Thursday, 18 December 2014

Treating Achilles Tendon Disorders

Achilles tendinitis, an injury of the Achilles due to overuse, is a common disorder which often occurs in people who usually participate in sports like gymnastics, running, football, baseball, softball, tennis, basketball and volleyball. If you are involved in any of these sports, you are at risk of suffering from this disorder. At times, even inactive people or recreational exercisers may suffer from this condition which triggers pain along the rear part of the leg, close to the heel.

Achilles tendinitis is caused when the tendon is subject to repetitive stress. Most people fall prey to this
disorder by pushing their bodies to do too much in very little time. However, other factors such as increasing the intensity/amount of exercise all of a sudden, using an aggressive exercise schedule when you have tight calf muscles (that strain the Achilles tendon), or bone spur can also increase the chance of developing tendinitis.

Most cases of this Achilles tendon disorder can be treated with nonsurgical treatment. Though these treatment options offer pain relief, the symptoms may take a few months to subside completely. Popular nonsurgical treatment for Achilles tendinitis includes:

  • Ample rest: The best way to heal yourself is to take adequate rest. Stay away from any activity that causes strain to your tendon. These include running or climbing the stairs as well as other high-impact exercises. Since you can't get involved in these activities, you can opt for easy, low-impact exercises that will put less stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Apply ice packs: You can reduce the pain by applying ice packs on the affected area at any time, during the day. You may use these packs for up to 20 minutes but if your skin becomes numb, it’s advisable to stop it. 
  • Take NSAIDs: You can take some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that help reduce swelling and pain. However, you should remember that such medications won’t decrease the thickening of the degenerated tendon. You should also consult your podiatrist before continuing such medications beyond a month.
  • Exercise to stretch the calf muscles: One of the best ways to treat Achilles tendinitis is to do some stretching exercises that decrease stress on the Achilles tendon and strengthen your calf muscles. You may also do eccentric strengthening exercises under the supervision of an experienced physical therapist. 
  • Avoid having pain killers: Popping pain killers won’t be of much help in treating this Achilles tendon disorder. Since it is not an inflammation but a degenerative injury, the pain killing drugs will mask the problem temporarily, which will make the degeneration even worse.
  • Using orthotics and supportive shoes: Your podiatrist may suggest supportive shoes like those with heel lifts or the ones with a softer section at the back that offer pain relief. A silicone Achilles sleeve or a walking boot (albeit for a shorter time period) may also be advised by your foot doctor.

In case the nonsurgical treatment options fail to offer pain relief after 6 months, your podiatrist may consider surgery. Depending on the extent of tendon damage and location of the tendinitis, the specific type of surgery is determined.

Gastrocnemius recession to elongate the calf (gastrocnemius) muscles can help patients having difficulty in flexing their feet. D├ębridement (amputation of the damaged tissue) and repair operation is performed in cases where damage to the tendon is less than 50%. D├ębridement with an Achilles tendon transfer is done where the tendon damage is over 50%. Physical therapy is a significant part of post-surgery recovery and most patients usually need a year of rehabilitation before they can become pain-free.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Maintaining Foot Health during Pregnancy

The extra weight and hormonal changes that women have to bear during pregnancy can be tough. Apart from a swollen belly, what will make it more difficult are swollen feet and legs that some women experience during this phase. With an increased stress on the feet due to the extra weight, pregnancy can often make it an uphill task to walk around. Unless steps are taken to maintain foot health, a phase that should be spent in a joyous mood can become a disappointing chore.

Don’ts

Most pregnant woman pay more attention to the aesthetic look of their shoes rather than considering how comfortable they are to wear and move around in. In their quest to keep up with recent fashion and celebrity trends, many even make choices that are risky for their foot health. Choosing unsupportive shoes such as ballet pumps, high heels, Ugg boots and flip flops is a total no-no for pregnant women, say experienced podiatrists.

During pregnancy, ligaments and muscles stretch and soften. This makes your feet increasingly prone to ligament and ankle strains. When you wear high heels, your posture is altered and your calf muscles are shortened, which will put increased pressure on your knees and back. Due to extra weight gain, your joints are already under strain and you shouldn’t make the situation worse by wearing high heels. Apart from causing several leg, foot and back problems, high heels can even increase chances of a fall.

When choosing your shoes for daily wear, you should avoid Ugg boots, flip flops and ballet pumps too as they don’t give your feet the necessary support.

Do’s

Wearing supportive, comfortable footwear is the primary step in pregnancy to ensure foot heath. Foot doctors suggest choosing shoes with laces, a strap or Velcro to ensure that they fit comfortably and stay firmly on your foot. However, you should not buy shoes with tricky straps that are difficult to fasten. This is especially applicable when you are in the final trimester of your pregnancy.
Footwear with small heel height (ideally of 3 cm) can shift your weight a bit to the front of your feet, which in turn can lessen discomfort. Supportive shoes that have a firm heel, supportive arch and extra shock absorption are good choices in pregnancy.

Rather than selecting tight, pointed shoes, you should invest in square shaped or rounded ones that have a spacious toe box to offer you a comfortable fit.

During the day, your feet tend to swell. They are at their largest in the late afternoon. This is the ideal time to buy shoes. You should make sure that a 1 cm gap exists between your shoe’s edge and your longest toe.

Whether you are sitting or lying, maintain the correct posture. For instance, refrain from crossing your ankles or legs when sitting.

Perform some simple exercises to reduce swelling and discomfort. To improve circulation and avoid cramps, you can rotate your ankles for 10 counts, first in the clockwise and then in an anticlockwise direction. While lying on your back, pedaling to imitate riding a bicycle can help strengthen leg muscles and reduce swelling in the feet. Daily calf and leg stretches can also help. It’s best to consult your podiatrist to find which exercises or poses are safe and beneficial to do before your start your pregnancy fitness routine.

Foot health in pregnancy is often neglected. Starting from simple foot and back pain to more serious diseases like over-pronation and plantar fasciitis may occur due to this negligence and lack of awareness. Foot doctors suggest consulting a podiatrist and adhere to the advice given, for maintaining foot health and enjoying pregnancy.

