Blog Archives

Flat feet- Children’s feet | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

 

podiatrist-podiatry-feet-auckland-caron-orelowitz1.jpg

Children with flat feet, also called pes planus, have a flattening of the arch during standing and walking.

Flat foot is normal in infants and young children. At this age, in the absence of any associated symptoms, treatment is highly debatable.

Flat foot usually naturally corrects itself as muscles strengthen and soft tissues stiffen. The height of the arch in the foot increases with age until about 9 years. The problem is when flat foot persists, spontaneously occurs in older children or later in life, or is associated with pain and disability.

Flat feet can be flexible or rigid, painful or painless and associated with a tightness of the calf muscles (Achilles tendon). The majority of flat feet are painless, but when pain is present it is usually during weight-bearing activities such as walking and running. The pain can be in the sole of the foot, the ankle, or non-specific pain all around the foot area.

 

What causes flat feet?

A complex and sophisticated interaction of bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves within and above the foot defines its anatomy and function. Anything that interrupts the integrity of these structures leading to a collapsed arch can cause symptomatic flat feet.

Examination of the foot begins with an examination of the entire child, because the flat foot may have an underlying cause.

Flat foot can also originate from unusual anatomy such as a tarsal coalition (bones joined together), ligament or muscle damage, restricted ankle movement, outward rotated lower legs, and knock knees (where the legs bow inwards at the knee). Obesity can result in collapse of the arches by the increased load on the foot. If knock knees also develop, the middle of the foot will tend to turn out (abduct). The foot will point outwards when walking, instead of straight ahead, which is inefficient and can cause early fatigue.

Footwear in early childhood has been thought to cause flat foot. It is likely that children who wear shoes, are not physically active and have flat feet will have decreased muscle activation in their feet and thus impaired foot function and weakness.

Some older children and adolescents develop flat feet in the absence of any disorder or associated factors.

 

Does flat foot need to be treated?

Flat feet require treatment only if clearly associated with pain or decreased function. Managing the underlying cause or disease is of highest priority; just treating the symptoms should be secondary.

If flat foot is observed in a child who is overweight and has knock knees, or in a child with excess joint flexibility and poor footwear, each of these factors could be contributing to the symptoms, and each should be addressed.

If a child’s quality of life is affected by how their feet look, feel or function, then the associated issues should be addressed.

For any foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

http://www.kidsnmotion.co.nz

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5 quick and easy tips to healthy feet and legs | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

one pair has to last a lifetime

There are many causes of leg pain right from muscle cramps and inflammation of tendons to arthritis, varicose veins and nerve damage. Leg pain due to muscle strain following an injury or wearing tight shoes for a long time can be prevented by following few simple tips:

  1. Stretch the leg muscle: One of the most effective ways to prevent leg pain due to a sudden muscle twist or cramp is to stretch the muscle. This not only improves blood flow to the injured muscle but it also helps in reducing muscle tension thereby relieving muscle soreness.
  2. Take a warm shower: If you suffer from leg pain, then take a warm shower to relax the muscles. If taking a bath is not feasible, then placing a heating pad on the affected areas can also help. A heat pack works best if the pain is due to a previous injury as it not only relaxes blood vessels but also improves blood circulation, alleviating leg pain.
  3. Wear a proper fitting athletic shoe: Most people fail to choose the right fitting shoe, which is one of the common causes of leg and heel pain. To get the right fit, determine the shape of your foot using the ‘wet test’. For this, step out of the shower onto a surface that will show your footprint, like a brown paper bag. If you have a flat foot, you will see an impression of your whole foot on the paper. If you have a high arch, you will only see the ball and heel of your foot. When shopping, look for athletic shoes that match your particular foot pattern.
  4. Choose the right sports shoe: Not many people are aware that different types of shoes are specially designed to meet your sports requirement. Did you know running long distances in court-style sneakers can contribute to shin splints? It is important to choose the shoes according to your sport or fitness routine.
  5. Go slow if you are a beginner at the gym: One of the common mistakes that most people commit is to overexert on the first day of the gym, which not only exerts pressure on the knee but also causes muscle soreness and leg pain. The key to preventing leg pain and sticking to your workout routine is to build your fitness level slowly. You can start off with less strenuous workouts and then gradually increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of your exercise regimen.

