We all start out with a clean slate on New Year’s Eve. It’s a time when most of us make a resolution to stop doing something that is making us unhealthy or unhappy; and to go in another direction for something new that will make us improve our quality of life. Time is not slowing down and it is taking a toll on our feet.
I encourage all of you to pay more attention to your feet this New Year and to take action for improvement. Here are some health tips that will help your feet feel younger and beautiful in 2016!
Tip 1: Wear Proper Footwear and be Size Smart!
Choose proper footwear for all occasions this year and be size smart. Pitch the old trainers that have been lying around in your closet. Ask The Podiatrist for some tips to select a shoe that is designed for the fitness activity and for your foot type.
Whenever possible, leave the stilettos in your closet. At least try to wear them less or scale down the heel height. Try to wear them on alternate days or slip into a pair of foot friendly flats when you get to work. There is nothing beautiful about painful feet and shoe wear that may lead to ankle sprains, bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, neuromas, and surgery.
Properly fitted shoes will help prevent corns, calluses, blisters, chafing, and foot or ankle injuries. Make a healthier choice of shoes this year. Foot-friendly shoes will help your feet; and your body will appreciate this.
Tip 2: Don’t Ignore Heel Pain!
The heel bone (calcaneus) is the largest bone in the foot that is subjected to the weight bearing load when walking. Heel pain is not something to ignore. It’s a signal that there is something that needs to be checked by your podiatrist.
Although the most common form of heel pain is plantar heel pain. It may be caused by arthritis, a stress fracture, a heel spur, an irritation of the nerves, or problems in the arch. Once The Podiatrist diagnoses the cause, the proper treatment can be selected.
In most cases, heel pain may be resolved with conservative treatment like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, different footwear that provides better support, stretching exercises, cold therapy, and rest. Other treatments may include corticosteroid injections, orthotic devices, removable walking casts, night splints, padding and strapping, and physical therapy.
Tip 3: Stop Bunion Discomfort and Pain!
If you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort because of a bunion that is interfering with your daily activities, it’s time to explore your surgical options. If your anxiety has caused you to avoid surgery, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. An altered gait (walking) pattern can contribute to other mechanical problems in your feet and put unwanted stress on your ankles, knees, hips, and spine.
Tip 4: Support your Feet with Custom Orthotics!
Custom orthotics are made from cast impressions of your feet and inserted into your shoes. Orthotics are designed to properly provide support for your arches and to distribute your 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.
A wide range of orthotics is available for various activities and shoe types, and for children and adults. Orthotics are not a permanent correction for a mechanical foot deformity but it can help slow down the progression of a deformity and need for surgery. New orthotics are generally needed every two years and should be checked for wear and tear.
Tip 5: 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 the stress on your feet.
Exercising your feet and ankles is also important to keep them strong and flexible. Talk with your podiatrist about easy exercises that can be done in your home. Strong feet will also have a positive effect on reducing pain in your back, hips, and knees.
Tip 6: Say Goodbye to Ugly Toenails!
If you are tired of having to deal with the embarrassment of toenail irregularities cause by fungus, we have some solutions for you.
Your feet deserve the very best in 2016! If you are interested in seeking help, call The Podiatrists.
We also have a huge range of foot care products- only the best for your feet.
From better posture to less pain, the proper use of foot orthotics can bring about many different benefits. Depending on the reason a person may be seeking out assistance through foot orthotics, the benefits will vary.
Here, we cover three of the more common top benefits of using these supportive inserts and devices. These benefits tend to all go hand in hand, but it may be helpful to look at each of them separately, too.
Alleviating or preventing pain may be the number one benefit of foot orthotics. Experiencing pain in the feet, or in another area of the body, is a major motivator when it comes to seeking assistance. For individuals who are experiencing any kind of pain related to the feet, foot orthotics may be able to offer the necessary solution. For example, people with heel pain and plantar fasciitis might use foot orthotics to ease the condition. If the pain you are experiencing is at all related to the way your foot moves and rests in shoes, then foot orthotics could provide the benefit of the pain relief you have been looking for.
Preventing injury is another top benefit that can come from the use of proper foot orthotics. In fact, the pain that drives people to seek out the support of foot orthotics often serves as the precursor to injury. In other words, experiencing regular foot pain could eventually lead to a more serious medical issue or injury if it is not addressed early enough. The way in which foot orthotics work to stave off an injury is much the same as the way in which these supportive devices help alleviate pain—by supporting the feet in ankles to move and function optimally.
A third big benefit of foot orthotics is the promotion of proper movement and posture. If you think of the feet as the foundation of your body, it is easy to see how a crack or fault in the foundation could lead to problems throughout the structure as a whole. For instance, if a person’s feet tend to pronate, this can lead to improper daily posture and create pain not only in the feet, but also the knees, hip, back, shoulders and neck. With the right foot orthotics, pronation can be counteracted, along with the unwanted side effects. Of course, there are many other postural conditions that may be corrected through the use of foot orthotics and in combination with exercises and correct footwear.
