Thursday, 20 July 2017

Are Your Shoes Ruining Your Feet?

While most of us like to wear shoes that are aesthetically pleasing, we can certainly make an exception while choosing running shoes. However, even the most unfussy walkers and runners might be making bad choices when it comes to buying the right kind of running shoes.

How can you tell if you have the wrong pair? Take notice of some of these problems.

1. Your toes are grazing the tip of the shoes

There must be some room between the shoe’s start and your toe. It is important to have enough space to wiggle your toes into. This is because our feet tend to swell as the day passes, so what will fit properly in the morning may get tight in the evening.

2. You have bruised toe nails or blisters

Such injuries mean your shoes are rubbing against your feet the wrong way. They may fit too tightly in certain areas. The pressure may make your skin hard or affect the joints, leading to painful bunions, corns, and ingrown toenails. Make sure you get the shoes stretched.

3. You have aching arches

In case you are wearing shoes that are way too big for you, or if the shoes do not offer any support, the muscles at the foot’s bottom tighten with every step. It can also cause an overuse injury, including plantar fasciitis, where the tendon running along the foot’s bottom from heel to toes becomes inflamed chronically.

Walking the trails can wear down your shoes, and they may not be able to offer enough support. If you are an ardent walker, it is best that you change your shoes in every nine to twelve months. Also, if you increase the mileage, do not wear the same shoes more than four to six months. Another sign that indicates towards an upgrade is when your shoes are obviously creased, or they tilt towards one side when placed on a flat surface.

Here are a few tips we have put together to get you active outside, without pain.

1. Take help from the pros: There is no one better to guide you than the professionals at the sports store near you. There are so many shops that offer in-depth analysis to identify the best shoe that will provide you with the perfect amount of cushioning and support.
 
2. When shopping for new shoes, get your old ones with you: The worn out areas of the sole of your old shoes provide several insights as to how your foot hits the ground, which in turn can assist you in determining the kind of shoe that will do justice to your feet.
 
3. Take sizing seriously: Running shoes usually run a size smaller in comparison to heels or flats. So if you are usually a size 8, then be open to trying a size 9.

By making sure you wear the right shoes, you will be able to save yourself a lot of foot pain and injury all your life.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

How healthy are your Feet?

If you are able to spot early signs of foot problems, you can easily prevent them from aggravating. There are so many serious issues lurking behind your feet. Here is a quick test that will help you figure out the health of your feet.

Skin:

Does your feet have red spots or blisters? Buy shoes with proper width and size, and be careful about inconvenient seams inside. If the red spots or blisters do not go, make sure you see your doctor for further diagnosis.

Foot Care:

1. Do you trim your toenails straight across? This helps in preventing the problem of ingrown nails.
2. Are you in a habit of pushing your cuticles back? Healthy cuticles provide protection from infection and bacteria, but they should be prevented from overgrowing.
3. Are you using a pumice stone frequently? This can help in preventing sore buildup of calluses and dead skin and allow healthy skin to get enough moisture.
4. Do you have pink toes? Toes that look purple, red, or blue indicate an injury, infection, or blood flow issue. Make sure you see your podiatrist for treatment.
5. Press the nail of your big toe till the color lightens, then release. Observe how long it takes for the color to come back? You may be suffering from a circulation problem if it takes 5 seconds or more.

Sensation:

Rub an eraser along the sides, bottom, and top of both your feet. Does the eraser feel the same in every area? Poor sensation can indicate towards diabetes or a nerve injury and must be assessed by a podiatrist. It is completely normal to feel ticklish in some areas.

Flexibility

Can you easily pick up a marble or a small towel with your toes? If this task seems impossible, you can enhance flexibility by gently massaging your toes and feet every day. Some foot stretches include:

1. Use a stretchy band and take it under your foot. Press and flex your feet. As you flex you will feel a deep stretch in your calf muscles. Do this on both your feet.
2. Roll the ankles to loosen up the calf muscles.
3. Make sure you practice doing the marble and towel pickups regularly. Remember, flexibility of calf muscles goes a long way in increasing the quality of your life.