For any foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

 

Keep those feet happy | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

foot-care

The importance of our feet has been understood for centuries. Even the Greek philosopher Socrates is reputed to have said, “To him whose feet hurt, everything hurts.” So, what comprises foot care that promotes comfort at any age?

  • Wear shoes and socks that fit and are comfortable.
  • Be sure your toes are not cramped.
  • Change socks daily and if possible have two pairs of shoes in everyday use so that you can alternate the pairs daily.
  • Elastic laces are handy if your feet swell.

Shoes should be worn that cover, protect, provide stability for the foot and minimize the chance of falls.

Whatever your age – student or grandparent – foot care is important.

  • Remember to cut or file your nails straight across and never shorter than the end of your toe.
  • If you are older, and particularly if you are diabetic, it is helpful to get The Podiatrist to do your foot care.
  • It is best to wash feet daily and always test the water’s temperature beforehand. Pat, do not rub, your feet dry and remember to dry between and under the toes. If your feet are bothering you you’ll find that short soaks of even ten minutes are soothing.
  • Use a lanolin (ointment base) moisturizing cream for dry and cracked skin. If your feet perspire, dust lightly with talcum powder. Remember to remove excess cream of powder from between your toes to avoid skin problems. If you are diabetic it is wise to examine your feet daily.
  • Exercise each day if possible. Walking is always good but there are also special foot exercises that can be done like rolling your feet over a rolling pin several times daily or picking up a crumpled towel with your toes.

Despite reasonable care throughout life, however, the older foot is subject to problems. Heredity is a factor as are the stresses over the years and complications from systemic diseases. It has been estimated that at least 80 percent of people over 50 have at least one foot problem.

The most common are corns and calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, hammertoes, strained arches, heel pain and arthritis including gout.

In many cases there can be improvements jus by switching shoes to the type with wider, box-type toes. Also. shoe size can actually change with added years.

Feet carry our body’s weight, help hold us erect, co-ordinate and maintain balance in walking. We need to give them tender, loving and skilled care.

The returns are high, including the joy of a walk.

Make an appointment with The Podiatrist today.

www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

 

Happy Easter- The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

Easter decoration

Wishing you all a Happy Easter.

Take care on the roads.

The Podiatrist

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

The Ageing Foot | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

 

rheumatoid arthritis and your feet

One of the few things that does not shrink when people get older is their foot. The tendons and ligaments lose their elasticity and they no longer hold the bones and joints together as they used to, which leads to fallen arches and a wider forefoot. It has been estimated that some people over the age of 40 can gain up to half a shoe size every 10 years.

The fact that all our weight is placed on our feet exacerbates the problems associated with them.

As feet age, the fatty pad underneath the ball of the foot can wear thin so that there is no longer a cushion, and it feels a lot like you are walking on the bones. This can lead to great discomfort, corns and calluses.

Gravity can overwhelm the older body. When standing, the circulation is less efficient, so fluid is squeezed from leaky veins into the lower legs, causing them to swell and effectively making them bigger. The skin loses its elasticity, becoming dry and thin, so it can easily be damaged and takes a longer time to heal.

Conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and peripheral arterial disease aren’t strictly age-related, but the risk of having these conditions increases with age. Certain surgeries like hip and knee operations also become more prevalent.

However, painful, sore feet are not a natural part of the ageing process. A lot can be done to prevent problems, relieve pain and improve mobility.

Check your feet for changes. Get into a routine of inspecting your feet daily; using a mirror might help. If you experience sudden pain, changes in colour, swelling, or infection, see The Podiatrist.

It is very important to nourish your skin on a daily basis. Use a thick lotion or cream on your legs and feet, taking care that you don’t slip when it is applied to the soles of your feet. Nails become thicker and more brittle as we get older. This combined with a less efficient blood supply can make toenail cutting more difficult and less safe. Have The Podiatrist cut them correctly for you.