Friday, 24 October 2014

What You Should Know About Fungal Toenails

Unhygienic conditions often result in several foot conditions, fungal toenails being one of the most common problems.  If the fungus is left untreated for long, this results in a serious toe infection. Mostly due to lack of maintenance and ignorance, the fungal infection spreads thus doing major harm to your feet.

What exactly causes fungal toenail infections? Reasons are many and so are its treatments. Most of the causes are preventable but certain factors enhance the possibility of developing such infections.

Symptoms:

Onychomycosis, also called as Tineaunguium, is a common fungal infection that usually affects nails. This kind of infection may harm a part of the nail or an entire portion of it. The list of symptoms for early detection are given as follows:
  • Scale formation under the nail
  • A yellow strip formation on the nail
  • Curving of the corners or tip of the nail
  • White flake like areas appearing on the surface of the nail
  • Yellow spots under the nail
  • The final stage is loss of the nail


Factors that cause fungal toenail infections:


A person is most likely to develop this infection if he is prone to the following factors:

Diabetes: This is the most common symptom. People with diabetes often suffer from sweaty feet as compared to others. Since the feet area remains covered most of the time and not well maintained, the infection attacks this portion more often. Care should be taken to keep the feet clean. A very easy home remedy is to immerse the foot in warm water with rock salt added in it.

Swimming in public pools: This is another common factor that can cause toenail infections. Mostly water at public pools remains unclean thus spreading infection. The fine gap between nails becomes primary target for bacteria to settle. Preventive measures like applying water based lotions and having a hot water bath after the swim can help prevent this condition.

Moist toes: Moist toe areas are the breeding places for fungi. People wearing closed shoes or boots most of the time remain susceptible to fungal infections. This is because bacteria in the feet receive additional boost, when toes remain moist. Changing socks regularly and cleaning shoes can be very good hygienic habits which help prevent foot infections.

Weak immunity: A weak immune system decreases the body's ability to fight diseases thus making it vulnerable to infections. Since the immune system fails to produce necessary antibodies to fight germs and bacteria, this lets the infection escalate.

How to treat fungal toenails:

Home remedies and professional treatments can be sought to cure such infections. An antifungal cream can be applied on the affected area. Another alternate is to apply Vaseline on dry toenails. Antifungal powder rubbed on the feet before wearing shoes or slippers, proves to be effective too. One can soak feet with vinegar and warm water solution.

The wisest approach is to get in touch with an expert podiatrist if your toenail starts showing signs of a fungal infection.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

How aging affects foot health

Taking care of your health is a serious process and should be done in a manner to ensure that you age hale and hearty. Many fail to include foot care within their routine health checkups. This is absolutely wrong! The fact is your feet mirror the aging process. Hence it can have profound consequences as you age. Severe foot disorders can come in the way of an elder’s mobility and independence.

The human body undergoes natural changes with aging, which in turn causes foot inflammation, pain and various other disorders. Careful assessment of an older person’s feet usually reveals gross changes in appearance, alterations in sensitivity and joint motion, which can eventually lead to limited mobility or even dysfunction. Continue reading to know how aging affects foot health and what you can do to take care of your feet from an early age.

Effects and Preventive Measures
  • Skin problems that might affect feet
  • Your skin gradually changes with aging. This results in reduced skin cell growth and collagen production. Many might experience thinness of their foot skin. Dry foot skin can be avoided by applying moisturizers on a daily basis. This is the best remedy for cracked feet or skin rashes.
    Bathing is very important to ensure sound foot health. Particular care should be given to cleaning between toes. Feet should be dried gently and thoroughly especially after returning from the workplace. Frequency of footbaths can be increased, which is definitely more convenient and safer.

  • Disfiguration of toenails
  • Toenails tend to lose its normal shape with age, thereby getting thicker. Some might experience brittleness of toenails too. This is due to hormonal effects that slow down the toenail’s growth over time. Then the toenail might get thick because of hypothyroidism. Poor blood circulation might also cause brittle toenails.

    Pedicure is troublesome for elders who have poor vision or whose dexterity is faulty. One can seek professional help to properly cut toenails across so that in-growths and skin punctures can be prevented.

  • Foot conditions from Orthopedic disorders
  • It’s normally seen that shoe sizes or foot shapes changes with time. As a person starts aging, his body’s ligaments undergo several modifications which put extra stress on the foot. This is the reason why most elders develop joint, ankle and toe pain. The condition becomes severe for those suffering from Arthritis. Specially designed orthopedic shoes with custom insoles can bring relief to joint or foot pain.

  • Reduction in blood circulation
  • Often elders complain of a very common foot problem, that of swelling. Inflammation results from poor blood circulation in the leg’s veins. The problem usually starts with one limb but may spread to the other one, if not cured in time. Elders suffering from cardiovascular conditions or those undergoing specific medications might experience blood circulation problems. Custom molded shoes can be used for the perfect fit. Superficial circulation maybe enhanced with a gentle massage using a good quality skin lotion.

    Feet are particularly vulnerable to age-related changes. Walking is the best exercise for your feet. Inspect your feet every day, or let a foot specialist do this for you. The best way to prevent the effects of aging on your foot is by getting it examined by skilled foot care professionals at least once a year. Physical therapists can play a key role too, in guiding you towards having healthy feet.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Significance of Purchasing Safety Footwear for Workplace

You wear gloves while handling hazardous jobs. Often you put on aprons to protect clothes from staining. Head gears are used to shield the brain box from severe damage. This implies you are quite particular about protective wears. However, do you give the same attention to your feet? Actually no!

Often people, especially women, chose to pick up regular pair of fancy shoes to guarantee foot safety. This can be extremely risky more so if your job profile demands working in a perilous situation. Your feet carry the entire body weight and hence it deserves to be better protected.

Probably you have never looked at it this way but your feet are susceptible to serious injuries as you perform routine chores at home or workplace. There are few professions which demand handling sharp objects or heavy materials. This puts your feet at severe risk every day. Sometimes dangers remain of stepping on open wires accidentally. Even if you don’t deal with direct handling of heavy products, your foot still remains vulnerable to sudden injuries.

Take a normal office for instance. You may not need to handle electrical goods or heavy metal objects. Still accidents can happen anytime as you turn around the table, toppling that large wobbly jar right on your foot! Then if your job demands lots of field work or walking at a stretch, you might injure the foot from accidental tripping or spraining.

