Podiatrist Leonora Fihman, DPM

Aug 2017

Sea Urchin Sting

Posted by Leonora Fihman in blog

A sea urchin sting is a terrible way to ruin ones summer vacation as it recently had for a patient of mine.  Sea urchins are non-aggressive marine animals found all over the world.  They live in shallow, rocky bottoms, or hide in sandy crevices.  Sea urchins have globe-to flattened shaped bodies covered with spines, which produce puncture wounds.  Human contact with sea urchins is either accidental or intentional.  People accidentally step on them in shallow surf, or intentionally pick up the urchins, unaware that they must handle the spines with care to avoid injury.  Sea urchins have two types of venomous organs-spines and pedicellaria.  Spines produce puncture wounds and pedicellaria are small, delicate seizing organs that lie between the spines and release venom when they attach to an object.  Sea urchins are avoided by humans because of their long spines and if you step on one, the spines will break off and stick into your skin like splinters.

What to do

If possible seek professional medical attention as soon as possible because if not treated properly a puncture injury from a sea urchin can cause swelling and redness around the area, which may lead to severe pain and infection.  Signs of infection are pus, redness, increased skin warmth and worsening pain.  If there are signs of infection, antibiotics will be prescribed.  Without treatment, the spines may migrate into deeper tissues, causing a granulomatous nodular lesion, or they may wedge against bone or nerve.  Joint and muscle pain and dermatitis may also occur.  Treatment is immediate removal and sometimes a small incision must be made to extract the spine.  This must be done very carefully because the spine is very fragile.  Surgical removal may be required if the spine has migrated into deeper tissues.  Pain may continue for days once spines are removed.  If pain is longer than 5 to 7 days it should trigger suspicion of infection or a retained foreign body.

What not to do

Although many people think the best thing to do is pull the spine out with tweezers that is actually the last thing you want to do.  Many people think that sea urchin spines are like splinters, but they are not.  Unfortunately, the spines on sea urchins are not as simple as they look.  The spines of a sea urchin are smooth in one direction and serrated in another.  Instead of being smooth and stick-like, the spines are barbed.  If you try to use tweezers to pull out the spines in your skin, you will only succeed in breaking the spine because the barbs will catch as you pull.  Broken spines deep in your skin may cause an infection as the skin around it closes. 

How to remove the spines

If you don’t have immediate access of a medical professional you can soak the part of your body with the spines in it in vinegar or you can have someone urinate on your wound.  The vinegar and urine function similarly by helping break down the spines.  The spines disintegrate in vinegar because of their brittleness.

How to prevent a sea urchin sting

To prevent a sea urchin sting look carefully when exiting the ocean, particularly in areas that are rocky, have coral or ironshore coral.  If an exit is covered with urchins, try to pick an alternate exit to avoid injury.  If you know you will be swimming around coral, it is recommended to wear aqua shoes.  Do not handle marine life because marine animals are sensitive to human touch and handling or moving them may stress the animal or remove protective covering on the scales or skin.

For more information about the services we offer or to schedule an appointment, please complete our online form of call 818-907-6100

Mar 2016

Ingrown Toenails: Self Treatment is not Always Best

Posted by Leonora Fihman in blog

As every podiatrist knows, ingrown toenails (Onychocryptosis) are among the most common of all foot problems. For this reason, self treatments for this painful condition permeate the Internet. If the toenail does not grow too deeply beneath the skin, self treatment is entirely possible. However, there are times when people who suffer from ingrown toenails should forgo treating this condition themselves and instead seek out a podiatrist. Diabetics, for example, should not treat ingrown toenails themselves as their feet are often insensitive and they may cut themselves. Moreover, people who have very deep ingrown toenails can risk infection of the bone (Osteomyelitis). In these cases, sufferers should contact a podiatrist rather than risk further infection and other complications.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails can have several causes including cutting toenails too short, wearing shoes that are too tight and accidents or repeated injuries to the toe. Heredity even can play a role in developing ingrown toenails.

Correcting Ingrown Toenails

After a thorough examination of the foot a podiatrist will anesthetize the affected toe. He or she will then carefully cut the ingrown toenail and pull the skin out over the nail so that it does not grow beneath the skin again. Sometimes cutting the nail root (ablation) is necessary. Naturally, the toenail will grow back again after several months.

Dr. Fihman is a podiatrist in Calabasas and surrounding areas who has experience treating conditions of the foot even when they require surgery. If you are one of the millions of people who have ingrown toenails and are concerned that self treatment may not be the best option, Dr. Fihman is a foot doctor in Hollywood who can properly diagnose and treat you.

Feb 2016

When Your Career Choices Lead you to the Podiatrist

Posted by Leonora Fihman in blog

Your career of choice has a much bigger impact on your life than you may realize. Just think about it; your office—whether it’s in a traditional office building, a classroom or the great outdoors—is where you spend the majority of your life. You work at least 5 days a week for 8 hours or more a day. Your job is the biggest part of your daily routine and it has a huge effect on your mood, mindset and overall health; and different careers present different health risks. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the jobs that might leave you searching for a Los Angeles foot and ankle doctor like Dr. Leonora Fihman…

If you sit at a desk in front of a computer all day it makes sense that your most common ailments will include back and neck pain, wrist issues such as carpal tunnel, and vision or eye problems. So it follows that if you work in an industry that has you on your feet all day you will be at high risk of developing foot and ankle problems that will leave you in need of the best Podiatric doctor Encino, Ca has to offer.

Nurses, school teachers, factory workers, chefs and those who work in retail are some of the top professionals who need to be aware of possible foot injuries. And it’s important to keep in mind that lower back pain may actually be stemming from issues down below. You can help protect yourself from potential issues by wearing orthotics and making sure you take a load off during your breaks. But in the event that those tootsie problems do catch up with you, don’t hesitate to give Dr. Fihman a call.

Contact Us

Seeking medical treatment early can help prevent many foot and ankle conditions from progressing and affecting your ability to walk and enjoy life. Contact Dr. Leonora Fihman for a consultation to get back on the road to recovery and get back on your feet.