Ensure you are wearing the correct style of footwear. Purchase shoes in the afternoon or evening. This is when your feet tend to be most swollen. Purchase shoes with a lace or velcro strap so they are held securely to your feet. Leather is the best material for the upper of your shoes. Avoid plastic shoes as they won’t stretch to accommodate your feet. A cushioning insole can be an added comfort, but be sure that there is enough space in the shoe to accommodate it. Remember, when you buy a pair of shoes, you should not have to “break them in”. They need to be comfortable at the point of purchase or you may end up with blisters and sores.

Ageing feet need regular exercise to tone muscles, strengthen the arches and stimulate the circulation. Try to exercise every day.

If you are young or able and have an elderly relative or friend who is infirm, check their feet and assist them where possible, as many a neglected foot is hidden within shoes.

For all your foot care needs- See The Podiatrist

www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Healthy resolutions for our feet in 2015- The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

cracked heesl can be very painful

 

Healthy resolutions for our feet in 2015

 

On New Year’s Eve, we all start out with a clean slate. It’s a time when most of us make a resolution to either stop doing something, or to start something new. The most common resolutions (like getting more exercise and losing weight, dropping bad habits and saving cash) are super, but I would like to add a new one to the mix and encourage everyone to get healthier feet in 2015 — especially women! On a whole, women are more susceptible to foot problems than men. This is due to improper footwear and physical differences such as the structure of the foot, strength and laxity of the muscles and ligaments, shape and length of the arch, width of the forefoot, size of toes and hormones that allow muscles in the feet to relax and expand. Pregnancy is also not kind to a woman’s feet. Consequently, women are far more susceptible to ankle sprains, bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon pain. Unfortunately, if problems are not addressed appropriately, conservative treatments become less effective, quality of life declines and surgery becomes the only option. Here are some simple resolutions to help women achieve healthier feet and a better quality of life.

Resolution 1: Start moving, but start smart!

Physical activity contributes to your health and can provide benefits to your feet. Select activities that you enjoy and get your feet moving. Don’t rush into fitness. Start smart to avoid injuries like shin splints and plantar fasciitis (heel pain). A steady, gradual program is more beneficial in the long run than an intense program that puts undue stress on your feet. Avoid running on uneven surfaces and terrain, and incorporate cross training into your fitness program to reduce stress on your feet.

Resolution 2: Wear the proper footwear!

Choose the right footwear for all occasions this year. Pitch the old sneakers or athletic shoes that have been lying around in your closet or gym locker. Ask your podiatrist for some tips to select a shoe that is designed for your fitness activity and foot type. Whenever possible, leave the stilettos in the closet. At least try to wear them less or scale down the heel height. There is nothing beautiful about painful feet and shoe wear that leads to ankle sprains, bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, or neuromas that may lead to surgery. Make a healthier choice of shoes this year.

Resolution 3: Say goodbye to ugly toenails!

If you are tired of having to deal with the embarrassment of toenail fungus now is the time to have these treated.

Resolution 4: Support your feet with custom orthotics!

Custom orthotics are made from cast impressions of your feet and fabricated into inserts for your shoes. Orthotics provides support for your arches and distributes weight bearing loads more uniformly. They are especially helpful for people with foot deformities, athletes, pregnant moms and seniors who are experiencing greater changes in their feet.

Resolution 5: Get rid of all those ugly cracks around your heel.

Have you developed large cracks in your heels from wearing jandals or summer sandals? Are they starting to cause pain, or are they bleeding? Come in and The Podiatrist will get those heels looking and feel smooth once again.

Resolution 6: Healthy feet in 2015!

