Don’t forget the sunscreen for your feet

feetinsandCases of Skin Cancer are on the rise, and many people don’t include their feet as potential targets. It is important to remember to include the tops of your feet when applying sunscreen. The skin on top of your feet is very sensitive and vulnerable to burn.

Be sure to use an SPF value of 15 or higher and re-apply frequently. If you prefer a more natural approach; there are now tinted mineralized zinc products available. Seek out your local natural food and products store for more information. By all means DO NOT apply a sunscreen that has expired. Once this product reaches its expiration mark; the formulation designed to protect you has fallen apart. In many cases it can even lead to additional issues such as skin irritation and rash.

Summer is the best time to show off those happy and healthy feet. Make sure you do so responsibly.

Bad habits are hard on feet too!

feet  Smoking causes peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. A plaque substance builds up in your arteries, often affecting the arteries that run down the length of the legs to the feet. It becomes difficult for blood to reach the feet as the arteries become stiff and narrow. Leg pain and wounds are symptoms that are slow to heal, but in many cases, PAD doesn’t alert the sufferer with signs or symptoms. Being overweight can also cause problems. Overweight and obese people may experience problems with the weight-bearing parts of the foot. As more weight is forced upon the feet, the muscles, tendons and ligaments holding up the arch become stressed and weakened. In time, if these structures are not protected, they will allow the bones and joints of the feet to shift and collapse. This causes the arch to become painful and even flat. This will lead to pain not only in the feet and ankles, but will also be painful for the shins, knees, hips and lower back.   An adult who has a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight according to the Center for Disease Control. Being obese is defined as a body mass index of 30 or more. Beyond the foot pain caused by being overweight, obesity is also associated with diabetes. This disease by itself causes a myriad of other foot problems as well. Working with a nutritionist or physician who specializes in medical nutrition and fitness to create a healthy diet and help you develop an exercise plan can help to maintain a healthy weight.

Exercises for your feet!

These are exercises to keep your feet and ankles flexible and relaxed.  The exercises below should be done while you’re seated.

 

  • Focus on relaxing the muscles in your feet, one at a time.  Take deep, relaxing breaths.  Wiggle your toes.
  • Gently stretch your feet out and point your big toes forward.  Next point your toes straight up.  Alternate these stretches.  Press down gently on the balls of your feet and pads of your toes; lifting your heels.
  • Roll the bottom of your foot around connecting the points of your foot in a circular order, heels, the right side, toes, and left side. Repeat several times, then do the same with the opposite foot.
  • Massage your feet with your fingers and thumbs.

Healthy feet are happy feet!

beach feet

Everyday tips to take care of your feet

Our feet take us everywhere we need to go and as such, we should take care of them.  It isn’t difficult to set up a good foot care routine.  Following the items below will help prevent some of our most common foot problems.

  • Wash your feet with soap and water to make sure you get in and between toes. For extra pampering, soak your feet once a week in warm water with a few drops of peppermint or tea tree oil.  Use a pumice stone to gently exfoliate dead skin cells.
  • After washing, towel-dry your feet thoroughly. (Moisture between toes is a major cause of athletes’ foot).
  • Moisturize feet with a natural moisturizer.  Some brands are scented with mint or peppermint oil and others come in a rub-on stick, so they moisturize without making feet slippery.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and consider alternating pairs.  Don’t try to squeeze into a shoe that’s a half size too small, just because they’re just the style you like and on sale!  Also, having a spare pair to allow you’re the perspiration in your shoes to completely dry out for a day or so.

Finding the correct running and walking shoes

Finding the correct running shoe

Ill fitting shoes are the primary cause of many medical problems including corns, hammer toes, ingrown toenails, and bunions.  Your feet are counting on your shoe to protect your feet from hazards on the ground and to cushion your stride. The right shoe will also compensate for any imbalances in your form and keep you balanced. Many people buy shoes that are too small since they don’t factor in the spread of the foot when it strikes the surface of the ground.

Since there are so many factors involved in choosing the proper shoe, it’s best to turn to the experts.  There are shoe stores that specialize in running shoes and they may be your best bet in getting the correct shoe for your feet.  Be sure to consider the following: how far and often you run and on what surfaces. Make sure you walk around as much as possible before purchasing since you want to be sure the shoes don’t feel too tight or too loose.  Be sure to keep track of the date of purchase so that you don’t keep running shoes longer than six months or more than 500 miles.  As a final note, price does not necessarily indicate the quality of the shoe.