Those who are in creative sector may feel their feet are at lesser risk. Don’t be complacent because if you are into fashion designing and often deal with bales of clothes then keep in mind, your atelier may prove to be just as risky as any needle factory!

Therefore, irrespective of what profession you are in, it is never possible to predict when and how danger will strike, leaving you crippled! Thus the best way to keep your feet protected is by investing in some hardy shoes that guarantee maximum safety at the workplace. Heels look pretty and those glossy black oxfords can be trendy too. However, when it comes to purchasing safety footwear for workplace, think smart and give your foot health utmost preference.

Several aspects are needed to be taken into consideration when picking up the safety footwear. Figure out why you need it. Do you want to protect your ankles or toes from injuries? Does your foot need protection from abrasive machinery or should you think more of accidental sprain? Once you have sorted that out it becomes easier to pick footwear that fits your purpose effectively.

Safety shoes usually have symbols that help you identify their special features. Green and yellow triangles signify extra sole protection whereas white Omega rectangles are electric shock resistant. Grey and blue R rectangles are suited for puncture protection. Some footwear manufacturers point out grades of protection with number markings. The wisest approach is to visit a reliable footwear dealer and pick up renowned brands only to ensure best value for your money.

Before exploring the market, a good idea is to talk to a podiatrist to know what kind of footwear would best protect your feet at workplace.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

One More Reason to Stop Smoking Today – It Affects Your Feet

Since time immemorial, you have been cautioned about the ill effects of smoking and tobacco. Numerous researches are conducted to scientifically prove how and why smoking affects your lungs. Thus, you know that smoking is a sure fire way to get lung cancer. Yet there are certain facts about smoking which you might not be aware of. This article reminds you why you need to give up smoking and give it up right now! Read on to learn how smoking can harm the feet!

How does smoking harm your feet?

You must be wondering if it is indeed true that smoking affects your feet as there is actually no clear connection between the respiratory system and foot. The answer is, the human body works in an interesting manner as every system in the body is pretty much interlinked. Therefore, smoking can definitely affect other parts of your body apart from the lungs or heart.

While enjoying that puff, you put excessive pressure on the respiratory system and in turn cardiovascular system. All these unwanted pressures negatively impact your body thus restraining it from functioning at its optimum levels. The feet being miles away from the heart gets much less blood supply when you are smoking. As a result a medical condition develops known as Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD.

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

As the name indicates, Peripheral Arterial Disease is a condition which mainly impacts the cardiovascular system thus limiting blood flow to peripheral points of the body such as the feet. A kind of substance medically known as plaque accumulates in the walls of the arteries that run down to your feet. With plaque accumulation these arteries become narrow thereby hampering normal blood flow. The feet as a result suffer from poor blood circulation.

Signs and Symptoms

Podiatrists are of the opinion that the foot of a smoker can be differentiated from that of a non smoker by just looking at it. The latter’s skin will be thinner, shinier and darkish. A person affected by PAD symptoms may feel foot pain at times. In case he/she suffers from foot injuries, it won’t heal easily.

Sometimes, non-smokers can develop PAD too. However, those with smoking habits remain four times more vulnerable to PAD, than those who don’t smoke. In severe situations if the foot is subjected to improper circulation over a stretch of time, this might result in amputation too!

How to protect your feet from the ill effects of smoking?

Stop smoking for good if you seriously want to protect yourself from adverse effects of tobacco. Those who are indeed sincere about quitting smoking should try to avoid people who are into smoking. Talk to a foot specialist if you feel your smoking habit is in any way aggravating foot conditions. Those suffering from PAD must immediately talk to the podiatrist for necessary medication or if needed, a minor operation.

Consulting a podiatrist certainly helps bring your feet situation under control. Further they could offer valuable suggestions following which you can definitely keep your foot in better shape.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Basic Facts about Five Common Running Injuries

Staying fit and healthy is the key to leading happy life. A daily running routine ensures sound health and keeps you in great shape too. However, certain precautions are highly advised for regular joggers to prevent any serious foot and ankle injury. While some injuries can be tended at home, there are few common running injuries for which you need to visit a foot care expert.

Podiatrists nowadays are uniquely qualified with specialized training and expertise to deal with running related foot and ankle injuries. They conduct the treatment carefully so that your running routine doesn’t get hampered for long. Before consulting a podiatrist for any running foot ailment, it is important to know what types of injuries are really serious and when you should consult an expert.
  1. Plantar Fasciitis affects the bottom of the foot and often extends from heel bone to the toe portion, because of inflammation of fibrous band of tissue in the region. Too much stress, mainly excessive running or jumping can cause this foot ailment. Podiatrists suggest stretching exercises before and after you start jogging/ running. It can be prevented by wearing supportive running shoes. For any information regarding custom foot orthotics or night splint, a podiatrist’s guidance does help.
  2. Achilles Tendonitis mainly irritates or inflames a large tendon located in the back of the lower calf which connects to the back of the heel. Lack of flexibility or over-pronation often results in this particular foot ailment. Regular stretching helps so also shoe inserts that corrects faulty foot mechanism. If the podiatrist prescribes, the patient might need to resort to anti-inflammatory medication for few days. Sometimes the expert suggests temporary immobilization with walking boot so that the area heals faster.
  3. Morton’s Neuroma is a benign tumor of the nerve that causes a burning or stinging pain in the forefoot. Sometimes ball of the foot is affected as the runner complains of a needle-pricking sensation. Blame it on tight-fitting footwear that often causes this painful foot ailment. The remedy lies in shifting to comfortable running shoes with enough forefoot cushioning. The foot care expert might suggest a professional gait analysis and customized foot orthotics to prevent recurrence of Morton’s Neuroma.
  4. Stress fracture is another common running foot injury which is caused by repetitive forces on foot or ankle areas. It starts with localized pain and then turns serious with swelling. The healing period might extend for over a month or so. Icing, complete rest along with immobilization of the affected area with casting or bracing are few remedial measures that the podiatrist usually recommends.
  5. Shin splints prove to be really troublesome for runners irrespective of age groups.  The patient complaints of a shooting pain felt either sideways or near the front or of tibia bones, i.e. the shins. The foot expert suggests physical therapy or orthotic inserts to cure Shin Splints.
Running foot syndromes can be healed quickly, provided you have taken the first step by visiting an expert podiatrist. It is very important to follow the foot specialists’ recommendations to be back on the running track as fast as possible. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tips to Buy the Right Footwear

If you have ever explored ancient Spanish cave drawings which are more than 15,000 years old, then attires and footwear of those carvings must have drawn your attention.  In the primitive age, animal skins or furs were used as feet coverings which gradually changed to footwear stuffed with straw. Thus, it can be said the evolution of footwear remains quite an interesting one.

