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.
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.
The largest tendon in the body, the Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your bone. When this important tendon experiences degeneration due to wear and tear over time, the condition is called Achilles tendinitis. The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain along the back of the leg, near the heel.
Depending on which part of the Achilles tendon is wearing and tearing the most, a person may have one of two types of Achilles tendinitis. The first is called non-insertional Achilles tendinitis, and it affects the middle portion of the tendon. According to experts, this form of Achilles tendinitis tends to be seen more frequently in younger people who are fairly active.
The other form this condition can take is called insertional Achilles tendinitis, and it affects the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. Experts report that this type of Achilles tendinitis can happen at any time, even if a person is not very active. The damaged tendon can harden, or calcify, in either form of Achilles tendinitis. However, in cases of insertional Achilles tendinitis, bone spurts, or extra bone growth, may also occur.
Fortunately, there are several non-invasive methods for dealing with Achilles tendinitis. One such method is the use of foot orthotics, and a foot orthotic that can lift the heels is a popular design for the treatment of this condition. By positioning the foot in a way that raises the heel, foot orthotics can ease strain on the Achilles tendon. Also, lifting the heel can help prevent the sore Achilles tendon from rubbing against the back of the shoe and further increasing irritation.
When using foot orthotics to help deal with and alleviate Achilles tendinitis, your health care professional may also suggest devices that provide extra cushioning to the heel. Creating a softer place for your heel within your shoes, this type of foot orthotic also can help to relieve the pain associated with Achilles tendinitis.
Along with the use of appropriate foot orthotics, The Podiatrist may also recommend several other methods for dealing with this painful condition. Slowing down and possibly completing stopping the movements that may have caused the condition in the first place is a logical first step. You may also be advised to switch from high-impact to low-impact exercises, along with icing the tendon, taking anti-inflammatory medication and engaging in prescribed exercise and stretches
See The Podiatrist for any foot problems.
For certain generations, though less so today, baby shoes carried such emotional significance that people would bronze them to preserve the memory of a child’s first steps.
But as heart-meltingly cute as they are, tiny sneakers and Mary Janes are not the best way for a toddler to start toddling, child and foot doctors say.
So when should a baby start wearing shoes? And what kind?
It’s a really common question, and you hear completely opposite suggestions. Some say to buy the rigid soles; others say that kids should go barefoot.
While the old thinking held that rigid high-tops helped keep a child’s foot in position and offered stability, doctors today tend to agree that less is more when it comes to shoes in the first few years of life.
After they start walking, you want them either barefoot or in the most flexible shoe possible so their muscles can develop properly. Flexibility is the most important issue as they are developing their arch.
The bones in a baby’s foot are soft and don’t finish hardening until a child is around 5 years old, though kids’ feet keep growing into their teenage years. In theory, constricting soft feet with rigid shoes could prevent the bones from developing properly.
Also, stiffer soles can make walking harder for those just starting out because their feet are heavier, making them more likely to trip.
Before a baby starts walking, bare feet or socks are best, though any kind of shoes can be worn for decoration or warmth or to help keep the socks on. There’s no harm done when shoes encase dangling feet, as long as they are not too tight or uncomfortable or have straps pinching their flesh.
Once infants start taking steps, going barefoot is still ideal because they learn to walk and balance better when they can use their toes to grip. To keep feet clean, warm and protected from the minefield of things they could step on, use socks with rubber grips on the bottom, so that they don’t slip.
When kids start tottering around outside and need more protection than socks provide, choose flexible shoes. Rubber soles are better than leather because they are less likely to slip. Aim for soft materials for the upper part of the shoe so that the foot bends easily and the material doesn’t cut into the skin.
Closed-toe shoes are best, because kids tend to drag their toes and might scratch their toes in open-toed shoes.
At 4 or 5 years old, kids can start wearing shoes with more support. The same guidelines apply to kids who are pigeon-toed or have other foot deformities, though if parents are concerned they should see The Podiatrist to determine if special orthoses needed.
Don’t share or hand down baby shoes, especially ones that were worn every day. Shoes need to be broken into a child’s individual foot.
Fit shoes toward the end of the day when the feet are a little swollen.
Make sure the child runs around the shoe store and likes the shoes for their comfort, not just their sparkles. If you see any grimaces or complaints, steer clear of that pair.
Choose shoes that have a little less than your thumb’s width of room at the toe so that your child can grow into it. When their toe approaches the end, it’s time to buy a new pair.
Ice treatment is most commonly used for acute injuries. If you have a recent injury (within the last 48 hours) where swelling is a problem, you should be using ice treatment. Ice packs can help minimize swelling around the injury.
Ice packs are often used after injuries such as an ankle sprain have occurred. Applying an ice pack early and often for the first 48 hours will help minimize swelling. Decreasing swelling around an injury will help to control the pain.
Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes. In this case, ice the injured area after activity to help control inflammation. Never ice a chronic injury before activity. An athlete who has chronic hip or knee pain that increases after running may want to ice the injured area after each run to reduce or prevent inflammation.
