Healthy Foot Notes

Posts Tagged ‘Foot Health

Contributing writer: Carmen Thorpe

This was the first time that a young boy named Colby had ever seen snow. Can you remember the first time you played in the snow? It was probably something like the video above; exciting, scary, and above everything else fun – and bit tiring too! These last few snow falls have given us that beautifully fluffy, white winter that people call “winter wonderland”.  A plethora of social media sites were filled with pictures and videos of people loving the snow – making the best out of the “snowmageddon” situations – and some not so much.  After all, some of the days had been so cold that the feeling in your toes were almost nonexistent. So, to prevent freezing extremities – on your feet and your pet’s paws as well –  and disliking the season, we here at Bull Run Foot and Ankle Clinic put together a great checklist on how to enjoy yourself in the “winter wonderland”.

Here are some essentials:

1.) Thermos Hot cocoa – a definite must if you are venturing out in the snow. It helps to warm you from the inside out and it tastes great too!

2.) Hand and feet warmers – sometimes your toes (and hands) need a little extra help from you in order to maintain warmth.

3.) Shoes – now we can all use more shoes, but the proper shoes for this winter weather are waterproof and made for this season (typically boots).

4.) Socks – an obvious fact, but wool socks work best for these winter days.

5.) Equipment – having the tools that make this weather so much more enjoyable, i.e., sled, skis, inner-tube, and a snowboard.

Pets’ checklist

1.) Fleeced lined jackets – if your pet needs it

2.) Paw protection – rock salt can potentially cause harm to their paws; they make winter protection boots for pets too!

So, now that you know what the essentials are, go out and enjoy the season with your friends or your pets!

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Photo via treaturfeet.com

Photo via treaturfeet.com

Our feet sure do take a beating, don’t they?

Day after day we walk, run, bump them into things, and squeeze them into awful shoes.  Our feet must last us a lifetime and it’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of common foot problems.

#1: Heel Pain

According to New York podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, heel pain typically results from plantar fasciitis – inflammation of a ligament at the bottom of the foot. It can result from weight gain, unsupported arches or overactivity from exercise. You’ll detect it by pain after periods of rest, like when you first step out of bed in the morning, or after intense activity.

It hurts because you’re basically walking on an injury.

There are stretching exercises, combined with a regimen of anti-inflammatory medications to help treat plantar fasciitis.  However, it is also beneficial to be seen by a specialist because if untreated, it can lead to tendenitis.

#2: Bunions

A bunion is a dislocation of the joint in the big toe.  They are a genetic condition that can be made worse by wearing unsupportive shoes like high heels or ballerina flats.  If untreated, they can lead to arthritis.

#3: Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can either be inherited or they can be caused by tight shoes or pantyhose.  However, the leading cause is cutting too deeply into the corners of the nails.  When that happens, the skin grows over the nail, leaving you venerable to a bacterial infection.  This type of infection can be dangerous if it makes it into the bloodstream.

#4: Fungal Infection

Thick, yellowing, crumbling nails — sound familiar?  That’s a fungal infection.  If you notice fungus, visit a podiatrist to discuss treatment options.

#5: Calluses

Calluses are most often caused by how someone walks.  They can be treated with orthotics, which will correct a person’s gait.  Treatment for calluses can include having a podiatrist regularly shave them down.  Another could simply be moisturizing feet with a good cream nightly and sealing them with a sock for at least 40 minutes afterwards.

It’s important to remember that any kind of pain is an indicator of a problem.  Be sure to seek professional medical advice to determine the cause of it.

 

 

Photo via hibridal.com

Photo via hibridal.com

Since we received such positive feedback for our articles about high heeled shoes, we wanted to do another high heel-related post.

About.com‘s podiatry expert, Dr. Catherine Moyer, compiled a list of tips for how to continue wearing the shoes you love without the painful side effects.

Tip # 1 — Be sure you’re wearing the right size.

According to Dr. Moyer, this is the Number One mistake made by women.  She recommends having your feet professionally sized when you go shopping.  Our shoe sizes change throughout our lives and even having children can cause your feet to go up a size or so.

Tip # 2 — Educate yourself on your personal foot type.

As we’ve said before, there are different types of feet.  Different types of feet require different support from shoes.  A podiatrist can do this for you, or you can do a simple at-home test.  Wet the bottom of your foot and stand on a piece of construction paper that you’ve placed on the ground.  This will tell you if you’ve got flat feet or a high arch.