Present day shoes can be considered engineering wonders as new materials and techniques are used to stylishly protect and support the feet. Discussed below are some helpful tips to buy the right footwear for different categories.

Buying a Child’s Shoes

The tender feet demand the very best footwear. Ideally a child’s shoe should be made of soft material and have adequate cushioning of the insole. It is even better if the shoe has firm heel counter, a built-in arch and enough flexibility to bend at the ball of the foot. The kid should feel comfortable wiggling his toes inside the shoe. Make him walk for few minutes wearing the new shoe and sock. Monitor closely. If you sense any irregularity in his walking then immediately opt for a different pair.

Selecting Appropriate Woman’s Shoe

This is a tough task indeed, considering a woman’s penchant for fashionable, high-heeled footwear. Most often she sacrifices foot comfort and safety to pick up high-heels or fashionable flip-flops. According to podiatrists, such footwear is medically unsafe and can cause postural and other safety problems. Those who just can’t do without their trendy high-heels can surely try to limit its time of wear and alternate it with good quality flats or sneakers. Another wise idea is to shift to comfortable yet trendy pumps for workplaces.

Foot experts opine that the best woman’s footwear for regular use is walking shoe with laces, preferably with polymerized sole. If you are desperate to wear heels then opt for wider ones with firm and cushioned heel counter. The heel height should not be more than three-quarters of an inch.

Searching for Men’s Footwear

Now that the footwear segment is styled, men don’t mind flaunting fashionable boots, trainers or sleepers. However, till date, the Oxford style remains a man’s favorite. Wing-tip or cap toe men’s shoe designs are the most common. Then, for non-formal occasions many prefer to shift to comfortable slip-ons, smart loafers and low dress boots.

There are many whose job pattern demands standing or walking at a stretch. They would feel comfortable picking up shoes with cushioned soles. Another piece of advice for men is that they should try to earmark at least three to five pairs of boot or general loafers for everyday work purpose.

Purchasing Athletic shoes

This purchase should be done carefully. Pick up pairs based on specific sports activities. A good idea is to consult any reliable sports footwear store or a podiatrist for right selection of sports shoes. Further, make sure to discard the shoe beyond its useful life.

From above discussion, it is evident that your foot health depends on buying right kind of footwear. So, do it carefully. If needed, consult a foot specialist for necessary guidance.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Best and Most Comfortable Monsoon Footwear for Women

The word ‘monsoon’ brings in mind images of gray sky, lush greenery, refreshing cloudbursts and torrential rain. Unfortunately, monsoon also means mud, sludge and waterlog. While overall monsoon might project a pretty picture, the fact is your treading zone becomes quite problematic during this season. If proper protection is not taken, your feet develop fungal infections which in turn cause irritation and discomfort. So you need to be very careful, while choosing monsoon footwear.

  • What materials to pick from?
  • Wait till the monsoon season ends to bring out your fancy satin sandals. If you have not noticed already, normal fabric gets soiled in monsoon. Sometimes threads/soles/insoles come off. Footwear fabric might also develop fungal growth which can harm your feet in ways scarier than you even anticipate. Leather shoes are not advisable too, as they are susceptible to mold and moisture. In monsoon, you should always stick to waterproof materials like PVC and rubber. There is no need to compromise your style quotient by switching to plastic footwear as these sandals come in bright colours and trendy prints.

  • What style to go for?
  • During monsoon season, stay away from strappy sandals. Walking through mud and water becomes quite difficult if the grip of the strap is not strong. One-band sandals are a much better option. PVC or rubber flips-flops are comfortable alternatives too. The best thing about these sandals is that they can be washed which eliminates chances of fungal infection. Closed shoes like Wellies and rain boots are just perfect during monsoon because these protect your feet from dirty water.  Again, pumps are not preferred options. Though these are closed, they don’t protect your entire feet from muddy water. As a result, your feet remain water soaked most of the time causing severe infection.

  • Should you go for branded options?
  • Unbranded shoes from the street might appear quite fancy and come at attractive prices too. However for the rainy season, you should stick to branded options. These may come at costlier price tags but be sure, branded footwear will run for long. All well-known branded shoes are made of high quality materials and come with strong grip and suitable cushion systems. Hence, these shoes keep your feet comfortable and clean. Of course, you don’t have to give up on street fashion entirely, just make sure to maintain a stock of hardy shoes of reputed brands, which can be used in rough weather.

Lastly, and most importantly, give utmost stress on personal hygiene. Wash your feet with disinfectants, especially if you have waded dirty water. Maintain a foot scrub routine at least once a week. If some occasion demands wearing satin slippers, leather pumps or stilettos better opt for basic waterproof shoes while travelling. Then, change to the dainty pair on reaching your destination.

In case monsoon foot problems refuse to subside, do get in touch with a podiatrist. Certain foot conditions do demand expert attention. So don’t be negligent. Take precautions from the very beginning to keep your feet clean as well as infection and odor free throughout monsoon.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Common Foot Problems During Monsoon and Preventive Measures

Monsoon brings respite from hot and humid summer months. At the same time, it invites several foot problems. Human foot is that part of the body which is exposed the most to weather inconsistencies. Excessive exposure to water, mud and dirt thus proves to be harmful for human feet.

A proper foot care regime should be followed during monsoon to keep your foot clean and dry. The problem is that you can’t stay at home all the time, in order to keep it clean and germ free. Once you return from a day’s work or travel, your feet regains its dirty and muddy look!

Common Feet Conditions during Rainy Season

Foot soaks up water and constantly gets exposed to dirt and mud during monsoons.  This consistent damp condition results in foot soreness and cracks. Then dirty water adds to your woes, since this invites lot of germs and bacteria. This results in severe itchiness and redness which if left untreated, often takes the shape of serious skin allergies.

