facing dog is a pose that strengthens the feet, ankles, and wrists while improving flexibility and balance:

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart
  2. Lift your hips up and back, straightening your arms and legs
  3. Press your hands and feet into the ground
  4. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute

Practicing and incorporating these poses into your regular exercise routine can help prevent injuries, alleviate pain and discomfort, and enhance overall well-being. Remember to practice these poses mindfully and with compassion, listening to your body’s limitations and adjusting accordingly. If you need extra help restoring your balance or stabilizing your step, we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to give us a call or schedule an appointment today at any of our five locations. 

Balance Foot & Ankle

Ankle Care Tips for the Fall Sports Season

Ankle Care Tips for the Fall Sports Season

One of the best parts of this time of year for many students is the return of fall sports. Whether it’s playing football under the Friday night lights, racing on the cross-country course, or taking the field for a soccer match, there’s no shortage of opportunities for competition, self-improvement, and team bonding.

Student-athletes know as well as anyone how important staying healthy is for making the most of their participation in fall sports. In order to stay healthy and on the field this fall and beyond, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to keep your ankles strong.

Ankle sprains

Sprains are among the most common injury that sidelines student-athletes. A 2020 study found that ankle sprains account for up to 40 percent of all sports-related injuries and is the most frequent lower-limb injury.

An ankle sprain occurs when you land awkwardly or take contact to the ankle, causing a roll or twist that leads to a tear or stretch of the ankle-supporting ligaments (beyond its normal range of motion). Pain, tenderness, bruising, and a limited range of motion are the top symptoms associated with an ankle sprain.

When you fear a sprain has occurred, it’s important to stop playing to prevent a more serious injury. Self-care options that are recommended include rest, icing of the affected area, elevation of the affected area, or use of a compression wrap to reduce swelling. If treated early, athletes can often have a swift recovery without seeing a doctor.

Playing through the initial symptoms of a sprain will increase the chances it becomes a more serious injury that will require medical attention and a longer recovery period.

Staying on the field

We know that ankle injuries are prevalent among all athletes. So, what can we do to prevent them?

  • Proper warm-up: Before participating in physical activity, whether it’s practice or a game, a thorough warm-up routine is critical. Spend at least 15 minutes doing light movement that gradually raises the heart rate. This could involve a progression of light jogging to faster running and plyometric exercises that prepare the entire body for more intense physical activity
  • Appropriate footwear: Don’t overlook the importance of wearing the right pair of shoes. Make sure your shoes are well fitting, designed for the sport you’re playing, and replace them when they start to wear down
  • Build strength and flexibility: This is a long-term commitment that will pay dividends. By regularly incorporating strength exercises that target the lower extremities, you’ll be a more resilient athlete and can better handle the wear and tear that comes with competition. Calf raises, resistance work with a band, and balance exercises are some simple ways to strengthen the feet and ankles.

Injuries happen to the best of us. Even athletes who take all the right precautions aren’t totally immune from being sidelined. If you’re dealing with an issue right now, our team is here to get you back in the game. Reach out today or schedule an appointment with us!

Balance Foot & Ankle

Summer Foot Care on Vacation

Summer Foot Care on Vacation

Summer is just around the corner, and that might mean you’re getting ready for your next vacation to the beach or another bucket-list destination. Many vacationers neglect to properly take care of their feet. Don’t let pain and discomfort get in the way of enjoying your sunny vacation.


Here is a list of tips for keeping your feet happy when traveling:

  • Choose the right shoes and bring multiple pairs
    When planning your vacation, understand the types of activities you’ll be doing. Will you be walking a lot? What kind of terrain will you be on? Consider these questions as you pack. It’s also important to have multiple pairs to rotate. You may be trying to pack lightly, but having a second or third pair on hand will ensure you always have a fresh pair ready to go.


  • Keep blisters away
    Everyone knows the feeling of an emerging “hot spot” on our feet when we don’t have proper socks or footwear on. Don’t let something preventable like a blister ruin your trip. On top of wearing clean and quality socks and shoes, consider using a blister prevention cream or tape before spending long periods of time on your feet. There are many affordable and effective travel-size products available, such as Body Glide or RockTape.


  • Don’t forget sunscreen
    In addition to preventing blisters from chafing, sunburn can be another source of serious discomfort. If you’re wearing sandals or open-toed shoes when the sun is out, be sure to apply sunscreen to the exposed parts of your feet and toes. It’s easy to forget to apply protection to these areas, yet your feet are one of the more vulnerable places for sunburn when exposed.


  • Keep the blood flowing
    If you have a long plane ride or drive to your destination, compression socks are one good way to promote good blood flow while being sedentary. Your feet and lower legs will thank you if you break up long periods of sitting with short walks, which is another way to keep a healthy blood flow and prevent discomfort. It’s also recommended to avoid crossing your legs while sitting.


