Foot and ankle concerns are too often overlooked by the general public. Our feet are the foundation of our body.
Examining our feet can help us identify early symptoms of other serious disorders such as vascular disease and diabetes.
Foot issues can also cause other problems throughout our body.
Normal changes to the foot as we age include:
- The foot becomes wider and longer
- There is mild settling of the arch which is seen as flattening of the foot
- The fat pad on the bottom of the heel thins out, causing loss of natural padding and spring in the step
- The foot and ankle lose some of their normal range of motion and become stiffer
- There can be some loss of balance while walking
As these physical changes occur, shoe sizes and support needs also change and must be addressed.
Some foot changes can occur that are abnormal or pathological. These problems do not happen naturally and many can be prevented, or their progress halted, by addressing ill-fitting shoes, adding supportive orthotics, surgery, or other modifications.
Abnormal changes to the foot include:
- Bunions (the formation of a large bump on the big toe, which starts to point toward the little toes)
- Hammering of the toes (curling of the toes)
- Clawing of the toes (more severe curling of the toes)
- Tailor’s bunion (the formation of a large bump on the smallest toe, which starts to point toward the large toe)
- Calluses or corns, which occur on the toes or foot due to high pressure over bony areas
- Morton’s neuromas (“pinched nerve” between the toes)
- Arthritis of the joints
Early detection and treatment of problems help keep individuals on their feet and active.
For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist
Our core is much more than just our abdominals. It includes the thoracic and lumbar spine, abdominal muscles, back muscles, pelvic and hip girdle muscles (especially the gluteals) and the thigh muscles.
Core exercises should be a key component of any training program – especially a distance running program. A correctly functioning core will yield proper biomechanics and force production, providing stability (including lumbar, pelvic, and lower limb stability), power and endurance.
When your core is weak, it can lead to increased strain in other parts of your body and could contribute to compensation and overuse movement patterns, over-striding or under-striding with running and increased frontal plane movements (side to side movements) of the lumbar spine, pelvis and hips.
These compensatory movement patterns will lead to overuse injuries and have been linked to various disorders common to runners, including:
Iliotibial band (IT Band) syndrome — The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia (a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ) that crosses the hip joint and extends distally to insert on the patella, tibia, and biceps femoris tendon. Repetitive movements and overuse can cause irritation and inflammation in the knee or lead to snapping hip or hip bursitis.
Patellofemoral pain and dysfunction — The patella, your knee cap, floats within the trochlear groove on top of the femur. If the mechanics of your running is not ideal, then the kneecap may be pushed to one side of the groove when the knee is bent causing pain.
Low back and Sacroiliac (SI joint) disorders — SI joint is responsible for transferring the weight of the upper body to the lower body. It is located in the pelvis connecting the iliac bone (pelvis) to the sacrum (the lowest part of the spine). With a lot of repetitive movements you can cause hypermobility of the joint.
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (shin splints) — This refers to the pain in the front of leg that develops when you increase your mileage too fast. Most of the time this is caused by a training error due to fatigue.
Achilles tendinopathy — The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Tendinitis (inflammation) and Tendinosis (microtears in the tissue around the tendon) are common problems.
Plantar fasciitis – This band of tissue runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
A core strengthening program can help prevent these types of injuries and should progress initially from “open-chain” (i.e. non-weight bearing) exercises toward “closed-chain” (weight bearing) exercises. The goal is to stimulate and train the muscles to function in a manner and position that they would normally when under stress.
In running, our bodies are erect, with weight bearing and landing on our legs, so the strengthening exercises should reproduce these positions and movement patterns. The exercises should also incorporate all planes of movement of the body to allow ideal muscle stimulation and development.
For all your foot problems visit The Podiatrist
Plantar Fasciitis is a tightening of these muscles that run from your toes to your heel, where they attach by a tendon.
Often when you wake in the morning you have to walk gingerly because there is so much pain in your feet. As you move around, the muscles warm up and the symptoms decrease. As you become less active or wake the next day the muscle will have cooled and retightened.
Over time, due to stress, the body deposits calcium in the tendon to strengthen this region, where it attaches to your heel, and can create heel spurs. You need to break this cycle now.
What are some causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
- Muscle tightness in the Achilles tendon and/or the plantar muscles.
- Bad shoes.
- Wearing the wrong shoes for the task at “foot.”
- Improper foot alignment
- Sudden weight gain
- Poor arch support or Flat Feet
Things to do to help avoid this problem:
- Invest in new shoes. Shoes wear down visibly but physically, before you see the signs. Especially if you exercise a lot in them. Bottom line is you want good support.
- Switch shoes each day or every other. That will force your feet to adapt to different soles.
- Have the right footwear for the activity. Don’t play basketball in work boots or run in boat shoes because you forgot the appropriate foot gear.
- Pick decent shoes not just fashionable ones. I treated the lead singer of a band and he told me he was feeling spasms and pain in his calf. I looked at his feet and he had those non-supportive, Converse sneakers on. I hate those.
- Runners can try to run on various surfaces to change it up. Rubberized tracks, the woods, treadmill or the opposite direction on the road to change the effect of the crowned road on your body.
- Try massage. Relax your foot muscles with massage or work the bottom of your feet with the knuckles of your hand or your thumb. Manual pressure to remove these is called trigger point therapy, which increases circulation and helps break up these knots.
- Try Chiropractic. The approach is to work on the muscles of your feet to break up adhesions in the muscles but also adjust the bones they are attached to. If you have a muscular problem you HAVE to address the bones the muscles are connected to or you will keep having the same issue.
- Chiropractic and physical therapy could also use an ultrasound machine to provide deep heat to relax the muscles and possibly breakup calcium deposits in the heel spur.
- Roll your plantar muscles on a golf ball in a tub of warm water.
- Freeze water in a small plastic bottle and roll on that
- Get orthotics to help better support your feet in your shoes. Just supporting it will not remove years of abuse on your feet. They need some attention.
Working on this area isn’t super comfortable but sometimes you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet. The longer you let plantar fasciitis go, the worse it will get. So start now.
To stretch the Achilles tendon you could stand with the balls of your feet on a step. Allow your heel to lower. That should stretch the back of your lower leg. To stretch the plantar muscle out your toes against the base of the wall and place the rest of your foot on the floor. The wall will push your toes back and stretch the underside muscles of the plantar region.
Something you could try to strengthen your plantar muscles is to squeeze marbles or a pencil with your toes and try to bring it toward you. You can even pull your toes in while you have shoes on. Just curl your toes and that will help recreate the arch of the foot.
For all your foot problems, see The Podiatrist
Many foot problems stem from childhood.
When your child starts to walk, you put socks on their feet and then when they walk around more, you put shoes on their feet, but feet get a lot of input from the world.
We don’t spend enough time without something on our feet to develop strength.
Parents should have their children’s feet evaluated.
The Podiatrist can stop a lot of these issues later if kids are evaluated earlier. A lot of parents come to The Podiatrist because their child can’t run and the problem may not be laziness, it may be poor foot function.
For all your foot problems, see The Podiatrist
Wishing you all a Happy Easter.
Take care on the roads.
Smelly feet, technically known as “bromhidrosis,” are a fact of life, especially in winter when you have been in socks and shoes all day. Simply washing and drying your feet, while helpful, won’t necessarily take care of the problem. That’s because foot odour is caused by bacteria that breed in wet or moist environments on and around the feet; once your feet start to sweat again, the odour may reappear–especially if you slip them back into the same footwear that contributed to the smell to start with.
Can home remedies get rid of the foul odour?
There’s very little scientific evidence to support the use of home remedies for foot odour or for any other foot condition. Some strategies might work for some people, even if those strategies aren’t proven. However, certain remedies require caution because they involve potentially caustic substances, such as bleach. And in all cases, it’s important to focus not only on the feet, but the environment. This means shoes, socks and surfaces with which the feet come into contact.
Here’s a look at some popular home remedies for foot odour:
Antiperspirant deodorant: The ingredients work the same way on the soles of the feet as they do when applied under the arms, so although no studies support its use, some people do find applying underarm deodorant to the feet reduces odour.
Baking soda/corn starch: Both do reduce foot odour for many people, although again, there is no research to support their efficacy. Remember to change your socks and shoes after applying it. Adding either to your shoes may help absorb additional moisture where germs can breed.
Disinfecting shoes: Using a household cleaning/disinfecting agent in your shoes could help because the bacteria responsible for foot odour often live in shoes.
Salt soak: No clinical research suggests this soak is effective in preventing foot odour; however, salt has a drying effect on the skin and, by reducing moisture, it may have some benefit. People who use this approach say kosher salt is made of larger crystals than regular table salt, and tends to dissolve better in water.
Lemon juice mixed with water: Several studies show that lemon juice has antibacterial properties. It is also an astringent that can help to remove dead skin from the feet. No studies specifically show this approach prevents foot odour, but many people find it helpful.
Talcum powder: Like baking soda, talcum powder helps absorb excess moisture that can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Scented powder can also disguise odours in shoes and on the feet. Again, there are no studies confirming this, but no harm in trying.
Tea soak: The tannic acid in tea acts as an astringent, meaning it cleans and dries the skin and contracts the pores. However, if you put clean feet back into dirty socks and shoes, the odour is likely to recur.
Many articles on the Internet give specific formulas for using these approaches. But since there is no clinical evidence that they are effective, keep in mind that what works for one person might not work for another.
The best year-round strategy for preventing foot odour and other foot conditions is to keep your feet and footwear clean; change socks daily or more often if you are active; rotate shoes every few days; and inspect your feet daily for signs of sores, cuts, cracks and itchiness between the toes, which could indicate athlete’s foot.
If foot conditions persist or if you have diabetes or another condition that affects blood flow to the feet, see The Podiatrist. We have an extensive range of products that can help you with foot odour.
Get started on resolving your foot problem today.
Call The Podiatrist
Some tips to help prevent your child from getting painful foot problem | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz
Many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. An ingrown nail can break the skin and lead to dangerous infections.
The Podiatrist says that tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect nail trimming are the most common causes. In others, the children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve.
Teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short.
Make sure children’s shoes fit. Shoe width is more important than length. Make sure the widest part of the shoe matches the widest part of your child’s foot.
If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, reduce the inflammation by soaking the child’s foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold.
The only proper way to treat a child’s ingrown toenail is with a visit to The Podiatrist.
Parents should not try to dig the nail out or cut it off. These dangerous “bathroom surgeries” carry a high risk of infection.
For all your child’s foot care needs, visit The Podiatrist.
While exercising, the way we use our muscles, joints and tendons is key to a successful workout. In order to facilitate proper body mechanics, your shoes need to be appropriate for the type of exercise and your specific feet. Many common injuries, including plantar fasciitis, shin splints or stress fractures, can be prevented and helped with the proper athletic shoes.”
Follow the steps below when selecting athletic shoes:
Know your activity:
The type of shoe will vary depending on the type of activity. Running long distances is best done in a running shoe. The type of shoe, whether neutral, stability or motion control, depends on an athlete’s individual foot type and function. Some runners can use lighter shoes for up-tempo runs and speed work, but not all will benefit from these types of shoes. Court sports, such as tennis and basketball, almost always require shoes specific to the individual sport with added side-to-side support.
Be generous with size:
While sizing down into shoes is never recommended, it is an especially bad idea for athletic shoes. Make sure there is enough space in the toe area when the shoe is tied; about a thumbnail length of extra space is recommended so the toes don’t continually hit the front of the shoe while exercising. In addition, feet shouldn’t be rubbing against the sides and the back of the shoes to prevent blisters, calluses and corns. That being said, shoes should still be tight enough to prevent the feet from sliding around easily within the shoe.
Know your style:
This isn’t referring to fashion style, but rather running style. Determine your motion mechanics or pronation, meaning whether your foot rolls in, out or neither. An over-pronator rolls the foot significantly inward during motion while feet that over supinate roll excessively outward during. The type of pronation will help determine the structure of the shoe and the amount of stability necessary for proper running.
Whenever possible, get fitted at a specialty store. The salespeople will know the different types of shoes available. Many stores have treadmills with cameras set up to record your stride. This can visibly show you your pronation type and any additional stride specifics that can help determine the best shoe type for your feet.
For any problems, see The Podiatrist.