If you feel that your feet are properly protected since these remain covered most of the day, then again this is a misconception! Covered shoes don’t keep your feet healthy always. On the contrary, closed shoe causes more harm! Wearing covered shoes throughout the day results in fungal infection between toes. Skin turns flaky too.

Another common foot ailment from which many suffer during monsoon months is the athlete’s foot. A combination of bacterial and fungal infection, the disease starts from toe portion and spreads gradually. Those whose feet stay wet for long hours and that too with dirty water are more susceptible to this foot disease.  Athlete’s foot results in discoloration of the affected portion. Mostly the foot turns greenish or whitish with constant itchiness. In severe cases, foul smell and pus are observed too.

Ways to Prevent Feet Ailments

Often people tend to overlook their feet because of hectic work schedule. This is not at all advisable.  Following a regular foot care routine right from the onset of monsoon can be really helpful. Here are some simple measures which can be easily adopted.
  1. Don’t have time to visit a parlor? Then try out pedicure at home at least once a week. Soak your feet in lukewarm water after adding few drops of anti-septic liquid. Scrub the foot and clean inside portion of nails thoroughly. Then dry your feet properly and apply a light moisturizer.
  2. Closed shoes should be avoided. Wear shoes with light straps and let your feet breathe.
  3. Keep the feet dry as far as possible. Also, make sure that you wear clean and dry shoes, socks and raincoats.
  4. Clean the feet with soap and hot water in case you have waded through stagnant water.
Many have this idea that monsoon related foot conditions cease gradually as the season changes. This is somewhat correct too. However if your foot problems persist for long, it is better to consult a Podiatrist immediately.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Why Do You Need to Protect Your Feet at Workplace

There are several occupations or working environments where your foot’s firmness is tested every day. This significant body part has to bear the brunt of daily working life. The foot gets exposed to several hazards like standing or walking for prolonged hours; sometimes on slippery or rough surface. Operating  machinery for longer span can lead to foot ailments too. Then, by wearing high heels or stilettos at workplace you might be paving way for foot ailments.

Working Environment & Your Feet

There are several things that disturb your foot’s comfort while working. Start with the type of floor. Standing or walking for extended hours on hard, unyielding surfaces can cause several foot problems paired with lower leg pain and backaches. The problem aggravates if you wear hard soled shoes. Often arthritic problems raise their heads from such uncomfortable working conditions. Concrete or marble floors are comparatively better in this respect. Again, working on slippery floors might prove to be risky too. Weather conditions also play a role in creating foot ailments. Working in extreme heat can cause sweaty feet which further escalates to painful blisters.

Common Problems Associated with Working Feet

Most typical working foot ailments are severe ache in the arch and heel portion along with soreness of ball of the foot or leg. Then, you might experience itching or discoloration of the affected part. Poor blood circulation can cause numbness and tingling sensation in the foot. Swelling of the feet or leg frequently happens in an unfavorable working condition.

If you need to work with heavy machinery, then foot injury risks like crushing, punctures or amputations are higher. Working on slippery surfaces or cluttered walkways aggravates chances of sprained ankle, foot fractures or broken bones. Corns, hard skin, athlete’s foot and sweaty foot are few direct outcomes of working on hard, inflexible floors.

Ways to Protect your Foot at Workplace

Don’t wait for foot ailments to raise their heads. Start early to ensure a fit and healthy working foot. Here are few tips:-

  • Select footwear matching your working condition. While some professions demand good-fitting and supportive shoes, there are hazardous working conditions where safety footwear is highly advisable.
  • You should always shop for properly fitting shoes that offer enough space to your toes
  • If you can’t do without those fancy high-heels, stick to a heel height of approx. 1.57 inch for regular use. Again, if you need to be on your feet constantly, then better bring down the height to 1inch.
  • Wearing damp, sweaty shoes is a strict ‘No-No’! Keep at least two pairs of shoes for work purposes so that you can always alternate between days.

Finally, try to pamper your foot as much as possible by following a regular foot-care regime. In case you sense any kind of working foot ailment, get in touch with a foot specialist without delay.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

How to Choose Sports Shoes and Trainers

Sports shoes can immensely impact your feet. Choosing the wrong shoe means you are inviting foot conditions. Your feet won’t feel good if you decide to use jogging pair to play football or tennis. The problem is that sportspersons often tend to overlook this very basic yet crucial fact.

Trainers are significant piece of fitness equipment wearing which a player can protect his feet from severe injuries. Picking up ill-fitting sports shoes can result in serious foot ailments coupled with back, hip or knee pains. Some common foot conditions that a player might face are Achille’s tendinitis, serious leg pain, soreness of toes coupled with painful blisters. All these ailments mostly arise because sportsmen and women pick up wrong shoes for their chosen sports. If you are into regular sports activities, then continue reading to know how to ensure adequate protection of your feet by selecting the right sports shoes.

Shoes for Running

Use your running pair only for running purpose. Such shoes need to be extremely flexible so that your foot can bend effortlessly with each step. Again, it is never advisable to wear running pair for racquet sports that demand sideways stepping.

In order to ensure best fitting running shoes, you can order a customized one matching your particular foot type. Get in touch with any expert running shoe retailer who will carry out a gait analysis to suggest the appropriate running pair.

Shoes for Tough Games

Sports like football put excessive pressure on feet. A footballer often suffers from corns, calluses, damaged or ingrown toenails. Only a perfectly fitting pair of boots can offer relief from such painful conditions. Check out during the training session whether you feel comfortable wearing the new pair, before trying it out in the field.

Shoes for Racquet Sports

Tennis or squash demands lots of side-to-side movement. Thus, a running shoe won’t solve the purpose. Ideally, your racquet sport shoes should be heavier and firmer than running pairs, so as to support the stop-and-go action. Of course, comfort should be the decisive factor too. It is also suggested to replace racquet sports shoes on a regular basis.

Shoes for Court games

When it comes to picking up pairs for court games like basketball or netball, always give priority to elasticity and sideways support. Cross-trainers are often preferred for court games since these are stiffer and designed to support side-to-side movement. Also, these shoes adapt to various other sports activities.