The importance of happy feet can be overlooked when planning for your summer vacation. You deserve a fun and relaxing vacation, so be sure to take these easy steps to prevent pain and discomfort while traveling. If you return home from vacation with skin or nail issues around your feet, learn more about how our team of professionals can get you the relief you need.

Balance Foot & Ankle - Stretches to Prevent Common Running Injuries

Video: Stretches to Prevent Common Running Injuries

Video: Stretches to Prevent Common Running Injuries

Although running is a great way to stay active, many runners will deal with an injury at some point. The repetitive impact of this type of exercise can take a toll on your body, which can result in various injuries.

Let us restore your balance.

Thankfully, Balance Foot & Ankle’s Dr. Hunstman is here to give you some insight into common running injuries and how you can prevent them. In the case that professional intervention is required, our trusted team of podiatrists can help get you back on your feet with a personalized treatment plan that emphasizes a holistic approach to total wellbeing.


Schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment today!

Balance Foot & Ankle

Four Ankle Strengthening Movements You Can Do at Home

Four Ankle Strengthening Movements You Can Do at Home

It’s no secret that our ankles play an essential role in every step we take, our ability to stay upright, and in performing almost every other physical function on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many people have weak ankles, which can often lead to injuries and chronic pain. Age, weight, footwear, overuse, trauma, and other conditions cause ankle problems. The good news is that we can take control of the health of our ankles by working to make them stronger.

Here is a list of simple, at-home exercises that will lead to healthy and strong ankles.

Movements to Strengthen Your Ankles

Before doing any exercises, make sure to warm up with a low-intensity activity such as walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes.

  • Improve balance: Standing upright, slightly lift your left leg off the ground, shifting weight-bearing to your right leg. Hold for a few seconds and then switch legs. As you
    improve, increase the amount of time you balance on each leg.
  • Increase range of motion: while seated, use your foot to write out the letters of the alphabet, leading with the big toe. Keep the movements small so that you are just
    moving your foot and ankle and perform with each foot.
  • Build strength: place 20 marbles (or another small item) on the floor in front of you while seated. Use your toes to pick up and place one marble at a time into a bowl. Repeat with the other foot. A
    similar exercise can be performed with a towel. Placing it in front of your feet while seated, grab the center of the towel with your toes and scrunch it towards you. Repeat
    with the other foot.
  • Step it up a level: once you’re comfortable with the above exercises, you may be ready to progress to doing calf raises. This can be performed by standing on both legs, using a wall or chair for balance, and slowly raising one heel off the ground, then lowering it. Repeat on each leg ten times.

As always, we’re here for you. If your ankle issues persist or worsen, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today so that we can ensure you’re on the path to healthy feet and ankles.

Balance Foot & Ankle - Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown Toenails: How to Avoid Them and How to Treat Them

Ingrown Toenails: How to Avoid Them and How to Treat Them

One of the most common calls we receive at Balance Foot & Ankle has to do with an issue that can be minimized by slightly modifying the way you maintain your feet. That issue is the development of ingrown toenails. Today we’ll discuss self-care for ingrown toenails, how to spot them and when it’s time to see your doctor.

Ingrown Toenails: How Can I Avoid Them?

Practicing proper self-care for your toenails can prevent ingrown toenails and infections:

  • Avoid trimming the nails too short
  • Trim nails straight across rather than at an angle
  • Utilize sanitary and sharp clippers and tools
  • Wear shoes that fit properly

I Think I Have an Ingrown Toenail: Now What?

If you are experiencing the following symptoms you may be developing an ingrown toenail:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • A change in your skin pigmentation along the nail border

If you notice any of these changes, the most important first step is to avoid the temptation to remove the ingrown toenail on your own. This will help you to mitigate a worsening of symptoms or an infection. Instead, try soaking your feet in a warm Epsom salt soak for 15-20 minutes twice per day, applying a topical antibiotic ointment (covered by a Band-Aid), and be sure to call your doctor to schedule an appointment if necessary.

When Should I See a Doctor?

There may also be signs of pus, warmth or red streaking along the toe which may indicate an infection. Should home care fail to alleviate the symptoms or should symptoms worsen, you should schedule an appointment to be seen in the office at which time your doctor will assist in alleviating the symptoms, managing the infection and will discuss an in-office procedure if necessary.

As always, we are here to be sure you are well cared for!

Balance Foot & Ankle - shoes

Finding and Buying Shoes That Fit Properly

Finding and Buying Shoes That Fit Properly

The tell-tale signs of autumn are all around us. School bells ring once again, football games are kicking off, and just about everything comes in pumpkin spice!

As the air turns crisp, and the leaves transform into a prism of color – our wardrobes begin to change in tandem. As that favorite cozy sweater takes the place of breezy summer linens, now is the time to swap out sandals and barefoot behavior for comfortable and smart footwear choices that will have your feet feeling

After a long summer of meticulously pedicured toes in often unsupportive shoe gear, now is the time of year to give those feet much-needed support [and warmth] in boots, sneakers, clogs, etc.