Any kind of change in your feet - whether it is on the nails, skin, or even the way they feel - can be a big indicator towards a possibly serious problem that, if captured early, can save your life. Foot doctors believe that our feet are one of the first to be affected by problems with the nerve because they are the furthest from our spine and heart. This is an even bigger reason why you should never ignore your feet: They are very easily affected when our bodies are threatened, as the body tends to send blood to the brain and internal organs before any extremities.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Things Your Podiatrist Wishes You Know About Your Feet

Most people are very hard on their feet, walking almost 8,000 steps a day. And honestly, no one bothers to give their feet a little TLC except for an occasional pedicure. It is important to pay more attention. Here are a few things every podiatrist wishes their patients would do -

Do not use the public shower barefoot:

Locker rooms and gym showers are a breeding ground for fungus that leads to athlete's foot, so make sure you wear water shoes or flip-flops. Go that extra mile when drying your feet. Similarly, if you plan for a pedicure, try to get the first appointment when the pedicure tubs are expected to be the cleanest.

Your feet are an insight to your overall health:

For instance, if the skin of your feet gets shinier or thinner or hair on your feet starts to disappear, you may have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD can lead to stroke or heart problems because clogged arteries within the legs are normally linked to blockages elsewhere within the body. Also, if your foot ulcers don't heal; they may be a consequence of undiagnosed diabetes.

Avoid pointy pumps:

Shoes that squish the toes together are likely to get you bumps or bunion. The skin over the bunion will get irritated, red, and swollen, making it very difficult for you to walk. Also, avoid wearing heels that are above 2 inches.

Your toe length is important:

In case your second toe is longer than the first toe, you are likely to get hammer toes, bunions, and even back problems because of pressure gets distributed throughout the body. The weight should ideally leave the first toe, but because the second toe is longer, it flattens and rolls, causing foot problems. In case you are suffering from this condition, speak to your podiatrist and learn about the best footwear for you.

Fungal infection:

In case the toenails have become discolored or are getting thicker, chances are you are suffering from fungus. Make sure you keep the feet dry at all times and get rid of sweaty socks to prevent fungus - which flourishes in moist, warm environments and can attack your skin through small cuts or separation between the nail bed and nail.

Take good care of your feet if you are diabetic:

In case you suffer from diabetes, make sure to check your feet regularly for cuts, blisters, ulcers and redness. If you neglect your wounds, you may get an infection, causing serious consequences.

Your feet are actually getting bigger:

Did you know that there is a possibility that you have gone up half-size in the past decade? Feet tend to get both wider and longer as you start to age because the ligaments and tendons that link small bones start to lose elasticity. Measure the feet once a year so that you are aware of your true size. If you wear shoes that don't fit you properly, you may end up with a lot of discomfort, accelerating or creating a bunion or blister, among other problems.

Knowing your feet well and taking good care of them helps you stay fit and healthy!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

FAQ : Answers to Some Very Common Questions about Feet

What's that muck on the gym’s shower floor? What does that uncomfortable tingling feeling really mean? Here are answers to some of the most common health mysteries related to your feet.

Q: Can I catch anything more than an athlete's foot from the shower area of the gym?

A: The truth is, you can catch athlete's foot from the carpet or the stalls of your gym. Plantar warts are one of the most common shower threats. In case you have a weak immune system and the warts don’t vanish on their own, your podiatrist can easily laser them off.

It is always a good idea to wear shower shoes, and wash them with water and soap after every use, and then dry them at home.

Q: At times my feet tingle or go numb. I'm fit and healthy—is there anything to worry about?

A: These symptoms may not signal a serious issue in people who are healthy. If you observe the lack of feeling only when taking off your shoes, your shoes might be too packed, which may compress the nerves. The other problem could be in your diet. Inflammatory foods such as, refined sugars and carbs can affect the peripheral nerves and cause tingles.

Q: My feet are getting bigger?


A: The ligaments and tendons supporting your feet begin to loosen up in your 30s, and the arch starts to fall. These changes make the foot wider and longer. It’s a delicate growth expansion, so the shoes will only need to be stretched. Another factor is pregnancy. Pregnant women may see their feet go up a full size due to a hormone called relaxin, which makes the body’s ligaments lengthen and spread.