Boots for Walking or Hiking

A morning walk is a great way to boost activity level. There are also adventurous souls who love to embark on hiking trips from time to time. Be it daily walks or a day-long hike, it is very important to select appropriate footwear, matching the purpose. A pair of comfortable shoes perfectly meets the criteria of casual walkers. However, serious walkers and hikers should invest in proper walking pairs or lightweight walking boots.

Still if you feel that your sports activities are not matching the sports pair, then a good idea is to consult an expert podiatrist for better guidance.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

How to Run Without Foot Pain

Jogging is one routine which is meant to keep you fit. Then isn’t it a bit of irony that joggers often run into foot problems! The fact is that jogging is good for overall health but proves harder on feet. As compared to other physical activities, during jogging the foot gets stressed the most. No wonder foot pain is a common symptom for recreational as well as competitive runners.

In order to counter enormous pounding that your feet take during jogging, it is very important to concentrate on proper footwear. According to expert podiatrists, running related foot pain happens because of ill-fitting running shoes.

How to Prevent Running Foot Problems

Only effective solution lies in picking up appropriate and comfortable footwear. Opt for running shoes that come with extra padding. This cushions your feet and protects it from the impact of continuous pounding. Also, running footwear is designed to support and stabilize the arch portion. Again keep in mind that running shoes are not the same as exercise shoes which are used for aerobics, tennis or other such sports.

In extreme cases, podiatrists suggest customized footwear matching your foot type and gait. Thus, a good idea is to visit any specialty running store only. They will suggest particular shoe after assessing your specific foot problem.

Don’t break into a run immediately after you reach the track. Take some time to stretch which helps reduce strain of tendons, muscles and joint portions. Usually experts suggest at least 10 minutes of warm up before starting the jogging. Start slowly and take time to build up speed and distance. Make sure your foot is dry during running.

However, if your foot pain just doesn’t subside in spite of every precaution then a visit to an expert podiatrist is highly suggested. He might suggest orthotics or some other remedies to ease painful running foot.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

How to Pick Footwear that Prevents Sweaty Foot

Summer season always challenges your skin. Especially, this is the month when your feet demand special attention too. If you are already suffering from foot conditions like bunions, plantar fasciitis or diabetes related complications, then these might worsen from the scorching heat. Constant sweating of your feet may result in blisters or hard, cracked skin during this time.

Rather than being too panicky about why your feet problems are deteriorating during summer, you need to take a close look at certain factors. Selecting the right footwear will save you from sweaty foot!

  • When the heat becomes unbearable, this is the natural tendency to kick off shoes and feel relaxed. By doing so, you might be inviting some serious problems. Going barefoot is never advised because the heat and humidity can affect your tender foot skin. Foot infections can also happen if the walking area is not clean. Especially those suffering from diabetes should never go barefoot.
  • People are often inclined to pick up flip-flops since these look cool, fashionable and beat the heat too. The problem is that super-flimsy flip-flops do not take care of your foot health. These provide no support to your feet and hence extremely harmful for those suffering from flat feet and high arches. Then the thong portion of the flip-flop might cause skin irritation. By wearing flip-flops you become susceptible to sudden accident or scrubbed toes since the footwear doesn’t stabilize your feet in anyway. In fact, foot experts feel that such footwear can cause similar harm just like high-heels or pointed shoes.  
  • Don’t let your feet remain wet for too long. This might sound quite an implausible task, more so, if you need to travel often in the sweltering heat. Problem is that your sweaty feet may cause summer blisters. So, make sure that you change socks daily and opt for the ones with at least 70% cotton or wool. This surely helps in keeping your foot dry.
  • There are certain foot ailments that cause perspiration and extreme discomfort, if you are wearing inappropriate footwear. So it is very important to select shoes matching your foot problem. Take for instance plantar fasciitis, for which podiatrists suggest shoes with cushioned heels, heel cradles or heel cups. For bunion feet, a good idea is to pick up shoes with wide toe boxes to lessen pain.  Podiatrists also recommend forefoot products like bunion shields, night splints or bunion bandages. Some effective remedies for diabetic foot include wearing shoes with high and wide toe boxes. Removable insoles where you can fit orthotics also help in this regard.

Thus it can be deducted that while picking up footwear for summer months, you need to take practical decisions. A flip-flop might fulfill your fashion quotient but is not advisable for whole day use. The best idea is to consult an expert podiatrist for helpful maintenance tips for your sweaty feet. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Know how Nutrition Affects Foot Conditions

Nutrition is often associated with weight loss or heart problem. However, the fact is diet can affect any of your body parts and feet are no exception too. This is simply because the foot is connected to the rest of your body. Thus, what you intake either strengthens or weakens the foot. So, if you are really worried about constant foot problems then it is time to take a look at your diet chart.

When it comes to foot ailments, inflammation and pain are quite common. People often experience heel pain which is caused by inflammation of the plantar fasciitis i.e., a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot connecting heel bone to your toes.  Then there are many who suffer from arch pain/ strain and also heel spur. According to expert podiatrists, painful foot and inflammation can result from excessive intake of some specific foods like:-

  • Junk or baked items that contain refined grains, trans-fat and sugar
  • Red meat which is rich in saturated fat
  • Vegetable oils that are commonly used as cooking media like corn, sunflower or soybean oils; these contain high level of Omega-6 fats
  • Sweets, pasta and white flour that directly impact blood sugar level

Excessive intake of sugar, saturated or Omega-6 fat can play havoc with the body system thus directly impacting your feet. Those suffering from high blood sugar might experience foot swelling and pain. Foot inflammation can also occur from some food related chronic allergic reactions. As per a recent study, obesity too has some connection with foot pain/inflammation. So, it is very important to follow a healthy diet chart that should ideally include:-

  • Green vegetables and fresh fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes/ beans
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lean meats
  • Fatty fishes like salmon or fish oil supplements that are rich in omega-3 fats

As is evident from the above chart, the main emphasis is on a wholesome and balanced diet. Green vegetables and Omega-3 work as anti-inflammatory agents. Then Omega-3 is highly effective in preventing peripheral artery disease. Food items like whole grains, beans or lean meat work best for diabetic patients.