Let’s talk about shoe shopping.

As I often share with my patients, there are several things to consider that go beyond the aesthetic appearance of a shoe when shopping. Whether you are shopping for shoes to get you around campus, for the office, or for weekends with friends – these tips will help keep your feet balanced.

Before you head to the shoe store, stand on a blank piece of paper and trace each foot as accurately as possible. Then take this tracing with you when shopping for shoes. Place your desired shoe on the tracing. Does the shoe cover your tracing or do you see the outline of your foot extending beyond the margins of the shoe? This can be a simple and fun way to keep yourself honest when making shoe selections. Choosing a shoe that is too narrow for your actual foot shape could set you up for future issues such as pain, calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, and the progression of some deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes.

Next, find a reputable shoe store that can assist you in the correct shoe size, shape, and type to fit not only your feet but also your lifestyle. They will measure your feet to ensure that you are indeed selecting the correct size.

Consider shoe shopping later in the day when your feet may be a bit larger from swelling, as this is natural after a day on your feet and walking about. This will give you a better idea of the shoe size and shape that is best for you.

The last tip is to try to be reasonable and as practical as possible. Boots with a narrow toe box and narrow 4-inch heel may look beautiful, but in turn, may haunt you later down the road. Reserve those beauties for occasional outings when you know you will be sitting all night long. Go practical and comfortable for everyday wear, exercise, and casual events.

Believe me, your feet will thank you!

Walk well. Be well.

Balance Foot & Ankle - Calluses

Callus 101: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Callus 101: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Foot calluses, or rough patches of skin found on the ball, heels or small toes, is a normal occurrence for most people. Caused by compression and friction, foot calluses are your body’s way of protecting the skin underneath from irritation and pressure.

Though calluses are a normal occurrence for most people, some patients are more likely to develop calluses than others. If you walk without socks, wear shoes that are too narrow for your feet or you already have a medical condition that changes the normal alignment of the bones in your feet, you’re more likely to develop calluses on your feet.


How do I prevent calluses?

Foot calluses can be prevented by wearing proper socks and shoes, including proper fitting footwear both width and lengthwise. Ensuring that worn shoes are repaired and replaced regularly can give your skin some protection from the shock of walking on hard surfaces.


How do I treat calluses?

There are numerous home remedies to reduce the appearance of calluses, though the majority of calluses can be resolved with time off of your feet. You should refrain from using sharp objects to remove or reduce calluses, as this could lead to infection.

If you’re looking to reduce the calluses on your feet, try these home remedies:

  • Epsom Salts: Soaking your feet in a handful of Epsom salts in a bath or basin of warm water for ten minutes can greatly soften calluses, especially before manual exfoliation
  • Padding: Adding moleskin patches or soft pads can help to protect the skin from rubbing against shoes or socks.
  • Shoe inserts: Cushioned insole, arch support and heal counters can help to reduce friction on the skin, especially by moving pressure away from any problem areas.

If you are still experiencing pain from your calluses, be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified foot and ankle specialists. At Balance Foot & Ankle, we’re here to restore your balance and get you back on your feet.

Balance Foot & Ankle - Foot Fungus

This Common Sneaker Mistake Could Be Upping Your Risk for Foot Fungus

This Common Sneaker Mistake Could Be Upping Your Risk for Foot Fungus

Source: Well+Good


Once you get a foot fungus, it can be really hard to get rid of—especially if it spreads to your toenails. And while there are a handful of reasons why the condition can come about in the first place—from walking barefoot in public areas to sharing a yoga mat without sanitizing it first—there’s one common mistake podiatrists see all the time: Not letting your damp sneakers fully air-dry before wearing them again. Do this, and you’re essentially sticking your foot into a breeding ground for infection.

“Fungi and bacteria thrive in moist, dark environments like shoes,” says Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member. “This can cause stinky feet and athlete’s foot infection, or fungus of the skin and nails.”

Your sneakers can get extra sweaty in hot summer temps, making a foot fungus more likely. To prevent the issue, Dr. Sutera recommends alternating between a few pairs of shoes. “Wearing the same shoes all day, everyday, will encourage stinky feet and infections,” she says. By rotating your sneakers, you’re able to give them a chance to dry out between uses.

If you’re especially prone to foot fungus, she says you can even switch your sneakers out during the day to prevent moisture from building up. The best pairs to reach for on extra-sultry days include those with breathable mesh or canvas uppers—bonus points if you pair them with moisture-wicking Merino wool socks.

Aside from having extra pairs of shoes on hand, you can also stock up on some of Dr. Sutera’s favorite foot fungus-fighting products. “Some great options are anti-fungal shoe deodorants, foot sprays, powders, tea tree oil foot soaks, and antiperspirants to help keep your feet and shoes fresh,” she says. “There’s even a very effective UV light machine that kills the fungus growing in shoes that can be used in between uses.” So there you have it—who knew that our kicks need rest days, too?


Please read the full article here