Q: What causes smelly feet and what is the best way to remedy it?

A: The bad odor comes out when bacteria and sweat mix on your feet. Make sure, after the daily wash, you sprinkle some foot powder for getting rid of extra moisture, leaving bacteria nothing to breed on. In case you have time, brew black tea and after it cools, soak your feet in it for ten minutes shrinking the sweat glands.

Q: I am a thirty year old woman who has a very hard time wearing heels while my 55-year-old aunt wears them every day without fuss. Why?

A: The cushion in our soul starts to thin out with age, making it very hard to wear heels. However, if you start wearing heels on a regular basis, sometimes your body can adjust by substituting the fat pads with dense calluses that can help withstand height.

Q: What is the best way of treating a bunion?

A: Bunions are a boney lump that can cause a lot of pain. It is important to stop their development by wearing shoes that have a roomy toe area. Doctors also recommend utilizing a bunion bootie - a sock-like design that assists in improving the flexibility of ligaments - once every week. It is also a good idea to keep the weight balanced as added pounds can aggravate the problem.

If you feel you are suffering from a foot problem that requires your attention then make sure you go to a podiatrist for a checkup.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Pain-Fighting Tricks for Flat Feet

Almost 20% of the Americans who have flat feet suffer from pains and aches every single day. Our arches offer support to our feet and when they collapse, there is more strain and pressure on the ligaments in our soles. After a while, this can cause inflammation, tightness, and an injury, such as tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

How to know if you suffer from flat feet? Check the impression your foot leaves, on a dry pavement, when dipped in water. If the foot does not have a properly defined "waist"- part where the arch rises from the ground - it is a sign that your feet are flat.

Here is how to fight the pain emerging from flat feet:

1. Get proper support:


While flat shoes are fashionable but if you have flat feet, your soles will hurt later. You will require arch support to cushion the impact of every step and keep the body in alignment. It is best to go to a local running or walking store and ask them for suggestions. You can think of buying a supportive insole or a thin gel insole.

2. Always wear house shoes:


After a long day, there is absolutely nothing better than taking off those dress shoes or heels. However, walking barefoot around the house applies pressure on the feet, causing them to pain. It is best to wear comfortable and supportive clogs or slippers for indoors.

3. Ball massage:

You can relax your tight tendons by applying a little pressure. This can also increase the flow of blood to the bottoms of the feet. Try to roll your feet or soles over a golf or tennis ball. Apart from this, you can also make use of a frozen water bottle. The coldness will help in decreasing inflammation in the feet.

4. Stretch:

If you suffer from flat feet, you are likely to over-pronate, with your foot rolling inward with every step. This will make your muscles work too hard to stabilize the foot, leading to muscle tightness in the feet and up to the back of the leg. A great stretch you must do on a regular basis is the calf stretch: stand approximately two feet from a wall. Now, step the right foot forward, and put the ball of the foot on the wall while keeping the heel on the ground. Make sure the right leg is straight, and your palms are pressed into the wall as you bend forward to extend the foot and calf. Hold this position for fifteen to twenty seconds; repeat with the other leg.

Flat feet can be a nuisance because of the restrictions they impose on you. However, if you take care of them properly, you may never have to deal with pain emerging from this problem. It is also a good idea to see a podiatrist who can help you keep your feet in the best health possible so that you do not face any problems later in life.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

7 Ways of Treating Swollen Feet

Have you ever looked at your feet and not recognized them as your own, soon realizing that they are swollen? There can be many reasons for the feet to swell, including, travel, surgery or standing for too long. For expecting mothers, swelling is almost inevitable.

Swollen feet and ankles cause a lot of discomfort, and may make it hard for you to move freely. However, there are ample of ways to relieve this problem.

Compression socks. Compression socks are available at a local grocery or drug store. They offer pain relief and prevent any kind of fluid collection in your ankles, legs, and feet. They are available in medium light and heavy weights, so make sure you choose a pair that is not very tight for the body.

Elevation. Make sure to prop your legs up to help reduce swelling. A number of different yoga poses, such as lying down on the floor with legs pressed and raised against the wall, can be very helpful.

Exercise. Standing or sitting in the same place for very long may increase swelling. Make sure to move your knees, extend your ankles and flex for relief. You can also consider swimming, because it is a non-weight-bearing workout that soothes the feet.

Weight loss. One of the best ways to reduce swelling is to lose that extra weight. Losing weight will also improve your overall health.

Epsom salt. A great remedy is to soak your swollen ankles and feet for 15 to 20 minutes in a water container filled with Epsom salt. This relieves any pain associated with swelling. In case you suffer from diabetic neuropathy, check the temperature of water with your hands to avoid exposing yourself to extreme temperatures.

Magnesium supplements. Experts believe that adding two hundred to four hundred milligrams of magnesium to your diet can help reduce pain and water retention. Speak to your doctor before taking any supplements, though, as you should not use it if you have any heart or kidney condition.

Essential oils: some evidence supports the use of essential oils to decrease swelling. However, you can make use of eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, chamomile and lavender if they help you.

Make simple changes to help reduce swelling:

  1. Take walk every day. Keep them short.
  2. Drink about 8 to 10 glasses of water regularly. Drinking less water tends to promote swelling.
  3. Reduce your salt intake.
  4. Put bricks or phone books under the bed’s foot to elevate your feet and legs at night.
When should you see a doctor?

In case you develop blisters or leg ulcers, get in touch with a podiatrist. Sores and blisters can further lead to infection. Also, evaluate your feet. Tight shoes due to swelling can often create wounds.

Also, in case the swelling is on one side, get in touch with your doctor. You may suffer from deep vein thrombosis.

While swelling can be reduced by natural remedies, work with your podiatrist to rule out any serious causes.

Monday, 23 January 2017

7 Things that happen to Your Feet as You Get Older

They've taken us everywhere from our very first step to this morning's run. Almost everything about our body transforms in that period of time, so it's no surprise that our feet also undergo certain alterations.

Here are a few common foot complaints that may arise with age.

Fat vanishes

We have built-in insoles—elastin and collagen cushions, stuffed inside adipose tissue, on the bottom of both the feet. However, with age, production of collagen reduces through the years, reducing the thickness of the fat pads.

Without the cushioning, the feet may feel normal in the morning, but as the day passes you may have pain as you are practically walking on bones.

Arthritis

Our feet have more than thirty joints. All these joints start to degenerate as we age. Arthritis normally strikes the mid-foot joints or the big toe on the foot’s top. Apart from pain, you may feel a little stiff during the morning that tends to get better once you start your day, then again starts to worsen at night. Proper exercise, shoe inserts, and losing excess weight may help.

Toes curl up

Years of wearing high heels increases your chances of permanent bends, hammertoes, and the like. What may begin as a mild discomfort, can turn into a painful problem. Unsightly calluses and corns can also erupt as the crooked toes begin to rub against the shoes.

For preventing and easing hammertoes, make sure to cover calluses and corns with padding and wear shoes that have wider toe boxes.

Blood circulation slows down

Vein disease, diabetes, and other such conditions can slow down the blood flow to the feet. This makes any cut or blister on the foot slower to heal.

In case you suffer from any of the health conditions mentioned above, speak to a podiatrist. Make sure you inspect your feet on a regular basis for scrapes and cuts, and seek foot treatment promptly.

Tendons tighten

The content of water in your tendons starts to decline as you age, stiffening the ankle cords. This places you at risk for ruptures and tears.  Staying active can help to counteract the effects of the problem. In case you ever had an Achilles tendon, strengthening exercises can prevent a relapse.

Ligaments lengthen

Connective tissues known as ligaments may stretch over a period of time, leaving the arch in pain and the foot flatter. Moreover, sensors that usually alerts the brain that the foot ligaments are over straining start to weaken. This can make you prone to recurring ankle sprains.

Drying of the skin

Apart from cushioning the foot’s bottom, collagen also helps in pumping up the skin. Reduced supply can leave the feet parched and susceptible to cracking and dryness.

Keep your feet in good condition by making sure you stay hydrated and exercise daily. It is also important to eat healthy food and visit a podiatrist regularly to make sure you enjoy healthy feet!