If in doubt whether your foot problem has direct connection with your food habit, then the best way to affirm is by consulting any renowned podiatrist. He will help in preparing the right diet chart after assessing your specific foot conditions.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Basic Causes & Effective Remedies for Hammer Toes

Thursday, 27 March 2014

How to Prevent Foot Problems During Summer

Summer, the month of excruciating heat and uncomfortable sweat, brings with it itching skin problems. However, very few know that this is the season when several foot conditions raise their heads too. Your foot remains sweaty most of the time which results in infections like athlete’s foot or warts. Blisters are also quite common during summer. Thus it is very important to know how to keep your feet in proper shape during warmest months of the year.

Be careful of hard or cracked skin

If you have this idea that cracked skin happens in winter only, then think again! Those who love to wear back-open sandals or flip-flops might develop hard or cracked skin around the heels.  The only cure of this problem is to rub away the hard skin and then moisturize it thoroughly to soften the heel area.

Banish those Blisters

Painful blisters often strike during summer; mainly caused by continuous rubbing of sandals or flip-flops between toes. Thus the best way to prevent summer blisters is by keeping your feet dry and wearing sandals that fit well. Also try to give your tired foot ample rest and protect it from the extreme weather.

Trim your Toe Nails

Trim or file your toenails regularly. While doing so, don’t make it too short or cut it too down at the corner. This might lead to ingrown toenails.

Change Socks or Alter your Footwear Regularly

Blame it on wet socks or soggy footwear, your foot remains damp most of the time during summer. This in turn results in several foot conditions. Thus it is highly advisable to change your socks and footwear, if possible on daily basis.

Let Go of your Flip-flops

While it is a natural tendency to look for lightweight footwear like flip-flops or flimsy sandals in the hot weather, the fact is that these don’t provide enough support to your feet. Thus you start experiencing arch and heel pain after wearing the flip-flop for long.

Prevent Sweat

For many sweaty feet is indeed a problem. As the mercury starts rising, it is their foot which seems to catch the heat first. So, if your foot perspires too often then it is important to follow a proper foot care regime. Wash your foot daily with warm water. Use an antibacterial or mild soap for your feet. Then wipe thoroughly and apply some talcum powder. This routine not only helps keep your feet dry throughout the day but prevents smelly feet too.

As is evident from the above discussion, your foot health basically depends on maintaining regular hygienic routine like cutting nails, washing feet or wearing proper footwear. The problem is that some foot conditions may take severe shape, especially for those suffering from other ailments like diabetes. So, if you are really irked by persistent foot problems then it is highly advisable to seek opinion of an experienced podiatrist. Keep in mind that any delay in treatment often augments the problem. On the other hand, timely cure can keep your feet in good shape throughout the year.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

How to Get Rid of Painful Ingrown Toenails

There are several foot conditions which are quite common and can strike anytime due to negligence or poor foot hygiene. Ingrown toenail is one such foot problem that primarily affects the great toenail. While the normal toenail grows vertically or outward towards tip of the toe, ingrown toenails grow abnormally. Though not that serious from medical point of view, but ingrown toenail is one condition which often turns painful coupled with redness or swelling. If not taken care in time, it can result in clear or yellow drainage too.

What causes Ingrown Toenails

One sure indication of ingrown toenail is when the soft skin on one or both sides of the nail starts growing over edges of the nail. Sometimes the nail itself juts into the skin thus causing cracks in that area of the skin. Ingrown toenails often results in inflammation and in severe cases infection too. Inflammation even worsens the problem as the nail folds into the skin even more. As the ingrown toenail protrudes deeper into the skin, this exacerbates pain and injury.

Who are prone to it

Though no such specific category can be pinpointed but experts opine that athletes, children or adolescents are more prone to ingrown toenails. Then there are certain factors which can also trigger the problem one of which is congenital foot/toenail deformation. Repeated trauma or a sudden accident when your toe is stepped on can also cause a piece of nail to pierce into the skin. You are most likely to fall into the vulnerable category if born with long toes or short nails. Cutting the toenail inaccurately can also result in its abnormal growth. If you have this habit of cutting the nail too short, then be careful; you might be inviting serious problem! Those suffering from diabetes, obesity, arthritis or foot sweating problem are susceptible to this foot condition too.

General Complications Related to the Ailment

Infections of varied degrees can happen because of ingrown toenail. The person may suffer from bacterial tissue infection. The nail fold and surrounding skin might get infected or scarred.

How to Treat Ingrown Toenail

It is always advisable to take timely action before infection sets in. You can try out some easy home remedies. Just soak your feet in warm salt water and then dry thoroughly with a clean towel. Apply some mild antiseptic cream on the toenail and surrounding skin. Bandage the toe properly. Shift to comfortable footwear that offers enough room for your toe. However, if the swelling, pain or discharge aggravates in spite of this home remedy then it is time to visit an expert podiatrist. Don’t be intimidated if he says that a minor surgical procedure needs to be conducted. In fact this is nothing but an in-office treatment whereby the overgrown skin or affected nail portion is removed and the infection is treated with some medicine. However, it is always advisable to visit an experienced foot care specialist only for the purpose rather than opting for a general physician.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Foot conditions associated with work related factors

Prolonged sitting or standing, working in awkward positions or handling heavy load at workplace can put excessive stress on muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and nerves thus leading to pain, fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders. Foot related injuries are quite common which often result from erratic work conditions. While many would opine that corns or calluses can’t be categorized as occupational injury in the strictest sense but the fact is that a tired and painful foot results in extreme fatigue which in turn affects body muscles and bones.

Work related foot problems and common causes

There are certain foot conditions which can occur in any workplace and under any working condition. Calluses, corns, severely aching feet, malformations of toes, rheumatism, arthritis, flat feet or bunions are caused from standing at a stretch or because of ill fitted footwear. If you prefer wearing high heels, pointed shoes or footwear that lack proper arch support then be careful! You are exposing yourself to foot problems. Those who need to work in extreme hot and humid environment or under strenuous condition often suffer from fungal infections, i.e. athlete's foot. Footwear that prevents adequate air circulation might prove to be the culprit too.

What kind of work condition can cause foot problem

Though common foot conditions can arise on/off the job, there are certain problems which can be directly related to work-related factors. Standing for long hours is one of the main culprits. Our foot is designed for mobility. Hence an upright stance can result in poor blood circulation which leads to severe ache and tiredness of the foot.  Continuous standing can also result in flat feet and inflammation. If not taken care in time, this foot condition finally leads to rheumatism and arthritis.