If you’re a walker…

There is a difference between walking shoes and running shoes.  The main distinction is the way the foot meets the ground.  In walking, the heel connects first then the foot rolls, lifting off the ground from the toes.  In running, the foot connects with the pavement either flat-footed or with the forefoot.  Walking shoes should have enough cushion to lessen the impact but not too much to make the shoe heavy during long walks.  Walking shoes should also have more flexibility at the forefoot for the roll.

Running is a high-impact sport and the shoes should have more cushion on the surface that connects with the ground.  This is why there is a flared heel on running shoes.  The part of the foot that impacts the ground first varies by individual.  Running shoes should also be flexible, but the point of most flexibility needed is determined by the point of impact of the individual runner.

Electric blankets and diabetes

Diabetes has many possible complications, including nerve damage (neuropathy). If a person has any degree of nerve damage, he or she may not be able to sense if an electric blanket or heating pad is too hot — which can lead to inadvertent burns. The same issue applies to water temperature when bathing.

If you have diabetes and would like to use an electric blanket, warm up your bed with the blanket before bedtime — then turn the blanket off or remove it from the bed before you climb in.

Foot resolutions

Tis the season for resolutions and our office would like you to remember your feet this season. We have ten tips to help keep your feet happy and healthy throughout 2014.

Keep your feet clean and dry. Any excess moisture between the toes can create a great environment for a fungal infection to begin.

Examine your feet for problems.

Cut toenails properly. Cut nails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin or drastically rounding the corners of the nails, which can cause painful, ingrown toenails.

Don’t hide “ugly” toenails with polish. Applying nail polish to an infected nail could make the problem worse.

Protect your feet in public areas. Be sure to wear shower shoes at the gym, in locker rooms, and at public pools.

Avoid sharing footgear.

Head off sweaty feet. Your feet have sweat glands galore — 250,000 in each foot! Perspiration creates the perfect environment for bacteria to set up shop.

Choose breathable footwear. To help keep your feet dry and healthy, wear shoes made of leather to allow air to circulate.

Wear shoes that fit properly. Shop for shoes at the end of the day to compensate for foot swelling that occurs later in the day, and wear the same type of socks or hosiery you’ll be wearing with the shoes.

Know when to see a doctor. Allowing a doctor to take a look will help prevent minor problems from becoming major ones

Toe fungus: What it is and how to prevent it

Fungus is not solely a summer problem. Toenail fungus thrives in wet or dry conditions. Gyms, saunas, and swimming pools are perfect places for the fungus to spread. It also can spread in dry conditions, like dry floors, linens and person-to-person contact.

The fungus makes your toenails thick and yellow. You may feel pain due to the thickening of the nail.

Prevention is key when thinking about toenail fungus. Remember to:

·         Wash and dry your feet thoroughly

·         Change socks and footwear regularly when your feet perspire

·         Wear breathable materials, such as cotton, mesh and leather

·         Avoid tight, synthetic shoes and socks

·         Always wear shoes – wear flip flops in communal showers

·         Clean bathroom floors, mats and tub surfaces regularly

Toenail fungus won’t go away by itself. Don’t run the risk of spreading it to others; if you notice toenail abnormalities, get it checked out!

Give those little toes some room to prevent hammer toes.

Although your toes are small, they are very mighty. Your toes help you balance, walk and run. We need to take care of them properly.  If your toes are being squished by your shoes, those toes can buckle. The joints become deformed and your toes begin to look like hammers.

This can cause your muscles and tendons to become imbalanced, which can mean quite a bit of pain. These misshapen toes can lead to corns on your feet.

Hammer toes need to be treated early to slow or stop the progression. In the early stages, your hammer toe might have a flexible joint, but as time passes and they are left untreated, the joint becomes rigid. For milder cases of hammer toe, I suggest a corrective treatment, like a corrective shoe or splint. If the hammer toe is severe, outpatient surgery may be required to loosen the joint.

Be aware of shoes that are too tight and take care of your toes! 

Most people think of tendonitis affecting the shoulders; did you know it can also affect your feet?

Do you feel pain in your feet or around your ankle after exercising? Running, walking, swimming and other activities can cause excessive strain on the tendons in your feet. Tendonitis can cause pain and, occasionally, swelling.

The most common cause of tendonitis in the feet is overuse. An increase in your exercise regimen can cause more strain on the tendons.

Before starting any physical activity, remember to stretch. Stretching your feet and ankles can help prevent tendonitis from developing. Also, be sure to wear properly fitting shoes. If you sense tendonitis symptoms, decrease your activity and apply cold compresses.

Recurring or severe pain may mean a rupture or tear in the tendon. Get your foot checked out if that happens.

Take it easy on your feet, and remember to stretch.