Contact The Podiatrist for any of your foot problems.
Stay stable on your feet- The ankle is built to support your body’s load but uneven distribution of weight can leave it vulnerable
I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear my clients say “weak ankles”. The ankles are built to support nearly 100% of the body’s load, and if you look at the role of the joint in any sport which involves being on your feet, you will see that it can take very high impacts. It is flexible, resilient and capable of generating some serious explosive movements. So why do I see so many ankle injuries?
Understanding how such a brilliantly designed joint can turn weak lies in studying its functional relationship and interaction with the body’s other weight–bearing joints—the hips, knees and shoulders. The human body is a structure with several load-bearing joints, all of which will function at their optimum only if they are engaged together as a single unit—much like a well-made chair. The sturdy chair will bear the weight of the guest sitting on it pretty efficiently for years, but if people keep tipping the chair back and forth on its rear and front legs alternately, the chair will start wobbling and may ultimately collapse altogether. In the same manner, the body’s load-bearing joints will lose the benefit of its combined strength if the load is not distributed evenly along the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. If anyone has to compensate regularly for the other, then that joint will deteriorate.
The ankle is particularly vulnerable as it bears the maximum load of the human body. This explains the high number of ankle-pain sufferers. The solution, however, does not lie in artificial support systems like taping, or special high-top shoes, or even surgery—it lies in spotting the deviant joint, understanding its relationship with the muscles around it, and aligning it with the rest of the load-bearing joints.
Calf muscles and ankles
The most common cause of ankle pain is dysfunctional and unusually shortened or tight calf muscles. For a human body to achieve proper locomotion, it is extremely important that the feet are able to dorsiflex. Dorsiflexion is the technical term used to describe the motion when the toes and feet move inwards towards the shin bone. While walking or running, when the foot hits the ground on impact, the shin has to move towards the feet in order to create the proper “give” or soft cushioning. This is only possible if the calf muscle is flexible and functional. If the calf muscle is tight, then the ankle abducts (moves outwards from the shin), unusually increasing its workload at impact. Moving away at impact takes it out of line to bear the body’s weight evenly, so there is too much load now acting on the inside of the ankle. Simple stretches to restore length back to the calf muscles, like the ones we will outline, sometimes take away chronic pain in the ankles, and make the joint more stable.
The Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon attaches the muscles of the calf to the heel of the foot, and is hurt more often than any other tendon. The Achilles tendon’s opposing tendons attach the two heads of the gastrocnemius muscle (part of the calf muscle) to the two sides of the femur bone which significantly also form a part of the knee joint. Any misalignment of the knee joint, then, disrupts the tension and interaction of the tendons. The Achilles tendon, instead of delivering a fluid, smooth contraction, starts “twanging” and crimping. The Achilles tendon is not built to snag or to move such loads without help from the lower leg, hip or knee.
See The Podiatrist if you are experiencing any problems.
You may have foot pain from growths such as plantar warts, corns or calluses. Your foot pain may also stem from wearing ill-fitting shoes or from standing on your feet all day. Fortunately, foot pain relief can be achieved at home.
Buy shoes that fit. Always try on shoes before you purchase them. If the shoe is too tight across the toe box, it will be very unpleasant to wear and will make foot pain worse. Ill-fitting shoes also cause blisters or corns on your feet. You may want to get your feet measured each time you try on shoes, as some brands fit differently than others. Your feet swell as the day goes on, so it is usually best to wait until the evening to try on and purchase shoes.
Choose shoes based on activity. If you are going for a run, wear sneakers designed for running, not walking. You use your feet differently based on what type of exercise you perform. The shoes you wear need to be designed for that activity.
Support your arches. Different people have different shapes of foot arch. For example, you may have a low arch or be flat footed. That means your entire foot touches the ground when you stand. A high arch is the opposite of flat feet. Only your heels and toes have contact with the ground.
Both types of arches need support if they cause you pain. Wear inserts in your shoes that are designed for your arch type.
Massage your feet. At the end of the day, give your feet a massage to help calm tired muscles and reduce stress and tension in your feet. Take a seat in a comfortable chair and prop one foot up on the knee of your opposite leg. Rub the foot gently. Try stretching your toes by pulling on them individually with your fingers.
Prop your feet up. Rest your feet after a long day. Sit down and elevate your feet at a 45 degree angle. Elevating your feet will help the blood flow away from them and will reduce swelling and tenderness.
Kick chronic foot pain to the curb with any one of these simple remedies. With the right shoes and some relaxation, foot pain relief can be at your doorstep.
See The Podiatrist if you have any problems.
The shoes you wear can make you feel slim, sexy, and stylish—or they can leave you wincing in pain.
Ever wonder how much damage you are doing when you walk to work in sky-high heels or scuff through errands in flip-flops?
How High Heels Cause You Pain
There’s a reason most women willingly forgo comfort to squeeze their feet into stilettos: Adding inches makes you look slimmer, accentuates calf muscles, and even lifts your backside.
