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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

 

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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

 

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

Things you should know about flat feet.

Q: What causes flat feet? Is it a common condition?

A: Flat feet are a common condition, estimated to occur in approximately 20 to 30 percent of the population. There are many reasons why an individual may have a flat-foot condition.

First, there may be a rare congenital defect, which is present at birth, such as vertical talus, which manifests as a rigid rocker-bottom flat foot. But, generally, most infants and toddlers do have flat feet because the arch structure has not yet developed. The development of the arch normally occurs during early childhood after 3 years of age.

In the 10- to 14-year-old range, a cause may be a condition called tarsal coalition. This is an abnormal connection between two bones in the foot which leads to a painful, spasticity (stiffness) of the peroneal tendon.

As we age, there are many reasons why an individual may develop a flattening of the arch, which is known as an acquired flat foot. These causes are developmental and include:

  • Connective tissue disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes mellitus.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Tight Achilles tendon.
  • Dysfunction of the posterior tibial tendon; when the tendon on the inside of the ankle loses its functionality.
  • Obesity.
  • Aging.
  • Trauma.

Finally, the hereditary or genetic predisposition to a flat foot is also a possible cause.

Q: What symptoms might someone with flat feet experience?

A: Symptoms are varied and depend upon the cause of the flat foot, the individual’s activity level and the type of footwear that is worn. An individual may present to the office with heel or arch pain (plantar fasciitis), Achilles tendinitis, pain in the subtalar joint or ankle discomfort. Patients will often have several symptomatic areas, have difficulty with exercise, and may even have knee, hip or back pain.

Q: When should someone with flat feet see a Podiatrist?

A: Typically a patient will not seek professional treatment unless they are symptomatic, except for those times when a parent may be concerned with their child’s foot structure or function. The question arises: If someone has a flat foot will they be symptomatic or develop problems later in life? The answer to this is, not everyone will develop issues later on. With that being said, medical treatment should be sought if one is symptomatic with pain or if the flat foot condition is severe (a significant rolling inward of the foot and ankle during walking).

Additionally, if one has noticed a change in their foot structure such as a sudden collapse of the arch or has a medical condition with decreased sensation
to their feet (such as in diabetes mellitus), there are sufficient studies that show the initial evaluation and periodic follow-ups with a podiatrist may help
prevent further complications.
Q: What are some easy solutions that people can try?

A: Wearing well structured shoes and sandals that provide adequate support to the arch structure of the foot. It is important to understand that one size does not fit all. Some flat foot cases may require custom-made orthotics, an ankle/foot brace, special shoes and in extreme cases, surgery.

Q: When is surgery necessary for flat feet?

A: Surgery is an alternative when conservative measures have not provided a satisfactory relief from pain and discomfort. Additionally, patients who are at risk for chronic breakdown or ulcerations on the bottom of their feet due to the complete loss of the arch structure are good candidates for surgical intervention to prevent further complications. For the most part, however, conservative and non-surgical treatment plans will be effective in the majority of cases.

Do you suffer from sweaty and smelly feet?

What if you feet sweat and burn profusely?  You wash them every day and change socks/shoes several times a day. You have tried every athlete’s foot remedy at doctor’s advice, and nothing works. What could this be?

This is a common problem seen during the winter months, especially in teenage boys. The hormones are working overtime, they are in thick socks and lace-up shoes for school and their feet are getting wet from the rain . Not to mention when they are playing rugby or soccer- the socks and boots get soaked.

Plantar hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessively sweaty feet. It is a common problem and rarely linked to any underlying disease.

It can be a significant problem, interfering with a person’s quality of life. Sweaty feet can become a breeding ground for bacteria and lead to significant foot odour as well as fungal skin infections that lead to a burning sensation of the feet.

The skin of the human foot can make more sweat per square inch than the skin of any other part of the body. This is because the skin of the foot has more
sweat glands per square inch than the skin of any other body part.

Moisture accumulation is most commonly associated with heating of the foot and poor ventilation of the shoe. In addition, it is normal for dead skin cells
to exfoliate or slough from the skin constantly.

The skin of the feet is no different from the skin of the rest of the body except that dead skin cells from the feet accumulate with sweat in a closed area. In this environment, fungi and bacteria that are usually present are able to grow and thrive. This overgrowth can lead to foul odours and burning.

Most foot fungi reside on the soles of the foot and between the toes. This is where one would expect most of the burning to be localized. Burning and itching of the feet is most likely due to skin infection with fungi.