Ice is a vaso-constrictor (it causes the blood vessels to narrow) and it limits internal bleeding at the injury site. There is controversy as to whether continued application of ice results in a sudden vasodilatation of the blood vessels and if so, at what time this response begins and how often a cycle of constriction and dilation occurs.
To ice an injury, wrap ice in a thin towel and place it on the affected area for 10 minutes at a time. Allow the skin temperature to return to normal before icing a second or third time. You can ice an acute injury several times a day for up to three days.
Ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time, as too much ice can cause frostbite. More ice does not mean more relief.
Heat treatments should be used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues, and to stimulate blood flow to the area. Use heat treatments for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries, before participating in activities.
Do not use heat treatments after activity, and do not use heat after an acute injury. Heating tissues can be accomplished using a heating pad, or even a hot, wet towel. When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate heat for a limited time to avoid burns. Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods of time, or while sleeping.
Moist heat is best, so you could try using a hot, wet towel. You can buy special athletic hot packs or heating pads if you use heat often. Never leave heating pads on for more than 20 minutes at a time or while sleeping.
More about ice
• Sometimes ice may not be ideal for certain injuries, but there are still times when it can help an athlete out.
• Drinking ice water can lower your core temperature enough during training or racing on hot days to boost endurance. And putting ice on highly vascular areas during a race can be very beneficial too.
• Cryotherapy in the form of ice baths isn’t recommended for recovery and icing an area of soreness has not been linked to reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but cold baths may be beneficial. Cold baths or showers can help speed recovery, but this does not mean to sit in a bucket of ice: the idea is not to try to numb your body. If you have an area of your body that is tight or sore, say your calves, then you may help the healing and recovery by standing in a cold bucket of water. Make it cold enough so the ice slowly melts in the water.
See The Podiatrist if you have any injuries.
If you notice your child limping or changing their style of running, ask if their foot hurts. Your child may be suffering from a common condition called Sever’s Disease that affects growing adolescents.
Children are participating in sports and competing at higher levels at younger ages, therefore, the incidence of Sever’s disease continues to rise. Common symptoms of Sever’s Disease include heel pain with limping, especially after running, difficulty walking, discomfort or stiffness in the feet upon awaking and or swelling and redness in the heel.
Sever’s disease is the most common cause of foot pain in young, active children. Children who play basketball, soccer, baseball or gymnastics are commonly affected. Sometimes the initial symptoms are so mild that they can go unnoticed for weeks,especially if your child does not complain.
Sever’s disease often occurs in boys ages 9-15 and girls ages 8-13. Sever’s disease has a gradual onset and is typically triggered by a sudden and large growth spurt. During the growth spurt, the heel bone grows faster than the muscles in the calf and the Achilles tendon have the ability to lengthen. Therefore, the calf muscles and tendon become tighter. The pulling on the heel bone causes irritation that leads to an inflammatory response and Sever’s disease. Common symptoms are heel pain while walking or playing sports and tenderness along the back of the heel.
Sever’s disease is typically diagnosed based on information collected verbally and through a thorough examination by The Podiatrist.
Activities that require a lot of running and jumping increase forces through the heel bone and typically cause increase pain for children with Sever’s disease. Running and jumping on hard surfaces or in cleats may increase irritation levels. Standing on hard surfaces in cleats or participating in sports with poorly fitted or worn shoes also cause more severe symptoms. For example, a child that stands on the sidelines for extended periods of time during rugby or soccer games may complain of pain. It is important to protect children’s feet with proper fitting athletic shoes that should be replaced when the padding or heel starts to wear down.
Another risk factor for Sever’s disease is the position of the child’s foot when they walk or run. Pronation is a normal position of the foot that occurs when weight is transferred when walking and running. Excessive pronation can be a factor because it creates abnormal forces through the heel, which can lead to increase tightness of the Achilles tendon and create higher strain to the heel bone. Excessive pronation can occur when the arch of a child’s foot is excessively flat or high.
Childhood obesity is another risk factor for Sever’s disease because the excessive weight puts increased pressure on the heel bone. Sever’s disease rarely occurs in older adolescents because the growth plate of the heel bone stops growing around the age of 15. When the heel bone growth plate hardens, the bone becomes stronger which decreases a child’s risk for Sever’s disease.
The best way to treat Sever’s disease is to calm down the inflammation and correct the cause. Children must rest from the activity or sport causing the pain. They should not resume the activity causing pain until it can be performed pain-free. Other treatments include icing the painful area one to two times a day, gentle stretching of the muscles in the calf, and wearing properly fitted sneakers or shoes.
If your child complains of heel pain without a specific traumatic event try rest, ice, stretches and new shoes. The length of time for healing depends on the severity of the inflammation and treatment. If the pain persists, schedule an appointment with The Podiatrist. The Podiatrist will do an assessment to rule out other issues such as soft tissue tightness and trunk and leg weakness that can contribute to prolonged symptoms or recurrence of Sever’s disease.
If you feel you child may be suffering from Sever’s disease, book an appointment today