But you may be doing lasting damage if you live your life in heels. A 2011 Danish study found that walking in heels can increase the risk of osteoarthritis six-fold.
Imagine standing on the edge of a ski slope with your toes pointing downhill. To compensate for this tipped-forward position, it’s natural to bend your knees slightly and arch your back. As a result, your quads are forced to work overtime, which makes them tight and prone to injury. Walking with your knees slightly bent also puts 200 percent more stress on your kneecaps, which can wear away at the cartilage and increase your risk of developing arthrits.
The added height of heels puts extra strain on the shin muscles, which control the forefoot. This repetitive strain can eventually lead to painful shin splints.
Heels put your calf muscles in a shortened position. Over time, this can become permanent: One study in the Journal of Experimental Biology found regular heel wearers had calf muscles that were an average of 13 percent shorter than those of nonheel wearers, making it uncomfortable for them to walk without heels because their natural stride was thrown off.
High Heels Help
Stretch it out.
Give your calves a good daily stretch like this one from Bowman: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place a rolled-up towel under the ball of your right foot. Lower your right heel to the floor. Once you’re comfortable here, take a small step forward with your left foot, keeping your hips square. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and work up to 60 seconds.
Massage your shins.
Relieve shin pain with a gentle self-rubdown, applying long vertical finger strokes down the front of your lower leg. Then focus on kneading the muscles horizontally, says Bowman.
Embrace the commuter shoe.
Switch to low-heeled options for getting places, and save those skyscrapers for when you’re mostly sitting pretty.
Feet swell over the day, so if a shoe feels slightly tight at 7 a.m., it’ll be a vise by nightfall. Only buy shoes that are roomy enough, and consider going lower. Research shows that 2-inch heels create impact forces 4 percent greater than flats, while 3-inch heels boost stress by 33 percent
How Flats Cause Foot Pain
Flats sound like the healthier alternative to heels, but the truth is that even a basic ballet flat or canvas casual can be just as problematic.
Many flats lack internal support (like the kind you find in a sneaker). Without it, the ligaments and tendons along the bottom of your foot can overstretch and the arch can collapse. This in turn can lead to the painful foot condition plantar fasciitis—a notoriously hard-to-treat burning or aching along the bottom of the foot. Poor internal support is especially problematic if you’re naturally flat-footed.
Many casual flats have even less interior cushioning than heels or sandals. This lack of padding can trigger pain in the heel or ball of your foot when you’re walking, especially if you have high arches.
Fixes for Flat Shoes
Give your feet a workout.
To wear shoes with no built-in support, you need to strengthen the tiny foot muscles that support your arch. Try doing toe lifts: Raise your big toe without moving the rest of the gang. Until you get the knack, wiggle your toes and rub your feet vigorously, which will stimulate your nerve endings and help wake up your feet. Do 20 toe lifts per foot.
Stretch it out.
Just as the abductor/adductor machine at the gym strengthens your outer and inner thighs, you can work your toe abductors and adductors to make the muscles of your foot stronger and more supportive. Start by interlacing your fingers with your toes to help press them apart, then spread and relax them without assistance from your hands. Hold the stretch long enough to sing the alphabet. Do this once a day (or up to three times if you have bunions).
Bump it up.
Help strengthen the small muscles in your feet and lower legs by striding barefoot across an uneven surface such as cobblestones. This also helps stimulate the nerves in your feet. Buy a pre-made cobblestone mat with smooth stones already glued to it, or find (or make) a bumpy space to walk back and forth on in your backyard.
Add OTC insoles.
If you have flat feet (your wet footprint shows the entire foot), foam or rubber insoles can help prevent your arches from collapsing. If you have high arches (you see only the heel and ball of your foot in your footprint), look for an insole with more rigid arch support.
Look for flats with an insole that curves along the same lines as your foot and arch. Then try to fold the shoe in half—it should bend only at the ball (the same place your foot naturally bends as you walk). Also avoid pairs that fold right in the middle or roll up easily.
How Toning Shoes Cause Foot Pain
Shoes with rounded or “rocker” soles that purportedly increase muscle activity and boost calorie burn are big business—after all, who doesn’t want to get a workout without really working out? But despite their medical provenance (rocker-bottom shoes were originally engineered to help patients with pain in the balls of the feet, says Leahy), consider the following before you get a pair as a fitness tool.
The rigid soles prevent arches from naturally flexing. Eventually, this can cause your arches to flatten and lead to overpronation (when the feet excessively roll in while walking). The result: Your feet absorb less shock, causing your knees and back to take on extra stress.
Relief from Rocker Shoes
Be inspired (but don’t skip your strength workout).
If these shoes help you feel more conscious of the benefits of every step you take and make you want to walk more, go for it! But don’t skip proven strengtheners. The best way to tone your lower body is with strength moves such as squats and lunges, not just walking around in toning shoes.
Contact The Podiatrist (www.thepodiatrist.co.nz)