This is more severe than the fungi simply being on the skin surface and is commonly referred to as athlete’s foot or Tinea Pedis. The skin can look relatively normal to the untrained eye.

Consider seeing a podiatrist to verify the diagnosis. For many there will be benefit from weeks of treatment with topical anti-fungal medication. Some will need prescription oral anti-fungal agents.

Stinky feet are caused by overgrowth of bacteria. Interestingly, a skilled diagnostician can identify the type of bacteria from the smell. Cheesy smells are linked to specific types of bacteria, vinegarlike smells to others and rotten garbage smells to yet other bacteria.

Some people report that a change in diet, while not affecting sweating, can reduce foot odour. They recommend a diet lower in processed carbohydrates and
higher in complex carbohydrates and higher in proteins.

Common measures should be taken to treat excessive sweating of the feet:

• Wash the feet daily with warm water and an antibacterial soap. Dry the feet thoroughly with a dry and soft cotton towel, especially between the toes.

• Use a shoe spray designed to reduce the smell and accumulation of bacteria and fungi. In severe cases, a trial of an underarm antiperspirant sprayed or
applied to the feet is reasonable.

• Use foot powder to dry the feet. • Wear thick socks, so they can absorb and wick away the moisture and help ventilate the feet.

• Use 100% cotton or 100% wool socks. Avoid, synthetic socks and stockings (polyester or nylon) as they can worsen the problem.

• Change socks several times a day.

• Wear shoes with adequate ventilation. Avoid plastic or nylon shoes. When not wearing shoes, let them air out in an area where dry air is circulating.

Serious problems that can cause excessive sweating and burning of the feet include diabetes with diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. A
physician can easily exclude these diagnoses.

Please consult a Podiatrist or other medical professional before undertaking any self diagnosis or treatment.

 

Having healthy-looking feet means more than just painting your nail

Having healthy-looking feet means more than just painting
some pretty nail varnish on your toes.

SWEATY FEET

It is important to keep your feet clean and as dry as you can. However, the sole of the foot contains thousands of sweat glands so feet which have been kept hidden away in winter shoes and boots during cold and rainy days are prone to problems because warm, dark moist places encourage  such as athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections and verrucas. On top of this, bacteria that cause smelly feet flourish on warm, moist skin.

Make sure your shoes and socks are made from natural fibres and try and let your feet ‘breathe’ as much as possible.

The simplest way to deal with sweaty feet is to use a foot powder or antiperspirant. However, this may be insufficient in some people who have truly sweaty feet and have a condition called hyperhidrosis.

PAINFUL CONDITIONS

The most important thing is to vary the type of shoe and heel that you wear in order to reduce the repetitive strain on any one particular area of the foot. A low-heeled shoe will help with Achilles tendon problems and also plantar fasciitis.

Heel pain (called plantar fasciitis) can be caused by summery shoes such as flip-flops or ballet pumps. If you suffer from any of these see your Podiatrist.

If you have bunions (an enlargement of tissue around the big toe) or hammer toes (when your second, third or fourth toes are permanently bent) winter shoes can be very unforgiving. If you are having regular problems seek advice from a Podiatrist who will be able to give you different treatment options, and recommend a surgeon if needed.

 

CRACKED HEELS

Thick cracked skin on the heels is very common and the best way to deal with this is to start off with a visit to your Podiatrist who will remove the hard skin, and then advise on a home maintenance regime, which will involve the use of a foot cream (Gehwol foot care products).

Home maintenance will also include regular use of pumice to keep the skin smooth. Make sure the foot is nice and dry and gradually file the skin. If you are diabetic the skin loses its ability to sweat which is very important in naturally moisturising your feet and preventing cracking. If you have also lost skin sensation, these cracks may not be noticed or healed and this can lead on to significant problems. In this situation it is essential that you see a Podiatrist (chiropodist) regularly for your foot care rather than taking it on yourself. This is also true if you have circulatory problems in your feet.

TOENAILS

Make sure you cut your toenails properly as painful conditions can occur without care.

Keep your nails trimmed. Undercutting the end of the nail in this way increases the risk of the nail edge growing forward into the nail – a so-called ‘in-growing toe nail’. Cutting them too short also encourages this to occur.

Thickened, yellow, brittle nails are a sign of a fungal nail infection. Treating this infection can be very difficult and it is best to make sure that you get nail clippings sent off to the lab before starting any anti-fungals.

Identification of the exact cause and targeted anti-fungal treatment increases the chance of success but beware as this can take several months. Sweaty feet make this more difficult.

