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.
Corns and calluses can be quite painful.
The chances are, you will, at some point in your life, experience corns or calluses on your feet. Sometimes a little extra scraping with a pumice stone, or even a careful slicing with a razor blade or similar sharp implement, during a day at the spa may suffice. But are those individuals really knowledgeable about your feet and health and safety issues?
Seeing The Podiatrist to remove painful corns and calluses safely with sterile instruments and medical knowledge is crucial. Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut the corn or callus yourself. You could make it more painful, and it might become infected. You can, occasionally, use a pumice stone or foot file to rub down skin that is getting thick.
Typical symptoms include:
- Thickening of the skin
- A hardened, raised bump or pit in the skin
- Pain with pressure over skin irritations
Corns and calluses are annoying and potentially painful skin thickenings that form in areas of excessive pressure. A callus is often a flattened area of thick skin, while a corn is a thick, localized area that usually has a circular shape.
People of all ages can be affected, but they are particularly common in those over age 65. Corns and calluses have been shown to affect 20 to 65 per cent of people in this age range.
Podiatrists can also measure and fit people with custom-made orthotic devices to redistribute the weight on their feet while they walk so that pressure from the foot bones don’t focus on their corns. Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one-size-fits-all and may not be as effective.
Calluses and corns can often be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the feet.
Discuss your options with The Podiatrist, the professional foot care experts.
If you or a family member is experiencing any unusual sensations or symptoms with your feet, perhaps it’s time to seek professional help and book a consultation for a thorough examination, diagnosis and possible treatment.
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)