Flooring used in the workplace might also contribute to foot ailments. If an extremely hard floor can cause heel pain too slippery floor is the prime cause for slips or falls. Thus you end up with broken foot bone or sprained ankle.

How to prevent workplace related foot problems

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, so it is always advisable to follow some precautionary measures to prevent aggravation of foot conditions at workplace. If your work demands constant standing, then try to take short breaks in between. In fact frequent short breaks are preferred over infrequent long ones. Take a close look at your footwear to assess if it is indeed suited for your work condition. Rather than giving preference to style, emphasize on comfort and safety. Opt for shoes that allow enough movement of the toe. Preferably it should have a fastening across the instep to prevent sudden fall. Flat shoe or the one with wide-based heel is preferred over high-heeled ones.

In case the foot problem doesn’t subside then it is always advisable to get in touch with an experienced podiatrist. The doctor’s guidance indeed helps in buying shock absorbing insoles or properly fitting shoes. He may also suggest some light exercises to improve blood circulation of the feet. Do keep in mind that timely foot treatment is the right way to get rid of long-term ailments.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Foot conditions of women that aggravate with age

Foot ailments are quite common and can happen to anyone irrespective of age or gender. However, a study shows that women are more prone to foot issues than men. Then, age plays a major role too. Before 40, if a woman suffers from high heel injury or overstressed foot problem then after hitting 40, the situation turns a bit grave. This is the age when foot tendons and ligaments start losing their elasticity. Sometimes toenails tend to thicken or fat pads underneath the foot become too thin. All these result in feet stiffness and extreme pain too.

Does this mean being a woman you are destined to hobble into the ripe old age? Not, if you are conscious about various foot conditions and their remedial measures. Timely treatment indeed helps in aggravating foot conditions that develop with age. Discussed below are few such foot problems from which a woman is mostly likely to suffer with age:-

  • Bunion: A kind of protuberance which results due to shifting of the first metatarsal, i.e. the big toe bone towards the second toe. A large bump on the side of big toe, skin redness, swelling and pain are few common signs of bunion. Though genetic predisposition is considered the prime reason but you might give a further boost to it by wearing shoes with narrow toe boxes. By shifting to soft, supple leather shoes with thick sole it is possible to reduce pressure on foot bone. Specially designed orthotics proves to be effective too.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: An inflammation which is caused by excessive stretching of the bottom of the foot i.e. plantar fascia. This foot condition results in heel, arch pain and heel spurs, especially after getting up in the morning. Tight calf muscle, excessive strain on the arch portion, extreme physical activity and flat feet are some primary causes of Plantar Fasciitis. One effective remedy is wearing shoes with one-and-half-inch heels. The right kind of orthotic with longitudinal arch support and rear foot posting can be of great help too.
  • Neuroma: Thickening and inflammation of nerve tissue, mainly between third and fourth toes is considered as Morton’s Neuroma. Numbness, cramping of forefoot or tingling sensation are few common symptoms of this foot problem. Erratic footwear that puts excess pressure on nerves in the ball of the foot might be one of the culprits. While walking if your foot tends to roll inward then it can also result in Neuroma. Thus it is also advisable to take a break from physical exercises or activities that irritate nerve tissues. Shoes with cushioned heel helps relieve pain and discomfort associated with this ailment.

With advancements in podiatric treatments, it has now become easy to get rid of nagging and painful foot syndromes. Surgery is considered the last resort if the patient is suffering since long or the foot problem is obstructing her daily activities. Otherwise regular exercises, proper footwear or orthotics are just adequate to take care of most of the foot conditions. Whatever route you follow, make sure to do that under expert guidance of a podiatrist.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Important facts about foot conditions faced by young athletes

Competitive sports demand active participation throughout the year which in turns necessitates extreme fitness level for young athletes. Young age may not safeguard the athlete from getting hurt suddenly. According to pediatric sports experts, if the child complains of incessant heel pain or any other foot discomfort then it should not be taken lightly. Sometimes these can be precise signs of even more serious foot problems to come.

Youngsters who are into regular sports activities might encounter injuries involving bones, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues in the foot. Acute injuries which can happen all of a sudden include bruises, sprains or fractures. On the other hand, foot ailments that develop overtime are stress fractures and tendonitis. Young athletes belonging to the age group of 6-14 are mostly susceptible to such foot conditions. This is the age when their feet grow and heel bone develops. New bone formation happens in the growth plate, i.e. the area behind heels. If the foot undergoes excess strain or stress then this might result in sudden pull on the heel bone growth plate as well as severe inflammation of the cartilage. Such condition can also cause a stress-type fracture.

Getting hurt during sports activities is quite a common phenomenon. May be this is the reason why parents tend to ignore the child’s foot problems at an initial stage. While minor injuries can be treated at home, it is very important to take notice if your child is limping often, walking on his toes or showing reluctance to take part in regular sports activities. It should be kept in mind that accurate and timely diagnosis of foot conditions is the key to successful treatment. Make sure to consult an expert podiatrist in such circumstances. Based on detailed analysis of the child’s foot condition he might suggest a radiograph, ultrasound or even an MRI. A thorough and precise diagnosis is very important to prevent the foot problem turning into a chronic issue.

When the foot condition is related to young athletes, the treatment must ensure that the child is able to:-
  • Walk or run in full motion;
  • Walk on tiptoes without any discomfort;
  • Jump on both feet without feeling any pain;
  • Hop on the affected foot without any discomfort;
  • Maintain adequate balance while carrying out a single-leg stance on the affected foot/portion.

Podiatrists suggest different types of treatments, based on the extent of injury. While mild or modest conditions are treated with physical therapies, anti-inflammatory medicines or customized shoes, in extreme cases he may suggest ankle or foot casts or even surgery. The good news is that now there are many painless and hassle-free podiatric treatment procedures and parents need not worry about long term immobility of the budding athlete at home. They just need to get in touch with an expert podiatrist who is confident about treating foot conditions of athletes. After completion of treatment, it is even more crucial to follow the specialist’s instructions to minimize recurrence of the same foot problem.