GENERAL CARE

It’s a good idea to have a regular foot care routine to keep you feet healthy.

If you are diabetic, make sure you inspect them regularly, especially if you have lost the feeling in them.

Firstly wash your feet in warm water, preferably with an anti-bacterial soap. Make sure you dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes as the skin here is prone to a fungal infection called athlete’s foot. When dried, moisturise your feet.

Hard skin can be rubbed with a pumice stone when you are washing your feet. Severe hard skin on the sole is usually down to excessive pressure and you really ought to see a Podiatrist (chiropodist) to have this removed or protected with insoles.”

A verruca on the other hand has a dark centre and is more discrete. It is caused by the human papilloma virus.

ATHLETE’S FOOT

Scaly, itchy feet can be due to athlete’s foot and it is actually quite common for this to be resistant to treatment with the standard over-the-counter preparations.

If this is the case you should see you GP as oral medications may be required.

Make sure that you treat your socks and shoes with powder as well as these can harbour the fungus and cause re-infection.

Please seek professional advice if you are diabetic, have circulatory problems, or want more information.

Did you know that June 1 was National Running Day?

Whether you take a leisurely jog or sprint to the finish line in a marathon, running is great exercise. In fact, running is one of the easiest and most popular sports among non-professional athletes.

Running offers many benefits, including improved cardiovascular and respiratory function, weight loss, reduced cholesterol and increased muscle and bone strength, as well as a healthier mental outlook. But with any sport or activity comes the risk of injury.

Runners of all levels are at risk for significant injuries to their hips, knees, legs, ankles and feet. One of the best ways to prevent injury is to avoid injury. By taking simple precautions and watching for signs of potential problems, individuals can prevent or minimize many injuries.

The majority of injuries are caused by excess — running too far, too fast or too often. In addition to strains and sprains, blisters and cramps, some of the more common injuries include:

· Hip and thigh injuries — Bursitis, stress fractures, and hamstring pulls or tears are typically caused by inflammation and strain from overexertion or
improper running techniques.

· Knee injuries — Patello-femoral syndrome, more commonly called “runner’s knee” is characterized by a dull ache or sharp pain under or around the  kneecap and is often accompanied by a grinding sensation when the knee is bent then straightened. Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome can also produce inflammation and pain in and around the knee.

· Leg injuries — Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome is a cumulative but painful condition resulting from too much force being placed on
the shinbone (tibia) and surrounding tissues.

· Ankle injuries – Sprains vary in severity but typically result in pain, swelling and bruising. Achilles tendonitis is a painful inflammation in the back of the ankle, which if left untreated, can lead to a ruptured tendon.

· Foot injuries — Plantar fasciitis, which can cause sharp pain or a dull ache in the bottom of the foot near the heel or in the arch, is typically caused by poor foot structure, inadequate running shoes or a sudden increase in the distance run. Improper shoes and downhill running can also cause painful Runner’s toe.

The good news is that these injuries are treatable, but more importantly can be prevented or minimized by following some basic training guidelines and  running techniques.

Some tips to help you

Invest in a good pair of running shoes. Running in worn out shoes is a prime cause of many injuries. Make sure to replace them when you’ve logged about 600 kms.
Stretch regularly before and after you run to avoid tightening of muscles. Be sure to include stretches for the hips, thigh, hamstring, calf and ankle, as well as the back.

Perform warm up exercises such as light jogging or sprinting prior to engaging in a full run.

Include cross training in your overall exercise regimen to help strengthen a wide range of muscles. Consider activities such as weight-training, swimming,
calisthenics or those exercises that use muscles in slightly different ways.

Avoid overtraining – and overexertion. Doing too much, too soon and too quickly can lead to injuries. A good approach for beginners may be to start with a
run/walk technique, alternating thirty seconds of running with thirty seconds of walking for about twenty to thirty minutes, three times a week. Gradually,
increase the length of running segments while keeping them at a manageable pace.

· Stay hydrated especially in warmer weather. Drink at least 1 ½ cups of water 10-15 minutes before running and every 20 minutes during.
· Run on smooth, even and softer surfaces whenever possible. For example, asphalt roads are a better choice than concrete sidewalks.

· Watch for the warning signs of injury. If you begin to experience pain or swelling, stop running and seek medical attention. Depending on the type and extent of injury, treatment may include RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation; taking anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin or ibuprofen); and taking time off from running.

– Seek professional advice from a Podiatrist if you are injured or have any concerns