It’s that time of year again in Gaston County. Even the stragglers are turning on their heat in their houses. Just the other day I was reaching for my chapstick – thinking – It’s too soon! I’m not ready for winter!

A very common ailment that we hear in the office of InStride Gaston Foot & Ankle is dry cracked heels. But how does it happen? Why? Here are some common factors:

1. You may be suffering from eczema or psoriasis (dry skin conditions)
2. You may be overweight 
3. You may have diabetes (autonomic neuropathy leading to less sweating) or a less active thyroid (lowers the body’s metabolic rate which decreases sweating)
4. You might be standing long periods of time on hard surfaces
5. You may wear open heeled shoes, like sandals, that don’t allow proper foot protection

Most people find cracked heels to be a cosmetic problem, but when the cracks begin to deepen – many complain of pain and bleeding.  

What you shouldn’t do:

 Don’t cut the skin with scissors or a blade.  Cutting too much skin can lead to complications and a potential infection – leave it to the podiatrists at Gaston Foot & Ankle to remedy the cracked heels.

What you should do: 

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Our podiatrists recommend moisturizing at least twice a day. Try applying moisturizer before going to sleep and putting on cotton socks to keep the moisture in.
Drink plenty of water
Hydration is key to keeping not only your heels from cracking but also your skin (elbows, lips, legs) from chapping or flaking. Once the central heat kicks on in your home, you are subjecting your skin to drying out.
Use a pumice stone
For mild dry skin on the heel, where a callous has formed and has the potential to crack, try using a pumice stone to cautiously remove the dead/dry skin. Make sure that the pumice stone is clean before using. If there are deep fissures or cracks, consult your podiatrist before.
For the winter months, Gaston Foot & Ankle has Idonia Cream on special – buy one get one free – it is the most ideal moisturizer for cracked heels.
Wear shoes in the house
I know it sounds like a bummer but when your feet are dry and calloused; your skin lacks the elasticity to stretch while you are walking or standing.  Walking around the house barefoot or sockfoot isn’t going to cut it. Invest in a decent pair of house shoes that support your heels and have them the dedicated house shoes. 

If you are suffering from cracked heels, please do not hesitate to call us at 704-861-0425.

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“Being healthy starts at home.”

How often we have heard that phrase? Often enough to know that we should be stocking our refrigerators filled with kale and lean meats. But what about at work? We munch at desks, take quick stops in the break room, we speed out at lunch time to grab the fastest of foods. What if being healthy starts at work?
At InStride Gaston Foot & Ankle we have started to do just that. We have started a weight loss challenge to become healthier. So don’t worry patients, if you see us slowly shrinking, you’ll know why. We believe that health is very important and we want our patients as well as our team to be the healthiest as possible. 

Coming together as a team and working on a weight loss challenge as an office has its advantages:

1. You are constantly around people that are in your same boat. Encouraging each other throughout the day to be healthier.
2. You swap recipes and work out techniques.
3. When you get HANGRY (hungry + angry) – your colleagues know why.
4. Support. Support. Support. Even when things aren’t going your way and you haven’t lost the weight yet, you have a whole support group that understand and can help pull you through.
5. If you are motivated by competition, then you have other competitors. If you are motivated by goals, you’re with other people with similar goals.

We believe in wellness through mobility and working to become healthier. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your health is not going to magically improve overnight. It takes hard work and dedication but you should be dedicated to your health – because we are too.

Come support us at InStride Gaston Foot & Ankle as we take on this weight loss challenge! While you’re here come have your feet checked out by the best podiatrists in Gaston County! 

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! For all of you new mom’s out there, Dr. Kirlin, founder of InStride Gaston Foot & Ankle, has written a post about your new little set of feet on your infant.

Unfortunately many of us are not prepared for all the challenges of parenting. The most important thing we all want for our children is for them to be healthy. When a baby is born it seems that one of the first things we do is to check their little fingers and toes. We want to know how much they weigh, their height and eye color and how much hair they have. After superficial inspection, then we start to look closer to make sure “everything is alright”.

We worry about our baby and want to know that those newborn feet are normal. I wrote this post, so that you the parent or grandparent, might know a little more about what to look for in a child’s foot development, what to expect as your baby grows, begins to walk and eventually runs, plays sports or learns how to dance and eventually leaves you for the big world beyond. Hopefully, your child will never experience any of the conditions we talk about on the website, but at least you may be better prepared if some of these things should occur or you question something that you notice. Having helped raise three wonderful daughters with my wife, I have experienced some of these concerns as a father and most of these as a podiatric physician.