Your feet deserve the very best in 2015! If you are interested in seeking advice, contact The Podiatrist for all your foot care needs.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Heel Pain: It may not be Plantar Fasciitis

structure if the heel- calcaneus

Heel pain affects a large portion of the population, often resulting in visits to The Podiatrist. Plantar fasciitis is typically the diagnosis the patient receives during the visit; however, plantar fasciitis is only one potential cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a strong, dense strip of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. Its sole job is to support the arch of the foot. .
It is easy to see how the plantar fascia may be causing all this pain as the foot impacts the ground when you think about how often the full weight of the body is concentrated on the plantar fascia. This forces it to stretch as the arch of the foot flattens from the full weight of the body, possibly leading to stress where the plantar fascia attaches at the heel bone. If this keeps up, the result can be pain caused by small tears of the fascia.
If it is not the plantar fascia then what else could be causing my heel pain?
Calf muscle weakness (muscles on the back of the lower leg) can result in referred pain directly to the heel.This is seen after someone has changed/added a workout program or modified the type of shoes they wear. This adds additional stress to the calf muscles that they may not have been ready for and lead small areas of irritation in the muscles.>
Calf muscle tightness – this causes the connective tissue surrounding the muscle to pull harder on the Achilles tendon leading to tightness at the heel, possibly resulting in the pain you’re feeling.
Sciatic nerve irritation – the nerve that runs from the low back through the hip and down the leg to the foot can get tight or pinched not allowing the nerve to move easily as you walk. This can lead to irritation of the nerve causing pain that is located at the heel. This is very common for anyone with any history of low back pain or hip pain.
Poor Posture – if you sit slumped forward most of the day the muscles and structures from the back of your neck, upper back, lower back, and hips can get tight and shortened, consequently pulling on the heel.>
Weakness of the muscles around the hip can cause muscles in the leg to shorten to help stabilize, consequently pulling on the heel.>
Why is this so confusing?
It may be hard for you to pinpoint the cause of heel pain yourself because the symptoms are the same for all of the above listed causes. No matter what the cause, you will experience pain on or around the heel when weight is placed on the foot. This is usually worse in the morning, especially with the first few steps after getting out of bed. In most cases, there is no pain at night, but this is not a rule as many of our patients report increased pain at night. Pain of typical plantar fasciitis is typically believed to decrease over the course of the day as the tissue warms up; however, patients have also reported increased discomfort as the day progresses, leading on to investigate other areas as the source or cause. Additionally, prolonged standing, walking, or getting up after long periods of sitting are commonly reported with all of the above causes. Again, the reports can be as varied as the potential causes.
Activities that make the pain worse:
Excessive running or jumping
Changing physical activity (especially for athletes)
High arches, flat feet, abnormal gait
Wearing improper shoes while walking or running
The Steps to Relieve Heel Pain
In most cases, heel pain does not require surgery and can be treated conservatively, but the first step is to obtain an evaluation by The Podiatrist who can help pin point the actual cause of the pain that’s specific to you. It is important to not treat the symptom of heel pain, but to isolate and treat the cause.
The Podiatrist may then recommend treatment , depending on the needs of your particular condition. In extremely painful conditions, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, and in severe cases give you a cortisone shot to address excessive inflammation.
Most people with heel pain get better with the help of The Podiatrist, but don’t wait. The longer you “live” with the pain the longer it may take to get rid of it as your body adapts. Most acute cases (less than 30 days) can get better within 6-8 weeks. Additionally, treatment should include activities that directly address the cause of your heel pain and are designed to include you in the healing process, so your participation is critical.
The Podiatrist specializes in the treatment and management of all foot related problems and will assess what is the cause of your foot/heel pain, not the symptom.
For more information or to find out if you are a good candidate for our services contact The Podiatrist
http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Painful Heel and Arch

Heel and arch pain are the most common foot complaints of individuals over the age of 40. The group that most commonly experiences heel and arch pain consist of middle-aged women. In addition, active athletes and people working on hard surfaces or walking great distances are susceptible to plantar fascitis and developing heel spurs or sore arches. The pain can progressively get worse so that activities of daily living are adversely affected.

Plantar Fascia Defined

The plantar fascia connects to the calcaneus or heel bone on the undersurface of the foot to the bones of the toes. Its purpose is to support the large arch of the foot. When the fascia becomes injured or inflamed, it’s called plantar fascitis.

What Can Cause Plantar Fascitis?