Tip # 3 — The thicker the heel, the better.

Ever noticed how thicker-heeled shoes just feel more comfortable?  There’s a reason for that.  Stilettos cause your feet to wobble, which is not good for your general podiatric health.  Of course, sometimes the outfit calls for a thin heel, but if you include them as a part of your everyday wardrobe, it may be time to start switching it up and adding thicker heels for better balance.

Tip # 4 — Avoid thin soles, opt for the platform.

Even a slight platform will alleviate some of the pressure when walking in heels.  Thinner soles will almost always cause pain at the bottom of the foot.

Tip # 5 — Take breaks.

Take a few moments throughout the day to take off the shoes and stretch your ankles and your toes.

This weekend, BRFC practice manager, Theresa, attended the Baltimore Marathon in support of her husband, George.  She managed to take a lot of great photos of the event.

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So what?

When it comes to running, it’s vital to have the best possible shoes for your foot structure.  Without proper footwear, you run the risk of injury and permanent damage.  The APMA created a guide based on foot types.

Photo via apma.org

Photo via apma.org

For feet with low arches: Choose a supportive shoe that is designed for stability and motion control. These shoes help to correct for overpronation.

Photo via apma.org

Photo via apma.org

For feet with normal arches: Choose a shoe with equal amounts of stability and cushioning to help absorb shock.

Photo via apma.org

Photo via apma.org

For feet with high arches: Choose a cushioned running shoe with a softer midsole and more flexibility. This will compensate for the poor shock absorption of a high-arched foot.

Runners will also often ask about the potential benefits to barefoot running, however the APMA recommends that before beginning to train barefoot, you should consult a podiatrist.

 

Image Source: MarieClaire.com

Image Source: MarieClaire.com

Periodically, we receive foot-health questions from our website contact form.  Since launching the site, we have gotten many different questions regarding sports and foot health.  Several of those questions have been about dance — specifically Pointe.  Since there have been so many, we wanted to provide a little information about Pointe and foot health.

Before even starting Pointe, it is customary to have a pre-Pointe evaluation.  Most often this is done by a specialist such as a podiatrist.  The evaluation is to determine whether or not the dancer is prepared, physically, to begin dancing Pointe.  Because Pointe puts unusual stress on the lower calf and the foot, it’s important to have the dancer checked out beforehand to avoid advancing to soon.

The average starting age for Pointe is 11 or 12 years old.  Most dancers begin Pointe after at least five years of traditional ballet instruction and training.  In a pre-Pointe evaluation, the podiatrist would check for signs to ensure that the dancer has the technical functioning in their foot to prevent injury.

The podiatrist will likely review medical history and any previous dance-related injuries, foot structure, muscle strength and flexibility, and lower leg alignment.  Of course, there may be other parts to the exam, but those are some of the main ones.

Another important thing to consider when your dancer is starting out with Pointe is the shoe and its fit.  Podiatry Today says that proper fit is very important:

Shoes that have been fitted incorrectly will accelerate issues with calluses, blisters, toenail trauma and, inevitably, bunions and hammertoes. Many dancers without properly fitted shoes will resort to stuffing various padding items into the shoe in attempting to adjust the fit, often making matters worse.

Like any sport, dance can lead to injury and it’s important to seek medical advice when beginning a new phase of training.

Do you have any dancers at home?  What do you do to prevent injury?

 

Photo via nufuziondesign.com

Photo via nufuziondesign.com

Whether working on your nails at home or treating yourself to a salon pedicure, you should always be looking out for your feet and their wellbeing.  Most people already know that it’s important to find a salon with strict disinfecting procedures, but apma.org had a list of “Pedicure Tips” that featured some surprising information.

  • If you have diabetes or poor circulation, see your podiatrist for a customized pedicure that you or the salon can follow.
  • Resist the urge to shave your legs before your pedicure.  Freshly shaven legs or even small cuts can leave you venerable to bacteria.
  • If you are asked what shape you want your nails filed in, be sure not to round them off.  This increases the risk for ingrown nails.
  • If you have thick or discolored nails, it could be a sign of a fungal infection.  Do NOT apply nail polish to cover up the problem.  Nail polish locks out moisture and doesn’t allow the nail bed to breath.  Once the issue clears up, it is safe to paint nails.  If the problem persists, be sure to visit your podiatrist.

Did you already know some of these?  Were any surprising to you?  Let us know in our “comments” section!

 


Bull Run Foot Clinic

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