My intention is to allay your fears, offer you some useful information and give you a little peace of mind. At least you will better sense whether your child needs an evaluation for an apparent concern, whether it be with a foot and ankle specialist or your pediatrician.

What to look for and does he or she have normal feet?

A newborn baby is an amazing gift from God. However, as perfect as we would like him to be, occasionally there are flaws in development. Your pediatrician is the first physician to perform an examination on your baby’s feet. He or she will check for a healthy skin color, the circulation and even the sensation and muscle tone. The general foot shape and position and shape of the legs is evaluated and typically all is normal and healthy. If a problem is noticed, prompt attention is obtained for further evaluation.

Normal newborn feet show lots of fat, they are soft with tiny toes straight and pointed forward. There is little or no arch and won’t be seen for over a year or more. If the foot is not straight or is in a position that is curled inward excessively or elevated up towards the leg, there could be a problem.

For more information about your child’s foot development, check out Children’s Foot Problems.

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What is one of the greatest fears my elderly patients face each day? 

The fear of falling.


  • Falls are ranked as the number one cause of injury related death for those over 65 years of age.
  • 1/3 of all adults fall at least once each year.
  • Of those who fall, 20%-30% suffer moderate to severe injuries such as hip fractures or head traumas that reduces mobility and independence.


  • Nearly 2/3 of patients are discharged to nursing facilities.
  • About 50% will not return to independent living.
  • Up to 30% of all hospital –based falls result in serious injury.


  • The average length of stay in the hospital after a serious fall is about 12 days for people aged 65-74 years.
  • Falls injuries cost more than injuries from any other source.
  • A fractured neck of the femur bone (hip) costs the health system $17,000-$35,000.


  • Muscle weakness, gait impairment and poor balance contribute to one’s risk of falling.
  • Diabetic patients with neuropathy (loss of feeling) no longer can feel where their feet are on the ground, creating poor balance.
  • Vision impairment, dementia, certain medications may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Environmental hazards: scatter rugs, showers, bath tubs, poorly lit rooms.


  • Have you fallen in the past?
  • Have you had any near falls?
  • Do you have a fear of falling?
  • Do you stumble or shuffle when walking?
  • Do you drag your feet when you walk?
  • Do you have to hold on to a wall or furniture while walking? 
  • Do your legs or ankles feel weak or unsteady?
  • Are you a diabetic with neuropathy?
  • If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may be at risk for falling.


  1. HAVE YOUR FEET CHECKEDDo you have un-diagnosed neuropathy? Do you have muscle weakness? Are you walking barefoot or in slippers or socks at your home? Are you wearing balance foot wear (tie shoes, low heel height, sturdy shoes with high uppers)? Would you benefit from a Balance Brace (a custom –made foot and ankle support) that stabilizes your feet and legs?
  2. MAKE YOUR HOME SAFERRemove things you can trip over (books, clothes, shoes) from stairs and places where you walk. Remove small throw rugs or secure with double stick tape. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.
  3. BEGIN A REGULAR EXERCISE PROGRAMLack of exercise lends to weakness and increases your chances of falling. I provide my patients a list of exercises that improve balance and coordination.
  4. HAVE YOUR VISION CHECKEDPoor vision increases the chance of falling.
  5. REVIEW YOUR MEDICINES EVEN THE OVER THE COUNTER ONES. Some drugs can make you dizzy or drowsy and can cause you to fall.

For patients who desire one, at InStride Gaston Foot & Ankle we perform a “Fall Risk Assessment”, which consists of evaluating gait and balance, muscle strength, foot deformities, foot wear and peripheral neuropathy. Those with any risk for falls receive a specialized list of recommendations to help reduce the chance of falling. The good news is that fall rates may be reduced by 30-40% through coordinated efforts by yourself, your family and your healthcare team.

For more information or a brochure of Fall Prevention Exercises please call (704) 861-0425, InStride Gaston Foot & Ankle Associates, and ask for the “Moore Balance Brace” Brochure.

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Get in touch.

InStride - Gaston Foot & Ankle Associates

251 Wilmot Drive
Gastonia, NC 28054