Plantar fascitis begins with injury to the ligaments and fascia. The fascia helps to maintain the large arch on the inside of the foot. It may affect one or both feet. In most cases, it begins gradually and may be made worse by the following:

  • Poorly Fitting Shoes – Shoes lacking firm shanks and counters      allow the foot to override the shoe so it appears like the foot has slid      off the sole of the shoe. This is commonly called “running over the shoe”.
  • Pronation and Pes Planus – “Flat feet” is a rolling inward of the      arch.
  • Prolonged Standing on Hard Surfaces Such as      Concrete
  • Walking, Dancing or Running Great Distances – These result in repetitive strain on the      bottom of the foot.
  • Being Overweight –      Extra weight on the arches is stressful.
  • Sex –      Females over age 40 are more susceptible.

Symptoms of Plantar Fascitis

The presentation of complaints to the doctor includes heel pain upon arising first thing in the morning. The first dozen steps or so are very painful until the fascia loosens up and becomes more flexible. The pain seems to subside only to get worse as the day progresses.

Diagnosis of Plantar Fascitis

The diagnosis of plantar fascitis is arrived at from a combination of
history and physical examination of the foot and lower leg. A classic complaint is heel pain when getting out of bed and beginning to walk. Compression of the calcaneus or heel bone on the sides of the heel is painful. X-rays may be necessary if the doctor suspects a stress fracture  to one of the small bones of the foot. Many of the causes of plantar fascitis may contribute to a stress fracture in the foot.

Pain and numbness in the foot at night may also be attributed to a condition called tarsal tunnel sydrome. This is a nerve entrapment in the ankle that may produce similar symptoms as those found with plantar fascitis. Both conditions can bother at night when trying to sleep. Other conditions including arthritis, gout and other systemic problems can also contribute to foot pain.

The immediate treatment goal is to reduce the swelling and inflammation to the soft tissue in the foot. Ice treatment to the foot is initially prescribed. Wearing shoes with a firm counter and shank to prevent bowing of the shoe as well as “running over the side of the shoe” is recommended. Discontinuing running and sports activities reduces stress on the foot. The use of orthotics can be very helpful in restoring the arch (flat foot) and correcting pronation (turning in of the foot). Restoring the arch reduces the stress on the knee, hip and spine. Specific exercises will be given for the foot.

Conclusion

It’s difficult for any one treatment protocol to resolve or control plantar fascitis. The combination of proper footwear, treatment, exercise and modification of activity can be successful. Patient compliance is essential to help in the care and treatment. It may take from a few weeks to several months to resolve the problem. Re-injury and aggravation play a large role in the recovery process. The importance of compliance cannot be stressed enough.

If plantar fascitis is ignored and not treated, it may complicate or contribute to ankle, knee, hip and spinal complaints. The biomechanics of gait may be altered.

The Podiatrist has experience in the care and treatment of plantar fascitis and heel spurs. Call today to make an appointment.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Heel Spurs Are Common

Nowadays, most Podiatists and Doctors would agree that heel pain is a very common malady. However, there are many causes of this pain. One of the most prevalent is the heel spur. A heel spur results from an anatomical change of the heel bone.

What are Heel Spurs?

The heel bone forms one end of the two longitudinal arches of the foot held in place by ligaments and are activated by the muscles of the foot. These muscles and ligaments, like the other supporting tissues of the body, are attached in two places. Where there is undue stress to the heel bone, one’s body automatically calcifies the tissue attachments thus creating a spur.

The pain from heel spurs is a result of inflammation around the tendons where they attach to the heel bone. Most would assume that the pain would dramatically increase as you walk but it is not usually the case. In all actuality, the pain is the most intense when you begin to walk after not being on your feet for a while. After a short period of time, the pain usually dissipates and you adjust.

If excessive strain has been placed on the foot the day before, the pain may also be greater. A sudden strain, as might be produced by leaping or jumping, can also increase the pain. The pain might be localized at first, but continued walking and standing after being stressed will soon cause the entire heel to become tender and painful.

It has been reported that anywhere between 11 and 27% of the population have radiographic evidence of a spur. Furthermore, heel spurs do appear to be associated with obesity, osteoarthritis and a major component of the aging process.

Heal Heel Spurs

To help alleviate the pain, see The Podiatrist to have the condition diagnosed.

Have you experienced heel spurs before? What do you do to alleviate the pain from heel spurs?

See The Podiatrist if you are experiencing problems.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz